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Coming out-being an atheist openly

  1. Georzetta profile image79
    Georzettaposted 8 years ago

    Can someone suggest a polite way to let folks who do not share my beliefs know that I am not interested in defending my spiritual choices or hearing about their's?

    I'm also not interested in belittling other people's believe systems when I come across someone who appears to share my own atheism.

    I would like to do this without sounding smug or condescending.

    Thanks.

    1. EmpressFelicity profile image76
      EmpressFelicityposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      How about something along the lines of "Look, I'm really sorry but my beliefs are a matter for my own conscience and I don't feel I should have to justify them."

      1. Georzetta profile image79
        Georzettaposted 8 years agoin reply to this

        I'm good with that. I just wish everyone would take no for an answer.  I don't know why, but some folks get on a roll and just cannot leave it alone.  I guess walking away, metaphorically speaking, would be the next answer.

        1. EmpressFelicity profile image76
          EmpressFelicityposted 8 years agoin reply to this

          Yikes, I can't imagine what that must be like.  For the most part in my neck of the woods, the only time you get anyone trying to convert you is when the Jehovah's Witnesses come around.  I just say "Sorry, not interested" and close the door quietly but firmly. 

          I actually view proselytising as a subtle form of aggression, because it's an attempt to get the other person to justify their existence.  It's fine on a forum like this one (after all, one can just ignore all the religious threads), but when someone you've been talking to about non-religious matters suddenly says something like, "Have you found Jesus?" then it's hard to back away politely.

          1. Georzetta profile image79
            Georzettaposted 8 years agoin reply to this

            Yes, almost even passive aggressive.  Many are often convinced that they are "saving" you while negating your belief system.  It is definitely a way of self justification.  However, as much as I agree with you, I can't see myself saying that to someone without a load of hostility coming back to me.  If its a stranger or acquaintance then so be it.  Family politics is something very different.

            1. EmpressFelicity profile image76
              EmpressFelicityposted 8 years agoin reply to this

              I see what you mean LOL.  If it's family you're dealing with, I can't see any other way out other than to revert to the "my beliefs are a matter for my own conscience" stance I mentioned earlier.  And to try to avoid the subject altogether if possible (easier said than done, from what you've said in your other posts).

              1. wyanjen profile image80
                wyanjenposted 8 years agoin reply to this

                Georzetta, this is a truly difficult situation you are in. I am very fortunate that my family has not had an issue with me since I came out.
                Having said that, I do remember the uncomfortable tension I used to feel with them.

                I understand where you are and I hope you are better than I was at smiling and nodding along.
                Peace
                smile

                1. Georzetta profile image79
                  Georzettaposted 8 years agoin reply to this

                  Some days are better than others.

                  1. wyanjen profile image80
                    wyanjenposted 8 years agoin reply to this

                    Keep hanging in there, and smile when you can smile
                    I'm happy to meet you today.
                    Jen

    2. profile image0
      sandra rinckposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      That's tough one coming from a position of being surrounded by people (though most very kind and loving) who are hard core.  I just say nothing at all.  No one every ask me what I believe anyways but if they did then I would say I am an atheist.

      Most of the time I just listen to whatever they are telling me because I figure it is not really worth the amount of animosity to argue my disbelief in the things they hold to be the truth.

      1. repstrydiefly profile image64
        repstrydieflyposted 8 years agoin reply to this

        That is true, but also just research the things that you find people say that sound like its MADE UP. Whatever information YOU find when researching can be helpful to YOUR benefits of belief of disbelief. It is good to argue things that you believe to be true to test people that say they believe to find out if they have even did any research themselves or if they are going off of blind thoughts. There is always a right and wrong in anything, but don't stop asking YOUR questions until YOU are satisfied with the answers you get. Life is a test to find out TRUTH. I think that's our main purpose here. There is no other species on the planet with the brains and thought process that we have. Just use your intuition if you believe in that to justify what you think is right and wrong.

