An old friend of 50 years has become a person of extreme religiosity in his old age. I have told him that I will not discuss religion with him, but he keeps sending me pseudo-science articles and religious opinion pieces and asking me to respond.
I was forced to send him the following e0mail response today.:
"I fully respect your right to believe in whatever enables you to try to live a good and moral life, and I make no attempts to move you away from those beliefs. I wish that you would extend me both the same respect and the same courtesy."
My Dad used to pressure me quite a bit to come back to God. I finally got annoyed and told him the only higher power here was me and I'm fine not going to church. Problem solved and we have been best friends for the last 20 years. We can even talk about our different beliefs respectfully. I think he needed to see that I really wasn't going to change my mind no matter what. Bit of a gamble, probably save it for a last resort.
If he's really your friend, respecting your wishes should be a natural thing for him to do and I doubt he'll take offense. However, he may feel a spiritually-based urge to "help" you or "save" you, and think he's doing you a favor with his pseudoscience information and religious overtures. That can be dicey. If he doesn't take the hint, you have a decision to make, either put up with it or let this guy go his own way. Hope it works out for you one way or the other. Good luck.
With age comes a fear of the end. One day everyone suddenly realises that life isn't eternal. This births a need for comfort and the most unsettling question is "what is after death?" Religion gives this question a kind answer whilst also attempting to keep people in check. Religion offers peace with no really hardship to endure to get it. It's an easy way to answer a difficult question. And those around you who deny it interupt your peace with death and they do all they can to show nonbelievers that what they think is true thus further validating their own desire for avoiding entropy.
Good luck with this! I had a friend (notice the tense of that verb) who became obnoxiously religious. Over time, we realized it was a symptom of Alzheimer's for her....just a retreat. Do you think this will work? Your friend may already be gone. OH..and I agree with those who think it was a perfectly-worded response!
My step-dad's doing something kind of similar... It's him more than anyone who ensured I grew up an atheist, as he railed against the unscientific stuff in the Bible and set me on the course to challenging all the baseless assertions it makes.
But he was no skeptic. Now, in later life, he's becoming more and more embroiled in deistic claptrap, and is becoming boorish in his opposition to my atheism. I empathize with you entirely... And I may try and put across something like your words to him.
A good friend got infected with a virulent strain of the fundy bug some years ago. He harangued me tirelessly about my dismal future as a resident of "you know where " with great emotional tirades because ( he said ) he cared for me so much.
It reached a point where i took him by the scruff of the neck and booted him out of my house.
He simmered down for a bit but then would come back up to full volume. I asked him to stay away from me if that was all he could bring to the friendship.
He did for a while, then, the behaviour began to subside with just the occasional relapse every few months. We see each other less these days as i have relocated about 300 miles away. Now, i get flurries of emails several times a year with garbage conspiracy theories. Chemtrails, HAARP, Reptilians,the globalist agenda to cull the population, the flavour of the month antichrist, you name it. I would tease them all apart, sentence by sentence and reply with my "analysis". None of which he has ever replied to. Now he rings me fairly regularly and we talk about day to day stuff but nothing serious. He is lonely. I value the friendship and persist with it because i always see the wonderful warm hearted guy i know him to be and he is coming back somewhat, though torn, still captive to paranoid superstitious concoctions. I remain committed to " being there " for him with some boundaries.
Ooooh, that's a tough one. The lines have to be drawn and respected or the situation can't continue. What you have said is more than reasonable. From my experience, when this happens to someone you have known, it's like they are not the same person you knew; they are, but the mental processes are different. Sometimes there is self correction when the religious rush wears off. Either way you have to stand your ground, long friendship or not.