AIBU to find this slightly odd behaviour from atheist friends?

(435 Posts)
handsandknees Mon 26-Nov-12 10:56:42

I am an Evangelical Christian. People who know me well know that. I am happy to talk about it if people want to, but I don't go on about it.

Last Easter one of my friends posted a long status on facebook basically ranting against the Christian Easter message and saying that she didn't want or need Jesus to have died for her, thank you very much. Up to her what she writes of course, but the tone was very aggressive and I wondered why. I didn't comment but later she sent me a personal message asking me what I thought of her post.

Then this week another friend posted a photo on my wall which said "Proud to say I'm an atheist". I haven't responded but just wondering why would someone do this? I am not offended just find it a bit strange.

Why do you think they would do this?

GrimmaTheNome Tue 04-Dec-12 11:23:25

I had a feeling you might be one of the good guys, Frank smile

Its a sad fact that its the extremists who get the attention. People should be treated with respect; religions, political systems and other philosophies need to be worthy of respect if they want to be respected.

The US is an oddity. Perhaps part of it stems from many of its original immigrants - and some of the later ones - escaping religious persecution elsewhere. They were people who were committed enough to their version to travel to a new land. Another factor is that there is one respect in which they overstepped the mark -as I understand it, state schools don't teach comparitive religion (I may be wrong on this) - so children grow up more likely to follow their parents traditions with less question. This is bound to lead to polarisation. Impartial teaching about religions - and other worldviews - is IMO essential.

SolidGoldYESBROKEMYSPACEBAR Tue 04-Dec-12 10:37:32

Frank: I agree with you that this type of conservative Islam is very disturbing. And it goes to the root of why I fight for the right to be contemptuous of people's superstition and irrational crap and imaginary friends. Because people are tiptoeing round this misogyny, homophobia and general malevolence on the grounds that it's religion and worth of 'respect', when it's just nasty bullshit that needs stepping on.

It's funny how invariably frequently it seems to come down to respecting the 'beliefs' and the 'culture' and the 'feelings' of men to abuse and oppress women and children...

FrankH Tue 04-Dec-12 09:55:48

At the university at which I work, I was for a number of years actively involved with others, mainly but not exclusively Atheists, in campaigning to preserve the secular nature of the university - i.e. not distorting the university's character in order to appease particular religious standpoints.

As I am now only part-time in the uni., I have had less involvement, but met the leader of the campaign, an Atheist, the other day, and he seems satisfied that we made our point, and that for the moment, things haven't got any worse.

Incidentally the faith viewpoint which is making by far the most demands in universities these days for special treatment - and often getting it - is Islam of a very conservative ilk. In my university, the Islamic Society has the exclusive use of two large well-appointed prayer rooms, provided by the university, strictly segregated by sex. All other groups, including Christians and Atheists, have the use of one very small room for meditation. There is constant pressure for timetables etc. to be structured to suit Islamic sensibilities.

I have had many Moslem students over the years. Mostly they have been of the non-Fundamentalist, "progressive", type, and, especially the women, don't want anything to do with the Islamic Society. I, and another I know, have attended meetings of the Islamic Society, and been quite disturbed at what has been taught to the members (blatant homophobia, nikab should be worn by women, the west is the source of all evil etc.etc.). Yet these societies tend to be treated by universities etc. as if they were representative of Islam as a whole.

The promotion and preservation of secularism doesn't always however seem to have that much to do with the Law in the impact religion has on other people's lives. Compare the UK and the USA. The USA has stringent laws to separate the state from all forms of religion - there is no established church, no state-funded denominational schools etc.etc. Yet of the two countries, which is the one in which "religion" is a more insistent, and disruptive force?

GrimmaTheNome Tue 04-Dec-12 08:49:11

Unfortunately, whether individual believers expect anyone else to give a toss or not, the current non-secular state with its privileges and discrimination means that religion impacts on other peoples lives.

Anyone who wants to be part of the solution to that rather than (by implicit consent) part of the problem might consider supporting organisations such as The Accord Coalition.

FrankH Mon 03-Dec-12 23:49:32

Incidentally I should emphasise that I am not including Himalaya in the category of the arrogant type of Atheist I sometimes unwisely reply to.

Occasionally what happens is that as a result of a reply, I find an invitation to have a more reasoned sort of discussion with an Agnostic of Atheist, who seems genuinely interested in why someone might believe in God, and doesn't straightway dismiss such a belief as ridiculous.

FrankH Mon 03-Dec-12 23:42:04

SolidGoldYESBROKEMYSPACEBAR
Frank, you can use all the long words you like, but your argument still boils down to 'My imaginary friend exists because I say it does, and you can't prove it with proper, objective facts, figures, measurable quantities or any of that real stuff, because my imaginary friend is too special...

Which remains fine as long as you keep your imaginary friend as your own business and do not require anyone else to give a toss about it.

But I don't require anyone else to give a toss about it!!!

I've never posted about my beliefs except in reply to the arrogant posts of a certain type of Atheist, who assert or imply that Christian beliefs must be ridiculous, imbecilic, juvenile etc.etc.etc.

You have every right to believe what you may like about my, or other, non-Atheistic beliefs - but if you post your insulting comments - and therefore expect others to give a toss about them - you mustn't expect others not to reply!

