Have you ever lost a "real world" friend due to ignorant Facebook rants?
My heart is hurting because I have a lifelong friend whose path took a real radical departure from my own. He and his wife claim to respect our family, despite the fact they are "born again" Christians and we are atheist/agnostic. We have been able to get along fabulously despite our differences until the last six months or so when they constantly post things disparaging atheism. Today it was a post that atheists lives have no higher purpose or meaning and it really struck a nerve. If that's what they really think then is it worth it to try to stay friends? It's gotten worse over time.
ChristinS_ I understand that this hurts you because it comes from a friend, and you wouldn't be that much interested if another theist would say that, am I right?
To be honest, Iam a theist, and like most theists that's what we thing (I of course don't mean any offence, so don't take it personal), because we see the higher purpose in life as something that goes beyond death. while as far as I know (and please correct me if you think I'm wrong) that atheists don't believe in God which means they don't believe in the afterlife and so they live and work on earth for the life in earth and that's it, no more no less. while agnostics don't care at all if there is a God or not,right? so I think they wont really care if someone says anything about their purpose if life, but I could be wrong about that, I mean unlike atheists I never meet people who identify themselves as agnostic I think.
as for atheists, it really bothers you when theists say you have no purpose that goes beyond death? I mean as an atheist you don't believe in God, you don't believe in the afterlife so you have no 'plans' for the afterlife, and this means you have no purpose that goes beyond death, which means for theists the higher purpose.
as for the problem, if you see that there is a higher purpose in you life just go to them and tell them that you do have a higher purpose in life and if you see it as necessary explain it to them. and if you see that there is no purpose that will go beyond death, why do you even bother.
if they post other things that you might see as inappropriate then just go to them and talk about it, I mean you were and I think you still are friends, or am I wrong?
anyway, even if you aren't friends anymore discussion things peacefully is always the way to go, hope you guys work it out.
I've tried gentle reminders. Some atheists do believe in life after physical death, others do not. That has absolutely nothing to do with one's life having higher meaning or purpose. I tire of judgments from the ignorant even ones who claim friendsh
amine - try google for the definitions of atheist and agnostic. You have both definitions wrong.
Austin_ in my opinion you don't represent any of them, so keep your comments for yourself, or simply don't address me anymore, because I have no inters in what you have to say, still have a nice day.
Let's be respectful amine; what did she do besides direct you to a resource to learn more about the definitions you are not understanding?
No christin, I didn't give that reply because of that comment, but because she proved to be a disrespectful and vulgar person in the past , although I didn't disrespect her, I asked her not to address me, or am I wrong?
still I apologize Austin.
Amine - perhaps you will take the recommendation from me then - please look up the definition - you do have both of them at least partially wrong. I've even got a hub you can look at for the definitions. But otherwise, good advice
Okay Jacqui, I'll look them up and check out your hub later, and thanks for your advice.
Christin, "born again" fundamentalists are taught to disparage atheists/agnostics. They are told that we are denigrating their faith, which is so far from the truth that they do not realize what is really going on.
X-tians are actively told to avoid atheists/agnostics because we are "apostates" to them. Apostates are an "abomination" according to their bible, akin to homosexuality and witchcraft.
Those of week minds cannot hope to withstand the "onslaught" of skepticism, so they shun their neighbors who might even hint at being agnostic.
I'm sorry you lost your friends, but they are the true losers here. You are a kind, and intelligent human being who doesn't deserve this kind of treatment.
If they are only comfortable with other fundamentalists, then you should just find some new friends, but let these people know that you still like them, you just can't discuss religion with them.
I hope you have a wonderful life with many friends and of course, your special family too.
I have and it hurts, but like you said it is a matter of figuring out if you even want a friend like that. I only have a couple REAL friends. Most people I know are just acquaintance type friendships. The real friends know I do not believe and accept it with the occasional mention of their beliefs in a respectful way or the gentle reminder that they want me to be saved or have faith. However when I was in foster care I was given a wonderful mentor only 10 years older than I am. I met her at 16. She is a very religious woman. This was fine until about a year ago. Suddenly I didn't fit into her "higher journey". She had been my only real family for my entire adulthood. Suddenly she stopped calling, stopped wanting to see me. All I can guess is that I was not good enough for that "journey". I miss her a lot. She meant the world to me because she was the only person who ever wanted to be there for me no matter how bad things were with no strings attached.
With that said, every friendship has give and takes, but if one doesn't value the other person enough to be respectful then what's the point? Can you really be friends with someone who apparently has so much hate for something you identify with? Personally when it comes to friends, they either like me or they don't. If me being an atheist bothers them that bad then I can do without. Sorry this happened! Sounds like a crappy situation.
