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How do you handle pushy people about their faith


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  #1  
December 3rd, 2004, 09:11 PM
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I got in a confrontation Wednesday evening. A friend of mine Lori teaches bible study in a newly formed church. Not really sure what faith they are. I think they're like Penticostals. But that doesn't matter. This church opened up in a old movie theater near my house. They are renovating the theater back to its original beauty I knew it as a kid. The first place I got to go see a movie. Dumbo was on the screen my first time there. Well I told my friend Lori I really don't fit in, in her bible study. That I am Catholic. I don't believe in the same things the people do at this new church. She says they were having a speaker after bible study on the history of the theater and the ajoining buildings on that block. Then she would show me around the theater. What work they are doing so far. I agreed to go just to see what they are doing with that old theater. I haven't been in there in years. Before the speaker spoke on the history. They had a short 1/2 hour prayer service. I sat there praying quietly to myself. Where many of the others there were praying out loud and saying things I am not used to hearing in church. Nothing against them. I respect their beliefs. Another woman who I know well Linda. We're not best friends or anything. But we live near each other. She is also a friend of Lori's. Linda comes to me. Takes my hand. Leads me to the stairway that leads to the balcony of the theater. Sits me down on the steps. I thought we were going to pray together. Well some of the people there would go up to others. Lay their hands on them praying for them or with them. Or just wander around the room praying out loud. Linda says give up your Catholic beliefs. Join the one and only true church. This church. You don't need to talk to a priest to tell him your sins. Join this church. It's better. Says this is the way we pray here. So get used to it. Start praying our way. I was so offended. I said no. I am strong to my beliefs. I will not change churches/faiths. I wanted to just walk out. But stayed for my friend Lori's sake. Then Linda supposedly went up to Lori and asked her to tell me to go home. Lori refused to do that. After the speaker got done speaking and Lori toured me around the theater showing me what work she been helping out with. I said. I need to talk to you alone. Linda upset me. I tried telling Linda Just because I am Catholic. Does not make me less of a Christian than people of your faith or of other faiths. We believe in the same God/Jesus Christ. Just our views on the interpretations of the bible are a little different. We might pray differently than you do. But I respect your beliefs. I would hope you respect mine. I told Lori everything when we were alone. That's when Lori told me Linda said I should go home. At one point in the prayer service. Linda tried getting the minister to convince me to change faiths. He said now is not the time for this. I am tolerant of other religions or faiths. I respect their beliefs. Not that I believe the same things they do. But I know they have the right to believe in God any way they choose to. I am not going to tell them being Catholic is better than some other faith. But if they would ask me about my church. I will do my best to answer their questions.
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  #2  
December 4th, 2004, 06:21 AM
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Hi!
I was raised in the Episcopal church, which is somewhat similar in liturgy to the Catholic church. (Episcopalians have Communion in each service, use the Book of Common Prayer, things such as that. I think a main difference is that the Episcopal church doesn't pray to the saints or have Confession.)

ANYWAY, I presently attend a Bible-based, non-denominational church and I think that a Christian music artist summed it up best in a song that said:

"It all comes down to a Man, dying on a cross, savin' the world
Rising from the dead, doin' what He said He would do!"
(I think the artists name was Clay Crosse - not sure, the song is a few years old)

That is what I would tell someone who tried to tell me that the way they perform their church service is better than anyone else's. There is one unifying factor as a Christian and that is a belief in Christ, a belief that He died to save everyone from their sins. One person is not more of a Christian than another person is because they pray in a certain way.

I have so much more I could say on this subject, but I hear chaos happening in the other room, which indicates that someone is probably pinning someone else down and I need to referee! (Aahhh, the life of a mom!)
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  #3  
December 4th, 2004, 06:36 AM
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I have many a time come across this very topic...my DH and I are different religions..he's jewish, I'm christian (I guess)..and we're thinking about joining a conservative jewish synagogue. Anyways, we have some acquaintences that are devout baptist christians, and they would try to convince us to join their church, give 10% to their church (or shall I say, minister), and would always lecture us about having a drink or two...

