Dealing with an Atheist "Convert"

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  • #599289

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    I recently saw friend I had not seen in a few years, this friend is 30ish not a teenager and has a kid.

    I did know he was having some issues, but he tells me he is now a member of the NY Atheists society and wants to banish religion from life.

    For what I could see (I hadnt seen him in 3-4 years) I know he made a choice in life which seemed reasonable at the time , but it went wrong and thats when it seemed this path was chosen

    He was also telling me about Shrimp, Bacon and sausage.

    He told me he felt aliented from all his friends including some childhood friends and now he was mostly interested in Science and Philosophy (Not that he asked these friends, he jsut felt alienated).

    Frankly I was a little taken aback. Telling him to see a Rabbi I assure you would not help here. Any ideas

    #917594

    bombmaniac
    Participant

    why associate with a kofer?

    #917595

    adorable
    Participant

    run away from him and when you do bump into him just be nice and friendly but I dont think it will help for you to try and change his mind.

    #917596

    TheGoq
    Participant

    Tell them all that fatty pork is gonna give them high cholesterol and thats why they should return, jk they really sound too far gone i hate to say that about anyone but they sound like they enjoy being frei and there is not much anyone can do at this point.

    #917597

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    Actually I joked about the Cholestoral

    But seriously there is a Kid involved here and the kid is attending Yeshiva

    #917598

    Abelleh
    Participant

    There a two possible reasons why he is a kofer.

    He has no desire to believe in God, in which case you (no offense, but you know its probably true) can’t do anything about it.

    Or, he rationalized that God doesn’t exist. (Now of course you say, “No! It’s not rational! Believing in God makes more sense!” Yes. Shkoyach. I agree. But people still do this.) But this also stems from a certain element of arrogance and close mindedness as well. If its the latter, call up someone who’s an expert in kiruv

    #917599

    am yisrael chai
    Participant

    Perhaps contact someone in kiruv and ask for advice.

    Sometimes people are told to keep contact, for the relationship itself may keep the other interested and connected to Yiddishkeit in the future, as long as it doesn’t affect you negatively. It varies on the individuals involved.

    Perhaps the kiruv organization has someone else trained and qualified to debate him in s& p, since he’s “mostly interested in Science and Philosophy.”

    Wishing you both much hatzlacha.

    #917600

    bombmaniac
    Participant

    “But seriously there is a Kid involved here and the kid is attending Yeshiva”

    O.O

    how does that work?!

    #917601

    EzratHashem
    Member

    This is complex. I would say save the kid while you still have a chance. If the father isn’t with the program, the kid is going to have a rough journey.

    #917602

    Health
    Participant

    Ignore him and try to build a relationship with his kid. Most people who were exposed to religion and gone off the deep end is because of their Taavos. Their Taavos then tell him/her -Don’t worry about anything because there is no G-d. This is not possible to change with reasoning/talking with them. An extraordinary event has to occur for them to change.

    On the other hand, the kid can be prevented from becoming this way. He can be exposed to positive things in Yiddishkeit and these can make a lasting impression. Don’t rely on the Yeshiva to do this, try to have this done during the rest of his time. Like invite the kid for Shabbos meals, etc.

    #917603

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    The Kid is 6-7 and I dont really know the kid and doesnt live in my neighborhood (My friend doesnt live in my neighborhood anymore either)

    The kid does not live with my friend anymore

    #917604

    bombmaniac
    Participant

    how old is the kid?

    #917605

    adorable
    Participant

    why doesnt he live with your friend anymore? divorced? so why are you so sure the kid is going to be harmed from his retarted father?

    #917606

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    He is getting divorced over this issue and the Kid who is going into elementary school will be living with the mother.

    The kid will be seeing his father and I am sure the father will take him places (The kid already knows his father doesnt belive in god)

    #917607

    l

    #917608

    Health
    Participant

    If the mother is Frum, most likely the kid will remain Frum.

    By me -the exact opposite occurred.

