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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Find new friends. I don't know why she'd wanna hang out with such plankton. Why don't you introduce her to this website? I'm sure she'll love it.

She has been all over this site, and she does love it!

New friends is a tall order.  We live in West-By-God-Virginia, which means 99% of the kids in her school are bible thumpers.  Which is actually HILARIOUS when you consider these kids are the least moral group of hoodlums I've ever seen amongst teenagers..... and that's saying a BUNCH!  

I have my own version of Heaven and Hell which most people won't agree with, but what the "hell". 

I believe in life after death.  This doesn't require a belief in God, since I see it as just another part of nature, one which we living people are barely in touch with. 

The following is a "thought experiment".  If we assume that my belief in life after death is true: then what happens? 

If you have led a bad life, ie. if you have done things which you regret and have not put right by the time of your death, then you will be stuck on the "other side" with those regrets and with no means of putting them right.  Think how that is going to hurt.  For a very long time.  That's Hell. 

Conversely, all the things you've done which you feel good about, you can enjoy for a very long time to your heart's content.  That's Heaven. 

How much we get to enjoy or suffer from depends on how well we have behaved during our lives. 

The Biblical God, and Jesus, would approve of this idea.  Neither of these two would be the slightest bit bothered that we do not have a belief in God, if we live the best lives we can live. 

Atheist morality?  It's being worked on, successfully, as we speak.  It turns out to be exactly the same as religious morality, minus the God part, so it validates religion but does not invalidate God. 

Although, I'm sure your daughter's friends will probably find something else to complain about, no matter how well she answers them.  You can't handle people who can't handle themselves. 

Hang on, I think the way to deal with people who can't handle themselves is to be cool, and show by example, and let the others fall into line eventually, if they're going to. 

Tell her to invite her friends over for a sleepover, and to bring along God and Jesus.

Tell her to tell her friends that she would rather believe in Santa Claus, because he's sooooo much cooler than God, and jollier than Jesus.

Tell her to tell her friends to cut off their arms, then regrow them with prayer.  No, cancel that - too harsh!

Tell her to ask her friends to describe God.  You know - how tall? how white? how male?

Tell her to cultivate a patronizing grin.  That's how I usually greet J.W.'s and Mormons at my door, which drives them up the wall.

Tell her to ask her friends' opinions about II Kings, Chapter 2, Verses 23 & 24.  That usually elicits confusion.  When they respond that they don't happen to know that particular verse, have her tell them that she DOES read the Bible - usually for a good laugh.

Finally, she should explain to her friends that she doesn't believe in God because she doesn't have to, because, unlike them, she isn't afraid of death. 

note to Chuck's daughter: if you read this, I hope in fact that you DON'T fear death, because it's no more to be feared than what happened to you before you were born - a timeless, dreamless sleep.  In any case, you should be proud of yourself for being an individual with trust in your own intelligence and judgment - not a blind follower of your deluded peers.  One more thing, Chuck's daughter, be sure to read that Bible verse I cited above.  You will no doubt get the point.

Link to the bible verses in: http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/2kg/2.html

WOW!  This is SOLID!  Nice job.

Short and sweet? 

Tell them that atheists don't go to heaven or hell when they die, they come back as ghosts instead and haunt and terrify the people who have annoyed them in life.... so watch out!


Tell them to go pray for her soul, but not in her earshot, please

Tell them that without atheists around, they wouldn't have anyone to compare their wonderful theism against.

There is no point telling them anything logical as they wouldn't be convinced.  That's what faith seems to be: belief without factual argument.  All she can do is find a way to quiet them, not convince them. So tell them anything to get them to leave her alone.  Make something simple up.

Peace

So true.  One of the funniest and truest things I've ever seen with regards to arguing with fundies is this:  Arguing with the religious is like playing chess with a pigeon..... You could be the greatest player in the world, but the pigeon will still knock over all the pieces, shit all over the board and strut around triumphantly

Perfect!

I would go with Micheal Stivic's standard response, "I just can't believe that an all knowing, all powerful, merciful creator would burn me alive for eternity.  If there is such a being, I think he would know what is in my heart and so I'm more concerned with being a good person than I am with condemning those who have different beliefs."

@Blaine

Yeah, I gotta vote on the Jewish angle as well.  When I'm travelling through mouth-breather country and someone wishes me a Merry Christmas, I use the "I'm Jewish" line as a sort of spiritual "Fuck you" - they really do shut up and pull in their evangelism out of 'respect' for my alleged bullshit 'beliefs'.

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