I agree and sorry you went through it too. It just seems like such a sad reason to lose a deep human bond and connection, but you're right, it's not worth agonizing over the choices these people make. It's just sad to be devalued for no real reason.
As a mom of a young child with lots of friends who are also parents of young children, I've found the public parenting judgments to be the biggest source of tension on my FB feed. I haven't lost any friends completely because of it but I definitely think that it has negatively affected my friendships with those people to at least some extent, which is unfortunate.
I try not to use my Facebook as a means of sharing my opinions on things I know that people I care about would disagree with or be offended by. I just don't feel it's the place and so I'm disappointed when people I consider to be friends don't give it the same thought.
I've actually deleted people from Facebook who I agree with on hot topics but who I felt posted controversial stuff/aggressive ranting constantly. It just annoys me regardless of if I agree with it or not.
I agree on FB drama - I do block posts from drama queens or ignore it even when I agree. This one today though was just to the point of "enough is enough".. sad that has to happen. I don't care about disagreeing, but disrespect bothers me a lot.
My actiivity and "friends" on Facebook are so limited, I've never even seen a Facebook rant (so maybe I shouldn't answer here). I think, though, the question of whether what they really think is worth trying to stay friends is a matter of making sure they know what YOU think, and then see if they still want to stay friends in spite of differences. I'd think you have to decide whether to, say, write your own post about the meaning/purpose you have found in life; or at least say it to them in person; and see what happens to the friendship from there. Personally, if I saw that someone was using Facebook to rant and ignorantly make incorrect statements about me I'd either set my Facebook so I couldn't see their stuff, not go to their page, and/or un-friend them on Facebook (depending which would seem to work best for me). You can still be offline friends but not Facebook friends.
My experience with dealing with people who think completely wacko and/or ignorant things about me, or about what I am or think, is pretty extensive (I'm sorry, and aggravated, to say). I used to let things go in the interest of peace (at least when what someone else thought shouldn't/didn't matter to me or in my life.
Decades into adulthood, though, and I still occasionally am "related to" based on stuff I let go and that was wacko and/or ignorant (or in some cases self-serving or a matter of someone else's imbalanced ego). At this point, a) I regret not straightening out some of those people whether or not I insulted them, or hurt their feelings (which was unlikely anyway); and b) have decided I've reached a saturation point (there's one for just about everything in life that bugs us) and am not going to just let the stuff that I know about "go".
It wasn't even just peace and not insulting someone that made me let so many things go. It was also knowing that if I "straightened out" (even politely) some of these people they'd get to then say what a "b" I was, or what an attitude I had, or whatever other non-accurate thing they'd get to say about me (because, when it comes down to it, if someone is going to essentially be aggressive toward you a) they'll find some excuse to be that, and b) if you give them the proverbial inch they'll take the proverbial mile (of ten miles).
Coming from my own saturation point, I'm inclined to say point out to them why they're wrong about you, personally - or just decide to be "superficial" friends offline (and stay away from FB).
Not particularly, but then again I probably deleted my main Facebook before I got to that point. Lots of stupid stuff goes down on Facebook...
If it got to a certain point, I would probably sarcastically embarrass them whenever they posted something like that until they blocked me. I dont have the patience for people who cant get their head out their a$$ and say stupid things consistently with absolutely nothing to back it up, and I can only imagine what they have continued to say.
Ultimately its up to you, but personally I dont see them saying that you are the exception because they know you without being painfully hypocritical.
Thanks everyone for the responses. To clarify the post was something shared, not that they wrote themselves, but the post they shared implies basically that all atheists disparage Christians and then turns around says atheists are foolish and implies a life without God has no higher purpose yada yada. I explained that sharing things like this perpetuates a dangerous mindset that vilifies a whole group of people.
When I calmly explained why this was harmful and what it can lead to, it was met with understanding and a long discussion. We both realize now that either side painting the other with a broad brush will never lead to anything positive.
It is my hope that friendships can mean more than differences in beliefs and can help us rise above hurt feelings and learn from each other and grow.
That being said, I still find it upsetting that so many people think so little of non-believers as fellow human beings, simply for not sharing their beliefs.
I don't obviously agree with what religious people believe, but I don't believe their humanity is lessened because they do. I also believe there's room enough on this Earth for all of us (at least for now ha!) In the grand cosmic scheme of things, this pettiness is just stupid. No one knows what comes next. Not a single one of us. Believe, don't believe - who cares? If you are doing what's right for you, then leave well enough alone with others unless they do something to violate your rights etc.
I don't like a world filled with chaos and hate - and that is what ignorance leads people to every single time. Thankfully, those with good hearts and strong minds can find ways to overcome that. Sadly, many others never try, they are content to just despise others for no good reason.
