Author Topic: A Couple Issues  (Read 1075 times)

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Offline NightOwl

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A Couple Issues
« on: May 11, 2011, 11:36:41 PM »
Hi everyone,

This is my first time posting on a religious forum, so please bear with me :P.

First off, would it be spiritually dishonest to keep my conversion private from friends and family, possibly even my former church (Presbyterian USA)? I'm in college so the only issue would be going to services at home over Christmas, Easter, and summer breaks. I haven't really figured out how I'm going to handle this. One aspect to consider is that my church is incredibly secular and liberal (I didn't know what the Trinity meant until I studied it independently last year), and of course anyone can receive Communion. I'll probably discuss it with my parish priest when I begin attending the ROCOR church close to campus this fall, but I'd also appreciate any advice.

Second, I still number a few atheists among my friends from my high school years of religious complacence and liberal Presbyterian upbringing. One of my oldest friends has unfortunately turned quite militant and belligerent in his beliefs, often mocking or criticizing Christianity. I've tried to slowly cut off the friendship but found it quite difficult because he lives in the same dorm. How should I react when he makes fun of Christianity? Argumentation? Silence? Utter belligerence? So far I've been keeping quiet to avoid confrontation and scorn but it makes me a little uneasy. How sensitive should Christians be with atheists who poke fun at the faith?

Thank you!
-Andrew
« Last Edit: May 11, 2011, 11:40:53 PM by AndrewR »

Online Alveus Lacuna

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Re: A Couple Issues
« Reply #1 on: May 12, 2011, 12:10:29 AM »
How should I react when he makes fun of Christianity? Argumentation? Silence? Utter belligerence? So far I've been keeping quiet to avoid confrontation and scorn but it makes me a little uneasy.

I'd tell him to stop being such a jerk, and that if he was really your friend in any way he would be more respectful of your beliefs.

Offline podkarpatska

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Re: A Couple Issues
« Reply #2 on: May 12, 2011, 07:56:25 AM »
How should I react when he makes fun of Christianity? Argumentation? Silence? Utter belligerence? So far I've been keeping quiet to avoid confrontation and scorn but it makes me a little uneasy.

I'd tell him to stop being such a jerk, and that if he was really your friend in any way he would be more respectful of your beliefs.

Great advice! If that doesn't work with him, then its his problem, not yours.

Offline JamesRottnek

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Re: A Couple Issues
« Reply #3 on: May 12, 2011, 07:52:25 PM »
I think that keeping your conversion from family and friends is not necessarily bad or good.  I think it depends on what you mean.  Are you going to deny your Christianity?  Are you going to refrain from going to Church or lie about where you have to be when a friend asks you to hang out or when you are home on breaks?  In those cases I would say it is a bad thing.  But, if you mean that you just aren't going to mention it to them, that isn't necessarily bad.  I intend to tell those family members that I don't see often only as the subject comes up, that is, I won't be making special phone calls or anything.

Regardless, I would follow the advice of the priest at the Church you attend/will attend.
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Offline Kasatkin fan

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Re: A Couple Issues
« Reply #4 on: May 13, 2011, 12:05:37 AM »

First off, would it be spiritually dishonest to keep my conversion private from friends and family, possibly even my former church (Presbyterian USA)? I'm in college so the only issue would be going to services at home over Christmas, Easter, and summer breaks. I haven't really figured out how I'm going to handle this. One aspect to consider is that my church is incredibly secular and liberal (I didn't know what the Trinity meant until I studied it independently last year), and of course anyone can receive Communion. I'll probably discuss it with my parish priest when I begin attending the ROCOR church close to campus this fall, but I'd also appreciate any advice.
In an ideal world you would be able to tell them right away and they'd be completely understanding.
This isn't an ideal world. I know when I converted I was afraid of how my mom would react. While she was clearly hurt by the fact that I was disgarding Anglicanism (which runs deep in my family, my grandfather having been a minister), she respected it. In all honesty if they truly buy into what a liberal Church teaches, then they'll be fine, if confused, over your decision.
Basically don't keep it from them if you don't have to, but also find a good time to tell them. You'll have to eventually but obviously some times are better than others. If that time doesn't happen while you're still in school, then tell them after.

Quote
Second, I still number a few atheists among my friends from my high school years of religious complacence and liberal Presbyterian upbringing. One of my oldest friends has unfortunately turned quite militant and belligerent in his beliefs, often mocking or criticizing Christianity. I've tried to slowly cut off the friendship but found it quite difficult because he lives in the same dorm. How should I react when he makes fun of Christianity? Argumentation? Silence? Utter belligerence? So far I've been keeping quiet to avoid confrontation and scorn but it makes me a little uneasy. How sensitive should Christians be with atheists who poke fun at the faith?

