So, I'm a pretty new atheist. I've been a doubter for a very, very long time, but, until recently, just didn't deal with that aspect of my life. I just pushed it aside and ignored it. It's just been in the past couple of months that I've confronted the question of what I believe and come to realize that I am, indeed, an atheist. I've come out to a few people - my husband, my sister, a friend from work. But no one else. This discussion isn't really about my coming out to those I know, anyway. I did, sort of, come out very passively on Facebook by proclaiming my religious status as atheist. Point is - I'm new!

The other day, I responded to one of those silly Facebook polls. It asked "Should the phrase 'In God we Trust' be removed from our currency?" I voted Yes, and made a comment about how we live in a secular democracy and the government shouldn't be sponsoring any deities. Two people I don't know and am not friends with then proceeded to privately message me about it. I'm going to reprint one conversation here:

Religious Guy (henceforth RG): We are a representitive republic!!!!!!!!History shows that democracy finds that it can vote itself money and eats itself within 200 yrs!!!!!!!G

Me Fine, a secular republic then. Still built on the principal of freedom of (or from) religion.

PS - type a little slower next time so you make more sense.

Side note - yes, I should have said Republic and not Democracy

RG Jen, You are major cute first......Having "In God We Trust" on our money is not establishing a religion!!!!!G

Side Note 2 - was he trying to get on my good side?

Me It's establishing belief in a supernatural entity. That seems like religion to me, albeit not a specific one.

RG We have a right and need to be a christian nation as that is where we receive our blessings from..... free literature, request The united states and britan in prophecy on ucg.org...........G

Me We no more have a need to be a Christian nation as we do a Hindu nation or a Buddhist nation. You have a right to be a Christian, and I have a right to not believe in any gods. Our government does NOT have the right to establish any kind of belief in any kind of deity. See First Amendment of the Constitution: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."

RG I hold that to mean "Catholic", "Protestant" etc. Our writers of the Constitution never had a vision that there would be those who would try to take God out of this government. In fact some are quoted of saying this nation cannot stand without Gods involvment. Things like Hindu, Islam, and Buddism are the mere thoughts of men. They don't even claim to be God. When you live in this nation, you benifit from the blessings of God!!If you say you have a right not to believe in any God, that is your "religion". Don't expect America to change from its inception to your religion of no God!! You are free to exercise your religion of no God, but please keep it to yourself!! Tks G

Me No, I will not keep it to myself. And I wouldn't ask you to keep your religious beliefs to yourself. We are fortunate enough to live in a country that, not only allows for freedom of religion, but also freedom of speech. I do ask that you not try to force your beliefs on anyone else. You need to do more research on Hindu, Islam and Buddhism before saying that they "don't even claim to be God." You also need to do more research on what the writers of our constitution believed about the relationship between god and government. Atheism is not a religion, it is the lack thereof.

End discussion - for now

He hasn't responded to my last message. Anyway, my question is - how do you think I handled that? It was my first "confrontation," I suppose, with a believer since I've become and atheist. I purposely didn't point out that ALL religions are "the mere thoughts of men" since I thought that would just incite him further and, by this point, I was ready to be done with the conversation. I know could have spent more time on his mistreatment of what the other religions believe and what the writers of the Constitution believed... but I didn't. Like I said - I was ready to be done with him and his blessings on this country.

So, just curious what you think about this conversation, what you would have said, how you think I did my first time, and any other comments you wish to make.

PS - I'm really, really grateful that there's a place I can go for feedback like this! Thank you, creators of AN!

Tags: Facebook, confrontation

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UPDATE!

I guess he needed some time to formulate his next response, but I did get another response this morning. Here's the rest... so far:

RG Dear Jennifer, I stand by what I say.... Religion means your belief!!!
Atheism is a religion!!!G

Me And I stand by what I say. Atheism is lack of belief. Not a religion.

