It goes something like this, what does my faith affects you?
I tell her that it isn't real, but I know her really well and I cannot think of anything that would affect me.
How do you respond?

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Are you a christian or something? Saying someone's delusions don't affect you is like being in a pool and saying someone pissing in it doesn't affect you.

I would respond something along these lines.

I don't have issues with individual believers, but the beliefs that they can have can be detrimental to the progress of our civilization. In regards to the liberation of women and slaves for instance, many a religious person or organization has hindered and delayed progress.

The fact of the matter is that the religious beliefs of the individual cannot always be seen as separate from the rest of civilization and that sometimes beliefs are harmful. Since religion is so intertwined with society in a lot of places, it can be that sometimes we are on opposing sides of an issue, where I will criticize you for the effects that your beliefs have in a political context. 

Likewise, you might one day find me on an opposing side of an issue where you want to engage with me, and especially if I don't agree with you, I will give you the time to engage in a meaningful discussion with me.

I do not wish for you to keep your religion to yourself, by all means put it out in the open for all to see and for all to criticize. We are all part of the world and if we truly want to share it with one another, we must first need to be able to discuss our beliefs openly. Without discussion, there can be no progress, only revolutions fought by the sword.

Your faith affects everything that you do, and for better or worse it has an effect in our society, as such, it has an effect on me as well.

hrmmm... If you cannot think of anything that would affect you, then I don't see where the problem is. Unless she's attempting to convert you or something. In my opinion everyone has a right to chose their religion or lack of religion, as long as they don't try to push their belief system on me. I don't try to push my atheism on them, and I think they should respect me in the same way. I'm not sure if I'm understanding what you are asking. Maybe a little clarification is in order.

Someone's belief that a god created the universe indeed has no effect on me at all.

It's when they maintain that that god is giving them orders and that furthermore, those orders to them impose a duty on me or others (e.g., to not engage in premarital sex, to not condone an abortion, to not question dogma, or to go to church and pay a tithe), that it becomes a problem.

It also becomes a problem if they attempt to restrict scientific research because they just know that goddidit is the answer to the questions scientists are trying to ask.  Come to think of it that would fall under the first paragraph anyway, for scientists.

Here! Here!

But her faith is very real. Faith is the acceptance or belief that something is real, not the something itself.

Chill man, differences are fine.

Differences are fine , so long as the believer doesn't attempt to legislate their particular delusions unto others . Unfortunately with the religious , that is very often an impossible task , as they are blindly certain their beliefs are the ONLY correct beliefs any rational person should have . Religious fascism must be fought against . Always .


A cousin told me once, "I would not want to live in a universe that is without God".

Sadly, I did not have the heart to pursue the point, since they were family, but this might have been my response:

There seems to be be at least two options:

A) You live in a universe where a 'God' does not exist, but this does not interfer with the belief in such.

B) You live in a universe where a 'God' exists, and the belief is some how validated by faith, but without non-ambiguous evidence.

Since I cannot validate either option with evidence one way or the other, because of my seeming impossible demands on honesty, you are 'free' to believe as you wish. That belief, up or down, becomes your 'risk', as my non-belief does. 

A similar case might be made for the 'affect/effect' of belief, but I would venture that the 'belief' in a falsehood carries with it demands on personal honesty, and possible coercive attempts to maintain a false state of certainty. Surrounding ourselves with believers, true or coerced, could carry a heavy price-tag for  any aspiration to freedom.    


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