Maybe. My girlfriends whole family is deeply religious. She’s moderatly so. She mentioned to me that her Uncle (who is a really cool, nice guy) was “like me,” meaning an atheist. He doesn’t know that I am (nor does any of her family). I haven’t really talked to him too much, but he’s been really cool the 4 or 5 times I’ve seen him and talked to him.
Anyway, we may be golfing in the near future, and I was wondering if you think I should maybe steer the conversation towards that while we are out there. Maybe get some confirmation, and maybe make me feel less out of place when they say grace at family events. What do the you think? Should I persue this potential ally, deep in the bowels of Fundyland, or should I leave it be?
When you say “we may be golfing…”, who is actually going to be there? Is this a GF + GF’s family + uncle outing? Is it just you and the uncle? I think this makes a difference.
I’m an atheist. I think something that atheists should take “pride” in is a general sense of security in belief that precludes a need to “get some confirmation.” Don’t try and sway people’s views or gather a like-minded congregation. Leave that to evangelistic theists. (And no, I don’t have anything against theists. Note that I used the specifier “evangelistic” to refer specifically to the ones who want to save us all. I target this group because, in general, they are intolerant of other ideologies.)
I think you should set up some sort of atheist group to make sure you all conform to the same standards of non-belief - it could get quite embarrassing if it was revealed that you don’t both fail to believe the same thing, you could also try to get into the habit of not meeting in Sundays.
Sorry, Chekmate, I just couldn’t resist; I think a lot of my trouble in understanding your position and feelings as an atheist stems from the fact that I live in a place where people pretty much leave each other alone.
If I were in your shoes, I would leave it alone until I got to know the uncle better. If you got onto the subject with him now, you might say something which could get reported back to the family, might even be reported inaccurately, causing problems between you & your gf. I am an atheist & have never been in your situation, but I think you should wait until you know more about the family dynamics.
Wellllll, think about your goal in creating an ally of this uncle. And take a moment to figure out for yourself if you are an a-theist or an anti-theist. Are you personally non-theist and tolerant of those who are theist? If so, it shouldn’t matter what beliefs uncle holds or how he expresses them.
Or are you actively opposed to theist beliefs? Is it your intention that uncle join you in the crusade against the theists?
I wouldn’t push it, but just use the chance to get to know the uncle better. Make a friend in the family, rather than just an ally. IMO, you will feel more comfortable around her family if you have your own connections or friendships (regardless of religious faith or lack of) with them rather than just seeing them as “my girlfriend’s family”.
Thats a swell idea! We could all meet once a week in a special place. Once there, we could write out some rules pertaining to what true atheism is and then begin to exclude other impure atheists. I hope those other so-called atheists end up somewhere really bad for refusing to believe in the one true atheism!..
Buy anyway, I agree with the other Dopers who recommend against actively seeking an “ally.” Don’t be confrontational-- theres no point unless you want to alienate your GF’s family (and probably your GF). If the topic comes up, feel free to discuss it. Mangetout brought it up in jest, but you should probe his thoughts about atheism and how he relates to others. Active discourse over theology (or lack thereof) is always a good idea in my book provided certain standards of civility are maintained.