Yesterday, I explained to my mom (a strong Christian) how I am not offended when people say "I'll pray for you," because in my eyes, it has the same intent as saying "I'll cross my fingers" or "I'll keep you in my thoughts."


Naturally, she argued it's not the same.


Being an open-minded atheist has its drawbacks.  I'm not accepted in a religion because I definitely do not agree in any higher power.  However, I'm not always accepted as an atheist, because I'm too passive about non/religion.  I accept that other people believe in some existence of a god, and I don't always challenge it.  I don't take offense when somebody says "I'll pray for you," when many atheists do, because I see their intention and, in a way, pick up on the intention of the statement as if it was said another way, without bringing religion into the conversation.  I didn't take offense when the lady said, "God bless you," for helping her find her car in the parking lot.  I simply said "Thank you," and walked away.  I explained this to someone and according to them, I'm "not a true atheist."


Is it possible to be a passive-aggressive atheist?  If so, are you more on the passive side, or the aggressive side?



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I wouldn't say you're passive-aggressive. That would be more like "oh no, that's okay, you go ahead and pray. I'll just fight this cancer on my own."

You seem like more of a non-militant atheist. Passive atheist, even. But not P-A. The flipside is a militant atheist, or an anti-theist.
To quote Richard Feynman: "who cares what other people think?"  You are who you are, celebrate it!

You can treat people however you'd like, it's perfectly okay to avoid adopting an Us vs Them mentality. Especially with family


With some caveats, of course. Praying for someone instead of doing something useful or helpful is bad in my books, but then, so is crossing your fingers. Of course, you always have to consider that maybe some people aren't able to do something useful or helpful, for physical or financial reasons. In that case, if praying makes them feel good, it doesn't hurt anyone. But some like to make a big public display of it, like the #PrayForJapan maniacs. They are acting for their own self-aggrandizement, and they're convincing others that "Prayer is Enough." Brush up on Matthew 6:5-6 which reminds these people to keep it in their pants.


The lowest place a praying person can go is to use it passive-aggressively against you. "I'll pray for you to find Jesus" and that kind of thing. Obviously the prayer will be just as useless as any other, but it indicates certain things. If the person is close to you, it suggests some element of your relationship with that person is damaged that they have so little respect for you that they'll ask their imaginary friend to interfere with your free will, and maybe you'll want to fix that (or disentangle yourself from that relationship). If it's someone you don't know well or at all, they also have little respect for you, so you shouldn't feel bad about having little respect for them in return.

Of course it's not only possible to be a passive-aggressive atheist, but it's accepted. The best thing about being an atheist, is, well, we don't really have a strict rule of code we abide by... I think in most situations, it's best to be passive-aggressive with Theists because it's not worth your time trying to argue or speak against their words because they're so deluded, but there are also the times where you feel compelled to do so, like when they try to attack your choice to be an Atheist. That's when you slap the aggressive "logic" I believe almost ALL of us Atheists retain, because you're compelled to, not because some set of rules tell you to. Just do what feels good to you and don't feel pressured to defend Atheism unless you REALLY want to.
Manage your relationships according to your own morals and ethics and don't worry about about other people's expectations.

I see no problem with your style or the way you act. By all means we need every kind of people we can get. Don't let the militants tell you how to act. If you don't like conflict then don't get involved.

 I am a little passive myself but I change gears quickly if I'm faced with stupidity or a militant theist. I don't mind making them look foolish and if they get upset, they can count to ten. We all act in different ways when facing conflicts and we don't all have to be the stand up and fight kind of people.

 I would have asked my mom if she would rather I was offended over the prayer remark though, lol.

I am passive ,and this whole acceptance thing is about 2 things first how much do you care about the person talking to you, and how do you think they will accept it the same as you accept them.. I for example wouldn't talk to my parents or friends about religion because I know it will get me in trouble and they won't be convinced anyway.. so I'd rather let them be and let them think I am a muslim rather than correct them and get into trouble,but one should set the ones he/she loves right.also if you don't know someone much usually you don't speak to them about religion and muslims and christians do the same they don't discuss religion with whom they love because it's a sensitive topic :/ .


I don't think there's much aggressive in your approach, although religious people might think so just in the fact that you don't believe what they do. I find myself thinking similarly at times, when it comes to family members and people I know. I can appreciate their good intentions and accept that their beliefs are important to them. I think most people grow up with religion and have never had really had the choice to make up their own minds. I've seen nieces and nephews raised from birth in the church; their mother was, her mother's the only "truth" they've ever had, so it's easy to understand that this is all they know. So yes, they can pray for me if it makes them feel better. Lately I've been trying to clarify to myself the idea that I'm kind of OK with an individual's spiritual beliefs. However, it's when those same people start to gather in groups, have meetings to decide how to grow their ranks and spread the word, decide what's appropriate for the world and others, influence laws and education, judge who's right and who's wrong according to their book, that's when the problems start.
All atheist means is a lack of belief in god or gods.
Anyone that tells you different should consult a dictionary.
Generally I have found that if a person is that obsessed with defining your behavior it means they have security issues with their own.
That is pretty "passive aggressive" of them, isn't it?
Also... Have them look up the No True Scotsman Fallacy.
True atheist...hahaha.

Yes, exactly.  I was just about to point out the obvious "No True Scotsman" fallacy but it looks like you beat me to the punch.


Just because a person declares that s/he is an atheist does not automatically make that person an authority on atheism.  So many people, especially in the USA it seems, tend to think atheism automatically means anti-theism, anti-religion, and anti-superstition, or even anti-spirituality.  Many tend to think that atheism = materialist naturalism, and that just isn't the case.  (Which is why we have the two separate terms, with separate meanings)  Likewise, there is now required amount of "aggressiveness" required to be an atheist.  Anyone who says other wise should consult a dictionary, as Misty suggested.


I would say that the best way to handle this situation is to be educated on the subject, and correct the next person who tells you that you are not a "true" atheist.  They are both committing a logical fallacy and are factually incorrect.


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