Are You Starting Facebook Flame Wars?

Alright, how many of you see a Facebook status update regarding religion… and feel the urge to response with snark?

If you do, is it even worth it?

(Also, how the hell does a pig type on a computer?)

(via The Atheist Pig)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • Bob Becker

    Oh, good grief…..  Being snarky about a family announcing a child had been confirmed or made his first communion on a Fecebook page comes under the general [and wise] admonition, oft cited here, of “don’t be a dick.”

    • http://annainca.blogspot.com/ Anna

      I agree. Snarking on a family for making an innocuous comment seems like perpetuating the worst possible atheist stereotype. Many people have their children go through religious rituals.  I don’t think the mere mention of a baptism or bar mitzvah warrants going on the attack. And that’s coming from someone who sat horrified through two First Communion ceremonies. Seems to me that it would be wiser to save the snark for when religious people post hateful or misinformed comments about those outside their belief system.

      • Samantha

        You were actually horrified by a first communion ceremony? Anna dear, you need to get out and see the world!

        • Gus Snarp

          I think it depends on what you mean by horrified, but I find most church services horrifying, and First Communions especially so. You know there’s a whole wedding symbolism going on in those white communion dresses, right? How is it not horrifying to marry off your little daughter to zombie Jesus until she comes of age?

          • http://annainca.blogspot.com/ Anna

            To be fair, I think the white dresses are supposed to symbolize purity. Although that’s a troubling notion in itself, I’m pretty sure Catholics save the actual “getting married to Jesus” rhetoric for when young girls join the convent. But I did hear a lot of self-congratulatory comments about the “choice” the children were making. That bothered me more than anything. At least when they baptize babies, they don’t pretend that the babies have any idea what’s going on!

        • http://twitter.com/enuma enuma

          Communion for a Catholic means literally eating Jesus.  I don’t know about you, but I think cannibalism is pretty horrifying.

        • http://annainca.blogspot.com/ Anna

          I shouldn’t have been horrified? The indoctrination is pretty blatant at these rituals. The charade of pretending that the children knew what they were doing and had any kind of choice in the matter bothered me. These were innocent second graders. They were just doing what the adults told them to do.

    • JohnK

      Wait, but isn’t “being a dick” the MO in this community? Snarky comments, ranting and cursing against Christians, suing communities to stop their traditions, combing the news for anything negative that a Christian does… Nothing new here.

      • HughInAz

        “Suing communities to stop violating the Constitution.”

        Fixed that for you.

        • JohnK

          Three things: 

          1. Suing a whole community because one person’s feathers are ruffled about a 100 year old charming, harmless tradition (like a nativity scene, for example) is a dick move, period. 

          2.The constitution is a living document that get’s interpreted and amended. Would you have told black people in the south to step in line and obey the constitution? No, I don’t think you would have. You would have been on the side of adding an amendment to change the constitution so it was more just. Anyone with a brain and a heart does not hide behind the Constitution – he works with it and strives for change if it does not fit what society as a whole wants.

          3. The last thing I need is an atheist fixing things for me! That’s actually quite funny. I’ve seen that  play out in history and it’s a thousand times worse than when religious people try to fix things.

          • ganner918

            Asking people to follow the law isn’t being a dick. Telling atheists that their help is unwelcome because they’ll invariably fuck everything up? That’s being a dick, John.

          • Sharon Hypatia

             That “one” person represents thousands more who are not religious, not xtain or xtains who disagree with pushing their personal beliefs on the community.
            Xtains have churches, bought tax free and run tax free.  They are given this special status so you can practice your religion as you see fit. If these symbols are so important to your religion, put them up on your own property. Don’t ask everyone else to pay for them or fawn in respect over them.
            Slavery. Perhaps you shouldn’t bring that topic up as jesus told slaves to obey their masters; and good xtain slaveholders waved the bible over their heads to defend it as a “charming” tradition that went becak over 4,oo0 years.

          • Patterrssonn

            ” it’s a thousand times worse than when religious people try to fix things.”

            What was a thousand times worse than Hitler, or Ghengis Khan, or todays  Joseph Kony  or the inquisition, or the quasi religious ideologies of  Mao, Stalin and Pol Pot.

            • serena

              None of those people did what they did in the name of atheism.

              • Kevin mays

                True

          • Justin Miyundees

            1.  Distorting reality isn’t a dick move?  

            Birthing virgins and zombies?  Sounds like a giant dick move.  I think that’s the point your missing.  I don’t want people confusing my children with nonsense.

            2.  Pff… No – that was the preachers job.  So, I guess you’re in favor of changing the Bubble – is it a “living document”?  No – it’s mythology and stone aged mythology at that

            3.  Right – the Salem witch trials and the burning of heretics for suggesting things as blasphemous as a solar system (look it up but you’ll have to look somewhere other than the Bubble) or that slavery was, in fact, immoral and NOT ordained by your god.

          • Onamission5

            If you honestly think that asking the majority/dominant power group to share the stage with minority citizenry and uphold the constitution is a dick move, there’s nothing we can do for you.

          • Kevin mays

            Troll

        • Sharon Hypatia

           Amazing, JohnK.  You paged through over 50 comments  All but one or two said it would be “dickish” to say something nasty about a family renouncement and the rest saying they reserve their criticism for lies, bigotry and unwelcome proselytizing on their personal FB page by xtians. And you characterize that as  “”being a dick” is the MO in this community”?
          ” Suing communities to stop their traditions”? Oh, really? In years of reading atheist blogs I have NEVER, not once, heard even the most militant atheist say that churches cannot put a cross, the 10 commandments or a creche on their own property – just not on public, taxpayer owned property at the taxpayers expense.

          How does your xtain integrity handle mis-characterizing  the facts so badly? Does it ever give you any twinge of conscious?

          I find you a fine example of a xtian”dick”

          • JohnK

            Sharon,

            You must not spend much time reading posts in this community. My calling out that “Snarky comments, ranting and cursing against Christians, suing communities to stop their traditions, combing the news for anything negative that a Christian does… Nothing new here.” is entirely accurate. I’m not a dick for calling it out. I was responding to one person, and making the point that the behavior that HE was referring to is nothing new here. If I were mis-characterizing anything, then yes – I would feel a twinge of conscious, and I wouldn’t do it. I could fill a book with the hateful, curse filled, bigoted rants against Christianity, including comments about “wishing we were dead”, etc. It’s all in the blog archive, take a look!

