I think this is where I should put this.

I tend to lose a lot of friends whenever I debate over their religion, and I was just wondering if this was true for anyone else. I need to know if I'm an anomally, or perhaps it's where I live, or what it is that makes me lose friends, because I don't like it.

-Garrick, aka The McMaster

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It happens. The only thing you can do for the most part is avoid the situation as often as possible. I try not to offend my theist friends (which is harder now than ever thanks to the fact that both of my roomies and my other two best friends are atheist). I don't have any real good advice, sadly. It really just comes down to how much the friendships mean to you, and how much you think those friendships mean to your theist friends. (I'm betting you're more willing to be cool with them than they are with you.) To be honest I avoid my theist friends quite often, because if I want to remain friends with them I just can't spend much time with them.
Yep same here. Turns out philosophy, society, woo and science are favourite topics of mine. I used to always keep part of me hidden so as to NOT insult. In this sense, my theist friends are becoming more like acquaintances...
I used to always keep part of me hidden so as to NOT insult.

This is exactly what I feel I have to do. I am really interested in religion and debating it is so exciting but I can't do it around my friendship group because they don't even know that I am an atheist. I also feel like I have to dumb myself down in order to fit in with them, I love philosophy but if I bring it up they think I'm being weird. It's actually really irritating.
Indeed. In a society with a majority of atheists, we probably would have very little need or impetus to discuss religion. But since we're in the minority, we MUST speak out, it IS our responsibility.

Imagine how NOT far black people would have come had they silenced themselves for any longer. The whites were not standing in great numbers to promote their rights.

Rights must be taken, and it is up to us to bring it to the forefront.

I am thoroughly surprised at how many posters right here say to not debate it with religious friends. Seems to me it's pretty useless to debate it with the already atheists, it's the religious friends who SHOULD hear it.

It is pretty 'riské' to do it in a work context, so family and friends is the obvious place to debate it, if they can take it! One poster said to do it, but tactfully, I can see that, quite a challenge :)
The problem is that I know my friends, they will immediately take offense to me declaring I am an atheist and will take it as a personal attack. They will not listen to my arguments and they won't want to see me for fear I may "threaten" them again with my atheism. Most of them were brought up in extremely christian environments and they cannot handle the truth. The topic of religion came up the other night and the things they said made me cringe, and my most religious friend's mother was there and I knew that if I opened my mouth there would be a huge fight which would most likely end in me walking home. I don't think that I would loose their friendship but it would definitely cause a rift in the relationship.
You're saying your friends have no clue you're an atheist? So we're not even talking about debating here really. You're way before that :)

I guess with old friends it's harder to change a pattern.

My very best friend, who is a Buddhist, tolerates my atheism, and we do debate it, she's very much into Chinese medicines. And even tho Buddhists state there is no "god" she still thinks it's a possibility. Most of my friends know I'm atheist, but my circles of friends are quite small, as I travel a lot; and then most of my acquaintances think of themselves as agnostics.

I live my life like a military kid, always changing places, so friendships don't mean the same thing to me, they are constantly changing. And now when I meet new people, instead of small talk, I relatively quickly launch into big hot conversations which are bound to lead to religion at some point. So new friends will probably align according to certain philosophies.

Good luck with being honest with them. :)
What good is being friends with a nutter when you have very little in common? Make real friends that don't have unreal friends.

I only have a very few theist friends and I really hate shutting up.

I do think that the theist people that know that I am an atheist can see I can live a normal life without faith. That may be enough to start some of them to question themselves. As more and more of us come out, it will become harder for them to not question their own beliefs. Now, if only we can get the Duggars off TV!
Because, generally, they're fun people to be around. I mean, the really really really really really really really really really really theist ones freak me out and I can't be their friends, but I like them as people.
Well, old friends lose touch because of circumstances, jobs, family, etc.; but i've had a couple friends? who won't call me anymore. o well. My little brother outed me in front of a bunch of people, and it hasn't been the same since. They're probably waiting for me to get through this crazy phase that i'm in:)
Stop debating religion. It ain't worth it, you'll not change anybody's mind and even if you did there'd be no reward (like you don't get to spend eternity in purgatory rather than hell!).
How is it not worth it? If I am able to help one person see the truth, it's worth it.
I don't debate about religion with my closest friends. There is a reason why we are close friends. We have mutual respect and there are lines that we don't cross. One friend is a member of the LDS and the others are mostly Catholics. They leave me with my being an atheist. In my family, I am the only atheist among five siblings. My brothers and sisters respect me for that, too. My folks are both deceased but my mother knew me as an atheist. I find debating or arguing over religion with theists an exercise in futility. What works for me is to give them pointers and tell them to think about it and think outside the book/ bible which is easier said because I was once like them, a Catholic.

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