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 Rob Klaers on March 6, 2012 at 6:55am

Taylor.. 
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!

Comment by bob spencer on March 6, 2012 at 10:37am

Hi Taylor, I cant put it better than this.Go easy on yourself http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7criyE09uy0 ~Hicks

sent with love from a very sunny UK

Bob

Comment by Danny Sanchez on March 6, 2012 at 2:49pm

I think you just need a shot of courage. Get really drunk and tell everyone off. It sounds stupid and its is most likely not the right thing to do but it worked for me when I was your age and eventually the courage just stayed with me after I sobered up.

Comment by Ward Cressin on March 6, 2012 at 8:44pm

You say you feel like a coward compared to Jessica Ahlquist. Bulloney. You are in about the worst possible situation for an atheist yet you haven't hurt any of the morons around you. You imply that you are currently dependent upon your parents - to be expected - and don't want to hurt your mother. That suggests your father might not be all that religious and you might be able to talk to him as to how to talk to your mother. If I'm wrong about him then ignore that idea.

Here's a different idea for you: find the closeted gay guys to make friends with. You can help them lose their religion and keep their sanity while they help you keep yours. Heck, you might find a bisexual guy you hit it off with.

And what's wrong with voicing a 'sanitized' version of what you're thinking? Remove any hint that god doesn't exist from what you want to say then say it. This will be the most difficult part at first and you might not do it only occassionally but it sounds like right now you don't say anything. So being able to voice your opinion even occassionally is an improvement.

Finally, don't worry about what you think you 'need' to do as an athiest. You NEED to do what is right for YOU first.

Comment by archaeopteryx on March 7, 2012 at 3:36am

Taylor, your conflict seems to be that you want to "come out of the closet" but are afraid of the reaction, and I can understand that. I'm 5' 11 3/4" - that's a fact - I'm neither proud of it nor ashamed of it, but I see no need to put it on a T-shirt and wear it either. I've been an atheist for a number of years now, but I don't wear a T-shirt announcing that fact, I simply answer honestly, when asked.

Despite the fact that I know you don't want to feel you're "wimping out" by not wearing an "I'm an atheist" T-shirt. Think about where you are. I wouldn't wear an "I'm A Democrat" T-shirt to the Republican National Convention, for the simple reason that it would clearly be a confrontational act, and I would prove nothing by doing so.

There's nothing wrong with a healthy confrontation if it has a purpose, but to confront for no other reason than to prove to yourself that you have the courage, isn't much of a reason. My advice would be to answer honestly if asked, but unless you intend launching a campaign to deconvert, and I sense that's not your goal at all, get your degree and get out among others whose minds are likely not as closed, into an environment where you can freely be yourself.

pax vobiscum,
archaeopteryx
www.in-His-own-image.com

Comment by Pope Beanie on March 10, 2012 at 9:52pm

I like these suggestions, except maybe thinking of others in terms of "morons". Some of them will be pretty smart. (Well, of course some of them are morons.) I might spin it a bit differently: since the word "fool" is pretty commonly invoked from various scriptures, perhaps I'd train myself to automatically consider any of them who might call me (or others) a "fool" only prove themselves as foolish.

Comment by Ward Cressin on March 11, 2012 at 12:44am

I know not all of them are morons. But I'm guessing she might feel that way at times and wanted to show solidarity. You'll note I did not suggest calling them that.  :)    Taylor, just remember that you have found like-minded people. (Even if some of us can be foolish too. Hi! [waves])

Comment by Karen Loethen on March 21, 2012 at 12:14am

Dear Taylor, I have to agree with so many other posters.  The fact that you haven't lost your mind is because of your strength of mind!

You are in a place where the pack mentality reigns.  Although I am, usually, of the mind to stand up for what is right, I can't recommend it now!  Your REAL problem is that YOU are also a person who needs to stand up for what is right.  It's called integrity and you are full of it!  That's why it is so hard for you.

I wish you could wear your "Kiss an Atheist" t shirt.  But I think it would be a bit rude at a Christian school.  So, while you are there...?

Recently I was talking with another student at a Christian school who is also an atheist.  She was trying to get permission to start an atheist club on campus...wasn't going well.

My point in telling you this;  You are not alone!  Somewhere on that campus are others who don't believe either.  I hope you find them!

Listen you have YEARS to be a strong, outspoken atheist woman!  For today, get your work done and get out!

Peace, Karen

P.S.  Next time I'M going to a school where I won't have to answer questions that make me sad...
LOL

Comment by C Elaine Clark on March 21, 2012 at 11:21am

Taylor , I assume that you are going to a Christian school because its paid for by your parents. Just hang in there closes your ears to their teachings , soon it will all be over and you will be out of school. then you can really  become your true self. A friend of my daughters wrote a pro choice artical in the school paper and got kick ed out of his school.   personally I could have never set foot in a religious school. Just do your time, and  maybe try to switch out of that school to a different one , a more liberal one . you are in a den of lions..... dress like sheeps  

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