How and why a theist friend of mine believes what she does

So... this is Elena's life story. Lol. Or so she says. Spanish is her native language so some of it is hard to understand because her English isn't quite perfect. We're online friends, we talk on twitter and on YouTube... we're both fanvideo makers which is how we "met". Natalia is my online friend and Elena's online friend too, all 3 of us are friends... ;) Natalia just posted this fanvideo, which had to do with atheism, last night:
And right before she posted it, Natalia mentioned via twitter that she was nervous. She was rendering it (saving it as a .wmv file like most of us who use Sony Vegas) and tweeted that she was rendering her new video, it was really short. People started asking her what it was about, so then Natalia said: "A video. That I'm not saying anything about until it's up. But people are probably gonna hate me for it. But it's exactly how I feel, so i don't care." And "well it's on a really touchy subject that most people don't agree with me about." Then Elena said: "mmmmm.. lol. *being curious* Let's see. lol"
so Natalia replied: "
well, it's almost done rendering. so you can wait. lol. I mean, I know for a fact you don't agree. :/"
Let me write out the rest of the twitter conversation I was stalking (which is what you're supposed to do on twitter, lol. It's totally the norm to do what I was doing...)
Natalia: here's my video DON'T KILL ME *hides*
Don't hide sweetie! lol. Just saw it! you were right, I don't agree. Thru life I've learned to respect everyone's opinion :) you're still a great friend to me! ;D lol. *SuperHugsU* will I be getting to deep if I ask you why you don't believe? lol.
Natalia: Thank you. Most of my twitter friends do have respect, but a lot of people I meet in real life don't. :( And it's not too deep. I was raised Christian, and being in that environment, you kind of get it forced on you and so I would tell myself that I believed, but I never actually did. It just never felt real to me. & for so long I pretended and went along with it, but the more I thought about it, the more I didn't like it and didn't want any part in it.
Well, I was raised christian too! At some point I saw it pointless, because
it wasn't real to me, I stopped going to church &
like that, but two years ago, I came along! & it make sense to me,
because I've felt God in my live, but I totally
respect you, I'll never shove my beliefs on you because I won't change ur mind! so all I have left is to respect you at ALL, cuz I mean come one, you're a friend, and I don't want to lose a friend for different opinions. yeah I know. A lot of ppl stop being friends and have big problems for that, but I'm not like that :)
well, I don't see how it makes sense, but that's not all. The way I always saw it was if there is a God, He's never been there for me. Looking back at my life, nothing majorly great has happened,
but a lot of really terrible things are. & when
I was trying to believe, I was miserable. Now that I'm not, I'm much freer and happier. But I'm glad it doesn't change things. You'd seriously be surprised how it does change things sometimes! *hugs back* well thank you =)
:) lol. no problem! what you doing now?
Just watching videos on youtube :)

So then I messaged Elena on YouTube. I asked her to elaborate on the whole "Well, I was raised christian too! At some point I saw it pointless, because
it wasn't real to me, I stopped going to church &
like that, but two years ago, I came along! " part of her twitter conversation. I'm a loud and proud atheist on twitter but I was curious if that meant that she was really an atheist or agnostic or deistic or something at some point, lol... I wanted to know her explanation for what she believed then, and justification for her own current belief system. I told her I knew she never claimed to be an atheist.

This is what she sent me back, and I'm working on my reply now. I have SO much to say, it's hard to even know where to start. But I'd love comments from you guys on what she has to say too.
I might add my own comments (below on this page) at some point too at the parts of this that specifically stuck out to me.

But yeah, here's her message:

Hey, lol. Well as you said I never claimed to be an atheist and I guess I wasn't at all.
As I said on my tweet I was raised Christian, but there was a point that as cocoaluvs I was doing it because that's what I've been taught to do, not because it meant SOMETHING to me, so at that point it was pointless. So I just stopped going thru the motions and stopped going to church or doing any kinda Christian thing. I can't say I didn't believe at all, because I've always known there's a God, just that at that moment I wasn't paying attention to him.
I started disliking church because it was bored, and I didn't see any point on going, sitting, listening to people talking of a God that I didn't know.

I was that way until I turned 16, when I turned 16 my mom invited me to church because she was going to be part of some sort of a play, so I didn't want to go, but she convinced me,lol.
That play was about a biblical story (of course xD) here's the link, xD:

Well at first I gotta be totally honest with you, I got scared, because I didn't want to end up like the five whose where foolish (this mind sound dumb, I know lol), so I tried to see a point of going to church and to follow everything that I was raised with, because I was feeling totally empty. There were days that I felt bad, and I just went to church as it was medicine, to make me feel better (which was good at some point, but at other was kinda stupid).

