a bench with a view

a bench with a view

Saturday, July 23, 2016

What say you

Okay, I want your honest opinions about this. Don't hold back, I can take it.

I belong to a Facebook group for people who live in Prescott. Granted, I don't live in Prescott any more and one day I'll unjoin the group but when I lived there it was a great source to find restaurants, learn about things going on, etc. 

People can post on it. There are a few guidelines, like no pornography, have it related to Prescott, no selling of items, etc.

Tonight a woman posted a gorgeous Prescott sunset and wrote "God is good."

A guy commented "That's just the sky. God isn't real. Quit pushing your beliefs on people. Great picture though."

She replied back "Sorry I offended you." 

(Now before I go on, she does a lot of posting on Facebook, pictures, encouragement and if people are going through a rough time she'll say she's praying for them, but I have yet to see her really "shove down" her faith and beliefs on this page. She doesn't post Bible verses, she doesn't preach, she just encourages and prays for people.)

I was a bit spunky (I usually don't post much on the page, just read what others say) so I left a comment "Actually I don't think she is pushing her beliefs, she is just simply stating a fact she believes to be true which I believe to also be true. A person can scroll past if they don't agree, but she has the right to post what she wants and she has the right to believe what she chooses to believe, which in this case is the truth. God is good."

He responded back "You too are pushing your beliefs on others. You simply don't get it." 

And he was right, I didn't get it. She simply made a statement. People have made other statements about other religions and beliefs there, just as statements. Not pushing, not evangelizing, just stating.

My last reply was "no I guess I don't, but I believe I say hope you have a nice day tomorrow. I hope that's not pushing it too far 

To which he replied "You as well, thank you." 

To which I just hit like.

So, here's my thing. Was she pushing her beliefs? She made a simple statement 

God is good with a picture of a pretty sunset.

Why would someone take it offensively and think she was shoving her beliefs down his throat? 

You guys are all respectful of me with my beliefs and I try (I know I'm not 100% perfect) to be respectful of yours and other peoples beliefs. 

I'm just curious your thoughts. Think she was over the line for pushing her beliefs? Think he was just having a bad day? 

He right?

She right for posting something?

I'm clueless here. I don't get it.

Do you?

58 comments:

EcoCatLady said...

Hmmm... well, first of all I will say that I do not think that either her comments or yours were in any way offensive. If anyone was pushing their beliefs down anyone's throat, I think it was probably him.

That being said, as a person who was born and raised as an atheist (more of an armchair Buddhist these days) I have to say that being a non-Christian in this culture can sometimes be really difficult. There is an expectation that we should try very hard not to say anything that might offend Christians, but seldom is that courtesy extended to us. In fact, Christians seem to have absolutely no compunction about knocking on my door, arguing with my most cherished beliefs and telling me that I'm going to hell. Can you imagine if Muslims started doing that sort of thing to Christians? How would it make you feel about affirmations of Muslim faith?

My point is simply that Christians are the majority in this country, and there is a non-trivial population of Christians who are openly hostile to people who don't share their beliefs. So when you're a non-Christian living in that world, it's sometimes hard not to hear affirmations of Christian faith as a sort of veiled threat, or at the very least a statement that says "You are not welcome here" - whether that was the intent or not.

The best analogy I can come up with would be if someone posted a wedding photo with a comment that read "Being Straight is Good!" or a photo of a blonde-haired blue-eyed child with a comment reading "White people are Good!" I don't think being an atheist is anywhere near as hard as being black or being gay in this culture, but you get the idea.

I'm now struggling with whether to post this comment or not, because I fear I have said something that will offend you or some other Christian, and that's not my intent at all - this was just my feeble attempt at open cross-cultural communication.

salemslot9 said...

Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.

Darryl Rhynes said...

No she was not pushing her beliefs on him. It seems to be the sign of the times when some are offended by the simplest and harmless words. She was being kind and considerate. Have a great and blessed day.

I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

There is always going to be someone that disagrees no matter when or where you go.

