How do you feel when other people discuss God(s) as if they apply to you? How do you respond?

More specifically I'm referring to when people tell you something like "God is punishing you" or "God loves you" when they know you're an atheist? The double standard in this is obvious when you reveal your view towards it and you're immediately labeled as arrogant or close-minded. I think this notion is asinine because the fact that they aren't receptive to your worldview is the very essence of being close-minded.

How do you "win" so to speak in these situations? What do you all do?

P.S. I'm thankful for atheist communities such as this because if I didn't have it to unwind I'd lose my mind.

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I would be amused. I would entertain the thought and have a chat with them about what it would be like if there was a God. Use your imagination. Just because there isn't doesn't mean you can't imagine it. When they get the point, usually they won't pursue it any further. Like anything else, manners and tact is often more important than what is true. You're going to have a hell of a life if you feel the need to defend every single thing you believe in, like if someone says, "Good day, isn't it?" You reply, "Uh uh, no it isn't... I like the rain." -- okay, that's a farfetched example, but people presume things all the time, about religion or anything else. You'd be wasting your breath arguing about things that have no consequence whatsoever in the rest of your life.

I feel if you have to argue about it, and if the thought of it agitates you even a little microscopic bit, you've already lost. Even if you "win" your argument, you're worse off than the guy that just shrugs it off and didn't get offended. Let's break this down:

Argue and "lose": -15 pleasure for you, -5 pleasure for Christians

Argue and "win": -5 pleasure for you, -15 pleasure for Christians

Don't argue and brush it off: 0 pleasure for you, 5 pleasure for Christians

Let's say you don't give a damn what Christians feel, you'd still win and save time just by handling your feelings internally.

Great answer Jonathan! Well thought out!
Well for me it depends on who is saying it and the situation that I am in.

That's the problem. You can't "win" when they refuse to acknowledge your differences.It's different if they don't actually know you are an atheist, but once they do know then they show that they obviously don't care about mutual respect.

What to do? It's simple. Do anything you want.

Depending on my mood I either humor them, by saying things such as "Odin and Mohammed loves you too!" or, "Which one? Why not the thousands of other gods you don't believe in either?" or the flat out, "You know I don't believe in that bullshit so stop with the "god this, god that". Don't want me disrespecting your beliefs? Believe in something more rational than bronze age mythology". Personally, I don't advocate brushing it off... It just leaves them to believe they can keep at it without being called out for it.

My response to this is to dismiss their views and move on.

When people act like this, starting a discussion only lends validity to their views as you tacitly accept their position as reasonable to talk about, and they are so ignorant and close minded you will only frustrate yourself trying to win.

It annoys me to no end when people dismiss my views or label me close minded, because I put a lot of thought and research into forming my opinions. I do get some satisfaction (real or imagined) from the thought of people like the ones you mention getting worked up as I use their own tactic on them.

Nowadays I tend to mentally replace "god" with e.g. "Odin" or "the fairies" in such statements, so responding by laughing at them, "that's nice" (as said to a child showing you a bad drawing they've done), "is that the reason why you're so ugly" or something similar comes much more easily and naturally.

+5 pleasure for you for not bottling things up and -5 pleasure for them for being treated like an idiot. If someone chooses to demonstrate a lack of respect for me like that, they will find the same attitude coming back at them pretty fast.

Disclaimer: I do not do what I have said above in some circumstances, such as where the other party is grieving over something or if I felt an argument would be worthwhile. I also agree with Jonathan's implication that we need to pick our battles appropriately.

All the evil in this world, and I'm the one God decides needs punishing? He needs to sort out his priorities!

Maybe if He spent less time punishing me and more time restoring the legs of amputees and feeding an infant in Africa before the kid starves to death, this world might be a better place. 

If they know already that you are atheist and say "god is punishing you" to you, I would respond "your kidding, right?"
Also it's best not to privilege "god" as in "I don't believe in god." Say "I don't believe in gods." We know that they are all the same.


Exactly Diane.  I think if you say " I don't believe in god", it sounds like there IS one, and you just don't believe in it/him/her.  I say "I don't believe in invisible deities", but I like your response better.~ Melinda

I think next time someone says they'll pray for me I will say, "Pray if you want, but I would prefer that you do what you can to support me physically and mentally. I really need x,y,z."

I am trying to get better at those types of interactions. Right now, all I say is, "thank you for thinking of me". It's not as satisfying as saying, "shut your goddamn pie hole", but at least it doesn't burn bridges.

Now,when they say that I'm going to hell, I get really immature and quote Hocus Pocus, "Oh, I've been there, thank you! I find it quite lovely!" Not as dignified, I know, but it beats getting into a huff about it.
Change the subject by bringing up a story you saw on the news, like: These poor Sudanese families were travelling together in packs just to find water and food to survive. When the children would get weak, the mother would be forced to just lay her child on the side of the road and forge on, and the child would die within hours but not before the vultures would start feeding off of him. All they wanted was food and water to survive - why would God deny them of that? Here in the US, God helps sports stars and musicians achieve their full potential, and sees to it that they are richly rewarded when they mention his name at awards ceremonies. I guess the Sudanese just aren't praying hard enough. Either that or God just works in mysterious ways.
I just let it roll off and change the subject. It isn't really worth it to get into it with people whose mindset is such, it just ends in bad feelings all around. If you know the person well enough to have a conversation with them, then do, but if you don't, you are opening a can of worms that isn't really worth it. This is something I learned long ago when dealing with political discussions (being a liberal in a conservative state)


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