(This is my first posting here, and actually the first time I have ever spoken with other atheists. I'm rather relieved about the fact that I am not alone...I will definitely be very active in this community. )

I have a large "kinesiology and faith integration" paper to write by the end of the semester. Clearly I don't believe in faith, normally I would BS these papers but I am VERY tired of lying and being fake/closeted to get my degree. This assignment, the last of many, has just caused me to snap. But I'm almost free, I'm a senior so I can't just transfer now. I have a few options:

1.) Talk to the professor that I am not a Christian. I don't think it will go over well and he will most certainly judge/hate me, he takes his faith very, very seriously. I also have to face him for classes next semester and currently he really respects me. Maybe there is an alternative assignment I can do?

2.) Try to write it as assigned. It hurts me to think it's still an option. I hate hiding my beliefs like they are something to be ashamed of.

3.) Go out with a bang. Write an 'integration paper' about how science and faith DONT get along, much to his surprise. I'll enjoy writing it but I'll fail for sure. I also still need to see him next semester.

4.) Something I haven't thought of. Perhaps kill myself?

Can anyone else relate to being in a Christian school and having to lie on a daily basis? Only my closest friends know I am an atheist.

Here's the prompt that I can't ever see myself writing:
"...paper that integrates your understanding of the regulation and control of movement with your Christian faith. For example, what analogies or metaphors might be drawn between the control and coordination of human movement and how God works through his Church, and/or will of God?" I also need 8 references and it needs to be at least 8 pages.

Thanks everyone!

Tags: advice, atheist, christian, closet, college, new

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Hi Greg, welcome to TA!

I can't completely relate to your situation, as the college I attended was secular. However... Option 4 is not a good option. You're almost out of college, no need to do anything that would rob you of the several score years you still have ahead, hopefully free of this kind of coercion.

Can you share more about your college and studies? What's your major? Why did you choose this college to attend? Were you a Christian when you started college, or did your parents decide on where you would go? (Or both?) Would your credits carry over to another college if you did decide to transfer?

Judging by the topic of the paper, I'm guessing that you're getting a degree that is medical in nature?
Welcome to TA!

And to just add to Dave's list of questions, I'm also curious what class this is for.
The class is called "Motor Control" and it focuses on the mechanisms and theory behind the control of muscles.
Thanks for your reply. I go to Gordon College, a nondenominational school in eastern MA. My major is Kinesiology (w/ minor in Bio and Math) but I don't plan to use it after college. I basically settled on it because I enjoy science but and didn't want to learn about plants and ecology in a Biology major. The minors come free because I switched majors so many times before settling.

I was a Christian when I started to attend, unfortunately I never investigated my beliefs much when I applied. I had thought I did, but I was naive. Within the first year I saw through Christianity, but I couldn't yet eliminate the possibility of a God-yet I was positive there wasn't a personal one. I called myself a deist and lost many 'friends' in the process. After almost three years and many books (Dawkins especially) I became an atheist. I can still deal with the required chapel several times a week and the visitation hours/rules, but the constant message of faith everywhere is frustrating. I feel like I am the only one not living a lie, yet I am in the sense that I am faking belief to all but my closest friends. I think this paper, in forcing faith someplace even I can't fake it to be, just pushed me over the edge.

Most of my credits would not transfer because the kinesiology program at this college is unique. I have investigated the possibility, but I think I am just stuck.

I might tell the professor in a foreword as part of the paper that I am not a christian, then say I will try to write it anyways to the best of my ability. I don't think I will mention that I am an atheist, however cowardly of me, simply because of the huge negative stigma.
It does indeed sound like you are stuck in your current situation, Greg. Transferring to a more rational school may be easier on your mind and less stressful, but it'll add time (a year or two? three?) to your quest for a degree and be a considerable expense.

Of course, essentially you're throwing good money after bad by staying in a college that you realize has little actual value, education-wise or for your future, since you do not plan on using the degree. The minors may be useful, though.

