Social Question

jealoustome's avatar

What do you do when your Facebook friends post political or religious items that are diametrically opposed to your personal beliefs/philosophies?

Asked by jealoustome (1514 points ) February 28th, 2010

Many of my Facebook friends are people I knew when I was a child or teenager. We have grown to be worlds apart, ideologically speaking. When they post items about their religious or political beliefs, I stay silent. But, sometimes, I find what they are saying offensive. Do you ever confront rhetoric from old friends or do you try to maintain a friendly, if not close, relationship with old classmates/friends?

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59 Answers

Dr_C's avatar

Ignore it and move on. Simple, quick, and avoids unnecessary confrontation.

If you feel like you have to say something about this or you’ll burst because it’s just sooooooo offensive, or that the world can’t continue to function correctly unless everyone knows and reads your views and opinions on what your friend says you have the option to “unlike” or post a comment.

In most cases ignoring it will make it go away. It’s the internet, people will continue to post garbage and your commenting on it won’t make much of a difference and might just lead to fighting with a friend over something inconsequential in the grand scheme of things.

DarkScribe's avatar

You cannot control how others think. They have a right to religious and political beliefs that you might find offensive. They are friends, not clones.

jbfletcherfan's avatar

I do what DrC does. I just go on. I’m sent a lot of stuff like that from a certain friend & I just hit the ‘ignore’ button.

faceshwaltz's avatar

I usually just ignore it. Most people I know don’t push the issue when I do that.

cockswain's avatar

I can’t help but go for the throat. I have a difficult time maintaining friendships with people who are diametrically opposed to my beliefs for a variety of reasons. Although it is probably wisest to be silent and not burn bridges, friends also come and go throughout life. It is fine with me to let go of those who have grown apart and welcome the new. Otherwise I end up feeling like I have to justify their actions. Again, probably not the wisest reaction but it’s just what I typically do.

Blackberry's avatar

You accept it. What else would you do? They have their own opinions.

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

Is it worth losing friends over?

plethora's avatar

Remember the medium. It’s Facebook, which seems to have a policy of encouraging it’s members to disgorge everything about themselves and then publishing it to every friends page, which is totally obnoxious to me. i just hide it and go on.

filmfann's avatar

The question mentions that these may not be current friends, but people that they grew up with.
In that case, if the postings are so against your beliefs, and you’re not active friends with them, defriending them is something to consider. You could also post back your opinion, but I find most people to be closed minded about their stated positions.

ucme's avatar

The shit they pull eh.Ignore & move on.

Master's avatar

You can always join the midst of those who have closed their Facebook!
“The past is in the past for a reason.”

MissAusten's avatar

I ignore it. Just keep scrolling and don’t get involved. I’m sure they do the same thing when they see notifications saying I’ve become a fan of same sex marriage or joined the “Moms Who Drink and Swear” group.

The only thing I will act on is a forwarded email. I have a friend I’ve known since high school (we grew up smack dab in the middle of the Bible belt) who used to forward me Christian emails. Most of them I ignored, but when she started sending me Focus on the Family newsletters I had to say something. I sent a reply email saying only, “Don’t you know I’m a liberal?” We laughed about it later. She’s very nice, very sweet, and thinks very differently from me in a lot of ways. I don’t hold it against her, and she’s stopped sending me those things without any ill feeling.

nikipedia's avatar

If it’s genuinely offensive or factually incorrect I’ll say something. I try to be nice about it and point out the errors in fact or reasoning.

If the people I’m facebook friends with prefer not to engage in a dialogue about incorrect or hateful things they say, they can unfriend me and I won’t be too sad about it.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

I give them benefit of the doubt and usually ignore it. However, there have been a few times when a person posted something really awful, and I put that person’s threads on “hide.”

jealoustome's avatar

@DarkScribe I definitely don’t expect my friends or acquaintances to be clones (I enjoy a good debate,) but I also try to respect other’s boundaries. I may fan a same sex marriage page as @MissAusten does, but I don’t inflict my beliefs on others. There seems to be a fine line between being yourself and proselytizing.

laureth's avatar

If it’s religious, what can ya do? If they’re not trying to convert me, they can keep their beliefs. Sometimes I post stuff that probably offends them too. I like to think of it as equal airplay for beliefs.

For political things, it’s harder. Very often, I find things that are, shall we say, factually challenged. If this is the case, I will post a link or comment that seeks to inform. Most of the time they delete my comment and allow their misinformation to stand.

