Holier Than My Friend Count, Part 2

As promised, I posted at least one atheist quote per day throughout the month of April, and am now (finally) reporting back with the results of my little experiment.

Comments

Comments for all quotes totaled 121 – about half of which were on a single and somewhat inflammatory thread.  The remaining comments were dispersed throughout the month averaging about two comments per post.

Likes

The grand total of “likes” came to 126.  This includes likes of the actual quote only – not likes of any comments pertaining to the quotes.

Friend Count

Before: 682

After: 674

In order to keep the results as clean as possible, I did not accept or make any friend requests during the entire month of April. All six people who defriended me did it before the experiment was even half over. Honestly, I have no idea which friends defriended me during my experiment or even if it had anything to do with the atheist quotes.  I do find it interesting to note, however, that none of my pro-religion friends who engaged in conversation with me actually defriended me during the process. They spoke their minds about my quotes (some more vehemently than others) and are all still members of my social graph.

My Least Favorite Part

It’s super easy to find quotes online by and about atheists. Unfortunately, verifying that the quotes are actually valid and well-cited was a bit of a challenge. I could easily spend up to 20 or 30 minutes trying to verify a really good quote just to find out that the person to whom the quote was attributed was only hearsay.

My Favorite Part

Learning more about famous atheists was incredibly rewarding. I’m completely obsessed with Douglas Adams, yet I had no idea he was an atheist.  I also discovered that  Robert Heinlein is an atheist, though I probably shouldn’t have been surprised.  Ricky Gervais is an intelligent and well-spoken atheist.  I was aware that Mark Twain was an atheist, but this experiment inspired me to finally get around to reading Letters from Earth.

Closing Thoughts

It’s funny. I’ve spent years being mostly silent about my views on religion because I hate causing conflict or ruffling feathers. Historically, I’d do anything to keep someone from feeling uncomfortable or unaccepted because of religious beliefs – but this has only resulted in causing myself to feel uncomfortable and unaccepted. Those days are over.

Social etiquette dictates that religion and politics should only be discussed at very specific times – such as at church, on Fox “News”, and random, deep, intellectual, existential conversations with strangers in cafes. And on Facebook.  A big thanks to everyone who participated in, encouraged, or barely tolerated my experiment.

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Holier Than My Friend Count

I recently read this article on Mashable about women and their Facebook friends.  While I can only really relate to two or three of the categories of Facebook friends defined, I do believe an important one was left out: Holier-Than-Thou.  The Drama Queen and One-Upper are indeed annoying, but the type of Facebook friends I find most irritating are the ones who constantly post religious garble into my feed.*  Unfortunately, I actually genuinely like most of these people, and often they have interesting things to say – so I don’t want to de-friend them or filter out their updates.  I just patiently glance over their posts and carry on with my day.

Generally, I think I’m a fairly patient atheist.  I will gladly (and politely) listen to anything anyone remotely rational has to say about religion – and all I ask in return is that its not sold to me.  Not so shockingly, I’m not awarded the same respect or patience if I attempt talk to a religious person about my very comfortable lack of religion.  Somehow atheism makes religious people uncomfortable – yet they don’t seem to care that their verbose online religious exultations make others (religious or not) uncomfortable.

In the spirit of discomfort (and spring cleaning), I have decided that throughout the month of April, I will post at least one quote by an atheist – or about atheism – each day.  It is an experiment.  How will these quotes be received? Will people comment on them to spark interesting conversation or debate?  Will they “like” them? But mostly, I want to see how/if my friend count is affected by my joyful lack of faith.  Currently, my friend count is 682.  I’ll post again at the end of April with my new friend count and any interesting threads or stories that may come of this.  Let the blasphemy begin.

*For the record, my rant is not gender-specific.