        I hope you benefit from this answer.

      2. Georzetta profile image79
        Georzettaposted 8 years agoin reply to this

        I think silence is often a good choice.  Unfortunately, I'm in a wheelchair and that can really draw out the passionate.  They are absolutely sure they have the answer and are almost desperate to share it.

    3. aware profile image71
      awareposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      useing the words smug and condescending . how should i put this?.... ohh you are what you eat. get it?

      1. Georzetta profile image79
        Georzettaposted 8 years agoin reply to this

        I don't think I do understand what you mean. I used the words "smug" and "condescending" because I have often felt that people who are instructing me on the "right" way to believe behaving that way.  I don't want to return the ill will or engender it in someone else.

    4. Stimp profile image76
      Stimpposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      Here's what's odd to me....who is bringing up the subject of religion in a casual conversation?  Like politics....it shouldn't be brought up...

      When someone brings up politics to me which I couldn't give two hoots about, I go "huh, I didn't vote." and I start laughing and change the subject.  I always use humor to get out of sticky situations.  Now that would be funny if some hard core religion person starts in on the religious beliefs and you go "huh, I didn't vote." and start laughing.....the more sinister the laugh the better....now, that's funny, I don't care who ya are.

      1. Stimp profile image76
        Stimpposted 8 years agoin reply to this
  2. profile image0
    Scott.Lifeposted 8 years ago

    Outside of Hubpages I actually refuse to talk about my beliefs unless someone asks me directly. Most times I just say that my beliefs are my own and private, as most times people are asking to begin a debate. I'm Christian but I don't feel the need to convert the masses that's for others. I preach my sermons with my life.

    OP good for you, at least you have decided one way or the other, now go live your life free of doubts and questions and get to it.

    1. AEvans profile image79
      AEvansposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      I certainly agree with you! I am Christian to and there is a place and time for everything. I also believe that others can make their own choices I have to work on me. smile

    2. Georzetta profile image79
      Georzettaposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      yes, I think you're right.  Many people who ask just want to start a debate.

  3. prettydarkhorse profile image65
    prettydarkhorseposted 8 years ago

    oh, if you come to a point that you need to tell them what your beliefs are, then you could tell them in a nice way like this-----

    "I respect your belief even though they are not the same as mine. As a friend, we might have different belief but it should not hamper our relationship".

    1. wyanjen profile image80
      wyanjenposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      I tend to say things like, "Faith is important, wherever you can find it." or "Being spiritual is what matters, not what you believe."

      I have had a few hampered relationships, but I've found they weren't strong friendships in the first place. tongue

      Good luck!
      Jen

  4. Colebabie profile image59
    Colebabieposted 8 years ago

    I agree. Outside of hubpages I very rarely talk about religion. With my group of friends, family and coworkers it is just understood that we are all different and respect one another.

    It is hard to tell someone you don't believe as they do. Especially when you are expecting an unfavorable response. But I would just give them the benefit of the doubt that they will respect your beliefs and be honest. Hopefully it works out. hmm

  5. aware profile image71
    awareposted 8 years ago

    geo any idea or belief of yours is cool by me . silence is a prison

    1. profile image0
      Scott.Lifeposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      Silence is for the dead and sleeping. Just because you don't force your beliefs on anyone doesn't mean you have to let them force theirs on you.

      1. Georzetta profile image79
        Georzettaposted 8 years agoin reply to this

        On an intellectual basis and dealing with strangers, I agree with you.

        It's the extended family members and internal politics that get sticky.

        1. profile image0
          Scott.Lifeposted 8 years agoin reply to this

          Indeed, I have devout Christians, Agnostics and two Atheists in my immediate family....there's a lively holiday dinner.

          1. Georzetta profile image79
            Georzettaposted 8 years agoin reply to this

            Who does the grace?

