About 4 years ago I had this dream. 

The US had been turned into a police state based on religion. My sister and I were standing outside a processing center. The only question being asked was will you turn your life over to god. My sister told me she knew I didn't believe but just to go along with it so I wouldn't be turned over to a concentration camp. I began panicking in the dream which apparently manifest itself physically because I woke up in a heavy sweat.

I didn't think I had that strong of a conviction to be truthful but apparently my subconscious does.

Any thoughts?

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I'm in SF Bay Area where my atheism is a total non-issue, so I've wondered how open I'd be about it if I lived in one of the more religious parts of America or the world where people are judged and ostracized for non-belief. The funny thing about belief is it's SO easy to fake: just say "I believe in God" and you're done, regardless of whether or not you actually believe. Hopefully lie detectors don't come in to play.

In my situation, which I'll consider a "1" on the disadvantage/discomfort of being atheist scale, I'm open and vocal about my atheism. Facing a concentration camp, a "10" on that same scale, assuming you mean a Nazi-style camp where torture and death are a possibility, I'd claim belief without hesitation.

I'd probably maintain my open position of atheism up to a 6 or 7 on the scale. I'd be willing to introduce/overcome some disadvantage to publicly profess my lack of belief, but wouldn't stick to that story if it started seriously affecting my safety or well-being, or that of my family/friends.
I'm in the SF area, too!
If I or a friend or family member were to suffer if I claimed non-belief, I would claim belief. My life, and that of those close to me, is more important than my position on some hypothesis. If I was to be discriminated against, up to angry stares, I would declare non-belief but if there was a threat of physical violence or violation of my rights then I may reconsider my offical position but my actual position would not change until I was persuaded by evidence.
My rational self, as opposed to my dream self, would be right there with you. I have this strange urge to self-preserve.
now it depends....which God are we turning our lives over too? I'd rather give my life to most pagan gods then the christian one. if that didn't matter...which, it does to me....I would have to claim to believe, if only for the sake of my family and friends. or, if I rebelled, maybe years down the line I would be considered a hero. hmm...
if I rebelled, maybe years down the line I would be considered a hero

I would perfer to be a live coward than a dead hero.
what exactly was the conversation about when you're employers wanted to know if you believed?

I can honestly say If an employer asked me, I would have to tell the truth. I think I'd rather feel awkward at work for the right reason instead of feeling awkward by myself because I lied.

Actually, I probably wouldn't answer either way. They really don't need to know.
My boss flat out asked me if I was an atheist. We debated politics a lot and I think he figured it out (or he saw an IT report showing me browsing T|A). Either way, it doesn't seem to bother him one bit.
During the 2009 election, I actually had to sit through a meeting that ended with statements that showed which candidate that the company was for and that it was a "christian family owned" business.

this meeting was supposed to be focused on the seasons profits and was attended by full time, part time and seasonal staff. Most of the seasonal staff mind you were working illegally.

after this...I wont think twice about telling the truth about my beliefs.
Wow. That takes some serious balls or a serious lack of awareness on that company's part.
Many 15th century Jews in Spain and Portugal converted (at least claimed to anyway) to christianity to avoid persecution. They were known as conversos. Despite Maimonides' having said that it is better to die than to denounce one's faith, some even went as far as to become catholic clergymen. Many though still feared for their lives and later fled to england, france and Holland, where they for the most resumed their Jewish faith and practices. Amsterdam essentially became the promised land for Jews who landed there, since they weren't confined to ghettos and were allowed to own businesses. This is where the first known secular cultural jews started appearing.
"It is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong" - Voltaire.


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