            • Sharon Hypatia

              First, I find it arrogant and condescending when people presume that I “must not spend much time reading posts in this community.” 
              And I could fill much  more than a book about how xtains say gays should have no rights (forget marriage, they should be fired or denied the right to rent an apartment or imprisoned or outright killed).  Same for Jews, Muslims, atheists, thw “wrong” xtian denominations or …… fill in your own special group, hated because they aren’t xtians or the “right kind” of xtians.
              If you don’t think you are a dick for calling out atheist bloggers , then people in this community are not dicks when they call out xtains for their bad behavior.

            • Patterrssonn

              ” combing the news for anything negative that a Christian does…” Do you really think anyone needs to comb the news for that?  Or does “combing the news” refer to simply turning it on?

            • Justin Miyundees

              Slavery was a nice tradition that someone “called out”. 

      • rhodent

         http://28.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_l561vpqUkW1qas2hto1_500.jpg

        • JohnK

          rhodent,

          I’m a long time poster here. You need to accept that disagreement does not constitute trolling. This is a discussion forum, not an atheist support group. (Is that what you want? agreements all around? “you’re right! Exactly! Just what I was thinking! My sentiments exactly!”

          Sounds pathetic.

          • Parse

            Dissenting views don’t make you a troll.  How long you’ve been commenting doesn’t prevent you from being a troll.  Your inflammatory statements and misrepresentation of views make you a troll.

      • TiltedHorizon

         “Wait, but isn’t “being a dick” the MO in this community? Snarky comments, ranting and cursing against Christians…”

        We don’t hate the believers, we hate the beliefs. Feel better?

        “suing communities to stop their traditions”

        Slavery, witch burning, gay bashing, stone throwing, misogyny, faith healing, bible beating, finger pointing, science fearing, and alter boy loving.

        ” combing the news for anything negative that a Christian does.”

        How else will we call attention to your traditions? I know you would rather sweep it under the rug, but since you are not doing anything about it…….  Nothing new here.

  • http://yetanotheratheist.com/ TerranRich

    Passive-aggressive is the way to go. Let’s just say that SOME people don’t seem to understand that. ;-)

  • RobMcCune

    Their kids and their religion are two subjects people don’t like snarky comments about, whether they deserve it depends on which is more important.

    • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

       Well, you can only hear so many stories about “me me me, my kid, my kid’s inappropriate behavior is so cute (and fuck you if you disagree), PAY ATTENTION TO ME!!!!” before you just start tuning that shit out and/or snarking on it. (Substitute “God, God, God, JESUS, preachy blah blah blah shit, praise god, amen, LOOK AT ME BEING A GOOD CHRISTIAN!” as required.)

      Sure, it’s dickish to call out the attention-seeking for what it is.

      But it’s just as dickish and obnoxious to constantly spout off about your kid (or religion) like it’s the centre of the fucking universe. Yeah, have pride in your kid(s) or religion. Just don’t go around all sanctimonious-like pushing your choices on others.

      • metatwaddle

         Just submit it to stfuparents and call it a day?

        • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

           Hah, yeah, thankfully I… well, I only ever got the “LOOK AT MAH KID” stuff from one person (who has since died), and I get very little of the “tern er berrrrn”/”look at what a good Christian I am” stuff. (My family is somewhat sane in both of these areas, thank the PTB!)

          • metatwaddle

            Ha! My evangelical Facebook friends (I have a surprising number of them) are more likely to post “listen to this hilarious poop-related anecdote about my kid” than “the gays will BURN”. Many of them are the type of women (it’s always women) who started having lots of kids immediately when they graduated from college. The ones without kids are mostly politically moderate, as young evangelicals tend to be, and fairly thoughtful.

            Some of them do have the bland “God never gives you more than you can handle/I had an insight about Jesus today” posts, but I like them enough not to be a contentious dick or defriend them.

            The most striking thing is how much more interesting the childless ones are.

          • Samantha

            wait, so getting that stuff from ONE person has you this pissed off? I thought you said, “you can only hear so many stories…” It was only one person, and the ONE peron who was doing that is now DEAD – and you’re still pissed off?? You’re nuts!

            • http://gloomcookie613.tumblr.com GloomCookie613

              Oh, it only takes one when it’s a person that updates every 15 minutes with the latest about bowel movements, drool, bad behaviour, and every post ends with some form of compliment fishing like, “Billy just went doody! Isn’t he so smart?” Even worse if they’re trying to get their kid(s) into modeling or pageants. Links every hour to vote for their kid in this contest or that. I learned how to unsubscribe from the two offenders I know. Still have plenty of parents on my feed, but they aren’t attention whores. I love seeing new pictures or reading a funny or sweet story about what their kids are doing, but nobody wants the play-by-play all day long.

              I think wmdkitty is referring to the ones that practice the OVERKILL method of sharing, not all parents posting about their kids.

              *sorry in advance for any typos, posting from mobile means a touchpad of ebil for fat fingers.

              • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

                 Precisely.

                What’s all this about me having an “anger problem”, anyway? If anything, I’ve mellowed out over the last year…

                • http://gloomcookie613.tumblr.com GloomCookie613

                  One of my friends is what I like to call an AMP Mom. Acting/Modelling/Pageant Mom. If the people saying that you have anger issues read her constant stream of living through her kids, acting like the simple act of motherhood means she’s special from every other woman in the world, the condoning of bad behaviour, the excuses for short comings, the links to vote for model or pageant stuff, the zillions of photos, the inevitable rants against agents or pageant officials, and of course the play-by-play sprinkled in multiple times an hour? Yeah, they’d see that it’s more of an allergic reaction to stupid attention whoring than an anger issue.

      • Ndonnan

        Oh windkitty its ok,its just part of jesus plan to help heal your anger problem, big hug 4u………another big hug……starting to feel a little better….gooood

        • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

           Uh-huh. “Anger problem”. Of course, I’m not a Christian, I’m occasionally irritated or even angry about things, so I -must- have an anger problem.

