Author Topic: Would you risk family relationships just to be right?  (Read 15052 times)

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Offline Jim

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Re: Would you risk family relationships just to be right?
« Reply #58 on: March 23, 2010, 02:40:05 PM »
...I do have some idea about this sort of thing, Jim, believe it or not.  My dad practically disowned me when he found out that not only was I not a fundy like him, but that I was also not amenable to conversion.  It was very traumatic, but at least our later partial reconciliation was based on who we each were.  I didn't have to hide myself and present a false son for my father to fawn over.  What did I have to gain by faking it, had I known how to at the time?  Some good feelings, I suppose.  More exposure to bigotry; more encouragement of it, by association.  Inhibited personal growth and undermined self-worth, from what I have been able to tell through introspection.  I am not being flippant, I am speaking from experience.

This here is valuable input, as opposed to trying to reduce the complexities of human social interactions and emotions to simple IF...THEN statements.  They are not so simple, and to pretend that one can reduce them to a few simple statements is extremely misleading.

But, you continue to oversimplify what I am writing.  I never said that one should hide themself, "don't come out".  I never said "live a lie".  Care must be taken, and one must never assume that just because it seems like the best thing for them, that all will agree, everything will be alright, and that whatever happens it will be for the best.

You and L6 think that it's for the best if a relationship bursts when one guy's parents are shattered because they can't accept their child is not what they thought.  That's great.  For you and L6.  Yeah, I guess the math adds up for that equation, too, so fine, your logic works.  On the other hand, the guy may finally be "free" from the thing that was on his mind, but also forever miserable that the relationship is unrepairable, maybe more miserable than before.  Yay.

Quote from: Azdgari
Certainly the manner is something to consider.  My reasoning above was based purely off of the transfer of information, without including how it is done.  That's a whole discussion of its own, though.

The manner in which it's done is quite a part of the whole thing, isn't it?  The same words, broached different ways, or at different times, can have different effect.

Quote from: Azdgari
The alternative is to intentionally live a lie.  How different is that, in principle, from embracing the religious self-delusion itself?

You oversimplify and mis-state.  I have not told you about how I eat.  How I eat is a cornerstone of my life... when I eat, my diet, my medical reasons for it, everything. In fact, it is much more important to me in my day to day life than my religion or lack of religion is.  But, I haven't told you how much I hate eating ______ and how eating __________ gives me gas enough to clear a room in 30 seconds.  Am I living a lie?  Should I tell you?  Should I tell all of my aunts an uncles too?  Am I also to tell all about my bad bill paying habits?  My health problems?  Or how I detest housework?  I must tell all or I am living a lie?

No, of course not.  What I choose to tell or not tell is my own fucking business.  If I choose to keep my own counsel, and keep silent about those things that I need no one else's opinion for, it is not living a lie.  I can continue to go about my life as I please, and I am not bound to tell any particular person.
« Last Edit: March 23, 2010, 02:41:53 PM by Jim »
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Offline screwtape

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Re: Would you risk family relationships just to be right?
« Reply #59 on: March 23, 2010, 02:42:16 PM »
Do you risk your relationship with your family by telling them that you dont believe anymore?
Yes. It is every atheist's responsibility to do so. Without reading the responses below, I guarantee that several people have given cowardly excuses as to why they refuse to initiate this conflict. Unless your family will kick you out of the house and stop paying for college if you open up, there is no excuse.

How does a minority gain momentum? By getting people in the majority to fight for them. How many people are fighting for atheists? Nearly none. Why? Because people don't identify with us. Why not? Because they don't even know who we are. Who are the only people in the world guaranteed to at least grant you an audience, an initial hearing? Your family. Who is most likely to identify with you even if they don't fully agree with you? Your family. Who is most likely to fight for you even if they don't share your views? Your family. Who is going to tell other people--and be believed--that atheists can be good and moral people who deserve a voice in society? Your (theistic) family.

When people realize that their views can hurt their family members, particularly their children, their behavior is more likely to change.

You want to complain about theists? You want to benefit from the work of other atheists? In my mind, until you tell your family, you have not earned that right.

