Please help me maintain some sanity... It just isn't true!

I'm 60 something and a quilter.  Also a former math teacher with a lot of other things that I enjoy.  I belong to some online quilting groups that I enjoy as they give me information that I can't obtain anywhere else.  HOWEVER, on one of my favorite groups someone has a tagline that reads "Life's biggest decision is what you do with Jesus."  And now someone has replied " I love your line 'Life’s biggest decision is what you do with Jesus.' How true." 

I see where this is going, having tried to join quilting groups where everyone asks me "what church do you belong to?".  I'm ready to explode!  I love this group but I wonder if I should:

a. Have a tagline of my own (suggestions?) 


b.  Just write that I wish we could be members of a wonderful quilting group such as this and leave religion at the door?   I'm afraid that if I make this request I will be rejected and then will have to join as a new member keeping my real identity a secret.

What do you think I should do?  I'm afraid of making the wrong decision and having to leave the group but on the other hand, I need to grow a pair (as they say) :) and tale a stand! 

Please let me know what you think as I can't seem to decide.


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I think you are making a big stink about nothing. In another thread I mentioned that religion is a syndrome consisting of... That people feel compelled to... and TEACH TO OTHER PEOPLE... Your duty as an atheist who chooses to not participate in religion is to find a life that has nothing to do with religion and not to try to de-convert religionists or get all offended or complain every time somebody says what their religion makes them say about their religion. Your religious sensibilities can't be offended as an atheist because you do not have a religion anymore. You are going to have to interact with religious people and most of them have to sometimes say something about their religion. Recently I was talking to this religious guy at my work and when I asked about the past weekend he mentioned that he went to church and I just kept quiet about religion/ atheism/ religion is bogus. If somebody mentions religion to me I just keep quiet about it and you should too. BUT if somebody specifically asks about MY religion, then depending on how I feel and the person's tone or attitude I will say "oh... Er... I am actually an atheist..." And sometimes, especially if invited to a religious event, depending on the persons tone I might add, "and I choose not to participate in religion." But in general don't be antagonistic or arrogant or holier-than-thou about your non belief unless you want to loose your friends...

""You’ve gotta respect everyone’s beliefs." No, you don’t. That’s what gets us in trouble. Look, you have to acknowledge everyone’s beliefs, and then you have to reserve the right to go: "That is fucking stupid. Are you kidding me?" I acknowledge that you believe that, that’s great, but I’m not going to respect it. I have an uncle that believes he saw Sasquatch. We do not believe him, nor do we respect him!"

Patton Oswalt, on people’s beliefs

Insulting religious people will only make them insult atheists back.  That kind of behavior is the source of a lot of the problems in the world. 

Peter Boghossian's book A Manual for Creating Atheists gives a respectful way to engage with believers while challenging their beliefs.

You can challenge a belief while respecting the person. 

You can't do much with the Socratic method that PB recommends, in a quilting group.  But Cell can mention an alternative in her own sig.  That's probably the best way to go. 

We need a thumbs up button here at Atheist Nexus. So we can thumbs up comments like this.

Leveni, I'm going to respectfully disagree with you and here is why.  I'm part of an online community forum for the neighborhood in which I live (  We discuss a whole range of topics:  local crime, bad neighbors, new restaurants, parking permits, city services, lost pets, new residential and commercial developments, local transportation.  Any kind of issue that involves our neighborhood. 

Someone there suggested we have "like" and "dislike" buttons.  I understand that people want to show their support or disapproval for statements, but in all honesty, I think it is an ultimately lazy way to do so.

Forums like this should promote discussion, not just provide silent nods of yes and no.  Like and dislike buttons tend to shut down the actual conversation which leads to people being silent and not defending their position. 

Sometimes the minority opinion actually ends up being the best or correct way to solve a problem.  Those with minority opinions and those of the majority both need to validate and defend their views. 

I know you mentioned having a "like" button only, but I still think an actual positive comment is even better. 

(I now end my long-winded reply which had nothing to do with the original post.)

Michael Pianko, you have described most of my life.  I've kept my mouth shut but I'm just tired of these folks feeling that they can turn everything into a Jesus moment. I don't wish to insult them but  I just want them to stop letting their religious beliefs creep into every site.  There is a site that I belong to where they state, "no religious or political postings".  I'm frustrated that suddenly they've decided to creep onto the site I have previously enjoyed and turn it into a discussion of their beliefs.  I do understand their real need to convert the world to their beliefs as they feel that it's their duty to do so (isn't that why other religions want to wage war too).  It's like the woman drenching herself in strong perfume.  Okay, put it on if you like but don't expect me to stand there and inhale it.  Sure I could walk away but what if I want to stand in the same spot I previously enjoyed?  Don't I have the right to say something about how I and perhaps others are bothered by the scent/odor? 

Did you talk of your concerns to the moderator?

If they posted what you said about not wanting religious talk, that only invites a long off-topic discussion.  So I can see why they wouldn't do that. 

But maybe they are willing to listen to you about keeping religion out of the group.

Move to Florida.  They have a stand your ground law there that allows you to spray a perfume-drenched woman or after shave soaked man with artificial skunk scent.

Seriously, I don't see you changing anyone's behavior in an online quilting group.  Quilting and church, in most people's minds, just seem to go together, and Christian privilege is so ingrained in many people that they are utterly unaware that it is inappropriate, sort of like Paula Deen using the n-word.  Chances are that the moderator shares their view, anyway.

Just ignore it.  Don't take the bait.  Be a good group member, get accepted by the group, and later, when the time is right, you can tell them you're an atheist--though devil worshiper is probably a safer choice.  Eventually, they might come to see you as the friendly neighborhood atheist, as my colleagues and students have come to see me (I think).



Maybe that's the best suggestion for me on the site for the moment.  Just be the person I am and later "come out" as an atheist once I'm a long time user of the site.  (Have only been on that site about 5-6 months.) 

I did make an online friend in another state and after about 4 years of corresponding, let her know that I am an atheist.  I wasn't sure how she'd react but it seems to make no difference.  She's a believer but not any type of fanatic so that helps. 

So except for the moderator, who doesn't know why I objected to there being religious discussions, just that I didn't think it appropriate for the site,  no one knows how I feel and I guess I'll leave it that way for now.  Thank you.

Michael- the problem is that there's an expectation that she shares these beliefs. If she offers a dissenting opinion, the moderator will either not post it (most likely) or the others will gang up on this devil-sent heathen and banish her.

I would suggest she gently ask some questions- say, play the part of the curious outsider who appears to have the potential to be converted (they LOVE that). Tread lightly, maybe say you're not a Christian because you've got too many unanswered questions.

Ask questions carefully designed to appear benign, yet force them to argue with each other over what the bible "really" means. Or what a "true Christian" is. Say you heard that Jesus is the prince of peace, yet he came with a sword. And is he upholding the OT or throwing it out? As they tear into each other over religion, ask if the moderator can ban all this dangerous religious talk.

That would be my tactic. I've yet to meet two christians who agree about their religion....when they start to examine it, anyway.

That sounds like a perfect plan Christine.  :)

Christine, I just love this idea and may try it on another site but not here as I'm trying to keep the group's focus on quilting/sewing, not on JC.  My post asking that the religious references be stopped has yet to appear so either the moderator hasn't decided what to do or he's decided to not post my "offering".  On the other hand, there have been no posts since then that mention religion so just maybe he's stopped their postings too.

I sure hope so.  

Maybe I should sign up again at my quilting site under a pseudonym and object again if there are more references.  I really didn't intend to spend time or energy on this but now am beginning to feel it's really time to take more of a stand on some other sites as well.  



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