Athiest Family

Status
Not open for further replies.
D

DenRat

Guest
My sister and her husband are athiests. They were both brought up Catholic, married in the church and baptized their two children Catholic but have long ago ceased to believe even in God.

They both take an attitude of “I’m in contol of my life” and have no use for anything that can’t be proven. When my grandpa died I overheard them talking about how well our Mom had taken it. They sarcastically said that it’s because she thinks she’ll see him again in heaven.

Recently my brother-in-law said if he ever got to the point of suffereing from sickness where he was “drooling, sitting in a chair” he would shoot himself. I said, “If we suffer now, we won’t suffer so much later.” My sister asked what I meant and he said, “It’s a god-thing”. I kept quiet because I didn’t want to get into a discussion at that time. Mom appealed to him to reconsider because of his children and others who loved him. He rejected that. Their kids don’t believe either.

Do we just pray? I try not to talk about my faith, knowing it irritates them and probably backfires when people do, I try to live a good life as an example. That even seems to backfire. When we were invited to attend their daughters motor cross race on a Sunday, I said we had church. He said we could miss church because there is nothing of value there anyway.

In the meantime, my brother, an alcholic with many personal problems could use a prayer. My mom and I have been praying to St. Monica for his conversion. He finally has a decent girlfriend who actually got him to attend church with her on Christmas. He isn’t a believer but I think he may grasp onto something if the right person shows him the way. I think he’s very confused and uncertain.

Any suggestions for dealing with athiestic family members?

Thanks,
Denise
 
I have no idea what to suggest so I’ll suggest something anyway. Bell Ringers are like that. I enjoy reading conversion stories. I’d find a bunch of conversion stories …especially written by atheists… and see if they have any wisdom you could use. You can find a few in places like the Surprised by Truth series. There may be a few in the list of conversion stories on Marcus Grodi’s Coming Home Network web site. You could go to the Ask an Apologist forum and ask for further resources and suggestions.

Pray and love and forgive and just shine with the light of Christ. 👍
 
40.png
quasimodo:
Pray and love and forgive and just shine with the light of Christ. 👍
Thanks for the reply. I did think of something to discuss with my brother-in-law. Since he doesn’t believe in God at all, it doesn’t pay to discuss Jesus and salvation or anything like that with him at this point. So the beginning is probably the best place to start.

I figure I will try to appeal to his logical side. He has an excavation business so I could ask him about how his bulldozer came into being. (Obviously someone designed it and made it).

Here is my “clincher” I could ask him: Let’s assume your bulldozer is made of 5,000 different pieces. Do you think that if someone were able to throw those 5,000 pieces randomly into a pit every second of every day for 2 billion years (without someone placing parts in proper order) a working bulldozer would one day emerge, ready to push around dirt? That’s the same way with our human bodies. It’s impossible to believe that they were started randomly by a bunch of organisms bumping into each other. They have been designed more complicated and with more meaning than any piece of man-made equipment that has been designed by a careful and thoughtful process. And even if you still believe that our bodies did originate in the “soup”, then who made the soup???

I’ll keep praying.
Denise
 
Denise,
To piggy back onto your thought. The theory of evolution goes against one of the fundamental rules of Physics. I believe it is the 2nd law of thermodynamics (it may be the 3rd), which states that all matter is moving from a state of order to a state of chaos. Things don’t come together on their own over time, the become more disorganized and move farther apart.
 
At this point, prayer and setting a good personal example are the most important things you can do. Don’t underestimate the power of either.

Talking to him now while he is in this phase of his life - a total rejection of God - has as much potential for harm as for good. You may drive him further away from you, and you may be his last (or best) connection with faith.

I usually resort to the logic argument (“if you found a watch on the beach…”) when I get to that point where it becomes an argument. :mad: Painting people into a logical corner (something that we attorneys are very good at) rarely results in a conversion, so I would be loathe to recommend that course of action in this case. You know him best, so take that last piece of advice with a grain of salt.

Always keep in mind that you’re not trying to win the argument - you’re trying to win their soul for God. Plant the seeds. Let the Holy Spirit do all the work. 👍
 
I have a very similar situation with my brothers and sisters…I come from a large family (ten kids) and most have totally fallen away from the faith.

