I had one of those "Never ending" discussions with a family member recently, and you do have to weigh the damage to the relationship against the % that you will facilitate their epiphany by sharing the facts; not that they often play any role in changing one's beliefs.
In the 'useless--and-unsolicited-trivia-from-a-stranger-on-the-net category', that bookstore from the movie NES is a fave bookstore of mine and where I buy a lot of my hard to find books.
Anyway, back on point, the care and caution with uncompromising conviction is the path best trodden on this stuff.
It's your right to be a UU if you want.
But my experience with UU's is they seem like they're really just "slippery." No matter the point made, they're always "Oh no. Weeee're not like thaaaaat. Try our church." It's still the delusion of religion, which is unrealistic, and therefore harmful, because someone wants me to make a donation out of some mythical, undeserved guilt.
BUT, I do agree with your statement that some ties must be cut. It's just, once that tie is cut, the rumors fly.
Religionoids and godlings are so god-damned unreasonable and spiteful, whenever it comes to their imaginary sky fairies. I just can not be truly respectful to the unrespectable.
I lost a dear friend and was going to lose another one recently ; although she didn't criticize me directly , her stand was clear...sometimes we would chat for hours ... but now she avoids that ... I decided to create a fake FB account and add it to my friends list in order to post all that I want about religion ...
At first I didn't care about expressing my opinion on religion , but some friends keep on posting some stupid videos about the ''scientific miracles in Islam'' , and I decided to do something about that .
Ever since I became sure of my stance, I have been a "loud" atheist on facebook and in real life.
Of course some of my friends don't like that someone is challenging their beliefs, but I've grown to feel some sort of apathy towards their feelings when it comes to faith. Every now and then I'll put an atheistic quote as my status. I also, as the thread starter mentioned, comment whenever I see something that has to do with religion on facebook. Be it a debate, a video or one comment. Some of my friends like it, and some don't.
What made me ease up with my negative comments about religion, was when my mom asked me to stop. Why? Because it hurt her feelings. I didn't really mind when my friends were annoyed with my input on facebook, because I knew that they were about as much a christian as I was. But when it was my mother, who is a 'true believer', I eased up. She is a peaceful christian, she has nothing against homosexuals, she's a doctor (which isn't exactly a job for the stupid), she's pretty much an idol, and I didn't want to hurt her.
Don't get me wrong though, I'm still a militant atheist, just not so much on facebook.
I am totally in the closet on Facebook but one of my Facebook friends who is 18 put a caption under her profile that said "fuck your religion". But I don't think you can have captions under your profile any longer and I don't think it gets any more offensive then that.
That's kind of like having a sign on your front door that instead of saying "no solicitation" it says "fuck your religion" lol. That's just too much but she is a funny one (the good kind of funny).
Not only am I an atheist living in the US, I live in Louisiana (lowest atheist percentage in the US). Also, I live in a little town which claims (whether true or not I don't know) to have more churches per square mile than any other town in America. My girlfriend is a "Christian," though I've never seen her go to church. We live together, and yes, I truly love her. She's an otherwise great gal. I'm very fortunate. But still, I won't delude myself into believing anyone religious and I could ever have a satisfying marriage.
I've learned to be very careful who I'm open and honest with, about my lack of religious beliefs. Most of the folks 'round here are deeply brain-washed, and their religious leaders call folks like me "devils." On the job, I'll never discuss religion again, since the hard-core religionoids are extremely vicious. (I must make those child-support payments, y'know.) Due to the brain-washing these folks have been subjected to from infancy, these otherwise sweet, friendly, and loving people are scared near-to-death of folks like me.
Also, with such a deep brain-washing, what we say "threatens them." Somehow, a statement from us like "there is no God," translates as "Your dearly departed are really dead and gone." As true as that statement is, it hurts them. It's a great big bite of shit sandwich for them to swallow all at once, and no milk to wash it down.
Somehow, I'm surrounded by people most of the time, but I'm so alone. I've noone to talk to about anything rational, outside of this blog. It's like trying to talk about sobriety in the middle of the world's biggest tavern, and everyone's a raging alcoholic.
As for "being honest about our beliefs," who are we trying to impress with our honesty? Ourselves? We know the truth about our beliefs, already. Is it "God®?" Because he's not there to be impressed, anyway. Or, are we afraid that if we don't speak out against the bullshit, we'll somehow get brain-washed into the cult? That can only happen to those who are atheist "because it's cool," and not as a product of deduction and reason.
I guess, what I'm saying is: Lie like a fothermucker, whenever it's convenient. You can even let them hear the occasional "Oh my God!" It's not like you'll go to hell for it, or anything. It's called "politics," my friend. Learn to negotiate the waters, as the currents run, and as the wind takes you.
Ah, so, you know what happens to those who openly admit to being an atheist then?
It's odd to me, how folks can be so friendly, and yet so intolerant, all at once like this.