Joanne Noragon said...

That fellow doesn't get it. He paused to reply to push his beliefs, but he doesn't understand that is what he did. Too bad the original poster felt the need to say "Sorry."

Intense Guy said...

This is why I detest social media. Everyone has an opinion about eveything, ignorant or knowledgable I just completely ignore folks I disagree with, don't get drawn into arguing, because you will never win against the small minded.

Maria Zannini said...

I get a little punchy when people start getting all offended over a person's opinion. This knee jerk reaction stopped being funny a long time ago.

The guy doesn't think it's God's creation. Fine. But that doesn't mean he can trample the freedom of speech of someone who feels differently.

That's what it boils down to. Freedom of speech means freedom of speech, and that includes stuff we don't want to see. I think he needs to put on his big boy pants and lay off the PC sauce. It's getting ridiculous.

Intense Guy said...

P.s. Whatever happened to the "If you can't say something nice, don't say it at all" courtesy?

jack69 said...

WE have carried the PC too far in this country, IN MY OPINION. NO she was not offensive, neither were you and I did like your entries.

However I do not like what has happened in the past few years, 'The tail wagging the dog," syndrome.

The minority has never 'ruled' the majority. WE vote in this country and the Majority ALWAYS rules. That is probably a stretch.

BUT, but an opinion or a statement is NOT pushing a belief, it is simply an opinion. You done well! God is Good.

Kat said...

No, technically speaking she was not pushing her beliefs on anyone. It was a statement and not a command. She was stating what she was thinking not giving others a command. The man, however, was pushing his beliefs on you. Kind of ironic, I think.

Kat said...

Her sentence was Declarative not Imperative. ;)

Changes in the wind said...

Last I checked we click on the blogs we wish to read. It is not the bloggers job to please or impress the reader but rather the opportunity to express as they wish and as long as it isn't calling for the death of cops or infidels there should be no problems...choose another blog to read.

Pat Hatt said...

lol wow, I've seen some bible thumpers in my day but she really, really, really...doesn't even compare. If one is offended by that they need to get off the internet. The only one pushing any beliefs was him. She never even said it was true, sure she believes it, but she just captioned the photo. Then again you can simply say the sky is blue and offend someone these days.

Jo said...

I basically agree with EcoCatLady. I don't think she was pushing her beliefs down his throat.

Mac n' Janet said...

No she was not trying to push her beliefs on to others, she made a simple statement. I'm so sick of the political correctness these days. Take offense is you choose, but realize that's not what others are necessarily trying to do.

vanilla said...

Why take offense? Simply this: Some people spin around and around in their circumscribed little world looking for things at which to take offense. Sad.

Bijoux said...

It's really only been in the last 5 years where it's become an acceptable practice to mock Christians about their beliefs, here in America, at least. It's sad to me that we've come so far in teaching our children about respecting others' beliefs, values, sexuality, etc., but Christianity is now ignored at best, and the subject of hatred at worst.

Reality set in when I read some of my daughters' college textbooks on early education. Every religious holiday is to be taught and celebrated, except Christmas and Easter. You can't even use the words anymore. Good grief!

Birgit said...

He needs to take a pill! How's that for direct:) she sounds like a wonderful person who means well and now she may second guess all she writes because one person chose to make a negative comment on her positive one. I hope she keeps posting what she believes in. I am not a religious person but more a spiritual one but I do not take offence at all if someone posts their religious beliefs. I have had clients tell me "(God bless you) and some really meant it while others said it to manipulate me into feeling guilty because I was telling them something they didn't want to hear. Saying God is Good is not bad but causally positive and, well, true. Tell her, from me, to not let the comment from one controlling person to change her ways but to keep on posting what she loves to post. Good for you for saying what you said.

Joanne said...

I think that was just her way of expressing happiness. Nothing wrong with that. I'm not close to religious, but when I had surgery and folks said they'd pray for me, I'd say thank you. I probably needed that help. Folks just get way too caught up in the nits. I'm a go with the flow and I think you handled it very nicely.

lyndagrace said...

