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.

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I kinda understand your point as it seems you are attempting to avoid serious confrontation with people you are "unfortunately" related too.

I don't dial down my critizism of my catholic cousin's nonsense when we are placed under the same roof (I only have one cousin btw) and I don't believe we will ever be able to get along on a personal basis. One of my sister believes in chi and magic potions and I rip her apart whenever there's a family gathering. We never comment on eachother's FB statuses because we all know there's no point. I guess we have a mutual standoff, they read what I post and roll their eyes and me vice versa. But I wouldn't actively exclude them from my posts, neither would they. Freedom of speech and freedom of though. Especially if you disagree.

*growling* ThinkAtheist is giving me massive problems with posting today; I don't know what's up but I'm getting tired of losing posts when the textarea "refreshes" or whatever it's doing.

 

Ahem.

 

I think our situations are that you seem to feel you are "unfortunately" in a Christian family, whereas I don't feel unfortunate to be related to (that side of) my family at all.  They're mostly good people, save a couple of oddball cousins who mainline Fox News.  They're tolerant and kind people--I *want* to treat them well.  I love them.  

 

My dad's family, that is a whole different story.  I just avoid them altogether because they're so full of crazy that it was making *me* crazy.

..... I do appreciate your trying to be a mediator, I really do--but I'm not sure where everyone is getting the idea that I am hiding my thoughts and feelings from my family and friends. There's a very large difference between hiding specific postings from them and hiding my general thoughts and feelings from them.

 

I'm already extremely vocal about my atheism.  My decision to hide certain posts doesn't stem from the fact that I don't want my family or friends to know that I think that--they already know.  It comes from the way that the material is handled.  For example, someone tweeted me a post linking obesity to religion that had what I thought was a hilarious depiction of Jesus, only morbidly obese.  I wanted to share that on my Facebook to my non-theist and religiously apathetic friends, but I didn't see any reason for my Christian friends and family to see it.  What would be the point of them seeing that? That's not "hiding my viewpoint" about it.  I have another extremely anti-theist photo in an album I have hidden from them that has a picture of nails, a cross, and a crown of thorns, with the title "Do-It-Yourself Easter Kit."  I think that's hysterical, but it's also extremely crude.  I wouldn't post it to my family any more than I would say "f**k" in front of my grandma.

 

What does go through? ALL of my atheist blog posts, including ones about how I think original sin is crap, how I think that theists are functionally less moral than nontheists, all of my posts about conservatives and Republicans, my posts railing against the "war on Christmas," posts about how I think intelligent design is bollocks, et cetera . . . . . . all of this stuff gets posted right to my Facebook for everyone to see.  As I said over and over again, I don't hide posts because I'm afraid, I hide posts out of respect.  I'm sorry to seem so touchy on this subject, but I'm wondering exactly how I can phrase this to get my point finally across, lol.

No problem re: the misinterpretation.  I wasn't able to clear it up as effectively as possible earlier because the initial interpretation threw me for a loop, for sure--I wasn't sure how he got to "stand up for yourself" from what I had said (and then tried my best to clarify several times!).  

 

I don't know that my family really finds my atheism crude.  When I do write about atheism, I do it in a much more measured manner than my flippant comment above might lead one to believe ;) so I hope they don't find it so much offensive as disagreeable to their position.  Some will think one foolish--I think my family is more sad for me than thinking I am foolish, though.  I had a rough upbringing and they doubtless blame that for it.  I do see what you mean, though.  I just try to be thoughtful ^_^

No problem re: the misinterpretation.  I wasn't able to clear it up as effectively as possible earlier because the initial interpretation threw me for a loop, for sure--I wasn't sure how he got to "stand up for yourself" from what I had said (and then tried my best to clarify several times!).  

 

I don't know that my family really finds my atheism crude.  When I do write about atheism, I do it in a much more measured manner than my flippant comment above might lead one to believe ;) so I hope they don't find it so much offensive as disagreeable to their position.  Some will think one foolish--I think my family is more sad for me than thinking I am foolish, though.  I had a rough upbringing and they doubtless blame that for it.  I do see what you mean, though.  I just try to be thoughtful ^_^