Thank you!
-Andrew
When I was in post-secondary I had an atheist friend, he would often make jokes about Christians, usually I would counter with jokes about atheists (although I admit I sometimes started it). It really depends on the nature of the relationship. If he's making hurtful comments about Christianity then ask him not to, and make clear that the friendship cannot survive such hostility.

Offline NightOwl

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Re: A Couple Issues
« Reply #5 on: May 13, 2011, 12:44:20 AM »
Thank you for the advice, I really appreciate it!

@Alveus Lacuna

One issue may be that I haven't made my beliefs clear enough, so he thinks such remarks are acceptable due to my former religious skepticism. I could stand to be more assertive when the topic of religion comes up in conversation.

 
@JamesRottnek

I would never deny my Christianity! I am more worried about having to go to my Presbyterian church during holidays or summer, even though I avoid it as often as I can.

@Kasatkin fan
Oh yes I definitely plan on letting them know at some point. But I'm concerned about how many grandma might take it, since she was the most enthusiastic about my participation in the church and I can only imagine it would be a horrible shock to learn I was planning on abandoning the denomination. On the other hand she may be relieved to hear that I am A.) staying within Christianity and B.) not becoming Catholic ;)!

Offline Jason.Wike

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Re: A Couple Issues
« Reply #6 on: May 13, 2011, 06:31:23 PM »
How should I react when he makes fun of Christianity? Argumentation? Silence? Utter belligerence? So far I've been keeping quiet to avoid confrontation and scorn but it makes me a little uneasy. How sensitive should Christians be with atheists who poke fun at the faith?

Pray for him to be converted by Christ, every day.

Offline biro

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Re: A Couple Issues
« Reply #7 on: May 13, 2011, 06:55:25 PM »
I was very scared to let my family know I was interested in the Orthodox Church, but they turned out to be happy and supportive. Hope things get better for you.   :)
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Offline David Garner

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Re: A Couple Issues
« Reply #8 on: May 13, 2011, 09:19:36 PM »
Hi everyone,

This is my first time posting on a religious forum, so please bear with me :P.

First off, would it be spiritually dishonest to keep my conversion private from friends and family, possibly even my former church (Presbyterian USA)? I'm in college so the only issue would be going to services at home over Christmas, Easter, and summer breaks. I haven't really figured out how I'm going to handle this. One aspect to consider is that my church is incredibly secular and liberal (I didn't know what the Trinity meant until I studied it independently last year), and of course anyone can receive Communion. I'll probably discuss it with my parish priest when I begin attending the ROCOR church close to campus this fall, but I'd also appreciate any advice.

Andrew,

Welcome!  As to this, I think there is nothing "spiritually dishonest" about keeping it private for a time as you weigh conversion.  I think at some point you will have to discuss it.  We just confronted it openly up front with folks we wanted to know, but I don't think it's dishonest to keep it to yourself as you consider it.

At some point, though, you won't really be able to keep it private from close friends and family.  If you are attending the services, keeping the fasts, etc., someone will notice.

Offline Kasatkin fan

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Re: A Couple Issues
« Reply #9 on: May 13, 2011, 10:43:46 PM »

@Kasatkin fan
Oh yes I definitely plan on letting them know at some point. But I'm concerned about how many grandma might take it, since she was the most enthusiastic about my participation in the church and I can only imagine it would be a horrible shock to learn I was planning on abandoning the denomination. On the other hand she may be relieved to hear that I am A.) staying within Christianity and B.) not becoming Catholic ;)!
A) was the reaction of my mother, especially when she initially thought I was converting to Judaism. :D

Offline Seraphim98

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Re: A Couple Issues
« Reply #10 on: May 14, 2011, 01:55:47 AM »
Fr. Stephen has some things of interest to say about atheism and Orthodoxy in his blog Glory To God: http://fatherstephen.wordpress.com/2007/03/23/the-challenge-of-atheism/

Offline sainthieu

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Re: A Couple Issues
« Reply #11 on: May 14, 2011, 11:06:27 AM »
How should I react when he makes fun of Christianity?

With love in your heart; it's the Orthodox way. Don't argue with him or even debate. You don't presently know enough about Orthodoxy to debate him, other than to convey your personal impressions. Explain your position, if need be, and then just take all the crap he is undoubtedly going to send your way with as much patience and forbearance as you can muster. He's a friend, and friends don't come easy. Unfortunately, we're all living in a world of illusion, and atheism is now in fashion. Over time, you may impress him with your attitude of kindness. Nothing will impress him more than seeing the positive effect it has had on you. He's open to influences, too.
« Last Edit: May 14, 2011, 11:09:39 AM by sainthieu »

Offline NightOwl

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Re: A Couple Issues
« Reply #12 on: May 14, 2011, 02:57:18 PM »
sainthieu , I find that very sound advice, thanks!

And the blog was great too- I loved his point about the importance of loving one's enemies and Christianity being one of the few (or perhaps the only) religions to really emphasize this.