Don't you know they are mandated by their religion to go forth and convert everyone in the world? Why do you think the JW's are knocking on your door every Saturday morning? Why do you think the Mormon youth are riding around on their bicycles in white shirts with black pants and ties? And they are very subtle. They choose a topic that is controversial and disguise their religious ideals under some kind of ethical mode. If you are concerned for your ID, You may wish to use a nick name.
I can't even enjoy my sewing web groups without encountering evangelicals who sign with things like, "The most important decision is what to do with Jesus" or other such tripe. They are constantly asking for prayers for this and that. I've never seen anyone sign their posts, "Marion, a Jew", or "Mary who is down with Allah" or anything like that. They're just too obnoxious and think that their religion and their way of thinking is all that exists or should be allowed. The post moderators often derive some livelihood from these sites as they sell designs or other items so they don't want to alienate their customers (and many I'm sure may agree with them too). We are the last minority.
As to "sewing web groups" or other groups to which you belong, you might try different strategies. In response to "I'll pray for you" respond with something like:
"I don't believe in prayer and I will think of you. Is there anything you need that I can get for you?"
or "I'll set you up with your library", or whatever seems doable.
When I send these kinds of responses when there is a string of people responding, I usually get some feedback, some polite and some not so helpful. There is nothing wrong letting the public know what you will and will not do for the person.
If you use my approach, you will have to develop some responses that fit your personality without creating a war on the string. If a conflict does occur, you can learn how to handle it without you falling into the trap of name-calling. You can do very little about others talking behind your back.
My goal is not to change another person's mind, but to express myself. It is painful to learn that others have said things about me to others and I don't have the opportunity to correct misperceptions. That just comes with the territory.
I don't know how to persuade the public to accept atheists/non-believers, as an average group of people unless we make ourselves known, especially when we express care for others. Being silent is not the answer. It maintains and perpetuates the delusions about us.
I Hope the negative attitudes toward non-believers changes soon. Perhaps we are going to have to do the things that the black community did, and the feminists and the LGBT are doing.
Yes, you're right. When everyone is saying, "I'll pray for you" and the like, I should send a message saying "You're in my thoughts" rather than just not respond. That way if the issue of my religion comes up, and I wouldn't be surprised if one of them sent me a message asking about it, I would be seen as caring (which I do care) rather than not caring. I do hope they're okay, just not able to pray for them.
There was someone who was fed up with all the emails that were off topic (talking about their pets) and was having difficulty getting a daily digest rather than individual emails. When one of the group wrote that the person was obviously having a difficult time and needed our prayers, I sent an email that the owner of the site decided not to let go through. I did say that it was offensive for the person to decide that the other person was in need of prayers and some other things. The web owner sent a very nicely worded email saying that my email might just create more controversy and she decided not to post it. That was okay with me, I really didn't want to start an argument, sometimes I'm just so tired of these people! Maybe if I can be a little more subtle, others will do the same. I can't be the only atheist in the group! (although it seems like it)
I have chosen to remain abstinent for almost five years. It's just plain sad to gossip about someone without a love life. Someone is actually bored enough to do it. Maybe "hey it's an atheist...they do bad things" keeps the unoccupied brain happy. Who knows why.
*shrug* If you don't have at least a very good friendship with someone you would want to sleep with, I don't see the point, myself. I can take care of my own needs, so the point of sex with a partner is making someone else feel good. I've never been into random hookups, either.
I also fit that amusing flip-flop. I do less supposedly-bad stuff than most of the religious nuts I've known who consider the stuff bad ... except perhaps Mormons, who would have a bit of an issue with my caffeine addiction.
For me it depends on how important. My online cancer support group has lots of prayer, "I am praying for you" "God be with you" etc. Since many people on it are really ill, some terminal, I know it's not the place for me to proselytize atheism. I stay on the group because there is no other source, with my uncommon cancer, that has the helpful information they have. Not even my oncologist knows as much as I derive from the group. And when I have something that might be helpful, I can share it, there is no where else to do that. What others have said, has helped in my situation, and others have benefited, I think, from my experiences. So - I ignore the prayer and god talk. I don't take offense, I just let it pass.
My favorite roadside store / grocery stand just changed name to "Son-rise" with a pair of crosses and a Jesus fish. I go there for the fresh local unprocessed honey, fresh local apples, etc. The Jesus aspect is grating, but I know I don't have to shop there, and it's another 30 min drive to anything even remotely similar. I figure, they have their place, I'll shut up when there. But if they come on here to proselytize, they'll get reported so fast they'll think Jesus came and went and totally missed them.
Sorry to learn of your cancer and I guess you're able to put things in perspective and ignore the god group, I need to learn from you.
It's ironic how some seem to cash in on the Jesus theme! There is a lot to ignore as even the talking heads on the nightly news programs (especially ABC it seems) seem to give a religious nod to a lot of stories.
Lillie, some months ago, while I was at my most miserable stage of chemo, a JW couple came to the door. I explained to them I am an atheist, and I had no intention of intruding upon their time or space to proselytize them. I told them I didn't want any future JW door bell ringers coming to my home. Yesterday, Cary said to not answer the doorbell because a car full of couples, with JW literature in hand, were in the neighborhood. They never came to my door.
Perhaps there is hope for freedom from imposition from JW. I hope so.
Joseph, the ones I have seen were "Peeping Toms or Tomas", or proselytizing, or wanting to argue.
The debates we have here remains content-focused without name calling or insults. I like a good debate and so do many other on this site.
I don't like bodily fluids language because if we use it here we will use it out there in the big bad world and lose credibility. My dream is that we become more skilled at debate and less adroit at vulgar mouths.
What's the point? Don't you remember? God said they have to! It's in the Babble, spread the BS is one of the utmost things demanded of every church going being.