          Can’t be that I have good reasons to be upset…

          • Samantha

            “Well, you can only hear so many stories about “me me me, my kid, my kid’s inappropriate behavior is so cute (and fuck you if you disagree),…”
            Your words, Kitty! You’re upset about soemone’s free will to talk about their kids? 

            That’s the definition of anger problem, sorry. 

            • http://twitter.com/enuma enuma

              Using your children as bait when you go fishing for compliments is creepy and annoying.  Having a negative reaction to that is not a sign of an anger problem.

              • Samantha

                Lighten up, Francis. If you’re unhappy, why project that on others? People love to share photos of their kids. Don’t be so cynical. 

                • http://twitter.com/enuma enuma

                   I love seeing pictures of my friends’ children, but my friends don’t treat their children like props, nor do they micro-document every move their children make.  I think in ten years, their kids will appreciate that their every poop and drool hasn’t been permanently memorialized on the internet.

                  You think I’m the one projecting unhappiness onto others?  Try looking in a mirror.

      • JohnK

        Jeez, relax. How can another’s happiness cause you so much grief? You’re mad because they’re talking about their kids?

        • LifeInTraffic

          I don’t think that is what wmdkitty is saying. I think she’s saying that it gets tiring and sometimes even infuriating, just like it does when someone over-talks about anything (cats, computers, Star Wars, whatever). I’ve definitely hidden or de-friended some of my acquaintances (fortunately, none of my close friends have fallen into this) that post pretty much every single thing their kid does. “Oh, Johnny pooped!” “Oh, isn’t it cute, Johnny drooled!” “Oh, isn’t it cute, Johnny turned his head.”  It’s worse when it’s pretty patently bad behavior that the parent is excusing because it happens to be their kid (“Oh, Johnny just kicked the neighbor cat, isn’t that cute!”).

          I have many friends with children who will post the “big” moments, like their child’s first step, first word, or a particularly funny anecdote, but they don’t post 40 times a day about ever time their child moves. One is interesting and fun engagement with others, the other is just annoying. I’d feel the same about any over-posting of stuff . If I posted “oh, I mopped the floor,” “Oh, I made the bed,” “oh, I washed my hair,”  and the like every 10 minutes, I’d expect people to get a bit annoyed . If I posted stuff like “Oh, I just yelled a racial epithet out my window at the guy walking down the street, isn’t that adorable? And if you don’t like it, then clearly you’re just close-minded,” it would also be annoying, and to most people infuriating. 

          Just because it’s someone’s kid doesn’t change that it’s irritating and sometimes downright disturbing. 

          • JohnK

            Kitty said she had one friend who sent her kid stuff, and that person is now dead. And she’s freaking out. c’mon,

            • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

              Wow, if you think that’s me “freaking out”, you haven’t been around long.

          • Onamission5

            As a mom of four who had to backtrack from most “mommie/daddie” forums because she couldn’t stand all the “johnny pooped!” posts and quasi-fundamentalist parenting ultimatums about stuff like ZOMGifyouuseplasticyouareoftehdebil, THIS.
             
            I like talking about my kids as much as the next parent. I like hearing about the kids of people I care about. I think my parenting style is uber awesome as much as the next parent, too, but I understand that hey, other people make different choices for perfectly valid reasons too, and not everyone wants to hear all about my kids every second of the day, because it gets obnoxious. My brain didn’t disappear just because I popped out some offspring, so maybe once in a while, I could post about my other thoughts, too. ;)

        • Neil

          So, how much practice does it take to be such a clueless, smug little turd like you, anyway?   

          • Ndonnan

            Oh Neil your just fireing off some now,thats not very nice and uncalled for young man

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1452385436 Adrian Viveros

    Granted that most atheists love nothing more than to generate discussion (or just plain start shit), starting a flame war over a first communion would amount to nothing more than a dick-move. BUT when you get “god is great, he helped me find a parking space at the mall” or “it was part of jesus’s plan to for you to lose your job” comments, then the bullsh*t hounds must be unleashed.

    • Kevin_Of_Bangor

      About a month ago I was listing to a pastor on the radio and he said that he prays for a parking spot everytime he goes to the mall and low and behold there is always an open one.

      • eonL5

        Hilarious!

      • bandm

        But only if you pray the right way. A priest friend of me gave me the secret prayer:
        Hail Mary, full of grace,Please help me find a parking space.He assures me it works (and he’s not even Catholic!)

        • http://conuly.dreamwidth.org/ Conuly

           Mary? My mother just reflexively calls on Anthony*

          * Well, I don’t think she does now, but she did when she was a young mother.

        • metatwaddle

          I’m an atheist: is it bad if I kind of love this? I always think of short rhyming prayers as somewhat childish and irreverent. (“rub-a-dub-dub, thanks for the grub, let’s eat”)

          I already mutter pointlessly to myself and other drivers when I drive anyway; I think I’ll add this to the repertoire.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001627228091 Alexander Ryan

    *unfriend*

    • Wolfen

      You sound unfriendly. 

  • Cutencrunchy

    It’s part of religion to introduce terms and cliches into every corner, niche and crack until it’s felt as a part of the fabric on our flags our moneys and constitution and part of that is just casually referencing it whenever and wherever they can so we become inoculated to it and stop thinking about it just accepting it like sheep.. like religious followers… so I say each and every time make a comment ‘be heard’ for your voice matters! be it silly, angry, irreverent, hostile just get it out… then handle with grace the fallout as best you can.  Someone prayed for a sick kid and it was a ‘don’t touch that’ thing to me.. but I instead said, ”prayer is a great self satisfying act but let’s do something that will actually help the kid in the real world..” and then gave some examples… it was snarky but also making the point that token gestures are harmful when they stop us from actually doing something to help others… religion us inherently abusive and abuse feeds off silence I say be heard no matter how awkward your scream.

  • Duo

    If you’re going to post stupid crap on FB, you had better be ready for the snarky comments. I constantly poke at my religious FB friends. The dumbasses need it.

    • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

       Yeah, I expect to be called on Teh Stoopid.

    • JohnK

      (see what I mean?)

      • Wolfen

        U mad bro?  Oh well. 

        • JohnK

          …amused, actually. So much anger spewed by people who claim that they are “good without God.”

          • http://twitter.com/enuma enuma

             It’s only amusing if you believe in false dichotomies.