Edit: I just read all the replies, and damn was I right. What a bunch of spineless cowards. You don't need to fight or debate your family; it's as simple as saying you don't believe. Most people avoid conflict and will probably leave it alone after that. It's their knowing at all--and that you are a good person, to boot--that is important.

fuck yeah.  Glad to see I'm not the only one around here advocating we out ourselves to family. 
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Offline screwtape

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Re: Would you risk family relationships just to be right?
« Reply #60 on: March 23, 2010, 02:48:59 PM »
I do not feel respected by them at all, but I still want to keep a relationship with them.

You want a relationship with people who don't respect you?  What is wrong with you?  Do you respect yourself?
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Offline Not on the fence

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Re: Would you risk family relationships just to be right?
« Reply #61 on: March 23, 2010, 02:50:04 PM »

Yes. It is every atheist's responsibility to do so. Without reading the responses below, I guarantee that several people have given cowardly excuses as to why they refuse to initiate this conflict. Unless your family will kick you out of the house and stop paying for college if you open up, there is no excuse.

As I said before my parents are very old, and this would hurt them to no end.  They are important to me, even though they are very uneducated. They are the ones that brought me into this world, so should I not have some sort of respect for them?
Sometimes though I feel like telling my siblings, not outrite, but planting seeds of doubt.  For example I told my sister quite a while back that I was watching this show, and they had found fossils that were 5 million years old.  Her response was oh those scientists dont know much, they cant tell how old things are, now that shows you just how uneducated they are.

P.S. I dont live at home, and that is not a good excuse for not telling them, I think respect is more of a better excuse
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Offline Star Stuff

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Re: Would you risk family relationships just to be right?
« Reply #62 on: March 23, 2010, 02:53:23 PM »
fuck yeah.  Glad to see I'm not the only one around here advocating we out ourselves to family. 

I don't think anyone is suggesting that we don't.  It is just the employment of a little sensitivity in this particular case when ones parents are old, and lack the intellectual tool set to jump into the ring.  It's why you would view a 6' 250lb guy picking a fight with a 4' 80lb girl........a bully.
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Offline Not on the fence

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Re: Would you risk family relationships just to be right?
« Reply #63 on: March 23, 2010, 02:57:24 PM »
You want a relationship with people who don't respect you?  What is wrong with you?  Do you respect yourself?
What I mean is because I am the baby of the family, they do not think that I am as smart as they are. Example whenever I bring anything up about how to feed your pets the proper way, not commercial pet food, they just laugh at me. It makes me angry because I have educated myself on this subject so much.  Also mentioning about the scientific findings that are being made is another one.
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Offline screwtape

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Re: Would you risk family relationships just to be right?
« Reply #64 on: March 23, 2010, 03:02:48 PM »
As I said before my parents are very old, and this would hurt them to no end.  They are important to me, even though they are very uneducated. They are the ones that brought me into this world, so should I not have some sort of respect for them?

So your plan is to just run out the clock?  How many more years do you suppose you will have to lie to your family?  How many more years do think you will have to worry they are going to find out? 


I think respect is more of a better excuse

No.  That is a lame excuse.  It sounds like you are rationalizing a strategy of avoidance.  Sack up.  Be a man about it.  You do not have to hold a press conference.  But you can let it be known.

As an aside, you have respect issues.  It seems to be a one-way flow.  From you, to others.  You might want to have that checked out.
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Offline Not on the fence

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Re: Would you risk family relationships just to be right?
« Reply #65 on: March 23, 2010, 03:06:41 PM »
Hmm, it doesn't really...sorry.  It's an important question that I asked, though, because it gets to the heart of why family is important - and that in turn bears directly on the subject of this thread.  All of the people you listed are genetically related to you (or indirectly, through someone else who is).  But why does that make them important?
  They brought me into this world.
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Offline Azdgari

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Re: Would you risk family relationships just to be right?
« Reply #66 on: March 23, 2010, 03:08:37 PM »
^^ Would you feel the same way about your genetic parents if you were adopted?
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Offline Not on the fence

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Re: Would you risk family relationships just to be right?
« Reply #67 on: March 23, 2010, 03:12:43 PM »
As I said before my parents are very old, and this would hurt them to no end.  They are important to me, even though they are very uneducated. They are the ones that brought me into this world, so should I not have some sort of respect for them?