The one thing that gets me is the arrogance involved in some religions. I think we should work together, not apart, for one common goal...GOD. There's no need for all this separatism and dogmatic thinking in what we believe in..I've examined several different types of religions, and for now, DH and I choose to worship and pray in our own private way until I can find an establishment that doesn't force THEIR beliefs on us.

Sorry for venting....

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  #4  
December 4th, 2004, 11:35 AM
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In my opinion, this isn't a subject about religion so much as respect - or in this case, the lack of respect shown to you.

I have had a similar experience, as have some friends of mine. We were discussing it recently, as a matter of fact.

Friendships are interesting things. Some people believe that a friendship entitles them to liberties and selfish behavior. I do not agree, personally.

I think what happened to the original poster was rude and unfortunate. She should not have been made to feel so unwelcome and so uncomfortable. It was very irresponsible of her friend to not divulge the truth of the situation to all involved. Anotherwords, she should have explained to her bible study group that she was bringing someone new and just wanted them to see what they were all about. She should have explained that she didn't want any pressure put on her friend to join.

As for beliefs. This is something very personal and invidual to everyone. No one has the right to demand that you give up or change your beliefs. That is actually a great deal of what this country is founded on. The freedom to choose your own beliefs.

It is obvious you have a great deal of respect (original poster) for others but in this case, it isn't being returned. To me, that is not true friendship.

Unfortunately, there can be a degree of brainwashing in certain groups, whether they be religious or political or other. I am not suggesting your friend has been brainwashed, but it is possible that she was at a lost place in her life and this group has quickly filled that space...maybe to the point where she has lost all objectivity.

It may not be possible for you to continue the friendship. That is something you will have to decide.

I think what happened to you is very unfortunate and I did have something similar happen to me. I ended the "friendship" after that because the entire experience was so distasteful and the total lack of respect for my beliefs, my faith, etc really was the bottom line.

When friendship is true, you can come to a place of "we agree to disagree" on matters that are heated. There should be a base line of respect and it appears that this friend of yours (Lori?) has lost her perspective.

Religion and religious beliefs are such a personal choice and I don't believe it appropriate to ever have someone push at you.

I've learned over the years to be VERY picky about whom I speak with regarding matters of religion and politics. These subjects require a strong degree of maturity and objectivity, not to mention respect for others who don't feel/believe as you do.

For instance, my parents were both raised Catholic and they raised my brother and I Catholic. However, I had a near-death experience when I was 10 and that changed (I should say tweaked) some of my views...although the basic fundamentals stayed.

Well, as I became and adult and my own life's experiences molded me further, I came to change other beliefs within the system. My mother and I don't have the same views on the Pope or birth control or other issues, for example...yet we are both Catholics.

My father and I view the "importance" of the holy spirit differently, yet we are both Catholics.

So there are variances all over the place.

It may be better if you either elect not to get into discussions of a religious or political nature with your friend, and then again, it may be better if you just end the friendship because she is in a place right now that is too far from any common ground you may have shared.

What happened to you was traumatic and I imagine it will take some time to get out of your system. Maybe just take a long walk in nature and be thankful that you are more open minded than most. Be thankful that you will be raising your child(ren) to have tolerance and respect for differences. And you can always pity the people who belong to that group as they are so closed-minded that they will miss out on the opportunity to thave wonderful relationships with people who feel and think differently than they do.
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  #5  
December 4th, 2004, 11:35 AM
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Personally, I would have told them to kiss me where nature split me and walked out! How rude!
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  #6  
December 5th, 2004, 10:53 AM
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I just tell them I dont believe in God and they usually shut up pretty fast!!
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  #7  
December 5th, 2004, 10:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by twinsmom26@Dec 5 2004, 11:53 AM
I just tell them I dont believe in God and they usually shut up pretty fast!!
<div align="right"><{POST_SNAPBACK}>
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I LOVE IT!