I find prayer, mortification (fasting) and patience to be the keys. The Holy Spirit will work on their hearts and when the time is right, hopefully they will all come home.

Trying to force will never work and might even hurt the situation. Being avaliable to talk is also a good thing. One of my brothers actually softened for a while, and is now back to seemingly usual, yet I see that as a sign that the Holy Spirit is working with him.

Keep up the prayers, mortifications on their behalf, say rosaries, call on the saints and especially Mary, and spend time before the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament.
 
40.png
pkmksk:
Denise,
To piggy back onto your thought. The theory of evolution goes against one of the fundamental rules of Physics. I believe it is the 2nd law of thermodynamics (it may be the 3rd), which states that all matter is moving from a state of order to a state of chaos. Things don’t come together on their own over time, the become more disorganized and move farther apart.
Excuse me, but that is not true. I do not want to lecture in length about energy and entropy (that’s what the 2nd LoT is about), but just three topics:
  1. Gravity brings order into chaos.
  2. The 2nd LoT is valid for closed systems. The earth is not a closed system, i.e. it is permanently pumped with energy by the sun.
  3. Entropy does not equal disorder. For example: entropy increases when liquid Helium 3 freezes, i.e. transforms into a more ordered state.
With regards from someone with a degree in physics. 😉
 
It’s hard to say what exactly to say. My sister is an Atheist as well, and the best I can do is not be afraid to talk to her about my faith without shoving it down her throat. For years, though, we couldn’t and didn’t talk about it. I’ve prayed lots, never losing sight of the fact that my soul and hers are in equal jeopardy at any moment, mine is no cleaner or closer to God, she could at the moment of death reach out and He would be there joyfully opening His arms to her. I think if you keep that in mind it makes it a lot easier not to sound judgmental or self-righteous when discussing religion with your brother or sister. If you can find out what separated them from God that would be helpful, was it some pain or suffering, some event that seemed unexplicable, rationality that seems to get in the way, a lifestyle choice that they aren’t willing to let go… If you can find out in a charitable way what it was that made that decision to cut God out of their lives possible it might make it easier for you to assist in re-introducing Him. Sometimes we think it must be reason A and so we use that argument when really it was reason B. Just some thoughts, I don’t know if they are at all helpful, but at least they’ve helped me some with my sister.
 
Excuse me, but that is not true. I do not want to lecture in length about energy and entropy (that’s what the 2nd LoT is about), but just three topics:
  1. Gravity brings order into chaos.
  2. The 2nd LoT is valid for closed systems. The earth is not a closed system, i.e. it is permanently pumped with energy by the sun.
  3. Entropy does not equal disorder. For example: entropy increases when liquid Helium 3 freezes, i.e. transforms into a more ordered state.
With regards from someone with a degree in physics.
We still have gravity on the earth and the earth is still being pumped with energy from the sun. However, buildings which are subject to both gravity and the sun, continue to decay. (We won’t talk about what gravity is doing to my body!)

The earth is not a closed system but the universe is. Where did the energy come from to bring the sun into being as a source of energy? Scientists say that some day the sun will burn itself out. Why? Why does not whatever created the sun in the first place keep it from burning itself out?

Where did the energy come from to create the planets that we now have? It is just a conceivable that a bulldozer can come together by itself from its elemental parts as it is that the universe can come together by itself from its elemental parts. All scientific explanations of the creation of the universe either assume the existance of a Prime Mover and/or fail to explain where the initial matter and/or energy came from.

Just my $.02 from someone with a Ph.D. in Engineering

ILO
 
Hello, the following is not original with me; it was received from a sibling in this morning’s e-mail. I am calling it a light philosophical approach to

The Existence of God

The Bible says to have an answer for why you believe, for those who ask you. This is a good example of an answer to one of the most common reasons people give for ignoring God and His goodness.

A man went to a barbershop to have his hair cut and his beard trimmed. As the barber began to work, they began to have a good conversation. They talked about so many things and various subjects. When they eventually touched on the subject of God, the barber said: “I don’t believe that God exists.”

“Why do you say that?” asked the customer.

“Well, you just have to go out in the street to realize that God
doesn’t exist. Tell me, if God exists, would there be so many sick people? Would there be abandoned children? If God existed, there would be neither suffering nor pain. I can’t imagine a loving God who would allow all of these things.”

