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So I had a conversation with my theist aunt about religion gasp. Shocker right? Anyway, she had long speech about feelings and what she feels (undeniable evidence I know sarc). First my aunt said that she thought it was wonderful that my sisters new boyfriend was a churchgoing christian, because christian=good person in her eyes. So naturally I giggled and rolled my eyes at that comment. As if that really has any impact on character of the dude, I would argue it makes someone more likely to be a self-righteous asshole (not that they all are).

“You’re an atheist—you don’t believe in anything, why are you laughing?”

“Because being a christian doesn’t make a person good. The vast majority of the prison population are christians, it didn’t seem to help them did it? I’m not saying their christianity got them there, I’m saying it didn’t appear to make them good. Being a good person makes you a good person, regardless of religion. The only thing required to be an atheist is not believing in a deity. I believe in compassion, love, and empathy. You don’t need to believe in a deity to believe these things.”

So now she changes the subject a bit. My aunt loves Joel Osteen so she talked about the euphoric experiences she had while in a mega church with a bunch of people who believe the same crap. So I tell her that he's a millionaire charlatan that fleeces the gullible masses, how he has a massive mansion and I then mentioned Mark 10:25 which states "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God." So here she goes again on these "feelings" to which I tell her that there isn't anything special about it—the brain feeling euphoria. I felt it myself when I was around people that agree with me (like when I was still a Christian) or while doing something I love, it is just the brain, nothing special or unexplainable. Of course she starts special pleading for her experience of it happening, so I just stopped there--not worth the time or effort.

I try not spending too much time with much of my family. It's not good for my mental health lol. Sometimes I just can't stand it, the nonsense, the inconsistencies, and the hypocrisy. I tend to tell them if they don't want to be called out on their bullshit then don't bring it up. If they say something dumb expect a response. I think I'm too honest to just sit there when someone says stuff like that.

AustinSkepticus 7 Mar 18

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They are so brain washed you can't convince them of anything different then what they believe as absolute truth. For them to find out it's all a lie, all these religious people fall in a deep depression or would die soon after with the feeling of no reason to live.


Reading all these comments about your frustrations reinforces advice I have heard from Peter Boghossian and others that a great tactic is to ask questions which force critical thought on their part so that seeds of doubt are planted. You let them do the heavy lifting and simply nudge the conversation along with questions you already know the answer to.


That’s why I live in the country. My donkeys don’t care one way or the other. I avoid religious people as much as possible which is hard to do in Okieland.

Iffy Level 5 Mar 18, 2018

She could get those same "feelings" by going to a Jimmy Buffet concert. Plus I would guarantee those feelings would be better validated at the concert...Parrot Heads are a cool bunch of people.

Tell her to tally-up the number of times she sees in the news where an Atheist or a Preacher commits a crime. Preachers are among the worst.

One major problem with morality in the Abrahamic Faiths is that they ask for forgiveness from someone who was not involved (god), instead of the one who was injured. Atheists realize that only the person you act badly towards can forgive you, and they will not likely be too eager to do so.


When she says you don't believe in anything - let her know you believe in mankind, and the laws of nature.

gater Level 7 Mar 18, 2018

It is exhausting to be repeatedly required to defend who/what we are, even though it may be legal, moral, and upright to most people. Those "christians" who see atheists as lost souls also see Islamics, Hindus, Sikhs, and any other religion in the same light. We can only keep doing what we are doing: enlightening where we can.

Christian people can be very closed minded and have very crappy attitudes toward people that are different


That is what I hear so many say how, it makes them feel. So then it is an emotion, many out there need to learn how to control that emotion and stop babbling it across the preverbal sanity table.


Wow AustinSkepticus you and i sound like we have carbon copy experiences with religious family members, i feel very similar to how you feel on religion topics, personally any organized religion to me is a turn off and is just filled with brainwashed hypocrisy, don't let it get to you, i understand its hard, but i generally go about the same way ,if ine wants to push it on me or down my throat, i usually deal with it in some form of sarcasm and truth that is about religion and religious people, and great point on those in jail

Sometimes it isn't about the religion doing direct harm, but more like how it makes people think in circles, both drive me nuts. Plus believing things on bad evidence (anecdotes only etc).

I definitely understand what you mean


My mother's side of the family are religious Jews and their whole life revolves around the temple they go to.They know I am non-religious since I did a public denouncement at 16. I only see them when family dies and say happy bday on FB. They are conservative politically too.


I think people of a lower moral development are particularly drawn to religions, because they are looking for an outside source to keep them in check. In fact I've had two people pretty much tell me that. I'm not saying all religious people have lower moral development. However, it is based on a lower stage of moral development. "Behave or you will go to hell".


I get it. I have one aunt that I'm especially close to. She's a believer. She knows I'm
an atheist. I just let her go when she starts. I listen patiently, and wait until she's done.
I don't want to argue with her. I know what I know, and she believes what makes her
feel good. I love her too much to fight with her over something as trivial as what happens
in heaven. Anyone else? They do not get the same deference.

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