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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I wish I could be outspoken on my facebook. I had to bite my tongue earlier today on a comment made on my page. However, I have started to post somethings on my page in the recent weeks (like news about science & creationism stuff) I think some people are beginning to get the picture. (and my religion on FB says Pastafarian.)
Mine used to say Pastafarian as well! Then went to Church of Google. And now it just says None.
A large amount of Atheists happen to be Pastafarian I guess because mine says that too :P

I post a few things here and there that pique any kind of interest or annoyance in me. I'll post images which make fun of religion or videos which have a good message in arguing against religion. I'm in Ireland and pretty much everyone my age has long ago turned their back on religion. They may not call themselves atheists but in general they wouldn't pay the blindest bit of attention to something criticising religion. It simply doesn't bother the vast majority of my peers.

However, literally five minutes ago I saw a message posted up by a 'friend'. They were a random 'add' from some app or other, so other than knowing them within a game I have no real dealings with them. The message is tame enough "The will of God will never take you where the grace of God will not protect you!" but still makes me wanna ask simply: "How do you know?" There's probably no point asking them this because it won't end well but equally there isn't any reason I shouldn't since the person is neither a friend nor an acquaintance and would have no impact on me if they decide to take offence and unfriend me.

My situation is completely different to yours. Honestly, I'd hate to have grown up in America knowing how religious the people are there and how easily offended they become when the topic of religion comes up. I can't really tell you what to do other than offer the same musings you have yourself. For the friends you value and would prefer not to lose, you could avoid going out of your way to 'offend' them. But conversely, if they are that easily offended and choose to have that impact your friendship, then they probably aren't worth the effort. I know it's more easily said than done but all you can really do is weigh up each situation on it's own merits. If you later find biting your tongue or censoring yourself as a whole is bothering you then maybe reassess how you express yourself and how important those people truly are to you.


I'm nearly 55 and for some reason never really noticed how religious the US is until I started really ranting about religion about 7-8 years ago.  I guess I thought it was just harmless background noise.  And I always thought of Europe as being just as religious until just recently.  Ireland and Italy especially.  But not necessarily!  Very nice.

European Christianity generally only serves as a 'warm blanket' and not the basis of opinion. The Bible is concidered to be as a piece of philosophical work and (heaviliy modified) historical chronology. If anyone enters a belief or bible passage as an argument or a conclusion they are ostracized from the discussion.

I think this is the major difference between Europe and the US Christians. When I push European Christians belief with evidence, they generally retreat, all the way to accepting science until the big bang. When I push US Christians with evidence they usually end up reciting bible passages and proclaim 'you don't understand because you don't believe'.

My speculation as to why is that Americans are taught confrontational discussion (pro or con) while Europeans are taught consensus discussion (pro and con), making Americans more susceptible to be 'locked in' to an argument and dismiss any counter evidence.

(Please don't take this as an 'all Americans are stupid' type argument, that is not my opinion at all. Not even close, it is a culture and society I hold in deep admiration.)

No offese taken... I understand.  And what you say makes some sense.  It was just eye-opening to me recently to see the nice difference.  But Europe does seem to be getting there with Islam making it more fundamentalist.  Europe may be getting Quran quotes instead.  Unless I am listening to Pat Condell too much.

I find the 'threat of Islam' being quite overstate over here. Most Muslims are not fundamentalists or attempting to brainwash people more than Christians are. We have a fairly extensive history of confrontation with the Muslim world, and it appears to me just to be another chapter. Luckily, atheism and agnostisicm has a very strong foothold in Europe, which is the very reason things tend to quickly become tense when rationality is being drawn into question. We don't like religion or extremism of any sort being superimposed on our societies because we have spent a long time batteling the drawbacks of it.

Atheism has become the norm in most of Europe, and it is spreading at an increasing rate. I don't have to defend being an atheist, a religious person bears the burden of having to justify themselves. Another good thing is that atheism strongly correlated with rationalism, and rational persons are identical across the world since our 'belief system' is the same no matter which culture we were brought up in.

I do worry for America though. You are the brightest light throughout modern history, a society built upon the advancement of the individual by offering the capability of better oneself through education in some of the most esteemed scientific establishments in history. You stand for freedoms only dreamt of for centuries, and used as a template for all western societies. It appears to me you are wasting your place in the world by focusing in bitter internal fighting, essentially taking your eye off the ball. But just as I become disillusioned, you have recently taken the lead in the provision of program and content for mobile devices, a field where Europeans were dominant no longer than 5 years ago.

I hope the US is able to return to its roots as a secular nation sooner rather than later, not just for your own sake, but for the sake of the whole world.

I am very open on Facebook and Twitter and I have lost friends and family because of it, mostly just in the online realm but in a couple of cases they will have nothing to do with me at all. My closest friends and family are horrified at my desertion but they love me and it's mostly fine. I have made lists on FB and if I post something that would be especially offensive to someone I will just hide it from them although that doesn't happen often.
Friend lists ..good idea!

I'm not agressive or really "out" on Facebook yet. I mostly just post sciencey goodness that I feel all of my theist friends just kinda ignore. I do plan on participating in this year's Out Campaign "A" Week, which will be the most upfront I've ever been about my atheism on Facebook. Hopefully it goes well!

 

Link: http://www.aweek.biz/

I am very open and often post things from PZ Myers or WEIT if I feel like it.  I even posted the Pope song from Tim Minchen, with due warning.  I get arguments back sometimes from my more Christian relatives, but I never back down.  I think many of my friends and family are closet atheists and I don't mind that.  They'll come out when they think they can.  Maybe.  I don't push that.

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