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The Double Standard of Religious Conversation

Why is it that religious people feel the need to insert their religious views into seemingly every conversation? If an atheist inserting his or her lack of belief into seemingly every conversation we are criticized by the religious for “pushing our atheism.”

Yesterday, I was out with my 8 mouth old son and a woman came up to me and started a conversation. She told me about how she works in a hospital and deals with babies all the time. She of course thought that my son was cute (because he is cute!) and that was fine. No problems so far. But then she started going off on how he is a miracle from God and stuff. She actually laid the God-talk on pretty thick and it got pretty awkward. I did my best not to say anything and to just be polite since we were in a store full of people. But she made it really difficult.

The thing is that I shouldn’t have had to bite my tongue, she didn’t bite her tongue. In fact, she had no problem whatsoever pushing her religious beliefs on me and making the conversation very uncomfortable. Plus, had I told her that I didn’t believe in God, no doubt I would be considered the rude one.

Contrast this with an incident from over the weekend in which a facebook friend (relative really) had a status update in which she started to express doubt in God. I posted a comment joking about how I don’t believe in God and haven’t gotten hit with a lightning bolt yet. This of course led to a small debate with one of her Christian friends. I was very polite and even told her friend that if she wanted to continue the conversation, we should do so privately. But instead, her friend just kept insulting me. In the end, I was considered the rude one for, “pushing my atheism” and “inserting my atheism into every conversation” despite the fact that the conversation started with someone else’s doubt of deities.

This is why I think it is so important for atheists to come out of the closet. In fact, I am probably going to start wearing my American Atheist necklace more often now. If more people realize that atheists are out there in the general public in larger numbers, they will stop assuming that everyone they meet believes in God. This might cause them to think a little bit before they start babbling about gods and miracles at seemingly every turn.

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  • Michelle

    I’m glad you posted this, Staks. It really brings up a hot issue. I’m often forced to hold back my disbelief in various settings. One that really bothers me is at work. Occasionally we have company-wide dinners and there is always a prayer said before the meal. I think this is absurd! I certainly don’t mind if others choose to pray before they eat, but why am I forced to bow my head with the others? I know it would be looked down upon if I didn’t, and could ultimately lead to missing out on career opportunities. I hate feeling vilified simply because I don’t believe in something that is ridiculous, out-dated, and very, very dangerous.

  • A-Dizzle

    I guess I’m lucky. I was very up front with my brother and sister-in-law about my atheism when we first met, and they don’t preach at all around me.

  • http://denbeath.blogspot.com/ Patricia

    My brother & his wife are atheist. The rest of my family are born again christians. I am jewish (I converted). Even though I have my doubts about weather or not there is a God I am not yet ready to give up on God. But my point here is EVERYONE has the right to believe as they wish. It’s arrogant, it’s rude, it’s obnoxious for ‘Believers in God’ to push their god onto others and I have no problem saying so. Some of the worse atrocities perpetrated by Man has been done so in the name of God….how perverse is that ?! I thought this country was stolen off of the Native Americans & re-founded under the principle of Religious Freedom….maybe I’m naive, but, seems to me that the right NOT to believe falls under that category.

  • Naomi chambers

    How did this christian insult you?

    • http://www.dangeroustalk.net Staks

      in the facebook case, I think she said that I must be from Uranus if I don’t believe in God or something like that. Then I think she made another comment later implying that I was stupid for not believing. Just minor stuff, but I was being ultra polite at every turn.

  • http://www.myspace.com/diana_graves Diana

    I know how you feel. Everyone knows I’m an atheist,(save for my boss and people at work …for job security reasons), and I don’t even have words to describe how pissed I am right now. My mother in law brought me and my husband onto the dance floor at my none-theistic wedding to make a speech and it turned out to be a prayer to god! At my wedding, she brought that bull shit into my wedding and I’m so angry I can’t even look at her. I just feel like she crashed my wedding, my only wedding, and while I’m a big family person, I don’t want to have anything to do with her.

    • ProgRockGirl

      I’m so glad my mom, who did a lot of my wedding organizing, said it would be better to have no religion in it (this was before my nonreligious conversion). I don’t talk to most of the people who were in my wedding, but luckily I don’t have another bad memory added to it.

  • ProgRockGirl

    That “atheists are too serious” thing again–that’s why people think atheists are rude for saying they’re not religious while someone talks on and on about God. I wonder if it would have been considered equally rude to tell the lady you were from another religion? Or is it just atheism?
    Part of it is that Christians take for granted that everyone else is Christian. I saw Christians talk very openly at work and then I wondered if a less common religion would be able to talk so openly.
    But also I think it’s just that some people assume that everyone is like them and are shocked when they come across someone who isn’t. They get this from only hanging around with people who are the same as they are, and they start to think that people who are not like them only exist very far away and are very few.