I have found myself in discussion mode with the elders of our local LDS church without realizing the implications of such an agreement. Basically while attending a service with my husband, who is a member, (I love him and want to spend time with him while he is home as he works away from home, even if that means attending church), before we could leave after the service we were caught by the eager elders. Of course they had to ask if we were both members...grrr, why, why do they have to go there...and because I have this problem, (I can't be dishonest), I of course said that I was not. They asked if I would mind having them over to talk about stuff and me not liking conflict or confrontation or negativity said I would not mind. I didn't realize that this would begin a formal schedule of something they have been thoroughly trained for. I however only know how I feel, but like singing in front of strangers, when confronted with the questions I close up and can't speak the logic I believe. After one evening of apparently "The 1st Lesson" they had scheduled a second in less than a week from then, which I had to reschedule and haven't yet because I don't feel ready to do so.
How can I respond to their planned/taught questions respectfully and honestly so that they cannot deny my rational thinking and conclusions I have come to? I am not trying to offend or start anything that may get my husband treated negatively.
I may edit this later if I find a better way to bring my question to the "support group" however for now, I just really want some help.
I told the elders I don't know if I'll want to reschedule the discussions, but that in truth, I'm not ready for regular discussions/lessons. I said I am actively investigating/building the foundation for what I believe, but that at this point any questions I have, I can just go to my husband and I thanked them. They thanked me for my honesty and then invited me to 'continue to please pray to God and ask ....and blah blah blah' and promised me an answer that its true soon and then said I should totally have them back over for dinner soon. I wasn't surprised, but glad to have been able to say what I needed. I will be strong and honest with them, and anyone, anytime my beliefs are questioned.
Thank you for your help. I am grateful to have a safe place where I can ask for it.
RE: "using devious psychological techniques to gain and control adherents" - fear-based Pavlovian reward/punishment techniques, pseudepigraphal books, based upon fabrications, using no scientific or archaeological evidence, explaining how the world and the Jewish nation began - I think that pretty much describes the Judeo/Christian/Islamic theology to a T!
That would be a matter of opinion.
1. whether reward and punishment statements are valid depends on the truthfulness that they point to. parents do it all the time, but parenting isn't a cult.
2. Fabrications etc is just your opinion.
3. Scientific and archeological evidence is used by biblical schollars, thats just a silly thing to say.
4. How the world began, fits in with point 2. Science says that the world had a definite beginning before which time, space and matter did not exist. The Bible says "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth" meaning that before that there was nothing in terms of time, space and matter. Thats not a big "hang everything on" statement, its just showing that its silly to think that Christians beleive something that science completely contradicts.
5. Archeology, thats also foundless. Take Luke's gospel of which every historical fact that can be verified has been so because of archeology. Just one example.
I cant reply any more for now, its Sunday, got church and all!
I can't even respond to the fantasy world in which you live, and even if I should spend hours refuting the nonsense you've spouted above, you'd just move the goal posts.
Church is probably the best place for you.
I rarely speak of that which I can't support, but as I said, no matter what I say to you, regardless of how much of my time and effort I spent, you would find ways to dismiss it, discount it as opinion, or move the goal posts, and as I said, it isn't worth the effort.
You indicated it was late, and I thought you were through for the night - if it hadn't been for the fact that I was expecting correspondence, I'd never have known you'd continued posting. I'm not about to spend my sleep time dragging out evidence for you to dismiss.
Besides, the burden of proof Trevor, is on you.
Its not late here, its early morning. I am getting ready to leave for church.
Sounds to me like a man who hasn't got anything to back up his wild claims. Your not right about the burden of proof. We are not discussing whether God exists, rather you were making claims that the Bible was unsciientic, full of fables and contradicted by archeology. Those are statements that you should either not make or provide proof - and the burden is on you when you make claims like this. In the same way that if you claimed one of Shakespear's sonnets was a fabrication and recently written by Tony Blair - you would have to prove it.
It is intellectually dishonest to say wild things and then say - Oh' it doesn't need supporting. I would expect more from an atheist.
I am off now!
We've reached the point where there are no more "Reply" buttons, so I will simply have to hope this that this winds up in the right place (when it's your turn, you can pray that it does).
@Trevor - RE: "I am off now!" - you coitenly are! Nyuck, nyuck, nyuck, nyuck!
OK, cheap shot, but funny, but funny!
You catch me at the end of a long day, give me the impression you're leaving the board for the night, I brush, floss and shower, then you post something that requires a discussion that could last well the morning! Of COURSE I brushed you off with whatever it took to get my head onto a pillow! I also brush off gnats, flies, mosquitoes and other things troublesome.
Today, however, is another story. You see, I have no church obligations, and my time is my own.
RE: "Shakespear's sonnets...written by Tony Blair - you would have to prove it."
The fact that Tony was best buds with the village idiot, Little George "W" Bush is sufficient proof that Blair hadn't the intellect of the thousand monkeys with Smith-Coronas of philosophical supposition lore.
RE: "I know others like Johnhave studied, but I am sure your not trying to live in their shadow."
