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how do i handle different beliefs

Community Member
Hi, just wondering if anyone has some hints to help me when I have to see religious friends/family who tell me god only did this to test me or if I believe he would help me. I had religion shoved down my throat all the way into my teen years and although I don't believe, I still respect other people's right to. The boys & I went to my ex sister-in-law's b/ day & she was pretty full on in saying the whole pain/ depression/anxiety "deal" could be solved with prayer. I've tried to tactfully explain what's going on, and she quoted the bible and told me she was my friend and was there for me. How do I tell her thanks but no thanks without hurting her feelings. She wants to start the friendship again, her hubby passed 6 yrs ago & I don't remember either of them being religious, so I'm not sure what to say or do. Any suggestions appreciated thanks
10 Replies 10

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni
hello Redgirl, I have no doubt that some people do believe in religion so I'm not going to object in anyway, because they are entitled to believe in God and prayer, however myself I'm not religious at all and certainly don't want to be told to pray for forgiveness, health or happiness, because to me it means nothing and it does annoy me, so I just say to them if they want to believe in religion that's their choice, but please I would appreciate if you didn't try and convince me because it won't work.
I have a lot of people who believe in God, so that's great for them,I have no argument against that because that's their belief, but for me it means nothing and I don't want anybody to try and preach to me about God, they are wasting their time, and I'm not interested.
I wouldn't denounce any religion to them as that may upset them,I would just tell her that you're pleased she has found some piece with God, but please I have no desire to find God, and if I ever want to I will come and see you, but please let's talk about something else.
If a relationship only depends on religion then you will have to straight to the point and squash anymore talk about God, sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind.
Tell her that you really appreciated her help and it was that that got you through and not God.
My ex was always a Catholic but now she is a fully fledged one going to church a couple of times a week, and she always tries to push religion onto me, but I say to her no.

Sorry to those who do believe in God. Geoff.

Thanks Geoff, your reply has helped heaps. Even tho I'm sitting here in tears because of the pain & wondering why a "loving, caring god" would do this to me, I still don't want to offend her or her beliefs, so yes, I think straight to the point honesty is best. And like you I wish all people well regardless or their religious persuasion, I just don't want it forced on me, thanks again

Hi Redgirl;

When anyone tries to force their beliefs onto others no matter what the belief is, it can feel very invasive. The word 'force' comes to mind. Your scenario is something I went through years ago. My response was to say; "How would you feel if I tried to convince you God didn't exist? Would you listen? Would you feel uncomfortable because I'm your friend, and don't want to hurt my feelings by asking me to stop? Well that's how I feel."

People don't like feeling helpless when others are hurting. So they give things they think will help. In some cases that's unsolicited religious advice. People basically mean well, but they usually won't stop unless they're asked to. If your friend was hurting, wouldn't you try to give them the name of a really good psych, or some advice on mindfulness?

Having friends is a privilege. I wish I had more. I've learned though, that communicating honestly and tactfully can go a long way. Maybe you could talk to your friend about feeling helpless when you're depressed or anxious. Turn the conversation to them and maybe you'll both get to know each other better.

I wish you well Redgirl...kind thoughts...Dizzy

hi Redgirl, thanks for getting back and I have no objection for people believing in religion that's entirely their decision, but when I get a knock on the door by some religious group forcing their belief onto me, even after I say 'no thanks', then that is something I really dislike.
If any of my friends say that they are about to go to church, I say 'no worries catch up with you later on', but as I say I really don't like them trying to force their beliefs onto me, that's crossing the line, and if they can't accept the fact that I don't believe in religion and stop talking with me, then they are the ones who are missing out, because there are times when we all need a friend to talk to or go out with. Geoff. x

No harm meant for those who believe in religion.

Thanks Dizzy & Geoff. The lady in question is my ex husband's sister in law & even when I was married we really only socialized when it was a family function.Her husband passed away 6 years ago, but I hadn't seen or spoken with her for 7 years prior to that. I thought I had quite a few friends back then but I must have thought wrong. What I'm trying to get at is I don't have any friends to talk with anyhow, none. Mainly because husband #2(the alcoholic) did the guilt trip thing on me early on if I wanted to go out or do things so I guess my friends got sick of the excuses & me saying no. I would like a real human person to talk with,i

Hey Redgirl;

I know exactly where you're coming from girl! I spent more than 2 yrs avoiding everyone, then one day saw a flyer on a notice board and joined a group of like minded women. We're not friends mind you, but it's so nice to converse about anything other than mental health.

Good luck!!

Dizzy x

Hi, thanks for your encouraging words. My problem is that I was made to feel guilty if I did anything for myself, even talking (venting) to my sister or mum on the phone let alone having friends to go out with. The alcoholic narcissist ex husband always found a way to make me the bottom of the ladder in anyones priority list, so now, after 10 years of being wife/mum/slave, I'm lost. I don't know how to talk to people to try to make new friends, that's why I was going to tolerate the religious ex sister-in-law. And because I don't know who "me" is to know what like-minded people are. The wife of an old friend recently made contact but I was informed by her mother-in-law it was only because she found out I was single again & she wanted to keep tabs on me. Sorry for the rant but I'm feeling pretty low & lost.

hi Redgirl, you know that you can post whenever you want and not leave it so long and feel terrible not only in yourself and feel guilty in coming back to us.
You have to make little contact with your ex-usband who is an alcoholic, because when he is drunk anything could come out of his mouth and I'm sure it won't be pleasant.
By all means make contact with your sister in law this could give you back some well needed confidence and another avenue, because your sister and mum may have run out of options and you may feel as talking with them isn't doing much now.
Even though your sister in law (SIL)maybe religious just tell her that all you want is someone to talk to and don't want everything to do with religion.
Are you able to go to a shopping complex and just sit down where a busy supermarket is, someone will come and sit next to you and if like they may start a conversation probably about the weather and then join in, hopefully it could be an old granny who loves a chat, this will enable you to feel comfortable in light chat, and the more often you can do this the better.
Try and invite this lady who wanted to check on you to come back for a coffee, because the more gradual you can do this will slowly build up your confidence. Geoff, x

Hi Geoff, I'd like to read/post more often but everyday life & responsibilities make it hard to find the time to do things just for me. I try to have as little contact with ex-husband but he seems to go out of his way to say or do things to upset me, usually using the boys as messengers. I have only just recently started to tell my mum & sister the truth about what is happening in my life because I didn't want them to be upset or disappointed in me. They have both told me to tell them everything but I still can't. I was always the strong one that they came to when things went wrong & I still feel that I have to be like that, anyhow they couldn't do anything to change my mistakes. My biggest problem was that even tho I said I wasn't having anymore kids after my daughter that I believed my 2nd husband when he promised me the world ( well nearly). He even had my family convinced that he really was a great guy, actually a fantastic liar & manipulator & an even better actor. I believed him & now I'm in this situation that nobody can change. The way he has treated me has made me become a person I don't recognise or like, so why would anyone else like me. Sometimes I don't even feel comfortable talking to my family let alone strangers. The only reason that woman came to see me once to keep tabs on me because I'm single now& she is insecure in her relationship with her husband who used to be my best friend. I have rung & left messages with my S-I-L & have had no reply even tho she knows my number & where I still live, I've asked where she lives but got no response which makes me think she only wanted to preach to me & now doesn't want to know me because I rejected her religious "help". Because of different medications I'm 25kgs heavier than I should be & because of past torment I feel judged because of my weight so I am anxious & nervous about doing anything new in social situations. I want to be the old fun me but I don't know how anymore.