RG Jennifer, has it come to this????I believe that down deep you really believe in God. There are many false churches that claim to be "christian" but are not!!! The "true" church contends for the faith once (first) delivered!!Therefor, they keep the sabbath and holydays as Jesus Christ did as a perfect example!! Please go to gnmagazine.org or ucg.org. and request "free" literature from the true church. They will answer any question you may have on anything!! Your friend G

Side note: Now he's my friend?

Me Please do not presume to know what I believe. I do not believe in any gods.

I visited the sites you mentioned and found them to be more illogical, supernatural babble. I'm not sure how our conversation has deteriorated into you trying to convince me to believe in god. I am not trying to convince you not to believe in god. Believe what you want. My original premise was only that the phrase "In God we Trust" should be removed from our currency because of the first amendment prohibiting our government from establishing any religion. For more information on how our forefathers really felt about religion and government, please feel free to visit this site: http://freethought.mbdojo.com/foundingfathers.html

End Discussion

That's it so far. I can't help but wonder how much more ridiculous it will get! In a very immature way, I totally want to have the last word. But I know he's not going to let it go. We'll see how it pans out. Thanks to Joey for the great link!
and now it starts to get really silly...

...what is he talking about??

and there can be nothing more insulting than having a lunatic try to convert you.

Nice call on telling him that atheism is NOT a belief - that's one that they never seem to understand. BTW, there seems to be some debate over whether atheism should be described as a "lack" of belief, or an "absence" of belief. I accept there is some subtle difference, but hey, we all know what it means. you say tomato, i say...

There is an incredibly long discussion thread on this topic on AN somewhere - i read it yesterday (it hurt my brain!)
"...what is he talking about??"

god knows!

I saw the same thread about lack versus absence. I think that my be a bit nitpicky, like debating whether we should say "I am atheist" or "I am an atheist." Semantics is such a messy issue!
There is a profound difference between belief and faith. We all "believe" in many many things. But "faith"? I can only speak for myself here, but I have no faith in anything. It seems so unnecessary. You can hit this RG with this distinction if you care to. If you say: "I have no faith", it might be interesting to see what his response is.
Very good advice! I hadn't thought of that, thanks! :)
Update #2!!! This is where I started to get really annoyed:

RG Dear Jennifer, Our forefathers only wanted to prevent the Church of England sinnerio.. As for the true church, it is refered to as 'fear not "little flock"' and that no man can come to Jesus Christ except the Father draw him!!!!Jetisine all preconceived thought about christianity, pray, and believe. After that, seek and you will find!!May the real force be with you Jennifer!! Regards, G

Me "Sinnerio?" "Jetisine?" Your bad spelling alone makes it hard to take seriously a word you say. You're right, our forefathers did want to prevent a Church of England scenario. And the best way to do that was to not allow any religion into government, but to allow the people of this country the freedom to worship or not as they choose. So, you just keep right on worshiping your "true church," and I'll just keep right on living in the real world.

End

Hope this is the end of it. Was trying really hard to not be rude because I don't want to perpetuate the "angry atheist" perception. Not sure I succeeded all that well...
I've been following your thread and you've done well. Back in the early 90's I used to go into those AOL chat rooms and argue these hardcore types, but the dizziness from banging my head against the wall made typing difficult. ;~)

It's still fun once in while to go wallow in the mud with these folks, but I find this site much more intellectually stimulating and helpful in progressing towards a more sane world.
Thanks! I agree, this site is MUCH more intellectually stimulating!
I always say, Don't mudwrestle with the pig. You get dirty, and the pig likes it.
The whole "You really do believe in god." thing is pure Ray Comfort. According to him, we Atheist "know" that God exists, we just pretend that he doesn't so we can lie, cheat, fornicate, and steal.
It's so pompous! I couldn't believe he said that!
Now you should reply: "You now sumthing G???? Youve given me alot to think about. Really you have!!! Deep down inside I do believe. In fact I was spoken to in a dream and its become clear!!!! Ive given myself to Baal!!!! Thanks big guy!!!!! Your the best!!!!"

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