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Dealing WIth Fundamentalist Christian Family Members

AngusAngus Vietnam New

Persistent attempted evangelization despite being warned repeatedly that Im not interested . They seem to be deaf as well as dumb . Anyway Im at the end of my rope with their nonsense . Anyone have any suggestions for maintaining relations without having to put up with their bull ?

ShoshinWalkerlobster

Comments

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    I can imagine that being difficult. Perhaps telling them you’ve had such a wonderful time chatting to the local Jehovah’s Witnesses that you’re thinking of joining? The idea being that they think that your “soul” is already being saved...

  • federicafederica Seeker of the clear blue sky... Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    @Angus said:
    Persistent attempted evangelization despite being warned repeatedly that Im not interested . They seem to be deaf as well as dumb . Anyway Im at the end of my rope with their nonsense . Anyone have any suggestions for maintaining relations without having to put up with their bull ?

    First of all you need to cultivate a kind and compassionate attitude, not insult them, or their beliefs. Lead by example, and show some respect. Talking about their beliefs as being 'nonsense and 'bull' is hardly conducive to cultivating Metta and Karuna...

    How old are you, @Angus?

    There are possibly several ways round this, but it depends on different factors...

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    @Angus said:
    Persistent attempted evangelization despite being warned repeatedly that Im not interested . They seem to be deaf as well as dumb . Anyway Im at the end of my rope with their nonsense . Anyone have any suggestions for maintaining relations without having to put up with their bull ?

    Hmm You could just snatch the bible out of their hands and beat them over the head with it...after a while they'll get the hint ;) ;)

    I'm reminded of an ex brother-in-law's brother who became a born again Christian preacher (not directly related to your situation but...) ...When I use to visit my family in the UK and if he and his family happened to be visiting my sister when I was there, he would rattle on about the evils of drugs, alcohol and sex and how Jesus is the only way etc etc... this was back in the late 70s early 80s...

    Anyhow I hadn't heard from him in quite a few years, then one day when speaking to my sister, she told me that he had left his wife, shacked up with his 'male' partner and was heavily into drugs and booze..(from one extreme to the other)...

    However around 10 years ago, he stopped taking drugs and drinking alcohol, and found Buddhism and has been a Buddhist ever since...Go figure...

    I think when it comes to the situation that you are facing, you should tell them how fortunate they are/wonderful it is to have found peace and happiness and you wish them well...and that you too are finding the same peace and happiness on the path that you have chosen to follow...

    Remember ...patience with a big dollop of compassion and kindness will go along way.....Every time you feel resentment towards them arising, counter it with an antidotes...

    Metta works quite well.. and remember to smile..it helps to strengthen the antidote :) :)

    From what i gather, it would seem that it is the job of many so-called Christians to try and recruit ...but like all things...in time this too shall pass

    Walkerlobster
  • federicafederica Seeker of the clear blue sky... Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    Yes indeed @lobster, the Devil makes work for idle hands... give them something to do...!

  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    Anyone have any suggestions for maintaining relations without having to put up with their bull?

    Offer to barbecue him and send dana to the local monks ... 🤪

    Maybe you can use the power of the cross to scare away these vampire relatives?

    BunksWalker
  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran

    Do you really have to maintain relations?

    If i had family members doing this to me I'd be kicking 'em to the kerb......

  • federicafederica Seeker of the clear blue sky... Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    My ex-friend still has the bootmark on her ass, @Bunks ;)

    Bunks
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    As a last resort you could give them the book Living Buddha, Living Christ by Thich Nhat Hanh, it is kind of a bridge between Christian and Buddhist beliefs. It would be a bit of a long shot, no guarantee they would actually read it...

    ShoshinSuraShine
  • WalkerWalker Veteran Veteran
    edited April 26

    @lobster said:

    Personally I do talk to the JW who live on my street. Not at the moment because of Covid-20 (not yet available) but you could ask them to pray for you, not over you or with you ... that should keep them occupied.

    😷

    Yep, give 'em the old Elijah chestnut... you haven't been convinced, so obviously they aren't praying hard enough, or their god isn't listening, perhaps he can't hear, or is away on vacation, or whatever...

    I like Pine Creek's YouTube channel. He calls himself a Calvinist Atheist. He claims that god has revealed himself not to be real to him. Hehe...

    Perhaps I iz Calvinist Buddhist. :D

    BunksShoshin
  • VimalajātiVimalajāti Whitby, Ontario Veteran

    Just start insisting Jesus went to India and everything modern Christians know of their religion is just secondhand fluffy Hindu dharma >:) >:) >:)

    I joke, because that's not true, but you know someone by their fruits, a certain book says, and what is the fruit of their behaviour?