I don't understand this guys need to comment at all about such an innocuous statement. Unless, of course, it was to stir the pot and draw attention to himself and apparently he accomplished that. But, you know when the norm now is to engage in unkind behavior, hiding anonymously behind a keyboard, I'm not surprised.
I probably would not have engaged, just ignored him and then continue to post as I like.

Mevely317 said...

I'm so sorry you felt compelled to re-examine your words, Betty. That oaf appears to have been totally out of line.

We have a similar fella in our on-line regional group (NextDoor) who inserts himself in others' 'conversations', I suspect for no other reason than to provoke.
Plus, my best friend in high school? She's scary smart ... excelled on the debate team. Today, Liz regularly makes inflammatory remarks on others' FB posts, in what I think's a (pathetic) attempt to incite.

Kudos for taking the high road! :)

Mevely317 said...

P.S. -
God is good ... all of the time!

Paula Kaye said...

I think most of what I feel has already been said. But I will still put in my two cents! I find that so many people, who hide behind their keyboards, think it is okay to throw about their opinions in ways that are often rude and insensitive. Why he even needed to comment escapes me. I think he was looking to incite! The best thing to do with those kinds of people is to ignore them or block them. They want to raise a stink. I think the way you answered him was very appropriate. Sometimes we have to stand up for what we believe in. If that was what he was trying to do then he needs to learn how to do it in a kinder manner!! God is Good Betty!!

LuAnn Braley said...

My family moved from MD to Salt Lake City when I was 9 years old. We were not Mormon, although a majority of people living there at the time were of that faith. A number of other families from my father's employer were transferred at the same time. Some of them expected to have problems with people who were Mormon - and, if they were looking for trouble, they were bound to find it. I had no preconceived notions and thus did not have problems with the Mormon children.

BTW, my idea of 'pushing beliefs' on someone is to say something like, "I am X. You should be X too. You are going to a very hot place if you are not X." Simply stating one's belief should not garner such a response. There is that whole 1st Amendment free speech thing. But some people don't want you to talk unless you say things with which they agree.

Ann Bennett said...

I have a hard time with voicing my opinion in that I am a Christian. I was an agnostic for a portion of my life. I just had a point in my life when I became a believer.
He was too prickly. I read the first commentator's viewpoint and her feelings are valid. There are some people with no respect for other people's opinions and they can be very overbearing when their beliefs are shared by the majority. However, I hope catlady finds some people are only stating a belief they have.
I had black friends talk about mean things white folks had done to them and their families when I was young. Being a Southerner, I was polite and listened. Inside I bristled. As I became older, I acknowledged they felt comfortable enough to give their feelings. They weren't accusing me or blaming my ethnicity. They were just describing what happened. My initial feelings had to do more with how I received the information from my point of view.
You just have to consider the source. This is a good topic and vent Betty.

Wendy said...

Unless the group rules specifically say NO REFERENCE WHATSOEVER to religion, then she broke no rule. If she was pushing her beliefs, then he did too. If she didn't ask for money or threaten him with burning in hell if he didn't agree, then she wasn't pushing. He is just another person who has drunk the liberal kool-aid that encourages everyone to be offended for something. Where I live, one Jehovah's Witness child couldn't pledge the flag, so now nobody can. One Muslim and suddenly there's no Christmas party. It is no longer "majority rules," it's "minority rules." Don't get me wrong - I welcome diversity. But now my views are squelched but I'm not supposed to be offended because I'm Christian and we're the devil, apparently. Personally, I'm not really offended because I thought in America people were allowed to express opinions. It's an opinion - others can accept it or not, agree or not, big deal. Now people think they're SUPPOSED to be offended. Are people so weak that they need the government to take up for them at every turn? Is the poster on the Prescott board so weak that he can't scroll past a statement he doesn't agree with without having to show his arse? I'd say, "Don't get me started," but it's too late - you got me started!

