Who here has paid an enormous social price for being an atheist?

Iruka Naminori
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Who here has paid an enormous social price for being an atheist?

Recently I had another round of trouble due to my unapologetic atheism. 

I lost a long time Internet friend because I mentioned Christianity has been thoroughly debunked (it has).  She didn't speak to me for months and wouldn't tell me why.  After that long I wasn't terribly amenable to kissing and making up unless she agreed to seek counseling.  (BTW, I'm in counseling, so I'm not asking her to do something I wouldn't do.)

Then another friend of mine got caught up in the successor to est: The Landmark Forum.  She actually changed her name and stopped returning my e-mails.  I didn't even challenge her.  I think she knew how I feel about unprovable claims.  She got swallowed up by a quasi religion.

Then my Buddhist voice teacher slipped me a Buddhist tract.  I didn't think much of it until she went ballistic because I was sick for months.  Yeah, I like getting sick.    Apparently, Buddhists don't get sick because they think positively...or some such happy crappy.

In my third semester music theory class, only three people were left and one of them is a lady who started hating me in semester one when I said something not particularly nice about religion and religionists.  That was one time I really should have kept my mouth shut, but this lady was completely unforgiving and never missed an opportunity to bash me or bring me down.  She and her "butt boy" (the only other person left in the class) either ignored me or said hurtful things to my face.  When the guy was late, the lady said she had been worried he had dropped and would miss his smiling face...unlike some people she could mention.  I was the only other "people" in the class.  I'd been sick and missed more classes than I had attended.  After enduring insults for a few weeks on the days I could actually attend, I finally dropped the class.

Then I found out my fanatical fundamentalist mother has been reading my online posts.  She must have got the info off my computer when she was here.  Then she went home and cyber-stalked me.  Right after I fell and hurt my knee, she yelled at me for what seemed like hours.  I should have just kicked her out, but I'm always hoping somehow, some way, she will acknowledge her part in what ails our relationship.  That's the trouble with religion.  You can do anything--ANYTHING!--and if god approves of it, it's not only right, you don't even have to feel guilty.  During her tirade she said, "99% of the people in the world would love to have a relationship with me."  OK, Mom...why don't you go cyber-stalk them and see how they like it? 

Apparently, the RRS is "hateful." 

After thirty years of cultivating her own hatred by watching Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, Faux News and listening to the likes of Rush Limbaugh, she has the audacity to say atheists are hateful because we finally got sick of their crap and started fighting back.  It reminds me of that Family Guy scene: Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson after the Rapture.  They're the only ones left behind.  There's no one left to hate.  Jerry Fallwell: "I'm gonna hate that rock!"  Pat Robertson: "No, I'M gonna hate that rock!"  Then they look at each other.  Their repressed homosexuality comes to the fore and they start making out. Smiling  Great scene.

I can no longer tolerate the utter chaos of having a relationship with my mother, so I cut off the relationship.  I didn't want to.  I love her, but she absolutely cannot learn to mind her own business.  She's so narrow-minded I can't be myself around her or even talk about the things I like.  Being around a fundy with the power to hurt you is terrible.  You have to watch every word.  You can't "cuss."  You can't talk about scientific advances or cool paleontological discoveries. You can't insult Bush (which is a great pastime). You can't discuss what's hurting your relationship because fundies are never wrong.  You can't talk about anything interesting because anything that's remotely interesting is unlikely to fit into that teensy little box known as fundamentalist Christianity.  

I love my mother, but being around her fills me with crippling anxiety.  That's why I'm sometimes snippy.  That's why I can't be 100% nice 100% of the time. 

When I cut her off, I also cut off any assistance she gave me.  I'm on disability.  I have fibromyalgia, diabetes and degenerative disc disease.  Physical activity like lifting or cleaning could lay me up for days.  She was supposed to be my IHSS worker, but back in May she left without telling me she was leaving and was gone for over a week.  She was pissed at me for some reason.  Probably it was something I wrote on this forum.  Then after I hurt my knee, she left again.  This time I urged her to leave because I couldn't stand to be around her after her weird tirade.

Now I'm in financial trouble.  I had to use my credit card to pay for groceries.

Nice. Talk about conditional love.  I have to be absolutely, completely 100% nice to her all the time or she goes apeshit. I guess I shouldn't expect any monetary assistance from her, but if she really cared she would have realized that yes indeed, there are issues, that she isn't blameless.  If I do what's best for my mental health (stay away from her), I risk going into debt.  If I kowtow to mother and do my best to be nice 100% of the time without bringing up anything that's bothering me (or anything "interesting&quotEye-wink, I'm a complete emotional wreck, so anxiety-racked I can't concentrate on anything.   