So after the day I saw my mom in the play, I came along, and got myself involved in all that. I gotta say that at first I was doing it, with the same ''vision'' I had when I was a little girl, just to be part of something. Then my family got into weird situations:

1.My dad cheated on my mom and had another child, that was so heartbreaking to me, and I started doubting about God's presence in my life, because everything was so confusing and just imagine my dad saying right to my face ''Yes, I have another women and another daughter''. (too much for me to handle) After all that my mother left us for about 3 months.

2.My sister turned lesbian. (which was a shame for me) I felt so bad, I stopped talking to her, hanging out with her and seeing her as my big sissy, because with or without a Christian belief I have always seem homosexuality as a weird thing lol. (it's disgusting).
(I hope you're totally straight, xD so I'm not offending you :D)

So I started praying, because I was seeing that my whole life was falling apart with no reason, and that I was feeling even emptier with every little thing that happened around, I got answers for both of the situations:

1. Sadly, my dad will always be my dad and I can't do anything to change him. He's human what means he makes mistakes.As I believe there's a God, there's an evil,too. It's not like my dad wasn't guilty of what he did, because I was DAMN sure he was. I went to a church activity(in the countryside) and there was a moment when the leader told us to go to a certain place, where we could feel comfortable to pray and to tell God our problems. I presented him the hate I had for my dad on my heart, and somehow I started crying and singing OUT LOUD lol (weird) a worship song (this one and I felt that God was really letting rain on my life, and that I started feeling a cleaned heart, that the gates of heaven where being REALLY open for me to get in. After that I forgave my dad. I guess I told you before we all live in the same house still (weird), my mom forgave him too, and NO they are not back together, they're friends. lol.

2. I really don't know if my sister changed. But I opened my heart to her, because if God loves her who am I to reject her. I don't go along with the lesbian thing, but she's my sister and I cannot change that, even if I wanted to.

The other day, I got into a fight with my brother who is a rebel lol. & my sister defended me, and they got into a big argument, my mom was in the middle, trying to handle the situation, but they were not paying attention to her & she got a crisis lol, I really don't know what it was but that's how I call it. xD She was crying, yelling senseless things, that we don't love her , that she didn't want to live anymore, that what was the thing she did to deserve a life like this and that sort of stuffs, I was PISSED, so I went to my room and prayed (yes here I go again lol), because I felt that all the big argument was my fault.
I told God that I didn't know why this sort of things happen to my life, that I didn't understand anything, but that I was totally sick of that situation, that I was tired of the devil playing around with my life and messing up with my family. I also told him that I wanted his help and that I wanted it in that exact moment, making my mom feel calm. I got tired because my mom was still crying, and being weird.I thought that the next day she wouldn't be home and that she was going to leave me again.
I stopped praying and started tweeting with cocoaluvs talking about how miserable life can be sometimes. Suddenly my mom stopped crying, and my sister went to my room to tell me my mom was okay, Emily that was amazing, when I went to my mother's room she was CALM at all, and started joking with me & my sister, my brother left home that day at 2:00 AM in the morning, I was begging him to stay, but he refused and just left.

After my mom was fine, we called him and he came back and we all slept tight. lol.
The day after, I woke up feeling weird, because my house was like a peace zone, xD nobody was even talking, yelling or whatever, it was too good to be true, so I thanked God because he just didn't do what I asked him to, he did even MORE.

Well, and in a lot of different situations I've felt him in my life. After that weird day with my mom, brother & sister I got to understand that life is hard, but that God never said life would be easy, but what he surely did, was to promise us he'll take care of us, and I'm a true believer he had done it. Check this song:

I know that maybe your life hasn't been the way you wanted to, because mine hasn't either, but I'm sure there's at least one good thing that can make you see there's a God is your life. Do you want a bigger proof that how AWESOME your dad is? I've read all your tweets about your dad and you LOVE him, do you think the big bang made a man like him? Sorry but I don't. Those little awesome things we have in our lives are the biggest proof there's a God looking out for us. All we have to do is to look back at him, because he's just waiting for us.
Just like this story:

But anyway :) I hope I didn't bore you with my life story! XD
Waiting for your answer *hugs*

Views: 54

Comment by luvtheheaven on November 5, 2010 at 10:05pm
Yes, that does seem to be true... and sad... I need to say SOMETHING in reply though. I will try to work in at least the point about how she has protected herself from the introduction of doubt. It's unlikely it'll get through to her, but I have to at least say it.
Comment by Don on November 5, 2010 at 10:22pm
Well, above all, what she needs is an education, a broadening exposure to ideas (religious ones, for instance) that do not comport with hers. She is in powerful need of an understanding of evolution, too--there's a place to start--because evolution is a bedrock truth of modern science, one that underlies all of biology, botany, anthropology, archeology, paleontology, and modern medicine. To deny such a incontrovertible, scientific fact is to hide in willful ignorance, an ignorance that can infect her children and others around her. You might get her a copy of the wonderful WHY EVOLUTION IS TRUE, by Jerry Coyne. If only she would read it.
Comment by Don on November 5, 2010 at 10:29pm
If you haven't come across this atheist young man's response to a long letter he received from his fundamentalist grandmother, you're in for a treat. There is A LOT of stuff here to re-direct toward your friend, too.