    #917609

    bombmaniac
    Participant

    then who cares? let the father rot. unless he has contact with the kid in which case if you want to get involved speak to the mother about giving her child extra chizuk against what teh father may try and tell him

    #917610

    rikki2
    Member

    an agnostic is honest enough to admit he doesn’t know. denying a creater without a plausable explanation for the way the world is is simply fighting hashem!

    #917611

    bombmaniac
    Participant

    well look at it from an objective standpoint. we have questions that we cant answer so we place our faith in god. they have questions they cant answer so they place their faith in science and time. that time will reveal the science behind it all. to quote shmuley boteach (and im not a supporter i just really liked this line he used) “the only difference is that our “God” has 3 letters in his name and their’s has 4″ (time…for those of you who didnt get it)

    so we look at the world and we look at the torah and we choose the torah for whatever reason each of us has emuna (in varies from person to person) an atheist looks at the world and looks at the torah…sees gaps…(which judaism explains as “its hashem’s cheshbon, we dont or cant understand it) and turns to science. insteead of acknowledging that humanity will never know everything they have faith that in time science will out. so yeah…thats how you get atheists…that and its usually predicated on tzadik v;ra lo rasha v;tov lo or some variant (the world is so unjust that there couldnt possibly be a god to which i usually respond “what if there is a god and he just hates you” always fun to see the reactions)

    agnostics want to believe in something but they just cant reconcile their differences with religion so theyre left in limbo picking and choosing from whatever they like. then you have gnostic atheists who unlike regular atheists who belive in no god, believe that there IS no god. theres a subtle difference. agnostic atheists think that the subject of god is irrelevant…they dont believe in god even if he does exist. gnostic atheists believe that there IS NO god. or as christopher hitchins put it…”antitheist”

    im rambling…

    #917612

    we’ve gone through this with a close relative–not a teenager who was “bumming out”, also using science and philosophy and other religions etc (acting as if he is the mature and openminded one and we are the ones that are blindly letting society raise us. My husband got guidance and did a ton of research-no matter how well my husband proved him wrong he still was insistent(to the point where he looked foolish but he just couldn’t back down and admit he was wrong) when we saw that logical conversation wasn’t working we were told to just love him and avoid all discussion about his beliefs. I came to the realization that he was dating someone not Jewish and thats where his issues with Hashem came up-he wanted to do what he wanted and not be accountable for it so the easiest thing to do is declare that there is no Hashem c”v and then he can do what he wants. I was referred to a specific rav by someone in the same boat and he told me about a segula involving putting a brick in the oven while baking challah with specific wording on it and then leaving it at a tzaddiks kever-i don’t remember exactly but you know what within a relatively short time he told my husband he was putting on tefillin again and now he is B”H shomer shabbos and looking for a solid frum girl!!! proof that NOONE is beyond hope

    #917613

    adorable
    Participant

    what a story! Im practically shaking. Thanks for sharing!!!

    #917614

    rikki2
    Member

    “well look at it from an objective standpoint. we have questions that we cant answer so we place our faith in god. they have questions they cant answer so they place their faith in science and time”

    i’m sorry. there is a difference between knowing something is true and not being able to answer everything and not being able to begin to make your case.

    if you have questions and believe anyway without reason you are a fool not a ma’min”.

    We are supposed to believe what we know to be true. Emuna is to trust hashem that he’s doing the best for us.

    An aethiest is placing his bet on somthing the odds are so heavily against.

    Read Rabbi Leib keleman’s permission to believe.

    #917615

    estrapade
    Member

    When I first began to immerse myself in philosophic writings and abandon faith, my father shared with me a story that took place between one of the European Rabbonim (I forget the name) and his student.

    In short, The Rov sees that a former Talmid of his is no longer observant, and inquires as to why he left the fold. The student responds with an ardent philosophic erudition refuting Torah m’Sinai, etc. The Rov responded by asking him: Did you first find philosophy, and then go off the derech? Or, did you first go off the derech, and then find philosophy?

    The Mumar l’Teavon is an old and depressing character throughout Jewish history.

    In regards to OP’s friend, since science is based on inductive reasoning, as opposed to deductive reasoning, his belief that science refutes the Torah is not a very strong one to make. Science, by its very nature, is prone to substantial error. Besides, most of science does not conflict with the Torah at all, and those areas that do, may be reconcilable.

