From time to time my wife gets confused. She thinks she wants to live closer to her job so she doesn't drive 80 miles a day, and this idea has come up twice now in the last year. I've all but declined moving with her as I'm 67 and the house note is less than $200. If we both move the house note will at least triple for an apartment, and we know some that pay $800 plus. I have a modest part time employment and social security. My wife has a professional position with a fair salary, but she won't be stopped on this moving idea even if I pay for her gasoline.

   Enter my theist friend "offering counciling" as my title here says. We've known each other since age 13 and were once theists together. He knows my back ground and training, but he knows I'm not following it today, and he might suspect that I am atheist or some other thing happened to make me "angry with god." I have to be "asking him for help" because you simply cannot be just shareing a story on the phone. (Oh, what do I do? What do I do?) If I did ask "what would you do" it certainly wouldn't mean that I asked you to bring along your imaginary friends.

   The first thing I'm hearing from him is about "church and community" where the wife and I would have new freinds and activities, a sense of purpose, and something else we could share together. He says that "coming back to church" is the answer. I cautioned him to keep god out of the picture, but agreed with community activies and purpose.

   He next gets into the idea that his home, money, and property are an illusion of god. I have twice as much as he does (so he says) even though his mortgage is $1200 while I live in a mobile home. It's simply that he has more assets than I do. I remind him that assets cost money, but he doesn't see this. He has a "special" relationship with god, and he "knows him personally." Again I tell him to leave god out of it.

   My friend tells me again that god is his "best friend" and he "talks to his friend every day" and that I need to "meet his friend" and that I can then "talk to him too" and that "god can solve every problem." He continued to rattle on and on as I made an excuse and hung up the phone.

   This is a true story, but WHY do theists keep thinking that I want to meet their imaginary friend? How do you believe in the Wizard of Oz once you have seen behind the curtain?

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I think quite often this happens when xian/religious types don't have the answer to a person's problem. They have a serious lack of imagination and come up with this 'ask god' crap and think that's the answer, when all the other person really wants to hear is "I'm sorry you're having such a difficult time. I don't know what I would do, but I'm here for you however and whenever you need me." It's obnoxious to have someone not being able to admit that they don't know everything and instead bluster on in an "I'm right, you're wrong" sort of way. This is not counseling, this is telling you what to do. Bad friend.

I agree but you cannot tell a christian anything. They always take this attitude. Many years ago when I had a christian girlfriend and we both had families from previous marriages, she told me problems with her children. She talked and I listened. It was a sharing thing. A supporting thing. One day I told her problems with my kid and she blurts out "I don't know, Mike. I don't know what to tell you to do." Sharing problems and sympathies only went one way with her, or she really didn't care about you?

At other times her answers were into god, jesus, and how they could make everything right. The bible is a book of myth and fables, but give me an example from it in which god or jesus ever solved any such problems from every day life. It just never happened!

Well, you do have that problem with 2 mothers and 1 child where the wise king Solomon suggested that they cut the child in half, but that's another story.

Even when I was a younger, indoctrinated xian I always had issues with praying for answers. I don't know what other people were hearing, but I always got a big, fat nothing. Not even nothing. Less than nothing. Silence. So when people say to pray to god for answers, it always seems to me that some sort of schizophrenic conversation is going on in their head. Where are they really getting these answers they think were planted there by some mystical being? Of course from themselves, but they don't get that.

Yeah, jesus was pretty mute on important topics like what to do when your child gets bullied at school or whether it's ok to eat chocolate picked by slave labor. But he was pretty good at platitudes. Those are always useful.

Reg, praying and hearing nothing was my biggest problem with religion also.  I could never con myself into hearing what I wanted to hear, like so many others obviously do.

The religious game is very much pretend and "monkey see monkey do."

I work with a fundy who has a heart problem and he went around telling everyone how he felt pain in his chest at prayer time, then he was instantly better, so he knew god had healed him. (For those who do not know, claiming your healing and then witnessing is all a part of this.) Next I knew he had stopped taking his heart medicine and he wasn't around for a while. Then his wife said he was very sick. Next I knew he was on his meds again and back around as usual.

This is how fundies are.  LOL

I think the act of prayer being taught to me at an early age really screwed with my concept of reality. Things that I prayed for Really Hard and didn't get or didn't get an answer to made me think more along the lines of "Well, god doesn't want me to have that/go that direction, so forget it" and I would give up, rather than figuring out a way to make it happen for myself even if it was something that I genuinely wanted (and not just "gimme a pony" sorts of things, but life decisions about what to do when I grew up sorts of things). It took me a long time to figure out that I was the one who could make things happen or not. That sort of pacifist-to-god's-will attitude now just makes me feel stabby.

That's an interesting thought Reg.  It may be part of the reason I got in the habit of giving up too easily.

Well, they do rely on and believe in magic and magicians explaining sciene etc to them so 

Magic is easier than having to learn all that silly science and math....

Reg, teaching people to be dependent on answers to questions from outside themselves is a terrible thing to do to a child. If we want our children to grow up and be children, that would be one thing.That is not what I wanted for my children. I wanted them to grow up and be adults, with the ability to think, reason, identify problems and goals, learn how to explore options and make decisions.

Probably the most important thing a child needs to learn is how to handle challenges that include being able to deal with defeat. Life offers a lot of defeats. It also can cause one to not make decisions in their own self-interest. Children need to learn how to pick themselves up from defeat and carry on with a new awareness of themselves and the world in which they live.

It is too easy to learn to blame others for defeat. Far better to learn that they don't know it all and have to be creative, inventive, imaginative and to keep trying even through disappointment. 

Two of the problems I observe coming from religious women is their goal to please others and ignore their own needs. Depression is a very common symptom as is anxiety. Always trying to live to other's standards without creating ones own criteria for success or failure puts the power into the other's hands, leaving one to feel like a victim. 

So, here is a hat-tip to all those men and women who learn how to think for themselves, who take responsibility for their actions, and this is the only life we have, Make it a healthy and happy one. 

Excellent question! "How do you believe in the Wizard of Oz once you have seen behind the curtain?"

Sorry to learn of your dilemma! Can't be easy to make a decision when two people are involved, with mixed goals. Hope you find a way that is right for both of you. A win/win is far better than a win/lose solution. 

This is so very true, Joan, but finding that win/win situation is not easy. It's like she's wanting to spend some extra money here.

Let me tell you a story I heard once. The woman's sister had come to America, so this one married and older man and she came here too. She worked all the time and sent money constantly to her family in the Philipines. Her husband asked her to stop because he wondered what they were going to live on. Her sister said she should leave the husband because he was controlling. She divorced the husband and went to live with her sister. Now she writes to the parents apologizing for not sending money. Instead she has to give it to the sister so they can pay their bills and have enough money to live on.

Such is life! How do I solve my dilemma? I'm damned sure not leaving a place that costs me less than $200 a month!

What are your options? 

Do nothing?

Do what someone else wants?

Negotiate?

Compromise?

Do what you want?

Toss a coin?

Feel like a victim?

Whine?

Bully?

Go your separate ways?

What are the costs and benefits of each option?

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