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,

~Taylor

Views: 518

Tags: atheist, college, lonely

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 Julia Arena Miller on March 5, 2012 at 4:02pm

Taylor, I am going to risk sounding like a MOM and tell you that I understand what you are going through and it can be very frustrating and even depressing at times to feel like you are living a lie. You have, however, enrolled in a christian college and you are now in a christian camp. While you are there I would recommend not throwing rocks! It will make them feel like you are attacking them in their back yard because that is what you would be doing. Don't get the t-shirt. My guess is that you chose this college for convenience or parent pressure, but regardless of why, you are there now, so ride it out. Get your degree and then move on.

You most likely will not be able to retain too many friends from your college days because they will be devoted followers of what you cannot support or take seriously. If you expose yourself forcefully, they will see you as the enemy or feel it is their duty to "fix" you. You will also be better off not trying to find a christian boy to get involved with because you most likely will never be able to see eye to eye with him on his religious beliefs. Wait until you are in a better environment where you will find people of many different beliefs. There are many people out there who believe as you do and you will find one. I did! It is a much better life you will have when you can both agree on how to live and what is important and how to raise your children. Mine are being raised as atheists.

You have not told your parents and I see that as the biggest hurdle to jump in your growth as an atheist at peace with herself. If you want to alleviate some frustrations I would start by telling my parents. If they are good parents they will get very upset for awhile, angry even, but then they will get over it and respect your ability to think for yourself. You will feel much better about yourself in the process too because you will not be hiding anything from them. Your parents will always love you even if they don't agree with you. Mine accepted my right to believe as I wished to even though I got thrown out of religion class at least once a week at my catholic high school for asking too many questions. When I told my parents I was an atheist they were terrified. I explained why I believed this way and they got over it. Your parents will too!

Most importantly, the beauty of an atheist's lack of religion is that there is no higher being telling you to spread the word and convert the planet! It is not your job to show everyone how they are wrong about their religion. That is christian thinking! Be at peace with who you are and be happy that you are free from their nonsense. Ease up on trying to justify to anyone why you feel what you feel. If you feel it and you believe it, that is all you need. Be proud of yourself that you had the intelligence to think beyond the preaching to ask the questions that brought you to your new beliefs. Be proud that you had the bravery to reject your upbringing for a higher form of thought. I believe that many people end up in your position but do not have the bravery to even voice the thoughts to their own consciousness much less the people around them. I am proud of you Taylor!

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 Matt Lutostanski on March 5, 2012 at 11:39pm

Dear Taylor,


I was the stereotypical Catholic Alter Boy character until I hit college. All of my belief peeled away very slowly in my first few years (about 10 years ago now) and it wasn't until about 5 years ago that I really grew comfortable with God not existing.

I spent a good amount of energy LYING to my relatives and friends that I still had "a little faith" left in my tank, and that I would "consider" going back to church. I can only imagine what it feels like to go to a Christian School where 99% of your "peers" are drinking the Kool-Aide, but I can tell you that once the time was right and I could say it out loud, becoming an Atheist was the single most LIBERATING emotional/spiritual feelings I've ever had in my whole life.

Just remember you won't always have to hide your secret. I like to say that as time rolls on, Old Intolerant people are DYING and the increasingly well informed internet age is THRIVING! It gets better.

I'm "Wishing" for you to have your coming out soon! Hang in there.

LUTO

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.

Timothy

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

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