"He's a Christian? This may be problematic"

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I tend to not think too much about religion outside of bitching at you people on the internet. But when I do, it's awkward.

A friend of my brother came by the other day to met me. When I went back to my room, I noticed she was looking a little worried over something in the living room, and she had a side conversation with my brother.

The thing she was looking at was my "youth of the year" plaque from church, which I never bothered to take down. Apparently she's a hardcore atheist and she was afraid we wouldn't get along. Not really sure why just coming up to me and asking about was out of the question.

Are any of you actually that skittish about the subject about the subject of religion in day to day life? Do seeing people display their faith openly make you feel uncomfortable? Are you more tactful when speaking to people in person, or is it one of those "don't bring it up if you don't have to" situations?

With my High School friends we essentially just avoided the subject. When it came up we were quite civil despite some differences(essentially a few atheists and agnostics among Christians) and dropped it soon after. From the people I know so far in college its a different story. We talked about it quite a bit, but there has also been a good bit of consensus as all of us were one form of Christian or another. Time will tell on that when I meet more people.

In general I just don't touch the subject, someones beliefs almost never effect me as if they're an ass about them, they're probably an ass in general and it doesn't matter what religion they are.

Hmm, well, I do admit, I am generally distrustful of religious people. This is something I keep to myself though. I don't relish in confrontations with people, and real life arguments, so I don't cause any fuss. But I can't help it, if I find out someone is religious, I feel slightly.. well, as I said, distrustful. At first. I guess this stems from my fear of religion, and what it can turn people into. Maybe a silly way of looking at things, but it can't be helped. I try not to let this prejudice effect my judgement of people too harshly though. I try to keep it suppressed as well as I can, as I know there are plenty of genuinely good people out there who are religious.

I hope that makes sense.

Openly religious people unnerve me. Mostly because I live in the south, where "openly religious" tends to go along with a lot of really unfortunate views on quite a few other subjects, like science and sexuality. Not a universal rule, obviously, but it has been my experience that people who are loudly Christian tend to also be loudly intolerant of anything "non-Christian". So if one of the first things I learn about someone is how religious they are, they're already starting at a negative reputation score.

It's funny to see how things change and still say the same. Religious persecution almost as bad as it ever was, but the roles have reversed. The same thing happened with politics, you used to not want to be open about being liberal least you be called a commie sympathizer; now conservatives have to stay in the closet of get blacklisted by most communities. It was also dangerous to seem unpatriotic in the past, now people with think your a moronic nutjob if you fly the flag in your yard.

As someone in the middle (moderate-agnostic-etc.) it seems sad to me that for all our civil advancement, we have simply traded one form or intolerance for another.

cthulhuspawn82:
It's funny to see how things change and still say the same. Religious persecution almost as bad as it ever was, but the roles have reversed. The same thing happened with politics, you used to not want to be open about being liberal least you be called a commie sympathizer; now conservatives have to stay in the closet of get blacklisted by most communities. It was also dangerous to seem unpatriotic in the past, now people with think your a moronic nutjob if you fly the flag in your yard.

As someone in the middle (moderate-agnostic-etc.) it seems sad to me that for all our civil advancement, we have simply traded one form or intolerance for another.

yea.... tolerance. Nevermind, I get what you mean. Partially.

I realize the U.S 'now' might seem as bad to you as the Mc-Carthy era. But until I see Conservatives getting arrested for being conservative, I really don't think it has much of a leg to stand on. No laws have been put into place forcing you to have anal-sex in your bedroom, or marry black people, or homosexuals, or basically force conversion to Islam due to many tax-benefits that came from being part of a very specific religion in this supposedly free country. The United States from 1950's to 1990's was a hellhole. The Conservative-Christians were worse about their intolerance, they put it into law. And this aint the past conservatives mind you, this is the now-conservative aswell.

Defense of Marriage Act.
The Hardcore attempt to block the Homosexuals.
Staunchly refusing abortions even to non-followers of their faith. Even for the best of reasons.

