I have a very dear friend and former lover with whom I exchange occasional emails and from whom I get an occasional "feel-good" forward.  Unfortunately, she just forwarded me something which had the following addendum at the bottom:

"Life without God is like an unsharpened pencil - it has no point." Billy Graham

Sure, the rest of the forward was fine ... but at the same time, she KNOWS I'm an atheist ... and frankly, I think I deserve a touch more respect than what was conveyed with the above quote.

So I wrote her back as follows:

A point of information re your last forward: you had me right until the end:

[the offending quote]

I am an atheist, Connie ... and trust me when I tell you - I HAVE A POINT. As for Mr. Graham, whatever it is that he thinks he has, I have no interest in it.

Just so we're clear.

Maybe this is no way to talk to a friend ... but at the same time, a friend should know enough about the other party to consider issues like this and respect them. On the other hand, it's possible she never noticed the quote, but just forwarded the piece.

It may be that I'm being more up-front and assertive about my atheism. Or ... maybe I'm just being an asshole (though I don't think so). Second opinions are herewith solicited. [Whether I agree with them or not is potentially a different matter.]

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Comment by Loren Miller on July 8, 2012 at 7:43am

I think this incident is an indicator of the pervasiveness of religious-themed messages and how innocuous most believers take them to be, never mind how differently WE see them.

While I haven't heard back from her yet, I am HOPING that she takes my rebuttal as something of a wake-up call, perhaps to realize that the "god bless you's" and other suchlike lines which believers toss about are something more than just throwaway lines to other people, such as myself, and that they can have an impact which in some cases is untoward.

Comment by Edward Teach on July 8, 2012 at 7:25am

I think I would have said something too. The quote was not benign like, "Have a Blessed Day"... GAG... It was a clear insult to non-believers.

Comment by Sandi on July 8, 2012 at 6:56am

If the situation was reversed and you sent out an atheist message to a christian, I am quite sure they would have been horrified. You, we, have every right to be a little ticked off as xtian messages are thrown at us all day, everyday.

Perhaps it was a mistake on her behalf, but this also shows that xtians never really think about how their messages are put across because everyone should believe what they do and just assume that it is ok.

Besides, any quote from Billy should be retaliated against. We all know he replaced the words god with money.

Comment by Steph S. on July 8, 2012 at 2:17am
Well I would think she would know you better than to send that. Maybe it was a oversight, like you mentioned. If it wasn't an oversight it was appropriate to tell her you don't agree with the quote.
Comment by annet on July 7, 2012 at 11:57pm

Loren I don't think you were being overly harsh. You educated her. The email quote is mean. If it was some religious hoo ha that was not a direct put down, fine, grin and bear it. But this one was an insult and it is not wrong to mention that fact. If she is forwarding things she does not read, that is also worth bringing to her attention. 

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