The customer thought for a moment, but didn’t respond because he didn’t want to start an argument. The barber finished his job and the customer left the shop.

Just after he left the barbershop, he saw a man in the street with long, stringy, dirty hair and an untrimmed beard. He looked dirty and unkempt. The customer turned back and entered the barber shop again and he said to the barber: “You know what? Barbers do not exist.”

“How can you say that?” asked the surprised barber. “I am here, and I am a barber. And I just worked on you!”

“No!” the customer exclaimed. “Barbers don’t exist because if they did, there would be no people with dirty long hair and untrimmed beards, like that man outside.”

“Ah, but barbers DO exist! What happens, is people do not come to me.”

“Exactly!”- affirmed the customer. “That’s the point! God, too, DOES exist! What happens, is, people don’t go to Him and do not look for Him. That’s why there’s so much pain and suffering in the world.” If you think God exists, send this to other people . . . If you think God does not exist, wonder how you and all that is exists at all and explain it.
 
40.png
ILO:
Where did the energy come from to create the planets that we now have? …] All scientific explanations of the creation of the universe either assume the existance of a Prime Mover and/or fail to explain where the initial matter and/or energy came from.
The total energy of the universe is zero.

(Energy can be gauged to any number you like.)

@DenRat - sorry this totally off-topic, but I couldn’t resist
 
For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Understood. We need a Physics thread - I love it! This is a good time to mention the Hugh Ross book “Beyond the Cosmos.” A great look from a Physicist at the existence of God.

With regard to the initial question, of course this is difficult. I would say, first and foremost, to simply love them unconditionally. Find opportunities in a non-challenging way to get them to talk about what they think life means, and why they lost their faith. In those times, as difficult as it is to not get into an argument, truly listen and gain their trust that you are simply not trying to look for debate points. Only once you truly understand where they are coming from can you talk at their level on this.

Of course, prayer is imperative, but I’m sure you already knew that.😉
 
40.png
ILO:
We still have gravity on the earth and the earth is still being pumped with energy from the sun. However, buildings which are subject to both gravity and the sun, continue to decay. (We won’t talk about what gravity is doing to my body!)
However, gravity and energy from the sun are not the only two things that buildings are exposed to. You forgot wind, termites, etc.
40.png
ILO:
The earth is not a closed system but the universe is. Where did the energy come from to bring the sun into being as a source of energy? Scientists say that some day the sun will burn itself out. Why? Why does not whatever created the sun in the first place keep it from burning itself out?
Have you ever thought about incandescent light covers? They are designed to stop working after a certain amount of use - it’s inherent in the nature of what they do (block UV light if I’m not mistaken). How do you know God didn’t intend for the sun to burn out at some point?

I’m not trying to promote dissent among the ranks so to speak, but I am trying to promote some good old fashioned thinking 👍

Peace
 
40.png
Maggie:
I think if you keep that in mind it makes it a lot easier not to sound judgmental or self-righteous when discussing religion with your brother or sister. If you can find out what separated them from God that would be helpful, was it some pain or suffering, some event that seemed unexplicable, rationality that seems to get in the way, a lifestyle choice that they aren’t willing to let go… If you can find out in a charitable way what it was that made that decision to cut God out of their lives possible it might make it easier for you to assist in re-introducing Him. Sometimes we think it must be reason A and so we use that argument when really it was reason B. Just some thoughts, I don’t know if they are at all helpful, but at least they’ve helped me some with my sister.
Good points about not starting an argument. However, there are many times when my brother-in-law and I argue (i.e. politics) just for the fun of it. Sometimes he will take the opposite side even if we agree just for the fun of it. It’s a strange relationship and I would watch out that I don’t take it too far. One way it helps might be to have this discussion with other family members listening in. I usually win the logical argument just because he says ridiculous things to keep the argument going. Or he’ll get personal or make bigoted remarks. Yeah, when some families get together they play volleyball or cards. Not our family. :confused: Fortunately no one usually gets mad at one another.

