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How to deal with religious family and friends?

Being an agnostic is especially challenging when you're surrounded with religion family and friends. Often they will try to convert you to their religion, become hostile towards you or even disown you. What are your thoughts on how to retain a good relationship with religion people?

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64 comments
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I don't have any.

marinero10 Level 2 Oct 23, 2017
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I don't discuss religion with them. I can appreciate, like and love those with different beliefs, so long as I am not pushed into their beliefs.

Christa3070 Level 3 Oct 23, 2017
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While my 89 year old mother's still around I'll keep my views on the topic out of any family conversations. They have a hard enough time wrapping their minds around me being vegan.

StephenB420 Level 1 Oct 22, 2017
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I only retain good relationships with people I value, family or not. No one that loves or cares about me will attempt to do those things. Those aren't people I want in my life.

Ash831 Level 3 Oct 22, 2017
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I let them do whatever make them happy

JeffBrown Level 4 Oct 21, 2017
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if they don't like me I don't need them

RonaldJames Level 3 Oct 21, 2017
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Tell them you've made your choice and it shouldn't impede on their religious views or activities. You're just choosing to opt out of activities that don't suit your religious preferences. Ask them to please respect your wishes.

SamL Level 6 Oct 20, 2017
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If they give you 'that talk', ask for equal time and that they answer YOUR questions, of which you have many.

BrigittaCuadros Level 4 Oct 19, 2017
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I tell them that they can believe in what they want, but do not try to impose those beliefs on me.

AlanLai Level 3 Oct 19, 2017
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I lightly tease the ones that can take it. I avoid the topic with those that cannot.

rlyeh_fhtagn Level 3 Oct 19, 2017
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I do not get involved with religious discussions, as a rule there are more than 2 involved and I simply avoid responding

LeslieSanders Level 3 Oct 17, 2017
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I discuss politics, not religion. It's so easy to change every religious conversation to politics, due to religious involvement in government.

And I have a simple blessing for dinner... "Lord, thank you for this food... may it go down good."

waterwolfie Level 3 Oct 17, 2017
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I am honest with them regarding my position and if that is not good enough we do not associate any longer. I do not criticize them for their beliefs and expect the same from them. If they wish to debate religion we do so in an adult manner.

BobHKniola Level 3 Oct 16, 2017
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If I respect them I just don't bring up our differences. If I do not respect them I avoid seeing them.

Optimistic Level 2 Oct 16, 2017
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all you will need is to focus on you believe just say know to any word you know it won't help your religion.

thomas220 Level 2 Oct 15, 2017
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It's the most hard time and part of the life especially when you belong to Muslim religious family

Saki Level 1 Oct 9, 2017
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I don't. My family doesn't like to be controversial. So I don't talk about the things that would shake the boat. Especially since we live in a very religious and conservative area of Maryland. I'm an outspoken animal rights activist, vegetarian and atheist so I'm pretty alone hear when it come to voicing my opinions and thoughts.

Saramarie Level 3 Oct 9, 2017
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Luckily, I don't have to anymore. I was adopted by a single parent, and she died in '96. None of the rest of my adoptive family ever truly treated me as such, and have had no contact w/ them since her passing. I used to have a few religious friends, but as time has passed, I've had to let go of each of them due for one reason or another. Each one has shown their "true colors" in some form or fashion.

ElementX74 Level 4 Oct 8, 2017
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What can you do they're your friends; they're your family, but don't give up they may yet prove trainable.

HeathenFarmer Level 6 Oct 8, 2017
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Be more successful, more affluent, more at peace with your life choices. Then what can they really argue you on?

Redlegdex Level 5 Oct 7, 2017
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I am at a point in my life where I come right out and tell them. If they can't accept that and I loose family and friends so be it. I can no long stand their self-righteous attitudes and tell it like it is.

MsJayne55 Level 2 Oct 7, 2017
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We basically avoid the topic in order to get along. Mom is not religious anymore, but has a god belief. When she takes shots at me, "oh yeah, YOU no longer believe in...", I stop talking. She's gotten better at avoiding that. I am not closeted, but tend to keep my beliefs private.

Zster Level 4 Oct 7, 2017
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Avoid topics of disagreement in all conversations. It never ends well with people who are unwilling to examine their beliefs objectively.

Lucas20520 Level 3 Oct 7, 2017
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My father was super religious. I accompanied him to church when necessary, but had to bite my tongue.
My "aunt" (a family friend) that I took care of as she aged was always pushing me. She had been a missionary to Taiwan for 35 years. Every time I visited she tried to get me to go back. When I took a plane flight to help her visit family, I was sitting beside her. She started in on her quest immediately. I told her that there is no way that I was going to worship anyone that would send most of the humans to hell, and that I did not want to talk about it any more. I put on my headphones and she finally got the message.

Thunderbolt800 Level 2 Oct 6, 2017
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I have to deal with a religious Mormon family on a daily basis.
When I was 18, they kicked me out for coming out of the closet about my atheism.

Since then, we have worked it out. They decided it was more important to have me in their life than to push religion on me. I've made it clear that I feel like saying prayers over food is a form of ridiculousness akin to trying to cast spells. I don't pull punches (so to speak) when I call out something I feel is ridiculous. They never showed me the same respect for my beliefs that I show them and even though I don't pull punches, I make sure it's constructive criticism.

I have learned to pick my battles, but when it's something they are doing that directly hurts them, or myself, or someone else I make it a point to voice my opinion.

They don't really bother me about it anymore but they can still talk to me about the goings on of people in the church and what they are up to.

It works, but religion is a wedge. It drives people apart.

I'm lucky that I'm 27 now, and I've worked in fields where my vocal and rhetorical skill was honed. I don't let them walk all over me with their insults of my secular lifestyle. And I've made it abundantly clear I think my way of life is more based in logic, empathy, reason, and thought than theirs is whenever they push. I also have the rhetorical skill to illustrate that point.

Frakbox Level 2 Oct 1, 2017
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