I met an old friend of mine from high school for breakfast the other day. She is one of the most genuinely nice people I have ever met. She was raised catholic, and sent her kids to catholic school, but the one that started high school wanted to go to public school. She LOVES it there. She likes being friends with whomever she chooses, instead of everyone knowing EVERYTHING about EVERYONE ELSE. It seems like the catholic school system is almost incestuous, in the way that all the families have been together forever, everyone knows everyone else, etc. Sorry, got off topic.
Anyway... She asked me if I was an Atheist (from my Facebook posts) and I told her yes. She looked a little shocked, but asked me about it. I told her I could never believe in any 'god' that treated his "children" the way the one she believes in supposedly does. That's about as deep as I went. She thought about it, and said she could see that. She didn't judge me, just asked. I don't think she thought about that one thing before. Then she was talking about her Mother-in-law being prejudice against her because she is Sicilian. I thought that was weird of her MIL! So I said my relatives were/are jewish, and jews have been persecuted for a few thousand years. She didn't know why. I explained even the supposed jesus was jewish. She did know that, but didn't know that christianity came about by people taking the jewish religion, and adding on to it (I didn't go into that the jews took stuff from other religions.)
She said, "Wow! You know a lot more about the bible and religion than I do!" Blind acceptance. I guess because I was never told what to believe, I don't understand it?! How can people not have questions come to mind?
Fear of death is a big thing for a lot of people, and it's easier to just accept beliefs about an afterlife than to think about it. If they _did_ think about it, they'd probably doubt it and that would be scary for them. Basically they'd be in existential crisis mode.
We atheists have gone further than most people ever will in dealing with death; we've accepted it, though we don't actually want to die any more than others do. To believe in an afterlife is to deny death on some level.
Her beloved dad died a few years ago, and she's still struggling with it. I remember one time she asked me if I thought we wore clothes in heaven. I was speechless.
That's an interesting question about wearing clothes in heaven. Never heard that before.
Great exchange on the Simpsons... After the rapture Homer ascends (naked) to heaven and is greeted by St. Peter. St. Peter says "OK, first order of business is to get you some clothes" Homer replies "Ah, I'm comfortable like this". St. Peter says "Hey, this is heaven for everyone!"
lol Karl. I don't think I'll tell my friend about that Simpsons episode. :)
Steve, my Sister (who was NOT raised with any religion, but now believes in "god"), said to me that she'd be afraid to die if she didn't believe in an afterlife, and didn't I feel the same? I said "No, because I'd be DEAD." She didn't know how to respond.
Ask her if she's afraid of the time before she was conceived. We're all just blips on the radar. Not existing isn't a problem at all, it's just clinging too tightly to something that is inherently fleeting that is the problem. It's being deluded about life. Take away the delusion, and things are so much easier...
She has to know that. We were raised by the same Atheist. lol. Her husband, unfortunately, is an xtian, and a republiCON. Sorry, but I'm an Atheist, and about as liberal as you can get. She is influenced by him. He rants about exactly the opposite of what I rant about. He doesn't believe in government helping practically ANYBODY (Pull yourself up by your bootstraps!) Even though he was born a blue-eyed white male, in an upper middle-class home. He doesn't believe that humans have ANYTHING to do with global-warming. He believes in the writings of uninformed men in the Bronze Age. Just Wow. I think she married him because he's ten years older, and she was looking for a father-figure. I also think that's why she wants there to be a god for that reason. I told her about the god/father figure theory, and she didn't disagree with me. It's probably better for family harmony that we don't live right near each other. A few years ago, my nephew, who was 7 at the time said that xmas was about jesus. I told him it wasn't about jesus to me. He looked amazed. I will continue to let my niece and nephew hear my point-of-view ( they are 11 and 14), even if it's just what I post on Facebook. Food for thought.
Yeah that's really all you can do, express yourself and let other people decide whether they want to think or not.
Steve, I love that saying "I can EXPLAIN it to you, but I can't UNDERSTAND it for you!" LOL
booklover,your sister and bil sound like my entire family with the ' I don't question my beliefs' and denying global warming nonsense. I think you're doing the right thing letting your niece and nephew know that different people have different beliefs. I'm trying to do the same for my young grandkids. There are zero atheist and agnostics in this area.