When I was 7, two neighborhood kids grabbed me, one held my arms while the other punched me in the stomach repeatedly while yelling "dirty catholic!" When I was 12, the nun who was my teacher grabbed me and shook me while telling me I would go to hell if I didn't stop making trouble by asking questions in catechism class. When I was 16, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes at my high school surrounded me and threatened to beat my ass if I didn't start praying with the rest of the team. When I was 17, two Mormons who had been explaining how wonderful their religion was, threatened to "take me out behind the barn and give you a whipping you'll never forget" for not agreeing to become one of them. When I was 18, my high school principal told me that no Commie Atheist (I was not then, nor had I ever been a member of the communist party) was gonna graduate from his high school, and while he did arrange for me to have to repeat the 12th grade, I did graduate. the following year.

College was pretty unremarkable, except for the occasional professor who would press me to accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, or Campus Crusade for Christ telling me I was going to hell.

When I entered the job market, I was amazed that at least 3/4ths of my interviewers would ask about my religious affiliation, when that was supposedly illegal, and oddly enough I was never hired by anyone that asked me that question. One position I took, as an instructor at a nationally supported non-profit, (a friend hired me) was terminated shortly after the Administrator was told I was an Atheist. Once this administrator had told me I was going to hell, she never got closer than 10 feet to me.

While these are not the only interactions I've had with Christians, (some of my best friends are Christians!) they are some of the more memorable ones.

Views: 73

Comment by Reggie on August 21, 2009 at 12:57pm
I still don't understand what it is about not sharing a person's delusion that makes them so hostile.
Comment by River Otter on August 21, 2009 at 1:09pm
Where did you grow up?
Comment by Doug Reardon on August 21, 2009 at 1:17pm
Decatur, Al
Comment by CJoe on August 21, 2009 at 2:20pm
Jeez... when River asked where you grew up, I was thinking maybe Ireland or something. Alabama?! I guess I shouldn't be surprised, but... wow. Even though I grew up religious, I never encountered that kind of hostility; I don't understand it, either.
Comment by Dave G on August 21, 2009 at 2:27pm
I've been fortunate enough to never have been asked in a job interview about my religious beliefs, but if I was, I would immediately get up and leave. If asked why, I would respond that if they were willing to flagrantly break the law in that manner, why should I have any trust in their honesty in any other area?

Then I'd report them.
Comment by Doug Reardon on August 21, 2009 at 4:17pm
Well, there are a lot more job opportunities in Atlanta than in Opelika, Alabama Dave. I did walk out of a few, when I lost my job I contacted the EEOC, but other than take the complaint, they never followed through.
Comment by Reggie on August 21, 2009 at 4:41pm
@ Michel - I just have trouble buying that they think about it to that extent. It is this visceral reaction to unbelief in not just their god, but any god. They don't have that reaction to other religious folks who don't share their particular delusion.
Comment by Dave G on August 21, 2009 at 4:42pm
That's true, Doug. And how much money I had in the bank would probably prove a strong influence as well. It's a lot easier to walk out when you know you have enough money to eat this week than when you're a couple meals behind.
Comment by Doug Reardon on August 21, 2009 at 5:13pm
Belief in any god is better than not believing at all, Reggie.
Comment by Reggie on August 21, 2009 at 5:19pm
Maybe, Doug, it is because they feel comfortable knowing that believers of all stripes think there is some ultimate judgment awaiting them? That still doesn't explain the purely emotional response that atheism invokes, though.


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