And sometimes? I even learn.

dpworkin's avatar

I remember that Facebook “friends” are not friends at all, and if I value their “company” for other reasons I avoid religion and politics. If I don’t I (to use a hideous neologism) “defriend” them.

plethora's avatar

@dpworkin Good answer..:)

cockswain's avatar

@Captain_Fantasy “Is it worth losing friends over”
For the sake of argument let’s equate Facebook friends with “real” friends. I guess I’m of the opinion that it would be better in life to have only several close friends at any point in time with whom you can fully share your beliefs without controversy or rancor than to have dozens of friends with whom you aren’t comfortable being fully relaxed and open in their company. Friends are valuable, but if I’m not eagerly looking forward to the next time we’re getting a beer together, maybe we’re growing apart. With free time being a scarce resource in our lives, why expend energy maintaining friendships that have run their course? I want to be my unadulterated self with the people I choose to share my free time and not worry about offending someone. Maybe this makes me a giant asshole, but you only get one crack at life.

jbfletcherfan's avatar

@dpworkin None of your FB friends are really friends? None??? I have a great many real life friends on there. And a great many friends from AV & fluther. Some I am so close to that I feel they ARE true friends to me. I guess I don’t totally understand your comment.

dpworkin's avatar

I distinguish between people I know who are also on Facebook, and “Facebook Friends”.

Bluefreedom's avatar

I usually shun them for about 15 to 20 minutes and then we go back to being friends again.~

Sarcasm's avatar

Depends on what they do.
I have friends who post things about god and prayers. I let it be.

I had a friend who posted a note on by “Atheism is retarded, lolz”. I called him out on it, corrected his disgustingly false statements (One of which was this. Ugh), and de-friended him the next day.

cockswain's avatar

@Sarcasm I love that video so much

Ria777's avatar

if a person has a strongly held belief a sense of persecution often goes with it. if you make them feel persecuted it will end up counterproductive.

polycinco's avatar

igonre them

jealoustome's avatar

@Sarcasm That video was hilarious. I’m sure it wasn’t intended to be because Kirk Cameron is sitting there watching the banana demo.

I have yet to defriend anyone who posts statements I find to be ridiculous, but there’s a first time for everything.

Seek's avatar

Most of the time, i just let things fly. My stepmother-in-law is the worst about posting ‘yay Jesus’ status updates, but we all know she’s crazy anyway. It gets an eye roll at most. Now when my friend posts religious or political messages on her blog, I’ll debate away. It seems like a more appropriate venue.

Symbeline's avatar

I usually fail to give a shit.

Mikelbf2000's avatar

Ummmm….. nothing. Everyone is entitled to their views and their opinions. I am a christian and alot of my friends believe in God. Some are atheists. I dont care what they post because they are their posts and not mine. However if you are a real friend you will not roll your eyes at them. I find that disrespectful. If it doesn’t affect you then let it go it’s not your concern.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I am not facebook friends with people that express views I find to be hateful, homophobic, sexist, racist, religiously fanatical, ignorant of facts like evolution and global warming, etc. I find these views harmful and don’t associate with people like that. It’s up to me to choose my friends – I choose them wisely.

bobloblaw's avatar

If they often post hateful/hurtful messages, then I hide their posts. It’s like those couples that constantly update their statuses to talk about each other: I’m more annoyed than anything. On the other hand, if it’s once in a while, I’ll read it, consider it, decide how I feel about it, then move on. Maybe I’ll talk to them about it if I see them on a regular basis.

Mikelbf2000's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir you mean to tell me that you refuse to even be facebook friends with a person who doesn’t believe in evolution or global warming? how does not believing in evolution harmful?

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Mikelbf2000 I’ve never been in a situation where I’d have to refuse to be FB friends with someone based on that alone – it just so happens that I am surrounded by people and am friends with people IRL who do believe in it – I believe it is a harmful belieef especially if they teach the same to their children and support school policy where it becomes hard to teach, where creationism is taught alongside, etc. That is harmful to our future, but that’s only my opinion.

Mikelbf2000's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir The belief in creationism is not harmful. You may not believe but a person who believes is going to teach their kids. Global Warming is another thing as well. Some people just don’t believe in it or have a different theory about it.

JeanPaulSartre's avatar

@Mikelbf2000 It’s rarely that for me – it’s not that they don’t believe in climate change, or don’t believe in science, those are symptoms of being illogical people. I want to have “next level” conversations, and that requires logic.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Mikelbf2000 Well, of course they’ll teach it to their kids but it’s not about belief – it’s about fact vs. belief. I believe the facts, the science, reality, what have you are on my side. Evolution exists whether you like it or not – whether the theory of evolution is a good way to describe the evolution that does take place is another story. Global warming exists, I believe in the multitude of evidence that supports it. Again, things always snowball – a person that believes in ID is probably religious and then they turn out to be against gay marriage (not necessary but so often what happens) and so on and so forth – once someone is against gay marriage, sorry, that is a deal breaker – there are NO good reasons to be against it, none zero nilch, and I will not support anyone who thinks there are.

