November 12, 2008

Atheists, What Did You Put Under "Religious Views" On Facebook?

Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...Image via CrunchBaseI believe I mentioned here recently that I had been playing around with Facebook. Since I am using my real name and not planning to promote my blog there (at least not just yet), I was not sure what to make of the "religious views" line on my profile. Coincidentally, a reader e-mailed me and asked my opinion about this very issue just as I was confronting it myself. She did not want to put "atheist" under religion because she recognized that atheism is not a religion and did not want to pretend it was. This led her to think of simply putting "none" in the space. However, she wasn't sure she liked this idea much better. Given my goals in using Facebook, I ended up just leaving the religion line blank for now. For those of you using Facebook, what was your solution?

The reader, whose identity I will protect here, described her dilemma as follows:
I have been reading your blog for a while now either through the site or my RSS feed, and I love it! I think yours is actually my favorite blog. So I have a question for you and/or your readers. Its about my facebook profile, specifically the line called "religious views." Now you or a lot of your readers may not think that facebook is that important, but as a college student now it actually is - for fun and for practical purposes such as networking. It is also the primary way to define yourself for people who know you, which is why I want my "religious views" line to be accurate. For the last few years my profile has read "atheist," but I haven't ever liked it because atheism isn't a religious view, it is the opposite. "None" would be more accurate but at the same time it is kind of vague since spiritual people, agnostics, ignostics etc. could all describe their religious views as none. Recently I have considered putting down Pastafarianism, but again that doesn't really define me as an atheist. So "atheist" is most accurate, but at the same time I feel like I am reinforcing the idea that atheism is a religion, and that is something I don't want to do, especially since a large percentage of my friends (most of whom are on facebook) are Christians that are already ignorant about atheism.

Any thoughts?
She's certainly right about many Christians being ignorant about atheism. Sadly, we could say the same for some humanists! Anyway, do you have any advice?

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