Psycho-Babble Faith | about religious faith | Framed
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Another perspective

Posted by alohashirt on September 8, 2005, at 22:34:12

In reply to Religious friends and my unease, posted by Deneb on August 7, 2005, at 11:33:29

> This is my very first post on the Faith board. I was weary of posting here because I'm an atheist and I don't want to offend anyone. I got this post checked out first so I hope it is ok. :-)
> I sometimes find myself uneasy around people who are very religious. I'm not sure why exactly. I have friend who is very religious. He believes that non believers will go to a bad place after they die. He knows I am a non believer so this means that he thinks I'm going to go to a really bad place one day. How can he continue to be my friend if he thinks this of me? I mean, I would be really upset if I thought a friend was going to go to a really bad place after they die.

Presumably there is some reason (beyond chance) that you are friends? I had an experience many years ago of visiting a group of people who were very different culturally to me. I was one of a group of psychology students in London, UK who visited a group of psychology students in a small town in Missouri, right in the Bible Belt. We were a bunch of urban, self-conciously liberal, heavy drinking and partying people who had formed a striong caring bond. The students we met were extremely hospitable, friendly and welcoming. They had the same range of personality types that we did (the class joker, the ice maiden, the drama queen, the serious student, the party girl, ..) but when they opened their mouth's what came out seemed (from my perspective) Christian with a capital C, conservative, racist, exclusionary, and biblical. But I couldn't avoid seeing that if I had grown up there I'd be one of them, and if they'd grown up in London they'd be one of us.

The trip taught me that being with people who seem different to me is scary, uncomfortable, hard work, and requires a lot of trust. It also taught me that people are people, and we are much more similar than we like to pretend. I used to think that I couldn't be friends with someone whose views are offensive to me, but slowly I grow up.

You are lucky to have a friend whose beliefs are foreign. There is a lot about yourself and what you value that you can learn from this person. Put up with the discomfort and you will become a better person for it. Developing acceptance is the hardest thing but he most valuable thing. Enjoy the things tha you value about your friend and let them know that you value these things. Write a list of all their great qualities. I was a scientist for years. Scientists base their professional lives on faith (in the scientific method) Irwin Yalom has written some stuffs about existential fears that all people share and religion can be seen as one of a number of way sof dealing with those fears. He sees all people as being afraid of

their own mortality
meaninglessness of life
their freedom to act however they choos
and their ultimate aloneness

EM Forsters novels address this issue in a humorous intelligent fashion.




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