Apparently, the "new atheists" are hateful because we won't let the Christians force us to believe what they believe.

"I am treated as evil by people who claim that they are being oppressed because they are not allowed to force me to practice what they do." --D. Dale Gulledge

As for people like my mother, Steven Weinberg sums it up well: “Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.” -- Steven Weinberg. 

This is just the latest rash of incidents.  This utter crap has been going on for twenty years, ever since I first started to doubt, and I'm sick to death of it.  I try to make friends, then lose them because I'm not religious.  A fundamentalist Christian can see an unbeliever in only two ways: as a potential convert or a threat.  If you don't convert, you are a threat and you will  be back-stabbed. 

There aren't very many atheists in this county and even if there were, there's an obvious problem: the only thing we would hold in common is atheism.  There's no guarantee we'll share any other common interests.  It's ironic that I probably have more in common with religious people, but my world view is so repugnant to them they will not allow me to be a friend.

So, here's the big question: What do I do about it? (What do you do about it?)

Of course there are places like RRS, but for me, it isn't enough.  I've been lonely for twenty years.  There's no one to call up and say, "Hey, let's go have some coffee or go to a movie."  The only member of my family I feel comfortable around is my nephew and I've seen signs he is becoming religious again.  His cousin (he called her his sister) was killed in a car accident just a few weeks ago, so he may be turning to religion for comfort.  It's a false comfort, but alluring...seductive.

Lots of people have said this, but I feel like that last guy at the end of Invasion of the Body Snatchers.  Everyone else is a pod person.  I'm completely alone.

Yes, I know I should expect adversity as an out-of-the-closet atheist, but I'm tired of this pattern of losing friendships.  Since there is a definite pattern, I know I'm part of the problem, but I don't know exactly what I'm doing wrong (besides disclosing I'm an atheist).  I don't know how much of it is some personal fault or the fault of our religion-loving society.  Part of it, according to a psychologist friend of mine, is that I intimidate people.  That seems so weird to me.  I don't mean to intimidate anyone.  He says I'm so intelligent and talented others try to tear me down so they don't feel inferior. He said he felt intimidated by me at first. He also says I make eye contact longer than most people...perhaps much longer than I should.  I have no idea where that trait came from or why I do it.  Obviously, my psychologist friend is biased on my behalf.  There may be some very negative things I'm doing.  

I know one thing: I tend to talk about people behind their backs, like I'm doing right now.  My reason? I do it so I don't fucking explode.  Talking about these issues face to face is verboten among fundy Christians and right-wingers.  They don't tend to own up to any wrong-doing, so talking with them is pointless.  Growing up among them, I never learned how to work things out like a fully functional person.

There.

VENTING ACCOMPLISHED

 


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I feel a sense of isolation

I feel a sense of isolation myself being an atheist.  Only I'm not that concerned with being alone.

Autism runs in my family.  Both my father and I have high functioning autism.  I have one nephew who is high functional autistic and one nephew who is low functional autistic.  My father, myself, and my nephew with high-functioning autism are all loners.  We don't really care to have friends or people around us.

Which is why the internet is great for me.  I can talk with people all I want and simply leave any conversation that I get tired of.

It must really suck for atheists who seek friendship though.  I don't have an answer for those individuals. 

Sometimes I think I want to be around people but then I find out that I don't enjoy being around them.  *shrugs*

People suck.  lol 

"I am an atheist, thank God." -Oriana Fallaci


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Well I don't know if this

Well I don't know if this will work for you, but it worked for me. I went to www.meetup.com, found the local atheist meetup, and joined. When I went to my first meeting I met a guy who had come for his first meeting. We would always get to talking and then get distracted by talking to other people, then go home and e-mail each other, saying we wished we could have talked more. Finally we just decided to meet outside of the meetup group. We became almost instantly attached to each other (In a platonic, yet very meaningful and deep way)

I used to feel alone all the time. My partner of almost 6 years and I are comfortable with each other and happy, but my partner is not big on intellectual and meaningful conversations, that and he is not a hardcore atheist like we are. My guy friend totally fills that void for me.

So I think my point is that is only takes one person to rid you of those feelings of isolation. It's nice to have a big ol' group of atheists to hang out withbut if you can connect with just one it can make a big difference.

As far as enormous social costs, my costs are extremely minimal when compared to yours. In fact, I just came out as an atheist at my family's thanksgiving party this Friday (um, at my house) and it actually went very well. One of my spiritual new agey woo woo friends views my atheism as some kind of attack on her (not that I have actually attacked her.. Just me sitting there being an atheist is an attack.. go figure) but she has not abandoned me or anything. 

