"Don't go wearing that thing! You're pushing your atheism in other people's faces."

More drama from my theist fam on Saturday night. I was wearing an American Atheists pendant which I thought was harmless and [from personal experience] I had noticed that no theists I had met had recognized the meaning of it. However, my mom and dad were telling me not to wear it because "they were concerned about my safety." My dad said something to the point of "you never know when you'll advertise your atheism like that to the wrong person," and "the last thing I want to hear is that you've been sent to the hospital, or you're dead, and I'll know why!" - Given the fact that I never wear any atheist material that has any words, even the word "atheist" on it outside the house, because I know that it pisses people in this conservative town off, I was stunned by that statement. The pendant itself was EXTREMELY discrete. I tried to tell them that it never had attracted any negative attention from theists, who almost never know what it means. In fact, pretty much the only people who DO know what it means ARE ATHEISTS!
For anyone doubting me on how discrete it was, this is what it looked like:


Okay... so any disagreement? I would really like to know.

Secondly, my father told me he didn't want me to be an activist. I told him that it is my need and my duty to stick up for my civil rights.

He responded that he didn't want me to get hurt. And that I wouldn't be able to make any friends. [I don't reveal my atheism off the internet to people I don't know well enough to know if I can trust them with the info]. So I was just rolling my eyes.
I am grateful that they love me enough to care about my safety.
However, does anyone else think they're going overboard?

This particular incident didn't make me angry, it just made me question whether I SHOULD be activist and to feel a little afraid of being so. After all, although I discourage "Emotional reasoning" [saying something's true because it feels good], I couldn't help doubting what I thought was my duty due to my natural animal fear of pain or death.

So, any thoughts... what should I do?

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Yeah I know! Unfortunately, [because this shouldn't happen to anyone!] gays and lesbians are more likely to be physically attacked than atheists. Most theists that find out our nature just try and convert us and then tell us we're damned when they can't.
I think it is fabulous that you can see your parents' love and concern for your safety. But at the same time, perhaps you should ask them (or at least consider for yourself) if their response would be the same were some of variables in the situation to change. If you were Catholic and lived in a very non-religious area, would they advise you not to wear your crucifix, not to "advertise" your perspective? If you were a devout fundamentalist Christian and felt the need to stand up for a perceived violation of your civil rights, would your father still say he didn't want you to be an activist? Also, they seem to think that the possible, realistic response by your town's religious folk to atheism would be to send you to the hospital or worse - doesn't (shouldn't) that give your parents some serious pause about those followers?

As for what you should do, it seems that only you can answer that - only you will know what feels right and what feels just. Your duty is to be true to yourself and stand up for what you believe....in whatever manner you feel is right.
Thanks...
Actually, one of my dad's responses to the pendant was that "he doesn't go around advertising his presbyterianism." I pointed out to him the obvious, that people who wear crosses are advertising their Christian faith. He then pointed out that he wasn't wearing a cross. I told him he wasn't getting the point. Presbyterians aren't being persecuted. They don't have to actively stand up for their rights. So, it's not a good example of what danger I would "supposedly" be in to use "wearing a cross" because no one cares if you wear a cross. He didn't still didn't seem to get how that argument falls apart.
Frankly I think that living in fear of what *might* happen is a pretty poor way to live the one life that we have. You are more likely to be run over than to be lynched for your atheism, so does that mean you shouldn't cross the street or leave the house?

As to getting hurt by people, the kind of person who would attack you for being atheist is the kind of person who is looking for an excuse to attack someone - if they don't do it for your atheism they'll do it because they don't like your hair or they don't like the look on your face. It's about them wanting to prove to themselves that they have power over others and usually the worst thing about getting a kicking is not the physical pain, but the fact that someone has taken away your sense of personal freedom by making you afraid. The only way to get over that is to reject that fear and live your life the way you feel is right.

After all, one of the good things about America is that you have freedom of expression - why have it if you don't use it?
Concern for your physical injury, without mention of the eternity in hell that awaits the non-believer. Wouldn't any believer be more concerned for you in the afterlife? After all you're only on earth for a few years.

The pendant is discrete! I assume the ruler measures inches which would make it 4.1cm wide. It looks like it has something to do with atomic energy and the 1950s. The Rutherford model of Lithium - with a bit missing, and the nucleus replaced with A - has no immediate connection with atheism.

Is your fear well founded? Is there much evidence that violence against atheists happens in your area? Certainly such a thing should never happen, "Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person." I think he was just trying to scare you.

Personally I think your father wants you to be a Christian, so is trying everything he can think of - "you'll get hurt", "you'll make no friends" - to steer you in that direction. It would be a shame if he stopped you from being your own person.
The Rutherford model of Lithium - with a bit missing, and the nucleus replaced with A - has no immediate connection with atheism.

It is the official symbol of the American Atheists organization, so anyone familiar with it may recognize it, but the chances of that are pretty slim.
Concern for your physical injury, without mention of the eternity in hell that awaits the non-believer. Wouldn't any believer be more concerned for you in the afterlife? After all you're only on earth for a few years.
My parents don't believe in hell.
I think that's logically stupid, because how can you believe in Christian heaven, if you don't believe in hell too?
Heaven but no hell... I call that 'Pick & Mix', it makes absolutely no sense at all to me.
Exactly.
If you believe in heaven but not hell you can be a Christadelphian (my parents were). They believe that we are not born with eternal souls but are granted one at the second coming of Chuy, else we go back into the ground to rot away. So no hell for the damned just the lights going out (twice!). It's like the scene in Manhattan where Woody Allen is in the bus with the gloomy slobs and looks over at the bus next to him where a wild party with beautiful people is going on.

BTW - not believing in an eternal soul helped me gain a rational world view from a very young age. Didn't do a goddamn thing for my Christadelphian-ism though...
Actually, my parents believe that "all people go to heaven because god would forgive us our 'misunderstanding' of him." First I wondered... if that's the case, then why do they care that I'm an atheist? Why do they feel "sorry for me" as they have said? IDK...

Secondly, I noticed that a "god that forgives non-believers" runs directly contrary to the statements made by the vicious bastard of the old testament god, AND the statements made by the new testament god, Jesus. "They shall be cast out where they will weep and gnash their teeth."
Honestly, I think the concept of Hell is really adverse to the Christian message. The Almighty author of all that is sends his son to earth to brurally die for the sake of humanity, but for some reason he can only manage to pick up the ones who acknowledge his existence?

He doesn't sound as almighty anymore.

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