So I was chatting with a Catholic earlier.....

Okay, so, I’m at work today, and my good friend Ashley and I are talking about religion. Turns out she’s a Catholic, and I told her that I was Greek Orthodox by birth, but agnostic by choice. She seemed confused.

“What’s agnostic?”, she asked.
“To be agnostic means to not nessecarily believe in God, yet still keep an open mind.(Thats an okay definition, right?)”, I replied.

“Whaaaaat??! You don’t belive in God!!!”
“No, Ash, thats not what I sa…”
“How could you not belive in God?”

And so ensued another hour of her pestering me about God.

“Jeff you should go to church. Jeff, believe in God. Just do it.”
“Because God IS real.”
“I never said God wasn’t real.”


Now, I love Ashley, she’s one of the coolest people I know, but this just scared me. I kinda surprised me too. I would never expect something like that from her. Either way, we’ve agreed to continue our “conversation” next sunday(next time we see eachother).

What do you think I should say to her, to get her off my back and respect my decision, without sounding like an asshole?

How old is Ashley, that she’s never heard the word “agnostic” before? She seems to have what the Jesuits would call an “unexamined” faith.
Anyway … here’s a cheap trick that I’ve used to get out of the same jam.
The Catholics have a concept called the “gift of faith”. (For all I know, this concept exists in other Xian sects). It’s actually a rather subtle concept, and most Catholics don’t fully understand it (if they’ve ever even heard of it). You can use a gross bastardization of the concept:

you: “Ashley, have you ever heard of the gift of faith?”
A: “[yes, no, kina]”
you: “Well, you obviously have it. But I haven’t [received it, found it]. I may someday find it, but if I ever do, I need to let it come to me in its own time. If I go back to church without it, it won’t work and it will just set me back.”

Admittedly, this is somewhat dishonest, but I think justified for two reasons: 1) It’s a social white lie, and I’m a firm believer in the social white lie (“No honey, those pants don’t make you look fat.” :D); and 2) your friend (with the best of intentions) is being rude. Defusing the situation is acceptable.


I’ve a similar situation every so often, in that as soon as I say casually I’m non-Christian, I get astonished looks and then words of advice and sympathy about being atheist.

I’m not atheist! Don’t think I’m even agnostic, 'cause not even that exactly describes what’s inside me. I’m seriously thinking about carrying around little cards, so next time it happens, I’ll just give 'em the card, smile sweetly, and say, “Just read this. All will become clear …”

I would kill her.

But that’s just me…

Sua has the right idea, I think.

However, a friend of mine had a little trick he would use when Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses (Witnessers?), and various other wandering faith groups would come to his door and ask him if he had found Christ and asking to talk to him, etc. He would lower his voice down real low (like a 5 year old imitating the devil) and then tell them he would have to check with his master first. He would then sort proceed to have a conversation with himself and then say that his master forbids it unless they partake in the sacrificial goat offering. That usually was the end of that.

Y’know? Sometimes there’s no use in arguing, especially with a Catholic. They’re very set in their ways. My best friend is a Catholic and I know we could argue about our beliefs (we’re both Christians, but Catholicism and Presbyterianism are rather different) until blue in the face and it would never get us anywhere.

What your friend needs is exposure to other denominations and religions. Though I haven’t had the opportunity to look at other religions, I know that even going to other denominational churches has opened my mind much more and lets me accept them.

And hey, I don’t think I knew what being agnostic was until I was 14 or so. Actually, I knew that someone could be agnostic, but I didn’t know the word for it. It isn’t a word that we throw around in this part of the world, I guess.

I wish you luck, Jeff.

We are? I’m a Catholic and the Catholics I know are about as relaxed in their faith as anyone. Without exaggeration, I can honestly say that among the Catholics I went to school with, the ratio of “ah, whatever” Catholics to staunch Catholics was fifty to one.

If you don’t know what an agnostic is, you’re just ignorant.

You may wish to use a narrower brush stroke to paint your picture of how “set in their ways” Catholics are…

Also…If you and your Catholic friend BOTH argue till you’re blue in the face…then perhaps you are as set in your ways as she is in hers? :wink:

Sorry guys, my mistake. I should have made that say, “The Catholics that I know” without generalizing all Catholics. I’m sorry.

I think the point that I was trying to make (and I miserably failed because I’m terrible at expressing myself) is that the OP should not bother arguing with his friend because it won’t get either of them anywhere, since they both seem content with what they are. However, he should try to open her mind to other ideas since it’s obvious that she grew up with a limited set of beliefs.

With my best friend and I, it’s more like me telling her something casually which I believe, and her telling me that what I believe is wrong. This in turn makes me angry, then an argument ensues.

For instance, one time she told me that my sins “don’t really get forgiven” because I don’t “get my sins atoned by a priest.”

I remarked, “Well friend, Presbyterians don’t believe in going to Confession and we don’t have priests, so are you saying that us who don’t have our sins atoned by priests are going to Hell? Does that make Presbyterians wrong?”


:mad: WTF? That’s one thing I try to never do, and that is to tell a person that what they believe is wrong. No one knows who is right, so why pretend to be a know-it-all and make myself look stupid in the process? However, I have enough respect and loyalty to my own religion for her statements to irritate me.

Carry on.

At least your friend was honest with you, ** Welfy ** and that’s a sign of a solid friendship. You should be grateful that you have a friend who is willing to be that blunt with you. And if she helps point you in the direction of the one true religion along the way…hey, bonus! ;j

actually, that last smiley should be something more like :stuck_out_tongue: but I’ve been wanting to use the orthodox smiley for a while now.

That s hilarious! :smiley:
I usually just say that I am a believer in Christ or some shit like that - assure them once or twice that I go to church every sunday and they give up. Well they cant guess I am a blasphemic bitch who gets stoned on graveyards?!

whatever catholic (it bothers my religion-teacher that I believe in reincarnation… but I still get an A)

You sort of have to play it by ear. Some people can be engaged in religious debate and some can’t; it depends on whether or not they’re capable of taking a friendly argument as being an intellectual exercise, or whether they take it personally. Heck, I had a friend who was a Jehovah’s Witness who liked a good religious debate as much as anyone, and he never took it personally.

The OP’s friend clearly does not have an intellectual understanding of her own faith. The problem, as SuaSponte points out, is not that she’s Catholic, it’s that her faith is unexamined - she hasn’t really THOUGHT about it, and so is simply incapable of discussing religion on an intellectual level. On the other hand, you might find someone from the very same church who could have a great discussion about different religions.

Yeah, I’m a Catholic, and you know I’m not like that.

BTW, I’ve been arguing at this teen board called razzberry, just to get the goats of some of the most rabid fundies. The sad thing is, most of them are young teens who are just very ignorant in the sense that that’s all they know, and they’re still not accepting to open viewpoints.