            Being angry and being a good person are not mutually exclusive.

            • LifeInTraffic

              Unfortunately, in many religions, that is *exactly* what it means. So, for JohnK, it might not be a false dichotomy that he can see or understand.

              A guy I dated in my late 20s had the idea that one of the most awful things you could do was be angry so drilled into his head from his religious parents (“real” Xtians don’t get angry, anger is a sin, etc.) that he was impossible to deal with. He was so guilt-ridden if anything pissed him off, regardless of how justifiably, that he had a  difficult time functioning in the real world. And, if someone else was pissed off, no matter how justifiably, they were clearly bad people, too.Obviously, that was a big part of why the relationship didn’t last. As far as I know, he’s still in counseling (he’s not an atheist, but that kind of thing doesn’t just shut off, unfortunately).

              • LifeInTraffic

                *NOW an atheist, sorry.

              • JohnK

                I didn’t mean to imply that being angry was “bad” but that being insulting and condescending is. Duo said, “I constantly poke at my religious FB friends. The dumbasses need it.” That’s not anger, it’s just arrogant, which is bad. 

                • LifeInTraffic

                  Actually, what you said was ”
                  …amused, actually. So much anger spewed by people who claim that they are “good without God.”

                  By saying that anger is “spewed” by people who claim to be good without god, you de facto say that they clearly aren’t (whether you meant to or not). This is a very well-known form of political rhetoric, as well as a tactic used against competitors in sales exactly because they can do what you just did: claim they didn’t say something that they clearly meant. This keeps them out of lawsuits. In fact, it’s so well-known that’s it taught in consumer education classes as something to specifically watch out for when making decisions.

          • Patterrssonn

             We’re all good or bad without god, whether or not we believe or pretend to believe in the myth

      • http://yetanotheratheist.com/ TerranRich

        Cherry-picking. This is one of a tiny minority of comments that bash Christians. I can point out equally as many comments by Christians who bash atheists.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1422330388 Nick Lewis

    I’ll admit that I’m a facebook arguer. A lot of the time it’s reactionary and sometimes purely just for my entertainment, but there have been times where I’ve seen it do some good. An old high school acquaintance posted something about the mayor NY endorsing gay marriage last summer and how God will punish America because of this. Angered, I posted a comment about gay teens killing themselves.  I left for work and came back to a 50+ comment flame war. I saw some people standing up for what they believed in who I had never seen talk about anything political or religious on facebook or in public really. One girl actually messaged me later and thanked me for standing up to this kid and that she had always wanted to say something but she always felt afraid and out numbered.

    Obviously there are times when it’s not worth it to say something.  Like in the comic. But in situations like mine, where the religious are attacking atheism or LGBT rights I say go for it and fight back. Sometimes you’ll find support where you never thought you would. You might make somebody pissed off to the point where they want to say something or do something about it like in the case of my friend.  

    I try my best not to be a dick, I always argue with facts, I try not to provoke, and I don’t think I’m doing anything wrong. 

    • Gus Snarp

      That’s the sort of time when I’ll comment. Say all the religious platitudes you want, but I don’t want hate coming through my Facebook feed and I’ll argue against it no matter who it offends.

  • Banzaibob

    Mostly I’ll leave things alone – depends on my mood. Thankfully very few of my actual friends are much for religion. I have a distant cousin I was FB friends with for a while… the constant “god/jesus is great BS blessing-this blessing-that” drove me nuts. Therefore unfriend.

    Couldn’t help myself though – saw someone had posted one of those jesus face in the clouds photoshop images that the christies like so much on my Girlfriend’s sister’s page. Just HAD to add a link to the the jesus-face-in-a-laundry-fold story from a few months back along with a snarky comment…

  • http://www.everydayintheparkwithgeorge.com/ Matt E

    I think pig uses the touch method, I’ve never once seen him look at the keyboard.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1078695333 David Kopp

    I tend to let the nonspecific religious comments go on Facebook. Everyone can believe what they want to, even if they’re wrong ;)

    But I will speak up when someone posts something anti-factual, or something that attacks atheists. Just got into an argument with my uber-Christian cousin on Facebook earlier because he posted some idiotic preacher that equated atheism with nihilism.

  • Revyloution

    I only use Facebook for politics and religion.  Anyone who ‘friends’ me is someone who is prepared for an argument.

  • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

    My religious friends mostly filter so I don’t see any of it :-)
    I did have one distant (as in never met, only connection through FB) add me to his “Daily Blessings” group, with the promise that it was “inspirational, not religious”.  So after a week of bible quotes that were arguably non-denominational, I tested the waters by posting my own pretty bland “love everybody” bit from the Bhagavad Gita.  I think it was the “Lord Krishna” that set people off.  I got a flurry of “Every knee shall bend” crap, to which I ranted about how divisive religion is.  So of course I got warned, but not the “every knee” folks.  So I left.I’m still friends with him, but he mostly keeps his religious stuff out of it.

  • http://www.SketchSepahi.com/ SketchSepahi

    I do flame often enough. Although I do like to think that I never, ever do it without at least some sort of justification. For instance, I wouldn’t “flame” if I were in that pig’s shoes. However, I do definitely get involved if someone is talking about the efficacy of quack medicine or prayer in healing terminal illnesses. (Just to name one example.) I’m sure the victims of my “flames” don’t appreciate the distinction, but it’s important to me. If I think the misinformation does harm, I get involved. If I think it’s harmless, I leave well enough alone. (Unless, of course, it’s a person, who actually likes to debate.)

    • Gus Snarp

      Well, I don’t flame, but I have  been known to be the guy starting his comment with, “actually, that’s not true…..” or posting a link to Snopes or Science Based Medicine. Some people have even thanked me. But I choose my battles carefully.

      • http://www.SketchSepahi.com/ SketchSepahi

         That’s pretty much what I meant, yeah. :)

  • DealWithItBrah

    The only time I flame on religious or political status updates is when it says something blatantly false or presumptuous. 

    • JohnK

      …who is to say that what you are posting is equally false and presumptuous?

      • DealWithItBrah

        Irrelevant considering I know how to use legitimate evidence to back up what I say.

        • JohnK

          You are awesome, and superior to others!

