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How does one go about being a polite atheist?

If, as an agnostic, atheist, non-believer, or especially anti-theist truly find folly in the belief of deities, spirits, fate, etc.; do you find it difficult to speak of your convictions to those that hold belief central to thier identity? What are some tactics you use to broach the subject as non-offensively as possible, (assuming it isn't inappropriate)?

menathuryn 4 Sep 5

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First, it's nothing I'd bring up or discuss unless pressed, be they a stranger or family member. With those that do; be they door knockers, street preachers or even my own largely fundamentalist family; I must ask sincerely...with as little sarcasm as the situation calls for...

"Have you ever thought about the damages your religion has done to humanity?"

That question alone is enough to turn most away. For the rest, I'll proceed to tell them.


I keep it humanistic, simple, and always on topic.
I never discuss things when either party is heated or being emotional and I always stick with verifiable facts.

It's difficult to be angry with facts or rational, level tones.

who wrote this and what have you done with Melissa? (-;

@CallMeDave We have assimilated her. Emphasis on the ASSimilated.

@Donotbelieve Butt of course

@CallMeDave touchΓ©, douche

@Donotbelieve 😟

@CallMeDave word play is fun


I try to be a polite human being first; being a polite heathen and anti-theist just follows.


Minding your own business & common courtesy.

Excellent summation.

Simple answer quite correct.


Don't be a cunt. It's a fairly straightforward premise.


How does one go about being a polite human being? Answer that one and the rest will fall into place.


I don't honestly think being an Atheist, or a believer has any bearing on being polite.
I've seen both.
I've known believer to be rude, and pushy and very impolite, I've also known some that are truly good people. The same thing applies to Atheists as well.


i let them bring it up. those t-shirts can be awful tempting for them though.


If it is a normal conversation then all the normal rules apply. If you press me or try to put me down for not following the fiction you subscribe to then the gloves come off. Since I live in a very hard core right-wing area the gloves have been placed in the drawer so they'll be clean if I ever get to take them out. I am described at work as the resident atheist.

BillF Level 7 Sep 6, 2018

Growing up I was taught to 'hate the sin, not the sinner.' Today I strive to 'hate the belief, not the believer.' Almost all engagements on religion appear pointless, as they bear little fruit--at least, not at first. But it is possible to plant seeds, as the believer will always remember with fondness, that nice nonbeliever who treated them as a person, and didn't behave at all like they were expecting.


I don't talk to them about my convictions; because I don't want them talking to me about theirs. I see it as a two-way street, and I stay on my side.

Looking at your picture / logo, this statement appears ironic. Life is all about give and take, yin and yang. Which side of the street is your heart on... the black, or the white?

@pnfullifidian Good point. I guess I feel this way about this particular topic because I've never known it to end well. People aren't open to give and take when talking about faith. But, I will keep your observation in mind if it comes up in the future.

@Anne209 It seems to work best when the conversation is orgainic, and unrehearsed ... and it can happen. My cousin is asking me about things now, years after I failed in my attempts to de-convert him.


To be honest I don't I don't spend a lot of time thinking about religion because I don't believe in religion it would be like spending my time trying to convince other people there's no Santa Claus it's a waste of time so what I do is I generally try not to talk about it because they have potential to get very crazy and sometimes violent if you threaten their religion so the best thing to do is leave them alone and try to keep your lips sealed


The charge of being "impolite" or "rude" or "hateful" is itself wrong.

Look closely at what atheists have to say to theists, and apart from a few young hotheads who are just as evident on the theist side, what atheists are doing is simply expressing disagreement -- and not even really voluntary disagreement, since belief is the inevitable result of what you know and how you understand it.

Failing to agree with your beliefs is not "impolite". Its honest. And the appropriate response is to engage substantively and respectfully and honestly with those concerns. Because not doing that would be ... er ... impolite.


I just let them know that it's quite possible to be a good person without a belief in a god, and that I'm a living example, as are many others.

I compliment them on being a good person, but remind them it is within their own power CHOOSE to adhere to what they know is right (not necessarily from the bible - maybe from kindergarten or Mister Rogers) and that I admire the beauty in their own personality that keeps them on this beautiful humanistic or humanitarian path they are on.


I have had Morman friends that we would get together and eat, they would want bless the food, and I would just quietly bow head just out of respect for their personal beliefs. They knew I was agnostic, they never tried to convert me, and had many intellectual conversations. They always invited me to their neighborhood picnics they had every year, and always treated me with respect. I look at it as different strokes for different folksπŸ™‚ Live and let live


"There is no polite way to suggest to someone that they have devoted their life to a folly." ~Daniel C. Dennett.


I live in the Bible Belt and rarely have I had any run-ins with people. there's a certain amount of religion that I could tolerate. I don't bring up the subject. If someone says something absolutely ridiculous, as long as it's not hurting anyone else, I just ignore them. I have run into more religious opposition as an agnostic on this site from rather radical atheists than I have from the Christians in the real world. to reiterate ,just don't bring the topic up and cause an argument.


I don't mention it unless someone asks. Then I simply say I'm an atheist. One time at a funeral for a family friend in a church, someone asked my mom what denomination she is and she lied and said Presbyterian. I asked why she wouldn't just say the truth and she said she didn't want a conflict. I don't think it's right to hide non beliefs just as much as it's not right to push it down anyone's throat.


Very simple. Just be a polite A-theist as you would a polite anything else. Do you find it difficult to be polite to those who believe in astrology?


I tried being a polite atheist, but people won't listen. It sucks being so disadvantaged, especially with this twisted administration emphasizing religion whenever possible.


Don't be the first one to bring it up.


I never bring it up. What would be the point?



I treat people the way I want to be treated. I rarely have anyone ask me about religion, but if they do, I tell them I am atheist/pagan. If they ask me about it, I answer the question they ask. If they want to discuss it, I am fine with that. If they preach at me, or try to convert me, I tell them no thanks and walk away. I don't broach the subject. I would never try to convert anyone to my way of thinking, about religion. No need to be rude, manipulated, convert Christians, or be preached to.


I have been an atheist since age 13, when I realized the Bible is just a book of stories written by men. When a jackass Christian pressures me, I am clear and direct.

Through online dating, two Christian men met me to try to convert me.

"Martin Luther said there are no atheists," one man said triumphantly, as if that settled the matter.

"I don't care what a Catholic monk said 400 or 500 years ago!" I replied and laughed.

"I'm leaving now," I said and stood up. "Thank you for lunch. Goodbye."

In my first post, I addressed this issue. Forty-eight people commented.

"How can you be a moral person and be an atheist?" I get asked by Christians. Friends who are ...

I was told there was no atheist in foxholes. I say we all are or else would not be ducking for cover.


i don't feel a need to broach the subject. why would i? i don't walk up to strangers and tell them i hate celery, or that i think john wayne couldn't act his way out of air, or that i don't intend to get a haircut ever again, so i wouldn't walk up to them and announce my lack of religious belief for no reason either. i might mention any of those things in an appropriate context: someone tries to serve me celery, or show me a john wayne film, or encounters me while my bangs are growing out and i happen to let out a frustrated yelp and then strengthen my resolve. if someone brings up religion, i am not shy about my lack of belief. in the right context, i might bring it up myself, but i am more likely to bring up politics, as it's on my mind more. this is a nice site on which to discuss such things (and discuss other things with folks who also hold no gods) but the fact of my being here doesn't mean i am obsessed with gods or atheism. it's not as if i have an agenda, like trying to get people to quit their religions. i do have a bit of an agenda regarding people who try to lay their religions on me!


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