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Iruka Naminori
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Not_Your_Therapist

Not_Your_Therapist wrote:

Well I don't know if this will work for you, but it worked for me. I went to www.meetup.com, found the local atheist meetup, and joined. When I went to my first meeting I met a guy who had come for his first meeting. We would always get to talking and then get distracted by talking to other people, then go home and e-mail each other, saying we wished we could have talked more. Finally we just decided to meet outside of the meetup group. We became almost instantly attached to each other (In a platonic, yet very meaningful and deep way)

I joined the local atheist meet-up (actually an hour away) and only a few people joined and rarely did the meet-ups take place.  When they did (I never went because they were too far away), often only one person would show up.

Now, this has been a few years ago.  Now that more atheists are coming out, perhaps the situation has changed.  I will look into it. 

Not_Your_Therapist wrote:
I used to feel alone all the time. My partner of almost 6 years and I are comfortable with each other and happy, but my partner is not big on intellectual and meaningful conversations, that and he is not a hardcore atheist like we are. My guy friend totally fills that void for me.

I know only one person who enjoys deep discussions and he's also an atheist.  He's an older fellow who, like me, is ill and must rely on family.  Well, I don't rely on family anymore, I suppose. :|  It's a little terrifying to realize you have to make it on your own with several debilitating illnesses.  I've pretty much been "calling in scared" for the past couple of weeks.

My atheist friend is ill a lot, too, so it's hard for us to find a time when we're both reasonably okay.  I just asked if we could have some kind of musical interlude.  He plays piano and I sing.  (I also attempt to play piano. Eye-wink )  I'd like to hear him play.

Not_Your_Therapist wrote:
So I think my point is that is only takes one person to rid you of those feelings of isolation. It's nice to have a big ol' group of atheists to hang out withbut if you can connect with just one it can make a big difference.

I'll give it another go.  I always do.  What else is there to do?  The problem is I'm gun-shy from being hurt.  Everyone gets hurt, but I don't seem to recover very well or very easily.  It takes me a long time and I am very reluctant to put any real emotions on the line. 

Not_Your_Therapist wrote:
As far as enormous social costs, my costs are extremely minimal when compared to yours. In fact, I just came out as an atheist at my family's thanksgiving party this Friday (um, at my house) and it actually went very well. One of my spiritual new agey woo woo friends views my atheism as some kind of attack on her (not that I have actually attacked her.. Just me sitting there being an atheist is an attack.. go figure) 

LOL...for a lot of people, the simple fact of our existence pisses them off.  It doesn't help that a lot of us are incredibly good-looking (Kelly), talented (Greydon Square, Mr. Gawn, Rich Rodriguez, etc.) and intelligent (pretty much all of us). Eye-wink  Maybe we all intimidate others a little. Eye-wink 

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Since I became an outspoken

Since I became an outspoken atheist I have relatives who now hate me. fuckem, I didn`t like any of those bastards in the first place as a matter of fact. Mind you, it doesn`t come close to anything you are going through

Stay stong Iruka,

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Zombie wrote: Since I

Zombie wrote:

Since I became an outspoken atheist I have relatives who now hate me. fuckem, i didn`t like any of those bastardsin the first place as a matter of fact.

LOL  That's hilarious, Zombie. 

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I've never actually met

I've never actually met anybody in real life that wasn't ok with my Atheism, or at least anybody that had any problems they felt neccessary to tell to my face anyway.

My Grandmother said something about me going to church once, I said that it would be a bit of a waste of time because I don't believe in god.  She never brought it up again and I never saw any manifestation that she ever thought any less of me.

I'm a third (at least) generation atheist on my mum's side, and a second generation atheist on my dad's side.  I grew up in Canada and New Zealand, most of the people I knew or met were atheists, at the very least in practice.

 It may not have ever really hit me that some people really reaaaaaaaaally believe if I hadn't have played an online game and posted something along the lines of "good joke" when somebody wrote something about intelligent design in the game forum.  Generally the only people I see that stand out for their belief are standing on boxes with a bible in their hand and yelling about fire and demons, and I just never thought they were very credible.  Most people just weave their way around them and avoid the scientologists and carry on with their day.

 The marginalisation of religion has begun!  I hope that gives YOU some hope at least.


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phooney wrote:

phooney wrote:

The marginalisation of religion has begun! I hope that gives YOU some hope at least.

It can't come soon enough to America. The South is stuck in the Dark Ages. Most of America is religious with a few pockets of sanity here and there. I live in an area that is mostly religious with a lot of fundies. People think California is completely liberal, but the foothills and places like Orange County are actually quite backward. My family is from the South and I know a lot of local people who have roots in the Bible Belt. I know some who are moving back there because the few people like me frighten them. Smiling

Oh, we're such an awful, horrible minority, persecutin' 'em like that by...oh, I dunno...making sense? Sticking out tongue

Yes, the marginilization of religion is happening, but it might not come soon enough for many of us lonely atheists languishing in FundyLand. 

