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 Post subject: Re: Any Atheists out there?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2016 12:18 pm 
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FootFace wrote:
IsaChandra wrote:
FootFace wrote:
* I don't believe Richard Dawkins is rude.

What about whiny baby? No?


Look, I'm Team Dawkins.


I know this isn't really the point of this thread, but I happened to notice this, and I have to revisit.

I don't remember what Dawkins was up to back then, but now? He has become a full-on creep. He is constantly saying stupid, insensitive, misguided, smug stuff on Twitter. And he has become (or is finally comfortable revealing that he's always been) a supreme jerk.

I am no longer Team Dawkins.

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 Post subject: Re: Any Atheists out there?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2016 2:13 pm 
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FootFace wrote:

I know this isn't really the point of this thread, but I happened to notice this, and I have to revisit.

I don't remember what Dawkins was up to back then, but now? He has become a full-on creep. He is constantly saying stupid, insensitive, misguided, smug stuff on Twitter. And he has become (or is finally comfortable revealing that he's always been) a supreme jerk.

I am no longer Team Dawkins.


Samesies. I followed him well into the days when I felt "ok, he's a bit of a jerk about this...but his basic point...I guess I agree?" and I regret even that. He's just a creepy crasshole now; which is a shame because some of his earlier books were fantastic, but can no longer be recommended without all the baggage that comes with it.

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 Post subject: Re: Any Atheists out there?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2016 2:35 pm 
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Exactly how I feel. I loved The Ancestor's Tale, but now I wouldn't want to recommend it to anyone.

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 Post subject: Re: Any Atheists out there?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2016 10:25 pm 
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If people who know me reasonably well and know that I'm not religious do this, it really bothers me, since I feel like they don't care enough to think about my views, but I live in a state where people are overwhelmingly religious and people I don't know just kind of assume I am as well. If it comes from strangers, I try to take it in the spirit in which it's offered, which usually comes from a good place.

I can completely understand you being annoyed by it too though. I've had to try really hard to learn not to be since I've moved here, but it's still my initial gut reaction.


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 Post subject: Re: Any Atheists out there?
PostPosted: Tue Feb 09, 2016 2:40 pm 
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I don't see how saying "I'm praying for you" is any different than wishing someone the best, wishing them good luck, or saying "I'll cross my fingers for you." Humans use expressions involving irrational rituals to communicate concern for others. I would definitely side-eye an atheist who took offense at such a thing instead of just, like...accepting the person's goodwill like a normal human.

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 Post subject: Re: Any Atheists out there?
PostPosted: Tue Feb 09, 2016 3:18 pm 
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lepelaar wrote:
I think I'd be hesitant to post asking for advice/commiserations because there seems to be a large subset of the group that meets every message about a medical setback with "I'm praying for you", or messages about advances (like finding a live donor) with "God bless" or "God provides!" type messages. I know that messages like these are well intentioned, and a polite person should just accept them as such, but man, I really think that it would seriously get my hackles up, especially if I'm in a lot of pain and feeling sick.


When I read this the other day, it reminded me of my best friend from high school's mother. She's recently "born again" and, there's really no nice way to say it -- a total raving lunatic for The Lard.

When my friend's little sister was having some really severe medical issues that led to even worse financial issues, she tried to talk to her mom about it and all she had to offer her was "Put it in God's hands!" and "Just trust the Lard and it will all work out!" ...This is a young woman going to her mother for advice and comfort -- all she had to give her were sound bites. She was pretty devastated.


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 Post subject: Re: Any Atheists out there?
PostPosted: Tue Feb 09, 2016 3:27 pm 
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Jigglypuff wrote:
I don't see how saying "I'm praying for you" is any different than wishing someone the best, wishing them good luck, or saying "I'll cross my fingers for you." Humans use expressions involving irrational rituals to communicate concern for others. I would definitely side-eye an atheist who took offense at such a thing instead of just, like...accepting the person's goodwill like a normal human.


Maybe it's different here in the UK than it is in North America (I would imagine being told someone is praying for you is more common over there?) but my immediate unconscious reaction for when anyone uses the phrase "I'll pray for you" or similar is to think of all the times people have said things like that to me because they disapprove of my sexuality, beliefs/philosophy and/or life choices. There are better, more inclusive, kinder phrases people could use. I also find it pretty hurtful to be told that disliking or taking offense at a religiously motivated phrase which could have a multiplicity of meanings or trigger painful memories for different phrase means I'm not a normal human. Whilst I'm sure that's not what you intended, the phrasing makes me feel as though my own feelings about it can/should be dismissed.

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 Post subject: Re: Any Atheists out there?
PostPosted: Tue Feb 09, 2016 3:54 pm 
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I see what you mean now, Imogen. I come from a weirdly conservative/religious part of California where people mostly use the phrase in a friendly way. It is super unpleasant and passive-aggressive when people say it to those they disapprove of.