And no, laws against Racism is not intolerance against Conservatives. (Not saying you'd argue that point, but I have gotten it thrown at me a couple of times by the Republicans I regulary debate with)

From my POV it just seems Republicanism in the U.S has been about Racism and Intolerance since time immemorial, and people trying to defend that to their last breath, acting like victims whether they are called out for, youknow. Maybe having a belief thats a bit off.

And say theres a completely reasonable person that flies that flag in his yard, youknow what the neighbors will think?

They will think his a racist, intolerant, bigot.

And this guy aint a racist intolerant bigot, his just patriotic. But the Republican party has ruined the good reputation of patriots effectively. And you seem to be trying to blame the opposition for that. Don't... Blame the actual loudmouthed racist, intolerant, bigots whom go out marching and protesting telling the entirety of the U.S that flying flags is their thing.

More OT: I once entered a Christians room and I felt the exact same awkwardness. But it was mostly the fear of not getting accepted for my lack of belief. These days it seems everyone here are Non-Religious, so you don't exactly expect to meet one.

It is very difficult to answer your question because seeing openly religious people - in Denmark - is VERY rare. This is probably a combination of two things. 1) There are few very religious people and 2) danes have an unsaid rule about not bothering strangers with anything when you are out in public. That includes cursing the weather while standing in line in the grocery store.

She probably thought you were going to tell her all about how she was going to burn in hell for not believing in your specific God.

[captcha: foregone conclusion]

@Shadowstar38

Are any of you actually that skittish about the subject about the subject of religion in day to day life? Do seeing people display their faith openly make you feel uncomfortable? Are you more tactful when speaking to people in person, or is it one of those "don't bring it up if you don't have to" situations?

Hm. Depends on the display. If it's just a cross on the wall or a crucifix-necklace, I'll think my part. If they're actually saying something, I may roll my eyes or give a non-committal "uh-huh" or something. I doubt I'd talk to another about that unless it was something really big and bizarre. Your example with the plaque wouldn't qualify for that.

@Gorr

Is that the spirit of beer-drinking from SATW as your avatar there?

Think of it this way:

Most atheist/non-Christians deal with, on a daily basis, people learning they're not Christians and going APESHIT over it.

Every time, and I do mean EVERY-DAMN-TIME, a Christian has 'found out' about me being an atheist I either get it with the same stupid questions of 'why' or 'how' or 'well, you probably weren't a REAL Christian before you because an atheist' spill.

At this point in my life anytime I see someone wearing a cross or they have some kind of 'picture' of Jesus or other religious paraphernalia...
I tend to have the same 'o, damn, here comes the stupid speech or questions...AGAIN'.

Unlike on the internet, I've always been a bit private about my believes. But a few years back my then girlfriend (Who was very Christian) found out I did not actually believe in any gods, and she dumped me right there.

Damn, now I am angry again. :(

I try to judge people on their personality first and religious/political beliefs second. However knowing that someone I am about to meet or speak to is a Christian I will avoid certain topics or specific words as to not 'offend them'.

I do enjoy a good debate, not a bad argument, but if those of a faith want to verbally throw down, I'll happily contend.

Shadowstar38:

Are any of you actually that skittish about the subject about the subject of religion in day to day life? Do seeing people display their faith openly make you feel uncomfortable? Are you more tactful when speaking to people in person, or is it one of those "don't bring it up if you don't have to" situations?

Since I live in the second most atheistic nation in the world, when someone mentions that they believe in God I am a tad puzzled/amused and certainly raise an eyebrow, but if they leave it at that, then so do I. I regard them a the numerous people I've encountered that believe in ghosts, or spirits, or Healing. Humorous but ultimately harmless.
And so far, I've been right. Never have I encountered a preaching asshole or quasi-sane fundamentalist, except for the occasional Jeehovas Witness knocking on my door. Never, really. If someone were to honestly motivate his hate, ethics or politics with God where I live then people would more likely LAUGH than be angered.
It' a different culture over here.