So your plan is to just run out the clock?  How many more years do you suppose you will have to lie to your family?  How many more years do think you will have to worry they are going to find out? 


I think respect is more of a better excuse

No.  That is a lame excuse.  It sounds like you are rationalizing a strategy of avoidance.  Sack up.  Be a man about it.  You do not have to hold a press conference.  But you can let it be known.

As an aside, you have respect issues.  It seems to be a one-way flow.  From you, to others.  You might want to have that checked out.
 This quoting thing is a little confusing to me so I will just quote the whole thing. Yup Im running the clock I guess, they may only have maybe 5-10 yrs at the most, that is not a long time. I do plant seeds to my siblings, but not outrite, because I know what kind of response Im going to get.
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Offline Not on the fence

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Re: Would you risk family relationships just to be right?
« Reply #68 on: March 23, 2010, 03:14:37 PM »
^^ Would you feel the same way about your genetic parents if you were adopted?
Honestly Im not sure about that, as I am not adopted, will have to ponder that one.
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Offline screwtape

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Re: Would you risk family relationships just to be right?
« Reply #69 on: March 23, 2010, 03:15:40 PM »
I don't think anyone is suggesting that we don't.  It is just the employment of a little sensitivity in this particular case when ones parents are old, and lack the intellectual tool set to jump into the ring.  It's why you would view a 6' 250lb guy picking a fight with a 4' 80lb girl........a bully.

I think a lot of people here are suggesting that.  There have been lots of threads where people have asked advice just like this.  And, as in this thread, the overwhelming majority of responses are excuses that let the poster off the hook.  I am usually the only one advocating the truth. 

I am all for using tact and making the announcement quietly and without confrontation.  She doesn't have to stick her thumb in their eye.  But whatever the approach, we have to be honest with ourselves and our families.  That is what all this atheism stuff is about, right?  Honesty. Facing the truth, even though it is the more difficult road to walk, even though it is not as comfortable as our delusions.  And L6 is dead nuts on with his assessment.  If nobody puts a face on the lable, they will never see us as people.  It is a strategy that worked with homosexuals and it can work for us. 

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Offline Azdgari

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Re: Would you risk family relationships just to be right?
« Reply #70 on: March 23, 2010, 03:20:03 PM »
On-topic, and lost in the depths of the thread:

NOTF:  What, in total, do you want out of your relationship with your family?
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Offline Star Stuff

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Re: Would you risk family relationships just to be right?
« Reply #71 on: March 23, 2010, 03:26:42 PM »
If nobody puts a face on the lable, they will never see us as people. 

But you are failing to put a face on the elderly parents in "Not on the Fence's" parents.  They are people with feelings, and are in the last few years of their life.  Your one-size-fits-all, carpet bombing approach lacks wisdom, sensitivity and compassion.
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Offline Star Stuff

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Re: Would you risk family relationships just to be right?
« Reply #72 on: March 23, 2010, 03:28:09 PM »
As I said before my parents are very old, and this would hurt them to no end.  They are important to me, even though they are very uneducated. They are the ones that brought me into this world, so should I not have some sort of respect for them?

So your plan is to just run out the clock? 

What's wrong with that?
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Offline screwtape

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Re: Would you risk family relationships just to be right?
« Reply #73 on: March 23, 2010, 03:29:13 PM »
What I mean is because I am the baby of the family, they do not think that I am as smart as they are. Example whenever I bring anything up about how to feed your pets the proper way, not commercial pet food, they just laugh at me. It makes me angry because I have educated myself on this subject so much.  Also mentioning about the scientific findings that are being made is another one.

Yeah.  I get that.  They don't respect you.  They think you are an idiot.  Why do you want to have a relationship with these arrogant jerks?  


They brought me into this world.

So, because they copulated 43 years ago you have to walk on eggshells?  I think after 43 years, you don't owe them anything just for being born.  It's not like you asked them for it.

Yup Im running the clock I guess, they may only have maybe 5-10 yrs at the most, that is not a long time.