Human evolution - an ongoing process.
christin_ as a theist I agree with you,we should both atheists and theists alike learn to respect each other, thank you.
I just saw that you'd commented with an update after I wrote an answer above. Sorry! But I'm so happy that you were able to resolve things with your friend through talk. That's how it should work when people love each other and keep open minds.
No Worries Amanda, your answer was great and very on point and can help others in similar situations
I'm sorry this happened to you, Christin. It's a jolt to discover people who are close to you are not who you thought they were.
I've unfriended one of my cousins, and one of the children of my dearest friend on Facebook, because I felt their posts constantly belittled my beliefs. Not just that they were contrary to what I believed, but that they seemed to be tearing down anyone who didn't share their beliefs. I really had no respect for either of them, after reading their uneducated, narrow-minded, angry posts.
It is what it is. I'm sure neither of these people would say the things they wrote to my face. They're making blind generalizations, without thinking about the people on their friend list who might not share their beliefs. I can do without people like that in my life.
Yes. My wife and I lost a friend because of a political meme. It said "a Muslim, a socialist, and a terrorist walk into a bar. And the bartender says, Hello Mr. President." Or something like that, with a picture of President Obama holding a beer. It was funny because of how ridiculous it was, which is why my wife shared it. Anyone who knows my wife and I, knows that we're overwhelmingly liberal. But this one friend saw it and got so offended that she un-friended both of us.
It's utterly ridiculous, in retrospect, because both my wife, and this friend, were liberal. But I guess the friend just didn't know us as well as we thought she did (or she ignored all the liberal stuff we shared). It was mildly insulting that we could be so easily misunderstood, but we suspected she was just looking for a reason to get away from us for some time.
I do worry about my sister-in-law and her husband. I've been in more than a few political debates with them and they aren't as easy to ignore because they're family. Facebook is evil.
I am not a member of Facebook, so I have never lost a friend due to it, but I can empathize with the frustration of seeing negative attacks about my beliefs on the internet. I think, as humans, it is natural to feel slighted when someone belittles how we think, even when the insults are not personally pointed towards ourselves. When we search the news and website comments, we tend to gravitate towards the things we can relate to. Even worse, we gravitate towards the negative. When I read the news or comments on Hubpages, I tend to notice negative comments made about Christianity and to me it seems like there are a lot of those types of Hubs, questions, and comments. To someone who is atheist, it might seem like the internet is bombarded with fundamentalists preaching negatively about atheism. Most people can tell you how many red lights they got stopped by, but not many can tell you how many green lights they went through.
Christin, I am glad to see that you and your friend talked it out and made some positive progress. No matter what our belief is, love and friendship are the most important things we as humans can experience.
I'm sorry you're suffering this. Time heals, as the cliche goes, but you never forget the loss.
People DO seem to forget that Facebook is a public space. It may be "your wall" and you're *always* free to express yourself (as far as Facebook's rules allow) just as in real life. But if you're shouting out negativity or judgments on Facebook where all your friends can see - well, all your *friends* can see! It's no different than hosting a party and then standing on a chair to bash a certain group.
Before getting back to the real point at hand, I'd like to say that as a Christian woman myself it makes me so disheartened to hear about people using religion to judge others. It's not only sad on a basic level, it's actively against what we're told to do when we listen to Jesus's words.
Now, it's easy for me from a distance to say, "Be done with those people! You don't need them!" But lifelong friends aren't easy to let go of. This is probably a stupid question, but have you tried confronting them - both in real life and on Facebook, where others can see your comment (and possibly choose to then speak up themselves, led by your courage)? And I'd suggest, as much as possible, try not to sound angry even though you are *completely* entitled to be. But expressing sadness and pain is, in my experience, more likely to lead to a resolution than anger and accusation.
That way you can also get a straight answer from them: do they actually feel this way toward atheists? Maybe ask them why they remain friends with you? Who knows, maybe you'll open their mind to realize how judgmental they're being and it can have a happy ending!
If they truly see you and your family in the way you describe, however, it does not sound like a healthy relationship. If an end to the friendship comes, I think you should be honest with them for your own peace of mind and flat-out say that you don't feel respected by them anymore. That seeing the judgment is not mentally healthy for you. That you love them as friends, but they don't seem to love you the way you are anymore.
To answer the title question: a couple family members being overzealous in their posting of politics (both on the left and the right) has made me lose respect and affection for aunts and cousins I used to adore. It's so sad. I rarely look at their posts anymore, trying to just focus on having polite RL interaction. But the memories of seeing them call all Republicans heartless or all Democrats idiots is still there.
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