So there's this otherwise nice guy at my gym whom I sometimes bump into, and who sent me a Facebook friend request.


Do I add him and try to show him the (lack of) light,


Do I stand up for what I don't believe in and refuse to add religious people to my friends?

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I don’t know, I have plenty of friends who are religious and rarely do I have any real conflicts. It just depends as to whether that person is willing to accept you for who you are and what you believe in. It’s as I always put it with people I associate with, as long as you’re not trying to change me I won’t try to change you.


Besides, I’ve often found that it’s even possible to have ideological exchanges with my friends because underneath it all both sides can easily contribute some interesting truths to one another. Of course I have to scrape off the religious crap from what they might say, and they’ll tend to “religious” it up as they see fit.


In a nutshell I guess you just need to find out if he’s willing to develop a friendship based on genuine mutual respect.  

You said it yourself. He's otherwise nice. If you're only complaint is his religious views, I say give him a chance. If he disagrees with you in a hostile manner, THEN you remove him.
If he is truly a nice guy, go ahead and add him. Just stay true to yourself. If he ends up disagreeing with your views on religion, then that is his problem/loss.
If he's an a-hole, forget him.  If he's a decent guy in all other respects, go ahead and friend him, but don't edit or censor yourself because he's there.

Why would you refuse to add religious people as friends?


Why would you refuse to add religious people as friends?



As an atheist, does going to church mean you condone church? Even if you go there just to appease your religious mom, you will be one more person in attendance, making those already there feel one bit better that their way is right and is attracting more and more people. It will make those in doubt feel one bit more that, after all, the religious are not as loony as to only have a handful of members.


Does being friends with a religious person mean you condone their religion? Will it help reassure them that, despite their ridiculous beliefs, they can still get quality friends?


On the other hand, if you refuse to be friends with them, it's one less chance for a non-believer to emerge. One less person to turn the religious heft of the society around.

My parents are religious people, but they are not proselytizers.  They are members of what is probably a quite majority of Christians that believe in spreading their faith through the example they set, and not through the loud-mouthed bigotry that is more likely to make headlines.

I have, in more ways than one, learned from their example.

I live my life as I see right.  I volunteer in my community, I donate blood, I treat people with respect, I do not ostracize or condemn those who hold different beliefs than I.  I try to be a living example of that fact that morality is not a monopoly of the religious.

It's not integrity to refuse otherwise friendly people because you disagree on one tenet, it's bias. It's one thing to not attend church because of the above presumptions. But people are not going to assume "oh, he has a Christian friend, he must be Christian." If you are openly out, they will just see a very tolerant person who accepts differences as long as everyone remains respectful.

'On ne devient pas athée par souhait' Napoleon Bonaparte

I think I would just ignore it. Unless you think he can handle your lack of religion.
I don't see any problem with adding religious people as friends.  If they start trying to convert you, then I'd unfriend them. 
It really depends on how you feel about it. I have quite a few religious folks on my FB, and they know if they decided to pull out the "religious douche" card, that it won't be tolerated. If he is okay with live and let live, I say go for it...




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