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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Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism by Susan Jacoby
Jen,

Nice work with the loopy christian guy. But as Dawkins posited, (and I paraphrase) "it is not possible to be both educated and sane, and still hold religious beliefs".

Methinks your "RG" is neither educated nor sane.

I think the smartest thing you did was to share your experience with the rest of us. It helps to let of steam and reminds you that the world isnt completely full of religious morons.
Great quote! And, you're right, it does help me let off steam. Actually, I'm very uncomfortable with confrontation. Even this one - online, didn't even know the guy - made my heart beat fast and hard, and made me all sorts of nervous. I guess I'd better get used it! I do want to be able to defend myself ideologically.
Jen,

I totally get that (being nervous), but it is really important to be schooled-up on your arguments. Paradoxically it is always the atheist who is called on to defend their absence of belief. A theist will always hit you with the old "you just dont get it, its a faith thing" argument - somehow that smokescreen absolves them of any need to defend their position. I like to think that everytime a theist has to resort to the "faith defense" there is a burning sensation deep inside their brain...logic and reason being awoken from its slumber!

My advice - read what you can. I'm a real Dawkins fan, but that's probably just because he's the best (self)promoter. Go to the Friendly Atheist blog - always a great read, and will give you plenty of ammo to use in your next gun-fight. Go get 'em tiger..
You did great. You had facts on your side (like fossils, facts are awesome in debate). Welcome to atheism and A/N
Thank you!
RG: "If you say you have a right not to believe in any God, that is your religion."


*sigh* I wish that the theists could, at the very least, get this one right for a change.

Just once.

But realistically, that's probably asking too much of them.
Rational thought too much for them? Nah...
Lol! I didn't understand it all, just chose to ignore it. Tried to stick to the whole 1st amendment point. Thanks! :)
Good job. Especially against an Incoherent Babbler.
They're one of the more obnoxious ones to deal with. After a few minutes your brain starts to hurt from trying to make sense of what the hell they're talking about.

They use multiple punctuation and capslock for emphasis because the word "Fuck" apparently kills angels and makes Jesus cry.

I do love when they quote the founders out of context and insist this is a Christian Nation.
It's just as much fun to quote them right back in context.
Some fun ones can be found here. (Especially Thomas Paine)
Thanks so much for the site! It's really good!

And LMAO about the dying angels and crying Jesus!
Wow, thanks for this link. I tweeted it...

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