How freely do you discuss atheism in daily life?
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24-02-2015, 08:27 PM
How freely do you discuss atheism in daily life?
I'm curious what approach you all take when the subject of religion comes up socially or at work. Due to my location in the South, and lack of an atheist community in my small town, most people with whom I associate are religious (Christian). Thank goodness for facebook, and for a very active atheist group an hour away from my home! Anyway, people know I'm not religious, but I avoid the atheist title at work. I have one coworker in particular, who speaks frequently about god and miracles. It is never in a preachy way, just comes up in natural conversation. For example, we were talking about a local community member who received a liver transplant just in time to save his life. She said it was 'a miracle', and that god works in mysterious ways. What I thought was "no, a miracle would have been spontaneously healing his liver, and preventing the accident that took the life of the donor". What I said was "It's remarkable that the donor family was able to see through their grief and tragedy, and give a second chance to a dying man, and fortunate that she was a perfect match". She also said she knew the family of the recipient, and that they were "a good Christian family". I let that go, because I see no point and no benefit to starting a debate over a casual comment that wasn't meant to inflame.

I will speak up if someone says something like "that person who robbed the gas station needs Jesus" or "the reason school shootings happen is because they took god out of schools", but I just say something generic like "How do you know the robber wasn't a Christian?" or "people of all religions and no religion can all be criminals" or "violence has been part of society since society began, regardless of how religions the society is.". Although my friends and family know I'm an atheist, I have yet to speak up at work or in a casual conversation, and say "I'm an atheist, and what you just said is wrong".

I'd love to hear others' perspectives on this.
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24-02-2015, 09:27 PM
RE: How freely do you discuss atheism in daily life?
Oh boy. I'm in the South as well (Texas) and there's pretty much no way I would ever bring up my atheism whether around my relatives or co-workers or friends. I just won't do it. Too non-confrontational.

I bite my tongue. A lot. Tongue

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24-02-2015, 09:41 PM
RE: How freely do you discuss atheism in daily life?
(24-02-2015 09:27 PM)Escape Artist Wrote:  Oh boy. I'm in the South as well (Texas) and there's pretty much no way I would ever bring up my atheism whether around my relatives or co-workers or friends. I just won't do it. Too non-confrontational.

I bite my tongue. A lot. Tongue

I'm gradually getting more bold, but I also HATE confrontation. Social media is a little easier. I used to avoid any and all things religious or political, but now, I frequently post on facebook about marriage equality, and my pro-physician assisted suicide stance. I do not 'like' atheist pages or speak directly about atheism, but I am getting a little bolder with what I say. It's usually pretty low-key. On a story about someone surviving a car crash, I'll be one of the few "Wow, modern automobile safety features are remarkable" comments amongst all the "Praise God!"s. When Brittany Maynard, the woman with incurable brain cancer, ended her life with physician assisted death, if someone said "It is god's decision when you die", I replied "NO! It's HER decision"

Yesterday, our local news station posted a picture of chocolate Easter crosses with the question "Are you OK with this?" There was no context, just the question. Several Christians commented about mean old atheists trying to take away their chocolate crosses. So, I googled "Chocolate cross controversy", and as I suspected it was RELIGIOUS people who were upset because the considered it disrespectful. Not gonna' lie, I found it pretty damn rewarding to tell them "actually, it is religious leaders who are complaining about these crosses" Laughat
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24-02-2015, 09:43 PM (This post was last modified: 25-02-2015 05:04 AM by Bucky Ball.)
RE: How freely do you discuss atheism in daily life?
(24-02-2015 08:27 PM)beeglez Wrote:  I'm curious what approach you all take when the subject of religion comes up socially or at work. Due to my location in the South, and lack of an atheist community in my small town, most people with whom I associate are religious (Christian). Thank goodness for facebook, and for a very active atheist group an hour away from my home! Anyway, people know I'm not religious, but I avoid the atheist title at work. I have one coworker in particular, who speaks frequently about god and miracles. It is never in a preachy way, just comes up in natural conversation. For example, we were talking about a local community member who received a liver transplant just in time to save his life. She said it was 'a miracle', and that god works in mysterious ways. What I thought was "no, a miracle would have been spontaneously healing his liver, and preventing the accident that took the life of the donor". What I said was "It's remarkable that the donor family was able to see through their grief and tragedy, and give a second chance to a dying man, and fortunate that she was a perfect match". She also said she knew the family of the recipient, and that they were "a good Christian family". I let that go, because I see no point and no benefit to starting a debate over a casual comment that wasn't meant to inflame.

I will speak up if someone says something like "that person who robbed the gas station needs Jesus" or "the reason school shootings happen is because they took god out of schools", but I just say something generic like "How do you know the robber wasn't a Christian?" or "people of all religions and no religion can all be criminals" or "violence has been part of society since society began, regardless of how religions the society is.". Although my friends and family know I'm an atheist, I have yet to speak up at work or in a casual conversation, and say "I'm an atheist, and what you just said is wrong".

I'd love to hear others' perspectives on this.

It NEVER is brought up where I work. People say "I have to do 'Loaves and Fishes' ", or "It's choir night", so in general some people's affiliations are known.
Arguing about religion, or repeatedly bringing it up, could get you fired.

I never bring it up, and my real friends know my views. I also have many valued people in my life who just would not "get it", (older family people mostly). I see no point in upsetting them. But I come from a very liberal "high church" (Episcopal) background, and half the family are liberal Catholics. One of my ex-pastors says "The only thing we really agree on here, is that church is at 10:30". Rolleyes That's fine with me.

Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein God has a plan for us. Please stop screwing it up with your prayers.
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24-02-2015, 09:46 PM
RE: How freely do you discuss atheism in daily life?
I don't.


But as if to knock me down, reality came around
And without so much as a mere touch, cut me into little pieces

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24-02-2015, 09:51 PM
RE: How freely do you discuss atheism in daily life?
Someone would need to get pretty in my face with religion.
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24-02-2015, 09:59 PM
RE: How freely do you discuss atheism in daily life?
(24-02-2015 09:51 PM)pablo Wrote:  Someone would need to get pretty in my face with religion.

It just frustrates me that I can't be more open. I don't have a need to argue people out of their religion, or tell someone a person getting a new liver isn't a miracle. I don't care if someone wears a cross, or says 'God bless you". I don't care if they say "Merry Christmas", and I don't care if they have Jesus fishes on their cars. However, when I take a long weekend to go to an atheist convention, it would be nice to not have to lie when people ask what I'm doing. If I were going to a family reunion, I could say "I'm going to a family reunion". If I was going to a church retreat, I could say "I'm going to a church retreat". Instead, I lie and say "I'm going to visit a friend". I got to meet Seth Andrews in person at a meetup and get my book signed. That was exciting for me! It's not every day you get to meet an author and get a book signed. Again, if it had been a mystery writer, Christian writer, or some stupid "50 Shades of Gray" type of book, I could tell everyone about it, or post the signed copy on facebook. Can't do that with "Deconvereted". In the great scheme of things, it's a minor problem to have, but it sucks.
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24-02-2015, 10:15 PM
RE: How freely do you discuss atheism in daily life?
(24-02-2015 09:59 PM)beeglez Wrote:  
(24-02-2015 09:51 PM)pablo Wrote:  Someone would need to get pretty in my face with religion.

It just frustrates me that I can't be more open. I don't have a need to argue people out of their religion, or tell someone a person getting a new liver isn't a miracle. I don't care if someone wears a cross, or says 'God bless you". I don't care if they say "Merry Christmas", and I don't care if they have Jesus fishes on their cars. However, when I take a long weekend to go to an atheist convention, it would be nice to not have to lie when people ask what I'm doing. If I were going to a family reunion, I could say "I'm going to a family reunion". If I was going to a church retreat, I could say "I'm going to a church retreat". Instead, I lie and say "I'm going to visit a friend". I got to meet Seth Andrews in person at a meetup and get my book signed. That was exciting for me! It's not every day you get to meet an author and get a book signed. Again, if it had been a mystery writer, Christian writer, or some stupid "50 Shades of Gray" type of book, I could tell everyone about it, or post the signed copy on facebook. Can't do that with "Deconvereted". In the great scheme of things, it's a minor problem to have, but it sucks.

Yet another difference between theism and atheism.
If a person talks about their religious beliefs, even extensively, they're not likely to hear a word against it.
Make even an offhand remark about being an atheist and you could end up being ostracized by your family, friends, co-workers, bosses, etc.
Still, we get to hear christians complain about being oppressed.
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24-02-2015, 10:20 PM
RE: How freely do you discuss atheism in daily life?
(24-02-2015 09:59 PM)beeglez Wrote:  
(24-02-2015 09:51 PM)pablo Wrote:  Someone would need to get pretty in my face with religion.

It just frustrates me that I can't be more open. I don't have a need to argue people out of their religion, or tell someone a person getting a new liver isn't a miracle. I don't care if someone wears a cross, or says 'God bless you". I don't care if they say "Merry Christmas", and I don't care if they have Jesus fishes on their cars. However, when I take a long weekend to go to an atheist convention, it would be nice to not have to lie when people ask what I'm doing. If I were going to a family reunion, I could say "I'm going to a family reunion". If I was going to a church retreat, I could say "I'm going to a church retreat". Instead, I lie and say "I'm going to visit a friend". I got to meet Seth Andrews in person at a meetup and get my book signed. That was exciting for me! It's not every day you get to meet an author and get a book signed. Again, if it had been a mystery writer, Christian writer, or some stupid "50 Shades of Gray" type of book, I could tell everyone about it, or post the signed copy on facebook. Can't do that with "Deconvereted". In the great scheme of things, it's a minor problem to have, but it sucks.

Just goes to show you how deeply religion is entrenched in American society.

I avoid bringing it up even when someone says “its a miracle”, happens often enough so apparently miracles are a dime a dozen and god is never guilty of shit. Someone I care about just found out her cancer is in remission and she claims it’s a miracle. I have to chew my tongue not to ask why the sky-daddy gave it to her in the first place but what would that accomplish?

I’ve heard it said that the most dangerous place to stand is between a person and what they want to believe.

In the end we each have to weigh the pros and cons of coming out to others. Other Forum members here were afraid to lose their jobs and spouses, alienate friends and family. Your call on what to say but in the meantime we have a thread called the Ranting Corner, let out your frustrations there.

“I am quite sure now that often, very often, in matters concerning religion and politics a man’s reasoning powers are not above the monkey’s.”~Mark Twain
“Ocean: A body of water occupying about two-thirds of a world made for man - who has no gills.”~ Ambrose Bierce
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24-02-2015, 10:51 PM
RE: How freely do you discuss atheism in daily life?
Not very often, although not because I'm afraid to. I'm from the North and those whom posit similar theological skepticisms as me are a dime a dozen wherever I go. It's just not that important to me to bring it up in conversation.

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