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warrier120
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27 Feb 2020, 7:40 pm

It all seemed to start when I met a girl this year who I (surprisingly) ended up becoming friends with. I knew from the start that she was a devout Christian, and because of that knowledge, I tried to avoid bringing up religion with her.

But eventually I started having extreme anxiety because I was so worried about failing at trying to become this girl's friend. That was when she decided that trying to convert me was a good idea, suggesting that I read the Bible. At first, I was deeply interested in that idea given that I'm normally curious about religion. But once I started on the Book of Genesis (which she hoped I would read), my atheist brain kicked in and quickly stopped me from reading more.

I continued to suffer from anxiety, and this girl started quoting the Bible on me. It was at this point that I decided that she was evangelizing me. So I (politely) told her that I wasn't interested in converting and that her evangelism was a bit too much for a friendship. She listened to me and said that she respected my beliefs.

But my unfortunate experiences with evangelism didn't (and probably won't) stop there. It turns out that a different girl I followed on Instagram (who may have known I was an atheist) was evangelizing people with her Story posts. She posted things like "sometimes you are alone because God wants you to only think about HIM" and "the gospel sets you free". Feeling the same discomfort and fear I felt with my friend before I became close to her, I unfollowed this girl.

I know I can't stop evangelists, but I'm personally against people pushing their religion onto others. I don't need my own moral code to be challenged.

What do you think?


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27 Feb 2020, 7:50 pm

warrier120 wrote:
... What do you think?
I think you’ve set yourself up for a fall. If you don’t like being evangelized, then avoid evangelical types of any religion — even some irreligious atheists have been known to evangelize their (non-)beliefs.


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27 Feb 2020, 8:28 pm

warrier120 wrote:
I know I can't stop evangelists, but I'm personally against people pushing their religion onto others. I don't need my own moral code to be challenged.

What do you think?

I'm not sure what you want...personal advice or debate of some kind. People aren't really "pushing" their religion onto others unless they are into brainwashing or abusing their authority (such as a teacher proselytizing to her students during class) because people can't force anyone to accept their religion.

Aside from random Christians occasionally stopping me on the street, I don't really have the problems you illustrated because I avoid religious people and theists altogether. Maybe it's something you'd like to try. Then again, it seems to be mostly U.S. Christians who are into the proselytizing, so you could maybe stick to people of other religions or people from other countries if you want to be more open. Some of them might listen to what you have to say about proselytizing being wrong, but I wouldn't bother trying that.

I think it's ok and even good for some people to have their "moral codes" challenged (albeit not on religious/supernatural grounds), so I'm not sure what to say about that. Sometimes it's good to re-evaluate your moral code, but it's definitely useless and annoying when people challenge it for stupid reasons like "god said do this instead of what you're doing so you're wrong." Again, avoidance works well. Stick to reasonable people who enrich your life with thoughtful opinions about your ideas and people who respect your boundaries if you are sensitive to criticism of your ideas (if that's part of your problem).



warrier120
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27 Feb 2020, 11:16 pm

I wouldn't want to avoid all religious people; just fanatics. Luckily, I've only come across a few in my life and I can say that most people don't take issue with my irreligiousness.


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28 Feb 2020, 1:27 pm

I would say leave her alone. To someone non-religious, any practicing religious person looks like a fanatic. To a fanatic, every non-religious person looks like fresh meat. Y'all ain't compatible. For her sake & yours, you might want to give it a break.


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warrier120
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28 Feb 2020, 1:43 pm

Borromeo wrote:
I would say leave her alone. To someone non-religious, any practicing religious person looks like a fanatic. To a fanatic, every non-religious person looks like fresh meat. Y'all ain't compatible. For her sake & yours, you might want to give it a break.

That makes me wonder whether this "friend" of mine is really a friend. I wonder if she only showed interest in me for the sole purpose of converting me and would afterwards ditch me.


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28 Feb 2020, 1:54 pm

warrier120 wrote:
Borromeo wrote:
I would say leave her alone. To someone non-religious, any practicing religious person looks like a fanatic. To a fanatic, every non-religious person looks like fresh meat. Y'all ain't compatible. For her sake & yours, you might want to give it a break.

That makes me wonder whether this "friend" of mine is really a friend. I wonder if she only showed interest in me for the sole purpose of converting me and would afterwards ditch me.


She may be doing this because she likes you and wants the best for you. You might not like it but she might not like your way of life either. Like I said...to anyone non-religious, anyone who actually practices their religion is going to look like a fanatic.


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warrier120
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28 Feb 2020, 2:03 pm

Borromeo wrote:
warrier120 wrote:
Borromeo wrote:
I would say leave her alone. To someone non-religious, any practicing religious person looks like a fanatic. To a fanatic, every non-religious person looks like fresh meat. Y'all ain't compatible. For her sake & yours, you might want to give it a break.

