If so, what were you doing for them to say such a thing?
My mother was told she would be going to hell if she didn't donate to the church. That's why she stopped going and I was fortunate enough not to have to go through that weekly torture.
Now I was told I'm going to hell because I wanted to make my grandmother happy. But to be fair, I did ask...
Anyway, I want to know if they've been that aggressive towards you guys.
95% of my family is religious, so I'm sure some of them tought I'm going to hello for being an atheist. Only my mother ones told me the devil was going to get me. I listened to metal (I was 12), and my mom said that it was very wrong and that there were hidden messages in it brainwashing me to a satanic. So one day she said the devil was going to drag me out of the bed in the night. I remember being afraid that night, but all what happened was... NOTHING.
I just smiled and said that, if there were a hell and I was destined to go there, it was all a part of her god's plan and that she should be happy that I lived according to that plan.
I don't think she particularly liked that answer...
NICE!!! If that doesn't make her stop and think about the "benevolence" of her loving Savior, I don't know what will. It's easy for a stranger to gloat about the "sinners" who are going to Hell, but their tone changes when it's someone they care about. If they know you and realize you don't deserve an eternity in the fiery pit, they've gotta question whether or not that's truly justice.
Don't lose faith (heh heh), I was in the Bible Belt when I started questioning everything. I was super ingrained at that point, and super "on fire" (to use a fundi term). I lived in Nashville TN, which is where all-things Christian come out of (books, music, mainstream pastors, the Southern Baptist Convention, etc etc); my friends were super Christian, I hung out with Christian musicians/artists, lived in the rental of a fairly well-known apologist... I was up to my eyeballs in Jebus.
I started asking questions. I wasn't even questioning Christianity at that point, just my own understanding of it. I was actually trying to get "closer to God" and thought he'd appreciate my inquiries. I was certain HE would be the answer... but, then He wasn't. HA!
So, it's not impossible. Maybe something you say will cause her to question some things.
My childhood friend (of 40 yrs) said I too, was "going to hell if change isn't forthcoming." My reply terminated our relationship. Said I'd rather spend eternity with thinking non-believers, than sheep, who would commit brutality because they're 'leaders' told them it'll secure 70 virgins, streets paved with gold, eternal happiness without death & disease, or any other Bullshit he cared to ty to use to convince me a bronze age mythological hoax to herd sheep had a thread of truth, with any degree of reality attached to either end.
Now, I'll be honest. If someone will simply show me just a scant little piece of evidence that those virgins are waiting for ME, really dude, I'm there. I'll convert tomorrow. But alas... <sigh>.
...but virgins dunno what they're doing. Maybe 70 cougars? ;)
What's that poster out there, where you see 72 nuns with shotguns....
Yes, you did ask and in a way that implies that you are a believer--at least in part. I don't think I would reply at all. You asked for feedback on the internet. You should expect to get all kinds of replies. Consider it information; don't take it personally. I have had believers do far worse to me than this. Remember, in their fucked up world, you are going to hell for trying to make your grandmother feel good, but Jeffrey Dahmer is going to heaven because he repented and became a Christian. Need I say more? The opinion of a person who thinks this way is worth very little.
With regard to your grandmother, try to put yourself in her place. I know how I would feel. Whether you loved me or not I would consider it extremely important for you to know I loved you. Any relationship at all would be welcome. Maybe you don't love her, but caring about her feelings enough to say it is a huge first step in the right direction. Relationships are always complicated and rarely simple enough to comprise unmitigated love.
I have always had my doubts, even as a teenager. When I joined the army WAY back when, I put "Not religious preference" on my dog tags since I thought they were all questionable and just in case I ever needed last rights, thinking it would cover by ass just in case (good 'ole Pascal's Wager). Several of my fellow recruits saw I had "no preference" and they stated in no uncertain terms I was going to hell! Really? I had to DEFINITIVELY pick an EXACT denomination to be saved?!? Wow, talk about my odds of getting into heaven dropping drastically! In their defense, we were all young. I hope whoever that was, has gained a lot of wisdom since...
