Perception

perceptionHave you ever told someone something or found out something about someone and though you didn’t want, even though you tried real hard not to, your perception of them began to change?

I believe that is happening to me right now. It’s happened to me before, but I think it’s happening again. I think it’s happening on their side as well.

The friend I mentioned the other day, the one who wants me to go get her dog after the rapture, I think it’s happening with her. I’m trying so hard to remember we have years of friendship and our religious differences need not change that. But I think it is. I think it did.

Facebook has once again shown me what someone really thinks about my views. It’s as if they just are unable to be considerate and even nice about it. I do not write about religion on Facebook, however I do like posts from others that I sometimes agree with. Since Facebook now allows people to see your every move, I assume that some of my “likes” have been seen by people on my friends list. She has been posting things for days, way more than she used to, about how God is real and that is can be proven. You get the picture right? Some of it is just silly and you can tell no though whatsoever has gone into thinking about seeing if the data they are posting is sound. I mean things that scientist supposedly said. Silly stuff.

The other night she posted this.

“Atheism treats people cheaply. It robs death of meaning, and if death has no meaning, how can life ultimately have meaning? Atheism cheapens everything it touches—look at the results of communism, the most powerful form of atheism on earth. In the end, when the atheist dies and encounters God instead of the nothingness he had predicted, he’ll recognize that atheism was a cheap answer because it refused the only thing that’s not cheap—the God of infinite value.”PETER JOHN KREEFT, PH.D

It was insulting to me. I’ve heard this before, many times and no matter how you try to explain it, those I have spoken to about this do not understand. At all. They are quite insulting about their insistence of this. So I messaged her.

I see you are posting a lot of stuff about atheism lately. I’m assuming(and you know what assuming can make someone look like if they are wrong:) that it might be geared at me or the AH.
I’m not mad or anything, but you said you might have questions at some point. I was wondering if you had any now, that you might want me to answer?

I probably should have ignored it like I ignore most things on Facebook, but you know I was insulted and I am pretty sure that the AH and I are the only atheist on her friends list, so I assumed those things are being aimed at us. She had not previously posted things like this. She sent me a message back saying that she had not realized she was posting “a lot of stuff about atheism” lately, but that post was not meant to make me or the AH feel bad. That she had been reading and had liked the quote and agreed with it. That she’s very sad for us and promises that there is evidence for God. She used promised several times. She stated she is in “total disagreement with the whole atheism concept. ” She is praying for us daily.

Sigh.

Since then she has posted several more things and is rallying the troops on Facebook  to make sure, I assume, that she has support in numbers.

I don’t expect people to tiptoe around me. I don’t expect them to agree with me either. However, I do expect them to be respectful and be aware of how they may make others feel. I’m probably too nice, if there is such a thing, but I always try to do this. It seems that I am more prepared to overlook our differences than they are. They seem to take my disbelief as a personal attack, which I have never, ever tried to make them feel like. I do not think they are stupid for believing the way they do. I never have said that to them, however that is usually not reciprocated.

It has crossed my mind that it is the AH that they are most angry with. He usually does not hesitate to challenge their claims. Though he does it respectfully, providing articles and such I know it ticks them off. He says that Facebook is a social network, that its whole purpose is so you can discuss things and that if something is put out there then the poster should expect that someone may not agree and say something about it. I don’t always agree with that. I think sometimes it’s best to stay quite, but I don’t like to stir the pot. We have gotten into more than one discussion about this.

With that said I do agree that if they have the right to post religious claims and such than those who don’t agree have the same right to disagree and say so. It should be respectfully done. People just don’t like their religion challenged at all.

So, I plan to give this some time. I plan to keep telling myself that she is probably angry and hurt and she needs an outlet and a support system and she is finding that on Facebook.  I suppose I am finding that here. That is why I write about it. I appreciate the support from those that are like-minded.

I don’t want our friendship to change. I’m scared it’s going to. I don’t want to lose yet another person due to my disbelief. I’m tired of a god I don’t believe in dictating my life.

So, what say you, about the AH and his opinion on commenting on Facebook? Has your perception changed of someone and it damaged you relationship? Has someone close to you pulled back from you because their opinion of you changed.

Am I too sensitive?

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About theagnosticswife

Living in the bible belt, in middle America, with a once Christian husband who has turned Agnostic. I no longer know what I believe.
This entry was posted in About Me, Agnostic, Atheist, Christian, God, Life and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to Perception

  1. artsifrtsy says:

    I have seen people change their perceptions of me when they learn that I am a Christian, or that I am tattooed, or that I am a Democrat. The faith community can be so presumptuous even with it’s own too. I do my best to be thoughtful accepting. I think tolerance is something that takes a lot of work. I think it’s choosing to see someone apart from your own beliefs. It’s not easy. I respect your attempts to see beyond belief. Facebook can be a cesspool of me-toos.

    I read your post linked above and felt a little sick about you being asked to watch a dog after the rapture – for me personally this kind of thing brings out an ugly side of faith – an elitism that is so contradictory to the humble nature of the man my faith pretends to follow.