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  #8  
December 5th, 2004, 11:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by twinsmom26@Dec 5 2004, 01:53 PM
I just tell them I dont believe in God and they usually shut up pretty fast!!
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[/quote]


ditto
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  #9  
December 5th, 2004, 12:25 PM
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What I should of said to Linda. I thought this was Gods house. Everyone is welcome in Gods house. I treat any church of any faith as Gods house. Then would of said he who judges lest they be judged or however it's written in the bible. Although I don't believe in the faith of that church. I do think it is a welcoming thing to the community. Where this old theater turning church is. It's bordering where gang members have been known to hang out. I think maybe some Christian presence in that area might get some of those gang members off the streets and turn their life around to something positive. Although 2 blocks north of this new church is a Catholic church. Not my parish. But one I have attended a few times in the past.
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  #10  
December 5th, 2004, 07:35 PM
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Most of the time, logic doesn't work with a person who is dead set on getting me to convert, mostly because they say "but the bible says XXXXX and you're not following what God said so it must be wrong, see?"

I've tried telling them that to make that statement absolute truth, one must take the leap of faith required in believing that the bible is absolute truth. I have nothing against those that do, it's just not something I believe. Therefore if I do not accept the bible as absolute truth, then I am also not accepting their religious laws stated in the bible (and many other holy books for that matter) as applicable to me.

(Note this only goes for religious laws, such as those against witch craft and conversing with the spirits and having only one God and such. I am not saying the rules of common sense listed in many holy books, from the bible to the The Egyptian Book of the Dead, such as "do not murder" "do not commit adultery" "do not steal" etc, do not apply to me, and anyone else who wants to consider themselves a decent human being)

They just kind of scratch their head and try to start with the same line again usually. In the end I typically say something along the lines of, "I'll give you a cookie if you leave me alone and let me believe what I want to believe."
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  #11  
December 6th, 2004, 09:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by twinsmom26@Dec 5 2004, 01:53 PM
I just tell them I dont believe in God and they usually shut up pretty fast!!
<div align="right"><{POST_SNAPBACK}>
[/quote]


If you don't believe in God, what do you believe in?
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  #12  
December 6th, 2004, 09:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Neoma@Dec 5 2004, 08:35 PM
Most of the time, logic doesn't work with a person who is dead set on getting me to convert,

In the end I typically say something along the lines of, "I'll give you a cookie if you leave me alone and let me believe what I want to believe."
<div align="right"><{POST_SNAPBACK}>
[/quote]

Too true about the first part - lack of logic - people tend to get awfully emotional when it comes to religion and/or politics - which is why I was so impressed with how everyone here answered - giving a lot of patient thought -

As for the second part - that's a great comeback - very non-threatening.

I had a grandmother (dad's mom) that usesd to always say, "The Bible says..." and for years I ignored her but one time I actually got mad/had had enough -

She was from the south and way too old school in her opinions so when she started spouting some ideas I thought were crazy and she tried to back them up by saying, "The Bible says..."

I went and grabbed one and gave it to her and said, "Where? Where does it say that?"

Naturally, she couldn't - because it didn't...

my grandfather sat quietly nearby but his eyes were sparkling at my action - he loved it

Now - my mom has become very very religious in recent years and although we are technically both Catholic, we have very different opinions on certain issues.

So when she gets into it...I just say, "Why don't we agree to disagree, okay?"

It's also interesting when something comes out in the media that shakes people's faiths -

like "The DaVinci Code" or "Holy Blood, Holy Grail" or "The Passion" where it is a different interpretation of a theme -

man do people start talking - and often getting really upset...
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  #13  
December 6th, 2004, 11:31 PM
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I just tell people I dont believe in god also and than dh says and WE are ALL Pagan in this house they usually look at Connor and tsk tsk whatever our choice not yours
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  #14  
December 7th, 2004, 09:02 AM
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I had something VERY similar happen to my like this about 2 years ago. We had a new church go up in town, BEAUTIFUL church with custom made stain glass windows. Now I have a HUGE soft spot for Stain Glasss Windows. My mum and I used to visit Cathedrals in Europe that had them. Well my friend who respects my beliefs and never tried to change my mind about anything took me one time so I could see the church and she warned me people are VERY pushy. But nothing could prepare me for what happened.

First I must tell you what I was wearing because I think it played a big part in what happened. I don't know if you all are familiar with bondage pants. But I have a black and red plaid pair that I've owned for 3 years and I love those pants dearly lol and I was wearing those, a purple long sleeved shirt with my black Marilyn Manson shirt over it.

