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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Diggin it.
Awesome.

I've also only lost a couple of friends (referencing your post above) due to atheism--most quietly dropped me from FB and I didn't discover until way later :D
Why not include everyone in your messages? You read their (what you consider) bullcrap, they shouldn't react to your (what they consider) bullcrap. Most likely they will block you, and you can celebrate your moral victory. :)
*Cough* because I actually give a damn about how I treat people. We hate it when theists force their bullcrap on us, why should I turn around and do the same thing to them? If I do, I've no right to complain when it happens to me.

Also, because if someone is on my Facebook, they're likely someone I actually care about in some capacity. Belief is a very tricky subject--atheists don't have it in a religious sense, so we often forget how emotional it is for believers to see their religion denigrated, even if it's absolutely deserving. It would be like talking smack on someone's mom--even if I had a friend whose mom was an abusive a-hole, I wouldn't denigrate the mother to that person by insulting her or posting negative things. That's still that friend's MOM, that friend would still have strong feelings about the mom. I would, instead, try to be encouraging to get that friend to seek help or escape from the abusive relationship--by being honest, yes, but not in a way that tears down the mom, as that would produce more bad feelings than necessary.

I've come to the point in my life where I don't give a flying green martians f*ck about what ignorant, unknowledagble people think of facts that I merely present. I can have a serious discussion about my opinions or interpretations, but not on the facts themselves. It's quite liberating to know that the people in my friends list accept me for who I am, not as they believe I me to be.

It took about 27 years and the fusing of my frontal lobes to make this evident to me :)

Oh, I don't hide my atheism itself--I just hide some of the more controversial posts that I know will upset people. I don't push it in people's faces, but I have blog posts and tweets about atheism feeding into my FB all the time.

They still accept me (except that one girl who took me off of her list, ha), but that doesn't mean I have to pick fights about it ;) if you can dig that.

From a guy who was denied confirmation service from my dad when I was 14 because I stood up for my convictioins, I don't quite dig it unfortunately. Grow a pair and stand up for yourself - if you are not accepted for who you are by the people you hold dear then seriosly eff them. You accept them, they should return the courtesy. Anything else is hypocritical. 

It's pretty much the only life wisdom I can offer from the perspective of a 30 year old.

Being twenty-eight myself, I've learned quite a lot in nearly as many years. I don't think you are understanding what I am saying.


None of my theist friends and family say boo about my atheism stuff 98% of the time. They know I'm an atheist.  They accept it.  They accept me--I'm not shunned, or uninvited to the family events, I'm not constantly badgered or hounded by my Southern Baptist family.  (And, trust me, this is a big deal--my grandfather was a minister, my family is Very Religious.)  They don't like it.  But I am not bothered about it.

 

In fact, I've never had a negative experience with my family as far as religion is concerned.  I'm sorry that you had a bad experience with your father, but my family has never cornered me about it.  I don't need to "stand up for myself" because there's nothing to stand up against.  I happily live my own life.  They do not interfere.  In return for this respect that I am given, I choose to respect my friends and family in kind by respecting their right to be religious without having to hear me harp about how much I think their religion is bollocks.

 

I do sometimes take issue with particular posts that they make (mainly political--I have very conservative relatives), and when that happens, I freely speak my mind about it.


My friends have never said boo to me about my atheism, either, even though I grew up in a heavily religious area and many of my friends from early in life are Christian.  I choose to repay this by not posting things to them that I feel will particularly be upsetting.  This is my choice, and I do it out of respect, not out of fear.

 

Being "accepted" doesn't mean that my theist friends and family have to accept or like everything that I post about being an atheist.  They can accept me but still be opposed to my beliefs.  Just as they don't come up to me and tell me their opinions about atheism (they don't), I don't like to push my negative opinions of their religion on them when I have the choice.  We see each other as people, not atheists and theists.  I don't think I need to "grow a pair," as I am quite happy with my friend and family situation--a situation of mutual respect because we treat each other respectfully.

 

(Sorry for the frenzy of editing, when I hit "reply" most of my comment disappeared into the ether and I had to reconstruct it.)

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.

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