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How do you respond to christian nonsense?
Posted: 29 May 2012 08:56 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Hello again. I am new at how to respond to others. I still have many religious friends and family. It seems that Facebook has become more of a place to express you religious or political views. I am the kind of person that if I find a great quote, I will usually post it. Then one of my “friends” decides to start reading something spiritual into it. No matter how many times I tell them it’s just a freakin’ quote and I had NO religious reason for using it.
I have been around this for so many years and now it just seems that they wear their religion on their sleeves. How can I reason with them without getting into a drawn out discussion? Below is a sample of what I am talking about.

Me: “When the act of reflection takes place in the mind, when we look at ourselves in the light of thought, we discover that our life is embosomed in beauty.”—Ralph Waldo Emerson, Spiritual Laws

1st response: Emerson was a philosopher of Transcendentalism, though his words sound harmless they are very dangerous because his ideas are centered around indivualism and not directed toward Jesus or Our Father who is, and always will be the one we should center our mind around

Me:  Why do we have to always bring religion in on a simple quote? Just take it at face value. Not everything has to religious. Some people would say that religion is dangerous too…

2nd response: Because reigion is our alegion to God , that we will always follow him first and foremost , No one else , God loved us first , and we are to love him also first . We are to love him with all heart, and with all our soul, and all our strength , He is the Alpha and the Omega , The beginning and the end . So no other quotes or thoughts matter . They are just meer words or ideas . Nothing you can put any truth or trust into . As far as dangerous, never ! I would die for my God , Because I know the promise he has made to me , For my faith, my belief in him . So threats or worry of danger don’t exsist .

Me: It’s just a quote not a declaration against God.

1st response: I have a God centered mindset so everything I read, see, and experience is focused on Him, like it should be….and like I said before I am not concerned about religion and their laws, my mind is more spiritual minded…..and Emerson was spiritual speaking in this quote, though it is from the wrong spirit

Me: What does that have to do with the quote? I am sure that Emerson was describing something good. If so, doesn’t ALL things good only come from God? I think you cannot always judge the quote based on the author. Let the quote stand alone for the meaning.

1st response: you just said it….all things that are good come from God, all else does not matter because it will fade away but God is eternal and all that is eternal is all that matters, this mans words will fall to the ground but Gods words are eternal and bring life

Me: Wow! Why all the preaching over a quote? I guess you would be in favor of banning any book that is not “Christian”

1st response: I never said to ban books, and dont agree with doing that, I just dont agree with some of these people who push their liberal ideology on us whether we like it or not, you think it is christians that do it and I think its liberals that do it…....hmmmm

me: Christians can be liberal too. I am NOT pushing anything. I believe there is truth in a lot of Non-Christian literature. Wisdom comes from a lot of different sources.

Any help would greatly be appreciated…thanks

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Posted: 29 May 2012 09:13 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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I think it partly depends on whether you want to ‘come out’ as an atheist/agnostic or not. If you do, then it’s quite easy: point out your opinions and arguments. You may lose some friends, but then those might be friends you would have wanted to lose anyway.

If you don’t want to be overtly atheist or agnostic, then it might be that your best option is just not to get drawn into these kinds of conversations. People will see what they want to see in quotes you post. Unless they are overtly atheistic or agnostic, the quotes are liable to be taken in ways you did not intend. Since I don’t see any reason to stop posting altogether, best just not to respond.

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Posted: 29 May 2012 09:21 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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dougsmith - 29 May 2012 09:13 AM

I think it partly depends on whether you want to ‘come out’ as an atheist/agnostic or not. If you do, then it’s quite easy: point out your opinions and arguments. You may lose some friends, but then those might be friends you would have wanted to lose anyway.

If you don’t want to be overtly atheist or agnostic, then it might be that your best option is just not to get drawn into these kinds of conversations. People will see what they want to see in quotes you post. Unless they are overtly atheistic or agnostic, the quotes are liable to be taken in ways you did not intend. Since I don’t see any reason to stop posting altogether, best just not to respond.

dougsmith, I understand but both of the responders are my close friends. They do NOT know I am an atheist. I would like to be able to at least get them to slowly realize that their comments are way outside of the mainstream. I will probably keep posting but need to be a little more guarded in my response as to not provoke them to their religiosity madness. I have many friends like this….scarey huh?

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Posted: 29 May 2012 09:26 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Dizzy Spyder - 29 May 2012 09:21 AM

dougsmith, I understand but both of the responders are my close friends. They do NOT know I am an atheist. I would like to be able to at least get them to slowly realize that their comments are way outside of the mainstream. I will probably keep posting but need to be a little more guarded in my response as to not provoke them to their religiosity madness. I have many friends like this….scarey huh?

My feeling—and it’s only my feeling, someone else with more experience in your position may be able to help better—is that this is part of the problem one is in when one has to be disingenuous with close friends.

