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

I think you have more patience than I do (lol I read the thread you posted on your page) ;) !! I agree that we have nothing to hide, which is what makes this situation so frustrating.

The way I gained control was to cut them off. I don't like to suggest this, because it seems heartless ... it's painful ... and if you can get what you're looking for your way, I think it would be best.

Other than with my parents as of now (only via e-mail though), I have little contact with family and none with the church. I dealt with a lot of what you are dealing with - the attempted guilt trips and ultimatums disguised as 'peace-offers' - and tried to fight it at first. Eventually, I decided that, despite being family, I didn't have the time or patience to fight what seemed to be a pointless battle - and I certainly wasn't going to put up with the abuse.

I then alienated them completely and moved on with my life, simply ignoring any of their attempts to guilt, shame or convert me. The relationships are strained to say the least (but were never healthy to begin with), but the message was received, "Keep up the bullshit, you lose your daughter". My mom, while still leaking the occasional Christian mumbo jumbo, has learned not to start with me, at least ... took years to get to this point, though. We'll probably never have a normal relationship, but I must admit that she's gotten better. *shrug*
That's a valid point about not letting them control us but alternately, as in my case, I see my two facebooks as control because I will not let them engage me in any more debates and I will not defend myself anymore. If they want to start an argument or a debate, they're going to have to find someone else to do it with because I'm no longer providing that service. My being a "loud atheist" was unsuccessful in deconverting anyone in my family. The virus is terminal and at this point, I realize that.

I see my relegating them to a family Facebook where they no longer have access to "the real me" as me taking control of my life (and happiness) and also as the action of a parent controlling a children for refusing to behave. Life's too short to spend it on their bs.

 Darrel, that is brillant! And as someone who is just beginning to loose their faith, very helpful.

Darrel, is there anything we can learn from a comparison with a real virus? In centuries past, quarantine was prescribed most of the time. So, I guess, monasteries are a pretty good idea. At least the monks aren't out in the local supermarkets passing out paraphernalia—plastic crosses, minibibles and such.

These days, antibiotics fill the bill. But as far as I know, there's no substance like penicillin that can literally kill the virus once its deeply rooted in the brain.

So it looks like a vaccine is the only answer. Something that can ward off or repel the virus when it attacks. A good science education seems to be the answer. Exposing young people to the virus in weakened or deadened form, like a comparative religion class in early grades. Maybe if kids learn about Zeus and Jupiter, or Bumba the Sky God of the Bushonga tribe of the Lower Congo, they'll have their guard up when a Jehovah Witness comes knocking at the door.
You need the Damn it! My Mom is on Facebook filter: http://www.hulu.com/watch/184577/saturday-night-live-moms-on-facebook
The good ol non-apology apology! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-apology_apology

I guess your answer depends on which is most important to you. 1)Posting your thoughts on facebook without friction, or 2) Being on good terms with your mother and family. It seems that she's making you choose between the two... unless the two of you can agree with refrain from commented on one another's posts regarding religion. Perhaps this is your opportunity to sit down with her and have a talk regarding your feelings toward her constant religious pressure. Yet, I know how hard that can be with a religious person. My mother is a minister, and I've told her I didn't believe in god. In a nutshell, she said I was thinking crazy, and whenever we talk, she asks me have I gone to church. So understand how hard it can be. But all you can do is tell her. After that, it's up to her to accept or deny the truth.
I have dealt with this same issue for the last year. Apparently my own opinions and views don't matter on my own Facebook.

I deleted my family from my FB account, and told them why, as politely but firmly as I could.

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