          • LifeInTraffic

            Actually, if DealWithItBrah’s facts  are based in evidence, that that is definitely awesome. And those posts would, indeed, be superior to ones that aren’t evidence based (woo isn’t evidence).

          • DealWithItBrah

             can’t argue with that.

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

    (Also, how the hell does a pig type on a computer?)

    Well, he is a talking pig, so he could be using Voice Recognition software…

    I dunno if it’s “worth it”, but sometimes you just gotta say “fuck it” and speak up.

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

    I have enough enemies from simply being who and what I am, so I don’t see why I would want to take the initiative and put forth effort to deliberately turn a friend, a potential friend, or a neutral person into another enemy.

  • http://profiles.google.com/goblinbabies Sara Waldecker

    Yeah, I’m not going to start a flame war over a ‘positive’ event (baptism. wedding), but when someone starts going on about how anyone that doesn’t believe ‘A’ is going to burn, heck yes I snark.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Chris-McLaughlin/100000447965254 Chris McLaughlin

       How is a baptism a positive event? How is a deep and sincere belief in religious horseshit good for anyone?

  • I_Claudia

    Meh, if all it takes for you to get into a flame war with someone is a comment about first communion, I would say you fall into the”needs to calm the fuck down” category. However, if you change that into some much less benign comment about “America was founded as a Christian nation!” or “God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve!” I can see where the temptation would be.
    However I don’t think that snark is the way to go, at least if you want to change minds, and not just vent.  When someone says something unreasonable, you have a chance to explain, calmly, with no shouting but well worded responses, why you think this is mistaken. You’ll never actually get recognition that the other person was wrong, but you could plant the seed of doubt in them, or at least in one of their friends watching the exchange, or give hope and comfort to a closeted atheist who is on that theist’s friend list. However you will change no minds by being a jerk. I think snark has it’s place, against prominent figures and obvious trolls, but not usually against personally known people, IMHO.

  • Joseph Smith

    I never post on someone else’s Facebook status, that to me is ignorant.  But I can’t tell you how many times they feel the urge to comment on my more playful statuses that poke fun at religion.  I then immediately attack, and I constantly warn people, if you don’t want to have an argument then get off MY Facebook page.  At that point I see it as fair game.

    • https://alexanderschroeder.net/ Alexander Krivács Schrøder

      Rude, perhaps. Certainly not ignorant. In fact, the reason to post on somebody else’s Facebook post is usually due to THEIR ignorance. ;-)

      • Joseph Smith

        I agree I chose the wrong word there, rude fits that best.

    • JohnK

      Well put, Joseph. It’s the attack on other peoples status that is a dick move, for sure. If someone is on your own turf – I agree, it’s fair game. 

      • Joseph Smith

        It’s funny, I posted about the national day of prayer sounding a lot like the kids getting together to bring out captain planet (youtube video and all).  And even now I am still in a heated discussion with a high school friend over it.

        • JohnK

          Seems like the more secure and at peace someone is with their beliefs, the easier it is for them to discuss them without getting irritated.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Chris-McLaughlin/100000447965254 Chris McLaughlin

       I don’t get people’s love affair with “their” FB page. There is no ” your page”. It’s all open to anyone who has permission to post. It’s all a virtual mishmash with parts available to different people in different places. If I am your “friend” then YOUR posts are shown on MY update page. This ownership fantasy is stupid. The only thing you have discretion over is who has access. If you don’t like what someone posts then it’s your own fault and you shouldn’t have given them access.

      • Kodie

         Posting something on your facebook is like posting to a blog for the people you invite to read about you. So either don’t be friends with them, or hide their status updates, or don’t say anything, or say something. These are your options. Some people are quick to react and some people think it is better left alone. These are the options that are available, and if people get negative reactions to things they say out in the open, it is like they don’t want to have a conversation. In that way, you act like a person, you decide if you want to have this conversation or leave it alone, just like you would in real life face-to-face. Keeping in mind how many others may see your comment, how large the group is, who these people are to you, and sociably reach a conclusion whether you should or shouldn’t engage in the conversation. Sometimes yes, sometimes no.

        It’s not different than real life propriety just because it’s online. People do feel free to say what they are thinking, even if it’s bullshit, right out in the open, just like in real life. Just to say X about blessings from god, and just like in life, comments like that get a pass because I hear it all the time and people just politely keep quiet, if they are not the type to respond “amen” or high-five in agreement. This is our social conditioning, to let minor religious comments flood the environment freely, and then counter it, you’re attacking someone; or, make an atheist comment in the same vein, then you’re strident, or you’re attacking someone.

        Like upthread someone mentioned, believers do not tend to hold back when you say something on your own wall that is atheistic. They don’t get to know what it feels like to get to say what you want any time and place you want to say it and get negative feedback because everyone doesn’t want to be the turd in their punchbowl. They have no filters of their own in that regard, they just turd it up. They have no experience being called out because nobody ever does. I keep out of it myself on facebook, for the most part my personal policy there is not to alienate everyone and just have a good time, no trouble, but “their own wall” is an entry to a conversation with others they have deemed worthy of friendship*, it’s not a diary where they can write anything they like.

        *I still don’t understand why people friend people they don’t know and really don’t like (even though I have a few I don’t personally know), so it is a bit more public than a small group that one is used to addressing and expecting nothing but a positive response to everything. It’s for the reason I don’t have a lot of fb friends, and try not to be too hard on the ones I have.

  • http://www.laughinginpurgatory.com/ Andrew Hall

    I’ll only comment when a friend places something really wacky.

  • http://superstitionfree.blogspot.com/ Robert Madewell

    I used to reply with snark when family members thank Jesus for mundane fluffy bunny stuff. I find it’s just not worth it. Even though my intention is to add a little humor, the humor is rarely appreciated. My family has little sense of humor.

  • Sindigo

    Is Facebook really that good for arguing? Maybe I should reconsider my boycott.

  • bobo

    I had a Facebook account for about a week, before I got rid of it.  Too much drama. Don’t have time for it. Got better things to do.

  • Marella

    A friend posted as his status something about being grateful to Jesus for the lovely day. I didn’t post anything on his post but I said something on my own status about it being a lovely day to be an atheist and not needing to believe in fairies to enjoy the garden. It seemed more like self defense than anything and it didn’t start a flame war.  Other stuff he posted I have ignored and I’m sure he must have put considerable effort into ignoring stuff I’ve posted.