It’s perfectly normal to wonder why one’s friend is telling one not to post things about God. “What’s wrong with God? Doesn’t everyone believe in God? Doesn’t everyone love God? Why, you must be an atheist to think such things!”

If you don’t want those kinds of awkward questions to come up, you’re better off just not responding. (Although it’s true that a grudging non-response may eventually be seen as a rejection, and engender the very same questions).

Basically you’re looking for a way to ask your friends not to provoke you into letting your ‘secret’ out of the bag by posting what they want to post. That’s not a long-term tenable project. Either you stop posting, you close your posts to responses, or you don’t respond.

Or you tell them plainly why you are annoyed.

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Posted: 29 May 2012 09:35 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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dougsmith - 29 May 2012 09:26 AM
Dizzy Spyder - 29 May 2012 09:21 AM

dougsmith, I understand but both of the responders are my close friends. They do NOT know I am an atheist. I would like to be able to at least get them to slowly realize that their comments are way outside of the mainstream. I will probably keep posting but need to be a little more guarded in my response as to not provoke them to their religiosity madness. I have many friends like this….scarey huh?

My feeling—and it’s only my feeling, someone else with more experience in your position may be able to help better—is that this is part of the problem one is in when one has to be disingenuous with close friends.

It’s perfectly normal to wonder why one’s friend is telling one not to post things about God. “What’s wrong with God? Doesn’t everyone believe in God? Doesn’t everyone love God? Why, you must be an atheist to think such things!”

If you don’t want those kinds of awkward questions to come up, you’re better off just not responding. (Although it’s true that a grudging non-response may eventually be seen as a rejection, and engender the very same questions).

Basically you’re looking for a way to ask your friends not to provoke you into letting your ‘secret’ out of the bag by posting what they want to post. That’s not a long-term tenable project. Either you stop posting, you close your posts to responses, or you don’t respond.

Or you tell them plainly why you are annoyed.

I understand that it may not be the best approach for the long term. I will probably continue to post and may add a response or not. It is just very difficult to just let people add their opinions without any credible response. As for my atheism being exsposed, that could be something that would eventually come out through my responses. I would say that 99% of my friends and family are that kind of Christians.

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Posted: 29 May 2012 09:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Dizzy Spyder - 29 May 2012 09:35 AM

It is just very difficult to just let people add their opinions without any credible response.

I hear you. It’s a difficult path you’ve chosen; at least until you work things through.

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Posted: 29 May 2012 11:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Dizzy, I think that you answered your own question by your post label, xtian nonsense. As I read the responses to your post what struck me was the anger, paranoia, fear, and hatred coming through from your friends? These are minds closed like a steel trap and If you are true to yourself you’ll have an extremely hard time keeping those relationships going in the future if or when you do reveal your lack of faith so to speak. Doug’s advice is sound of course but in the long run you will force yourself to decide if you want to continue your friendships. The nuclear family is another matter, but that one may go smoother as there is a personal tie. However you handle the situation, it’s your life and your right to think and live for yourself, not some anthropomorphic sky god.


Cap’t Jack

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Posted: 29 May 2012 11:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Thevillageatheist - 29 May 2012 11:22 AM

Dizzy, I think that you answered your own question by your post label, xtian nonsense. As I read the responses to your post what struck me was the anger, paranoia, fear, and hatred coming through from your friends? These are minds closed like a steel trap and If you are true to yourself you’ll have an extremely hard time keeping those relationships going in the future if or when you do reveal your lack of faith so to speak. Doug’s advice is sound of course but in the long run you will force yourself to decide if you want to continue your friendships. The nuclear family is another matter, but that one may go smoother as there is a personal tie. However you handle the situation, it’s your life and your right to think and live for yourself, not some anthropomorphic sky god.


Cap’t Jack

Thanks! smile

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Posted: 29 May 2012 06:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Is it just me, or does it seem like the kind of people who would give such overtly submissive comments about God while seeming to take virtually all statements that are not Bible quotes to be suspect, that such people are rather dangerous? This does not sound like standard religiosity; it sounds like cultism.

2nd response: Because reigion is our alegion to God , that we will always follow him first and foremost , No one else , God loved us first , and we are to love him also first . We are to love him with all heart, and with all our soul, and all our strength , He is the Alpha and the Omega , The beginning and the end . So no other quotes or thoughts matter . They are just meer words or ideas . Nothing you can put any truth or trust into . As far as dangerous, never ! I would die for my God , Because I know the promise he has made to me , For my faith, my belief in him . So threats or worry of danger don’t exsist .

Such a person who really believes this should be extremely susceptable to suggestion in the right context. If a community leader that he trusts says that the Bible says to kill all people with warts on their chins, I don’t see how such a person would have any context with which to deny such an order.

[ Edited: 29 May 2012 06:11 PM by TromboneAndrew ]
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Posted: 29 May 2012 08:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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If I bother to engage these people at all, I just tell them; “If omnipotance exists, she can have a word with me anytime she wants and doesn’t need your help. If she doesn’t exist, there’s nothing to talk about.”