That makes me wonder whether this "friend" of mine is really a friend. I wonder if she only showed interest in me for the sole purpose of converting me and would afterwards ditch me.


She may be doing this because she likes you and wants the best for you. You might not like it but she might not like your way of life either. Like I said...to anyone non-religious, anyone who actually practices their religion is going to look like a fanatic.

I agree that what this girl did was done with good intentions.

I also wanted to mention that I'm fine with the fact that this girl and I disagree. I don't really care about it because I will still continue to like her.


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quite an extreme
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28 Feb 2020, 3:08 pm

Being religious is an emotional thing of many NTs. It mostly starts in early childhood when their parents convince them to be. They are told there is something like a god until they develop an imagination of it and develop an emotional connection to this imaginary picture they have. Because they repeatedly try to convince each other that this imagination is something real they believe it in the end. You can't convince religious people easily that they are just irrational. Once you don't think in pictures or are less emotional then you are less likely to be religious. That's why women are more likely to be religious then men. Religion makes it easier for the one who are into it to deal with reality. You have to accept the way that they are but don't let them brainwash you. You have your own brain and you are able to use it independent of the beliefs of others. :wink:


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28 Feb 2020, 3:18 pm

I don't get close to anyone who believes in supernatural beings. When I'm close with someone, they are more important to me than anything. They will always rank a supernatural being above me creating an imbalance in priorities and making an equal relationship impossible.



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28 Feb 2020, 3:41 pm

Borromeo wrote:
To someone non-religious, any practicing religious person looks like a fanatic.


For me, that's really not the case. I actually know a lot of religious people who keep that side of their life to themselves (and non-religious ones who don't feel a need to pester others and mock their beliefs). It's more of a personal boundaries issue from where I'm standing :?

warrier120, there's no need to avoid all religious people, just those prone to this behaviour.


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magz
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28 Feb 2020, 4:30 pm

BenderRodriguez wrote:
Borromeo wrote:
To someone non-religious, any practicing religious person looks like a fanatic.


For me, that's really not the case. I actually know a lot of religious people who keep that side of their life to themselves (and non-religious ones who don't feel a need to pester others and mock their beliefs). It's more of a personal boundaries issue from where I'm standing :?

warrier120, there's no need to avoid all religious people, just those prone to this behaviour.

Thanks for naming it: Personal boundaries. I think this is the real issue with unwanted proselytism, either religious or secular.
Trying to force some belief (or non-belief) on someone is an invasion on a very personal, intimate space.


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warrier120
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28 Feb 2020, 7:01 pm

The "personal space" issue was something I brought up when I told my friend(?) that I was uncomfortable with her preaching. That might have been what got her to stop along with her interest in me. You know, just general NT social rules.

I agree that trying to convert someone when that person is fine with their lifestyle is an violation of personal space. I personally wouldn't want to make someone irreligious, but the unfortunate truth is that there are people who do think they are superior because of their religion (or lack of). These people tend to have a patronizing attitude towards anyone of a different faith and may legitimately believe they are "saving" people from something evil or corrupt.


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28 Feb 2020, 7:20 pm

magz wrote:
BenderRodriguez wrote:
Borromeo wrote:
To someone non-religious, any practicing religious person looks like a fanatic.


For me, that's really not the case. I actually know a lot of religious people who keep that side of their life to themselves (and non-religious ones who don't feel a need to pester others and mock their beliefs). It's more of a personal boundaries issue from where I'm standing :?

warrier120, there's no need to avoid all religious people, just those prone to this behaviour.

Thanks for naming it: Personal boundaries. I think this is the real issue with unwanted proselytism, either religious or secular.
Trying to force some belief (or non-belief) on someone is an invasion on a very personal, intimate space.


Yeah, I understand. IRL, my religious friends consider that part of their life to be very private and intimate and don't easily discuss it with either other religious or non-religious people.


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28 Feb 2020, 7:50 pm

I'm a theist and I don't do conversions on others and I don't let them do it on me. It depends on the mood I'm in, sometimes I just tune it out. Sometimes, I peck on my window when a Jehovah's Witness is at my door and tell them to 'beat it!'
I can just not listen or say 'thanks, but no thanks.' It usually works out fine, either way.


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29 Feb 2020, 3:23 am

With the door to door types I have a standard response:
“I don’t want to be rude, or cause offence, but I have no interest in continuing this conversation, and would like it to end politely so I can get on with my day, and you can find someone more amenable to your overtures.”
Never had any aggro from that, although a couple have stamped back down the path without saying another word.
My mother-in-law is pretty full on that way: but she’s more of the “assume everyone agrees with me” type, so you don’t have to battle against continued conversion attempts.
My wife has deep faith, but is very “solitary contemplative” in how she does faith: she also regards pushing faith into others as a breach of basic manners, so the Christian/Atheist difference of outlook never comes up.

I think from the perspective of a friend trying to convert you they think they’re doing you the most helpful kindness they can, galling though it may be to sit through.