As I am, for better or worse, a Christian, I sometimes reply to such assertions. Perhaps I'm wasting my time doing so - but as a fallible human like yourself, I don't always act with wisdom.

And, for what it's worth, I don't think of God as "my special friend" - imaginary or not - I wouldn't have the temerity.

Himalaya Mon 03-Dec-12 22:52:27

Exotic - the schools were set up to educate local children (who happened to by CoE churchgoers because that is what you did in those days). They were paid for/land donated by local people and/or the local gentry to educate local children. They have been maintained for decades with taxpayer funding for new roofs, new windows, new electrics, central heating, all the equipment etc..., kitchens.

It wouldn't be very moral for the church to now say, well if we are not allowed to discriminate against local children whose families refuse to come to church we are just going to sell them off for conversion to yuppie flats, would it? I wonder if they would even be allowed to by their own governing foundations.

GrimmaTheNome Mon 03-Dec-12 22:30:35

To answer one specific question, why would a non-christian want to send their child to a faith school if there was a choice - could be many reasons. One is the obvious 'league table' issue - selection yields results. Another is that - in the case of Heysham - it gives your child a couple of extra points on the Ripley St Thomas criteria - which if you know the secondary schools round there, if your child isn't a shoo-in for the grammars is a significant consideration. But in either of those cases, I guess if that's your aim you should play the game and pretend for the requisite few years?

exoticfruits Mon 03-Dec-12 22:16:29

I wish I had taken my own advice! grin I would just have said 'sorry-did you post something? I missed it? Which date did you past' -if she was pushy enough to ask again say 'oops-sorry forgot to look back'.

GrimmaTheNome Mon 03-Dec-12 22:13:20

>I think that we rather lost track of the OP theboutiquemummy! My first advice was best-ignore-do not discuss in any shape or form!
grinyou're not wrong there

GrimmaTheNome Mon 03-Dec-12 22:11:56

So I live in the only village where if you're not in the lucky four locals you get kicked out elsewhere? what are the chances of that...

I'm glad to see the criteria do not all seem to be what they were 10 years ago round here but I don't think the problem has evaporated. Secondary schools are another matter again...

exoticfruits Mon 03-Dec-12 22:05:02

I think that we rather lost track of the OP theboutiquemummy! My first advice was best-ignore-do not discuss in any shape or form!

theboutiquemummy Mon 03-Dec-12 22:03:12

they don't sound like friends to me

BoulevardOfBrokenSleep Mon 03-Dec-12 21:41:01

...as are 90% of capital costs.

It's hardly going to be a priority for the government's spending, is it, while the CofE is still established, and the vast majority of the population have no idea how school admissions work. No matter how nice it would be to have religion-blind admisssion to state schools.

exoticfruits Mon 03-Dec-12 21:31:25

Perhaps the tax payer would like to buy the school then and not have the church part. (I doubt it)

BoulevardOfBrokenSleep Mon 03-Dec-12 21:30:19

DontmindifIdo - 100% of running costs of faith schools are paid by the taxpayer.

exoticfruits Mon 03-Dec-12 21:24:28

Having looked at the Halsall one I think that you can safely say that if there is a choice of school than the C of E puts C of E parents first-if there is only one school they put catchment first. Catholic schools are never the only school in the village.

exoticfruits Mon 03-Dec-12 21:16:07

Clayton-in-the-Moors is similar-at least one other school. I think you misunderstand me-if a village has only one school then catchment comes first. If there are other schools why would an atheist want the one that has close ties with the church?

exoticfruits Mon 03-Dec-12 21:13:28

I did say originally that if there was choice of school they would be more picky. Heysham has several schools so there is no need to choose a church school if you don't agree with the ethos.

GrimmaTheNome Mon 03-Dec-12 21:12:15

But they are part of the state education system now. Maybe its worse when you get CofE schools who aren't serving their parish (in the geographical sense) well, but from the POV of a non-christian they're part of the same system.

exoticfruits Mon 03-Dec-12 21:05:10

C of E is the religion of the state. Schools started with the C of E and the state filled in with board schools in 1870. Catholic schools were always separate, never pretended to be for anything other than Catholics-they were not supposed to serve the community.

GrimmaTheNome Mon 03-Dec-12 21:00:59

They're not different from the POV of someone trying to get a school place in an area where there's lots of them.

Heysham St Peters is another one (I stopped looking after finding 3 without trying very hard)

exoticfruits Mon 03-Dec-12 20:51:53

Catholic are different-they have nothing to do with 1870 and the education act. Will look at the others.

SolidGoldYESBROKEMYSPACEBAR Mon 03-Dec-12 20:36:46

Frank, you can use all the long words you like, but your argument still boils down to 'My imaginary friend exists because I say it does, and you can't prove it with proper, objective facts, figures, measurable quantities or any of that real stuff, because my imaginary friend is too special...'

Which remains fine as long as you keep your imaginary friend as your own business and do not require anyone else to give a toss about it.

GrimmaTheNome Mon 03-Dec-12 20:26:49

>Quote an actual school then-I have failed to find one over 4 counties.

OK, I'm not naming my village but here's a couple found in the last couple of minutes working down the list:
Clayton-le-Moors All Saints Church of England Primary School
Halsall St Cuthberts CofE

and all the RCs I've looked at

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