Denise
 
im athiestand really want to get converted or have some one make a decent atempt with out going to insults etc or banning me

problem is ure religions dont make sence
  1. why is there always something that is evil and is good what gives anyone the right to say what is evil and what is good
  2. ive explained this else where and only got banned there is no purpose to anything simply because if you give some thing a purpose then what is the purpose of that???
  3. concluding Above if god created everything with no purpose then why did he create everything simply to watch as if we were his pets as we suffer and enjoy our lifes???
  4. what gives god or who eva dose it to decide what is wrong and what is right based apon my own Quote "Only the Insane do things with out purpose in which they believe in. so why all this hatred from you catholics over murders and terriost their only doing what they believe is right.
last the only “beliefs” i would recomend the teachings from are buddist since they do not inspire hatred i used to be one but eventually that didnt even make sence ask me y only if u know alot about the religion other wise im not going to bother explaining it.

And notice what inspired the belief that some people are evil its ure religion thats says there is a right and there is wrong. and the big example is ure religion see some of my posts in politics then read the response i dont think ive got any right now cos i just posted them but i bet their’ll all be full of hatred towards me mainly cos ive done this before and simply got banned. but i trully hope some one “can show me the light” as some would say because alot of what you people is out of hatred instead of trying to “show people the light” or simply accept them as them as not asume that what they are doing is wrong.
 
im athiestand really want to get converted or have some one make a decent atempt with out going to insults etc or banning me

It seems like you might be at the right place to begin getting some of your answers. It’s too bad you’ve had to deal with insults and banning in the past. Maybe you’ve been misunderstood when asking questions and people mistook you for being too challenging? If you’re seeking the truth, I believe you will find it. A good place to start is to pray for faith. You don’t have to understand everything all at once to begin the journey to believe.

**problem is ure religions dont make sence
  1. why is there always something that is evil and is good what gives anyone the right to say what is evil and what is good **
God loves us all and wants us all to be happy. True happiness comes when we do as God wants us to do. God made us and he knows what is good for us. He made everything good but he also gave us free will - so that we are free to choose between good and evil. It is our responsibility to make an informed choice between good and evil. So even though he made everything good, some choose to do evil. Satan is a fallen angel - he made the choice - not God - to become evil.

You ask “what gives anyone the right to say what is evil and what is good”. I would use the word “authority” instead of right. Any society or institution establishes rules or laws that all people in that society are expected to follow. This is for the safety, happiness, and welfare of all. For example, suppose we didn’t have any laws about driving cars and everyone would drive all over the road, not stop at red lights, go as fast as they wanted, etc. We would have chaos and plenty of accidents. Eventually, someone (or a group of people) would have to step forward and start making rules for people to follow when driving. People would want to follow the rules so that they wouldn’t become injured or damage their property.

It’s the same with religion. We all have an innate desire to be happy. We look to a higher power for that happiness - to the One who created us. We as a group (members of the Catholic Church, for example) believe that Jesus Christ founded the one true church and that he gave one of his followers, Peter, the authority over that church here on earth. We choose to follow the teachings of the church and the men who suceeded Peter throughout the 2000 years of church history. When someone in authority in the Church says something is good or evil, we are to obey.
(continued on next post)
 
**2. ive explained this else where and only got banned there is no purpose to anything simply because if you give some thing a purpose then what is the purpose of that??? **

I’m not sure I understand your question but I’ll give it a try. Are you asking why we are all here? What is the purpose of God? I don’t know if we will really know the full answer to that question here on earth. I do hope that one day I will live in Heaven with God and that I can spend eternity learning all about God and about the universe and get the answers to all the phylisophical questions that I can’t hope to understand with my limited mind. You seem like a deep thinker. You may not be the best typist but I can tell you have very deep thoughts and a real desire for understanding. I also have a feeling you want to have it all figured out before you can begin your faith journey. Too late! I think you are on your way. It reminds me of a story of my son. He wouldn’t babble like babies would do before they talked. I would hear him in the other room babbling to himself but not in the presence of anyone. Then one day he just started talking in full sentences!

3. concluding Above if god created everything with no purpose then why did he create everything simply to watch as if we were his pets as we suffer and enjoy our lifes???

I think God did create everything with a purpose. I think one of the purposes is to worship him. There are angels in heaven whose only job is to worship God, day and night, singing his praises!!! Why does he let us suffer? Suffering is part of life. I have grown more when I have suffered and there always seems to be a good thing that comes out of suffering.

