My brother-in-law was one of the 16 Marines killed in the c-130 that crashed over Mississippi on July 10. Almost every day after the names of the victims were officially announced, my sister started getting "sympathy cards" from Christians telling her that she needed to repent so that she could see her husband in Heave (ironically, he also was agnostic so that ship would have already sailed). Some included tracts, pamphlets, steps to avoid hell, and the conversion prayer. These were people that didn't know my sister or her husband, Brendan (or any of us for that matter). We have no idea how they got our address since we never announced that, but it was just freaky, and a disgusting violation of a human being's grief.
I'm so sorry for your loss, @Benthoven, and for that of your family. (Sorry for the delay, I just saw the post.)
It must have been like a slap in the face every time your sister opened one of those vile cards. It's times like this that I can agree that the religious - or at least these religious - are mentally ill because I can't comprehend a sane person being able to commit such cruelty.
Oh lawdy! I made the mistake to confiding in a hellfire brimstone preacher. Much to my horror, I was the subject of his next sermon. I was much younger and much more vulnerable then and I had to undergo therapy to undo all the crap they caused. One therapists asked me a question that immediately broke the spell: she asked, "Are these people whom you would go to for an other kind of advice?" I started laughing and said NO! That was it, they never bothered me again. Science and critical thinking have a tendency to squash the religious nonsense.
I wouldn't hate yourself for what happened. I have read some books on how cults work and they don't just target the weak and vulnerable. They have powerful psychology that they use to manipulate unsuspecting people, some of which are intelligent and come from good environments. The good news is that there are ways to protect yourself. By learning how cults manipulate people, you can protect yourself by recognizing the techniques they use. One of the best books I read on cults was "Combatting Cult Mind Control" by Steve Hassan. He goes into cults, how they work, and how to recover from them. I am sorry to hear this happened to you though.
My best friend had AIDS and, when he didn't have much time left, he asked his older brother (who lived in another state) if he could see him one last time. His brother sent him a bible and told him he still had time to save himself from hell if he hurried. Oh, and he'd be praying for his soul. I can't fathom anything that hurt's another human being that intensely as being good.
I actually had someone defend the idea that you can rape children in the name of god. I told him that if he truly believed that then his morals were absolutely FUCKED. He became irate at the use of the word 'fuck' and declared that he could not tolerate such vulgarity. To sum up, he actually believed that child rape was acceptable but saying 'fuck' was unconscionable.
My trauma is this. My worst experience with religious people was when I was 17 and I had a group of three elders (older appointed men) assigned to assess my case of immorality. They are called a judicial community. Anyway they suspected I was lying to them about the exact events that took place being my boyfriend and I. They wanted to know details about how far we had gone sexually with each other. Supposedly they needed the information to discern whether or not to kick me out. But next they invited me to meet them at another kingdom hall (church). I thought it was just going to be us. They failed to mention there were going to be three other Elders and my boyfriend there.
So here I was, 17, the only girl there with 6 old geezers and my teenage boyfriend all sitting in a circle going into detail about our sex life. They asked us questions like, "Did you masturbate at all? How much clothes did you have on? Where was it? How many times?" Etc. Etc. VERY DISTURBING. I don't know how I didn't realize how wrong it was and why I didn't run out of there. The brain washing was strong with this one. (AKA: me.)
Glad we Catholics have the confessional. Do we sin again? Yes. Will we be held accountable? Yes...if we make no effort to improve behavior, we condemn ourselves. Can atheists make it to heaven? Yes
Matthew 12:31-32 (NRSV)
31 Therefore I tell you, people will be forgiven for every sin and blasphemy, but blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. 32 Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.
Many atheists act more "Christian" then Christians. They do not "...speak against the Holy Spirit..." Therefore they could be saved because of their actions while professed, but non-practicing Christians may not be saved "....in the age to come.".
When they voted together as a group to elect a totally unqualified candidate for president. It may be the undoing of the country in the end.
I didn't think of this as it wasn't a personal attack on me. But yes -- I totally concur! And all the rest of the harm the religious right is responsible for politically in this country.
And I would have to say also most terrorist acts including 9/11 and Oklahoma City were committed by religious people. Thank you.
Every time a religious person tells me that they'll pray for me, while they have such pity in their eyes. Like I'm just trash, lost and unloved, and only their prayers will fix my broken soul. It does hurt me like it used to, now it makes me angry. I don't like being angry...