    Just remember, the great scientist/philosopher Aristotle believed that objects fell to the ground because they were drawn to the center of the earth. It was only millennia later that gravity was discovered, and Aristotle’s beliefs were dismissed.

    In all the time that science has made great errors, and faced great revisions, observant Jews stuck to their guns and observed the Torah as per their mesorah.

    Alas, I’m a kofer too, only my arguments are quite solid. 😉

    #917616

    bombmaniac
    Participant

    rikki: im not condoning atheism im explaining it as i understand it. if someone finds our explanation unsatisfactory for whatever reason they go to something else. does it necessarily explain everything? no. but it gives them hope that their questions will be answere. every atheist has a different reason why they find religion unsatisfactory…and yes i read permission to believe. notice he never says that any of those chapters prove the existence of god…its an indication which leads you to emuna.

    “if you have questions and believe anyway without reason you are a fool not a ma’min”

    they say the same of us. they think were deluded idiots who stick our fingers in our ears and disregard science to perpetuate our delusions. in order to combat atheism you need to really understand their standpoint. im not condoning it at all, im explaining it.

    if religion was so ironclad then there wouldnt be atheists. if hashem’s existence were emperically proven there would be no bechira. were all given a choice…we chose frumkiet others choose atheism or other religions. you dont have to like it…thats how it is.

    on teh subject of torah vs. science, the argument is almost moot. belief in god allows a variable which science does not. for example the age of teh universe is determined by determining the speed of universal expansion. assuming you want to use the bing bang theory then using that speed you can extrapolate the precise point and tine of origination. allow god as a variable and that inital propulsion is no longer necessary to generate the speed that we observe in cosmic shifts. it could all have been set in motion meaning that the universe could in fact be a lot younger than science believes. thats just one example.

    as far as im concerned debates with atheists about the actual existence of god is pointless. heres teh debate ion a nutshell.

    “god is a delusion”

    “then how do you explain x y and z”

    “with a b and c”

    “but where did it all come from”

    “science will find out”

    “we know god did it”

    “maybe it was the flying spaghetti monster”

    and so on and so forth until both sides either agree to disagree or then end up insulting each other. of someone is takeh an atheist…then leave them alone unless they ask you for help. it isnt worth it and youre wasting your time and energy.

    #917617

    bombmaniac
    Participant

    also, kofer, what is your point?

    #917618

    rikki2
    Member

    bombmaniac

    you say.

    if religion was so ironclad then there wouldnt be atheists.

    religion is difficult because we have a hard time with the existence of something we don’t see.

    however when you look at something as simple as a banana or something as basic as the eye, logic tells you thar it couldn’t have been accidental.

    Let’s take an example:

    2 people who a cell phone with strange features on it. Both don’t understand why there are certain features on it.One denies that it was manufactured. The other one says “of course it was manufactured, such a sophistacated thing can never come by itself.”

    The one who denies that it was manufacured tells the one who says it was “You have questions that you cant answer so you place your faith that it was manufacturer had a reason for making it this way. I have questions I cant answer so I place my faith in science and time that they’ll figure out how it came by itself”

    Does that make sense? Neither does your defense of aethiesm!

    #917619

    rikki2
    Member

    Member

    bombmaniac

    you say.

    if religion was so ironclad then there wouldnt be atheists.

    religion is difficult because we have a hard time with the existence of something we don’t see.

    however when you look at something as simple as a banana or something as basic as the eye, logic tells you thar it couldn’t have been accidental.

    Let’s take an example:

    2 people who see a cell phone with strange features on it. Both don’t understand why there are certain features on it.One denies that it was manufactured. The other one says “of course it was manufactured, such a sophistacated thing can never come by itself.”

    The one who denies that it was manufacured tells the one who says it was “You have questions that you cant answer so you place your faith that it was manufacturer had a reason for making it this way. I have questions I cant answer so I place my faith in science and time that they’ll figure out how it came by itself”

    Does that make sense? Neither does your defense of aethiesm!

