I posted this on the Forum, as well, under the "Coming Out" section. :)

So, I'm a pretty new atheist. I've been a doubter for a very, very long time, but, until recently, just didn't deal with that aspect of my life. I just pushed it aside and ignored it. It's just been in the past couple of months that I've confronted the question of what I believe and come to realize that I am, indeed, an atheist. I've come out to a few people - my husband, my sister, a friend from work. But no one else. This discussion isn't really about my coming out to those I know, anyway. I did, sort of, come out very passively on Facebook by proclaiming my religious status as atheist. Point is - I'm new!

The other day, I responded to one of those silly Facebook polls. It asked "Should the phrase 'In God we Trust' be removed from our currency?" I voted Yes, and made a comment about how we live in a secular democracy and the government shouldn't be sponsoring any deities. Two people I don't know and am not friends with then proceeded to privately message me about it. I'm going to reprint one conversation here:

Religious Guy (henceforth RG): We are a representitive republic!!!!!!!!History shows that democracy finds that it can vote itself money and eats itself within 200 yrs!!!!!!!G

Me Fine, a secular republic then. Still built on the principal of freedom of (or from) religion.

PS - type a little slower next time so you make more sense.

Side note - yes, I should have said Republic and not Democracy

RG Jen, You are major cute first......Having "In God We Trust" on our money is not establishing a religion!!!!!G

Side Note 2 - was he trying to get on my good side?

Me It's establishing belief in a supernatural entity. That seems like religion to me, albeit not a specific one.

RG We have a right and need to be a christian nation as that is where we receive our blessings from..... free literature, request The united states and britan in prophecy on ucg.org...........G

Me We no more have a need to be a Christian nation as we do a Hindu nation or a Buddhist nation. You have a right to be a Christian, and I have a right to not believe in any gods. Our government does NOT have the right to establish any kind of belief in any kind of deity. See First Amendment of the Constitution: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."

RG I hold that to mean "Catholic", "Protestant" etc. Our writers of the Constitution never had a vision that there would be those who would try to take God out of this government. In fact some are quoted of saying this nation cannot stand without Gods involvment. Things like Hindu, Islam, and Buddism are the mere thoughts of men. They don't even claim to be God. When you live in this nation, you benifit from the blessings of God!!If you say you have a right not to believe in any God, that is your "religion". Don't expect America to change from its inception to your religion of no God!! You are free to exercise your religion of no God, but please keep it to yourself!! Tks G

Me No, I will not keep it to myself. And I wouldn't ask you to keep your religious beliefs to yourself. We are fortunate enough to live in a country that, not only allows for freedom of religion, but also freedom of speech. I do ask that you not try to force your beliefs on anyone else. You need to do more research on Hindu, Islam and Buddhism before saying that they "don't even claim to be God." You also need to do more research on what the writers of our constitution believed about the relationship between god and government. Atheism is not a religion, it is the lack thereof.

End discussion - for now

He hasn't responded to my last message. Anyway, my question is - how do you think I handled that? It was my first "confrontation," I suppose, with a believer since I've become and atheist. I purposely didn't point out that ALL religions are "the mere thoughts of men" since I thought that would just incite him further and, by this point, I was ready to be done with the conversation. I know could have spent more time on his mistreatment of what the other religions believe and what the writers of the Constitution believed... but I didn't. Like I said - I was ready to be done with him and his blessings on this country.

So, just curious what you think about this conversation, what you would have said, how you think I did my first time, and any other comments you wish to make.

PS - I'm really, really grateful that there's a place I can go for feedback like this! Thank you, creators of AN!

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Comment by Jennifer E. on October 3, 2009 at 10:21pm
Thank you, Stephan!
Comment by John Secular Smith on October 3, 2009 at 9:30pm
By they way, nice job staying calm with an obvious idiot/lunatic.
Comment by John Secular Smith on October 3, 2009 at 9:29pm
You might want to mention if it keeps going that it is odd the "founding fathers" didn't put "God" on the money or in the Constitution, or in/on anything else. Matter of a fact, he might want to look into the Treaty of Tripoli as they made it perfectly clear that the United States is not nor ever was a Christian Nation.
Comment by Laurel on August 13, 2009 at 8:21am
Great points Larry.
Comment by Jennifer E. on August 12, 2009 at 9:02pm
Thanks for the comments, Larry. You're right, it is pretty futile to argue with people like this. But, I think it's important to still debate with them, even if it's like hitting a brick wall. I don't think we should just be silent. And, you're right, we have to walk that fine line between anger and debate. I tried really hard not to cross it here, but I'm not sure I completely succeeded! :)
Comment by LarryDe on August 12, 2009 at 7:00pm
Hi Jennifer,

First off, you are not likely to ever win a debate with a christian fundie because they are free to make things up. They recreate history in their head, because they are justified. It is kinda how the bible got written, in my opinion. They are free to reshape history because it is for the glory of god. What harm could it make? It is just one more convinient white lie. One after another, and on and on and on.

My point is that you could have raised Thomas Jefferson from the grave to testify that the founding fathers insisted against the church having influence in state. RG would find a convinient excuse to support his own points, ignoring and twisting reality. It is what I call the religious glaze.

All you can do is continue to read and learn about what the founding fathers believed. How their thoughts gave us freedom to live without the establishment of laws emposed by church.

PS - There is a fine line between an angry atheist and a person clearly explaining reality.

Comment by Laurel on July 21, 2009 at 12:45am
Wow you did great...I want to post my atheist nexus badge on facebook but I'm afraid.
Comment by Jennifer E. on July 17, 2009 at 10:53pm
Jared - you're freaking hilarious!
Comment by Jared Lardo on July 17, 2009 at 10:40pm
That dude's an idiot. I admit that my position's a little weird, being habitually dissocial, but, depending on my moods, I'd've either sent him back various very short messages that indicate that he's making no sense or sent him links to tubgirl etc. For the first case, he's really not reading anything you write anyway; thus, spending any energy at all analysing the duckspeaking of an asshat like that is wasteful. For the second case, well, that's just to be a troll (about 1% of the time even for me--and clearly not even on the table for you) and have some fun in addition to not wasting energy on an analysis that won't be appreciated.

Props, though (whatever those really are), on standing up for your position. Not enough people have what little balls is/are needed to do even that in this society. Go (some) courage!
Comment by Jennifer E. on July 17, 2009 at 9:51pm
Update #2!!! This is where I started to get really annoyed:

RG Dear Jennifer, Our forefathers only wanted to prevent the Church of England sinnerio.. As for the true church, it is refered to as 'fear not "little flock"' and that no man can come to Jesus Christ except the Father draw him!!!!Jetisine all preconceived thought about christianity, pray, and believe. After that, seek and you will find!!May the real force be with you Jennifer!! Regards, G

Me "Sinnerio?" "Jetisine?" Your bad spelling alone makes it hard to take seriously a word you say. You're right, our forefathers did want to prevent a Church of England scenario. And the best way to do that was to not allow any religion into government, but to allow the people of this country the freedom to worship or not as they choose. So, you just keep right on worshiping your "true church," and I'll just keep right on living in the real world.


Hope this is the end of it. Was trying really hard to not be rude because I don't want to perpetuate the "angry atheist" perception. Not sure I succeeded all that well...



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