How to deal gently with religious family members?

My mother is a Mormon and has accepted my atheism, more or less (I bet she still prays for me). She's really intelligent, so I like talking with her about my ideas but I don't want to hurt her feelings or break our relationship. Today she said she is so happy when she comes home from church, that her faith gives her a lot of comfort and peace. She said isn't it just as bad for atheists to tell religious people what to think as it is for religious people to try and force there beliefs on others? What do you think, and how do you deal with your religious friends and family?

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My friends and family know what my views are and we have a cease-fire arrangement.  We try to avoid the topic all together because we know it ends with me laughing as they try to put together an argument that I can't refute.  Occasionally they will poke me with a religious stick to see if I react and 9 times out of 10 I have no problem debating it.  It really depends what the family member is like.  My sister is all about blind faith and its like talking to a wall.  My mom will listen to my points and I feel like I'm very close to converting her.  Just have to know when to cut it off if its getting too heated, and if someone is so bothered by it that they let it effect a relationship then I pity them. 

Ok this is a great question just the fact that you asking this , makes me realize that we are having the same issue... talking to believers is hard...…but first, when your mom says hey I feel comfort and peace after church  a good response to that, and one that I always use is; … “comfort and peace”  that is the same logic that heroin users say .. hey I do heroin cause if feels good it brings me “comfort and peace”  … so just because something makes you feel better and brings you “comfort and peace”   doesn’t mean or doesn’t make it RIGHT> …. Second look at these replies you are getting  it seems everyone is having a hard time having this discussion with believers .. one of the comments said I have to know when to end it or the its like talking to wall … so that right there should tell you .

religious people and or people who believe in something,well you cant argue with these people...becsue it is not like reg   other subjec...t this subject is special and fragile you have to go about it the right way to be effective. Now I have got in a lot of arguments and it does heated and people start thinking you the devil  tempting their faith… and that is not good because what that does is it makes them go back to their faith stronger then ever..

 I am still learning how to effectively communicate with them … this is my only tip for you .. Never go after their god … never trust me … what you need to do is learn how to use the Socratic method. .. I’m just learning it my self but .. it means no more arguing.... what you do is you ask questions.. .and let them realize on their own while they are answering you, that their faith doesn’t make sense.. so step one learn how to the Socratic method on little things first then start Appling it to religion …


Great question. I look forward to reading the responses since I may need to navigate that same path with the in-laws. It feels comfortable for me to be Atheists and my wife Catholic since that is the way I grew up.  My Dad was an Atheist and my Mom a Catholic. 

I lived 4 years in Utah and you will have a tougher path since everyone there was in constant missionary mode.  You might want to reply "I'm happy Mom that the church brings you comfort. Atheism brings me that some type of comfort."  I personally don't have a problem with people's religious beliefs as long as they don't push it on me.  Then I push back.

Good luck



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