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 Post subject: Re: Any Atheists out there?
PostPosted: Tue Feb 09, 2016 9:26 pm 
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I totally see both sides of this argument. I believe that most of the time it is well intentioned and accept it as such. But generic lines like "keeping you in my prayers" feel much different from "put it in God's hands" or "just have faith". The latter feel much less supportive and more judgemental somehow.

But in the wrong headspace I'm sure I've had bad responses to well wishes of all sorts. "Sending healing thoughts!" Sounds like woo to me. "Thinking of you!" No you're not. I don't know if there's any expression of goodwill that always comes across as sincere and not condescending or crazy.

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 Post subject: Re: Any Atheists out there?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2016 1:23 am 
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jordanpattern wrote:
Lepelaar, I know where you're coming from. I'm in a FB group for women with premature ovarian failure, and there is a lot of "god bless you" and "I'm praying for you." A couple people post bible quotes and stuff as "inspiration" (though thankfully the moderators decided those posts were inappropriate for the group, and they take them down now). I do find it bothersome.

My theory is that this group takes me way, way outside all my normal circles and puts me in contact with people who would not normally be on my radar in any way. The disease cuts through social, religious, class, race, and geographical boundaries and brings a lot of different kinds of people together in that way. I imagine it's similar for your kidney disease group. I try to see it as interesting, but if I'm honest, 80% of the posts in the group drive me bonkers (lots of woo and essential oil peddling and also blaming every single thing on POF rather than just taking responsibility for feeling grumpy or having a bad day or just being a normal human being with ups and downs), but 20% is good stuff, so I stick around.

Sorry, that's probably not very helpful, but I feel you.


It is helpful, thanks! Indeed, it's a very diverse group, although I do believe it's heavily US weighted. (Hence the prayers. I don't hear that as much from people in Europe.) Thankfully, there actually isn't much woo, probably because many people on there are on dialysis or are post-transplant, and at that point, you really listen to your doctors, not the woo-peddlers. And it's clearly a very supportive group. I'm sticking around because it prepares me for what I'll likely be dealing with in the future, and what my mom will be dealing with very soon. And people on there are really on top of the latest research (a lot of them are involved in drug and treatment trials specific to PKD). So it's a good resource. I just don't know if I'll ever feel comfortable posting rather than reading.

Jigglypuff wrote:
I don't see how saying "I'm praying for you" is any different than wishing someone the best, wishing them good luck, or saying "I'll cross my fingers for you." Humans use expressions involving irrational rituals to communicate concern for others. I would definitely side-eye an atheist who took offense at such a thing instead of just, like...accepting the person's goodwill like a normal human.


I never said I wouldn't accept the person's goodwill or that I would PUBLICALLY express that I'm offended. I'm not a crasshole. I acknowledged in my post that I recognized the good intentions behind "prayers" type comments. What I came to a thread specifically about atheism to say amongst people who I thought might understand was that it makes me uncomfortable and reluctant to post about my problems in the first place. Because I DON'T want people praying for me.

To me, saying you'll pray for me is different from other well-wishes because 1) the people saying that presume that you believe in the same god that they do (or any god for that matter), and it seems unfathomable to them that someone wouldn't, and 2) they really seem to think it's actually helping. No one who says they're crossing their fingers for you really thinks that doing so will do any concrete good.

Also, "God" did not provide someone's new kidney. Either an incredibly generous live donor did, or someone had to die prematurely for it. I'm willing to bet the family of the accident victim who provided your kidney prayed for their loved one too.

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 Post subject: Re: Any Atheists out there?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2016 2:14 am 
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Jigglypuff wrote:
I would definitely side-eye an atheist who took offense at such a thing instead of just, like...accepting the person's goodwill like a normal human.


I'm sorry, maybe I'm being oversensitive, but this comment is bothering me more and more. I know there are no truly safe spaces on the PPK, but as I was coming to a thread specifically about atheism to express my feelings to like-minded people (rather than spewing them inappropriately over the people who would, I previously acknowledged, with the best of intentions, pray for me), I really do not appreciate being painted as some horrible human being for having these feelings and expressing them in a (semi) safe environment.

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 Post subject: Re: Any Atheists out there?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2016 3:36 am 
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You're not being oversensitive at all. Rereading my comment is making me realize that I sounded like a jerk. I had in mind a particular friend who has been driving me bonkers by being unnecessarily hostile to our religious friends over dumb stuff like saying "God bless you" when he sneezes. I don't want to hear empty platitudes about kidneys, ovaries, or other malfunctioning body parts either, because God clearly does not care much about them.