-- nice effort taunting my ego into accepting your challenge, but subtle? Not so much --
RE: "From what I have seen I don't think a lot of atheists have really thought through their position and its more of an emotional reactionary stance than a thoughtful one. Just my observation."
That could well be because you've gotten so many differing responses from so many different people. That's because we're a collection of free thinkers, each of whom see things differently - we don't have an Owner's Manual, as you do, from which we can all rotely, mindlessly memorize passages which we quote stock responses, so we all appear to think as one, much like drones in a hive with a collective mentality.
I once saw a video in which a herd of sheep were driven toward a barrier - only a dowel pin, about the thickness of a broom stick, suspended between two posts, about six inches off the ground - as each sheep approached the barrier, it lightly hopped over it, as did the sheep behind it, the sheep behind it, etc. Then the stick was surreptitiously removed, yet the sheep continued leaping over the same spot, one after the other. Much as Christians and other sheeple continue following a non-existent leader, while atheists tend to think for themselves and go off in any direction they choose. Some choose wisely and some do not, but they don't require an Atlas of the Bible for directions.
But back to your assertions - I have some time now if you don't mind that I run out to prune tomatoes between posts:
"3. Scientific and archeological evidence is used by biblical schollars, thats just a silly thing to say."
You must be kidding! A "silly thing to say"? Elaborate, please.
"4. How the world began, fits in with point 2. Science says that the world had a definite beginning before which time, space and matter did not exist."
Not so - science says that all space and time DID in fact exist, that it was compressed into a singularity that for some reason we've not entirely yet understood, expanded.
2. Fabrications etc is just your opinion.
You indicated I needed to prove the Bible is a crock of fables and fabrications, so let's start with a subject: who wrote Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy?
You know Trevor, despite that "degree in theology" which you tout, your spelling and punctuation often borders on atrocious. Was the school you attended accredited?
Although the original poster seems to have come to a solution, at least temporarily, I would suggest going to the Freedom From Religion (ffrf.org) website and purchasing a sampling of their "nontracts" ---one of each. These are short essays pointing out some the the follies & inconsistencies of religion, giving concise arguments against religion, etc. The one I particularly like is "Dear Christian." I actually bought a couple of dozen of those and when the Mormons showed up, I would promise to read their literature if they would read mine and I handed them the "Dear Christian" one and then closed the door. I honor my promises, so I would read what they left with me, which made me doubly sure I wanted nothing to do with Mormonism.
However, if all else fails, I would simply say that I just can't buy into what they are telling me and I would rather be left alone. You could ask them if there is anything you could say to dissuade them from their beliefs, and why do they imagine there is anything they can say to change yours?
I don't know how long you have been married, but I can't help but believe they will never let you alone as long as you are married to a Mormon, unless you take a strong stance ---and even that may not work.
Ive got a good 'dear atheist' tract if you want to swap? It points out the inconsistencies and cruelty of atheism! ;-)
I agree with one of your points though, just say "I am not interested please leave me alone", its not rocket science.
Do you know how to value things according to data? Atheism is a concept and therefore can not have human attributes like cruelty etc.. If you want to accuse an atheistic human or humans, then be more specific so they can defend themselves or not. But I guess you don't understand the concept of fairness either? You are belittling someone because of an innocent situation she found herself in and you don't see the hypocrisy and rudeness in doing so? Just because you can use sneaky ways "it's not rocket science" to insult others doesn't mean they can't see what you are doing. Learn how to be civil and then people might actually respect you. We are judging (as fairly as possible) religions and religious individuals based on what they actually do, say and feel in relation to all other humans. Can you say that you do the same?
Nate, I'm not sure that "Trevor" is with us any longer - he's a theist who popped in here with a little debate experience and a whole lot of condescension, looking to score a few points against the "atheist idiots" - he met his match in John Major, and appears to have slunk away, though of course he could still be lurking
Hi , thats a little unkind! ;-) I'm sorry that you seem to think that disagreeing with atheism is condescending and point scoring. I actually have no debate experience, and this is the first atheist website I have ever been on. I will obviously not agree with the majority of what is said here as, like you point out, I am a theist. I am interested in what atheists think and beleive, and to interact with that. From what I have seen I don't think a lot of atheists have really thought through their position and its more of an emotional reactionary stance than a thoughtful one. Just my observation.
Your use of John Mayor Major would, I hope demonstrate this and show my sincerity contra to what you say. He is a very thoughtful atheist, which I said to him, and said I would think about one of the points he made, in terms of the first cause being static. I answered this in a way that I thought was satisfactory but John responded in a way that showed he thought I had not understood the question. I think that may partly be the case too, so I am taking some time to think about it before getting back to him again. That involves also doing some reading and research. I have to fully understand the question in order to grapple with it properly. Time is an issue though, but I am going as fast as I can.
I think your desire to see anyone who disagrees with atheism in the way that you do is unfortunate, unhelpful but characteristic of this site. All you have to do to be called a "troll" here is disagree with someone. (wasn't you).
Having said all that, I am a theist on an atheist website, so I do expect a bit of a frosty reception. Granted.