Atheism in America: Regional Differences

Sleepy Norris
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Atheism in America: Regional Differences

 

I am bored so I decided to post and see if I can get a conversation going about how life is for Atheists in different parts of the country or even the world for our international friends.I live in Philadelphia and grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia which is where I believe the founders of The Rational Response Squad are from and honestly I feel that this area is pretty accepting of atheism. Being the type of person I am I often speak openly about how I feel that religion is ridiculous and how the belief in a god or gods is illogical and rarely do I meet anybody who has a real problem. I know that it might just be the people in my social circle that tend to be less religious or more liberal but I honestly don’t have many experiences with theists giving me a problem. The only time where I see or meet religious fundamentalists is when they come on to college campuses to preach their nonsense and honestly those people bring a little bit of life to the campuses, which they visit I believe that those people bring more unity to the college by having counter demonstrations and people come out to give them shit. I understand that the purpose of a group like this is to get to the big issues such as “why won’t America elect an atheist (another)” or why atheists are the least trusted minority group but I just want to know what it is like for people growing up in areas in America that are more religiously intolerant. I remember going to a church about ten to fifteen times a year when I was little and I remember never really buying the stories that they were telling and didn’t really become openly atheist until I was about 16 or so (I never really cared about it and never prayed or anything like that it just wasn’t an issue) and became more outspoken about it when President Bush would say that “god told him to attack Iraq” which sounded to me like “An magic person in my head is telling me to attack Iraq”. Essentially I want to know what type of problems other atheists out there face in their daily lives because they don’t believe in a God because the majority of people I meet here in Philadelphia are either Atheist/Agnostic or they are “Christian” but don’t really give a shit. If Sapient or any other Rational Response Squaders are out there I would like to know what experiences made you want to be activists for atheists considering you grew up in the same area I did I can’t imagine that your experience with religious people being all that different from mine. Anyhow… respond freely

 


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Before I give you a real

Before I give you a real answer, I have a question of my own.

 

Exactly when did President Bush say that god told him to attack Iraq?  If he did that, then there should be about ten thousand youtube accounts that have the video of him saying that, right?  I only need to see one of them to know that that actually happened.

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Sleepy Norris
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I dont feel like looking

I dont feel like looking through youtube clips with "god" and "iraq" in it because well id have about a billion hits... but here is an article. http://www.commondreams.org/headlines05/1007-03.htm


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I live in Atlantic Canada

I live in Atlantic Canada and it's not really an issue here.


Brian37
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I don't see the point of the

I don't see the point of the OP other than maybe a way to demonstrate that it is different for all of us. But in all this "difference" of region we must also be fair in that atheists also think differently and I also think it is important to include that as well.

I think an atheist who is used to different complexities of social dynamics in a given region will respond differently to a given issue as someone in a different region.

I don't like the tactics that many atheists advocate in different regions of the world, but they are also not subject to the same experience and social dynamics I am.

If you are going to ask me personally what it is like where I live. I like it in some ways and don't like it in some ways. I think surprisingly for where I live there are more and more open people, who for the most part believe, and it is conservative, but still has lots of transplants and tourists.

I don't like where I live because of the amount of thumpers. But I also like it because it is not as politically correct as other aspects of the country which makes me feel more free to dissent from the thumpers.

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Well, here in

Well, here in SW Connecticut, things are not too bad for an atheist. There are only two street corners that get widespread use for preaching. One is the local bus line transfer point and that is Mormon territory. Apparently, they understand that people who are waiting for a connecting bus are a captive audience.

 

The other is one that most people are just passing through on the way to other parts of town. This one the thumpers have to share with the anti war crowd and PETA. If I could get ten or so people to join me, I would ruin all of the fun by showing up there half an hour ahead of the weekly anti war group carrying signs that say “USA out of Germany” and “63 years is long enough”. Yah, I am willing to gore anyone's sacred ox.

 

As far as the other question, you don't really need to find me a youtube link. That was just a way of phrasing the question. In any case, that article suggests that whatever Bush may have said, it was said behind closed doors, so it is doubtful if a youtube clip would even exist.

 

We know that he is religiously nutty. According to the PBS Frontline documentary on him, he picked that up back when he decided to stop being a miserable drunkard. We also know that he has brass the size of grapefruit. What I was trying to get to was if he combines them to the point of claiming to be a modern prophet who actually hears god in his head.

 

Frankly, the article that you linked me to only suggests that he may have gone down that road. It doesn't actually place those words in his mouth. Honestly, I suspect that the author of the article may have made that up to tell a tale that is not actually true. I find it distasteful when religious people do it and it would be inconsistent for me to allow political people the same latitude.

 

It is a pity really. I was kind of hoping that it was a real thing. However, I can settle for ex drunk and current nut case.