I feel sorry for the people in the Middle East.  It will be a long, long time before they are free from religion...if it ever happens. Can you imagine being an atheist in Saudi Arabia?  *shudder*  That would truly suck.  Even if I'm ostracized here in FundyLand, it's doubtful I'll have my head cut off.

 

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I've had a few friends

I've had a few friends who've felt somewhat alienated by my atheism, but none of my close friends have ever had any serious problems with it. 

The worst time I've ever had socially because of my atheism was when I was 13.  I'd been an atheist for two years, but I wasn't very open about it until that age.  Anyway, in my school, it got around that I didn't believe in god, and this group of girls started bullying me about it mercilessly.  They spread rumors that I was a slut, and a druggy, and a witch, and that I drank blood, and all sorts of really stupid, immature shit.  They teased me constantly, and eventually, with all these crazy rumors flying around, even my teachers started looking at me like I was some sort of mental patient. 

I'd had a good deal of friends before, but eventually I'd become a pariah and only my very close friends stuck by me.  I couldn't really tell my parents what was going on because they're devout Christians and wouldn't be very sympathetic, seeing as I was being targeted because of my lack of belief in God.  Being an adolescent is hard enough as it is, and having to contend will all that craziness along with puberty made me absolutely miserable.

 But it ended once I started high school, and I met more sympathetic, like-minded people there.  I haven't had any major social issues with my atheism since then.


Iruka Naminori
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DrTerwilliker wrote:

DrTerwilliker wrote:

The worst time I've ever had socially because of my atheism was when I was 13. I'd been an atheist for two years, but I wasn't very open about it until that age. Anyway, in my school, it got around that I didn't believe in god, and this group of girls started bullying me about it mercilessly. They spread rumors that I was a slut, and a druggy, and a witch, and that I drank blood, and all sorts of really stupid, immature shit. They teased me constantly, and eventually, with all these crazy rumors flying around, even my teachers started looking at me like I was some sort of mental patient.

Ouch. That must have really sucked. Junior high was a rough time for me, too, but everyone at my school believed...OR ELSE (fundy school). I think everyone feels strange at that age and goes temporarily insane...except maybe you. It sounds like you were mature for that age.

You know what's weird is I thought of the situation in my music theory class. I just turned 40 and the other two people in the class were both at least ten years older than I am. The whole thing reminded me of being back in junior high: the insults, the cliques, the snobbery. That shouldn't happen in a class full of middle-aged adults. After losing my voice lessons and scholarship it seemed like torture to attend so I just dropped out. I've thought about telling the prof, but we're all supposed to be adults, working it out for ourselves.

Once, just before class we were puzzling over a music theory question. I tried to chip in, but as usual the other two pretended I wasn't there. Holly (the woman) told me to "shut up" because she couldn't think. I asked her if it would kill her to try asking nicely. She said, "I did ask nicely."

Some variation of the events I've described happened every single time I made it to class. Just like junior high. Unfrickenbelievable. What made it even more intolerable is the prof would put some problems on the board and leave the classroom to answer e-mail. That left me alone with two people who hated my guts. Holly, especially, couldn't resist lashing out with her tongue.

Like I said, after losing the voice lessons and scholarship, it seemed like just too much to deal with, especially since I had missed so many classes.

Being religious means never having to grow up.

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Not_Your_Therapist

Not_Your_Therapist wrote:

Well I don't know if this will work for you, but it worked for me. I went to www.meetup.com, found the local atheist meetup, and joined.

I just signed up again and there is no atheist meetup for this area, just a few lonely atheists, most of which live in a larger town in the valley.  There's one in the foothills, but it's still at least a 20-30 minute drive away.  Some of them sound interesting enough to contact, if possible.   I might try that once I stop feeling quite so vulnerable. Shit like this makes me lock up the fortress pretty tight.

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When I think back on it, I

When I think back on it, I suppose there have been times when I have paid a social price for my lack of belief. This specifically seems to happen with people I went to Catholic school with. However, those specific people that don't talk to me anymore are people I didn't really need around to begin with. To be honest I find it frustrating to talk with theists about anything really significant in my life because their irrationality tends to spill over...

I would probably say, generally speaking, being an open atheist has helped my social life. I've met so many people over the years that really just - well - think! I finally have conversations over dinner about rather than superficial crap about nail polish and fake eyelashes. Sure, I don't have as many friends but the friends I do have are actually people I want to talk to.