    • JohnK

      Why couldn’t you just say, “It’s a lovely day to be an atheist…” without adding the “not needing to believe in fairies…” bit? Your friend expressed her thought without digging on anyone else. Your post is akin to her saying, “I’m grateful to Jesus for the lovely day, which I could never enjoy were I an atheist.”

      Why not express your own true thoughts and let them stand on their own merits? Why is adding the dig the only way to be satisfied? Does criticism add gravity to your statement about enjoying the day?

      Sounds like your friend is actually enjoying the day, and you’re enjoying being sarcastic. I would rather experience life as your friend does!

      • Darth Cynic

        This, this is what really gets me about the, ‘you should only ever be nice’, brigade.

        The self-righteous whine – which I always hear in Droopy’s voice – and rank hypocrisy that is intrinsic to berating someone because that someone berated or were snarky to some clueless comment they encountered on fb or elsewhere.  If you truly believe this mawkish kumbaya, let’s all just get along then you go enjoy the park, sunny day, whatever and quit your sanctimonius preaching.  You roll up here and start getting all censorious about how others choose to act then hey, guess what?  You’re the exact person you’re railing against, especially when you make condescending and sarcastic comments like, “You are awesome, and superior to others!”  Practice what you preach and zip it.

        I am sick to the back teeth of these ‘shut up, that’s why’ arguments and positions of the faith folks and their doormat enablers from the non-belief aisle.  Religion in all its deleterious forms has the common property of sitting away up on that pedestal of untouchability.  It has created this absurd space wherein the faith folks get to say and do as they please, whenever and wherever, and never should anyone so much as say boo about it.  By regularly being placed beyond question this perpetuates the excessive hold religion has upon society, it gets a free ride from scrutiny and thus we end up with brain blistering travesties of oppression like that hate filled Amendment 1.  This is a privilige it does not deserve and should not have, and it is not going to go anywhere by being all meek and deferential toward it. 

        The start to eroding the privilege is to push back against it even on the small stuff and that means treating thoughtless, praise jebus fb statuses or comments exactly as they deserve to be.  Bear in mind, I’m not talking about mentions of how proud a parent is about their child’s communion, that’s just an event, could easily have been a win at the spelling bee they’re prattling on about.  I’m talking about stuff like, “WITHOUT GOD… our week would be: Sinday, Mournday, Tearsday, Wasteday, Thirstday, Fightday, Shatterday, Seven days without God – Makes one Weak! (If you’re not ashamed of God, post this to your status.),” or, “God put me through everything because he wanted me to draw closer to him. I will pray very very hard for you. This makes me sick.”  The self important twaddle that gets trotted out on fb and a hundred ‘n’ one comment boards on the net.  For some bizarre reason it’s quite A OK for them to publicly thank Jebus but oh gosh darn it all, it’s just mean to do the same and note a lack of belief.  Why couldn’t the faith person have simply enjoyed the good day, why did Jebus have to get dropped into it?  Because in their small way they are proselytising to everyone else, look at me I believe in Jebus, he makes everything great and I’m telling you so you can also know how great he is.  But no, that’s fine, perfectly acceptable what’s beyond the pale is doing the exact same thing from a non-belief perspective.  Btw it is implicit in, “”I’m grateful to Jesus for the lovely day,” that a day’s loveliness is apparently as a result of JC’s magnanimous intercession and those who do not believe in said saviour are not being thankful and disrespectful of their saviour with all that entails.  It is a dig at all who have not accepted their saviour.

        Here’s the thing, you can think and thank whomever the heck you like but post it anywhere, then you are sticking your hand up, you have chosen to proselytise your supernatural persuasions to all and therefore can take what comes.  If you want to share then expect to be shared with and just as folks may not care for what you’re sharing, you may not care for what they’re sharing back and that’s tough, it’s a two way street, don’t like it then don’t share, simple as.

        Oh and I don’t need god to be good, nowhere in that is there any suggestion that I cannot be angry from time to time.

        • Sindigo

          “Here’s the thing, you can think and thank whomever the heck you like but post it anywhere, then you are sticking your hand up, you have chosen to proselytise your supernatural persuasions to all and therefore can take what comes. ” 

          I couldn’t agree more. People who get offended when someone criticises their beliefs/opinions/whatever when *they* choose to express them in a public forum deserve the internet bitch slap. Too many people forget that they’re shouting to the world when they post of Facebook.

        • Darth Cynic

          Oh and I should clarify that I am not telling folks that any time they see something daft posted they should lay a smack down upon the perpetrator.  Just quit telling those who choose to not let it slide or take it lying down to remain silent.

        • JohnK

          That’s a lot of Atheist proselytizing! We disagree, abviously. Is that OK?

          • http://yetanotheratheist.com/ TerranRich

            Do you even know what proselytizing means? All he’s saying is that you can post what you want, he can post what he wants, my priest cousin can post what he wants about Communion, and my atheist cousin can post what he wants about Christianity being evil. Facebook, and sites like it, are free platforms. Don’t like what somebody is saying? Go and do something else? Feel like responding? That’s your right, too, because anything posted as public to friends (and even to strangers) is open for commenting. There is no reason why one cannot comment on another friend’s post. Should people think twice about hurting somebody’s feelings? Sure, but there are many, many different circumstances in which it might be worth causing somebody to get butt-hurt if what you have to say is something worth hearing/reading.

    • Vukota

      While I agree with your sentiment, your message does come off as a bit passive aggressive. Believe me, I know it’s annoying having friends thanking Jesus for absolutely no reason all the time, but either respond directly or not at all. 

      • http://yetanotheratheist.com/ TerranRich

        Marella is free to say what he/she wants. Are you try to dictate what can and cannot be said on his own Wall? I dislike when people do that to me: I’ll post something they disagree with and they’ll comment that I shouldn’t post this, or why can’t I post about something else, etc. I tell them to hide my feed or un-friend me, but don’t dare to tell me what I can and cannot post.

