I feel like I’m going to explode. The pressure is down significantly because I’ve been talking to more people about my situation and how I feel and about the thoughts that have been racing in my head, but I still get headaches every day when I think about how much I’m suppressing myself just to feel “safe” here.
I want SO MUCH to be able to wear a shirt that just says “ATHEIST” on it around campus, but the terrible anxiety I get at the thought of doing such a revealing thing is enough to keep me from even ordering one online. It would lessen so much pressure if I could just tell people instead of keeping it all bottled up inside. My flight instincts flare up every time I want to say anything though :( I’ve been slowly telling more and more people that I know about my atheism, and so far their reactions haven’t been so bad. The two girls I may have mentioned before who seemed suddenly very distant and uncaring towards me are now much more open and loving since I’ve proven that I’m not here to drink anyone’s blood or anything (heh heh….YET).
But in all seriousness, a part of me feels like it’s my duty as an atheist going to a Christian college to speak out and ask more questions more often. All the students that voice their opinions in class are Christian, and I feel like they need to see things from a different perspective, and actually learn to think about difficult things. 

My friendish-acquaintance who sits by me in my biology class complained that the worksheet we had been asked to fill out last week was one he did not like because the questions made him sad. I was appalled by what he said. If we avoid answering or thinking about questions that make us sad, or angry, or that make us question our beliefs or what we know, then we will forever live in our own ignorance. I should have told him that if he didn’t want to think beyond his comfort zone then he shouldn’t have decided to come to college, but instead I just respectfully disagreed and said I loved answering difficult questions because they make me think. 

Of course, I also have to add that when I first met this guy I thought he was mentally retarded. He’s just a few fries short of a happy meal, is all :) (The perfect conduit for Christianity, really).

Anyway, I wish so much that I had enough confidence in myself and in my (minimal*) support here to “out” myself so loudly, but I don’t :(  I feel like a coward compared to Jessica Ahlquist.

Other reasons why I’m terrified to wear such a shirt is that I feel like doing so would be, in a way, attacking everyone around me and their views. I’d be labeling myself with a lot of stereotypes and bad connotations. I’m afraid of how the school staff would react. What if I got in trouble for wearing it, and my parents found out, and I broke my mother’s heart because she found out that way that I’m an atheist? Will people avoid talking to me knowing I’m an atheist, because they’re afraid I might try to “take them down the path of sin”? How many potential friendships will I lose? No Christian boy will want to be involved with me romantically if everyone knew I was an atheist, because obviously I’ve got no morals, right? We’d be having premarital sex ALL THE TIME (/sarcasm). 

I’m starting to get depressed. I want to avoid this as much as possible because I need to have all the focus I can muster on my studies. I literally can’t afford to get bad grades here.

I just don’t want to be lonely anymore. But keeping quiet to everyone is almost literally driving me crazy. 

*But despite my constant whining about lack of support, I want to say that you guys have been great internet support :)  I just lack face-to-face-atheist support right now, is all :/ 

I’m still writing my piece about why I’m here, and why I’m probably going to still graduate from here (even though all I do is complain <:D ). That’ll be finished soonish ;)

I hope your weekends went well,


Views: 565

Comment by Emperor Milos on March 5, 2012 at 9:17am

Being atheist can be alienating and tough in most situations, but I can't even being to imagine how it is in a christian school.

But just the simple fact that you are actually attending a christian school, and surviving with your sanity shows that you are a lot stronger than you say you are.

You might not be as outspoken about atheism like some, but everything has its time.

I agree with the previous comment from David; just play it cool for now. When you are ready to be open about your atheism you will be. 

If it helps at all, the way I deal with religious situations, like having to go to church with my wife from time to time, or being around her uber religious brother and his family, I just take it as a front row seat to an inside look at religious people. Like the crocodile hunter, observing a croc in its natural habitat, you get to observe religious people in their natural habitat, and you get to see them with their guard down, in a place where no one will criticize them for their crazy opinions and beliefs. You get to hear what they really think.

You are a fox in the hen house. A wolf in sheep's clothing would be a more appropriate analogy, since all christians are J-zeus' flock. You pretty much have a back stage pass to the minds of religious people. I say enjoy it! The feeling of loneliness and depression will pass in time, as you get more comfortable with your surroundings. If it does not, then seek professional help. Depression is no joke.