 

Iruka, I would suggest looking for meetups that aren't necessarily 'atheist' but are more likely to be comprised of atheists - such as a science group. It might not help - but I thought I would mention it anyway. 

If that doesn't work try to put up with going to church on Sunday.  When everyone is bowing their heads in prayer, look around for others that are looking around for fellow atheists. Eye-wink


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   The way I work it is

   The way I work it is to say I'm a jesus fan, and a buddha fan, then I explain to them that these dudes were obviously atheists ! , .....

gets em thinking, I say "yeah jesus", he too said he was god .... then I throw bible verses at them ..... great fun ....


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Hey, thanks for that meetup

Hey, thanks for that meetup link, I found one local to me. Smiling


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Zombie wrote:

Zombie wrote:
Hey, thanks for that meetup link, I found one local to me. Smiling

Cool!

Most of the ones "near" me were in the valley: Modesto and Stockton...and they weren't even meetups, just folks hoping for a meetup.  Bummer.

And Shelley, this town is sort of rural. There isn't much happening in intellectual circles. I'm not even sure we have intellectual circles. Smiling

My one and only atheist friend does share some of my interests, including music, but he gets sick often.  Usually, if I'm well, he's sick and vice versa.  He's prone to giving more credence to conspiracy theories than I do...and I do give the theories the benefit of the doubt until the dots don't connect without butchering Occam's razor. When the plots get too complicated, I get too skeptical. Eye-wink And I tend to think of this friend as a little paranoid.

Oh well.  No one is perfect.  We all have our warts. Some of mine need an economy-size tub of Compound W. Smiling

 

 

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Iruka - that sucks!  I do

Iruka - that sucks!  I do happen to live in a major metropolitian area.  I actually wanted to spend my adult life in a southern town but when I aquired my disability I gave up that dream for the convienence of mass transportation and an abundance of well-maintained curb cuts.  If you ever want to move I know an ENT that isn't a fundy... well, I don't know that with 100% certanity but if she is, she hides it well.  Actually, come to think of it, most of my doctors seem to think they are god.  I had to knock one off his high horse about a year ago; in return for convincing him to abandon his religious self-belief he refered me to a collegue and I haven't seen him since.  Turns out his collegue was a much better surgeon anyway.

Are there any colleges in the area?  They might have a freethinkers group and perhaps some events open to the public. 


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I know finances are sucky

I know finances are sucky but you could always START a meetup.

 My meetup organizer made me organizer of our local meetup. That rocks because I schedule all of the meetups so I know I'll be there. I get to have fun being creative with meetup locations and soforth. 

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Not_Your_Therapist

Not_Your_Therapist wrote:

I know finances are sucky but you could always START a meetup.

FYI - It costs $13-$15/month. 


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Oh yeah, I've paid a huge

Oh yeah, I've paid a huge social price for being an atheist. However, most of my family is atheist or closet atheist and the whole idea of God was never an idea for me until I was 16.

This changed, though, when I moved to Oklahoma. People at school asked me if I was going to church and I said "Nope." Not only had I no idea what church was actually for, but I didn't know anyone actually went aside from old people. Anyway, they invited me and I went. I left mid-service because of the obserdity  of it all and was considered a social outcast. Luckily, the only sane people in the school were people that I was used to hanging out with. 

So I eventually got a girlfriend. She had no idea I was 'one of them' and we got hooked up by one of my good friends. Although he was a Christian, he wasn't a biggoted tool. Anyway, he hooked us up and it was great. I spent four years with her until she finally realized that I was an Atheist. Yeah, she wasn't very bright.

She then started cheating on me, lying to me, lying to her family, stealing stuff from me, etc. Her reasoning was that she had been around the devil for four years and couldn't control it. I mean, it got to the point where she lied to me about being pregnant with somebody elses kid.

By then I had been in College for about a year and was absolutely tired of her shit, so I dropped the relationship. Eventually I went back to the town I lived in to take a break from College and play some music with my buds. For whatever reason I got back together with her (she wanted to get back with me... it was probably the sex that made me do it) and we banged many times.

Well, I eventually find out she had been engaged to this guy for 6 months and this pissed me off above and beyond the call of duty. I found out who her fiance was, told him, told her parents, etc. It was marvelous. I was deemed to be a heathen, however, she had, and has, this scarlet letter attached to her. Nobody will talk to her in that town anymore.

 

 

Anyway, I always seem to find some great people. Both in and out of school. My band was filled with the greatest people I've ever known and none of that religious crap ever seeped through. These people were normal, you know, the ones that went to church as a kid but don't go anymore because they don't actually believe it but still say they do so their family doesn't find them to be heathens. You know, like the whole coming out of the closet shpiel.


