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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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.

Have him watch "The Invention of Lying"

I'll have to watch it first, I guess.  Thanks!

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.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.

@ Diane - I know you would not do this because you are a decent person, but wouldn't you just love to get away with looking at your co-worker as he chuckles at you and tell him "You might think that is cute, but I don't think children dying of starvation in filth makes an elderly person finding comfort in looking forward to heaven, justifyingly as cute as you do"

Of course I would love to say something to him like that.  Away from patients, one to one, I have told him how I feel in no uncertain terms.  I refuse to debate him because it is pointless.  I never have attacked or belittled him because of his beliefs.  I have told him that his evangelical tactics are absolutely useless on me.  That must sound like a challenge, but it is true.  

In the almost 8 years that I've been listening to George I have not budged one iota closer to believing in any deity.  If nothing else, he knows I am not on the fence and I'm not wishy-washy about this,  

You have put up with this shithead for EIGHT YEARS?!?!

Holy crap.

There are a few things people get really sensitive about. 

When other people disrespect your mother

When other people disrespect your faith

Both are very personal and have shaped who you are.

If someone knocks either they are knocking you.

I'm in your corner Jack.

We all choose gangs to belong to. The atheist gang is the crappiest gang. No meeting place, no rituals, no tenets, no holy book, no congregations, no glue.

no rituals, no tenets, no holy book, no congregations, no glue.

And what exactly is crappy about not being a sheep?

Humans need to belong. I think the need to belong is just below the need to eat and the need to fuck.

Yes sheep bleeting, but we are not all as independent of thought as maybe you are. Most people need to be led. So what does atheism offer?

What does atheism offer? Nothing in and of itself. It doesn't have to. Not believing in fairies offers nothing, either, and yet none of us do. If you need something to believe in, or a cause to fight for, or a reason to live... find a passion. Mine is increasingly becoming feminism. What about Humanism? Skepticism? There are lots of "isms" to buy into that don't involve religion and can make you feel like a part of a group or a cause worth fighting for.

There's no reason for anyone to be religious in order to "belong". There are too many other causes in this world that could easily occupy their time... and ones with leaders if they truly need to be led. If they want rituals, there are rituals. If they want holy books, how about a manifesto instead? Instead of a congregation, a group of people who gather to talk about [fill in the blank]. Jeez, I mean, there are bicycling clubs, chess clubs, clubs for people that like to dress in Renaissance gear or Star Wars gear, clubs for people that like to talk about philosophy, clubs for people that care about the environment.

Religion does not exclusively offer any of the things people crave (community, belonging, traditions, causes), and I have to say I'm tired of the lie that perpetuates that myth. One has to be really lazy and uncreative to think the world has nothing to offer those who don't need or want imaginary friends telling them what to do.

No, I'm sorry... no one needs religion. They may be uncritical and lazy as hell, but they don't need religion... just like a heroine addict doesn't actually need heroine. It may feel like they need it, they may have withdrawals if they try to quit, it may be easier to give in to the cravings, but their life actually depends on staying clean. In this case, the life of the planet depends on religion going the way of the dinosaur.

Specifically, it is Evangelical Christians that deny Global Warming; they feel entitled to the planet and its "infinite" bounty and refuse to curb their appetites, and refuse to admit we've over-fished the seas, destroyed the rain forests and those vital ecosystems that sustain all of us. Ya know, maybe a heroine addict has the right to destroy his/her own life. But so many religions are destroying the life of everyone else. 

If they need to belong, there are other causes that will accept them with open arms.

People believe the bullshit because it's convenient to do so.

I would too, if it didn't insult my intelligence the way it does.

We just maybe have to face it: some people are content to be sheep. They'd probably be unthinking atheists as well, if atheism was ever the dominant ideology.

I'm increasingly thinking that the wise atheist just accepts people are idiots, becomes someone high up in one of the religions, and just lords it over everyone in the biggest bullshit job in history.

Nobody can possibly tell me L. Ron Hubbard actually believed all the bullshit he spouted. Why do we expect the "pope" to believe all the bullshit HE spouts?

He's probably no different to any salesman who doesn't believe in the product, but is in it because of the benefits.

I mean seriously...who knows?

I don't think we should liken insulting someones mother and insulting someones religion either. I know many people draw that connection to give others an example of how equally disrespectful it would look, but that is ridiculous and we should not accept the premise

The idea is that we are supposed to think of something that is "sacred" to us, and then think about how the religious might feel when we insult something that is sacred to them. The premise being that it's ok to see religion as something sacred. I don't accept this.

Muslims do this very often, when you tell them how retarded they are for retaliating when someone draws muhammad.

"Oh how would YOU react if someone insulted your mother?!" Yeah great point, muslim scumbag. Except that muhammad is not your mother.

If your religion is that important to you that you liken it to your mom then

1) you're an indoctrinated fucking idiot, and

2) that still doesn't mean you get a free coupon not to get ridiculed.

They use analogies like that as an excuse because they know it works on most people and it covers their filthy religion in moral teflon.

I think I remember an interview of Hitchens, where he said that mockery of religion is an essential thing, as not to do so would imply that there is something sacred and untouchable about religion, and that he simply does not accept this premise. I don't remember where I saw that anymore though, I'm sorry.


edit: here it is! :)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LnoKYnonw3Y

They use analogies like that as an excuse because they know it works on most people and it covers their filthy religion in moral teflon.

Ha! Classic, I love that.

I do agree with you near 100% and if you see me on another forum I am far more aggressive with my mockery.

My issue is this. I see stupid everywhere. Christians, muslims, and others too. But I also see the inner strength it gives them, the compass with which it guides them, the rock to which it secures them. And, as I flounder in stormy seas with my inability to surrender to things that make no sense, I am a little envious.

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