I've heard so many stories over the internet about how people get judged by Christians if they are Atheists, but since there are almost none to judge here, we really don't seem to have the same counter-judging, frothing rage back. They are just the 'odd, wacky people', not the 'moralist assholes that keep abortion illegal and gay-marriage banned', since both things are legal and when gay-marriage was legalized (2009) it did not encounter that much detraction from religious groups. Heck, many churches here allow gay priests. And since they can't control politics in the way they do in the states, why would we bother with hating them?

I don't really mind it, the religious people here are mostly of the less crazy variety.
I live in Jönköping the most religious city in Sweden (it's also called "Smålands*/Swedens Jerusalem" because of the amount of churches) and when we had a pride march here only one guy showed up to protest it.
And yes it's the Dreamhack city.
I might feel slightly uncomfortable in certain situations though, if it has a cultish vibe over it.

*a region of sweden

I tend to like my conversations to be somewhat deep, so if I was trying to be friends with a Christian there would likely be a fundamental divide in philosophical standpoints, and my relationships can barely survive minor divides in philosophical standpoints.

That and people saying shit like "God bless you" reminds me of going to Christian school, which was just a terrible terrible time. I do try to be tolerant-ish though, I tend to find that most other people are skittish about talking about it whereas I'll gladly discuss anything.

...who cares? Someone believes in God? Oh noes! I probably feel this way because despite living in a religious mecca I've never had anyone lose it over my being an atheist and I've only ever had polite conversations with religious people. But then again, I don't live in the deep south.

Usually it's not a problem for me, I mean, my mum and my younger brother are both Christian, and my dad has never made his beliefs clear. Most of my friends are irreligious too, but a few are religious in one way or another, and it's not a problem.

I suspect this may be more of an American thing, due to the whole 'conservative Christian' thing. I certainly wouldn't feel comfortable being openly atheist in certain parts of the Bible Belt. On the other hand, I was in Colorado last year, which is apparently semi-Bible Belt territory, and religion only came up once, and my atheism got no reaction (although I didn't actually use the word atheism).

I'm not religious in the slightest, but the display of other's faith does not disturb me as long as it doesn't actively harass me.

I'm not Muslim, but I was born in a majority-Muslim nation (Malaysia) to non-Muslim parents. As a young person, I was frequently exposed to Islamic call-to-prayers, Muslims in traditional clothing, arabic script and Muslims sermons on TV. None of that ever bothered me because 99% of Malays are pretty damn laid back when it comes to Islam and I was never threatened by a single Muslim person my entire time there.

Now I live in Australia - the displays of Christian faith, which I grew around because I went to a private school, never fazed me. Australians also are pretty damn laid back about their faith as well. I was not a believer after I was 13, and I didn't hide that fact, but no one ever gave me any grief over it. I was lucky in that regard, I suppose.

I'm currently a Medical Student, and I would say that most of my cohort at the University of Queensland are religious to some degree. I get along with them. Never had any problems with them. One of my PBL members is a really dedicated Christian - she knows I'm not religious, but she still talks to me, says hi to me, treats me just fine. So have all the others.

I know it is different in the US of A, where the religious are quite a bit less tolerant, but Australia is an example of how Religious people and people of no Religion can work perfectly happily side-by-side. I manage to do it with my fellow Christian students, and they manage to work perfectly well with me.

If anything. its the other way around here. I'm only just going to uni this years, but the norm in my secondary school was atheist/agnostic, with very few religious people around. Nobody really talked a great deal about religion, including the few religious ones.

As for myself, I'm fine around religious people. My mum is some kind of crossover between Catholic and Wicca/Pagan, and one of my best friends in school is a Muslim who moved here from Saudi Arabia a couple of years ago. I'll tolerate almost any eccentricity in people, including strong religious tendencies, as long as it isn't harmful to others. And even if it is, I'm apparently quite non-judgemental, having helped with said friend's suicidal tendencies/self harming quite well.

imo in the UK someones faith or lack of it is somewhat traditionally a personal issue and not something worn as a badge.

