Too Much Atheist Facebooking?

Kala, though an atheist and a friend of Camels With Hammers, is overwhelmed by so many atheist related links on her Facebook wall:

Have you ever felt like your brain is working too hard? Well this is how I am feeling. I hate logging into Facebook and all I see is Atheist, science, and anti-religion posts. Yes I am an atheist so I have friends on Facebook who are as well, but seriously why do they have to talk about it every single second. Sometimes I feel like they are trying to convince themselves that they are right. All I see is new theories, how creation science is wrong, and the most popular post recently the catholic church. I from time to time post updates on Facebook about atheism, but some of these people need to chill out. They are annoying me and I am on their “side”.

I feel they as well as me need to stop all the debating with Christians to prove them wrong crap and spend massive amounts of time of Facebook telling everyone that we are atheist and just sit back and enjoy this life. I am a thinker, in fact I tend to overly think. This leads to stress and anxiety,which is not fun! I want to be happy and do happy things and live in my happy little world. I do not want to spend all my time defending my beliefs to people who will not understand in the first place.

I wrote her the following reply:

Well it’s not fair to your activist atheist friends who you chose because they shared your desire to connect with other activist atheists (because, really, almost anyone willing to friend people solely on their atheism is likely to be an activist atheist and interested in discussing topics related to atheism) to blame them for your own exhaustion with the topic. It’s fine not to want to talk about atheism all day. What you should do is organize all your activist atheist friends onto one list “activist atheists” and all your other friends onto another list “non-activists”. When you look at your FB feed and get tired of the atheism, click to view only non-activists and voila, the world is a peaceful place. When you want to connect with fellow atheists and be a part of the cause, you click on your “activist atheists” list and engage.

But just because you’re burning out a bit here doesn’t mean you should disparage your fellow atheists who are passionate about speaking up. Many of us are not just trying to “prove to ourselves” anything but are genuinely concerned about the direction of culture, the direction of knowledge, and a host of other ethical issues that are impacted by religion. Many of us have come to realize that religion’s disproportionate power despite its sheerly obvious falsehoods is a function of its role as a social organizer and its tremendous power for socializing and networking people such that they bind up their ethical and cultural identities with it.

If religion’s pernicious power over the human mind is to be broken, people are going to need explicitly irreligious frameworks for social, ethical, and spiritual organization. Atheists uniting is about atheists forming a counter-community so that non-believers are not tempted to sell their minds for the sake of their social and emotional needs. It is about giving voice and community to isolated atheists who are made to feel ashamed of their non-belief. It is about providing people with resources, fellowship, and mutual education for helping each other dispel powerful lies with deleterious effects on people. This is all important.

It’s perfectly fine to want a break occasionally from serious things. Hell, take weeks off or only show up once a week to engage with activist activities. Or find another equally valuable cause to get involved in. But there’s no need to disparage your fellow atheists for their enthusiastic activism. They’re trying to do their part. And some of them are trying to get things out of their system that have been repressed by the larger culture, by their families, by their churches, for a long, long time. Be patient with them and take care of yourself.

Your Thoughts?

About Daniel Fincke

Dr. Daniel Fincke  has his PhD in philosophy from Fordham University and spent 11 years teaching in college classrooms. He wrote his dissertation on Ethics and the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. On Camels With Hammers, the careful philosophy blog he writes for a popular audience, Dan argues for atheism and develops a humanistic ethical theory he calls “Empowerment Ethics”. Dan also teaches affordable, non-matriculated, video-conferencing philosophy classes on ethics, Nietzsche, historical philosophy, and philosophy for atheists that anyone around the world can sign up for. (You can learn more about Dan’s online classes here.) Dan is an APPA  (American Philosophical Practitioners Association) certified philosophical counselor who offers philosophical advice services to help people work through the philosophical aspects of their practical problems or to work out their views on philosophical issues. (You can read examples of Dan’s advice here.) Through his blogging, his online teaching, and his philosophical advice services each, Dan specializes in helping people who have recently left a religious tradition work out their constructive answers to questions of ethics, metaphysics, the meaning of life, etc. as part of their process of radical worldview change.

  • http://atheists-and-christians.blogspot.com/ Mike aka MonolithTMA

    I can understand her frustration, but I’ve learned to skim and tune out. I get by just fine with my atheist and theist friends on Facebook. Though every now and then I have to bite my tongue and sometimes forget to. ;-)


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