It’s not persecution if it’s against Devil Worshippers

From Not My God

Not My God focuses on persecution and hatred of atheists. I’m not saying that I equate anti-atheism rhetoric with segregated bathrooms under Jim Crow laws or genocides. What I am trying to say is that many people in the US hate atheists, all else being equal. I’ve heard time and time again of people saying that they didn’t believe in God– without sarcasm, without “and neither should you,” without any fanfare– and getting rejected or attacked. Sure, atheists make fun of religion and have blasphemy challenges and the like– nowadays. Even when atheists are just simply atheists, that’s apparently bad enough. Here is a comment that illustrates this beautifully:

“I live in the bible belt and am 17. I have been an atheist since I was very young and for my entire life I have been made fun of, treated diffrently and attacked because of my beliefs (well, actually lack thereof, but whatever) and about 4 years ago I tried to tell my parents. My mom told me she wasn’t going to let a devil worshiper live in her house (she knows what atheism means; she was just using that as an insult), so I instantly told her it was a joke and she has yelled at me for it ever since. I don’t know what I’m supposed to do.”

Here’s another great example from Dawkins’s forum:

“I am 16 years old and a sophomore in high school. My parents divorced when I was 2 and my mother knows I do not believe in God. My father, on the other hand, is a heavenly devoted Christian (Methodist). I have never really believed in God but till I was around 14 my dad kept asking me if I believed in God, or if I accepted Jesus. I always lied and said “yes.” I always felt if I responded no, he would “physically” hurt me. I know he would mentally, for sure. For the past 2 years I have never answered his questions and he always tries pushing religion on me. As of the past 4 or so months, I have really started researching religion and arguments against Christianity and other religions. I have also taken some interest in Darwin’s theory of Evolution. Now my father has not asked if I believe in God lately, and in my opinion he knows that I don’t believe and is afraid to ask. I really love my dad I love him a lot. I do pity him tremendously because of how much religion affects my life. Every Sunday he gives his congregation over $300 and tells my mother he is broke and can’t help out with my bills etc… It’s a bad situation. Every month or so I go to his house to visit for the weekend and we go to church. I’m considering next time I go down there to lay out to him that I don’t believe in God and tell him I do not want to go to church. Hopefully, something tremendously bad won’t happen and I can make a good stand against his stand on religion to put his views in perspective. Now that I am 16 and have outgrown my father, I think if he out lashed physically I could stand my own and if he started yelling at me I could just hop in my car and go home. Wish me luck……”

I’m always intrigued by stories of the younger set, especially knowing how much harder it is when you are at the mercy of your parents.

Views: 45

Comment by Doug Reardon on January 28, 2010 at 1:23pm
It's hard to fathom anyone who would put religion before family.
Comment by John Nguyen on January 28, 2010 at 3:35pm
Thankfully, it seems like my existence as a teenage atheist is a lot less difficult than those living in other parts of the country...

I'm 18 years old, and I think I've been out as an atheist for... probably since 8th grade, really. I stopped going to church at around 7th grade, but that was more out of boredom with the whole affair than any real assertion of disbelief.

Living up here in fairly accepting New Hampshire, I don't really encounter fundies of any stripe. My parents are displeased, of course, but they haven't done anything about it, really. I don't even get the whole "I'll pray for you" schtick; though my mother is convinced that "I'll learn" when I'm older.

It makes me thankful that I have such an easy situation... though the (small) confrontational part of me sort of wishes it was less... boring, terrible as that is to think.
Comment by Doug Reardon on January 28, 2010 at 3:45pm
When I was a youth, many wise people told me that I would come to believe in god as I got older and wiser (just like them), well, I'm 59 and still think god is a ridiculous concept.
Comment by Doug Reardon on January 28, 2010 at 7:22pm
Is that where "Nearer my god to thee" comes from? I've noticed that seniors to tend to get more pious as they get closer to death.
Comment by Sarah Trachtenberg on January 29, 2010 at 11:15am
I have a rant on old people (I'm a comedian), so this strikes a chord with me. However, looking at those websites about ageism, you'll see that "old people are wise" is just another stereotype, like saying black men have big penises. Just because it's a positive stereotype doesn't mean it helps.
Point is, getting older doesn't necessarily mean getting wiser doesn't necessarily mean becoming a theist. Lots of people lose belief in god later in life. Have they lost wisdom with age?
@Gerhard: this is similar to the story of another Preacher's Kid (PK) I interviewed for a sample chapter in my book. To her preacher dad, God came first, work second, family third (his own words).
Funny what religion does to split families apart, atheism aside...
Comment by Sarah Trachtenberg on January 29, 2010 at 12:13pm
Part of my rant is that we shouldn't respect or give special privileges to the elderly just because they are old. They want to be treated just like everyone else? Put your money where your mouth is, elderlies. Don't demand that we show you "respect" by acting entitled to get in front of us in line, take our seats on the bus, expect us to accommodate your slowness, etc. If someone wants to do that, yeah, that's a polite gesture. but don't assume we *should.*
OK, this is all tangential to the topic. I'm just saying we should treat the elderly as we would anyone else. This would make them feel less marginalized on top of making us feel less put upon.
Obviously, if this guy is your boss, that's a bigger problem.


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