I post a lot of things about religion and atheism on my facebook. Most of it I wouldn't even consider offensive! Things such as:

"Religion is like a lightbulb in a perfectly lit room; everything would be fine without it."

"Morality is doing what is right no matter what you are told. Religion is doing what you are told no matter what is right."

Blog entries such as: http://gretachristina.typepad.com/greta_christinas_weblog/2007/10/a...

Articles like this: http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2010/09/28/dont-know-much-about-relig...

And my own thoughts about the kuran burning, the pope's arrival in the UK, Christopher Hitchen's current state, and my opinions about the bible as I read it.

I only post a couple things a week, which isn't much, and none which I think are that offensive. My mother posts things involving her religion almost daily, and I've never commented on her stuff, yet she's always at the ready to say something condescending when I post one of my things. On top of that, she's always asking me to read some book about christianity or watch some dvds (Answers in Genesis with Ken Ham? No thank you). She always gives credit to god whenever I accomplish something great, and she always plays christian music in the car and goes 'you will love this Bri'. The internet is my only outlet, in real life I don't say or do anything. I tolerate her crappy music, I support her in her christian drama troupe, I don't say anything when she takes my nephew and niece to church, I've even sat through some of her dvds. I've been feeling bullied by her, and the other day she posted a note on facebook composed by Ben Stein, about how christians don't like being put down because they are christians, and how there are terrorists because people apparently aren't allowed to pray in public and how kids are killing other kids because bibles aren't allowed in schools. Yeah. Anyway, I discovered that I was the ONLY person she tagged to deliberately call me out on my atheism. Let me remind you that I have not invited my mom to comment on any of the things I've posted to facebook, nor have I engaged my mom in any discussion involving this sort of thing. It's always her doing this to me. So I said enough is enough. I decided facebook is the only area in this situation where I have any control, so I deleted her from my facebook. It wasn't really a big deal to me, I was just tired of putting up with her on facebook so I deleted her.
Well shit hit the fan. She is acting like this is the worst thing I could ever do. When she sent me a message pointing out that I had been doing the same things to her, I pointed out that I actually had not because they were status updates on MY facebook and that facebook had a feature to hide status updates from certain people, which she chose to ignore. She said that we should just agree to disagree and move past it, but I asked for an apology. Her apology was, to say the least, unsatisfactory, and laden with blame on me.

"
Bri, I do apologize for making you upset and offended. DO YOU, in return, understand how I and many others were feeling by your comments
about Christianity and our religion? It is offensive and, in our
country, we should be free from this sort of thing. I don't want
excuses. I simply want it to stop. In the meantime, we should be able
to handle this like mature adults. Let's let it go. I apologize. Be at
peace."

It seems the only way she is willing to let bygones be bygones is if I stop expressing my opinions on my own facebook. I told her that isn't happening. I don't know what to do. I don't want my relationship with my mom to be strained. Any suggestions?

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Replies to This Discussion

Hey Brianna I have the same problem with my brother. Everytime I post anything contrary to his beliefs on My facebook profile he see's it as a personal attack. I think one of the main ways Religous sects control their congregations is by representing their faith as being embattled...and more recently being attacked by a more vocal atheism.It causes them to "cleave to their faith". I don't think there is a way for your Mom to see your posts as anything other than an attack as I have tried time and time again with my brother. I think the best thing to do is to say "Ok Mom I'm gonna re-add you on facebook because I love you but I'm gonna make it so you can't comment on my posts and you make it so I can't comment on yours. If what I post offends you just Hide it because I know how upsetting you find it but the whole point of facebook is self expression and I cannot pretend to be someone I'm not to make you happy." If she doesn't accept that then perhaps it's best to just not be friends on facebook with your mom. My brother deleted me on facebook because I wouldn't stop putting up pro gay rights stuff, which he said were anti-mormon. I'm not gay but I recognise bigotry when I see it. He's just brainwashed and it sounds like your mom is too. My mom got very embarrassed about what my brother was saying in response to my posts and got me to tell all my friends that she drank a lot when she was pregnant with him! :) The thing ya have to remember is that you are the rational person and I never ever expect a rational response from a religous person in a disagreement of this nature. I think you just have to stand your ground, whether it's a bully in the playground or a bully in your family the same advice stands.
Debbie, speaking of gay rights, I just watched from Netflix, *8, the Mormon Proposition." Shocking and cruel what these believers did to a gay couple. The Elders raised over 11 million dollars to give to lobbyists. All very covert and subterranean, using "coalitions" and trying not to use their church identity. And Prop 8 was not even in Utah.

Utah leads the nation in teen suicide—by far. The documentary ended by showing estranged kids living in squalor in various cities. One gay kid living in a derelict building said, "Yeh, it's tough waking up with cockroaches all over you."

The prudish elders could have used the money to help alleviate homelessness. Instead, they cause homelessness in otherwise healthy and good people.

I guarantee this movie will make you sick, so maybe try some Dramamine before you hit the play button.
yeah I watched it and posted a link to it...thats sort of what started it all off with my brother. my entire family managed to extracate itself from the mormon church but my brother was stupid enough to go back a decade later. I'm pretty sure he did it to get his new wife to marry him but that just demonstrates he has no morals so thats why the Mormon faith obviously appeals to him. They take bigotry and hypocracy and relabel them "morals or the word of god" I really hope Brianna can sort things out with her Mom because it's a nightmare having to deal with my brother every day.
One more thought on my last post. Mormon protesters at the rally claimed, "the gays are destroying the country and eventually everyone will turn gay."