Plowing Through Life (Martha) said...

I'm not a religious person by any means, Betty, despite having been raised in a very conservative Christian home. I'm spiritual with my own definition of life and although I don't practice it, I do admire the Buddhist philosophy. But I do have many family members (including my mother and brother) and friends who feel very close to God, continue to practice their religion and attend church services regularly. I've never taken offense or been upset when they share images or posts about God or their faith. This is important to them. And very real. I could picture standing next to my mother and watching a sunset together. She'd say something similar to what that lady posted on Facebook and I'd just smile and think about the gorgeous colours and the amazing photograph it would make. As long as people are not pushing their faith on me or telling me I'm going to burn in hell, I couldn't care less. Everyone has the right to believe what they want to believe. Freedom of and freedom from religion; for me it's that simple. In this case, in my opinion, it's the guy that was pushy. The woman was just making a statement. She wasn't harassing anyone. It seems, though, that he was.

Chatty Crone said...

I am a Christian. We have freedom of speech. She said God is good - she didn't tell him he had to believe it. I feel sorry for the man.

God is good -

Pudge450 said...

What kind of response do you think there would be if similar comments were posted using "satan" in lieu of "God"? It's really a matter of perspective. I do grow a little weary of people who constantly post invoking "God" into every situation. I have a couple of relatives who do that and believe me, it is all for show. Their reality is far from the image they try to project. I personally think saying, "This is so beautiful" conveys the message. But, posting "God is good" is a form of pushing your views. But then, the Bible does tell Christians to spread the word. I have dumped a couple of people on Facebook because it became so annoying. It's their right to do it and my right to remove them. Problem solved.

And having read this you probably put me in the same category as the man who took issue with the comment; but, I keep my beliefs to myself. I do, however, give an opinion occasionally.

yaya said...

And this is one reason I try not to take anything on Facebook too seriously. I would not be offended by her or your comment. I do believe God is good...I believe He's even better than that. I think everyone has a right to their own belief system. I don't think that commenter realized he's pushing his belief in no God just the same as anyone who does the opposite. So can't we just agree to disagree and go about life being good people?

Barbara In Caneyhead said...

You know I don't see anything offensive in what the woman said. This is anger, hatred that is ultimately directed toward God

Juli G said...

I think he was instigating and she was not pushing. Honestly, I'm glad it didn't get too down and dirty, because that ruins the entire post about the ultimate beauty of the sunset, regardless of how she or he believed it was created.

Let's take religion out of it...

I write about my kids and my experiences of being a mother. If someone doesn't have kids, or want to be a parent, am I forcing my beliefs down their throat? Nope. Do I condemn them for their choice? Nope.

Hopefully I made them laugh and then they went on their way...

Saleslady371 said...

He is under great conviction to react like that. God has His finger on him and you and the other gal are vessels used to touch what our Heavenly Father is doing. Don't take this personally. I admire that you spoke up. You encouraged the other believer too. We all have free speech but those without faith are not tolerant though they want us to be. Good job, my friend.

Linda said...

I'm sure the ACLU would love to shut it down! Free speech and be kind.

Megan Whitson Lee said...

No, she was not, but that does not surprise me. The overall climate right now is such that anyone saying anything that even mentions God in a public forum is considered pushy and narrow-minded. It is disturbing...freedom of speech for some.

Secret Agent Woman said...

I think if it were on her own page, that would be absolutely fine. But on the community page, not really. I wouldn't have said she was pushing her beliefs exactly but I think saying that she believes "the truth" implies that his view that there is no god is wrong and her and yours is right. I get that you believe that and that's fair enough, but I don't think it's okay to assume that everyone is okay with it.

Liz A. said...

EcoCatLady and Pudge450 have some good points. As a non-Christian, it's sometimes hard to see a lot of God comments on things and not feel... It's not offense. It's more of an irritation. I think the guy was a bit over the top. The woman's comment was innocuous enough. He didn't need to respond so in such a hostile manner.

