I am having an online discussion with a born-again "follower of Christ" lady who says that the fact that I have so many Christians in my life challenging my atheism means that the Lord is courting me. My response has been that I think it is because I am an outspoken atheist and the issue is very important to me, so I tend to give Christians around me reason to talk to me about it.
What should I say to her about why this issue is so important to me without her twisting it around so that it seems I am just confused and seeking Jesus but don't know it?
BTW, I think she thinks she is helping me to find Jesus, but she's not. I am basically studying her. the problem is that I can see how people can be taken in by her message.
See? I knew I'd get some good ideas here. Brilliant!
And another thing... I repeatedly point out to her that I have no interest in taking away what anyone believes. I just don't want religion legislated at or preached to me against my will. What I ask in return is the same from Christians - to respect me enough to let me believe what I say I believe.
Her only response to that is ... wait for it... that she is compelled to proclaim the message of Jesus Christ as Savior blah, blah, blah.
I asked her, "What if what I believe helps me? Why would you want to take that away?" I told her that at my core, even when my world has crumbled and even otherwise reasonable people would be desperate enough to pray for divine intervention, I firmly believe there is nobody to whom to pray. Then she said I am doomed to a life of emptiness and hopelessness.
She's just batshit loony, That's all there is to it.
Ask her if this is what she is offering-
I think I will. And then end the conversation. What else would there be to say?
With respect to religion, maybe nothing.
If someone "believes" the Bible or the Quran or any other book is "the word of god" or something holy or "special" there is really no discussion- they will default to their "holy" book, most likely cherry-picking it to support their view du jour- if you reject Christianity or the Bible, what points would you actually agree upon from which to discuss/debate?
Personally, I believe the Bible is bunk and Jesus's stories are mostly fabricated mythology. If you share similar views, it is unlikely you will have meaningful discussions about religion.
With that said, I have a good friend who is Christian- we know what we disagree about and we don't go there- but we frequently have meaningful discussions about history and contemporary politics- and we agree on many things- but definitely not Christianity and the Bible.
Something I've always wondered is how does one become "born again"? You're born, you live, you die. WHERE'S THE PLACE WHERE YOU"RE BORN AGAIN??? It doesn't make sense.
Then again, I do tend to take things far too literal...
I once went to a rebirthing ceremony at a U.U. church, and got a lovely daffodil when I emerged from the canal of blaspheming, singing, and dancing people. It was rather wildly trance-inducing, pagan, and symbolic. I get the symbolism though. It was a SYMBOL.
I don't think that's what she's talking about though.
(My boyfriend at the time was very good-natured about it and suffered through it even though I think he wanted to hurl.)
I'm UU as well as atheist - and I used to teach RE (Religious Education), as an outspoken atheist. I love being UU - but keep in mind that there are as many different UU congregations as their are stars in the sky. Some are more xian-y, some are more pagan-y, and some are more rational. My congregation is more rational - but we have stuff for pagans, atheistic Jews, and more. It's kind of fun - we have parties for xmas, hannukah, Kwanza, etc. Our kids learn a lot, and so do many adults.
I do love much of the symbolism in UU as well - such as the flower ceremony in spring. I also like that I get the social aspects of belonging to a congregation, and I love that I can be who I am, without being a hypocrite, with a bunch of people who "don't believe" (IOW think the same way) as I do.
So, if you don't like the style of your UU congregation, shop around - you'll find one you like, if you want to.
It means to die (figuratively) from your old ways and to live life in harmony with good actions, thoughts and intentions... but you knew that because you are a free-thinker with an emphasis on think.
Why does God have us doing his dirty work? If he/she/it really wanted to convince you that he was real and make a believer out of you then I'm sure he would have an easier time of it than all the Christians in your life challenging you. I am a pretty ardent non-believer but if I were to happen across a bush that was burning but not getting consumed, and then it started talking to me I have to confess my non-belief may waiver.
Me too! Apparently we are supposed to humble ourselves to profess faith in god because we are the ones who sinned. I'd be the first one to change my mind if I saw undeniable proof. We see what we want to see though. I know if I wanted to see "proof" I'd find it but it would be circumstantial at best.
When I tell Christians this they want me to study the Bible, saying I can't comprehend the Bible without guidance from fellow Christians and assistance from the Holy Spirit. Really? If it's that hard to find the proof, forget it. Besides, how would I find the time to study all the other sacred texts of the thousands of other belief systems that have existed or exist now? It's only fair.
There probably isn't a way to seriously get her to understand that your being bombarded with attempts to proselytize isn't a god 'courting you' But you could tell her that if there is an all powerful, all knowing god, that he knows exactly what it would take to change your mind, and that you know that constant attacks is not the way it's going to happen. So if they want you to be courted by God, stand back and stop distracting you from his potential attempts to 'court you'.
Doubt it'll work, but it's worth a try.