Church officials visited the houses of members and told them how much they can afford to donate based on their "tithing." One spiffy looking family with five young kids gave 50 grand using their college money savings. "OK, let's see, you donated five large last year, a hundred dollars a week, that's cool. But now is the time to give some real money. Make out a check for 25 large." And hundreds of people obeyed because obedience is what turns God on.

Bri, pardon the digression, but this video really shows how cruel and sick these people are.
yeah it's pretty sick alright. Blind obedience is what the church requires...because if you disobey the leadership you are disobeying god so they can get their "might army" to whatever they tell them to! It's kind of scary! I don't think Mormons realise that they are living within a dictatorship. I'm terrified for my brother' two daughters with whom I have a very strong bond. I would hate to think that they will have to endure what I endured as a young woman in that faith. It breaks my heart. I really hope that neither of them turn out to be gay for their own sakes. I think most baptist faiths are like that tho. If Brianna finds a solution I hope she will pass it on. xx
i totally know what your going thru... http://www.atheistnexus.org/profiles/blogs/did-i-do-the-right-thing... Good Luck!
Wow it's uncanny how similar our situations are! I shouldn't be surprised, christians tend to throw the same weak punches over and over again.
I wish she would apologize to you without strings attached and respect your *right* to express yourself!

If she has such a right to express her beliefs, you have just as much of a right to express your non-beliefs!

I can't believe how ppl simply put us in the wrong simply for disagreeing with them or for thinking the right way.

It is so sad.

Wishing you contentment without your mom or a workable relationship with her.

Sounds to me though she is not respecting you.

Jencarlene
Brianna,

Your attitude and actions in all of this really impresses me. Not for the first time, I see a young person acting much more maturely than her parents. You did the right thing deleting your mother from your facebook account. As you said, it is your outlet. That she did not give you the same respect in that forum that you were giving her is another point in your favor. Ben Stein, your mother, and a whole lot of other believers think that their beliefs are beyond criticism, and view any breach of the privileged status of religious conviction as being an unfair attack. They are free, of course, to attack your point of view. You might point this out to your mother - her posts on her faith are deeply offensive to you, but you choose not to respond to them out of your respect and love for her, not for her beliefs. She should give you the same consideration. I do not see any easy way out of this tense situation. Keep on being understanding, respectful and reasonable.

One of the crazy things about social networks, texting, all these easy cyber communications outlets we have now, is that sometimes we actually forget you can just talk to someone, and if you happen to live with that someone, you can actually talk face-to-face. You hear stories of kid texting each other on the school bus, when they are actually sitting on the same bench. I have a nineteen year-old daughter away at college. I am friends with her on facebook. The only time I make a public comment on her page is if I have something positive to say. If I have anything critical to say, I call her on the phone, write her a private e-mail, or wait until she and I are together and can discuss things. Her mother is more like your mother, and my daughter 'unfriended' her long ago. I tend to make a practice of this with all my facebook friends. I don't use the public sections of it to air conflicts with people. I do post things, like you do, that offend my believing friends. If they respond negatively, I find a private way to continue the discussion. I find it ridiculous to have on-line arguments with people who live in the same house as I do, or who I see regularly, or I have their phone number on speed dial.

I think I had it easier becoming an atheist at an early age in the time I grew up. We did not have the outlets you have now to express who we were to a large audience. I can see how parents might be intimidated by a lot of people being able to see that their offspring holds what they consider to be embarrassing positions on critical issues that they may feel reflect on their upbringing. Your mother may be responding publicly on facebook to let people know that she does not approve of your positions. It may be not so much for your benefit but for hers as your mother.

All my disagreements with my family were in private, face-to-face. It did not seem easy at the time. Actually being present with your parents, and disagreeing with them over critical issues, was very intimidating. If I had been able to send them text messages, e-mails, or blasted out on facebook, I might have thought that a lot easier than confronting them over the dinner table. Now, I am grateful that this was my only avenue of communication.
I work nights, and the nights I'm not working I'm at my boyfriends, so I don't get to see my mother as often as I'd like, even though I live here. I only get to see her if she and I both happen to have a day off on the same day, so facebook was a very crucial communication tool for us. She can still send me private messages, but she's lost the privilege of seeing what's going on in my life. She's just going to have to get it second hand from my dad now.
Hi Bri, I haven't read the other replies, but I just wanted to quickly post a note letting you know you've done nothing wrong, and you have nothing to apologize for. The word I use to describe this is unapologetic atheism.

It may be more difficult to use this approach with your mother (just because she's your mother), but I agree with you that you are being bullied, and I would suggest standing up for yourself unapologetically. You don't have to make a big deal of it, just simply remember that you've done nothing wrong, and have nothing to apologize for. Note: A key requirement for using this approach is to make sure you don't actually do anything wrong. If you do happen to do something wrong, apologize for that, but don't apologize for being an atheist, for speaking out about your atheism, for criticizing religion, etc. None of those are wrong. Wrong would be actually causing harm to someone (being offended doesn't count, as explained in the link above), causing property damage, and the usual stuff like that. Disagreeing is not wrong, saying that you disagree is not wrong. Don't apologize for that stuff.
I definitely 100% agree with you. No victim no crime.

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