    KeromeBunksSuraShine
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    @Vimalajāti said:
    what is the fruit of their behaviour?

    Well, you could point at the dubious antecedents of a lot of the dogma of the church, which seems to have been selected for the purpose of accumulating and shearing as large a flock as possible. After all the main fruit seems to be an extremely wealthy church ruling by means of guilt and fear.

    Bunkslobster
  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran

    I guess they feel like they need to keep trying out of love for you.

    As far as they’re concerned, if you don’t believe then you’re bound for an eternity in the barbecue!

    Not a very pleasant thing for them to imagine.

    Ren_in_black
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    Anyone have any suggestions for maintaining relations without having to put up with their bull ?

    As a last resort you could always do a Jack Nicholson

    WalkerBunks
  • federicafederica Seeker of the clear blue sky... Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator
    edited April 27

    I'm not sure whether our friend @Angus will make a comeback. Perhaps (I suspect) these may not be the answers he was looking for... The general tone of his first post makes me think he sought a more...'aggressive' approach, with a clearly-defined, strongly-worded rebuttal strategy...
    As, if, and when he returns, I would be very happy to re-open the thread, for his comments to be added.

    @Angus, just drop me a PM... Happy to re-open for you to catch up.

    ETA: Thanks to all contributors.

  • AngusAngus Vietnam New

    Thank you for your contributions to the earlier discussion . Some interesting ideas there . Basically the one I favour most is the way I would advise myself and thats that even these people can be practice material. Of course the point I was trying to make is that there has to be a point reached where you can do no more to either help them or develop ones own response - without employing the Glasgow kiss - and at this point one should retire from their company if possible.
    This one is worse than any born again Xtian.Any conversation topic with her within seconds returns to the Right Wing Christian View .There is just no talking sense to her , her mind is made up , her cup is full and shes just not listening . Its like a flat earther who despite being shown all the evidence continues to argue and then its all the conspiracy theories ganging up on the true believers. Metta practice does help . As a result I have also started reciting the metta sutta every morning after sitting .

    Bunks
  • federicafederica Seeker of the clear blue sky... Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    Mod. Note: Threads merged.

    You're welcome. :)

    lobster
  • federicafederica Seeker of the clear blue sky... Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    @Angus, thank you for your comment, and welcome back.
    You haven't actually addressed any of the points put to you, or responded to any questions.
    I would ask again, how old you are?
    My further input would depend on your reply to that... :)

  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran

    Haha the old Glasgow kiss....I'm not sure the Buddha would approve :)

  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran
    edited May 3

    Quite likely both you and your family members have attachment to views to some extent. That's what causes the irritation right? I think most any of us have some attachment to views and thereby have the potential to become irritated. I wonder if there is a reachable, measurable, and realistic goal with these specific people. For example your goal could be to try to understand their position and have them understand your reaction at least to some point in particular. Having too high expectations might be causing some of the emotions of frustration? But if you have a reachable short term goal maybe you can see if you can make gradual progress with a long term perspective? In terms of the Metta sutra that talks about wishing good will to people who are difficult right? But you start with yourself and someone you can wish all goodness on immediately like a beloved parent/friend/pet.

    lobsterBunks
  • howhow Veteran Veteran

    Hey Angus

    I have also found that once you can see that evangelists get all their brownie points through the act of evangelizing and that your only reason for existence is to facilitate that practice, then you can return the favor by seeing that the best usage of your time with them is to treat their evangelizing like any other arising thought in meditation where you neither grasp onto it or push it away or even ignore it.

    Become accomplished in this practice and your visits with your evangelizing relatives will simply become an opportunity for you (and perhaps them) to experience an ever widening heart & mind.

    ShoshinBunksAngus
  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran
    edited May 3

    Also family stuff can be really deep seated emotionally. In my experience even some family members I admire as people when you put me together with them for too long a period of time, like in the same house for a week, it does not end very well or pretty for me in that they can set off as I say some powerful deep seated emotional stuff or in my case mental illness stuff in me.

    Bunkshow
  • AngusAngus Vietnam New

    Thank you all again for your valuable offerings. I have found them very helpful in dealing with the problem. The advice to treat unpleasant experiences in daily life as we do in formal meditation is something I am actively trying , its an obvious thing but something i had not considered. Also that I am attached to my views as much as anyone else is. Though i dont try and force them on others still I have this underlying feeling that I am always right or nearly always right. Monks talked about that attachment as being a massive hinderance i remember . So how to get rid of attachment to views ? Thanks for your replies and I will try and be more active in my engaging with the support and positions expressed here.

    howWalkerKeromelobster
  • federicafederica Seeker of the clear blue sky... Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    A very good book I have been recommended, and am currently reading is "Being Nobody, Going Nowhere". I heartily recommend it, because while reading it, every time a question popped into my head, quiote bizarrely it was answered in the book shortly afterwards. The author is a woman called Ayya Khema. Really good read.

