I live in a very religious town, so I hear this saying about 2 or 3 times every week, whether it be to me or someone near me.  I usually don't respond when it is said to me, but what do you think a good response would be?

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How about something like," I hate him... he will let me into heaven cause I believe,  but not my gay son, or nonbeliever mother, or my brother that is discualified by Mathew 6:1-6 who brags about his righteousness, or my wealthy Republican friend that violates Mathew 7:1-2 and and judges the poor...

You get the idea.

Unquestionably the person who says this to you is guilty of discourtesy and may not even care that he is. Still, I think it's just as discourteous to respond rudely. Some probably mean well. I would save the snappy rejoinders for when they are needed.These days when so many are determined to exercise their second amendment rights, it's best to deal with these intrusions obliquely. A smile and a wink with an indulgent look might be the right response. It has the virtue of leaving the individual wondering what you meant.

They cannot learn without being told!

No question at all about that, but the first condition for learning is receptivity. People who say things like "Jesus loves you" believe they are teaching you and are in no mood to learn anything themselves.

I just don't think it is worth the effort to affront them and I seriously doubt that doing so will teach them anything. The "I'm only trying to teach you" mode of dealing with other people is usually fruitless in my experience.

I agree with you absolutely... but why should I take the position of being uncomfortable and not let them know that they are affronting me with their beliefs. Why should I suffer. What is so special about them that I have to try not to offend their sensibilities.

>>Why should I suffer. What is so special about them that I have to try not to offend their sensibilities.

Nothing is special about them at all, nor should you suffer in the least. The best strategy for avoiding suffering is to just move away and move on. There isn't time in life to take on all things that need changing. Concentrate on the important ones and let the small things pass without comment is the easiest way in my view. Why waste time on those not yet ready to understand?

However, if it is genunely your goal to educate those who have offended you, then you definitely must avoid offending them. Once insulted the mind closes to new thoughts, erects a barrier against learning, and concentrates on proving itself right. You first have to make the other feel comfortable with being receptive to a new idea.

This is, a very modern word we live in, and yet some people don't even conceive that there could be atheists in it. There's nothing wrong with reminding them about that.

And honestly, civility is your choice. But civility is not necessarily an intellectual high road. Frankly its a bit too "blessed are the peacemakers" for my taste.

Yes, civility does seem to going out of fashion, but my point is simply one of psychology: confrontation creates a defensive attitude that inhibits understanding.

A Buddhist parable applies. Two monks encountered an old woman unable to ford a river. One picked her up and carried her across. The other berated him for hours: "You are not supposed to even touch a woman and you carried her across the river." At last the first monk replied: "I left that woman on the bank of the river. You are still carrying her."

The atheist who feels a need to affront believers at every turn is still carrying religion and has not yet left it behind.

But its the other way around isn't it, the "affronter" is the believer, the atheist is the one minding their own business. I was in this position, and I did not turn the other cheek. I reminded her, in my one sentence reply, that not everyone shares her belief system.

As for the whole thing about "educating" Christians, that's not what this thread is about is it? It's about standing up for one's self.

I totally get what you trying to say, but frankly, in a world where the Vice President has to remind people that just because your religion says a certain thing about the soul of a fetus, you cannot force people outside of your faith go along with that, non-believers need to push back once in awhile.

Maybe standing up and being a jerk is not always the right thing to do, but there are times to do it, and the first instinct in any situation should not be to back down and be rolled over.

But its the other way around isn't it, the "affronter" is the believer, the atheist is the one minding their own business.

In some instances it may indeed be a deliberate affront; in others it may be thoughtlessness. You wish to have the person recognize  their remark might offend. Why not ask, "Does anyone ever take offense when you say that?"

I see a great difference between simply avoiding confrontation with someone not likely to understand you and "backing down and being rolled over." I do not feel obliged to have an argument with or reply to every idiot who tells me "Jesus loves you."

How about, "I see you have been hallucinating again."

I thought the question was tongue in cheek and I replied accordingly. A more serious answer would be either:
I'm not a believer but I appreciate YOUR warm feelings for me.
Are you sure this is a conversation you want to have with me?




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