This actually happened about a month ago, but I never received any replies through Blogger so I'll try here.

   I was helping a friend move some furniture in her house today and we managed to get on the subject of the World Trade Center and 9/11 and about how I was trying to talk to my young daughter about it.  She's 8 years old.  I explained to my friend that I'd told my daughter that some people took over some planes filled with people and crashed them into buildings full of people because they believed that god wanted them to.  My friend promptly suggested that I let my daughter know that they didn't believe in "the right God".  I paused ever so briefly before turning my attention back to the work at hand and changed the subject.  Now...

    I'm usually one who will speak my mind without worrying about it, however, in this case, it was time to keep my mouth shut.  This is a woman I've known for almost 30 years and she has, for that entire time, been a devout Christian.  Secondly, she is rather close to me and is sort of a mother figure to me as she is about 20 years older.  It took a great deal of strength for me to bite my tongue and NOT say what was on my mind at that time until I realized, rather quickly, that it would turn into both of us talking to brick walls, in essence, because there was no alternative way for that conversation to go.  She is unchanging in her belief, as am I, therefore it would have been a useless argument.

    So what do I do now?  Her comment kind of fired me up, but I didn't say anything.  Was that the wrong choice?  How do you all deal with things like this when everything in you wants to speak out, but you know it'll end badly?  Have you bottled up your anger and then you get home and your alone and just want to yell?  I'm starting to rant here so I'll close it up for now.  Thoughts?

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Comment by Nontheist Central on March 31, 2012 at 6:46pm

Thanks so much for your input, everyone!  It seems the consensus everywhere is to forget it if you know it's not going anywhere.  I just felt like I betrayed myself, in a way.  Glad to know I'm not the only one who bites their tongue.

Comment by Bryanderthal on March 29, 2012 at 10:08am

I like moving the conversation into fact based direction when confronted with ignorance like this, gives them food for thought without being too confrontational. I would have said something like, "You know they actually believe in the same god of Abraham that Christians and Jews believe in?"

Comment by AtheistTech on March 28, 2012 at 4:25pm

Hey Loren! That woman (if only you could read) is my sister-in-law. She is a terrific person and the mother of my two gorgeous nieces. She is extremely well educated and is a teacher herself. Her mother was the principal of school from which she retired. Both woman have religious beliefs. As I have said many times elsewhere on the A/N website, people who were religious but are now atheist never had or ever will consider themselves stupid. They are people just like most of us (except you apparently). Just like they have many reasons to continue to believe, you, Loren, must have many reasons to hate and bestow your anger toward. But it is ultimately your choice to be human and understand that most religious people are just like you, regular people. You may have though it was funny, but it is at the mother of my nieces' expense, and that is insulting to me. MANs like you need another perspective.

Comment by Richard ∑wald on March 28, 2012 at 3:26pm

The brand of "god" is inconsequential, as is any attached mythos. What is salient is the danger of  "faith" itself.

Comment by Pat on March 28, 2012 at 2:50pm

You could have said, "You're right. No one who believes in Chango, the Voodoo god, would have ever done that." Then again, probably not. In all seriousness, the best course is to bite your tongue, and let the woman have her delusion. More importantly, though, let your child know the truth. 

Comment by Loren Miller on March 28, 2012 at 2:11pm

Hey, Jane!  That was actually aimed at the woman in Cane's story, who was certain someone else was going to hell.  I figured it was a proper comeback for that!

Comment by SaucyJane on March 28, 2012 at 1:52pm

@Loren: thanks... it's been a few years. :-P

Comment by Loren Miller on March 28, 2012 at 12:04pm

Rebuttal:

Comment by AtheistTech on March 28, 2012 at 11:49am

I'll keep this short as I can. We had a holiday dinner with my two brothers and the youngest's wife and kids. We were having a political discussion during which the wife kept mostly silent. That is until she blurted out that the person we were discussing would go to hell. Dead silence met her comment.

Comment by Reason Being on March 28, 2012 at 11:36am

I too have had similar experiences and chose to bite my tongue.  The question I asked myself is this:  Is religion/god or at least my views on those subjects worth more to me than this friendship?"  In most cases where conversation will go nowhere, I have concluded that my friendship is a) not based in any way on religion and in fact, religion hardly comes up at all and b) my friendship is more important to me than promoting my view or changing my friends.  My advice to you...have an honest discussion with yourself about those questions or similar ones that better fit who you are.

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