Hello all, I am new to this site. Loving it to the fullest extent. Atheists are becoming more accepted in the world, but are still outcasts in many parts of it. I am from the south, where most people are Christian, and claim to be devout. The only part of their being devout consists of standing up for their religion, by putting down on any others than think differently. I am hesitant to talk about myself being Atheist as a first subject in a conversation being the response I am likely to receive. It's either you are Christian or a complete imbecile in the eyes of the majority of the population in the area. I am in currently in college and enjoying the extended level of open-minded peers I meet.
Just posting to get involved, any responses are welcome and appreciated. :)
Welcome. I just found this site too and it's made me VERY happy :D
As I said in the thread, I think feeling/being an outcast comes part and parcel when you're in a minority, which we are. But, unlike most minorities, we are growing in numbers and will eventually be the majority. It just won't be in our lifetime.
> It's either you are Christian or a complete imbecile in the eyes of the majority of the population
You can always ask them why they don't believe in Vishnu (even though 900 million other people do).
Welcome to our piece of sanity in cyberspace, Chase.
This site has an excellent support group with a wide range of cultures and free thought.
I definitely understand your comments concerning the South. I love being a native Southerner, and a native to Atlanta GA, but being an atheist is without question a challenge down here.
I am 46, almost 47. As I said earlier, I was born in Atlanta (actually IN the city!) in 1964. I grew up all over GA, living in south/rural GA for a good portion of my youth. My parents "claim" to be devout xians (as happens a lot down here), and they even had me in a xian school for part of my elementary education. I decided I was an atheist early in high school, and came "out" of the closet then. Luckily I was in a group/clique of geeks/gifted students, and we all were atheists too - so it provided a great deal of support to me in school, as I wasn't "alone". I caught a great deal of grief from my dad and his side of the family (my dad - a drug-dealer who couldn't hold a job, was married 5 times, and was horribly abusive to me, who died at 47 - talk about hypocrites), as well as my step father. Dealing with them was definitely no fun, but I did stick to my guns. As a teen, I actually showed my step-father what an idiot he was in religious arguments. He was an asshole, and I was definitely an asshole smartass teenager. I must admit that I do feel guilty about that at times - at least the WAY I did it. I could have been a little more tactful. Maybe. My mom, however, accepted me. She's pretty kewl ;)
Being an "out of the closet" atheist can be a challenge at times, no doubt. I obviously don't bring it up in conversations, but I don't shy away from it either. Now I am tolerant of some social norms that happen in the South/rural South that are religious. For instance, my son's rec league football team ends practices and games with the Lord's Prayer. I don't recite it, and I don't bow my head - but I don't complain either, because I know my boy and his beliefs, and I trust his ability to understand the situation. We have discussed it at length, and I did ask him how he wants to handle it, and that I would back him 100% with whatever decision he makes. After we discussed it, he decided to go along with it, and he does like me - he doesn't bow his head, but he doesn't complain either. In fact, this decision led to my wife and I actually finding a "kindred spirit" at the football practices during the prayer, a few years ago. We noticed another mom who didn't bow her head either, and after some small talk we found out that she is an atheist, too. Now she's my wife's closest friend, so that worked out really well.
It is amazing, however, how hypocritical xians down here can be. For instance, I have had Darwin fish on my autos for years. I always carry spares in my glove compartment because they get torn off quite often. My family and I live in Flowery Branch GA currently, and it is definitely as small as it sounds ;) Oh, and of course it doesn't help that I'm also a progressive/liberal/"realistic" libertarian (as far as personal freedoms are concerned) - a teeny dot of blue in a sea of red. I am definitely a minority in these parts! LOL
So, hang in there. Things get better, and soon you'll find your own way of coping with the world and your beliefs. Just make sure you always stay true to yourself, and pick your battles. Do that, and you'll soon be comfortable in your own skin, in your world. ;)
For Chase, Sarah and Laura - So glad you have all joined the group. This site has so many brilliant people on it - ask anything you like, and they will show you how to debate etc. there is safety in numbers, just more Atheists have to come on out, and that is happening every day. I just love reading everybodies comments. I am Australian, so there is just no worries here about coming out. I don't blithely announce it, but if it comes up, I do. Australia had the pope come out for World Youth Day, and there were hundreds of people handing out condoms to these supposedly virginal type youth - with signs saying 'Practice Safe Sex, it helps stop aids and pregnancy' - very cheeky. Australians aren't scared of too much. And I have a very personal hatred of the pope and his cronies.
In most countries, Atheists are simply too scared to come out, so we don't really know how many there are.
Our female Prime Minister is an unmarried, living with her boyfriend, Atheist. She did get flack, mainly because she didn't have children - but it gave a lot of Atheists in closets to come out. I feel so sorry for people who live in christian 'areas'. America seems just as dogmatic as muslims sometimes, they just don't kill as many people over a book. But vehement and loony tune - oh, yeah. You will get a lot of support from this group.
To Rocky - most xians are hypocrites - which is when someone announces 'I am a xian - I say 'Ruuuunnnn'.
What do you think would happen, if a politician in America announced 'I am an Atheist"?