looking back the occasions i have observed when people talk have talked about religion the most in their interpersonal lifes have usually always been when they are seeking to accommodate others beliefs within a friendship (ie dietary/entertainment requirements/options when you've invited someone over for example) but that said people have very little time for proselytizing and i'd suggest its generally seen as a major social faux pas.

ofc the "war on terror" has mixed thing up somewhat but in all honestly that's i've generally observed.

historically i'd place a part of the reason for that on two things: firstly having a personal relationship with god (via private reading and interpretation of the bible) is a very northern European protestant thing (its why we made a big deal about making sure we could read one ourselves) and also secondly i suspect there was probably a pretty strong social desire not to discuss religion lest "it all kick off...again..." at several points in our history because people marching round the village/town with weapons looking to kill folk many of whom you may know and/or like or even be related to is not actually that cool in the medium to long term...

i'm guessing it's quite different in the states.

...as someone who could perhaps be referred to as "a British Atheist" from a strict protestant tradition tbth i kinda feel i should apologises for Richard Dawkins on behalf of some of those sensibilities...

If someone makes a point of telling me they are religious, i make a point of telling them we have nothing of value to discuss and then ignore them...not normally a problem unless your manager is a Jesus freak and you are a metal head that loves anti-christian black metal...that job didn't last very long :p

Also, i met a girl in a nightclub and one thing led to another and we ended up at her house and above her bed she had a big cross. I'd already spotted a bible on her hallway table when we had entered and i made my excuses and left as soon as i could...without sex.

No, i'd rather avoid contact with such deluded religious types than have to suffer a sermon based on assumption when i only answer to facts and reality. They have no power to change my opinion and i have no power to change theirs and thus there is no value to any discussion and so i cut the conversation off as quickly (and harshly) as possible.

I'm an atheist and as long as people don't start throbbing faith down my throat (which btw never happened. Even the guys that sometimes stand in front of a big church to get people to go inside gave me 20-30 min long discussions that we both truly enjoyed because I wanted to spend those 20-30 minutes) I don't care what faith you are in. Maybe I'll make good fun of some rituals you may participating in, nothing insulting. I once wrote a small song about how one of my closer friends could not eat during the day on Ramadan. When he reminded me that it was actually over by now I quickly changed some words so that it could be a song about how he can finally enjoy meals during daytime again.

In the end what you may believe in is not my concern. If you are actually a person that I would get along with it will result in discussions on topics we may disagree upon but it will be just that and it won't stop me from forging a friendship. If you aren't such a person then your possible faith is not going to be a reason that I'd list why we did not get along.

But maybe this is just because I live in a city and area where the majority is not religios or doesn't make a big deal out of it.

It's only a problem is you don't like your faith being challenged.
I am a skeptical person, who likes to question everything. And if you cannot deal with me questioning the relevance, purpose, value and validity of your religion then there is going to be a problem.
I do it with everything else, your religion is not sacrosanct.

Arakasi:
I tend to like my conversations to be somewhat deep, so if I was trying to be friends with a Christian there would likely be a fundamental divide in philosophical standpoints, and my relationships can barely survive minor divides in philosophical standpoints.

How can you like deeper conversations if you can't handle minor divides in ideology?

Some of my close friends are libertarians and we have some of the greatest conversations on philosophy and ideology.

Smeatza:
It's only a problem is you don't like your faith being challenged.
I am a skeptical person, who likes to question everything. And if you cannot deal with me questioning the relevance, purpose, value and validity of your religion then there is going to be a problem.
I do it with everything else, your religion is not sacrosanct.

Why should you challenge any one's faith or other believes?
If you are there to actively challenge people you're an asshat nothing more, i don't see any place for any one to challenge anything unless both parties agree to it.

You workplace, classroom, or even your hangout place is not a debate floor.

Usually it's not some status symbol that affects me; it's relatively easy to discern what someone is about when you talk to them. Some people will wear a cross around their necks but you can tell they don't wear anything on their sleeves, if you get me.

On that basis, character is what I attune to and be mindful of conversation, but in general my policy is to never bring up religion and politics with anyone other than close family or friends. They're divisive, controversial and people are usually very set in their beliefs. It's typically going to result in bad first impressions (and can make you look like an opinionated jerk).

