When do you engage? Always, sometimes, never. What is the staw that breaks your back, or have you never reached that point? Why not?
To clarify somewhat, do you feel the need to say something to a person when they say "god bless you" to you? This is personal, one on one, face to face. Most who say this don't mean anything more than to wish you well. It's just their world view, how they've been raised, inculcated in their life.
Or do you save your outrage for the "big" things, like prayer in school, before government meetings, displays on public, taxpayer supported buildings, parks, etc?
How do you engage? Directly to the person, or removed from direct contact, as in online, letters, otherwise?
Besides the venting of the spleen, do you feel it accomplishes what you set out to do, or just a form of self satisfaction, patting yourself on the back? Does it move the dialogue forward, or are we still just marching in place?
Do you wanr or need support from others in the atheist community, or are you willing to go it alone, be a rugged individual, not just taking the road less travelled, but carving a new one?
I know this is alot of questions, guys, but I have gone thru/had most of these questioning moments myself, depending on the situation. Still don't have good answers to most, just plodding along the best I can. Over to you. Be well.
When do I engage? Sometimes. Depends on the situation. If someone says "god bless you" when I sneeze, or hold a door open for them at the mall, I'll respond by simply saying "thanks" or "you're welcome." They're trying to be polite to me, or acknowledge a simple courtesy I've extended to them. To tell someone in that scenario that I don't believe in their god would, to me, be rude and boorish.
On the other hand, I work with an attorney, who is also a minister and knows I'm an atheist, who will occasionally say, "I'll pray for you." I think he does it more as good natured joking than anything else. I respond by saying either: 1) I prefer the "old school" method, and if you're going to do that, slit a goat's throat and burn it on a pile of rocks. Or 2), have a nice time talking to yourself.
If, on the other hand, they intrude into my space, I go off. Example was something that happened last year. It was Thursday, May 5th, 2011. I know that exact date because that was the National Day of Prayer. A half block from my office is the largest Baptist Church in the county. They were celebrating by having an outdoor gospel band, which was making a cacophonous racket reminiscent of a tom cat being castrated with it's tail caught in an electrical outlet. The noise was permeating the walls of my office. I called the police on them. In speaking to the police officer (whom I personally know, and who knows me in my law practice) I told him I would gladly sign a criminal complaint for disturbing the peace, and sue their ass in civil court. I also asked to pass this along to them. Whatever happened to "silent" prayer as referred to in Matthew 6:5? "Miraculously" the noise stopped after the squad car pulled up.
Did it work? If the 2012 National Day of Prayer is any reference, the ceremonies were held indoors.
I certainly don't hide who I am, and am open about my atheism. Yet, I try and take a "live and let live" approach. It's when the BS is shoved my throat that I push back.
I'll let others discuss the online exchanges.
Well done Pat, you are an official bad ass.
I rarely engage in small things. In big things I'd like to fight but have many excuses. I did stand with atheist parents in a fight with club beyond, the federally funded church program for religious brainwashing of military kids. We made tiny marks in their amour but it did not feel like we made a huge difference in the big picture, though it did help the particular kids we were championing.
Thanks annet, though I'm not sure about the "bad ass" past. As to helping the kids with the religious brainwashing. Congrats! A small victory is still a victory
If they're not being rude and it's just a social gesture, or I have the sense that they really mean well and just don't know any better, I don't take it as my job to 'educate' them. I generally try to be social and gracious.
For instance a friend I've known for some time who I rarely talk to asked about my parents the other day and I told her much of what has been going on with them, afterward she wrote me back and said basically, "I don't know how you believe but I know we don't see eye to eye, would you mind if I prayed for you?" I didn't answer her in anger, I thanked her for thinking of me in 'that' way and 'caring' about me and then calmly explained what I for lack of a better way to put it, 'don't believe in anymore without any hostile language or insults to her beliefs (that's not as easy as it sounds!). I will maintain that stance of, 'minding my own business in regard to how they choose' to spend their Saturdays or Sundays deluding themselves and as long as they're not trying to force their beliefs on me, or using their beliefs to infringe upon my rights in any way, I live and let live. I think probably the most disrespectful thing that has happened to our society, is that we've become of the impression that it is somehow our 'right/freedom' to 'insult' people whom we don't agree with or understand, or we try to force our views and/or enforce our morals upon others. My doing it in retaliation is not going 'offset' the damage done by the Phelps' of the world.
I like the support I have here on the site. It feels like my family is here. You guys are very important to me.
The Nexus is my home. : )