Hey guys, my name's Josie and I'm from Western Australia. Now my country is very very different to America. It's a very secular country and religion doesn't play a big roll if not any roll in polotics. In many ways I think of it as a complete opposite to America in terms of religion and secularism, I can even guarantee that most Autralian's haven't even heard the term "Creationist", just check out this link if you're interested in my countries backstory on irreligion http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irreligion_in_Australia

The real reason I'm posting this is because I'll be looking to visit Alabama sometime in the future. Now, if you checked out the link you can see how different my environmental upbringing to anyone in America, particularily in the south would have been. But I've done some research and found that atheist's aren't treated very nice in America (perhaps thats an understatement?) and given that it's the south I'm assuming it can't be good. Needless to say I'll be going to a state very different than my own where I'd imagine the majority of which isn't keen on atheism or anyone who isn't Jewish or Christian.

So, what sort of behaviour should I expect people to have towards me for being an atheist, exactely how big is religon there? How big is Creationism there? And if anyone has anything else to add about Alabama that would be awesome as well. Any reply would be much appreciated. Thanks :)

Tags: Alabama, Atheism, Australia, Religion, Secularism

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Of all the places on Earth you could choose, you go with Alabama. What part of Alabama do you plan on visiting? I'm in Mobile, it's very Christian. Mostly Catholic, Baptist and Protestant. Some nondenominational, but no snake tents (that I know of). How you'll be treated will be balanced against how you treat the people you meet. Religion won't openly come up in conversation with people you just met, but you'll hear all the classics, "god bless you," " have a blessed day," "dinosaurs fossils are the devil trying to trick us." Ok, I made the last one up, no one has ever said that to me. Seriously, you'll be treated like anyone else, unless you plan on wearing a big neon sign that says "Fuck with me, I'm an Atheist!!!" Not saying you should hide who you are, just no sense in being overbearing (guess is a good word). But, be careful on Witch Hunt Wednesdays, they get a bit wild.

My funny story on my way through Mobile Alabama 1975, on a Greyhound bus!

Sunday morning, I get on to start a nice sunny day. I notice that the bus is slowly being filled with black folks in their sunday finest.

I a young white guy, from Oregon, with no experience being a minority, this my wake up call.

About 45 mintes into the trip, I notice no one is sitting next to me, do I have cutties?

At the next stop another white kid gets on and sits next to me.

We are very quiet for about 30 minutes, then this fellow leans over and asks, 'are you Baptist?'

'No!', I say.

'Thank god!' he says

As the bus starts to clear out, one church after another, we keep talking. Doodle bugs in teachers desks, life, the universe, and everything. Sadly this dear fellow gets off, and I continue to finish my 4 weeks on the road!

I'm not Alabaman, but I've lived in the area. The surrounding states and all the way to the Atlantic coast seem similar to me, but the pervasiveness of religion still depends a lot more on city size. Generally speaking, the larger the city, the more cosmopolitan and "tolerant" they are. Yeah, country folk can be said to be more friendly and polite than city folk, but they're also more apt to ask a personal question, like what church do you go to. The question is not confrontational so much as trying to get to know you, or just to make conversation. A lot of people there rarely assume they're speaking to a real, live atheist.

I would just consider a trip there an interesting cultural experience. Say, have you ever watched Swamp People on TV? (Just kidding... you probably won't run into that culture. But if you do, make sure sure you try some of their BBQ, ya hear?! It's real good.)

Hey Josie.  Like the others, not too sure why you would choose Alabama as your destination but you'll find it to be better than you think.  I grew up in Vermont (random small state in the Northeastern US that is comparatively open-minded) with the same thoughts that you have about Alabama.  I wasn't nervous about moving down here for grad school.  Perhaps I should say I was more curious about how well I would fit in.  The caveat is that with grad school, I have friends from all over the US and a few international friends as well with all different backgrounds, so I haven't been fully immersed in the Alabama experience.  That being said, the native Alabamians I've talked to have been friendly and polite.  Religion is huge around my area (Birmingham), and we even have one of those fabled mega-churches nearby.  But as David mentioned, the most you're generally going to hear is "god bless you" or "have a blessed day".  Your religious background most likely will not come up unless you volunteer that information.  I know this isn't exactly new information from what the others have said, but hopefully will make you feel more confident that being an atheist in Alabama isn't all that problematic.

Thanks for the response guys :) I had a friend in Alabama I thought of visiting someday but that was just an idea I had, I don't plan on visiting anymore but I do appreciate what you had to say. At least now I don't have to worry about running into Turtle Man someday, lol I'm kidding :) It was cool to learn that the south isn't as bad as it's stereotyped in movies and TV. Anyway thanks again for the replies and peace out :)

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