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Old 01-17-2012, 12:07 AM
 
Location: Dallas
1,004 posts, read 523,363 times
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A long time friend (or so I once thought) recently sent me an extremely long, pessimistic email in regards to my lack of faith and how surprised he was that I've never believed. The basic premise of the message was that he (who is Muslim) was always under the impression that I'd eventually convert to Islam. Admittedly, I've studied Islam (local Da' Wah center), but my intentions were never to study with the eventual goal of converting. The topic of religious fundamentalism intrigues me and I felt it necessary to educate myself for better countering when engaged in discourse.

A year or so had passed before I received his email, prior to this we maintained brief contact via txt or social networking. My engagements (work,having tons of fun, traveling) against his engagements (kids, 2 jobs, fundamentalist beliefs) are what essentially set us on two different paths.

So he has essentially propositioned me...better yet given me an ultimatum. Show up to his sons birthday (have never met the kid) or consider years of friendship lost. All because of my lack of belief.

Anyone been here before?
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Old 01-17-2012, 12:15 AM
 
Location: Victoria, BC.
30,892 posts, read 31,793,503 times
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I'd say that he isn't much of a friend...Friends don't give friends ultimatums.
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Old 01-17-2012, 01:16 AM
 
Location: Metromess
11,798 posts, read 21,996,789 times
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^What he said.^ I have religious friends, but we don't give ultimatums to each other.
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Old 01-17-2012, 05:59 AM
 
Location: Tampa, FL
2,637 posts, read 10,948,575 times
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You'll be surprised when you realize how common this "believe or else" tactic is, as though it could ever possibly work. Oh yes, I didn't believe before, but now that you are strong-arming me, I see the light!

This is why so many atheists are basically closeted in our professional and sometimes even in our personal lives, even though, just like homosexuals, we should not have to protect ourselves this way. But this sort of scenario is exactly why it is best to never discuss religion with friends, family, co-workers, and especially bosses. You never know when one of these people will consider your disbelief to be a personal affront to their faith.
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Old 01-17-2012, 07:27 AM
PDD
 
Location: The Sand Hills of NC
8,774 posts, read 14,888,814 times
Reputation: 11886
Quote:
Originally Posted by moddestmike View Post
A long time friend (or so I once thought) recently sent me an extremely long, pessimistic email in regards to my lack of faith and how surprised he was that I've never believed. The basic premise of the message was that he (who is Muslim) was always under the impression that I'd eventually convert to Islam. Admittedly, I've studied Islam (local Da' Wah center), but my intentions were never to study with the eventual goal of converting. The topic of religious fundamentalism intrigues me and I felt it necessary to educate myself for better countering when engaged in discourse.

A year or so had passed before I received his email, prior to this we maintained brief contact via txt or social networking. My engagements (work,having tons of fun, traveling) against his engagements (kids, 2 jobs, fundamentalist beliefs) are what essentially set us on two different paths.

So he has essentially propositioned me...better yet given me an ultimatum. Show up to his sons birthday (have never met the kid) or consider years of friendship lost. All because of my lack of belief.

Anyone been here before?
Very similar to opposing political views with "friends" some are so dedicated to changing your views (almost never happens) that they are willing to lose your "friendship" if you don't change.

Sorry your loss not mine. And yes it has happened to me.
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Old 01-17-2012, 07:55 AM
 
2,319 posts, read 4,097,610 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tilli View Post
You'll be surprised when you realize how common this "believe or else" tactic is, as though it could ever possibly work. Oh yes, I didn't believe before, but now that you are strong-arming me, I see the light!

This is why so many atheists are basically closeted in our professional and sometimes even in our personal lives, even though, just like homosexuals, we should not have to protect ourselves this way. But this sort of scenario is exactly why it is best to never discuss religion with friends, family, co-workers, and especially bosses. You never know when one of these people will consider your disbelief to be a personal affront to their faith.
I'm sure we've all heard (and I believe it's true) that if we become more vocal, people would realize, like with homosexuals, that we're not evil and that there are more of us than folks realize. The problem is, of course, that atheists are treated terribly in some parts of the country (the same areas that treat gays badly).

I'm torn on this issue. I don't lie about my beliefs, and we have shared with several people. Shock is the word. One friend from college who is a Wiccan said, "Oh, ___, you believe in God. You're just confused." I actually didn't argue with him. He's a wonderful person, but he doesn't understand atheism. He didn't try to convert me, but he just couldn't accept it.

On the other hand, my husband told some of us Fundamentalist cousins. Most just act awkward talking to us because everything in their lives revolve around church. The kids are homeschooled or go to Christian school during the school year and Christian camps during the summer. They are constantly at church or Christian seminars. We try to keep the conversation on work, hobbies (which are few for them), and travel (which is limited for them).

We have never received an ultimatum. I'd probably just let that tainted, misguided friend go. I don't think it's worth the stress and irritation. I wish you luck with this fellow.
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Old 01-17-2012, 08:59 AM
 
Location: Sinking in the Great Salt Lake
13,143 posts, read 19,214,711 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by catman View Post
^What he said.^ I have religious friends, but we don't give ultimatums to each other.
Same here. My religious friends are still my friends and my religious wife is still my wife even. It's OK to have different religious beliefs (or lack thereof) and still associate with each other. Personal belief in unseen things should not dictate what happens in the real world.
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Old 01-17-2012, 09:51 AM
 
16,300 posts, read 24,981,174 times
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He's not a friend, so there is nothing to loose.
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Old 01-17-2012, 10:24 AM
 
Location: Florida
19,837 posts, read 19,937,680 times
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I must be really dense today.
What does a kids birthday celebration have to do with beliefs/atheism?
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Old 01-17-2012, 11:33 AM
 
Location: Ostend,Belgium....
8,820 posts, read 6,369,817 times
Reputation: 4886
if religion gets in the way of acquaintances getting along, it tells a lot about tolerance and open mindedness and respect..the worst thing that happened to me was after my son's suicide...one lady (an acquaintance) told me my lack of belief in jesus was what caused his death....had I just gone to church regularly...I was too hurt at the time to even think straight and react to her foolishness but that type comment says more about them than you...
I would not even have further contact with anyone who sends me ultimatums like the OP got...
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