This question is directed at anyone who lives somewhere. So as not to discriminate, those who do not live somewhere, but perhaps live somewhen instead, are also invited to participate, but only if they can explain how that works.
It's pretty open-ended really, but a few things to consider:
Even if you frequently move, or do not live most of any given year at a fixed address, I'm still looking for the same basic things: what keeps you in a state of moving around so much?
N.B. Don't feel obligated to answer those subquestions I asked. Photos, words, videos... whatever; answer however you damn well please. I'm mostly just curious about where other TA members are coming from, figuratively and literaly.
I live in Belgium. My house is right next to a church, actually. Because I live in kind of a domestic area, people are relatively conservative here. But the city is only a ten-minute drive away, I go to school there and everyone's pretty open-minded (in Belgium, most schools are catholic schools, but I go to a community school, people of every religion go there). Almost 20 out of 25 students in my class choose to attend non-confessional moral sciences instead of catholic class.
Like the States, Belgium houses people of every religion, but here it's not such a big deal. Condoms and abortion are socially accepted, creationists are rare and HIV/aids is (generally) no taboo. Most catholics are over 60 years of age, and I get the impression the number of fanatically religious people is collapsing. But in big cities like Brussels, there are a lot of North African immigrants, mostly Turkish and Moroccan, and they're really holding on to their Muslim culture.
About 6 months ago, a catholic bishop confessed that he had repeatedly sexually abused his nephew, and that he paid him large sums to keep quiet. This caused a chain reaction of confessions, and other victims finally started talking about their traumas. The abuse of priests and bishops has dominated all media since, which caused close investigation of catholic churches, schools and other organizations that were linked with priests. The conclusion was that there have been victims of sexual abuse by a priest in EVERY catholic school in the seventies and eighties. This caused such a shock that more and more people turned their back on catholic church. So now we have two groups of believers: the ones that still follow the pope and the ones that still believe but don't go to church anymore. And then there's the people who didn't believe anymore but were baptized as a baby, many of these people started sending letters to be de-baptized.
They started thinking about the surrealism of religion, and some of them are atheists now.
I live in a suburb of Houston, TX, where the U.S. census confirms that I live in one of the most conservative parts of one of the most conservative states in the country. 'Religious' isn't the same as 'Conservative' but right-wing Conservatism is a religion in these parts.
I'm more open with my politics than my religious views. If my neighbors knew I was Atheist, they would never listen to my political views. Where I live, an Obama bumper sticker will get your car keyed and your kids bullied.
I moved here for a job 13 years ago, but 8 years ago I left that job to work on my website full-time, so I can live practically anywhere in the World (with an Internet connection) and still maintain my income. So why do I still live in Houston? Mainly because I didn't want to uproot my kids from their schools and friends. After this school year, though, I'll only have one child still in grade school, so my wife and I are looking at our options.
It's been hard living as the outcasts of this community. I wonder what it would be like to live somewhere more open to my political and religious beliefs. I've had it beat into me since childhood that you can't run from your problems, but there's been many things beat into me since childhood which have proven to be wrong ;)
I'm actively looking at real estate in Northern California. There are some good deals right now, even on houses with a view of the Pacific Ocean. Craig Newmark (Craigslist) says that all he needs is a house with a view and a hot shower. Right now I don't have much of a view.
So what do you think? Would it be easier for a Liberal Atheist with a passion for community to live in a more liberal area of the country?
There are douche bags all over the world.
Even the most 'liberal' places have their own idea of right vs. wrong, and woe if your ideas don't line up.
But that said?
Get out of Texas!
I mean, I don't have kids, so sorry if this question sounds rather blunt, but um...
Why on earth would you want your kids raised in a place like that? Moving is hard and all, but you are seriously paying YOUR tax dollars to educate your own kids in religion? As an atheist? What?
Doesn't that area still teach Intelligent Design and Abstinence Only programs?
And by enrolling your kids there, you are sorta financially supporting that...?
I dunno. Like I said. I have no kids, so I'm not judging. Just trying to see the logic.
I'm currently living in the Bay Area, Ca..but I've got relatives in the Chico area. We might actually be heading down to Santa Cruz soon, too. I'm sick of the traffic.
Outside the Bay Area, things are pretty affordable. There are sooo many microclimates here that you can pick what you want for ecology and community. Redwoods? Desert Cactus? Wildflowers? Ocean? Mountains? Lakes? Whatever you want, you can find and afford.
We are also sorta considering the Nevada side of Tahoe for starting a business. Nevada is much more business friendly and the taxes are way lower, but the mentality is way more yuppy than trailer trash. The best of both worlds? We shall see.
Good luck on your hunt! I'm still at traveling stage of my life. Not sure where we will settle next or for good, but Texas probably isn't even on the list. :)
Thought this video could go in this thread as well as the New Year's resolution thread: "Dare to be Fat" by D.C.'s own Root Boy Slim. Actually, Takoma Park, MD - I'm now on the other side of the river but I go either way in my greater DC affiliations. Lived in Silver Spring, MD for about a year in my 20s just over the border from TP - used to say I lived there because Takoma Park is so much cooler. Talk about open minded - folks there are so open minded sometimes there brains fall out!!!