That is a dangerous plan, and it denies reality.  And yes it is a long time. Think about how old you will be by then.  Think about all the changes in your life that will have taken place.  10 years is forever.

I do plant seeds to my siblings, but not outrite, because I know what kind of response Im going to get.

My advice is to prepare yourself.  Don't wait for them to come to you.  It is better that it be done in a controlled way at a time of your chosing.  The alternative is to continue this bizarre denial.  Then, one day when you least expect it, like thanksgiving or at cousin Jenny's baby's christening, all hell will break loose.  There will be hurt feelings, shouting, red faces and crying.  It will be epic.  I have been right about this before.  

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Offline Star Stuff

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Re: Would you risk family relationships just to be right?
« Reply #74 on: March 23, 2010, 03:34:57 PM »

That is a dangerous plan...

In what way is it "dangerous"?


Quote
 And yes it is a long time. Think about how old you will be by then.  Think about all the changes in your life that will have taken place.  10 years is forever.

So what?

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Offline Azdgari

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Re: Would you risk family relationships just to be right?
« Reply #75 on: March 23, 2010, 03:37:52 PM »
Star Stuff, Screwtape explains what he means by "dangerous" in the final paragraph of his post.  If you are not going to read peoples' posts, then perhaps you should stop pretending to form responses based on their contents?
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Offline Star Stuff

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Re: Would you risk family relationships just to be right?
« Reply #76 on: March 23, 2010, 03:47:01 PM »
Star Stuff, Screwtape explains what he means by "dangerous" in the final paragraph of his post.  If you are not going to read peoples' posts, then perhaps you should stop pretending to form responses based on their contents?

Perhaps you could be a little less abrasive when your claim of that connection is not so clear, but your opinion. He can speak for himself.
« Last Edit: March 23, 2010, 03:48:47 PM by Star Stuff »
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Offline Azdgari

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Re: Would you risk family relationships just to be right?
« Reply #77 on: March 23, 2010, 03:49:28 PM »
Screwtape outlined what he believes to be a danger resulting from the "bizarre denial" that NOTF describes.  How much more blatant a link do you want?
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Offline screwtape

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Re: Would you risk family relationships just to be right?
« Reply #78 on: March 23, 2010, 03:50:27 PM »
But you are failing to put a face on the elderly parents in "Not on the Fence's" parents. 

They are not my problem.  They did not come here because they were in a predicament.  NotF did.  I am giving her the best advice I can give to her.  I am not disregarding her parents, but she is the focus.  She comes first.  And they, as xians, as the overwhelming majority in this country, already have a face[1].

And if NotF would like to send them here for my advice, I would be happy to counsel them as well.

They are people with feelings,...

So is NotF. Why is her identity to be sacrificed for their feelings?

...and are in the last few years of their life. 

Why does that matter?

Your one-size-fits-all, carpet bombing approach lacks wisdom, sensitivity and compassion.

malarkey.  It is not a carpet bombing strategy. See:
I am all for using tact and making the announcement quietly and without confrontation.  She doesn't have to stick her thumb in their eye.  

Why is being honest about who she is insensitive?  What is so horrible about not believing in god that for her to say that to her family would make you say it is unwise?  We atheists are such hiddeous monsters that we can never show them our true selves.  Right?  We are so offensive that to let loved ones know who we are is an act devoid of compassion.  Right? Congratulations.  You are the first self-hating atheist I have met.  


 1. and it's ugly
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Offline Star Stuff

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Re: Would you risk family relationships just to be right?
« Reply #79 on: March 23, 2010, 04:06:23 PM »
But you are failing to put a face on the elderly parents in "Not on the Fence's" parents.  

They are not my problem.

Therein lies your lack of compassion, sensitivity and understanding. You just seem to want to throw your gernades in a pell-mell fashion.




Quote
And if NotF would like to send them here for my advice, I would be happy to counsel them as well.

These people are in their mid-eghties and don't know how to turn on a computer.  See how you're out of touch with the reality of the situation?  Hint: don't attempt a career in counselling.




They are people with feelings,...

---------------------------------------------

So is NotF. Why is her identity to be sacrificed for their feelings?


