I am an atheist who has made the decision to be as educated as possible about my choice. I listen to debates, I am in the process of reading the bible and I read all that I can concerning both sides of the debate. 


At the point that I am at in life, I could lose a lot of relationships should I actively come out as an atheist, but I am upfront and honest in every way and generally bring up my beliefs (or lack thereof) only when asked. One point that I take pride in is using my knowledge of the twisted logic of the bible against those who push it hard so that they are between a rock and a hard place when trying to force people to obey the will God while conveniently ignoring the verses that aren't appealing to them.


I have a friend whose sister I am vaguely acquainted with, and who I ended up being friends on Facebook with. She is a devout believer who regularly posts logic-defying statements on Facebook in which she often makes up facts out of thin air on topics such as abortion, celibacy, and gay marriage  (not even researching for the "facts" that the religious community has come to support) and quoting scripture, sometimes in support of these posts, and sometimes by itself. Until now I have made counter arguments on many of these posts but staying entirely within the realm of provable facts (hard numbers with references or links to full speeches from which she has posted snippets taken out of context to show her view). 


Recently she posted that she was thinking about getting a tattoo and since she is planning on heading to the holy land to convert Jewish people to Christianity she also mused as to whether or not the theme of her desired tattoo would be offensive to the Jewish people. My only response (my first foray with her in the biblical realm) was to reference Leviticus 19:28, which was god expressly forbidding tattoos (KJV - "Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the LORD.")


I felt that this was a reasonable point to make to someone who claimed to live her life by the bible and who thinks others should do the same. Unfortunately her response was to ignore my comment completely and delete me as a friend.


While I revel in the fact that I was able to rile her up using her own logic, I am saddened that rather than being able to continue a debate, the relationship was completely severed. She is a young adult and while her mind is pretty well set, I think it could do her some good to hear another view point.


I would like to hear your responses as to whether you think my response was too harsh, especially if you have another response you think may have been better. Is it better to keep the conversation going and chip away a bit at a time for the chance at changing a mind, or should you let your view be known loud and proud regardless of the reaction?

Views: 403

Comment by Breanne on August 25, 2011 at 1:45pm

I don't think you were anything like harsh. You simply gave her a verse out of her holy book. In my opinion, you did absolutely nothing wrong. 

Comment by Megan Church on August 25, 2011 at 1:52pm

You broke the cardinal rule of being a believer in any religion: Never question/challenge anything! You only did something wrong in HER eyes by calling her out on her decision, but in reality, you didn't do anything wrong at all. Should you venture to have other such debates, you may want to get used to this response by religious minded people...most of them do not particularly take kindly to being challenged, but take heart, for as Thomas Jefferson once said, "Question with boldness even the existence of a God."

Comment by J Van on August 25, 2011 at 2:08pm

Not harsh at all, it seems to be a common theme with believers to get upset about quoting the "bad" parts of their precious bible.  Deuteronomy has a few shockers about rape and murder that they really don't like hearing. My wife washed out her friend list with that one. In my opinion, if you're going to quote the bible, so can I. 

Comment by james d on August 25, 2011 at 2:24pm

don't give fundies truth!! they really can't handle it!! even if it IS in their book of myths and legends

Comment by RubyR on August 25, 2011 at 2:29pm

I definitely agree with the comments posted thus far, and I have no doubt that I didn't do anything wrong. What I wonder though is if there is an argument for approaching the subject somewhat delicately not because you are afraid of offending but to ensure that the lines of communication remain open.


As much as it is an enjoyable experience to back a believer into a corner from which there is no escape but to ignore your words, this approach doesn't seem to do anything produce a self righteous feeling in us while the divide between religious though and natural reality. How can we educate people on the reality of the world if we don't find a way to communicate in a productive manner.


I definitely believe we need the Dawkinses and the Dennets and Radis of the world to tell it like it is, but I think that there may also be a case for a less hardball approach when it comes to those you have a personal relationship with. Confronting religion head on is fairly easy when you take it as a whole, but when speaking to your friend or you parents or your sister, a Hitchens or Dawkings style approach will do little but alienate you from all but the most understanding people. While I don't think that you should lie about your beliefs when asked, does it make sense to attack the beliefs of a devout follower so directly?


Comment by Cognizant Psyche on August 25, 2011 at 3:00pm

There is nothing wrong with what you said, she was just upset that her own myths told her she couldn’t get a tattoo, something she was probably excited about doing.  Xians don’t like when you quote their guidebook to shoot down what they want.


Comment by grimmlock on August 25, 2011 at 3:09pm

I threw that verse at a friend one time who convented to Catholicism a few years ago and was talking about getting a tattoo touched up on Facebook. She had gotten the tattoo after converting, too. Needless to say, she was not happy with me, but in my own opinion if you are going to believe one line of malarky out of a work of fiction, then you should believe all the other garbage as well.


Nothing wrong with what you said, imo.

Comment by J Van on August 25, 2011 at 3:14pm

Good point Ruby, it is increasingly difficult though when your believer friends and family feel the need to convert you.  I think that even if you're being as gentle as possible the mere fact that you believe that their religion is made up is offensive.  Pointing out ridiculous things in the bible at all is probably going to offend, scientific evidence for evolution or against creationism is probably offensive. I'm just not sure what we could possibly say concerning religion without offending "all but the most understanding."   Here's a decent article about public expression of atheism.      http://atheism.about.com/b/2009/01/16/christians-offended-at-public...

Facebook is a bad forum for these talks anyways, the only civilized talks on religion in my experience, besides here on TA, have been in person.

Comment by RubyR on August 25, 2011 at 4:38pm

Good points J, and thanks for your input everyone... I think you're all right; it's pretty much impossible to tell someone that you're pretty sure that their deeply held beliefs, representing the inspiration that person's life, are wrong is an inherently offensive move. For someone to even consider the possibility that their entire world is a lie is a terrifying thing, so it takes a lot for them to be able to see it. I'm glad that this post has been able to bring out some lively discussion on the topic.

Comment by Rick on August 25, 2011 at 4:43pm

You did nothing wrong. She just cant play by the rules of her own game. I'm with Rich on this one.


You need to be a member of Think Atheist to add comments!

Join Think Atheist

© 2019   Created by Rebel.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service