I used to be a minister, and am having to defend my lack of beliefs now. How do you find ways to defend yourself against condescending people?

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Everything. My family and friends still talk to me like I'm a Christian and it bothers me.

But it's mostly that my lack of faith in god and jesus stems from bitterness, anger and offense (their words) with my former church.

They don't consider that I might have actually thought things out, and consider myself better off without church. They just don't seem to respect me.

I always get these questions/comments to varying degrees: "Why don't you still love Jesus?" "Why are you so angry?" "You've gone off the edge." "God still loves you and has a plan for your life."

It doesn't help that I blog to a mostly Christian audience, but I didn't choose them. They keep following me.

good point.

sometimes i don't want to be mean to them, as i'm sure they do mean well.

other times, it just pisses me off and i'd love to ask them about their love for allah. :)

I have a coworker who knows about my blog and that I used to be a reverend. I don't think she's read my blog or she'd know I'm not a Christian anymore. Since I'm "technically" atheist, but haven't officially come out to many people as one, I find it difficult to confront her about her comments about atheists. For example, today she said she saw some guy's license plate in the parking lot that said "atheist" and she got upset. She wanted to go up to the truck and put a scripture on the window. She just kept going on and on about how awful atheists are, etc.

 

There are people I like a lot, and I don't know how to broach the subject with them. It's hard for me to tell a really nice person (other than the above) that what she's saying is really offensive to me.

My father was a minister and I also practiced a certain type of yoga and had a Master (guru) so I can really relate to where you are coming from.

 

My yoga buddies think I've been deceived by the mind....and my christian family really doesn't ask.

 

I've posted a few things on facebook and other places I think thats ticked a few people off.  I've been unfriended by a couple of family members.

 

I don't see the need to defend myself at all.  No one truly wants to get into a debate with someone who's been inside the system.  I've felt 'grace' and the 'holy spirit'...(though people will usually argue in 'no-true-scottsman' fashion that I really didn't experience grace and the holy spirit.. ho hum..   I've also had mystical experiences as part of my yoga meditation..and again.....'they couldn't have been 'real' mystical experiences or I wouldn't be a nonbeliever now. yada, yada, yada...

 

What I argue now is that I don't doubt the phenomenology of 'spiritual experience....just the interpretation of it. This really pulls the rug out from under many 'believers' as they are used to people denying their experiences.  They aren't used to people agreeing that the experiences are real...but that you disagree with their interpretation.

 

V.S. Ramachandran and others have become my 'gurus' and the more we learn about our minds the less need there is for .metaphysical explanations

 

Its much better to be honest and admit that you don't know....then to hold onto 'a' truth with eyes clamped tightly shut.

 

Other religions and belief systems all have their personal validations for the faithful.. Their miracles that have come true....their dreams and visions....their stories of faith that have pulled them through tough times...

 

Many believers discount these other religions and beliefs without a second thought.   So I usually bring all this up when I have to 'defend' my nonbelief.

I love your response. Especially this part:

I don't see the need to defend myself at all.  No one truly wants to get into a debate with someone who's been inside the system.  I've felt 'grace' and the 'holy spirit'...(though people will usually argue in 'no-true-scottsman' fashion that I really didn't experience grace and the holy spirit.. ho hum..   I've also had mystical experiences as part of my yoga meditation..and again.....'they couldn't have been 'real' mystical experiences or I wouldn't be a nonbeliever now. yada, yada, yada...

 

Truly, if someone has been on the inside of the system, we know the good and the awful--the tragic, even. I think that's why so many people have reacted so harshly to my change of lifestyle. It's like I'm telling all their secrets and letting the cat out of the bag. There's no more magic after you let it all out.

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