My 16 year old daughter is getting hit from all sides for admitting to being an atheist.  My daughter doesn't drink, doesn't do drugs, and hasn't had sex yet..... but she is going to hell according to all of her friends who just happen to do ALL OF THE ABOVE!  

She is a very smart kid and usually just laughs it off and occasionally tells her "friends" that she isn't really an atheist, she just believes in Odin and bases that on of the lack of Ice Giants still roaming the earth. That Odin at least kept THAT promise, a far better record than the christian god.  Blank stares usually follow.

What are some short and sweet retorts she can use?  And bare in mind that, quite obviously she is dealing with kids that have sub room temperature IQs.  

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That's the enigma of being a transitional species - is it more appropriate to say First Bird, or Last Dinosaur?

jerod ,

Are you under the impression that my daughter is initiating these discussions?  When they tell her she has no morals (while smelling like weed or alcohol) and that SHE is going to hell, she should accept that?  She has no desire to convert or deconvert anyone..... I think she just wants to defend herself.  

and yeah, I am demonizing and "idiotizing" them.  They are verbal abusing my daughter.

No, I am fully aware that she isn't the one initiating. And I'm not saying she shouldn't defend herself. Just that when she does, she doesn't act like a bully herself, but a friend. And that isn't going to happen if all she sees in these people are the negative things that you are building up so shamelessly with your demonization. If this continues, then they will likely grow up to be anti-atheists who won't want to listen to anything any atheist has to say ever, and she will grow up to be an anti-theist who mirrors that attitude. There is nothing productive about this tension between extremes. Verbal slander and abuse is stupid and yes it SHOULD be met with humility as a contrast, so that the bully will finally be aware that there IS something else besides what they have always known.

Jerod - I fully agree with this principle - "be the change you want to see", as Gandhi said, but you need to have some fun with them as well, otherwise they think they've got away with being a bully.

@ Jerod

I see you turning around and acting like you can solve the issue by encouraging her to antagonize them back. I mean no disrespect, but shouldn't you encourage her to do the opposite of what they are doing?


It sounds to me like you are saying she should just shut up and not express her views for the sake of making friends. Are you saying she should turn the other cheek? Oh the irony! It seems like his daughter is being bullied, well, verbally at least. The biggest mistake is to ignore a bully. In such a case, it essentially amounts to saying "you're fine, continue on with your bullying. I can take it, I will ignore you". This is dangerous. Bullies needs to be met head on because when you are pushed, you push back. 

This is the ONLY type of bullying that anyone at her school will attempt toward her.  A year ago a well known bully pushed her from behind.  My daughter (the cute little cheerleader and member of the track and softball teams) turned around and warned her not to do it again.  In response, the bully hit her.  My daughter defended herself well that day and the girl that started it ended up getting her two front teeth knocked out. She will not tolerate bullying, nor will I.  

Her friends, for the most part are just busting her chops.  I mean, without a doubt, they are not REALLY religious.  If they were, I doubt they would be drinking, doing drugs and having as much sex as they were.  They are only "religious" because that is all they've known, because all of their divorced and cheating parents are "religious". (I know these stories, because my wife is friends with many of the moms, and I get to hear what these fine, upstanding, church-goers are up to.  It would SHOCK you, I say, SHOCK you!).  I think they just see my daughter as an oddity.... a young woman who can think for herself. WEIRD! 

All (well, MOST!) of these responses were exactly what I was looking for; smart, funny and obvious to anyone with an above room temperature IQ!  

OK, you got there before me.  I'm glad she knows how to stand up for herself. 

Actually, I agree with this too.  Bullies are very difficult to deal with, especially when there are a lot of them.  I think it's essential to show them you're not intimidated by them, no matter how much noise they make.  Allies are necessary, people who have their heads screwed on.  Bullies are stupid ignorant cowards who can't face their own inadequacies and take it out on other people, and when they get together they can be like a pack of dogs.  They want you to feel as bad as they feel.  Sometimes an area has a bad culture - bad people move in, and nice people move out. 

I think it's also about status.  Putting someone down automatically moves you a notch up the status ladder, thereby giving you a little cheap shot of much-needed self-esteem. 

Good stuff, Simon!

Well, if she's as nice as her dad, she's a good girl.  She should join Think Atheist (not that you have to be "good" or otherwise).  Half the people here seem to be refugees from religion.  It's a bit like the Wild West, but none the worse for that.  You get the occasional saloon fight, but nothing that can't be settled over a few shots of whiskey. 

Or Vodka and Mountain Dew, right Unseen?

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