For example, a personal story. My husband was diagnosed with cancer 3 years ago. He was only 40. We were very scared at the time. But we took our fears to God in prayer. Our marriage became stronger. My husband quit smoking. He made a career change that was very difficult but that he never had the nerve to do before he was diagnosed. It make him realize there is more to life. He became a Catholic. Our faith has continued to grow. We have put our faith in God and he is cancer-free. I could tell you 100 stories of God working through suffering to bring about good.

The best example is God sending his own Son to die on the cross for our salvation. There is more to life than what we live here on earth. I believe God wants us all to join him in heaven for eternity.
(continued on next post)
 
**
4. what gives god or who eva dose it to decide what is wrong and what is right based apon my own Quote "Only the Insane do things with out purpose in which they believe in. so why all this hatred from you catholics over murders and terriost their only doing what they believe is right.**

Pope John Paul II prayed for and forgave the man who shot him. He is a truly holy man - an example for all of us. Mother Theresa is another beautiful example of giving selflessly of herself to help others for the glory of God.

As a Catholic, I pray for my enemies. After the 9/11 attacks our priest told us it was our duty to pray for the terrorists. We shouldn’t hate them. That’s not to say they shouldn’t be punished but we must not hate them. I think you’re asking why we think our religion is right and the terrorists religion is wrong. God is love and good comes from love. God would never want someone to harm an innocent person. Sometimes people who are Catholic do hateful things - just like anyone else. This is sin. Everyone sins. We should all try not to sin. Fortunately, when we do sin, we have the sacrament of confession. We talk to God, through a priest, confess our sins, ask for His forgiveness, and receive absolution. When we do this often, we become better Catholics.

last the only “beliefs” i would recomend the teachings from are buddist since they do not inspire hatred i used to be one but eventually that didnt even make sence ask me y only if u know alot about the religion other wise im not going to bother explaining it.

I have no interest in Buddism.

And notice what inspired the belief that some people are evil its ure religion thats says there is a right and there is wrong. and the big example is ure religion see some of my posts in politics then read the response i dont think ive got any right now cos i just posted them but i bet their’ll all be full of hatred towards me mainly cos ive done this before and simply got banned. but i trully hope some one “can show me the light” as some would say because alot of what you people is out of hatred instead of trying to “show people the light” or simply accept them as them as not asume that what they are doing is wrong.

I hope by answering your questions, you have seen that I have not been full of hatred towards you and have tried to “show you the light”. However, it should also be your responsibility to continue seeking the truth. First pray to God, asking him to guide you through your misunderstandings of the Catholic Church. Try to find the good in people.

If you want to discuss more, feel free to e-mail me. I’ll also check back here.

God Bless,
Denise
 
40.png
FrIeDRice:
I’m Athiest and really want to get converted or have some one make a decent atempt with out going to insults etc. or banning me.

Problem is your religions don’t make sense
  1. Why is there always something that is evil and is good? What gives anyone the right to say what is evil and what is good?
I’ll try to take the points one at a time. I’m not a great debater, or convincer, so I’ll do my best from my perspective, Okay?

First, I believe that God exists. Without that initial belief I find that you are correct, a lot of our arguments regarding religion don’t make sense.

I haven’t found a good argument on the existence of God. It’s something you have to dig into your own heart to find. It’s not something you will ultimately be able to prove with hard facts, faith is required. You’ll have to search your heart as well as the world around you.

If it helps, one thing I have found to assist me in that is that very few of us know the mathematics that govern the physics that govern the laws that govern our daily lives. We have faith in the natural physical laws that we all take for granted. Sometimes we find out later that what we thought factual was really not true or at least not fully correct and we have to have faith in a different set of scientific facts. So the equivalent of waiting for proof of God’s existence would be to stay home until one is sure the sky really won’t fall tomorrow.

Like I said, I don’t know if that helps or not, but what we know today in science will one day be dwarfed by what we know then. So to wait upon proof of some theory would prevent us from getting to where we wish to be.

So if you can find it in your heart to begin with a belief in God’s existence or at least open your heart to acceptance of it, I think you might enjoy the dialogue and find some of the arguments become more meaningful or at least begin to make sense even if at that point you still disagree with some or many of them.

If you want to try, I’m willing to have the discussion without doing any name calling or using any insults whatsoever.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Back
Top