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Iruka Naminori

Iruka Naminori wrote:
phooney wrote:

The marginalisation of religion has begun! I hope that gives YOU some hope at least.

It can't come soon enough to America. The South is stuck in the Dark Ages. Most of America is religious with a few pockets of sanity here and there. I live in an area that is mostly religious with a lot of fundies. People think California is completely liberal, but the foothills and places like Orange County are actually quite backward. My family is from the South and I know a lot of local people who have roots in the Bible Belt. I know some who are moving back there because the few people like me frighten them. Smiling

Oh, we're such an awful, horrible minority, persecutin' 'em like that by...oh, I dunno...making sense? Sticking out tongue

Yes, the marginilization of religion is happening, but it might not come soon enough for many of us lonely atheists languishing in FundyLand.

I feel sorry for the people in the Middle East. It will be a long, long time before they are free from religion...if it ever happens. Can you imagine being an atheist in Saudi Arabia? *shudder* That would truly suck. Even if I'm ostracized here in FundyLand, it's doubtful I'll have my head cut off.

 

Right now we arnt having our heads cut off, but emagine a congress full of Politically correct Al Sharptons or facist Pat Robertsons.

Secular government and a strong constitution prevents them from that. But give a government enough religion they can distroy it. 

"We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers."Obama
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Nero
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I haven't suffered too much

I haven't suffered too much due to atheism.  Most of my family consists of atheists, and those who are theists don't say a lot.  It is a lot like cold war detente.  If no one fires the first missle, there isn't a problem.

As for non-family members, I haven't really paid attention.  I think people end up hating me for reasons a lot bigger than atheism/theism!!  So, at the end of a relationship, God is rarely mentioned unless it involves him damning me. Eye-wink  lol Now that I think on it, I am pretty sure people get pissed because I am a solipcistic, Narcissistic bastard.

In the words of the great Zombie, "Fuck 'em."

"Tis better to rule in Hell than to serve in Heaven." -Lucifer


Iruka Naminori
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shelleymtjoy wrote: Are

shelleymtjoy wrote:

Are there any colleges in the area? They might have a freethinkers group and perhaps some events open to the public.

The junior college in my area is where I've run into some of the biggest problems with fundies (see description of music theory class).  Of course, I've also run into some liberal types there, too, but most of them either have some kind of religious belief or believe in belief.

I sang at a UU service just before I got sick and when I tried to explain to them they should be taxed for being involved in politics (as should the fundies), I got that old--and incorrect--line about the separation of church and state being for the benefit of churches only.     I agree with the UU church's politics, but they need to keep church and state separate, just like everyone else should.

The line between church and state is so blurred, everyone thinks it's okee-dokee to mix the two.  I tried to explain the Constitution to my hair dresser who was pissed at Michael Newdow.  She was so irate she wouldn't let me explain what the Constitution says about church and state.  Lost in the general ire toward Michael Newdow is the minor fact that he's right. Smiling

Anyway, I've thought about getting involved in the UU Church, but I don't think they'd like my anti-faith, pro-separation-of-church-and-state views.  Those views aren't very popular with anyone just now.

Until this semester, I was heavily involved in the music program at the local junior high college.  The head of music is a fundy.  He once cornered me in his basement and tried to convert me.  I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti. Sticking out tongue

Well, actually, up to that point we had been very good friends.  I saw his family socially quite often.  He had promised (both verbally and in writing) not to try to convert me.  After the incident he was unapologetic and I struggled (for years) with whether or not I should report him to the college.  The prof in the office next door to his urged me to report him.  She didn't have to deal with the fallout, though.  She was moving to Santa Cruz.  Believe me, I wish I could move to Santa Cruz, too.

In such a small community college (and town), my anger became well-known.  I couldn't keep my mouth shut because I felt so totally betrayed.  In fact, I spoke my mind in front of "Holly" during semester one and that's what made her hate me.  She said, "How dare you persecute that good man!" I hadn't done anything except bitch (which in hindsight I shouldn't have done).  I told her he'd cornered me in his basement and tried to convert me.  She said, "Well, maybe you needed it." As I recall I had a headache and sort of just collapsed at the piano and said, "Whatever."   

In fact, I think I posted about this incident here...somewhere. *shrug*  Regardless, the lady has been a complete asshat ever since.  Yeah, I shouldn't have opened my big mouth, but being persecuted because I dared to oppose a religious man...sucks...

The truth is the music director is otherwise a nice person, but he broke a promise and did something he absolutely had no business doing.  In a fair world, he would have been censured and I would have been supported.  But--everyone together, now!--"life isn't fair." Smiling  This especially applies to atheists who can't keep their mouths shut.