Mikelbf2000's avatar

Not everyone who is religious is against gay marriage. Im just saying being facebook friends with someone with opposite beliefs is no big deal. I have friends who are pro gay marriage and friends who are against gay marriage. I have friends who are christian, I have friends who are atheist. It not like you are supporting thier beliefs by them being on your friends list. chances are they are not going to really express it in an over the top fashion. Some of these people I grew up with. Some of them family. I have family members who are abhorred with gay marriage. What am i going to do? Reject my brother or cousin on something that doesnt really effect me or my beliefs.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Mikelbf2000 I realize that not everyone who is against gay marriage is religious (nor did I say that) – and I still wouldn’t be friends with them. And it’s not a big deal, of course not, but all I said (and you can really unclench) is that I am not friends with anyone like I described (this wasn’t done on purpose or in some sort of an attempt to only be friends with opinions that don’t challenge me). To me, a queer person and an activist, having family members who are homophobic is a shame and a misfortune (just like my sexuality is to them). I do not reject them (because I have to live with them) but I do not allow any of their beliefs on this matter to be told to my children.

aprilsimnel's avatar

I ignore it.

cockswain's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir , @Mikelbf2000

Does your conversation seem at least a little ironic?

ninjacolin's avatar

if it’s something i’m interested in, i’ll debate it with them using the “comment” feature of the post.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@cockswain not really all that ironic

cockswain's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir

Maybe you should move it to Facebook for ultimate irony.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@cockswain Nah, I don’t do fluther style conversations on Facebook – my facebook is a safe space – I don’t need to spend eons on there trying to catch people up on constructs and things I believe to be obvious

cockswain's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir

Very wise. Perhaps I should do the same. Discussions on there usually end without the depth I see here.

PacificRimjob's avatar

WWFD?

What Would Fluther Do?

stardust's avatar

It comes down to tolerance for me. I have my own beliefs, which I am entitled to hold, as is everyone else.
If it’s something that rubs you up the wrong way, I’d opt for ignoring it.

stemnyjones's avatar

Most of the time I ignore it. But, depending on who it is and how strongly I feel, I may respond to it or passive-aggressively post something that contradicts what they posted.

For example, my father (who works for the CIA, yet hates Obama, and is strongly republican as well as racist, homophobic, etc) posted a link to a video recently that was an overly dramatic attack on Obama which I’m sure was created by FOX “news” that had statements like “He promised to keep your family safe” and other completely irrelevant nonsense. Rather than replying to him and instigating a fight with a man who I already barely get along with, I posted on my own wall about how the statements that “some republicans” were making were too vague to “prove” that something either has or hasn’t been done, and that just because you hate black people you shouldn’t go around making idiotic and false attacks towards our president.

He recently came visit and didn’t say anything about it, but him and his wife constantly tell me to change my cat Obama’s name, not to wear my Obama t-shirt, etc.

Judi's avatar

I just got in a huge argument about healthcare reform with my church friends on facebook. One girl basically said we should not treat illegal aliens in emergency rooms. She said it was “tough love.”
I wanted to barf. I think I may un-friend her.
The hypocracy is just to much.

DarkScribe's avatar

@Judi we should not treat illegal aliens in emergency rooms.

No wonder ET wanted to go home.

downtide's avatar

If someone posts things that are offensive to me, they are not a friend. Neither are people I went to school with 30 years ago and had no subsequent contact with. Neither of these categories of people get onto my Facebook. I only add people who are my current friends, and my current friends do not say anything offensive.

Cruiser's avatar

Even if it is a good friend I let it be as confronting religious ignorance is like arguing with a fan, they will just blow it back in your face.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

I either poke them with a stick until they see things my way,or just not care :)

Kraigmo's avatar

I just feel pity, sadness, and some annoyance at anyone, friends, included, who proudly wave the banner of being a proud Republican, or being a proud Democrat.

It’s just pathetic wherever I see it, whether its close to me or not. None of my closest friends are stupid enough to sell their souls to a low-common-denominator group like the 2 big parties… but as for my wider circle of friends…. I just forgive it and don’t bring it up, unless they ask.

And I would not befriend anyone who is denseminded enough to favor the War on Drugs or things like that. Its not like I consciously have 86’d them from my life… its just that I would never attract someone like that into my life to the point of being my friend in the first place. But I wouldn’t be rude to such people either of course, in person.

I have a myspace friend who is a proud “Socialist”. I think that’s kinda dumb…. to proudly be a ”-ist” of anything, but I forgive him and like him for his intelligence and awareness on various individual issues.

OpryLeigh's avatar

Ignore it.

HungryGuy's avatar

I put them in a big slingshot and hurl them into the sun.

JeanPaulSartre's avatar

That’s the style @HungryGuy! Woo hoo!

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