It's easy to hear things when you agree with them. When you don't, it's a matter of live and let live. As it had no impact on him, he didn't need to react in such a manner. But I'm going to assume that he was transferring his anger about something else onto this. But I don't know anything for sure.

Sheena-kay Graham said...

I would have told him to stop pushing is belief on others. Since he does not believe in God that is still a belief and he needs to enjoy his own and leave other people's alone. It's funny two people can like or dislike a restaurant but someone can't say God is good with a sunset? He should have brought that line to me. I would post everyday. Let him go tell someone who post a picture of McDonald's that he does not believe they have good food. I mean who cares it's an open forum. Go post somewhere where they don't allow people to post openly as long as it's appropriate.

Secret Agent Woman said...

I had another thought about this as I was driving to work. Basically, the original poster was saying the photo of the sunset is proof of God's goodness. Which is her belief and would be fine on a religious page or her own. But one way to think about it is to imagine that the guy posted a sunset with the caption "Proof that you don't need a god to have a beautiful sunset." Or something like that. It might feel like a slam at your own way of thinking, as the original post felt like a jab at his. I think everyone who is suggesting retaliatory posts is flat wrong, the guy was just asking for a little awareness. Even though he didn't ask gracefully.

And in truth, I think he didn't handle it well. I think it would have been better to respectfully ask that people be aware that it is a community page where all belief systems, including those that don't involve a god, are represented and not make religious or anti-religious posts of any sort.

Chrys Fey said...

I can see how the mention of "God" in anything, especially a FB group that's not about religion, can upset people who don't share that same belief. While I don't think it's offensive, the image of the sunset with "God is good" could rub others the wrong way if they don't believe God is responsible for the sunset.

The man didn't reply back correctly, though. With his "God isn't real" he's doing the same thing as she did with "God is good." While her intention might not have been to push her religion on anyone, he definitely did with "God isn't real."

As for your comment and him saying you're doing the same thing...I can see what he's saying because of your reply "which in this case is the truth." You're saying your right, she's right, but he's wrong. That is pushing your belief as the only correct one. You said "she has the right to believe what she chooses," but he doesn't? I know you were defending the woman, but it goes the same way.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

There was nothing pushy about what she said. I'm a Christian and I wouldn't have been offended if she had said 'Allah is good." Or Mother Earth is good. At least the discourse was mostly respectful. There seems to be so little of that now.

Lisa notes... said...

I think Facebook is a crazy place! ha. I certainly don't think she was offensive or out of line to say what she said. He didn't have to respond back at all. We all read things we don't like or agree with, but we don't start an argument over it on Facebook. But sometimes it's hard to resist. I've had to unfollow a few friends just to keep myself in line :)

TARYTERRE said...

People are too easily offended about everything these days. Being free to express oneself verbally is a gift. I see both points of view. But don't think either was offensive.

Ruth said...

I am not religious and you know that. I think you are very respectful regarding others and their beliefs. I have so many friends and relatives that proclaim God is good along with a lot more. That is what they believe. I did find it rude that one of my cousins told my niece that she was sorry that my niece was not a Christian. But, this woman in your group said nothing of the kind. I do notice that so many people are more forthcoming about their religious beliefs. People that I never knew were religious are now posting all kinds of God stuff. Maybe that guy was just tired of seeing it. I don't know.

Optimistic Existentialist said...

I am not religious at all, but I believe that he was wrong, not her. She was simply making a statement. Not pushing anything on anyone. Make me mad when my fellow progressives act like that.

Kathleen Valentine said...

I swear, some people spend all their time looking for a fight. I'm not real into pushing God stuff but if people want to do it, let them. It's not hurting anything.

Debby@Just Breathe said...

I liked her statement with her picture. However I am a Christian and that statement would never offend me. I also don't believe that her saying that is pushing religion on anyone.

netablogs said...

