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.