Oh yes, I've been threatened with hell and damnation more than I'd care to say. Depending on the individual I'm sparring with, (and I take 'em on whenever, wherever I find 'em), it can come to that. Does it piss me off? yeah. It absolutely enrages me for reasons I'll skip, but I attempt to keep those feelings under wraps. The reason I hold my anger to low but (probably) an obviously present level is this; Sound logic, diction & a style of argumentation suitable to your opponents ability to grasp them are KEY attributes, if our goal is to help the believer. If they walk away infuriated, (which often happens when they realize they're cornered, losing, and have been not just outfoxed, but shown irrefutibly to be using fallacious reasoning/logic) I'm not sure we've accomplished much. At times, such people will not hear your side anyway, so it's just gonna piss 'em off no matter how, or what is said. It's a common occurence, (most of us have been there), and our best strategy IMO is to expect it, and deal EFFECTIVELY with it.
What's that mean? Deal effectively w it? We want them to come away with an ability to challenge their current thoughts about reality. Why? Because as has happened to so many of us, once that unsettling notion takes root, ( A) that we've spent X years living under a false sense of security & B) we've been duped by people we trusted, many, if not most of us as children), we can then begin the arduous process of rigorously analyzing former beliefs. AT THAT POINT, we stand a chance of helping them over to our side. Isn't that what the goal should be, ultimately? Is our intent to show our opposition we're fucking intellectual giants, & they, just inferior logicians, or is our objective to help them understand WHY they're delusions are sapping life, harming society, and ultimately taking more than it gives? If the answer is the latter then of course we should TACTFULLY demolish their fallacious logic. Deconstruct the entire fucking religious foundation that all the bullshit rests on, but again, we should be gentle (as os possible), so as to get & keep them thinking. I think we can HELP them find sound abilities of reasoning, and hopefully conclude all of theology is ludicrous, even laughable, but that takes time, in most cases i would think. Shouldn't we try to help them through what many of us have found so painfully difficult? Crisis of faith was no small thing to many of us. To come to the inescapable conclusion that our minds, our ability to discern trurth, to critically think for ourselves had been twisted into fucking pretzels, usually at a very young age. I can't speak for others, but that hurt me a LOT, and the way out was to slowly counter the BS, at first by subtle questioning. Ultimately we should help believers, but consider what they have to come to grips with: A complete rejection of their whole worldview! But we can show them it is not permanently painful. Rather in us, maybe they'll see it can be freeing, a more rewarding ideology that is SO much more rewarding, and absolutely more sensible. Don't we want them as apostasies? Why wouldn't we? If they just convert from xtian to muslim, or some other descent into another brainfuck well, that's that. We can't save 'em all. heh, sounds familiar.
I suggest, but at times don't follow my own advice, to respect them & their difficult position; To extend tolerance, empathy, and friendly debate, when possible. But... give em a bloody nose when necessary. And those who want to challenge simple, basic principles of sound logic, just humiliate them, privately if need be, preferably as publicly, and as caustically as is possible. Yes, I try a less venomous approach. Hopefully I make this a last resort, but I must admit when I'm viciously attacked, challenged with fallacious philosophical syllogisms, or told I'm headin for hell as a worthless piece of shit, (as we all know happens all too frequentl)y this last resort is rewarding when it happens, & leaves me feeling giddy. <shrug> We are, after all, mere mortals. :) For whatever it's worth. Peace, brothers & sisters in arms!
This all sounds so similar to a beef I had with friends. We would get together, and instead of talking about our stuff, you know, babies, work, ideas, and good books, we would talk about a dear wahabe minister named Jane.
Jane would do freaky things with our minds while trying to discuse her version of religion. During an interesting discusion about 'X', Jane would break in, change the subject to 'Y, religious babble, yadayada', the rest of us would lose our chain of thought, and we are left with the only thought left to us, tar and feathering of dear Jane, shut up!
Jane seems to be a dear person, always ready to help one of us in a pinch, but we would pay for it latter with the constant, unrelenting babble while in Jane's presence! It was all you could do find ways to cut lose. Even my friends that still remain religious, would seek the most ingenious methods of excape!
Finally we all decided to establish a separate table and make sure that there never was an emthy chair! This to me seemed very 'unchristian', but after much debate between the rest of us, it seemed the only sane thing to do.
Jane did find whole a new population of victims finally. Are we all going to hell? Nah, finally we can have a nice day in peace. My last monologue with Jane was, 'I''ll believe for you!'
If anyone says that to me I'd just say 'isnt that the opposite imaginary place to heaven?'