As I've grown older I've realized that these issues becoming problems between people is about personal insecurity. Additionally, if you're meeting new people and their religious beliefs (or lack thereof) is reason for you to stop and question them or feel there will be a "problem", you're being prejudicial. One could replace religious items with gay pride swag or someone's papers on feminism, and the same holds true.

Hafrael:

Arakasi:
I tend to like my conversations to be somewhat deep, so if I was trying to be friends with a Christian there would likely be a fundamental divide in philosophical standpoints, and my relationships can barely survive minor divides in philosophical standpoints.

How can you like deeper conversations if you can't handle minor divides in ideology?

Some of my close friends are libertarians and we have some of the greatest conversations on philosophy and ideology.

I'm not talking political as much as simple logic which, as we all know, is all it takes to debunk religion.

Arakasi:

I'm not talking political as much as simple logic which, as we all know, is all it takes to debunk religion.

Actually it's more complicated than that because it's logically impossible to prove an existential negative with 100% certainty unless you posses all the available information in the universe, and you can't possess that because Heisenberg.

What logic does do, however, is show how there's no need for a deity and therefore how it's irrational to believe one exists.

Vegosiux:

Arakasi:

I'm not talking political as much as simple logic which, as we all know, is all it takes to debunk religion.

Actually it's more complicated than that because it's logically impossible to prove an existential negative with 100% certainty unless you posses all the available information in the universe, and you can't possess that because Heisenberg.

What logic does do, however, is show how there's no need for a deity and therefore how it's irrational to believe one exists.

I didn't mean debunk as in 'prove false', that would be foolish. I am as agnostic as the next atheist.

Arakasi:

Hafrael:

Arakasi:
I tend to like my conversations to be somewhat deep, so if I was trying to be friends with a Christian there would likely be a fundamental divide in philosophical standpoints, and my relationships can barely survive minor divides in philosophical standpoints.

How can you like deeper conversations if you can't handle minor divides in ideology?

Some of my close friends are libertarians and we have some of the greatest conversations on philosophy and ideology.

I'm not talking political as much as simple logic which, as we all know, is all it takes to debunk religion.

Yes because religious people like myself cannot understand and do not use logic.

Hafrael:

Arakasi:

Hafrael:

How can you like deeper conversations if you can't handle minor divides in ideology?

Some of my close friends are libertarians and we have some of the greatest conversations on philosophy and ideology.

I'm not talking political as much as simple logic which, as we all know, is all it takes to debunk religion.

Yes because religious people like myself cannot understand and do not use logic.

I'm not saying religious people can't use logic, it's just that they seem to turn a blind eye in regards to one of the (potentially) largest aspects of their lives. It's mind boggling.

Arakasi:

I'm not saying religious people can't use logic, it's just that they seem to turn a blind eye in regards to one of the (potentially) largest aspects of their lives. It's mind boggling.

And I feel the same way about those who follow enlightenment era "nature of man" bullshit.

Do you think you couldn't have a good discussion with a theologian about why they have faith?

edited to fix quote box

Reminds of one of the first things to come out of the father of this girl I was dating once (Both were Atheists, FYI.)

"This the Death Cult worshiper?"

Needless to say, the father and I did not get along, ever. (The daughter was a completely different story, obviously.)

Hafrael:

Arakasi:

I'm not saying religious people can't use logic, it's just that they seem to turn a blind eye in regards to one of the (potentially) largest aspects of their lives. It's mind boggling.

And I feel the same way about those who follow enlightenment era "nature of man" bullshit.

I have no idea what you're talking about with that.

Hafrael:

Do you think you couldn't have a good discussion with a theologian about why they have faith?

No, because I have had a good discussion with a theologian, actually I had several during a theology course I did in university.

Arakasi:
I'm not saying religious people can't use logic, it's just that they seem to turn a blind eye in regards to one of the (potentially) largest aspects of their lives. It's mind boggling.

Which aspects are you referring to, specifically?

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