    #917620

    bombmaniac
    Participant

    IM NOT DEFENDING IT

    do i have to say it again?! IM NOT defending atheism. you wanna know how it works? thans how it works. youre frum becuase atheism makes no sense to you. skoyach. same here. im explaining their side. stop saying im defending it.

    #917621

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    I do not think Science and the Torah really clash, the clash is actually articifical.

    While I belive in Torah Umaddah, One could easily say Scientific discoveries are in the torah, but where there are is not found. Is the City of New York in the Torah, I dont know (It obviously did not exist in the time of the Gemorah and the continent of North America was not known). Is the planets of Uranus and Neptune (I am leaving the argument of Pluto out of this) in the torah, Rabbanim were not looking for Uranus and Neptune so they never found them (You need a Telescope to see them.

    While some might consider this Kefira, Is the Big Bang Theory so differnt than creation. A Big Bang formed the universe, Science does not actually say what caused the big bang (They Postulate) but one could easily say Hashem caused the Big Bang .

    Just because it was discovered by a Scientist instead of a Rov doesnt mean its incompatible with Torah.

    #917622

    rikki2
    Member

    There is nothing in science denying creation. To the contrary, the odds of the universe being here without a creator are ridiculously low.(To the point that one can argue that the stastistisal chances of anything like a world happening on its own is zero)

    Everyone knows there are holocaust deniers, but no one would say

    “If the holcaust was so ironclad then there wouldnt be holocaust deniers.” And if anybody would say that, then they would in some way be defending it. This is what bombmaniac is doing for aetheism.

    #917623

    dandelion
    Member

    Of course not. But that’s what many atheists think. Their beliefs are irrational but it’s important to understand how they rationalize them, because only then can you even try to have a conversation with them about it. If you can’t even see where they’re coming from you’ll never be able to convince them of anything.

    #917624

    bombmaniac
    Participant

    dandelion…thank you.

    #917625

    dandelion
    Member

    No problem, thought you deserved some backup, as I didn’t see any defending or condoning in what you were saying, just explaining/describing, which isn’t the same thing.

    #917626

    springbok007
    Participant

    a famous tana had a wicked neighbour, he prayed this man should die and told his wife. Tipesh she said, be mispallel the neighbour should do teshuva. We never give up no matter what. Even the atheists when out looking for converts say. ‘please G-d there should be more of us’ in our hour of need we can only turn to the Ribono shel olam so ultimately, ad yom moso…

    chazak ve’ematz

    #917627

    Tums
    Member

    Ever notice how atheists suddenly cry out to G-d when they are dying?

    #917628

    Health
    Participant

    Tums – The saying is -There is no such thing as an atheist in a foxhole (military).

    #917629

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    My friend is not the only such person I have met, only the closest I have known.

    And they all did say something similar and this should be chizuk for all.

    Real or perceived hypocracy. I know it hard to admit they might be right here, but sometimes they are.

    #917630

    MDG
    Participant

    “a famous tana had a wicked neighbour, he prayed this man should die and told his wife. she said, be mispallel the neighbour should do teshuva. We never give up no matter what. “

    Brachot 10a.

    Bruriah told her husband, Rabbi Meir, to pray for the wicked neighbor because, as a yid, the neshamah of the neighbor is pure. It is only outside factors that bring him down. The praying was to eliminate the outside factors and let the true nature of the neshama shine.

    #917631

    old man
    Participant

    My advice:

    Do not try to save the world, or this person’s soul, you have not proven that you are equipped to change someone who didn’t ask you for help. The fact that you know him does not qualify you to change the situation, though you can easily make it worse.

    Stay away from him as much as you can. Associating with him will not do your neshamah any good.

    Let the mother raise the child and hope for the best.

    #917632

    ZachKessin
    Member

    I would politely but firmly say to this person, “On these issues lets just agree to disagree”. You are not going to change his mind, and he will not change yours.

    After that just act in a manor that is polite and civil and hopefully he will do the same.

    Not ideal I know but probably about as good as you are going to get.

