I just can't seem to resist getting into discussions with a certain woman on Facebook.  She's not my friend, but she's a friend of a friend, so occasionally we can both comment on the common person's posts.  

Yesterday she told me, again, that I'm not an atheist.  She says I am an agnostic because I don't think I can know for sure whether or not there is a deity.  This is true, but I also don't believe any deity exists.  This is a bit of semantics, really, but what I can't get over is the unmitigated audacity of this woman to not only say she is sure what she believes is correct for all of humanity, but also that I am having a double standard by saying my beliefs are more valid than hers.  

I do think my beliefs are more valid than hers, but I didn't say that to her.  I really don't care what she believes.  My point was that I don't want her to include me in her "we" have to love Jesus, or "we" have to read the Bible to know Jesus."  No we don't.

From communicating with her before, I know trying to get her to give me the respect she wants from me, and which I believe I have given, is like trying to teach a pig to dance - it doesn't work and it annoys the pig.  So I told her she can call me an atheist, agnostic, or unbeliever, as she prefers, and she'd be right!  I also confessed that I have never met Jesus.  That's really rather the point, isn't it?  Truer words were never said.

She said that I've never met her mother, but should I deny her existence?  That's just silly.  I believe that the overzealous Facebook proselytizer believes in Jesus, and I'm not trying to convince her otherwise.  She, on the other hand, "knows" I'm misled and has no qualms about telling me.  

I will confess that there is a part of me that wants to say, "Nope!  I don't, won't, can't, wouldn't, mustn't believe in your deity," but then I would be accused of protesting too much.  It's a tricky game, this being honestly, unapologetically, respectfully atheist/agnostic/unbeliever.  Yet, as Martin Luther is said to have uttered, "Here I stand.  I can do no other."  It was a different issue, but the principles are the same.

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Comment by Diane on March 21, 2012 at 10:03pm

@ Archaeopteryx - Yes I do!  I know some obnoxious atheists who do more harm than good.  I daresay I've behaved badly a few times myself.  I try not to, but there's only so many times I can hear, "You are choosing to deny God" or "I'm telling you this because I care about you and I'm worried about your salvation" before I get just a bit sarcastic. 

I once heard a story about a guru who was meditating in the midst of a bunch of whirling dervishes.  Someone asked him, "How can you sit there and meditate with all of the commotion and distraction around you?"  He replied, "I let 'em whirl."

I need to let them whirl.  Thanks for reminding me!  : )

Comment by archaeopteryx on March 21, 2012 at 11:23pm

I've known a few dervishes myself.

RE: "I'm telling you this because I care about you and I'm worried about your salvation"
Pat her hand patronizingly, smile sweetly, and say, "Thank you."

Comment by Diane on March 22, 2012 at 9:38am

Good advice!

Comment by Diane on March 22, 2012 at 11:57am

BTW, I had to end the conversation with Facebook Lady before it deteriorated further into unpleasantries from both sides.  She had the audacity to say I am close-minded and don't want to learn.  She said I have no knowledge of humility or surrender.  She has no idea!  That's what's amazing.  She has no idea what I've gone through in my life.  She got all huffy when I said I'd rather stick an ice pick in my eye than look at her "proof," which I know to be complete bullcrap.

She kept on insisting that I needed to disprove God, to which I responded that the onus is on her to prove God does exist.  I tried to be civil and transcendent about the whole thing, but in the end I had to wish her loving-kindness and throw in the towel before I said something really ugly.

I never once tried to change her mind, but she accused me of trying to convert theists to agnosticism.  (She won't acknowledge atheism exists.)  She said I can't blame her for my denial of God.  I never did, but I did tell her it is her approach that turns people even further away from Christianity.  I guess she didn't like that.

I have to let it go.  It's so difficult.  They have so much power here in the U.S., and are so damn smug and condescending.  It is difficult to peacefully coexist.  I want to rebel and subvert!

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