            1. profile image0
              Scott.Lifeposted 8 years agoin reply to this

              We arm wrestle for it big_smile

              1. wyanjen profile image80
                wyanjenposted 8 years agoin reply to this

                yikes!
                I would let you win every time lol

                1. profile image0
                  Scott.Lifeposted 8 years agoin reply to this

                  I'm actually pretty friendly when I'm not on the forums being told I'm going to hell for not attacking people's choices. I'd go easy on you.

                  1. wyanjen profile image80
                    wyanjenposted 8 years agoin reply to this

                    Well there you go - there is an advantage to being an atheist in a religious fight.
                    When I'm told to go to hell, I'm totally not insulted.

                    Take it easy Scott smile

                  2. earnestshub profile image87
                    earnestshubposted 8 years agoin reply to this

                    There are quite a few believers on here who could stand shoulder to shoulder with atheists, agnostics and other non Christians without problems.Our family is full of different beliefs,  we get on with each other just fine.

                    Scott you seem very well adjusted.(for a religionist! smile) How did you cope with the horror of war? Did you even have therapy available when you returned?Did you need external help to deal with events or was family enough?
                    I missed Vietnam, but lost so many friends there and even after they returned.
                    Our soldiers were treated like crap at home for following America in to the war, which was crazy as they were conscripted!

                    My Dad enlisted in WW2. Enlisted men were treated badly and called "chocolate soldiers" by their own.

  6. Dolores Monet profile image98
    Dolores Monetposted 8 years ago

    While it can be enlightening and interesting to discus religious beliefs, you are right when you say that some people get downright nasty about it. If someone gets rude or nasty, you ought to honestly call them out on their rudeness.

  7. aware profile image71
    awareposted 8 years ago

    ive noticed that sometimes when people share their beliefs others see it as a attack on theirs because there contrary to their own. and alot of times it turns into a im right your wrong shoving match .i like the exchange of ideas . not the pushing of them . and the smug thing ? every time i use that word  i do it smugly . so i tend not to say it

    1. profile image0
      Scott.Lifeposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      People take things too personally that's why. I thought my DI's hated me in boot camp until i was on another area of the base and heard another DI using the same exact comment on another and realized it's all scripted and practiced...just like alot of the religious forum post. really how often do we hear a new and original argument on here? it's all canned recital pulled from TV, books, and Church.

  8. aware profile image71
    awareposted 8 years ago

    you usmc?

    1. profile image0
      Scott.Lifeposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      8 years, and two wars

  9. aware profile image71
    awareposted 8 years ago

    i grew up on  base my dad was usmc retired master sgt.2 tours in viet nam

    1. profile image0
      Scott.Lifeposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      I bet your youth was fun.

  10. aware profile image71
    awareposted 8 years ago

    when we lived at el toro  in cali as kids we drove the mps crazy. i have fond memorys

  11. aware profile image71
    awareposted 8 years ago

    we got revalied every morning and  crew cuts were mandatory in a day when long hair was cool. but my dad was a great trainer his guys loved him .  i have great respect for the usmc

  12. Paradise7 profile image84
    Paradise7posted 8 years ago

    This is an interesting thread.  A lot of people have given some good suggestions.

    Me, I just say, to my Aunt Barbara who seems determined to witness to me, every time we meet, that I'm glad you have found what you're looking for in your religion and that we all need to have a spiritual life, but some of us prefer to keep it a very private matter, between ourselves and our God.

    That usually gets her attention long enough for me to change the subject and get on neutral ground.  Usually.  Not always.  And then what is there to do but be polite and wait her out?  Sometimes a sympathetic family member will come rescue me but not often--we've all had experience of Aunt Barb.

    1. Georzetta profile image79
      Georzettaposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      Was it Ben Franklin who said something like-If we don't hang together then we will all hang separately?

      1. profile image0
        Scott.Lifeposted 8 years agoin reply to this

        Indeed, or a country divided will not stand long, there's another good one.

 
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