She is free to live her life as a non-theist. It really has little to no effect on her identity.





I am all for using tact and making the announcement quietly and without confrontation.  She doesn't have to stick her thumb in their eye.  

Sure, but you lack the understanding of these particular people's makeup; their education level, their inability to discuss intellectually and openly. Again, your approach lacks a fuller understanding.




Quote
Why is being honest about who she is insensitive?

I didn't suggest that.  It is insensitive to throw a gernade into an elderly person's world when they don't have the wherewithall to deal with it, and the emotional hurt it would cause them is considerable.  Would you also drub your non-belief into a cancer victim on their death-bed?




Quote
What is so horrible about not believing in god that for her to say that to her family would make you say it is unwise?

She has indicated that it is her elderly parents that she is concerned about "coming out" with, and I've just addressed that above.



Quote
We atheists are such hiddeous monsters that we can never show them our true selves.  Right?  We are so offensive that to let loved ones know who we are is an act devoid of compassion.  Right? Congratulations.  You are the first self-hating atheist I have met.  
If you'd like to keep digging yourself into this hole of unawareness, keep going. Your choice.
« Last Edit: March 23, 2010, 04:08:49 PM by Star Stuff »
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Offline screwtape

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Re: Would you risk family relationships just to be right?
« Reply #80 on: March 23, 2010, 04:12:10 PM »
In what way is it "dangerous"?

not dangerous as in it will be harmful.  But dangerous as in "a gamble".  I explained it in the last paragraph of that post.

So what?

So, carpe diem, mother fucker.  She's 42.  When is she going to live her life and stop worrying what those swimming in the shallow end of the gene pool are thinking?  Life is not a game.  You don't go into prevent defense with the truth[1]

Telling them is showing them respect.  Telling them is saying you trust them.  Not telling them is saying they are too stupid/ immature/ closed minded to deal with it.

I sound my barbaric YAWP across the roofs of the world...
 1. the fact that prevent so frequently fails in games is testament to that
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Offline Star Stuff

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Re: Would you risk family relationships just to be right?
« Reply #81 on: March 23, 2010, 04:18:08 PM »
So, carpe diem, mother fucker.

I think that's out of order.


Quote
She's 42.  When is she going to live her life and stop worrying what those swimming in the shallow end of the gene pool are thinking? 

Since when is she "not living her life"?  Are you sure you're not skewing things with that?



Quote
Telling them is showing them respect.  Telling them is saying you trust them.  Not telling them is saying they are too stupid/ immature/ closed minded to deal with it.

Right, but it's been explained to you that they do not have the wherewithall to deal with it.  Perhaps they are too uneducated/immature/closed minded to deal with it!  Then would that be ok to leave it lie, in your estimation?


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Offline screwtape

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Re: Would you risk family relationships just to be right?
« Reply #82 on: March 23, 2010, 04:49:21 PM »
Therein lies your lack of compassion, sensitivity and understanding. You just seem to want to throw your gernades in a pell-mell fashion.

I don't know how many times I have to say it for you.  I'm not talking about putting them in a choke hold and screaming in their ears.  I am all for tact and compassion. I've said that at least 3 times now.  I have also said she should make a plan, prepare what to say and do it in a controlled manner.

For you to characterize it as "throwing grenades" or doing it "pell-mell" tells me you are either not reading my posts or you are intentionally distorting what I said.  Either way, it makes for a bad conversation and creates animosity.  I suggest you read what I write and what you write before you post it. 

These people are in their mid-eghties and don't know how to turn on a computer.

That was tongue in cheek.

See how you're out of touch with the reality of the situation?  Hint: don't attempt a career in counselling.

Here is some good counsel for you: If you want to have a conversation, we can.  But don't start making this personal.

She is free to live her life as a non-theist. It really has little to no effect on her identity.

Really?  Having to lie to her family about her religious thoughts has no effect on her identity?  You must have a very different definition of identity than I do.

Sure, but you lack the understanding of these particular people's makeup; their education level, their inability to discuss intellectually and openly. Again, your approach lacks a fuller understanding.