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 Post subject: Re: Any Atheists out there?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2016 9:47 am 
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Imogen wrote:
Maybe it's different here in the UK than it is in North America (I would imagine being told someone is praying for you is more common over there?) but my immediate unconscious reaction for when anyone uses the phrase "I'll pray for you" or similar is to think of all the times people have said things like that to me because they disapprove of my sexuality, beliefs/philosophy and/or life choices.

I'm guessing this is the case. The statement is common and not used as any kind of disapproval where I live so that's probably why people are having different reactions in this thread. If it's being used as a snide disapproval I think we'd all be offended.


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 Post subject: Re: Any Atheists out there?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2016 10:16 am 
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Jigglypuff wrote:
. I don't want to hear empty platitudes about kidneys, ovaries, or other malfunctioning body parts either, because God clearly does not care much about them.


Thank you. I was offended by your earlier comment, so I appreciate you adding context and reconsidering.

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 Post subject: Re: Any Atheists out there?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2016 10:27 am 
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jordanpattern wrote:
Jigglypuff wrote:
. I don't want to hear empty platitudes about kidneys, ovaries, or other malfunctioning body parts either, because God clearly does not care much about them.


Thank you. I was offended by your earlier comment, so I appreciate you adding context and reconsidering.


+1 :)

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 Post subject: Re: Any Atheists out there?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2016 11:23 am 
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I used to just ignore those kinds of comments, or accept them as well meaning even though they don't resonate with me. But when my sister had cancer, I really began to become resentful and angry at some of them. I feel like the more serious the situation, the more bothered I was by them. The worst was when we came to the end of treatment, and my sister entered hospice care. People would tell her not to give up, and just to keep praying, and have some anecdote about someone they heard about who was in her situation and prayed and are all better now. But you know, it's exhausting to not give up hope. She had spent two years not giving up hope, and all she wanted was to come to peace with what had become the inevitable. The anecdotes began to feel like victim blaming. If she had only prayed harder, or to the right god, this clearly wouldn't be happening.

She was not religious, but she believed in god. During most of her treatment, I think she appreciated the prayers. But by the end, she told me that I was one of the only people she wanted to be around because I never told her to keep fighting or praying, and I just let her be sad about what was going on. I never tried to make her feel better, because there was nothing to feel better about, and she appreciated the calm that came with that.

So I guess I feel like if you have never been in a really serious or life threatening situation in which people are offering their prayers, then it may be hard to understand what is so bad about it. Of course I was polite to people, and just thanked them or whatever, but I absolutely felt uncomfortable at best, and angry at worst, depending on how those appeals to god were presented.


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 Post subject: Re: Any Atheists out there?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2016 11:42 am 
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I'm not Atheist but I'm also not part of a religion. I'd say that often people feel helpless and want you to know that they are wishing you well when there is nothing else that they can do so often they use things like "i'll keep you in my prayers", which can annoy me too sometimes but I often know they mean well. The insistence of things like "well you should just pray about it" is an entirely different thing like the reason something bad happens to you is because you didn't pray enough or pray right or believe in the person's god or whatever. It also comes from a place where people know they are the majority and think they are in the right so obviously you'd want their prayers, duh. But for many people, it is really just a means of saying they wish well for you in whatever you are going through and often I try to accept it as that rather than trying to take offense at it.

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 Post subject: Re: Any Atheists out there?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2016 11:43 am 
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I'm sorry for your loss, DEG.

I totally agree with what you've said. For me, in the POF group, a lot of the god/prayer stuff is said in the context of encouraging people not to "give up hope" (i.e. accept the realities of the diagnosis), with the implication that prayer can actually get you a "miracle baby." Holding out hope for that, no matter how irrational, has been totally draining. Even as a lifelong atheist, being bombarded with religious messages when I'd try to reach out to other women with my condition (which is rare - I've never met another woman with it in real life) for support was disorienting. When I finally saw a good doctor who told me, point blank, that I should not cling to that hope, it felt like a huge load had been lifted.

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 Post subject: Re: Any Atheists out there?
PostPosted: Thu Feb 11, 2016 7:09 pm 
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ugh DEG, i'm so sorry. i had an eerily similar experience when my dad died. and after, i was so pissed off at the people telling me i had to pray for his soul now... that is going to do... what exactly?

anyways... i don't know who saw my griping in the relationships thread about my family pressuring me to be a confirmation sponsor for my cousin. i'm an adult. i'm atheist. i've been saying no pretty clearly for months now, and everyone (even people who are supposedly my friends and not in my family) are just telling me to pretend i'm religious and go to this stupid thing where i publicly condone making children religious. someone even told me i'm being selfish and mean because my being an atheist is going to make my cousin upset. she's going to have to learn people believe different things one day! why am i the only person who thinks this is wrong. am i in bizarro world. i literally can't believe this is my life and i'm still being pressured to pretend to be religious. i've made myself a tongue-in-cheek excommunication plan so this is never happening again.


