Atheists: How Do You Respond To Religious Glurge?

So I was talking to one of my oldest friends via text today- I went to high school with this girl and we graduated in 1986. We didn’t keep in touch after 1990 until recently, when we hooked up via Facebook. She’s fairly vocal about her faith helping her through the demise of three of her four marriages, especially the one with the husband of her best friend, and helping her through her current marriage to an abusive little asshole with short man’s syndrome, and I’m an atheist.

Today she said something about how I should pray about something I’m concerned about, and I responded that as an atheist, I didn’t do much praying. Then she was shocked, omg, claims I never told her that, but I know that I did. She starts being kind of glurgy, and I gently remind her that she should accept me for who I am, as I do her, because I love her. And I do- she was hugely instrumental in getting my geeky nerdy shy ass through high school and I will always feel love for her. She started to back down, but then she said “I won’t do this often but… god blah blah blah god god god.”

I really have an urge to send to her this page, and say, “I won’t do this often!”

That seems kind of mean, though. Damn, I wish I were meaner. I did let her know that her strength and power have always been within her and she didn’t need any Wizard of Oz or ruby slippers or magic sky fairies, and that her world is always made by her.

Why can’t I just be an atheist without 80 percent of people freaking out? What do you do?

I tend to not get much of that directly. Some of my friends are religious, some apathetic, some anti-religion so we don’t talk about those matters much at all, and none of my family is religious enough for me to know about it. I can’t recall ever having to tell someone I was an atheist to get them to leave me alone except when some mormon kids came up on their bikes at a park and I wasn’t in the mood to listen. Everyone that knows me well knows I value science and reason and I only show hate for religion when it is hurting others (war, anti-rights like abortion and SSM, etc) but otherwise like to live and let live.

I have been throwing away the Chick tracts someone’s been leaving at my gym though…those things are not cool. But I would like to think that I’d do the same if I were religious, cause I wouldn’t be an asshole christian.

I’m amazed at the reactions I get when I tell someone. In this day and age, it’s really incredible. But not surprising, unfortunately. It usually seems to be the case that they can say things to try to convince you, but it’s a big faux pas for an atheist to try to convert a Christian. I wouldn’t want to, but sometimes I do feel like arguing about it, just out of frustration. I try to let it go, though.

It seems you have two choices here. Either stick to fact that you are an atheist, or keep that fact from others and try to avoid situations where you have to declare one way or another.

For example, when someone asks me to “pray for them” I simply say that “they will be in my thoughts” and leave it at that. Whether I pray, or how I choose to pray, really shouldn’t be anyone’s business but mine. That doesn’t mean that you should intentionally deceive people that are close to you. Be as honest as you can, but don’t feel that you are obligated to divulge something you don’t want to.

I think you acted appropriately, and if a close friend of mine freaked out because I told them I was an atheist I would question the underlying basis of our friendship.

I haven’t come out to my family and don’t plan to anytime soon. Religion is not something I discuss at all, in any way, on Facebook. This is because I have family members there, and I’ve seen what happens when evangelicals smell an atheist, and a few of my Facebook friends seem like that.

When I see glurge I roll my eyes and bite my tongue.

The only friends I’ve told in real life were both college friends and coworkers. One expressed surprise, but nothing more.

(There was that one time that I was saving some picnic tables at a park and a Jehova’s Witness came by to talk. That was fun. :slight_smile: )

With family, I mostly ignore it. They get the occasional pointed remark about God or Jesus, I get the ocassional (but much more common) condescension, and we just move on.

I don’t get it from friends because, well, why would I be friends with those types?

Just be honest and don’tworry about it. If they freak out and can’t handle it the are not worthy of your friendship.

And I wouldn’t send the web page. It smacks too much of prosyselytism. It’s not, but you can’t expect a christian to understand that.

First I try to change the subject. Then I say something about respecting others right to believe whatever they want. Then, if they persist, I might wade in.

I’ve gotten way to many negative reactions to swing around the word ‘atheist’ on a whim. I generally only bring it up if I’m directly asked or among people I trust.

Not all Christians like “religious glurge” either. I’m a Christian. I bite my tongue or roll my eyes. If I get a particularly nasty-sounding glurgey email, I’ll fight back with other Bible verses :slight_smile:

I don’t keep any secrets from people. I’m totally open and honest about who and what I am, and I leave it at that. If people don’t approve of me, it’s their problem, not mine. If people want to discuss a certain subject with me, I’m willing, but most people simply don’t bring things up.

Oh, don’t throw them away. Draw mustaches on the characters, especially Gawd. Then leave them for others to get even more of a laugh from them.

I’m feeling like a horrid little bitch for even saying this, but if her faith helped her through the demise of three out of four of her marriages, couldn’t her faith have stepped in to help her keep one alive? Or hell, even told her you don’t need to get married every time?

But yes, that’s rather bitchy. Ahem. Religious glurge? When I was younger, in my twenties, people pushed more. Perhaps I gave off some vibe of being weaker, or more needy. Nowadays I am so easy-going about it I rarely get pushed. I too say the “You’ll be in my thoughts” comment. If I get people saying things about prayer, I generally will say “I’m atheist”, and normally they drop it.