That is why I have not scripted her response to them. I have not told her what to say other than be honest.  I have not told her how to say it.  That is for her to do.  I paint in broader strokes.  The details are best sorted out by her.

I didn't suggest that.  

sure you did.

It is insensitive to throw a gernade

You did it again.  You keep saying I said these things I did not say. You should be more careful about doing that. 

Would you also drub your non-belief into a cancer victim on their death-bed?

Where did I say anything about drubbing anyone?  Go ahead and quote it.  If you can't, then apologize.

If you'd like to keep digging yourself into this hole of unawareness, keep going. Your choice.

In what way is pointing out the absurdity of you statement "digging a hole of unawareness"?


I have to go, but I don't want this to sit overnight. 
So, carpe diem, mother fucker.

I think that's out of order.

That wasn't meant personally or directed at you.  I did not mean any offense and I apologize if it appeared that way.  It was more in the vein of "yippie kayaay, motherfucker" ala Bruce Willis in Die Hard.  If I'd seen you had started taking this personally, I would have taken more care.

So long for now.

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Offline Star Stuff

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Re: Would you risk family relationships just to be right?
« Reply #83 on: March 23, 2010, 05:22:30 PM »
I don't know how many times I have to say it for you.  I'm not talking about putting them in a choke hold and screaming in their ears.  I am all for tact and compassion. I've said that at least 3 times now.

Right, but you also said this:

"Why do you want to have a relationship with these arrogant jerks?"

So hopefully you appreciate my confusion as to your compassion.


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Really?  Having to lie to her family about her religious thoughts has no effect on her identity?

I don't recall her saying anything about lying, (if asked); rather bringing up her disbelief to her parents.



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That is why I have not scripted her response to them. I have not told her what to say other than be honest.  I have not told her how to say it.  That is for her to do.  I paint in broader strokes.  The details are best sorted out by her.

I understand that, and in most circumstances that makes sense, (as with parents who are reasonably able to discuss it, and who are not so old), but in this case, it might be best to just let it go.

Option 1)  Tell your elderly parents about your disbelief in what they have spent a lifetime raising you with.

> Result:  You feel that you got something off your chest, and caused them great distress and sleepless nights, and they live a few more years with their religious beliefs intact.



Option 2)   Don't tell your elderly parents about your disbelief in what they have spent a lifetime raising you with.

> Result:  They live a few more years with their religious beliefs intact, and enjoy their last few years of life in peace, remenicing of their life together, then one of them passes away before the other; the one left deals with that particular pain & grief.  You never do let those two particular people on the planet know that you don't believe in god.

I guess NotF needs to ask herself how much resentment she would feel in not telling them.





Would you also drub your non-belief into a cancer victim on their death-bed?

Quote
Where did I say anything about drubbing anyone?  Go ahead and quote it.  If you can't, then apologize.

Drubbing was my word to express your seemingly determined opinion on letting her parents know, without knowing the particular people and dynamics involved.

Your comments like:

"I sound my barbaric YAWP across the roofs of the world..."

"I think after 43 years, you don't owe them anything just for being born."

"They are not my problem."

"Why do you want to have a relationship with these arrogant jerks?"


.....camouflages your claimed empathy.  Is that reasonable for me to be confused on your stance?



« Last Edit: March 23, 2010, 05:27:04 PM by Star Stuff »
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Offline Azdgari

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Re: Would you risk family relationships just to be right?
« Reply #84 on: March 23, 2010, 05:29:04 PM »
Correctly assessing that someone is an arrogant jerk does not mean that one does not have or endorse compassion for that person.  The two issues are unrelated.
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Offline Star Stuff

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Re: Would you risk family relationships just to be right?
« Reply #85 on: March 23, 2010, 05:34:13 PM »
Correctly assessing that someone is an arrogant jerk does not mean that one does not have or endorse compassion for that person.  The two issues are unrelated.

Except for the fact that the assessment is not neccessarily correct, as they have never met said people.
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Offline Azdgari

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Re: Would you risk family relationships just to be right?
« Reply #86 on: March 23, 2010, 05:37:08 PM »
Have you ever met Glenn Beck?
The highest moral human authority is copied by our Gandhi neurons through observation.