And, even though it is a little late (although not yet feast of the epiphany so still sort of christmas) this classic:
Dude, I've missed you, man. Sorry I haven't been around lately. RL is kicking my ass.
But I saw you up on the hot list and decided that if you were posting, it must be worth it.
Here is my answer:
The places I've lived have been pretty well assorted.
The major religions have been everything from the typical Non-Denom Xtians in California (liberally mixed with new age woo. I swear, if Trader Joe's was a church, all the yuppies would come in for service in their flowered shirts every Sunday. There is an entire culture of CaliWoo here.)
To the Muslim nations in South East Asia (I get along way better with Asian types of Islam than the Arabic types even though I narrowly missed a train derailment and a nightclub bombing in the same year. )
To the Thai/Lao/Malay/Cambodian versions of Buddhism (all of varying degrees of tradition. Some of my best Buddhist friends were prostitutes, actually. One of my good friends also served as a Buddhist Nun -is Nun the right English translation? They shave their heads and eyebrows like Monks but live in different temples, I think.)
To the formally decreed "Royal Church of Scotland" or whatever their national religion is. I mean, my inlaws there are all agnostic/atheists/huh? where no one is actually 'religious.' and if they are, they are almost always Catholic and always considered a little...weird. Asking about religion in Scotland is a little like asking about sex. No one cares if you do it, but whose business is it, again? Though weirdly enough, their religion is divided by football (soccer) teams. There is still a TON of violence and animosity between the Celtics and Rangers and there is still a good lot of death and violence that comes with team support. Seriously. Over a religious ball game. I couldn't make this shit up if I tried.
Every place I've lived, my lack of religion has never been an issue except for while here in America.
That isn't to say Americans are just plain crazier (though I sort of do suspect it.) but it's also because when I'm in other countries, I generally try to play by the social rules of the place that is hosting me. If religion is a taboo subject there, I leave it alone. If it isn't, I pretty much get away with saying anything I want because I'm a novelty. Sadly, in many of the places I've lived, no one cares that I'm atheist, because they assume that I'm already going to be different because I'm white and female and doing abnormal things (to them) anyway. Being atheist is the same as all my other differences, and no one cares.
Here.. oh here.. totally different story.
Part of my family are Mormons. The other part are Baptists. The other part are New Age.
They all talk smack about each other in front of me, and I always say "Wait.. you've got no room to laugh. You believe in XXXXX" (and then I make their most sacred beliefs sound stupid ala Jewish Zombie tone. ) That usually shuts EVERYBODY up, because no one can make an argument against another religion that can't be applied to theirs as well.
I am not bothered by living in places where my atheism is less accepted.
The only time I feel uncomfortable is when I live in places like Provo, Utah (oh folks, have I got stories..!)
Where the minute the public finds out you are an atheist it becomes a living game of social Frogger. People -even well meaning people- believe they are doing you a favor by engaging you at the most inappropriate times and places.
I don't like being an atheist in a place that considers my atheism my only defining attribute.
When folks treat it like a detail that they do or do not agree with, that's one thing.
But when I'm made out to be a target or potential prey for a notch in the belt of some born agains or overly enthusiastic theists in large numbers? Makes day to day life really, really annoying.
I am 22 years old and I have not moved at all in my life. I plan on moving in the near future, but still in the same relative area.
My community is NOT open to very many philosophical ideas, including atheism. I seem to live in a very fundamentalist environment.
It does bother me, but you find the same thing anywhere else really..you could be talking to someone online from a different state and still feel the same awkwardness.
I remain here because most of my family lives close by. I cant afford to move just yet, but like I mentioned already, I plan on not moving too far away. I like my home town. I live in a small town with a major river flowing less then a mile away. I live in a very historical town. There is a certain beauty to this area, that I think you would only notice if you were raised here. I love to ride four wheeler...there are abandoned strip mining sites close by that are perfect for that hobby. I love to fish the river that is closed by. I learned how to swim there.
the only other thing i dont like about my hometown is that it's nearly impossible to find a job...I have to travel.
I'm going to post a few pictures if that's ok... also a few links.
I live in a pleasant sea side resort in South West England (N Somerset). Most of my friends and colleagues are atheist or agnostic. I am under the impression that despite a recent visit to the UK from the pope church attendance is dropping.
I was born here. Never really had the urge to leave as I know it well and I like it. Only religious pressure I had was at primary school where it was forced down my throat and if you questioned the faith you were punished and also at college where a bit of a crazy bunch heard I was a non believer and pestered me to join their silly club.
There are a lot of churches around here. 3 that I know of within a 5 min walk. I expect that number to drop over time even with the increasing and unmanageable population within the UK.
Attached is a pic of the sunset from my window. One of the reasons I like my little flat overlooking the bay.