What is the difference?

What is the difference between a religious person who tells an atheist that he/she is wrong and vice versa? A friend of mine, who is slowly becoming an ex friend consistently goes out of his way to let anyone who believes in god know how wrong they are in basically the most annoying way possible. I see no difference between that and someone blasting me for not being Baptist.

I respect your input on this, as i am interested in all views of the world and how it works.

And i will pass this on, because i think it works for both believers and non. In the words of Bill and Ted: Be excellent to each other, and party on!

Posted: February 9th 2012

Dave Hitt www

I see no difference between that and someone blasting me for not being Baptist.

Me neither.

In a perfect world a person’s religious belief, or lack of belief, would be no more important than their favorite sports team. It’s something to talk about, if you’re interested in sports, but that’s about it.

People who believe gods and ghosts and demons and fairies are real are obviously wrong, but it’s just one thing they’re wrong about. They’re probably right about a lot of other, more important and more interesting things.

The ultra religious, who bring their god into every other sentence, and/or preach to everyone in every circumstance, should be avoided, and if that’s not possible, rudeness is a perfectly justifiable way to get them to leave you alone. But the majority of people never bring up their religious beliefs. They want them to be private, and you’re right, it’s none of our business. If they’re being polite enough to mind their own business, we should reciprocate. And we should avoid, whenever possible, behaving like the ultra religious.

For instance, if we sneeze and someone says “God bless you,” the proper response is “thank you.” They’re just being friendly. Using it as an opportunity to “educate” them or telling them you don’t believe in God and that you’d like them to never say that again comes under the heading of “being a dick,” something that should be reserved for getting the ultra religious to leave you alone.

Posted: February 11th 2012

See all questions answered by Dave Hitt

Eshu www

Any communication should always be considerate and respectful of the recipient. This isn’t just good manners, it’s good strategy. Of course we all have the right to offend and upset people, but it’s still a very bad idea to do so if you want to be taken seriously.

I have a serious beef with many online atheists who say we should never be concerned with offending people and these complaints are just supposed to shut us up. I say you have to be honest, accurate and so reasonable that people can’t ignore you.

When it comes to religion people are especially easily offended. This might be partly to do with the historical stigma about criticising religion like any other idea. People are not used to being questioned over religion. So I think if we want to discuss religion, we have to take that into account, be fair about it and get people to sympathise with (at least some of) our opinions. I think when talking to individuals in person this is especially true.

So I agree with you and I’m very sorry to hear about the behaviour of your atheist friend. I’m sure you’ve pointed out the evangelism parallel to him and I’m sure he finds religious evangelism annoying, so I can’t understand why he doesn’t get it. I would say, “Let’s not talk about religion” or “I like you, but you’re a dick when you talk about religion”, or just avoid him in future.

Posted: February 11th 2012

See all questions answered by Eshu

Daniel Midgley www

I tend to agree with you — it’s good not to be annoying.

The tricky part about this, though, is that it seems to be exceptionally easy to annoy believers. For some, all you have to do is say you’re an atheist. Suddenly militant!

Posted: February 11th 2012

See all questions answered by Daniel Midgley

Paula Kirby www

I agree. If the believer is willing to leave the subject alone, then I am too. I’d only get into a discussion about it if the other person brings it up.

Religion in public life is a different matter: that affects all of us, religious or not, and it’s right that we should challenge it.

But I don’t really think it’s any of my business what other individuals believe – unless they make a point of ramming it down my throat. It’s not as if there weren’t plenty of other things to talk about.

Posted: February 10th 2012

See all questions answered by Paula Kirby


Is your atheism a problem in your religious family or school?
Talk about it at the atheist nexus forum