So, the college has soured for me.  There are people there who hate me.  The fundy still directs the music program and my Buddhist voice teacher is also heavily involved there.

I am SO screwed. 

 

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I wouldn't say I have paid

I wouldn't say I have paid an enormous price, but it is definite.

My family mostly refuses to talk to me; and many friends I had through highschool and college as well.  I've since moved from the midwest to California and I must say that it is nowhere near as noticable though.

I once went stargazing with a great friend of mine, and while marvelling at the colossal size of the universe she asked me if I was a Darwinist.  She was very quiet the rest of the night, and I never heard from her again after that--in any way.  I don't understand it.


ronin-dog
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I've been a bit lucky I

I've been a bit lucky I think. I was raised by atheists (dad actually told me to look at everything and make up my own mind). My mother's family is very religious though. So far I've bitten my tongue when they mention god, but I don't know how long I can stand it. I've only been more "active" recently (post God Delusion). And my wife and my own good sense calmed me down and suggested I wait till being vocal.

I've decided (with people I know at least) to just let them know that I am an atheist and to discuss matters with them gently. In Perth (Western Australia) religion is a bit weeker, but there are still nutters around. Also even the less religious folk will get angry quickly if they think you are attacking their beliefs (they are suffering from delusion disorder after all), so I think it is better to show them that I am a nice, caring guy and let them realise that athiests aren't evil that way, then they might start wondering and asking questions and i may be able to deconvert them.

Yesterday I was consoling a catholic friend of mine because a fundy told her that she was going to hell for believing in evolution. haha.

Anyway, at least we can get friends on myspace or whatever that we can openly discuss these topics with.

Zen-atheist wielding Occam's katana.

Jesus said, "Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division." - Luke 12:51


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Back in high school, I

Back in high school, I wasn't really enlightened enough to call myself an atheist, but that's essentially what I was. I do remember feeling frustrated that I couldn't have the seemingly endless joy and happiness that the christians in my school had. I wasn't really persecuted, I just felt awkwardly left out. I suppose it could have been much worse.

 Now I'm in art school and don't give a rat's ass what anyone else thinks. I talked about atheism in my Senior Thesis presentation and am currently working on a video where Pope Benedict hires Steve Jobs to make a computer to find god *shrugs* I suppose I'm just past caring what others think at this point. 

I even live in the bible belt area (albeit, the fairly liberal part of a fairly liberal city in the bible belt, but still.)

If anything my political views have caused me to lose more friends (I was too liberal at my high school, and I'm too conservative here.)  


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My marriage has never been

My marriage has never been the same since I told my Nazarene wife of my atheism.  I have become this untrustworthy ogre that she's scared to be anywhere near.

Does that count? 

"I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions."
— George Carlin


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jcgadfly wrote: My

jcgadfly wrote:

My marriage has never been the same since I told my Nazarene wife of my atheism. I have become this untrustworthy ogre that she's scared to be anywhere near.

Does that count?

Sounds rather kinky. Laughing out loud

In all seriousness, I'm sorry to hear that. How long have you two been living like this? 

Morte alla tyrannus et dei


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Zombie wrote: jcgadfly

Zombie wrote:
jcgadfly wrote:

My marriage has never been the same since I told my Nazarene wife of my atheism. I have become this untrustworthy ogre that she's scared to be anywhere near.

Does that count?

Sounds rather kinky. Laughing out loud

In all seriousness, I'm sorry to hear that. How long have you two been living like this?

I'm a fairly new convert - been struggling with it for about three years before I accepted that non-belief is OK. It started with me not doing christianity "her way" and went from there. 

"I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions."
— George Carlin


Iruka Naminori
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jcgadfly wrote: Zombie

jcgadfly wrote:
Zombie wrote:
jcgadfly wrote:

My marriage has never been the same since I told my Nazarene wife of my atheism. I have become this untrustworthy ogre that she's scared to be anywhere near.

Does that count?

Sounds rather kinky. Laughing out loud

In all seriousness, I'm sorry to hear that. How long have you two been living like this?

I'm a fairly new convert - been struggling with it for about three years before I accepted that non-belief is OK. It started with me not doing christianity "her way" and went from there.

Ouch. Sad

It may be that you two are headed two separate ways and there's nothing that you can really do about it.  Whether or not you can agree to disagree depends upon your personalities, perception of power issues, trust, etc.

I hope you can work it out to your satisfaction. 

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I have recieved some

I have recieved some idiotic comments because of my open atheism.  Usually consists of, "Atheism is a religion, you should kill yourself, you have no morals, and etc..."  But, I still remain a likable person because I love everyone and whore myself to every....