I'll pray for you ! I'm kidding when I left a cult that I was in for 10 years. I got a new job, car, and apartment. I met two sisters that I use to know in the church. I was telling them how better my life was and the older one just kept saying we're praying for you. Like I was dying or something. The older one looked liked she aged 10 years and the younger one was covered in rashes go figure.
I think people say things like, "I'll pray for you" for lack of anything else to say; they want what makes you sorrowful or sick to go away and they hurt seeing you going through it, yet feel helpless at stopping it, offering words of wisdom, so they offer that remark up. I don't think it's an attempt to convert you; it certainly isn't why I say it. Its frequently the only way they can think of to teach out.
Let me ask....what would be an acceptable thing to say to an atheist at a time of challenge or sorrow or even devastation? This is why I'm on this board - to gain a better understanding and know the proper things to say to comfort atheists and what not to say. Anyone?
I'll Pray for You is just a lame ass fd up way for the person saying it to feel better about themselves for having no pity, conscience or resolve to truly help the person they are addressing.
I can tell you the day I walked away from religion was a few days after my best friend committed suicide. At the funeral, someone whispered behind me, "you know, suicides go to hell. He committed suicide because his family is pagan and didn't have jesus in his life."
My family is very religious and that was six years ago. Every day, I get a guilt complex that drives religion fostered upon me for "walking away from god." That is my worst experience with religious people. It's every day.
I'm so sorry. I can relate to your feelings so much. I'm currently being shunned by my parents and younger siblings because I won't go back to being a Jehovah's Witness. They will babysit my daughter but refuse to have a relationship with me. So every time I see them it's like I have to say goodbye over and over again and the wound can never heal. However, I have to live true to myself. I can live in peace and personal integrity knowing I'm not a part of something I don't believe in. Much love
My few encounters with religious people have been a real hoot. Being human they also question their beliefs and I think at times are frankly unsure of them and questioning. Many can get pretty wound up if you let them know what you think. They will go far out of their way to let you know they are right. I have this sneaky feeling a big reason they don't like agnostics/atheists is because it makes them question their own beliefs and possibly have doubts and that can be very uncomfortable to them...LOL
YESSS!!! EXACTLY!! This is why the Jesus freaks really freak out when I ask them The Three Magic Questions! A guy I used to car pool with took about TWO YEARS to finally admit that he was beginning to "warm up" to them! You see, he was just totally afraid that if he admitted a little bit of critical thinking to enter into his life, it might make him to start questioning his beliefs about nearly everything. Can't have that, you see? He might have discovered that he was dead wrong in almost everything that he held near and ear to his heart! TTMQ go like this: What is the EXACT AMOUNT of fraud that ANY man or woman has the right to commit?
What is the EXACT AMOUNT of fraud that ANY man or woman has an actual obligation to endure?
What is the BASIC PREMISE that is being operated off of, in the instant case?
Man, those simple questions make people question all kinds of stuff, if they think about them too much!!
I think its healthy to evaluate your own beliefs every now and then. If you feel threatened by someone else's belief that's different from yours and can't cross-talk and debate - what sort of faith is that???
I decided to turn my back in religion when i figured out that people can spend billions building churches but can't spend thousand to feed the poor in the same church and the homeless.. Instead of building Mega Million Cathedrals why not build Mega Million Homes for the Homeless.
I'm 100% on board with you there, Lewellyn! If I ever give to any charity today, it's the Salvation Army, because they are the only ones who walk their talk and spend like 90% of what they take in on the needy. But I'd much rather give the dough to someone directly and have done so! I walk my talk!
@Logician i worked for the salvation army......ooh my they are bad people, the religious ones that run the whole show.........they high grade any gold or jewelry very corrupt are the officers -majors ,colonels,generals ect.google the denver colorado salv army and you will see the racism story.....the folks involed were our regional heads here in the PNW when i started they are freaks;;;;;;the salvation army is a corp.we had corporate boss,s and mangers and so forth but the fanatics run it,they have total control......but pay no taxes ever cuz of the religious status bullshit.......i would recommend donating to local reuse stores.....these big entities are corrupt (in my opinion of course)
I came back from a Toys for Tots run to pick my son up from my aunt at her church one evening. One of the church ladies rushed over to tell me that if I was a good Christian that I wouldn't dress like that. I responded, "I'm not but if you were a good Christian, you wouldn't have said that. Maybe you should read your book about judging others."