    • Thank you. Tolerance is hard. It’s hard for me sometimes and I realize it’s hard for others.

      My friend, and actually all the Christians I know, believe that if you do not accept Christ and most certainly if you do not believe in him and the Bible then you will most certainly not be included in the rapture. You will be going to hell. It is an ugly side of the faith and she does feel elite about the whole situation(I’m assuming here).

      • artsifrtsy says:

        Personally, I think the very doctrine of the rapture is a mashup of prophecies – ones that do not pertain to the church. I don;’t take much stock in it. As far as hell – I believe that Jesus gave his life for all mankind – I struggle with the idea that God sends anyone to hell. The very act of Christ was inclusive, not exclusive – so I have issues with those who present Jesus as exclusive. I think it’s contradictory to everything he taught – I get why your friends believe the way that they do – but I think there is a lot of “group think” in the church that doesn’t necessarily take the words of Christ into account. I know that your friend fears for you and believes what she is doing is loving – the sad thing is that no one outside of the faith could possibly see it as loving. When we spout those phrases we lose our genuineness – if that makes sense.

      • You would think that the Christians in my life would want to win me back to the faith(which is what they are all trying to do) by being, I don’t know, nice about it, but that’s not been the case. It starts out as nice and then gets nasty pretty quickly. I wish this wasn’t the case. I do realize that it seems that by my denying what they think they know it puts some sort of doubt into their minds and then they get a bit spastic acting.

        I also think that where I live plays a huge roll in how people react to it.

      • artsifrtsy says:

        I have seen exactly what you are talking about – you are right, it seems contradictory to what their goal is – even the words of Christ say that acts of love are the way to make your faith real to others – but I have seen the dialog descend from love to defensiveness in the blink of an eye.

        I have lived in several parts of the country and the presumption that everyone is a believer is so much stronger in the Bible Belt – I’m assuming that’s where you are.

      • I live in Oklahoma. So yes, Bible Belt.

  2. You are thinking — good. You are loving — good. You are accepting — good. Try to avoid offending just to be right. I admire you.

  3. Sylvia says:

    I know exactly what you mean. I don’t know how to respond. I am curious how your readers feel about this.

    • Annie says:

      It might sound terribly annoying, but with the way Facebook works nowadays, I’ve grouped people on FB based on belief and politics. It makes it so much easier to not offend people that I love but disagree politically with and also be true to my beliefs as well.

  4. bumfuzzled says:

    Oh me,oh my. Facebook. I just had my first “holiday season” meltdown because of it, and it was the same thing….religion.

    I do know what you’re talking about concerning the “change” in a relationship because of something you learn about one another. Sometimes it happens over a period of time and then there are those times it happens in an instant. I have a very beloved family member who is young, responsible, kind, has chosen a career in service and has made our family so proud. A few years ago, at Christmas, he was still a teen, he was telling these ugly racial jokes. It made me SO uncomfortable. No one called him on it. They all laughed. I just sat there looking at them. It wasn’t my house and it wasn’t my party, so I figured I should just remain quiet. I also thought “he’s a kid and it’s probably peer pressure. I’ll let his parents deal with it.”

    Fast forward to today, and he’s still doing it and they’re all still laughing histerically. This is our side of the family that is extremely religious. They give us a hard time about not going to church. They have no idea we are non-believers. They can’t even fathom that we would not believe.

    This has changed the way I see them. I still love them very much, but there’s a big disconnect that I wish wasn’t there.

  5. I’ve been thinking of your post and have one more thought to share. Your friend said that atheism “robs death of meaning”.

    I went to church yesterday for the first time in about a year. In one of the meetings the topic of the murders in Connecticut came up. One of the men there made the comment that he was happy that he knew about life after death because it gave “meaning” to the deaths that happened this week there — because he knew that the shooter would suffer the pains of death and repentance for a thousand years — before being granted the chance to enter heaven.

    This is how he gave “meaning” to death — by thinking of the suffering that it would cause those who did badly here in mortality.

    Now “death”‘s suffering is supposed to give insanity meaning. Go figure.

    • I have heard versions of this thinking myself. Believers saying the shooter will get what it coming to him in hell. The one that makes me feel the sickest and the most uneasy that “Jesus called those little kids home.” Images have even been made of little children walking and running in clouds in the sky to Jesus. I guess I can remember how comforting this used to be to me when I still believed, but now it does not comfort me. That image makes me feel very, very uneasy. That thought process no longer makes any sense to me and only leave me with more questions.

  6. Ashley S :) says:

    My DH mostly stays off of Facebook, but I live away from my hometown and most of my family and friends so I am on quite a bit. I think one of the reasons I held on to religion for so long was because I knew that once I let go I would become an outsider to many people whom I loved, which has indeed happened. I tend to ignore most things people put on Facebook, even though some of it is so amazingly rude and even hateful. To me, it just makes the poster look that much more ignorant. One of my favorite quotes is from Ghandi “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” In so many ways I have seen this, people claiming to be Christian but being more hateful than anything else. I pity them above all else, which makes it much easier not to be angered or upset by them.

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