Anyway for the most part during the church service I was ignored and Cassie and I played around and wrote letter adn drew things during the preaching (completely ignoring that person talking) but then at the end of the service they had prayer and like when people go to the alter and get saved and the paster and two other women came back and told me AND I QUOTE
"The devil is in you child, we must pray and force him to leave you"

I was pissed to say the least I told them all I quite liked him staying where he was and to leave me alone and get this they MADE ME LEAVE THEIR CHURCH! My friend Cassie never went back saying that they weren't true christians because of how they had treated me.

Personally I would have got ape #### if it had been me in your story lmao.
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  #15  
December 8th, 2004, 09:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Alisteal@Dec 7 2004, 12:02 PM
* Anyway for the most part during the church service I was ignored and Cassie and I played around and wrote letter adn drew things during the preaching (completely ignoring that person talking) but then at the end of the service they had prayer and like when people go to the alter and get saved and the paster and two other women came back and told me AND I QUOTE
"The devil is in you child, we must pray and force him to leave you"

I was pissed to say the least I told them all I quite liked him staying where he was and to leave me alone and get this they MADE ME LEAVE THEIR CHURCH! My friend Cassie never went back saying that they weren't true christians because of how they had treated me.

<div align="right"><{POST_SNAPBACK}>
[/quote]

While obviously noone should be accusing you of things like devil worship, or singling you out for different beliefs, do you think they were reacting to the fact that you were playing around, writing letters and drawing things during the actual service - kind of disrespectful in the midst of their solemn religious celebration? I completely agree that each person's belief is their own, but if you just wanted to look at the stained glass windows, why disrupt or disturb their service? No disrespect intended - just a question.


As for the original poster - obviously that woman who accosted you, Linda, has a flawed understanding of Christ's message. He was inclusive of everyone, and in fact even severely critisized people who paid more attention to the "how" of prayer rather than the act of worship itself. Hope you never have to experience something like that again!
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  #16  
December 8th, 2004, 10:07 AM
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Melissa,
I think that church was WRONG I would of been a smart ##### and said I prefer to keep satan inside of me, start spinning my head around and vomitting
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  #17  
December 9th, 2004, 02:43 PM
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Quote:
While obviously noone should be accusing you of things like devil worship, or singling you out for different beliefs, do you think they were reacting to the fact that you were playing around, writing letters and drawing things during the actual service - kind of disrespectful in the midst of their solemn religious celebration? I completely agree that each person's belief is their own, but if you just wanted to look at the stained glass windows, why disrupt or disturb their service? No disrespect intended - just a question.[/b]
Considering their own youth were sitting there throwing spitwads at peolpe and laughing. No I think they were being hypocrits. Their own youth were much more disruptive......and my playing around doesn't = disruptive we sat in the back where we would disturb no one and were not rude about it
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  #18  
December 9th, 2004, 11:31 PM
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plus you said they ignored BEFORE you did that ack thats one of the reasons I hate organized religion
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  #19  
December 10th, 2004, 12:58 PM
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I dunno. I see what you're saying about how others were being more disruptive, but still. Didn't you say your friend warned you about this congregation being "very pushy"? I am not defending them at all - they should *never* have done what they did to you - but there are ways to avoid confrontation. One way is to avoid their service entirely, or if you do go, give them absolutely no reason whatsoever to even glance at you - even quietly "playing around" is a reason. People with deadset views just loooove a target. And you, unfortunately, were theirs.

Just for the record, not all organized religions are out to get "non-believers" - the whole message of Christianity, the whole message at its essence - was about loving and forgiving and most of all, inclusive. That's why so many people didn't like Jesus, amongst other reason, because he consorted with people who "broke rules" according to their own humanity. I truly hope that this bad experience with that threatening congregation is not your only brush w-organized religion. I promise you, there are better people out there
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  #20  
December 11th, 2004, 07:24 AM
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The way I handle pushy people is.........I push them back with my own beliefs!!! I`m proud that I believe in GOD........and GOD is with me everyday of my life!
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