With all due respect, could you please describe to us what was it that you were wearing that night? In what particular place of the church did you pick up your son? Did you enter the main church hall during service? In what particular place of the church did one of the church ladies rushed over to you?
My family who are "born again" christians. All they talk about is jesus and try to convert me. They think I have to be "saved". The only thing I need saving from is them! They are judgemental hypocrites who are focused on materialistic things. They have no compassion!
A very close friend found out I was an Athiest and refused to see me for several years. I bumped into him once one a trip to Aspen I got the chance finally to ask him, How did you not know I was an Athiest, I'm so vocal about it. He said "well I knew you didn't believe I just didn't know you were an Athiest. I laughed and said That's all an Athiest is. We aren't baby eaters. We're people just like you who happen not to believe that one thing.
I moved to the bible belt as a sophomore in high school; the kids were very unwelcoming to someone that didn't want to pray before lunch.
A fundamentalist preacher who was street-preaching at my college last semester told me that when Judgement Day comes, he will personally dragging me screaming and throw me into the pits of Hell, laughing at me the whole time.
Granted, he also told me that he had 5 Ph.D.s, performed miracles, and had evidence that present-day whales existed in the Cambrian Period, so he might not be the most believable person in the world.
Listening to the stories of kids who heard some religious people praying for the death and destruction of non-believers, and those who don't practice their same religion.
Most wars between nations before the modern age were of religious causes, or so I thought. But it never really changed. Extremist groups up to now wage war and sow terror in the name of their religion
I'm thankful I can't remember anything personally, but my daughter, who was raised with no religion (and honestly, I don't know what she considers herself) has often been told by classmates that she is going to hell. She wears a beautiful pentacle pendant we bought at some Renaissance Fair, and was once told by a complete stranger that she was going to hell because of that. She's been asked if she's a Satanist.
However, she does celebrate a secular version of xmas, but her tree is black.
That would be when my sister,( the religious nut who has been married four times), went to my husband's hospital bed and began preaching. She then came to me and asked about final arrangements. I said at this point, Ken was sick but not dead! She then proceeded to talk about god and the hereafter. I threw her out and haven't spoken to her since. After my husband died, she called to say she was "there for me". I figured that meant she wanted a door opened so she could just start preaching again. I've lived as an atheist for a long time and do not intend to switch sides in the hope that something else will carry me through.
Before I officially transitioned from Christian to Agnostic I worked at a "Non-Denominational" Christian University. The bulk of the staff there was very conservative but there were exceptions. One day, after admitting to supporting liberal politics I was told by a co-worker that no one can be both liberal and Christian, that they were mutually exclusive and all true Christians were conservative/Republican. (Oddly enough it wasn't long before I ceased to be a Christian, but I don't believe my particular story validates her belief.)
I had a baptist minister and some of his congregation show up at my door. They were going door to door to invite people to their church. At the time I still considered myself Christian. I told him that I didn't normally go to Church but thank you. He than went off on how I was going to Hell but worse since it was my responsibility to show my family the way, I was leading them to Hell also. I shut the door in his face at that point.
No one has any right to judge you!!! Much less tell you you're going to hell! "Judge not, lest you be judged", It's said. Some Christians are going to be very surprised IF they get to heaven to see who actually go admitted there! Say that next time someone tells you you're going to hell!
So I was in graduate school and pregnant for the first time. I only had two people in my studio class so we were pretty close. One was a born again Catholic. When I was 18 weeks pregnant, I got the results of a test back that were abnormal. By the time we could get another test run, we were at 20 weeks. And found out that the fetus was non-viable and would most like be detrimental for me to carry any longer. So I chose to have a "late-term" abortion, which in my case meant early induction of labor so that an autopsy could be performed. My own doctor would not do it, so I had to see a strange obstetrician. The nurses put me in an area tucked in a corner and basically left me alone with my husband and only came in to help with the delivery. When I went back to class, my born again Catholic studiomate had a lot of ugly things to say to me about the abnormality of the fetus and my decision. Not the best part of my life.
I'm so sorry you had to go through this. I will never understand why so many people feel free to judge other people's reproductive experiences. It's so not their business. And how can they say you had anything about the problems with your pregnancy when you know full well they'd give their god credit if things went well!!
An employer once said to me, "I want to help you with your Jesus-thing." He is a deacon at his church and he is the most vile human I've ever encountered. It seems to me that the ones who are most vocal about their religions are the ones who are the most corrupt and hypocritical.
Sounds like something JWs would do. Exploiting people's grief and loss of a loved one to convert them.