 

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Here in the cold tundra

Well it's actually kinda warm and raining today not so cold. However I have been an atheists practically all my life, and in Canada I never had a problem with it, nor a problem expressing it. There are the occassional mormoms or jehova witnesses that we get to deal with every....not even every blue moon anymore actually. The only corner preaching that I am aware of occurs at Yonge and Dundas downtown in Toronto, just happens to be the busiest street corner in Toronto. But there are a few different faiths there, from new agers to islamics and christians there, all my friends know my stance and I know their stance and we can respect each other (with a few minor exceptions over the years), I wouldn't change where I live for anything.


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In Alaska, I never had a

In Alaska, I never had a problem with my atheism. It never really came up much of the time, as most folks I knew and hung out with were soft agnostic theists, at the most. I'd say the majority were atheists who really just took it for granted. There were a few theists I knew, but I never really hung out with them, as much as I liked them. We just had completely different lifestyles.

I've lived in Ohio for a few years now, and the difference is substantial. I know and am friendly with several theists, who all seem to accept me, but think I am not a real atheist, "Because I love other people too much," as one person explained to me. There's Christian advertisements all over the place, which I'd never seen in Alaska outside of church signs.

My wife and I recently drove to South Carolina and back (for a funeral). The difference between SC and Ohio is about as great as the difference between Ohio and my experience in Alaska: the Christian culture is overt and overbearing. People make a point of advertising their Christianity, from their cars to their ads in phone books and newspapers. (I'd never seen ads for "Christian Real Estate Agents" before.)

Not that I think everyone in SC has a problem with atheism or anything. I'm talking simply of the undeniable Christian overtones.

So far, I've never had a problem because of my atheism, no matter my location.

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Out West

I live in AZ and work in TX but travel extensively. I lived in PA most of early years on this earth and I've never really experienced anything "bad" when it comes to being atheist. I guess it's because i really don't care what people think. I have to worry more, it seems about being gay.  Also, I don't think that it's something that comes up on a regular basis. It's mostly around the holidays, when someone says "Merry Christmas" and I tell them "Thanks, but I'm not Christian". Most people don't  say anything further. I think they assume, then, that I'm a Jew or something. It's probably that they really don't care. That's what's going to be the death of religion, simple apathy. It's only a matter of time. We're getting closer. 

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nigelTheBold wrote: My wife

nigelTheBold wrote:

 

My wife and I recently drove to South Carolina and back (for a funeral). The difference between SC and Ohio is about as great as the difference between Ohio and my experience in Alaska: the Christian culture is overt and overbearing. People make a point of advertising their Christianity, from their cars to their ads in phone books and newspapers. (I'd never seen ads for "Christian Real Estate Agents" before.)

Not that I think everyone in SC has a problem with atheism or anything. I'm talking simply of the undeniable Christian overtones.

So far, I've never had a problem because of my atheism, no matter my location.

Having moved to SC 3 years ago I'm still somewhat shocked by the staggering amount of Jesus that gets thrown around here. 

People are definitely thrown when I tell them I'm an atheist although it's part of southern culture to avoid confrontation and then talk shit about you behind your back.

 

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pablotar wrote:nigelTheBold

pablotar wrote:

nigelTheBold wrote:

 

My wife and I recently drove to South Carolina and back (for a funeral). The difference between SC and Ohio is about as great as the difference between Ohio and my experience in Alaska: the Christian culture is overt and overbearing. People make a point of advertising their Christianity, from their cars to their ads in phone books and newspapers. (I'd never seen ads for "Christian Real Estate Agents" before.)

Not that I think everyone in SC has a problem with atheism or anything. I'm talking simply of the undeniable Christian overtones.

So far, I've never had a problem because of my atheism, no matter my location.

Having moved to SC 3 years ago I'm still somewhat shocked by the staggering amount of Jesus that gets thrown around here. 

People are definitely thrown when I tell them I'm an atheist although it's part of southern culture to avoid confrontation and then talk shit about you behind your back.

 

I live in North Texas, by Oklahoma.

My lack of religion is something that I try not to bring up.  Simply because I live in the bible belt- the people here are staunchly christian, and most of the are creationists.  While at work I was talking to my coworker about her creationists belief.  Basically I dismantled her arguments and she said, "You just have to have faith".  Anyway, she hates me now.  I am open about atheism with my father, who is atheist as well.  He lives in Florida so it's not of much consequence.  If I told my mom I was an atheist, I would be kicked out of my house and put on her prayer list.  I have openly expressed that I am an atheist in public and people have stared at me.  They have handed be bibles.  It sucks here.

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I live in west Michigan in a

I live in west Michigan in a community with a church on every corner.  (sometimes two churches in a row.)  My parents are christians and we have agreed to disagree.  I have not had many problems with people.  I don't bring it up unless I am talking to friends and the topic comes up. 

I do remember being at my old church for a funeral and someone asked me where I went to church now.  I told him I didn't then he gave me the "i'm praying for you" speech. 

Kari Perry