Today is one of those days when I feel completely disgusted and frustrated by religion in general, and particularly with the ignorant, conservative religion so prevalent in my area. I discovered that another "family" member unfriended me on Facebook, almost certainly because of my recent outspokenness in regards to my atheism.
I was discussing this with Bonnie, and she admitted to me that when she meets new people on the playground, at soccer, or elsewhere, often one of the first questions they ask her is, "Where do you go to church?" She says she never knows what to answer and usually says something like, "We go to different churches" or "We haven't found a church we really like yet." It breaks my heart knowing that the vast majority of her peers think that the church a person attends is an important indicator in whether or not the person will be a new friend. As much as I want to tell my daughter, "Be honest about your own beliefs and the people worthy of your friendship won't judge you for something you believe or don't believe," I can't say that, knowing from my own experience that honesty could easily lead to her losing or not making friends.
I don't know what the answer is. I've told Bonnie that she is allowed to decide for herself not only what she believes in regards to religious faith, but what she chooses to tell others. I suppose I wish that all parents could teach their kids that there is more than one way to live a good life, and that what a person believes doesn't matter. If I can't get that, can I just get some tolerance for those with different beliefs? Like, could you go on believing I'm going to burn in hell but not teach your kids to tell my kids that?
As for my family members who don't want to be confronted from my atheism on Facebook, can you just hide me from your newsfeed and still be my friend? That way you can still check in on me, send me messages, see pictures of my kids, and so on, without ever having to read anything I post unless you want to. How do you think I manage to stay friends with so many people who link to Fox "News" articles? :)