        • Vukota

          Of course Marella is free to type whatever she wants on her wall. That’s not the point – the point is whether it’s a dick move or not in this one particular instance. I post atheist links all the time on my wall and I’m sure I’ve lost some friends in the process over it. I’m just saying in THIS one particular case in comes off passive-aggressive – if Marella wanted to reply to it, just do it on his/her friends wall directly. 

          • http://yetanotheratheist.com/ TerranRich

            There is something to be said about voicing an opinion without being overly confrontational. Sure, it’s passive-aggressive, but it’s better than the other, equally vocal alternative of possibly causing friction between he and his friend.

  • Daniel Schealler

    “Also, how the hell does a pig type on a computer?”

    Inefficiently.

    (Ba-doom-tsh)

  • biblebeltBetty

    I saw this happening yesterday to someone I used to work with.  She was upset over the Amendment 1 passing and said so on her wall. Then all her Christian “friends” began to (as you all are saying) flame her wall.  She came out to them that she doesn’t believe in gods and hasn’t for a long time. She went on to say their treatment of her support for gay marriage just proves her opinions of them. Then they began to harass and belittle her parenting skills. Saying she was not a good mother to her daughter because she was not teaching her about Jesus. I read through it all and told her to stand firm. She sent me a response that the people bashing her were her in-laws. Yikes. Her posts were well thought out and written. Her “friends” were the snarky ones. 
    We live in NC so we are used to the religious bull. I sent her a link to this site. The only other atheist I know is my 19 year old son. I often feel like a little fish in an ocean of sharks. I’m glad I now know two.

    • Bek

      My mom’s name is Betty!  But she’s in GA and a devout Baptist.  I just wanted to say that I get the little fish in an ocean of sharks feeling.  I think it’s a deep South thing – where, and I certainly may be wrong, it is more traditional to go to church and the free-thinkers are the definite anomalies.  My non-religious job even prays together before meals and things, like it’s unheard of that one of the minions might not believe in their god or the same god.

    • rhodent

      Which part of NC?  Here in the Triangle, there’s a healthy contingent of atheists who are open about it, and I rarely run into any problems myself.  (Mind you, I don’t go around shouting “I am an atheist!”, but if the subject comes up I am always honest.)  Based on my experiences in a smaller town where I used to live (Goldsboro), I’d say there are probably numerous other atheists where you live, too.  It’s just that they are understandably afraid to come out and say it, so they never learn of each other’s existence.

    • Onamission5

      I’m in NC, too, and none of my immediate family here are theists. So, now you “know” six more!

  • Itch

    Heck, make this about Abomination 1  down in NC right now and I’m that Pig. :)

    Personally I thought http://xkcd.com/386/ was abit closer to the truth for me.

  • Rich Lane

    I have many Facebook friends who post religion-inspired thoughts, and I almost never snark on them.  The only exceptions are when they say something flat out, demonstrably wrong like “God triumphed in North Carolina this week.”

    Normally, I simply state my opinion on MY wall and wait for them to come to me.

  • Stev84

    Anecdotally, from what I’ve read, it’s Christians who tend to do this more often. I’ve read tons of stories of atheists posting some harmless secularism- or atheism-related story on their Facebook page, only to be flooded with offensive comments and questions from Christians. That then often leads to self-censorship because they want to avoid this pointless “debates” in the future.

    • LifeInTraffic

      This is me. I don’t comment on friend’s random “inspirational” stuff, though I do roll my eyes a lot in the privacy of my own home. But, I don’t post atheist stuff because I am not in a position to be “out” as an atheist in this town. When I post secular stuff, however, I often get a ton of flaming (or did–I’ve removed most of those people or hidden my feed from them at this point), no matter how innocuous.  The more religious, the more flaming for anything related to secular policy (even if it has nothing to do with religion in any way, they can twist it and make it so).

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Chris-McLaughlin/100000447965254 Chris McLaughlin

    Of course you reply; typically with a response that shows off the silliness of religious beliefs. People should be embarrassed of  their participation in magical ceremonies and other religious nonsense.

  • T-Rex

    Facebook, where keyboard warriors go to fight. Gutless turds argue and flame over the internet.

    • rhodent

      Do you remember the “Arguing on the internet is like competing in the Special Olympics” GIF that was floating around several years ago?  Politically incorrect, yes, but I never heard anyone say it didn’t have a valid point.

  • CallMeTim

    I used to respond to most religious/god themed posts, but realized that I was not talking to anybody but myself.

    Now I limit responses to blatant acts of stupidity, where those posts affect other people, not just the person doing the posting.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tiffany-Jade-Brown/640358790 Tiffany Jade Brown

    For me, living in Mississippi with many friends who are religious, it often is the opposite situation. I will put something on my page and then the crazies come out. For example, when I first came out as an atheist, I posted something that said, “Can’t wait to start writing this article about being a nonbeliever on a Christian campus. I’m a bit nervous.” Nothing offensive, etc. at all in that post. Then, my husband’s crazy uncle decided to reply with “Just make sure you include that Jesus shed his blood for you” or something like that. Needless to say, it turned into a huge debate and we no longer speak to his uncle or aunt (who posted a bunch of lies about me, not directly naming me, of course, on her own wall.)

    So yeah. I never comment on someone’s status when I know it’ll start something. I have thought about it, of course. 

  • Tainda

    No.  My “friends” are free to post as they like, as am I.  Now if they say something about one of my posts, it’s on!  

    The majority of my facebook friends are religious and a few of them extremely so (old high school friends).  I was almost tempted one time when a “friend” was talking about not losing the weight like she wanted to with exercise so she was going to try something basically called The God Diet.  I think it’s diet through prayer or some absolute BS.  I had to walk away from the computer so I wouldn’t say something very cruel.

  • Gus Snarp

    I very often roll my eyes at the religious things my Facebook friends post, but I never comment on them unless they are expressly asking for comment or are making a political argument. I have one friend who will write a litany of terrible thinks that have befallen her family and then praise God:

    Well, Jim lost his job, I’m in the hospital again and it looks like little Timmy will need surgery. Hopefully little Jill will be out of the ICU in time for her third birthday party. Too bad there won’t be any presents. God is so good, I know He’s looking out for us and will provide.

    It’s all I can do not to comment, all sorts of things go through my head. Finally I had to hide her status updates, because actually saying what I want to say would be awfully dickish, and there’s no way I would do it. 