 

I meant that I am an attention whore with a pench....

 

Uh.... I'm digging a hole am I?  I'll just shut up now.


I AM GOD AS YOU
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  LOUDER .... shout at the

  LOUDER .... shout at the devil .....


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ronin-dog wrote: In Perth

ronin-dog wrote:
In Perth (Western Australia) religion is a bit weeker, but there are still nutters around.

 

Yay! Another Sandgroper!

 

I am not alone!!!

 

Smiling

 

: Freedom - The opportunity to have responsibility.

: Liberty is about protecting the right of others to disagree with you.

 


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I just looked up Iruka's

I just looked up Iruka's thread today because of a recent experience that brought the discussion to mind...

I sent out an invitation to all my friends with a message to check out the new RRS facebook group.  This is the first time I ever sent out an invite but I think this deserved it - esp. since RRS didn't really have an active facebook presence before recently.  According to the facebook feed thing, 11 of them joined.  Half of them were friends from Catholic School.

 Anyway, one person sent me a letter about how offended she was.  Apparently people aren't suppose to talk about issues like religion.  Imagine that....

She basically said that she wanted to just delete me but she decided to tell me how much it upset her instead.  So I went ahead and did her the favor of deleting our "friend" status.  Hadn't spoken to her in 3 years anyway. 


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HA!  I had no idea there

HA!  I had no idea there was a facebook group.  I just sent out a mass invitiation to the hundreds of people I'm friends with on there.  Let's see how many of them I'll piss off.  I haven't suffered any social price for being Atheist, but we'll see just how much I will when everybody gets this invite.  I'm sure it'll be a hoot.  Naturally, most people won't mind, most probably won't join.  I'm interested in the people who'll have problems with the invite.  I think I've got 'em figured out.  I'm trigger finger over the delete button in anticipation! 

BigUniverse wrote,

"Well the things that happen less often are more likely to be the result of the supper natural. A thing like loosing my keys in the morning is not likely supper natural, but finding a thousand dollars or meeting a celebrity might be."


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Like phooney I've never

Like phooney I've never suffered any loss of friends or falling out because of my atheism and I live in the heart of the Bible belt.  There are a few reasons for this.  None of my friends have ever been the kind to abuse anyone for any reason.  This has nothing to do with religion.

I've posted this before but it is also because I am not the least bit confrontational.  I always answer questions in a friendly, unemotional way.

Try very hard to feel pity for the genuine fanatics that are upset by your atheism.  They don't believe 100% and anyone else's unbelief ads to  their uncertainty.  That must be a terrible way to live.

My son-in-law is a true believer and once asked me if my wife and I are Christians.  In my usual cheerful way I told him no, we don't believe in anything supernatural.  He is still very friendly to us.

As I keep ranting, don't be confrontational.  I know it is not easy when you are expecting to be attacked.  Being confrontational just insures it.

May peace be upon you.  


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I guess I've never had this

I guess I've never had this problem because in general, if somebody is religious to the point where you can't tell, nobody asks. If they do, I state openly that god does not exist. Most people do not have a problem with that. My gut reaction to a question like "why dont you believe in god?" is something like "why on earth would I?"

If somebody is religious and intollerant of atheists, I don't want anything to do with them. I'm not even really sure why this is called Freethought "Anonymous". Chosing not to believe in a fairy in the sky is normal... the religious ones are the nut jobs.

My name and address for the sake of not being anonymous: (don't believe it? Send me a letter and I will reply) 


Eric Stubbs
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ronin-dog
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I was discussing the

I was discussing the subject at work with an engineer who was doing a repair job. We were both of the, "well of course I don't believe" type. One of my co-workers cried out in surprise, "how do you get out of bed in the morning?".

Luckily the first astonished words out of my mouth were a bit intelligent, "why do you need a god to get out of bed in the morning?" She is still friendly, but has never spoken on the subject again.

Zen-atheist wielding Occam's katana.

Jesus said, "Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division." - Luke 12:51


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I have to be someone

I have to be someone utterly different when I am either talking to my parents or at work.  Being an atheist is one of a list of things I just can't speak about, and when I want to speak my mind I can just feel peoples fangs comming out.  There are days I feel like a character in some bad SciFi movie where I am the only human surrounded by a bunch of aliens masked as people.  If I make one wrong move I'll be plucked out.

Any ideology of pure certainty can do the worst thing you could ever do to a person, lock them up in a cage and eat you up inside... I'ts how I feel every day.  Such is the life of a Bisexual Demi-Transexual Atheist Anthro fan.  There always some dimension for parisite minded people to hate me on.

To go beyond your limits you must first find them.