This link has links to the grandma's letter and to the loving and painstaking and persuasive response. Great stuff.
Comment by Don on November 5, 2010 at 10:36pm
That link may no longer work, so I've posted the pdf to your page. It's really worth having to refer to, especially when you're dealing with stubborn delusion in the mind of someone you care about.
Comment by luvtheheaven on November 6, 2010 at 1:40am
Thank you so much. :D
Comment by luvtheheaven on November 6, 2010 at 3:18am
Wow that link really was a treat, thank you for that. :D And I did just tweet her and basically told her word for word what you said about how Evolution is a bedrock truth of modern science, one that underlies all of biology, botany, anthropology, archeology, paleontology, and modern medicine. And that to deny such a incontrovertible, scientific fact is basically living in willful ignorance. Lol. I told her to look for the book in her library. I hope she does, she at least said she'd consider it.

I actually asked her to just read the whole PDF letter you sent me. She might not but I told her it'd mean a lot to me if she tried to read it all with an open mind.

She asked me in return to read the lyrics to this song:

I tried to explain to her how Evolution and The Big Bang Theory are not the same thing and she should really read that PDF letter I already told her to read since it explains it there. I also explained that air has lots of scientific proof of its existence, God doesn't. Lastly I mentioned that the song assumes science can't be beautiful and I don't understand why that would be the case. Lol.

It might be hopeless but I am at least trying lol. She hasn't gotten mad at me yet. So why should I be the first to give up and get tired of the "debate" or whatever it is we're doing lol?
Comment by Don on November 6, 2010 at 8:45am
Good luck! If she reads the pdf, that could have an effect--if only to get her unwillingly thinking. That song is a tribute to the power of denialism. Personal conviction is a potent persuader, but humans have learned over the centuries that the human mind is easily deceived by all kinds of vague sensations, yearnings, and dreams. The song is a tribute also to the theists' absurd regard for the virtue of utterly unwarranted faith in supernatural places and beings, in spite of all the contrary evidence that we have accumulated and corroborated over time.

Also, it's just purely idiotic to oppose the "beauty" of life to the understanding and explanations of science. First, life, on the whole, isn't beautiful at all--it's an endless contest for survival and procreation. Our perception of life can make it seem beautiful--to us, sometimes, among some living things, like trees, birds, and flowers. But its putative beauty lies in its vast complexity and in it fragility.

What an arrogant claim, too--that we of all the animals should have been made in the image of the Creator and that he made everything as a sort of frame for his ultimate work--people. That's such pathetic bullshit--a very small, obviously false, unimaginative, and supremely selfish conception, one that denies to anyone who holds it the capacity to fully appreciate (and ponder) the fascinating and perhaps incomprehensible truths of existence. It's that incomprehensibility that gets them. They can't bear it! They would rather swallow a whole set of Bronze-Age myths written by men who understood nothing about the stars, bacteria, photosynthesis, and thousands of other accepted truths than consider honestly the really beautiful wonder that lies in contemplating things we may never understand.
Comment by Don on November 6, 2010 at 9:47am
Back to that stupid song, it seems to me that when a religious nut shouts, "I believe, I believe, I believe, AHH BE-LEEEVE!" over and over to the awe and admiration of other faith-addled people, the very insistence of that declaration testifies to the unworthiness of the belief. Why do you have to keep shouting it and affirming it if, deep in your heart, you did not doubt?--if, deep in your heart, you did not suspect (with unacknowledgeable horror) that the whole edifice of faith just might be a giant, stinking crock? That "I believe, I believe!" garbage is the equivalent of someone's sticking his fingers in ears and going, "Nah, nah, nah ,nah< I'm not listening to you..."
Comment by luvtheheaven on November 6, 2010 at 12:15pm
I agree with that wholeheartedly. :D

"Why do you have to keep shouting it and affirming it if, deep in your heart, you did not doubt?--if, deep in your heart, you did not suspect (with unacknowledgeable horror) that the whole edifice of faith just might be a giant, stinking crock? That "I believe, I believe!" garbage is the equivalent of someone's sticking his fingers in ears and going, "Nah, nah, nah ,nah< I'm not listening to you..." "

Comment by Don on November 6, 2010 at 12:40pm
Yes, that "I believe, I believe, I believe, AHH BE-LEEEVE!" passion smothers the believer's inner voice of doubt, which is also the voice of reason and logic.


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