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 Post subject: Re: Any Atheists out there?
PostPosted: Thu Feb 11, 2016 8:13 pm 
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Vegans should cook meat for meat eaters.

Atheists should accommodate religious people.

Everything will be fine if you just never do what's right for you.

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 Post subject: Re: Any Atheists out there?
PostPosted: Thu Feb 11, 2016 8:39 pm 
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FootFace wrote:
Vegans should cook meat for meat eaters.

Atheists should accommodate religious people.

Everything will be fine if you just never do what's right for you.


Women should just smile and be grateful for the compliment when they're harassed on the street.

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 Post subject: Re: Any Atheists out there?
PostPosted: Thu Feb 11, 2016 10:17 pm 
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Well... I mean...

Yeah.

It's common courtesy.

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 Post subject: Re: Any Atheists out there?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 15, 2016 9:56 am 
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Imogen wrote:
jordanpattern wrote:
Jigglypuff wrote:
. I don't want to hear empty platitudes about kidneys, ovaries, or other malfunctioning body parts either, because God clearly does not care much about them.


Thank you. I was offended by your earlier comment, so I appreciate you adding context and reconsidering.


+1 :)


Yes, thank you!

DEG, I'm so sorry for your loss.

And, postnothing, how frustrating!

And in the kidney group, it's not just the well-wishers offering prayers; a lot of people also ask for them. There was a post last night asking for prayers for someone's aunt's surgery. In one short paragraph, the word "prayer" (or "pray"/"praying") appeared four times. It ends with this: "I pray (halo emoticon). Thank you all for your continued prayers, she lets her doctors and nurses we all have her covered and that has given her so much peace and faith."

And I feel like such a grump complaining about this because I guess it's wonderful if those prayers can help someone find peace in scary times. And clearly this person appreciates the prayers. I just kind of wish I could find a similar group but for atheists with the same disease because I just can't relate to this kind of "comfort" (which would not be a comfort to me).

(My mom let me know last night that her nephrologist has passed her care on to a pre-dialysis team, which means she's entering a new stage of the disease and a new stage of care/her life. We knew this was coming, it's not a surprise, but it kind of hit me harder than I expected. This is the kind of thing I wish I could share in that group, but sadly don't feel comfortable. Again, also because it's a big group and I'm an introvert, but in part because of the religious tint of many of the comments. And I realize my discomfort is MY problem. But yeah. There it is.)

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 Post subject: Re: Any Atheists out there?
PostPosted: Tue Feb 16, 2016 10:19 am 
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I like to pretend all the pages that don't overtly talk about religion are atheist pages. Any scientific article I read I can say "see all the logic and reasoning, this is an atheist article."


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 Post subject: Re: Any Atheists out there?
PostPosted: Fri Apr 01, 2016 10:20 pm 
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I recently "came out" as an atheist to my very conservative Christian partner and to my mother who is a Benedictine Nun. Deep down I have always felt like I was an atheist but I really really tried to believe to fit in and for the sake of others. When I went vegan in 2011 I found it much harder to keep pretending to be a Christian. I kept going to church with my partner to keep the peace and be accepted by his fundamentalist Christian family. But I finally reached my breaking point in January. I had a long talk with my partner. He was horrified, not happy at all about it. I think he still tries to deny it or doesn't want to believe I am an atheist so he looks for any hope, any opening I might give him. I stopped going to church and have been experimenting with going to different groups such as the Free Thinkers in my city, and plan on trying out some other stuff. It feels good to be free from the repression I felt for so long. It has also deteriorated my relationship with my partner whom I have been with for 18 years and lived with for 11. It is hard enough that I am vegan and he is omni (though mostly vegetarian at home). We have grown apart a lot. Yet somehow we cling to each other, more out of insecurity and fear of separating than because we really love each other the same way we once did. I have come so close to leaving him so many times.

I refuse to hide my atheism any more. Though I feel so surrounded by Christians everywhere in society.

I remember when I was a teenager many years ago. I had a Jewish friend, a Muslim friend, a Jehovah's Witness friend, even a mormon friend at one point. I was fascinated with their beliefs and interested, but never convinced. I grew up without religion. My mother at that time rejected the church and my Dad (even to this day) stears clear of all religion. He had a terrible experience with fundamentalist Christians growing up and being forced to go to church. It is interesting that my Mom went from a militant feminist rejecting the establishment in her twenties to a Benedictine Nun in her fifties. She cried when I told her I am an atheist, but at least she hasn't judged me or "prayed" for my soul. I still have avoided telling my partner's family who live far away (and that we visited a few times per year) because they eat live and breath Christianity. Every thing they say and do is bible based. I can only imagine.

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