    She tackles these pernicious thoughts we are all subject to and lays out solutions, explanations and remedies in a very matter-of-fact simple, realistic way.
    Now, as I have said before, 'Simple' doesn't mean 'Easy'. While her recommendations are simple, they are both unarguable and somewhat challenging to implement.
    But definitely worth it.

    She expounds that thoughts do not come bidden. We don't say, "now I am going to think about so-and-so." we just think about so-and-so. Therefore, how can we call the thoughts ours, if they come and go as they please? These thoughts, opinions, impressions don't define who we are, because they happen spontaneously. So in order to detach from such thoughts, it pays to view them as they arise, as unwelcome, unbidden and not belonging to us. They are unwelcome invaders. So, close the door.

    See? Simple.
    Easy? Another matter entirely...

    Bunks
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran
    edited May 12

    @Angus said:
    So how to get rid of attachment to views ?

    Often the history of our glorious forum has something to say on these things, it is rare to have a question which has not been asked before in the more than 15 years of this forums existence. So I did a little searching for you and came up with this thread:

    https://newbuddhist.com/discussion/20119/attachment-to-views-can-you-laugh-at-yourself-your-beliefs-practices

    Of course the question whether you can laugh at your most serious beliefs is not the only determinant whether you can let go of them, although it is a good one. If you are ever insulted or hurt by what others say about your beliefs, that is a good indicator.

    For me personally I have been trying to say ‘yes’ when people ask me to do things, and if you look as mindfully as possible into the instances when you feel compelled by something to say no, you’ll usually find yourself confronting pride or another of the defilements. I find it really helpful to examine myself like this, it always reminds me that perhaps I have a little further still to go.

    howBunks
  • howhow Veteran Veteran
    edited May 12

    @Federica

    "These thoughts, opinions, impressions don't define who we are, because they happen spontaneously. So in order to detach from such thoughts, it pays to view them as they arise, as unwelcome, unbidden and not belonging to us. They are unwelcome invaders. So, close the door."

    Perhaps I am misinterpreting what you are saying but
    From one Zen perspective which shy's away from a deliberate production of koan practice.....

    The complexity introduced to one's meditation in intentionally imparting a "view" upon arising thoughts is something best reserved for the safer confines of a master/disciple relationship.

    The average mind/ego/identity or sense of self has had an entire life of developed mastery over its storyline that it maintained through the same deliberate manipulations of our sense gate info that your author seems to be recommending.

    Meditation works by not volunteering to get into the ring with this bruiser, rather than jumping into someone else's home turf to try to punch up against our weight classification.

    Awakening from the dream of our own spiritual limitation occurs not in substituting one dream for another but in simply no longer participating in any more dream productions.

    lobster
  • federicafederica Seeker of the clear blue sky... Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    So in order to detach from such thoughts, it pays to view them as they arise, as unwelcome, unbidden and not belonging to us. They are unwelcome invaders. So, close the door."

    and -

    Awakening from the dream of our own spiritual limitation occurs not in substituting one dream for another but in simply no longer participating in any more dream productions.

    If I'm not mistaken, we're saying much the same?

    Although I am absolutely not quoting verbatim, you may have to take issue with Ayya Khema. It is she who expounded this PoV... which I obviously do happen to agree with. In reading her book, it's hard to fault her basic, simple logic.

  • howhow Veteran Veteran
    edited May 12

    @Federica
    Thanks for responding.

    I was thinking that the difference (as I understood it) in my logic and Ayya Khema was..

    Thoughts that are allowed to freely arise, exist and then depart, unmollested by any habituated responses to them are just our real experience of those thoughts not actually belonging to us.

    Thoughts that are not allowed to freely arise, exist and then depart, through a labeling of them as unwelcome, as an expression of aversion, is a habituated response more akin to psychological therapy than to meditation.

    I think those two approaches are not only fundamentally different but one application can safely be practiced by the average DIY practitioner whereas the other application is best reserved for someone prepared to stay connected to a professional throughout that process.

    Shoshinlobster
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran
    edited May 12

    The most useful piece of advice I was given when I fist started to mediate was this...

    "All a thought ( wholesome & unwholesome) wants is to be acknowledged, it will then dissolve of its own accord (its energy will run its course)...However if one tries to block it's entry, it will keep on knocking getting louder/stronger and louder/stronger" energy build up so to speak... and something's got to give....

    What one resists will persist ....

    lobsterhow
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