In my everyday life, I wear my atheism on my sleeve. I don't throw it in anyone's face, but I will react if the topic of religion comes up and my input is appropriate. I am open to friends and family about it, so nobody has any illusions about where I stand.

Lately, I've been increasingly vocal on Facebook about news that I feel warrants an atheist response. Most of those posts are largely ignored. I was raised Roman Catholic, and went to Catholic schools from 3rd grade all the way through college, so a majority of my friends on Facebook are Catholics. As such, my wall is often littered with bible quotes, links to religious articles, and all the pro-life/anti-abortion propaganda you can imagine. I am in a serious relationship with my girlfriend and we have spoken of marriage; she and her family are all Christians of various degrees. I generally don't shy away from letting my opinion of how ridiculous religious beliefs are, and probably lean towards what is currently (and errantly, imho) referred to as "militant" atheism.

I feel very strongly about raising objections when people make religious posts (if you can imagine what my wall was like after the quake in Japan, and all the "let's pray" responses, you can feel my pain) and I feel that in as much as people are free to give their faith lip-service, I should be able to offer opinions from the other side of the fence.

I'm at a point now where I feel like my outspoken criticism of religion is beginning to alienate people who I value as friends, and is in danger of causing a rift between me and my girlfriend (many of her friends and family are also friends on Facebook). While I have no qualms about losing friends who are of the "if you don't believe what I believe, we can't be friends" variety, I feel it goes deeper than that. I feel like my friends are feeling a more personal sting when I criticize their beliefs, which is often an unavoidable side-effect of being critical of religion.

As passionate as I am about remaining vocal and offering some balance to all the religiosity, and standing up for what I believe in, it is not worth losing those I hold dear to me. I hope to one day marry my girlfriend, and while she can accept the way I feel, I think she struggles with how outspoken I am about it. I intend to back off considerably, only responding when absolutely necessary. I feel a little weak and cowardly for letting others dictate my behaviour, but I have to be selfish and ignore it for the sake of keeping those close to me from getting fed up and walking away.

I guess my question is this: If you're "open" on Facebook with your atheism, how hard do you push it? Are you vocal, or more reserved? Do you think posting atheist articles and news stories about religious wrongdoings is going too far?

I've made up my mind, but I guess I'm looking to get some sense of how you guys feel.

Tags: Atheism, Facebook

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It seems to me that the greatest difference between what we do and don't post, comes down to location!

For example, Irish guy who commmented early on is just running a muck, good work. I'm in Australia, I have openly posted an article or two every week for the last 2 or 3 years I guess, and not once have I had any negative feedback on it, I have about 480 contacts, the majority of which are 20 - 30 years old. I have a few religious friends who frequent FB but wouldn't dare to pipe up and comment or debate me, which is a shame really, it helps everyone to see the flaws in their logic when they finally pipe up and claim something rediculous, the only comments I recieve are basically encouragement, and not always comments from Atheists but friends who are sitting on the fence. It all comes down to our secular society, we're simply growing up without the church, and even better, we're growing up with filthy amounts of science. Which brings me to the other thing I regularly post, science videos and articles, I get good feedback from them, the odd video/article on religion slots in nicely, especially an article about christians brainwashing Africans into homophobia etc. Or the usual Pope articles go down nicely.

Clearly our circumstances are all different, but I have to say, I'm just running loose, getting away with whatever, the religious friends I do have, know they havn't done enough research to make the grade, and back off real quick, which again is disappointing, I don't want to bully anyone into silence, just reason them out of the darkness!

(Add me on FB if you like - Ian Luke, Australia. Just mention you're from Think Atheist, I love to network!)

When you say, "It seems to me that the greatest difference between what we do and don't post, comes down to location!"

 

Do you mean you've noticed a geographic correlation to the types of things people post?

"For example, Irish guy who commmented early on is just running a muck"

 

Honestly not sure if you mean this as a good thing or a bad thing...

I understand the dilemma on this one. I'm very new to atheism and I'm definitely not comfortable posting things about it on Facebook...Many of my friends and most of my family is Christian, so I know that if I flaunted it I would probably turn some heads and receive major disapprovals. The college that I attend has Christian roots, and my roommate is a Christian...I fear that if I put it out there that I didn't believe, I would lose several friends and burn some bridges, but would I really want those kind of flaky people in my life anyway? Probably not.

I guess my thoughts on this situation is that you should address this concern with your girlfriend and your other close friends and just let them know that you mean no disrespect to them, but that you strongly disagree with their views. Tell them that you don't want to push them away or lose their friendship, but that you don't want to have to sacrifice your beliefs either. And when it comes to posting, as much as it sucks, you may have to moderate what you put on there...Think about if you're posting it just to piss Christians off, or if the particular post raises a good question or point that you think is truly important. It's a tricky situation, I know.
Remember a few points when dealing with theists:  First, they really can't tell the difference between the intellectual and the personal, especially when it comes to their religion.  Their religion is too intertwined with their identities and their egos.  Second, they are not entirely sane.  Always treat them as you would delusional patients on a psych ward.  Third, because of the first two observations, it is dangerous to be confrontational with them.  Simply drop friendly hints and be very patient.  Finally, don't be afraid to point out that for CENTURIES, they tried to EXTERMINATE us by burning us at the stake whenever they identified one of us.  We got worse treatment than almost any other group.  Don't be afraid to point that out.  Somehow they forget this.  They will come back with nonsense about Stalin and Mao.  Just point out that the churches declared war on the communists, so they really can't complain about the fact that the communists fought back.  Even when they fought back, they didn't do anything remotely as bad as burning every christian at the stake--or even killing every christian.  The vast majority of their victims starved to death because communism doesn't work.  Their religious victims were killed because they opposed communism--not simply because they were religious.
I don't have an active facebook so I can't help.
I'm totally in the closet on Facebook and everywhere else, except to people who are close to me.
Sensible! I am too old to care. Let believers believe they find skeletons in mine.
For me i guess it depends on how i feel about what is posted or referenced.  If i think it will only serve as a "fill" i dont usually say it but if i think it has real merit on the topic i will say something even though most people will go out of their way to make sure i know that "im wrong".

I am reading your post and all of the responses with interest because I wrestle with the same question. It becomes doubly difficult for me because a lot of business associates and customers have access to my FaceBook and Twitter pages. Nothing seems to alienate people faster than the mere fact of atheism.

 

The way I have been handling it is to post (or re-tweet) things relevant to atheists or presenting an atheistic pov, but I do not ever comment directly to anyone else's religious posts, no matter how absurd it may be.

 

The one exception I have been running into is when someone posts one of those atheist-bashing "jokes" like the "April Fool's Day" one. I am fortunate that I haven't seen such nonsense via my FaceBook or Twitter pages, but I am seeing it on ActiveRain. I've spoken up a few times. I was deleted and/or condescended to each time, and was even warned by a "well meaning" person that if I kept it up I would sound "strident" and "angry."

 

i'm open all the time, i lost a couple of friends because i comment on their bible quotes with more quotes that contradict what they say, but you know how religious ppl are facts are nothing compared to blind faith.
Its very tough to be fully outspoken on facebook with all your co workers and friends whatever can make you have real repurcussions at work etc. I think you can only post messages of mutual respect and understanding but avoid hate speech at any cost because people who believe in god are still your friends and family and they feeling need to be taken into account.

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