Stay strong, and let this website be your outlet until you feel comfortable enough to speak openly about your atheism.

Comment by Chad Baxter on March 5, 2012 at 1:31pm

First time I have ever logged into a Atheist website / social area..  Sorry to hear about your troubles at school.  I can sort of relate but my story goes something like this:

I'm an Atheist, married to an almost Atheist.  We actually attend church every Sunday and I actually play piano for the praise band.  Each week at praise band practice the group has a little bible study and I just want to scream at them how crazy they all are for believing in this whole mess, but I don't.  Like you, I debate if I should continue to be part of this group or not.  My wife likes the church and the people are very nice and they do a lot of nice things for the community that I can buy into.  Keep your head up you will be fine.  I too wish I could sometimes wear a "I'm and Atheist" shirt to Church.  Some members of the praise band know that I am an Atheist and they have not overreacted, so you may find more acceptance then what you think.  Many people are more open to Atheism once you get to know them and they get to know you.  My goal is not to push Atheism on the people that I attend church with, but I'm more then willing to share my thoughts when approached by someone with questions on Atheism. 

I'm pleased to find a resource like this to lean on.  Good luck to you at school, I'm sure things will work out.

Comment by Heather Spoonheim on March 5, 2012 at 1:46pm

Your only 'duty as an Atheist' is believing that which can reasonably be proven and not believing things because of social pressures.  Theism is about truth being dictated by authority (be it social or institutional) and A-theism is about not submitting to such authority.

Now, if you want to rage against the machine - well that's another thing entirely.  I happen to be an anti-theist and that's my thing; there is no reason for you to feel pressured to make it your thing.  You'll voice your opinion when you are ready and the situation warrants it - until then just relax and enjoy living without the fear of being burned alive for eternity.

Comment by Kevin Longmore on March 5, 2012 at 2:30pm
Be proud of your freethinking and you will come across people like you. I for one wish you well and hope you overcome your situation. Wishing you all the best, as we say in the UK.
Comment by Daniel Vrangsinn on March 5, 2012 at 4:35pm

When you let your fear of failing keep you from even trying

you choose to fail just like you fail to live every minute you spend dying.

Yeah. It is hard to be special :) But what you are is nothing to be ashamed of. Be proud dear friend

Comment by C Elaine Clark on March 5, 2012 at 4:46pm

Dear Taylor, Please don't take life so seriously.... You don't have to go around telling everyone you are an atheist. that's almost as bad as everyone telling you they are a christian, You are young be happy. Wear a I love my cat Tee shirt ,  Wait till the time comes up naturally to discuss what you believe in. You might turn people off if you come on to strong.  Just go with the flow ( that doesn't mean follow the crowd ) it means follow your flow..... learn to breath :)

 sending you lots of LOVE .....<3 

Comment by Thinking Enigma on March 6, 2012 at 3:12am

"No Christian boy will want to be involved with me romantically if everyone knew I was an atheist, because obviously I’ve got no morals, right?" 

You have no idea how much I identify with this sentiment. I feel the same way. Fortunately, most people who really are into you, will probably overlook this for the sake of the relationship, or at least this has been my experience with girls here. Will you have to deal with the issue? Yes, at some point, but you will probably be able to work through it with minimal disruption to the relationship. Besides, I'm sure you will find a few atheist guys around if it doesn't work out with any Christians. You have an advantage because there are more male atheists than female atheists, thus making it more likely that you will find them.

I really hope everything works out.


Comment by randy brooks on March 6, 2012 at 4:46am

The good thing about owning up to who you are is that it gives other people the courage to do the same. Imagine all the other young people out there like you....you can help by just being you. This song always helped me back in the day.....http://youtu.be/qQa8mw3SZOg

Comment by Doc Feral on March 6, 2012 at 6:55am

My take on this is, if you have a close friend or two, confide in them. Also, I would order that shirt if I were you..but wear in under a sweat shirt for now while you're at school, kinda like it's your own little secret. :)  Then when you're not in school anymore and not concerned about what others there think, you can wear it proudly for the world to see. It'll be like saying... "Hell ya, I went to Christian College and I'm still an Atheist.." 

Comment by Dustin WIdmann on March 6, 2012 at 9:46am

You're at a Christian College and you're managing to stay rational? You haven't snapped yet? I think that's actually fairly impressive. Hang in there, you'll get through it!


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