I have myself as Atheist on FB.  And sometimes I get riled up and post something on there that is more aimed at equal human rights but that people attribute to my atheism.  Whatever.  My husband's very religious Christian aunt told me on FB not long ago that she loves me even though I'm an atheist and not to worry, god was in charge even if I didn't believe it.  I wanted to tell her I thought perhaps god was a terrible heroin addict or an alcoholic, or perhaps just lacks the appropriate attention span to be in charge, because he's doing a rather crappy job for someone who is supposed to love us all so much, but I didn't.  :o)  Keepin' the family peace, I suppose. Besides, she's a nice lady and not very bright.  Those types are tough to convert with logic, plus it's hard to really be mean to them.
I think that's a very sensible approach ^_^ it is a lot harder with family, especially when it's not quite YOUR family but your spouse's--I am careful what I post to my own family out of respect, I am double-darn careful about what I post to my husband's family (the ones who are not atheists) because I'm not the one who has to deal with the fallout.
I'm sure I get prayed for a lot.  :o)

I have found myself, as I get older, holding my tongue online, but not so much in person. As much as I love a good argument, I am convinced that no one will ever convert over a few postings online. It may encourage one person to think critically about their convictions, but I doubt that they will ever come to fruition.

Twitter is quickly becoming my atheist home though. I love following the topics, but I rarely do much about it anymore.

 

Just my two cents...

I've been outspoken about it, but not to the point that I'm going around bashing on everyone's god-based statuses or constantly yelling about my atheism. I really just post a couple atheist links and quotes every now and then. And sometimes when people post something seriously anti-atheistic (such as a post about how atheists are selfish and evil) I'll usually call them on it. I'm actually engaged in a very long-winded debate with a couple theists on FB right now.

Oh also, I uploaded a picture that I made for Draw Mohammed Day. :D

Hi all! New member to this website but I am excited to check it out and see how it goes. I am excited to see like minded rationalists and look forward to communicating with you! :)

 

In regards to Facebook, I definitely communicate my feelings on "atheism" by providing scientific articles, political articles relating to Islamic fascism and other forms of religious extremism, and discussing these issues by providing youtube links and the sorts in things I find it interesting. I feel that a strong character in us is being ourselves. It is not that I am or am advocating to force people to become atheist. The only thing I tell people is to always question "why they believe what they believe" and to base their lives on logic, rationality, and evidence. Naturally, as science education increases and people start to understand the natural laws of the universe and how the world works, more people will become atheist. We can see this in the U.K. as 25% of people there have come out as atheist.

 

I live in Southern California and I know I may not live in other more conservative parts of America but I am sure some people may get "offended" that other points of views are being offered. Again, I am not FORCING my atheism per-say. I will provide links, articles, and videos to interesting things I find informative such as Christopher Hitchens doing his thing or some interesting Richard Dawkins' video; but I find my job being a lot easier by being a strong critic of Islam. While I have a problem with all monotheistic religions and find that to all be inherently evil, I find that the true evil of the world is Islam. I say this as someone who is Iranian-American and has firsthand seen what religion and Islam can do to ruin a once great nation. I recently was in Iran for 8+ months and one great thing about Iran is that Islam has no future inside of that nation as the youth are definitely not Muslim to any stretch of the imagination. I find that Islamic belief through the quran and hadith (I have read the quran) is much more evil and inflexible than the bible. The old testament is also very inherently evil but the new testament and the concept of Jesus Christ is much more benign than the evils of the child molesting prophet Muhammad and everything that constitutes that faith. The fact that most Muslims in the world are not evil people (and in particular America) is that most Muslims in the world don't practice their faith in the way that the quran demands. Christianity doesn't have the type of adherence and requirements imposed by the quran. In addition, in America most Muslims have assimilated and become American and truly do not practice their faith. Example: look at the cartoon drawings which caused all that uproar along with the pastor in Florida wanting to burn a copy of the quran. If someone wants to burn the bible, I am sure it will offend a lot of Christians; but the Christians are not so uncivilized and barbaric to act like animals. We went through the Dark Ages and Reformation and as a result, Christianity has become mostly secular. For example, our Presidents (including President Bush) may have believed in god but he didn't make his decisions based on god. In contrast, Iran is run by messianic and apocalyptic maniacs who are preparing for the return of the "hidden imam" and for the end of the world...

 

Therefore back to the discussion of Facebook...when I discuss Islam and the evils of Islam on my facebook people are more "accepting" I guess (including Christians) and it allows me to discuss the differences between the faiths but also the similarities in that the root of all the religions are inherently the same. This way, people are not "offended" as much as it is based on intellectual discussion. Regardless, I may have "lost a couple of friends" on facebook, but who cares?? Those people who are fake and intolerant were never good in the first place and at the end of the day, a couple of people may read and listen (esp. when it comes to science) and again, science naturally increases levels of atheism, logic, and rationality into most people.

I talk about it sometimes, but I've lost plenty of friends and family members because of it. My best friend cut me out of her life after she found out and it still makes me sad.

 

I bring it up now and then, but not all the time. I don't want to set myself up for ridicule.

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