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.
To cut to the chase I would recommend asking them one question: Can you provide scientifically verifiable and repeatable evidence of the existence of god(s) and without making reference to a book? If there answer is no then the discussion is over for all intents and purposes. Extraordinary claims really do require extraordinary evidence.
As to your husband and his church I would immediately stop attending services. Do not support his delusion. Instead schedule what little time you do have together with more fulfilling endeavors. Walks in the mountains, cultural events, etc. If you stop participating in his religious activities he might decide to spend less time there as well. Your free time together should benefit BOTH of you.
"Can you provide scientifically verifiable and repeatable evidence of the existence of god(s) and without making reference to a book?"
That is a good question, I like it. Thank you.
We really do spend as much of our time together actually together, which is why I went. He doesn't go very often, so when he did this time I went, too. I do not have to go, but just being together benefits us both enough that anywhere is good. We usually spend our together time away from any church, though. We do want our time together to be enjoyable, so we try to do things both of us will enjoy.
A fair number of people don't like what they perceive as the negative baggage of calling themselves an atheist. You can call yourself a freethinker, a skeptic, science-based reasoner, a secular humanist, non-theist, non-religious, scientist etc. Just choose a label you feel comfortable with. Most of these labels have the atheistic position at their core but have a more positive sound or reputation associated with them. I hope that someday, the simple label of atheist will also have a totally neutral or positive association in everyone's minds as well but as us realists know, we have to make definitions and meanings very clear and earn our own individual reputations not based solely on any labels.
Skeptic sound like someone who is open to think and reason, but currently beleives there is no good reason to be a theist. Atheist sounds like someone arrogant enough to think they possess enough of the sum of all knowledge to call a final conclusion, when that is not the case. Dawkins has also give "atheists" a bad reputation and name, as people who think they have the intellectual high groung but can't actually even formulate a cogent philisophical argument, and runs for cover when there is a theist who can.
I am not saying that baggade is good or right, just saying what it is.
Atheist sounds like someone arrogant enough to think they possess enough of the sum of all knowledge to call a final conclusion, when that is not the case.
@ Trevor. But don't Christians do the same exact thing? It seems by your definition you would think Christians are arrogant, since they also come to a final conclusion.
I assume you believe there is an all powerful being out there somewhere that loves you. I assume you believe that anybody who has heard the message of salvation, yet dies without believing in Christ, will spend eternity in a bad place, even if they are a good person. If so, I find that very arrogant.
To Nate: (my replies decide where they want to go on the page)...anyway:
I don't really want to choose any label, not because of my feelings about the labels so much as anyone who reads that label decides what it means about me, and our translations of such labels may be entirely different. I might call myself something one day and it mean something entirely different to even myself the next. If there was a specific one that fit me, I am pretty sure that it wouldn't fit anyone else, and the same goes for everyone. As unique as a DNA strand, that's how I might see people's labels as anything helpful. There are just too many things that matter to one person and one of those things alone can shape what you are to the world and if weak enough it could change how a person sees their self. But I do also 'hope that someday, the simple label of atheist will also have a totally neutral or positive association in everyone's minds...' But then again, us realist's know that the possibility is as likely as the labels of sexuality, race, age, mayo preference, etc. having a totally neutral or positive association in everyone's minds.
A bit from a TED Talk here. Start at 8:00 if you want.
Thank you I'm enjoying it right now =) I want to be a TEDster haha.
I love this. Thank you. I think this will really help me to solidify my standing. I'll let you know how it goes. =)
I'm a christian but not an LDS so I am not speaking for them etc.
I would ask what you hope to acheive by meeting up with them? What is the point? What do you want to get out of it? Is it to show willing to your husband? If so then may be you just need to talk it over with him. Is that you just can't say no. In that case get your husband to say no for you, or leave a telephone message / email.
It doesn't seem that your motive is to find out about LDS in order to see if you want to join them. Your certainly not going to change their mind. So I am not sure why you are going through the motions? Its fair enough that they are talking to you as you agreed to them coming over, but if its not what you want then just say so. They may well have better ways to spend their time also. Perhaps they have lots of people to see who are genuinely interested and you are monopolising their time unfairly.
Just some thoughts. I think being straight and up front is the only way to be in most things.