I had an argument with a Facebook friend the other week that led to others joining in with her against my expressing my views about her beliefs, and the politics attached to them.

She is Catholic, and was expressing support for the bishops who are suing the US government to stop them "being forced to supply contraceptives".

I linked some article about the absurdity of people - particularly women - who allow their lives (and in particular reproductive lives) to be dictated to be a bunch of celibate men. She deleted my post, and a row ensued, whereby I said that the Catholic church was "founded on a lie which has been allowed to fester for the past 2000 years".

It subsequently lost me more Facebook friends who, I imagine, see me as some kind of "monster" for criticizing this woman's "beliefs". I think I'm just making the woman think.

Am I alone in thinking there are more ways than one of putting an atheist message across? And that although gentle discussion has its place, the occasional blast of "This is how it is" is necessary?

Personally, I'm tired of treading on eggshells around religion. I think it's time to let the Emperor know in no uncertain terms that his new clothes don't exist, and that he's making a fool of himself - even if it means losing friends doing so.

I'm of the opinion that religion isn't just some benign nonsense, but that it has political consequences, and it's an absurdity that causes a lot more problems than it fixes. And that it's about time we made more noise about it.

Opinions, please.

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Balls don't count for anything if you can't say anything of substance or get anything done.  You talk a big game here; I only hope you actually back it up in your real life.

I hope he doesn't.  He lives in an Islamic country, and needs to stay quiet for his own safety, even if it is a more tolerant one of them.

If anything he is likely forced to stay quiet and the oppression stemming from the invalidation that creates causes him to want to defend the ability to speak out as a form of personal validation.  However, it is still a terrible idea.

Doesn't particularly matter to me where he lives.  If a person is going to advocate a certain view, they should do their best to practice it as well.  If they cannot practice it, perhaps they should revise what they advocate.

I respect however ballsy or quiet (or whatever) he wants to be in his own life, regardless of the consequences.  I simply hope that what he says and what he actually does both align.

Don't worry, I'm not a hypocrite. I don't go up to people on the street and interview them about their religion, but if someone is in my vicinity and talking ridiculous nonsense like "I was at a fortune teller yesterday," I'll rip on them. And Turkey is not as ass backwards like Iran or some country like that, nowadays you can express your beliefs, somewhat. (Though you should avoid being "un-nationalistic." That gets people mad FAST)

In fact, seeing some of the news on this website.. one might argue that America is way more theological than Turkey is.. little scary.

I can certainly respect that.

If anything he is likely forced to stay quiet and the oppression stemming from the invalidation that creates causes him to want to defend the ability to speak out as a form of personal validation.

Jesus john, you really need to stop with the pseudo-intellectual pop-psychology babble. :D

Lol, lets see you try to prove it is pop-psychology.


Thank you! I feel heard!

It is difficult to take the high road all the time.  I try to be on that high road for my sake, and for the cause of atheism.  For the most part I am successful but sometimes it is very difficult.  

I am actually being harassed at work at this point.  I am letting it slide by for now, while still being on the high road.  I have asked him to stop and he hasn't.  I could, and might have to, make a formal complaint about this individual.  I imagine that will not make things better, but I do have the right to not be harassed about religion at my place of work.

I realize John is referring to tolerance on a grand, societal scale, I try to see the big picture, and not give guys like this a reason to say, "See?  Atheists are angry and rude!"  These one-to-one interactions, and the choices atheists make, add up even though we are a diverse bunch of people.

Not only that, it could destroy my ability to be effective and happy at my job.  I am surrounded by Christians there.  Is it worth it?  I don't know.  I don't have the energy right now to open up a can of whoop-ass, but I would find no fault in someone in my position opening up a very large can.  

It's difficult to tell where tolerance ends and being a chump begins..


I try to put my best foot forward when dealing with prejudice, bigotry, and "in your face" Xtians. But in your case I would take the offending individual aside and confront them in no uncertain terms about their harassment. My tolerance would quickly end and the gloves would come off if they don't back off. It sucks to worry about your office interactions w/  fellow workers if they perceive you as the evil atheist. It can become an untenable position so caution as you proceed is warranted.

I think there are various tacks one can take with insistent Xtians.

Best bet is to use humor at the start, the gradually get more vicious if the keep on coming.

Your best weapon is a combination of questions ("why did God give men nipples?"), humor ("So what will you do with the first 800 billion years in Heaven?) and patience ("So tell me again about where Cain found his wife")

They tend to get scared off when they don't have an answer.

I've used all of them with him, to no avail.  I have clearly told him that I do not want to discuss religion in any way with him at work, and he's not someone with whom I'd socialize outside of work (if I can help it).  

Now I pretty much tell him things like, "No, George, we didn't evolve from monkeys.  You need to look at Answers in Genesis for arguments creationists say they should not use.  That's one of them."  And then I walk away.

Part of the problem is that we work with elderly, sick people.  Faith comes up quite a lot during our interactions with our patients.  Every time George witnesses one of them, say, for instance, a patient saying, "It's all up to God.  He's in charge." he will look at me and chuckle.  He thinks I might eventually see this as part of his deity's plan to reel me in.

Believe me, if I wanted to see acts of a deity in my life, I could, and I would have plenty of reasons to think it's a vicious, barbaric, bastard of a being with whom I do not wish to associate.  If there was a "God," I would be very angry at it indeed.

So George is not helping his cause at all.  If it his his deity that gives me 'no more than I can handle' I wouldn't want any part of it anyway. 


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