When I tell people I am an atheist it is extremly hard to bring the words out of my mouth because it comes with so much criticism. In most responses I get "Oh, no" or "thats not right", something along those lines. I feel like I have to have a long drawn out discuss with people when faced with the question of religion because there are so many believers out there. So I'm wondering how does everyone also handle situations like this? Do you have to always defend yourself, your nonbelief? How should I handle, or what should I say the next time someone questions me about this and tries to belittle me for not believing in God? I'm sick of explaining myself to people who are religious!

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I get the "I don't believe" you attitude response as well. I come back with you bet attitude, like, I am not lieing to you. Sometimes, and I may already have, I want to say to them "do you want to hurt me now?" I think it may even be important to know a persons intentions upfront on how they will treat you so why not ask, are you going to hurt me? It may not always be necessary but if you are getting the gut feeling that they may cut you off from life, civil rights or justice, why not?
I have also said " I think all religious people are crazy and I know all religious people think all atheist are crazy". Just to say we are both on different grounds of belief so there is no use in trying to convert me if you have that temptation.
I usually try not to even mention religion with anyone, but if the subject comes up, I've come to the conclusion that saying I'm not religious is better than saying I'm an atheist. If I end up saying I'm an atheist, I usually go out and say, as a response to their criticism, that I think the Bible is messed up, and overall there aren't any good reasons to believe in God.

I haven't done this myself, but I think something worth saying would be something like "We all have beliefs about controversial issues, such as religion, and just because I hold a minority opinion doesn't make me any more right or wrong than you." Something like that is worth saying, something that will stop the conversation about religion, since it's meaningless to talk about it with most people.

I agree with you, though. I'm also sick of having to hide or defend my atheism. Hopefully in the next couple of years we won't have to do this as much.
I agree with you, though. I'm also sick of having to hide or defend my atheism. Hopefully in the next couple of years we won't have to do this as much.

I'd say more like 15 or 20. We need the current crop of teenagers to hit their 30's or so. I think a much higher percentage of them will become atheists. Two more years isn't going to make much of a difference. In fact, I'm expecting a whole crapload of insanity in another 2 years, what with the whole 2012 Aztec calendar thing.
Makes sense to me. Whatever the case, it will definitely happen sometime. There's no way something as irrational as religion will continue for much longer, given the Internet and our out-of-the-closet atheists. Reason will prevail.

Yeah, people will probably try to fulfill the 2012 prophecy, even if it doesn't happen on its own; it will be hectic and insane.
Well, I don't think we'll have many people actually trying to fulfill the prophesy. There's no one high enough up the governmental chain that is going to latch onto the frenzy, because it's a Mayan thing, not European. We should avoid anything particularly damaging, except on a personal level, for some gullible believers. We've got groups like that one west coast Christian network ... here we go: Family Radio

"In Camping's (the founder of Family Radio) latest publication,"We are Almost There!", he states that certain Biblical passages point unquestionably to May 21, 2011 as the date of "Rapture", and October 21, 2011 as the end of the world."

I vaguely remember the prediction in 1988 or 1989 (there was one each year; I can't remember which was the big one) which was preached by at least one of the major televangelists. There were hundreds of gullible idiots who sold their home and all of their possessions and gave the money to charity (quite possibly to the televangelist's charity).

I'm expecting a good bit of similar silliness over this one. We're going to have a bunch of groups who grind down and become 24/7, pray-about-the-end-of-the-world cults. Heck, we had that one group of 9 or 12 Latino people a couple months ago, somewhere out in California or Nevada, which disappeared and was feared dead, until someone found them praying in a park or something. I wouldn't be surprised if we got a suicide cult or two springing up and going off over the next two years.
I don't really see anything wrong with the suicide cults; as a matter of fact, I think that, should they succeed in actually offing themselves, they should be rewarded with a nomination for that year's Darwin Award. After all, they're improving the genetic health of the species!

About 900 of Jim Jones's followers committed suicide in Jonestown, Guyana, back in the 70s (I think it was the 70s) by drinking a powdered drink mix called Flavoraid laced with cyanide.  (Hence the Koolaid saying.)  Then the Heaven's Gate community a few years ago drank their own poison, thinking they would be transported to a spaceship hidden in the tail of the Hale-Bopp comet.

 

In 1843, a group of fundamentalist Protestants sold their belongings, then waited on a hilltop for Jesus to take them home.  This event is still called the "Great Disappointment."  Numerous other groups have prepared for the Second Coming in much the same way.  The Left Behind books, rather clumsily written fictions about the Rapture have sold 70 million or so copies.  Oral Roberts once raised millions by telling his followers that God had threatened to "call him home" if he didn't raise the money by a certain date.  Ever noticed how God needs your money?  He must be a big spender.

 

There's no end to it, no matter what you say.  Do a Google search and you might find a video of a man in China who jumped into the lions' habitat, holding his Bible high to control the beasts.  The lions were stumped for a few seconds, but then one attacked.  The man's injuries looked pretty severe.

I vaguely remember activity in the late 1980's prediction which mirrored some of what you describe from the 1843 one.

 

I'm just wondering what sort of insanity we'll start seeing as May 21st gets a little closer.  I don't even want to know what kind of stupidity will emerge next year.

You dont have to defend anything; you are not the one making a positive claim. The religious condition is a mental delusion and should be treated as such. Just because the insane are running the asylum in our country doesnt mean you have to, in any way shape or form, feel a need to defend yourself.
What you do and say depends on your personality and the nature of your relationship with the other person.
Sounds about right to me. But I still have to figure out whether I am trying to find another ethnically-Jewish girl who is as minimally infected with religion as possible or whether I should be looking for some non ethnically-Jewish girl.
How about a girl who thinks you're the greatest thing on earth, and that you can't stand to be without?

Priorities...

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