Agnostic.com

35 15

Frustrated

Does anyone else have a difficult time keeping their cool when the topic of religion is brought up?
I have so many good, solid, scientific facts to back up my views, but I rarely can manage to calmly share them. I usually end up just keeping my mouth shut, while my face betrays my emotions.
I would much prefer a mature, and level headed conversation on the subject. I'm a bit embarrassed by my initial reactions to religious people.
Anyone have advice on how to be less intolerant?

Donotbelieve 9 Jan 25

Post a comment Reply Add Photo

Enjoy being online again!

Welcome to the community of good people who base their values on evidence and appreciate civil discourse - the social network you will enjoy.

Create your free account

35 comments

Feel free to reply to any comment by clicking the "Reply" button.

14

It might help to recognize that your role is not to convince believers not to believe. We each have to find our own path.

Unless someone actively seeks out such a conversation, or is attacking you on some level , why would the subject even come up ?
Learning to be more tolerant is simply a matter of deciding not to let it bother you what others believe. Same way as you wish to be left alone about your non-belief !

Unfortunately my son believes his dear kind lovng grandfather is at this moment writhing in perpetual agony in hell because he didn't accept jesus as his saviour. "Everyone has a choice". That's pretty hard to hear.

Yes, you are correct. It's not my job to convince. I'm not even trying to do that. I'm simply attempting to help them understand my disbelief, just a little.
I detest being made to feel rediculous or stupid because I do not accept their religion.

I should have been more specific.

@Donotbelieve I hear ya. Sometimes though - it may not be possible for them to understand. There are many way too deep in their trenches (or ruts - if you will) to even begin to see another's viewpoint, no matter how logical or reasonable the argument. Stay strong - you are neither ridiculous or stupid !

10

“Speak your truth quietly, but clearly” Desiderata
If they want to listen, they will, if not, move on.

10

I'm usually okay about staying calm regarding religious topics, but there are definitely times when the lack of logic or reason gets under my skin and I want to throttle the other person. One trick that I find helps somewhat is to not counter their points but rather ask them to justify their position. Ask them loads of questions, open-ended stuff, and draw out their claims as ridiculous, contradictory, etc. You get to remain steady and clearheaded while the other person is jumping through their hoops.

8

I used to feel passionately about "serving the truth": if someone made an erroneous statement in earshot, I'd correct them. I was treating "the truth" as if it were a person with rights and an agenda, and deserving of respect--capable of being insulted.

I learned (painfully, awkwardly, slowly; over many years) that not only do others not appreciate having their ignorance or error highlighted, more importantly, no one's feelings get hurt when the truth is not served.. The truth is not a person--it doesn't get mad when people say Lake Michigan is the largest of the Great Lakes. I'm the one who gets insulted--and there's no reason for it.

Let them be morons. It doesn't have to be your problem.

@Dida Naw, just something I woke up to after I pulled my head outta my ass. I am still recovering from being a pendantic little shit. It's down to latent twinges...but at least I got my mouth under control! Sometimes I slip up. I'm still working on it.

@Dida Pedants' Anonymous: "Hi, my name is Stinkeye...and I'm an insufferable know-it-all."

7

First, there is no such thing as a rational discussion with the religious -- unless they are fairly progressive in their thinking. When it comes to fundamentalists of any stripe, you can forget any thoughtful discussion altogether. It won't happen. Especially not with the recently converted born again types.

The best way to handle it is like a fisherman bringing in a large fish. You ask them a pointed question. That's setting the hook. You give them a little slack (let them come back with their meandering, senseless answer). You ask another question (now you're pulling them in). Slack again as they mumble out a bit more nonsense. Keep repeating this process until they begin to tire and flop around aimlessly -- if they get that far.

The instant you try to make a point, you're in the water with the fish. Don't try to make a point. Your point, if it gets made, will be made by them. Keep them engaged. Keep asking questions. Keep the burden of proof where it belongs.

6

Why discuss it at all? I just go along leaving others to believe whatever they want.

5

I hurt someone I cared about very much, because I couldn't control myself. It ruined our relationship, and it took 5 years for us to communicate again. I remember how shitty I felt every time the urge to open my big mouth, without considering the other person's feelings, arrives. This has worked wonders for me.

I'm trying.

4

I know. It’s very frustrating. It’s like trying to convince a toddler that the tooth fairy and Santa doesn’t exist. I don’t have time for children in adults bodies, who want to behave like small children with their irrational view with faith and toys. If you can’t reason with reality, I can’t reason with faith. End of discussion.

