Civil Discourse about Touchy Subjects.

An interesting moment on Facebook that is a perfect example of the extremest stances that we are in these days.
The original post was of a thread from Quora, starting with the question “Why do people get angry when I try to share the Word of God with them? I only do it because I care deeply for them, and do not want them to go to Hell. I feel that some people avoid me because of this. Is there any way I can get through to them”
Now, just off the bat, the whole Hell thing is likely a big turn off, and it kind of sounds to me like the person may be doing a bit of a hard sell on his religion. That is guaranteed to produce negative results, whether one is a Believer, or an Atheist! It certainly would not go over well with me.
Well, this lead to a somewhat lengthy thread that I contributed to with a thought. I am quoting my post and the replies here, as it demonstrates how difficult it can be to discuss religion (or the lack thereof) and the extreme reactions it brings up.

Dave Mundt I am a follower of Christ, and struggle daily to reach the positive life He preached. I do not inflict my religion on others, as I hate a hard sell as much as any other. I WILL, though, express support and sending positive energies to the people I am concerned for by saying I pray for them to be gifted with what they need to make it through a rough time. I will, and am, happy to discuss Belief, with anyone, as long as we can keep it on a civil, adult level.

As for the subject of a person’s eventual fate…I believe we are given free will to make the choice. For me, Heaven is a return of my small bit of Godly Spirit to the whole that is God. Hell would be eternal separation from that. However, Faith and belief is a personal thing, and is a journey we all must walk alone.

SD: Dave Mundt I’m glad you don’t try to force your beliefs on others. And usually if someone says they’ll pray for me, I’m not offended. But in some situations and with some people, telling a known non-believer of your faith you’ll pray for them can come across as condescending, even if it isn’t meant that way. Kinda like saying “I know you don’t believe in this god/religion, but I know what’s best for you so I’ll do it for you.”. Like I said, if it’s not coming from a judgy or preachy place it doesn’t bother me, but it will for some.
Maybe if you know someone is not of your belief, just tell them that they’ll be in your thoughts instead. Just an alternative idea.

TG: Dave Mundt Just don’t be pushy about it is all anybody of any faith can ask. Christianity teaches that it can’t be forced on others, but rather it must be accepted willingly. People tents to forget that these days.

Dave Mundt SD: This is a good point. I do not have the “praying for you” as a hard and fast rule. I will temper it to a less religious connotation “Best wishes…” “Strength and peace be with you” and the like… if the situation seems appropriate.

We have come to such extremest positions over religious belief, it had developed some serious intolerance on both sides. The Evangelicals condemn anyone who does not hold the same, fundamentalist viewpoint they have. A large percentage of the Atheist community tends to be very contemptuous of anyone who professes belief in “an invisible Sky Friend”. It makes civil discussion difficult.

By the by, I have been a Pastafarian for many, many years now, and I find no conflicts with my other beliefs. The 8, “I Really Rather You Didn’ts” are the basic rules of polite behavior that I, as a Lutheran, ascribe to. Lutherans have a long history of questioning and wrestling with difficult issues, (remember those 95 questions Luther nailed to the church door at Wittenburg?)

TG: Dave Mundt I have nothing against christians or any other religion except Scientology. I was raised Catholic but I was also taught to respect others beliefs. I don’t identify as Catholic, or even christian any more but that had always stuck with me-respect my beliefs and I will respect yours.

TG: Dave Mundt Bo Burnham said it best in his shopping written from the perspective of God. “The books you think I wrote are way too thick. Who needs a thousand metaphors to figure out you shouldn’t be a dick.” The 8 I Rather You didn’ts fit well with that quote.

Dave Mundt TG: I agree about respecting others. When I was in college, I had many, stimulating, interesting, and thought provoking discussions with people of other faiths. I had a certain level of open mindedness, but this period broadened my views and brought me to deeper understanding of the concepts.

AB: “I do not inflict my religion on others”

proceeds to regurgitate the usual “pray for you” trash, and has his genocidal god in every other sentence.

You don’t see a contradiction here ?

Dave Mundt AB: Thank you for so quickly proving my point.

AB: You do realize you are full of shit ?
Your point is “atheists are trash”.
My point is : “worshipping a genocidal maniac who throws at you the threat of eternal damnation unless you repeteadly tell him you love him” is trash.

Dave Mundt AB: You are putting words I never said into my mouth. You are, though, acting just as I commented that many Atheists act. I did not say Atheists are trash. To expand on my short comment, I find that many of them are filled with anger and intolerance for anyone who professes a belief that they disagree with.

Oh yes, by the by…unless you think I am inflicting religion on you…try reading the New Testament, instead of focusing on the Old Testament. However, it is up to you…

God Help Us All

Bee Man Dave

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1 Response to Civil Discourse about Touchy Subjects.

  1. GG says:

    Dave,
    I agree many atheists seem angry, I don’t consider myself one of those. However I find conversations with theists to be extremely frustrating. You willfully ignore the devisive and harmful nature of religion (not to mention how this confirms the Christian notion of persecution) despite the number of people killed every year due directly to a difference of religious belief and the number killed and punished because of non adherence to religious dictate.
    Couple this with the cognitive dissonance repeatedly demonstrated and it leaves little room for polite conversation.
    Christianity necessarily leads to suffering and only by the constant persistence of secular society are we able to shine a light on that suffering until it finally reinterprets itself out of existence.
    I am pleased we (mostly) no longer burn witches, deny science, condone slavery, deny abortions, deny women equal opportunity to name but a few. What’s more is you probably do to despite these all being incompatible with your religion and a literal but honest reading of your text.
    Provide me sufficient evidence for your god and I will believe but I will never worship something so blatantly evil.
    GG

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