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Cafe Inquiry

Cafe Inquiry is our monthly casual get-together to meet people and discuss topics of science and humanism.


This month's discussion topic: How to maintain friendships/relationships with theists?

If someone you care about says, "I'll pray for you", what is your response? If you share your troubles with someone you care about, and s/he responds, "I always find prayer helps", how do you respond?

While we probably all have examples of positive experiences with people we care about who don't share our non-religious perspectives, so many of us, in our interactions with friends, family, co-workers and others, find ourselves having to bite our tongues when theists/deists/"believers" impose their beliefs and practices on us, even in the most banal or innocuous ways.  It's especially difficult when the intent is to help, or sympathize; and it's a particular challenge to us when we don't want to compromise, adversely affect, or indeed lose that relationship.

Do we, as secular humanists, have to just "bite the bullet" when it comes to interacting with the religious (no matter how nominally) majority and refrain from sharing our own point of view -- or are there ways to handle these situations that help maintain the relationship, but allow us to be true to our own beliefs and values?

Can we avoid being offended, without being offensive?  When do we take exception, and when do we just accept gracefully?

Some questions we might want to explore are:

- How do you respond when a friend says s/he'll pray for you?

- How do you handle advice or sympathy in the form of "pray to God," or "God has a plan"? 

- How do you respond when someone has good fortune and exults, "God is good!"?

- What about being invited to a religious service you feel uncomfortable attending? 

- How should we handle it if a prayer is said at a meeting, or  "under God" is expected in Pledge of Allegiance, etc.? 

- When, if ever, do you confront someone who's proselytizing or using the Bible as the basis for taking a particular position? 


Past Cafe Inquiry topics have included:

  • What makes people more or less religious?

  • Bullying

  • Free speech

  • Gun ownership

  • Social and political change

  • Prostitution

  • Reason vs. emotion

  • Democracy

  • Overpopulation

  • Inalienable rights

No outside food or drink allowed. Free and open to the public.

We are also planning to go out for food and/or drinks afterwards. Free and open to the public.

Interested in leading a discussion or have someone to recommend? Please contact us at dc[at]

The venue is wheelchair accessible. People with disabilities who anticipate needing accommodations or who have questions about physical access may email sdavis [at] centerforinquiry [dot] net in advance of the event.

Join or login to comment.

  • Nick H.

    Hi Pamela! It's going to be a current-events discussion. Hope to you see you then, Nick

    September 25, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Hi! Can anyone tell me what the topic for the October Cafe Inquiry?

    (Tried to send this earlier, not sure if it went through. Apologies if this is a duplicate!)

    September 25, 2014

  • Jeff B

    If anyone is up for a pre-meeting Turkish coffee and/or bite to eat, I'll be at Cafe 8 (424 8th St SE) about 5:45pm. (Gray shirt/blue tie).

    September 23, 2014

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