But for a friend to push it? I have, once, called someone and said, “Look, we’re friends right? I’m not offended, but you please need to stop pushing Jesus on me. I’m not Christian and I’m not interested. I’m not mad or anything, please don’t take it that way, I just would like to talk to you without being preached to.”

And they did.

No different than if they were telling me about how aroma therapy or astrology helped them. I might mumble something about “whatever helps you get by” and leave it at that. If they push I always say “I’m not very religious” and let it drop, or repeat as necessary. Evangelicals are children who have found a new toy and they need to run around shouting “look at me, look at me!”. We can let them have their fun as long as its not too obnoxious.

My Mom and Grandma still push Jesus at me quite a bit. Sometimes I push back, but they get so upset, I usually just change the subject.

When I get religious emails from co-workers, I usually ignore them, but I had one a few years ago that really annoyed me. The subject line was, “I sent this to you because I know you are a Christian.” I emailed back, “Actually, I’m an atheist.” After that, the sender didn’t speak to me for a long long time. These days, she is cautiously acknowledging me once again, and I am being very nice to her in hopes that she will notice I don’t have horns and a tail.

I hate religious glurge, but then again I hate a lot of things and don’t feel the need to tell anyone that I hate something that they see as important to them. People take that stuff personally. It might be fun to tell someone what an idiot they are for supporting Palin for President but I don’t trash people’s religion.

I am not religious but I don’t label myself as an atheist because I don’t feel the need to identify my beliefs at all. I’ll have some light debate with someone who can do it without getting offended by the mere difference in beliefs, but for the most part I find it a useless exercise.

I get these emails once in a while from an in-law with these very glurgy PowerPoint slide shows about how we should thank God for all these great things blah blah blah but I just hit the delete key. I’m not going to change his mind and he’s not going to change mine.

I can’t really say what I’d do in a face-to-face. Nobody has ever done this to me in person, asking me if I’ve been saved, tell me how they have accepted Jesus, etc. Once I had a Jehovah’s Witness come to my front door and when I told her I was a Muslim (well, I do have a certificate that proves it) the conversation got a lot shorter. She also asked me if I was familiar with predictions from scripture that have come true. :rolleyes: Boy, did she knock on the wrong door. :smiley:

I work on an NLP project, where I have authority over what goes into the database. We have an hourly contractor who’s a converted Catholic, and is always selectively adding the Catholic and King James senses of words, and ignoring other, more common senses. She also indulges herself in acquiring religious words when we’re supposed to be focusing on other areas for demos, proof-of-concepts, etc.

I usually don’t mind her, but this morning she sent me an email asking me why we didn’t have a more elaborate back-end for interpreting different kinds of religious rituals, experiences, etc.

I asked her if it was for the demo we’re prepping for; got a snippy response back that YES IT WAS. Forwarded the email conversation to her supervisor, and am hoping that things don’t get worse.

Anyway, the answer is: I try to ignore it as much as I can. I feel strongly about not hiding my atheism from people, but I don’t bring it up gratuitously. If only they’d do the same.

I’ll use either Bible verses or Snopes. We have several people at work that love to forward these kind of things, but no one sends to me anymore. I have flat out told them to not forward anything like that. I work on a separate server, and I don’t want to take any chances of getting it infected.

Part of being religious is the fact you want to help others.

You have to understand this. You really have to put your feet in that person’s shoes.

For instance, if you told your friend, I’m gonna take a gun and shoot myself if I don’t pass my math test, you’re friend would be concerned.

Your friend believes in religion and probably an afterlife of some kind. By being an athiest, you told your friend, you’re going to shoot yourself. You’re giving up something that you could have. It’s like your ending your life.

Being religious it’s up to your friend to try to help you so you don’t wind up with no afterlife.

It’s hard to understand because you are writing off her beliefs. Just like a child who feels there are monsters in the closet. You know they aren’t real, but real or not, the fear is real to the child.

You as an athiest, know that nothing will happen, but your friend feels the fear.

It’s actually a compliment that a friend would be so concerned.

It reminds me of the Seinfeld show. Elaine says she doesn’t believe in Hell and her boyfriend Puddy does. Puddy says he doesn’t care if she believes in Hell or not.

This upsets Elaine, and she says that if Puddy believes in Hell and loves her he should be trying to save her from going to hell, even though she doesn’t believe in it.

I don’t get much. My relatives are not very religious, my father-in-law is an atheist, and I work in high tech where religion, while not absent, is pretty much low key.

But I think the response of “so, you believe in God” said in the same tone as “so, you believe in little green men” might be interesting. And I’d just love to debate evolution with a real life creationist, since I know most of the stock claims and how to respond to them. Bette than here, since you can keep pushing for answers.

I get this all the time, mostly I just ignore it. Hide is your best friend on Facebook I’ve found, it will save your brain the pain. One of my friends recent updates was beseeching all her friends to pray for God to cure Cancer. Without questioning why God’s divine plan includes Cancer in the first place. Hide, hide, hide!

Or come to an agreement to disagree.

“Let’s have a little more religious freedom between us,” he proposed obligingly. “You don’t believe in the God you want to, and I won’t believe in the God I want to. Is that a deal?”