4

Yes, I have the same issue. I hate having made up fairytales thrown at me while the same people dismiss scientific facts. It makes me feel like I'm F**king crazy!

4

I usually just let it go. I don't argue well and if we get into it they end up feeling like they won.

MsAl Level 7 Jan 25, 2018

If I do manage to make my point it rarely changes minds, just creates mistrust between us.

4

It's not worth a discussion with them... trust me on that, although, I guess nothing is 100%

I am not convinced that it's useless. I was once one of them, until I heard intelligent and provable counter points.

4

when you have settled on the idea that you ain't gotta prove nor explain jack**** to nobody it feels more confident, less contentious. unless you choose to, then if their head ain't flexible enough to get around it, you're done.

4

Give some thought to the rest of the equation. Why would anyone making emotion-based decisions have any interest in facts?
Before you castigate emotion as a reasonable solution, give some thought to how effective emotion is in keeping the human species alive and thriving. We need emotion, we really do. You have to honor that in your thinking. You're bright, you know how to think things through. Try it again, and factor in emotion as a good thing and see where that takes you.

You're correct, I do not put much stock in emotion. I will contemplate your thoughts.

4

It depends on who brings it up. There are people that want to either debate, fight over or avoid the topic. I only engage with people who are open to the first type. I abstain from quarreling with people over religion. I also don't want to push a topic that someone doesn't want to discuss. I find that reduces the likely hood of me calling someone something regrettable. Failing that I tend to ask more questions and if I feel like I need to make a point, I do. I try to do so calmly and on occasion a bit toothy. I try to keep insults impersonal if I make them at all. Never attack a person's character first, avoid it if you can. Usually the one to resort to such tactics first loses the debate.

3

Thank you for asking this. I have the same issues.

3

I just went through this last night and the conversation of course didn't go well at all...looking for that same advice.

3

Stop trying. It's like advising you're relatives to not smoke. I tried years and years ago to convince my brothers to stop smoking. They just got defensive, "we're all going to die of something!". Sure thats true, but my father died at 68 and died of several things and each one was directly linked to his 25 per day smoking habit.

They are too far gone, and have to find their own journey out of that deep misty dark forest like many on this site have had to do.

You simply cannot have a rational argument with religious people. Their whole premise is irrational!

2

I think you want to be more tolerant....
Keep and open mind and don't take shit personally.

I'm trying.

2

No need to be less intolerant.

2

It wouldn't be a problem if you could have a nice discussion based on facts and reason. They ( the religious) mostly come from the emotion side, and it certainly is not rational. They don't tend to question, just accept it. Don't have any good suggestions on how to be more tolerant. With my religious family back in the mid-west, just don't talk religion and politics. I just leave the room.

1

This is normal in both religious and political discussions. I treat it more like a game. I question whether or not they agree with certain abhorrent behaviors in the Bible without citing the chapter or verse ... when they inevitably say no - I ask why they follow a text that condones said behavior. For me, it’s more about planting the seeds of doubt than winning an argument. ?

1

I never bring it up. If it's brought up, my reaction depends entirely on the person I'm speaking with. If it's obvious that they are blind believers and will not acknowledge even the most obvious evidence then I simply refuse to engage in the conversation. If the person seems intelligent and open I can have a spirited chat with them, not expecting to change their mind, but at least to get them to understand my point of view.

d_day Level 7 Feb 18, 2018

I never bring it up, either.

1

Watch a lot of Star Trek.
See yourself as Kirk and Bones.
Try to be more Spock.

I am not a sci-fi fan, but I did like Data.

@Donotbelieve

1

The old "fight or flight' mechanism us humans have was useful, even necessary, when we were in a daily battle to stay alive. In dealing with modern day human interactions, it is usually harmful. I'm pretty sure over 99 percent of us have been there, wanting to calmly make our case, but that uncomfortable surge of anxiety gets in our way. The more I live the more I believe meditation and practicing mindfulness is the most helpful way to work on overcoming it.

1

Sounds to me like you are on the right track, or the same one I am. I just listen and try not to react. I DO have conversations with folks about faith but only with folks who can have a rational conversation. That might be because I have no issue with folks using faith as a crutch to help them through life. We all need help at times, I don't think it's rational but if it helps, what, really, is wrong with that?

If they are seriously bad and I just can't handle it, I exit stage left... or is it right? Whichever way is most convenient.

Write Comment
You can include a link to this post in your posts and comments by including the text q:18332
Agnostic does not evaluate or guarantee the accuracy of any content. Read full disclaimer.