Your best bet may be to bull through as best you can. One thing I noticed when doing some cursory research on Gordon College (specifically about its accreditation) was that all students are required to be professing Christians. So, if you do tell your professor about your lack of Christianity, he may well be able to have you expelled from the school for being in violation of that requirement. And considering the usual behavior at such Bible colleges, that may well be the expected course of action.
I definitely understand the need to keep my views on faith hidden. Academically, the decision makes sense. I just struggle sometimes with being so fake and in love with 'God and his plan' all the time. At the very least, I decided I will keep my atheism hidden. If I need to talk to the professor for another faith integration paper next semester, I might suggest I am having "doubts about my faith" and that "I don't feel comfortable writing about them at this point in time." Maybe that will go over better and allow me to write a normal research paper where I might be able to actually learn something. Next semester apparently I have to look forward to a 15 page neurophysiology faith integration paper...

Thanks for all the time you put into your reply. According to Laura's comment, apparently I should get used to you being "all-around awesome"!

I have toyed with the idea of right before I graduate, using my position to distribute pamphlets in everyone's mailboxes. It would blend in with the other propaganda constantly stuffed in students' mailboxes. At the very least, maybe I can cause some other people to question their beliefs. Any thoughts on this idea? Here is an example of a subtle pamplet:
http://www.atheisteye.com/AtheistTract.pdf
Gordon, eh? You don't happen to know Dana Ramsey do you? I went to high school with her!

I know I am a few days late to help you out with this dilemma and I hope it all went well, but if you ever want to organize an Eastern MA meetup let me know :)!
It sounds like an indoctrination camp to me. Chapel several times a week is required? Also, the topic of this paper is insane. It has nothing to do with actually teaching you anything important. Instead, it seems to be trying to train people to think that science proves that the christian god is real.

Unfortuantely, you are kind of stuck in the situation that you are in. You need to do what is best for you. If you are a senior, that means that you are almost done. Even though the class has a lot of nonsense about "god" mixed in, you are still honestly interested in the science aspect, right? If that is the case, you need to just write what they want you to hear. It may not be satisfying to you to do that now, but it honestly doesn't matter. I've taken many courses that have been required where I knew I wasn't learning anything that was useable in the working world. But complaining about it wouldn't get me anywhere. Universities and religions both exist just for one purpose, and that is to take your money.

If I were you, I would simply concentrate on finishing the courses as soon as possible and then go join the working world. Then you can get involved in doing what you want to do and start earning money and real hands on experience. Heck, this "christian school" may very well work out to your advantage someday. Christians will never be able to call you a know-it-all scientist who doesn't understand faith.
Gordon College was founded as a missionary training institute, so it is not surprising that indoctrination is a core feature of the place.
Thanks for helping me to see the positives of this place. I really, really appreciated hearing your perspective.

Among everything else, I suppose if I hadn't gone here I might not be the liberated atheist I am today. I might not have had the motivation to investigate my previous faith in the way I did; to criticize and question everything. I suppose I am a stronger person from this experience. It's incredibly frustrating now, but as you suggested my experience living daily surrounded by those with faith might make me better well off in the future. At the every least I will be much more successful in debates by better understanding the Christian perspective.
Wow, it looks like Dave G did some good research here. You're new to the site, but it won't take you long to figure out that Dave G is all-around awesome. I was going to advocate being honest, but it sounds like you could be expelled. How about writing the paper with a different tense / point of view; that is to say, instead of writing "I believe that God makes my muscles move and is a crazy-good scientist," you could write, "Christians can synthesize their beliefs with science by believing that God makes their muscles move and is a crazy-good scientist." That way, you're legitimately exploring the topic of the paper and delving into how Christians think while not phrasing the paper in a way that is intellectually dishonest. The professor probably wouldn't even notice the difference. How about that? In the end, it sounds like you picked a college that sucks and now you're dealing with it, but you'll be out of there soon. So don't let it bother you too much. I went to a religious college too - though it did not require students to be practicing Christians - and parts of it sucked. But now I'm a happy atheist and all is well.
Laura, you're making me blush. :)

I do like the third-person view idea.

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