How comfortable are you talking about it?
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14-11-2014, 08:39 PM
How comfortable are you talking about it?
Whenever it gets brought up, I always feel really nervous when I am in public places like school and the topic of religion or atheism gets brought up. So much that I find it very difficult to speak what I really want too. I am not really sure why, I think it just has to do with my fear of conflict with others, but does this happen with anyone else here?

How do you deal with that? Recently I got one of those pure agnostics that claim they don't care if there is an afterlife and will "find out when they get there" people. Whom also mentioned that his problem with atheists is that "a lot of them say no one should be allowed to have religion:".

Yeah, one of those Emmy award winners! I wanted to tell him off about that Amazing atheist style but I held back some and said something else then what I should had. Basically that every group has people like that instead of taking the sensible road of that is not true because of X and so forth and then point out the fact that Agnostics are also atheists.


Also, what do you think is a good balance between confrontation and non confrontational approaches to these people?


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14-11-2014, 08:50 PM
RE: How comfortable are you talking about it?
it really depends on the crowd.

are these people you will bump into often? regularly? rarely? never again?
do you care what they think of you after your conversation?
do you want to be right or do you want to be happy?
will this conversation influence other relationships?


there are probably more things to consider, but those are the first ones that come to mind.

depending on those answers, kind of determines how far I am willing to dig in my heels. Many of the people that I come in contact with are other moms of my kids. My behavior/attitude/argumentativeness will influence their relationships with friends and we live in the bible belt. I dont want my kids to be outcasts, or the one with the crazy mom, so I walk a tighter line than others. As they get older, and develop their own voice, I let more come thru.


"Life is a daring adventure or it is nothing"--Helen Keller
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14-11-2014, 08:54 PM
RE: How comfortable are you talking about it?
Part 1. Always put the ball in their court. Never let them dictate the conversation . If they ask you a question, say "That question has nothing to do with the point I'm trying to make."

Part 2. Always have a point you're trying to make.

If belief in Zeus was the majority religious belief, you and I would both be atheists.

Basically I like to try and find common ground.
When you can rationally find something you both don't believe in, then you can explore that. This gives the person a connection into your mindset because they know exactly where you're coming from.

Part 3. Never get sucked into their religious beliefs.
Its an irrational black hole

Insanity - doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results
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14-11-2014, 08:54 PM
RE: How comfortable are you talking about it?
Not comfortable at all. But then, I live in an area that has many churches. The one time I did was when someone dragged me to a pagan gathering. I was telling the story of when Jehovah's Witnesses came to my house. I said something to the effect of "that's what you get knocking on an atheist's door in the summertime." Another guy there approached me saying he, too, is an atheist. Found out I had known his brother-in-law for years.

Other than that, I don't think I've talked about it in public. Only my brother knows, but he's an atheist, too. A couple friends know, and that's it. One friend (well, he's pushing the friend thing) knows only because I had replied to one of the atheist pages' thread, and he made some sort of snarky comment. I sent him a message saying that was uncalled for and he had no idea how hard we have it.
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14-11-2014, 08:57 PM
RE: How comfortable are you talking about it?
I also find it very uncomfortable. Luckily it hardly ever comes up. If my family starts talking about religion, it is usually a very brief derail from whatever we were talking about, and I just wait until the topic changes before continuing to engage. Mostly because I wouldn't have anything nice to say.

At work the topic only came up once because someone was talking about a christening they went to. My boss looked at me and said "are you catholic?" I just replied with "no" and a smile, the conversation continued on (WHEW!!). If I'd been pressed further, I probably would have admitted I was atheist, and if pressed further to discuss that, I would have done my best to politely decline engaging.

I'm not a fan of conflict, I'm socially awkward enough with regular conversations. I also don't much enjoy getting involved in religious debating. I normally like to sit by the sidelines and watch Popcorn

I was also very lucky with my family. I remember one lunch with my parents and my very religious grandmother. The topic of god came up, and when it was natural for the conversation I casually mentioned that I was an atheist (this was my "coming out"). I got some shocked looks, was asked "you don't believe in god?". Again I just nonchalantly said no, like it was no big deal to hold that opinion. That really helped diffuse the situation. This was also when I learned my dad is agnostic. He explained that his view is: if there is a god, he would be a being beyond the comprehension or knowing of humans. The whole experience was pretty positive.

Now with friends I have a little more leeway. I've discussed my atheism in depth with them, and we still love each other.

I think it's all about picking battles, knowing how to gauge and respond to specific situations. Also a lot about knowing how to graciously change the subject if things are getting out of hand.

In your situation, I think you made a good move. What you said was true, even if you didn't go full throttle on the topic.

I hope that the world turns, and things get better. But what I hope most of all is that you understand what I mean when I tell you that, even though I do not know you, and even though I may never meet you, laugh with you, cry with you, or kiss you, I love you. With all my heart, I love you. - V for Vendetta
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14-11-2014, 09:03 PM
RE: How comfortable are you talking about it?
There are a few atheists that I know in my neighborhood, we know each other from an atheist facebook group for our city and realized we are in the same neighborhood. two of us have daughters in the same class, play soccer for the same rec club. For me, it feels like that movie They Live. its like we are a secret club moving about the others. lol


"Life is a daring adventure or it is nothing"--Helen Keller
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15-11-2014, 07:30 AM
RE: How comfortable are you talking about it?
(14-11-2014 08:50 PM)Bows and Arrows Wrote:  Many of the people that I come in contact with are other moms of my kids.

Indeed.Cool

Since I'm not attending any religious sponsored events the topic of conversation rarely turns to religion. When it does my response depends on the situation much like B&A enumerated.

If asked, I'll usually just say I've studied the issue and haven't found enough evidence to believe and change the subject. If pressed I'll get into it as much as they want. I try to stay very even toned and matter-of-fact about it.

I do sometimes attend "ask an atheist" type events with a local meetup group and there it is obviously more in depth and can be a lot of fun.

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15-11-2014, 07:39 AM
RE: How comfortable are you talking about it?
(14-11-2014 08:50 PM)Bows and Arrows Wrote:  Many of the people that I come in contact with are other moms of my kids.

Is there something you wanna tell us? Big Grin

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15-11-2014, 08:08 AM
RE: How comfortable are you talking about it?
Relatively compared to anything which I'm not comfortable talking about in public? Probably more so because I know plenty of things about it.

I have avoided talking when questions come up at me in such stupid ways, like you would get of a aloof christian coming here. I had a co-worker I talk to frequently ask me about it, I was going to say things but then he said, "So you just believe all the universe came out of nothing?" I felt it too goofy an asked question to even bother responding and walked away. That was my most recent time talking to anyone of it

"Allow there to be a spectrum in all that you see" - Neil Degrasse Tyson
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15-11-2014, 09:23 AM
RE: How comfortable are you talking about it?
I'm pretty open about my atheism at work, but I work with a generally younger crowd, also most Chinese I know don't care or even know about Jesus. For some reason I'm more sensitive around older people though, we recently got a few new oldies in the office, I guess my subconscious is afraid they're stuck in their ways and I don't want to go giving anybody a stroke.

Atheism is the only way to truly be free from sin.
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