As far as I can tell, she made a statement on how she views the world. I don't think that is 'pushing beliefs'. It's pretty scary when you can't say something as benign as 'God is good' without getting push back. Some may disagree with that statement, but that doesn't mean people shouldn't be free to express that sentiment. I don't get it either.

baili said...

I think he was having a bad day .I don't practice my religious duties much there is little portion of time in my day when my soul deeply eng strongly connects to the God to pay gratitude to him for everything he gifted me and to rlive my spirit, I can't feel hesitate to say that i pity on them who don't realise the presence of their own creator around them

Jeff Bushman said...

Some people are just simply trolls and love to argue on the internet.
Tolerance and choice should be the basic blocks of any religion or any non-religion. Simply put...be nice.

Back Porch Writer said...

I think Facebook has shown us that there are all sorts of people (many crazy, many selfish) and there are most certainly those that want their rights not only heard but crammed down other's throats - by way of trying to push their buttons, bully them, make fun of them, etc. All of those folks are just the devil trying to thread his way into our peaceful God filled lives. I have chosen just to do an "eye roll" and go on. Not even wanting to discuss or allow them to hear my side of anything. They just bash and burrow and continue to try annoy. The eye roll of course they can't see (would never do that in person, but that is how I get back at them I guess, lol). I suppose we just pray for them.

Lisa said...

I dont think she was pushing her belieff. This is a shout out the non belivers will throw at believers. Sadly, any mention of God offends some people. This breaks my heart. God makes all things beautiful. I could not go through my day without him.
When someone says I push my beilef or offend them, they are actually pushing me to beieve their way.
Lisa

Sunni said...

I don't believe that gal was posting and/or pushing her beliefs on anyone either when she wrote the caption under the sunset she posted. She probably should have ignored the guy's comment altogether.

Everyone has a right to believe what he/she wants to, but some people out there like to stir things up. I go with the flow of all and try to get along no matter what someone's beliefs are. I'm not overly religious and I wouldn't be offended by a picture with a caption. I think he was having an issue.

Sunni

Veronica Lee said...

Seriously?!!! Nope she was not trying to push her beliefs on to others at all. It was just a simple statement! Even if she was, it's a free world,isn't it and everyone is entitled to their opinion.

Elizabeth said...

I do not think either of you were pushing your beliefs on him. She was just making a statement about what she believes, and he, in turn, stated what he believed while accusing her of pushing her beliefs on others. This guy may have just had a bad day, but I do think there are people out there (especially on Facebook) just looking for a reason to find offense and argue.

The Brown Recluse (TBR) said...

I get it. But I have to be careful saying exactly what it is I get. People are so self-centered these days that if you say something they don't like or don't agree with, you are a hater, a racist, "pushing your...whatever."
These are the same people who say, "I'm an atheist, God doesn't exist, and expect you to be perfectly fine with his beliefs.

When he said, "Atheist...God doesn't exist." That just may have been when I would say, "Quit pushing your beliefs down my throat.

Danielle L Zecher said...

I know I'm late commenting, and it looks like there have been some well thought out responses. My opinion, for what it's worth, is that both parties were maybe a little out of line.

I think if it's a page just for Prescott a more appropriate caption might have been something along the lines of "beautiful sunset in Prescott this evening" and posting the same picture on her personal page with her thoughts on God's goodness.

That being said, I don't think what she said merited being called out on it on Facebook. Even if you're not a believer, I don't think there was an implication that you're evil. He could have just ignored the post, or even said "Buddha/Odin/Etc is good". Arguing on Facebook definitely isn't going to change someone's mind, and is unlikely to change their behavior.

I have to say, it does sound like the exchange ended much faster and much more civilly than most I've seen. Maybe you diffused things.

It's just said how quickly things are getting ugly on Facebook right now. That's why I mostly post pet pictures. :-)

Interesting topic.

Mary Degli Esposti said...

I'm an atheist, & her comment would not have offended me. I would not have felt the picture had anything to do with God, but it would not have made me feel "pushed" in any direction.