    #917633

    bombmaniac
    Participant

    what they said

    #917634

    chalilavchas
    Member

    he told me about a segula involving putting a brick in the oven while baking challah with specific wording on it and then leaving it at a tzaddiks kever-

    Has anyone else had success with this Segulah? If anyone knows the details of how this is supposed to be done, please clarify.

    #917635

    Sam2
    Participant

    chalilvchas: You’re supposed to have Kavana to be Over on the D’Oraisa of Darchei HaEmori so that you can fulfill the Aveirah Bishleimusah.

    #917636

    frummy in the tummy
    Participant

    “Aristotle believed that objects fell to the ground because they were drawn to the center of the earth. It was only millennia later that gravity was discovered, and Aristotle’s beliefs were dismissed.”

    ummmm….objects do fall to the ground because they are drawn to the center of the earth. (The reason they do so doesn’t have to do with something specifically located at the center of the earth, but they are attracted to the earth, and it is the center of the earth that they are pulled to because that is the center of mass.)

    #917637

    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    “Aristotle believed that objects fell to the ground because they were drawn to the center of the earth. It was only millennia later that gravity was discovered, and Aristotle’s beliefs were dismissed.”

    ummmm….objects do fall to the ground because they are drawn to the center of the earth. (The reason they do so doesn’t have to do with something specifically located at the center of the earth, but they are attracted to the earth, and it is the center of the earth that they are pulled to because that is the center of mass.)

    Right. And neither Aristotle nor the modern scientists have any idea why that happens. They are simply describing what they see happening, and calling it a name. Their current theory is that mass bends space through some undiscovered mechanism.

    (Abraham discovered the mechanism actually, using the scientific method, but his research has fallen out of favor. He hypothesized there was G-d, and then tested his hypothesis by serving Him. His hypothesis was proven correct by divine revelation.)

    In fact, there is no way to prove that mass really attracts other mass. It is just as possible that all the mass we know of happens to have this quality for some other reason, but there are types of mass somewhere which don’t have this quality.

    #917638

    frummy in the tummy
    Participant

    popa – lolz; few people have realized that Abraham was actually a Rabbi Doctor.

    I have actually been trying to find the weightless mass you speak of for years, but my donuts seem to keep following the prevalent rule, and I keep getting hungrier.

    #917639

    daniela
    Member

    FWIW (I don’t presume to be giving useful advice, it is a very delicate matter) if it were me, I would not go out of my way to seek this person. But should it happen that I speak to him, I would ask how he deduces, say, from the assumption that God does not exist, which is an abstract idea, statements such as “eating shrimp is fine” or “stealing is fine”. He is likely to reply that he does not think at all that stealing is fine – because it hurts another human being, or something like that – OK awesome you’ve found many points of agreement, same applies in regard to not hurt another human being etc. As for seafood and sausages, he may say that he likes that food (stay silent, let him draw his conclusions, that he is seeking to justify something he had already decided to do) or maybe he says that he tasted them and they are awful and will never eat again (that’s not the best, but better than some), or maybe he will say why should I refrain? It’s told to us in the Torah, but the Torah was not written by God…. oh wait, which God? let him get into confusion. To such remarks, just reply the discussion should not involve God which we can not prove or disprove, that whoever wrote the Torah appear to you pretty bright and smart and he is free to disagree but has to support his point. Always bring back the discussion to concrete situations and keep asking whether he can prove that a life with the “pleasant” aveirot he lists (tell him to list them) is more fulfilling than one without. From time to time also keep telling him that you greatly respect decent atheists and that the same respect is taken for granted in return.

    I don’t think it will change his outlook but I do think it will help him feel he is being taken seriously, it may make him think (and possibly change his mind about some very minor details, but who can weigh a seemingly small mitzva) and given the situation with his son, it is very important that he does not go “out to battle” against the observant people, if you can convince him the world is wide enough for all sort of people, life for his son will be much easier. Be Hatzlacha.

    #917640

    daniela
    Member

    zahavasdad, apologies, I did not notice the date and that your post is one year old.

    #917641

    Trying to escape physical laws is almost symmetric with trying to escape moral laws.

    What is it with Indium Tin Oxide and Light?

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