Discussion over.

(You should see the looks I get when I refer to “God” using the feminine pronoun!) smile

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Posted: 29 May 2012 10:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Hi Dizzy Spyder,

I think you cannot go on for very long like this. The Emerson citation has a dangerous non-christian odour around it: it says that one can have a beautiful and meaningful life without God. For any fundamentalist christian this is a potential threat: all the meaning in life comes directly from God.

If you want to hide your atheism because you do not want to loose 99% of your friends, then, well, do not publish such citations. For any well thinking human being there is nothing wrong with the citation, also moderate believers of any kind would have no problem with it. But fundies are different. You cannot live half/half: atheist inside, none-atheist on the outside, but still let sneak out some of your atheist side.

My advice (“Advice is a dangerous thing to give”, said Gandalf) is: stop such citations and discussions, and find some friends who think and feel like you. With them you can live your ‘real identity’. And maybe they once will be the only friends left if you at some moment in the future you come out of the closet. Then you’ll need their support.

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Posted: 30 May 2012 06:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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TromboneAndrew - 29 May 2012 06:08 PM

Is it just me, or does it seem like the kind of people who would give such overtly submissive comments about God while seeming to take virtually all statements that are not Bible quotes to be suspect, that such people are rather dangerous? This does not sound like standard religiosity; it sounds like cultism.

2nd response: Because reigion is our alegion to God , that we will always follow him first and foremost , No one else , God loved us first , and we are to love him also first . We are to love him with all heart, and with all our soul, and all our strength , He is the Alpha and the Omega , The beginning and the end . So no other quotes or thoughts matter . They are just meer words or ideas . Nothing you can put any truth or trust into . As far as dangerous, never ! I would die for my God , Because I know the promise he has made to me , For my faith, my belief in him . So threats or worry of danger don’t exsist .

Such a person who really believes this should be extremely susceptable to suggestion in the right context. If a community leader that he trusts says that the Bible says to kill all people with warts on their chins, I don’t see how such a person would have any context with which to deny such an order.

TromboneAndrew, I agree with what you are saying. This is the culture in which I am in the middle. Cult is a good word here in this context. There are some non-religious quotes that I put up that they agree with. Maybe because they do not understand the quote or they are not wearing their cult hat at the time.

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Posted: 30 May 2012 06:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Equal Opportunity Curmudgeon - 29 May 2012 08:09 PM

If I bother to engage these people at all, I just tell them; “If omnipotance exists, she can have a word with me anytime she wants and doesn’t need your help. If she doesn’t exist, there’s nothing to talk about.”

Discussion over.

(You should see the looks I get when I refer to “God” using the feminine pronoun!) smile

Now that is an idea smile

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Posted: 30 May 2012 06:35 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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GdB - 29 May 2012 10:25 PM

Hi Dizzy Spyder,

I think you cannot go on for very long like this. The Emerson citation has a dangerous non-christian odour around it: it says that one can have a beautiful and meaningful life without God. For any fundamentalist christian this is a potential threat: all the meaning in life comes directly from God.

If you want to hide your atheism because you do not want to loose 99% of your friends, then, well, do not publish such citations. For any well thinking human being there is nothing wrong with the citation, also moderate believers of any kind would have no problem with it. But fundies are different. You cannot live half/half: atheist inside, none-atheist on the outside, but still let sneak out some of your atheist side.

My advice (“Advice is a dangerous thing to give”, said Gandalf) is: stop such citations and discussions, and find some friends who think and feel like you. With them you can live your ‘real identity’. And maybe they once will be the only friends left if you at some moment in the future you come out of the closet. Then you’ll need their support.

I will not be able to continue like this is right but for now I am trying to do this gradually. Hopefully I can reason enough to get them to question their beliefs. Sounds like a never ending task but they are my friends & they still mean something to me. I do have a few acquaintances that I can turn to but will need more time to get comfortable with them.

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Posted: 30 May 2012 10:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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Hopefully I can reason enough to get them to question their beliefs.

Good luck. You may have a chance with the more moderately minded, but with any that are of the fundemented persuasion, they’ll just see you as the Devil incarnate. (But if you want to have some fun, do some historical research so you can show that Yahweh has his origins in Canaanite mythology and that Satan has his origins in the Persian religions.)

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Posted: 30 May 2012 10:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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Equal Opportunity Curmudgeon - 30 May 2012 10:10 AM

Hopefully I can reason enough to get them to question their beliefs.

Good luck. You may have a chance with the more moderately minded, but with any that are of the fundemented persuasion, they’ll just see you as the Devil incarnate. (But if you want to have some fun, do some historical research so you can show that Yahweh has his origins in Canaanite mythology and that Satan has his origins in the Persian religions.)

Fun sounds good to me. It may expose their extremism easier.

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