    Another friend’s Facebook status one day was:

    Just got back from the Creation Museum! So awesome to see God’s truth on display!

    There was no irony intended. I did not comment. With where I went to high school, if I made that kind of comment on my friends’ Facebook statuses, I would have very few people from high school on my Facebook anymore. And I may not want to hang out with those people, but they’re mostly decent human beings and I’m always curious to know what they’re up to and willing to let them know what I’m up to.Libertarians are another story.I have found out who the non religious, politically liberal, and gay people from my high school were, and they’re some of my favorite people to have in my Facebook feed, so that makes up for some of the religious crap.

  • http://northierthanthou.com/ northierthanthou

    How does a pig type? Oh ye of little faith!

  • The Other Weirdo

    How does a pig type? Very well, thank you.

  • http://gloomcookie613.tumblr.com GloomCookie613

    No and very carefully.

  • Onamission5

    I must be the only person left on earth who isn’t on FB. The more I read about people’s FB dramatics and complaints, the more I’m okay with that.

  • ReadsInTrees

    I flame in a quieter, more passive way (unless it’s a direct attack). For example, my fiance is in law enforcement, and I’m part of a group for spouses of said law enforcement officers….When one of the other wives posts something like, “I thank God that John came out alive from that altercation with the armed robber!” I usually “like” the comment and then post a cheerful reply like, “I am thankful everyday for the wonderful instructors at the police academy and the hours of training and experience that our guys have that prepare them  to handle incidents like this!” Not a direct jab, but specifically NOT thanking a deity for how events occurred, instead placing the credit where credit it due. Another example is when someone posts something like, “Rick is responding well to stem cell transplant and the doctors think he may be through the worst of it. Thank you all for praying, it really works!” My response will be, “So glad to hear that Rick is doing better! It’s great that medical science has advanced to where we can use such amazing procedures to save lives. I’m so grateful that scientists have pursued research in areas like stem cells so that doctors can use their findings to save lives!” Again, showing support for their glad tidings, while still focusing credit where it’s due.

  • Nope

    Yeah, I do this all the time.  I don’t like religion and I don’t respect religious people.  It’s fun.

  • Kodie

    I don’t usually use fb as a platform for my truest deepest personal opinions and feelings. I will think twice before airing my own grievances at a person (who is not my friend) or the world in general, or when I’m feeling at my worst. I try to keep an upbeat image that’s still honest. Personal policy – anyone may use fb for whatever, but I feel like it is my “blog,” and I like to keep a non-controversial image of myself, and I want to keep it from running the range to deep dark ugly times in my life, out of regard for my privacy and to keep others from battling me when it’s the last thing I need.

    I hold my tongue, I don’t post atheist things, I do post secular things, I might like someone else’s comments or like a particular page, even if clearly atheist. The worst is my sister, and she’s gotten better (less frequent). We don’t get along and she is super-easy to set off and cry victim, so she posts icky newage things once in a while and I refrain from getting into arguments with her. I tend to regard her as not really my friend but my fb friend, so I back off where I might want to say something, I’m not the one she is posting those things about. I think it is more where she is groping for some rope to climb out of an emotionally negative state, and those airy-fairy shares are for her real friends.  But she is like me, most of what she posts are songs she likes. I have another “friend,” someone I barely know from a forum I used to post to that has nothing to do with religion. She likes to pray. I know she is a Christian, but she doesn’t say a lot about that, just that one of her favorite things to do is pray. She also posts weird stuff like looking for a water filter because she read some bs about hexagonal water(?), I forget. After that, I put her on “hide.” She’s a nice woman I don’t know talking about stuff that’s crap I just put her on ignore.

    I have another friend who is an atheist (one of several that I know of among my friends) and yet I don’t agree with his politics. I sometimes say but mostly I don’t. I talk with him on the phone a lot and I can tell him or ask him about it later. He had asked me what he should do about one of his other friends constantly posting stuff about homeopathy. I don’t think it’s passive-aggressive to counter those comments by posting on your own page, usually in the form of an article with facts in it, apropos of “nothing,” or an xkcd comic panel, things they can’t really say is just your opinion, or a light-hearted jab in the form of someone else’s sense of humor, tends to make people feel less like they are being attacked and maybe even informed and doesn’t destroy the friendship. I do do this sometimes, if someone (like even my sister) posts something, I will find some way to message an adjacent article I found and maybe she’ll read it and get something from it, but it won’t feel like I’m directly answering her bullshit, because all she will feel is attacked. Just because the relationship is beyond repair (imo), doesn’t mean I have to make it worse. What would that say to my intentions, to say anything? That you are wrong to believe feel-good horseshit – she will hear “I hate you, you’re stupid, and you don’t deserve a better life.” An adjacently relevant article on my own wall that she can absorb privately if she finds it interesting will just be information to help her or have zero value at worst.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=509794993 Orson Sedmina

    I don’t know if this is a flame war, but it sure is fun.

    http://www.facebook.com/orson.sedmina/posts/170388896421535?notif_t=share_comment

  • MartyM

    A FB friend once posted how God was good when a gentleman in their church had gotten a big church meal and support from his congregation after his wife and child were killed in a car accident.  It was all I could do not to post that a good God would have saved this man’s family, not just provide a community meal after their deaths.  I didn’t say anything.

    It does get my goat that Christians fee free to post whatever inspirational nonsense they want, but my atheist friends don’t feel that same freedom.  I know others have said this before…

  • beatlefreak9

    He types the same way Strong Bad types with boxing gloves on!

  • Rainer Delgado

    I posted a comment about zombie cannibalism and vampirism.  The reply I got endeared me all the more to her.  “Shaddup” I heard it in Rocky’s voice from Bugs and Thugs.

  • MG

    Hee–I love that this turned into a flame war.  And on topic: no; I love my family, even though they suffer from delusions. I try really hard to not hurt them intentionally.

  • Arielmerm8

    I actually “lost” a longtime friend when I expressed concern over my 3 year old coming home from a secular preschool taking about believing in god. My friend, a devout Christian, asked why it was a bad thing. I responded calmly for the first few exchanges, but then made a comment about how my daughter believed in Santa and the tooth fairy, so another mythical believe for her would die out as she grew older… She “unfriended” me after that.


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