I'm planning to be a teacher in the future and I'm curious how much I will be forced to hide my atheism. Has anyone experienced a negative result from being open about their position on religion? Positive stories are welcome as well.
Many, many, many times. Although sometimes it's quite amusing, such as when a coworker sneezes and everyone turns to me expectantly to see if I will say "bless you", to which i just reply "please stop dying".
Mostly people are nervous about it because they don't understand it. I'm a fairly sweet person in general, and it's confusing to them because they've been taught that atheists are mean, evil people and it's weird that they know i'm a nice person, but that there's no chance.
If someone asks you, it's best to just say "i'm not really religious" and leave it at that, change the subject if you must. It's an awkward situation and most people aren't nosey enough to criticize you about it in the workplace. Mostly because they could get into trouble. It's easiest to adopt a sort of "don't ask, don't tell" policy. In the workplace it's not hard, especially if you're a teacher. Just avoid the topic if you can and don't tell students creationism is stupid or the jerry fallwell rottweilers will be on your back.
For me, working in smaller businesses was harder because people are more close together, more intimate in their conversations rather than a big corporation where people are more at a distance from one another.
I worked at a place where I was the only atheist in sight. I like being one, so I wont hide it!! But in front of students, you might have to I think. But I think atheists should be more vocal in their beliefs! Why do we have to hide it?
I dont see anything wrong with saying bless you...I feel like its more of a cultural thing than a religion thing.
I use the "don't ask, don't tell" policy. Where I live (North Carolina), it's kind of dangerous to claim to not be a Christian... I hate it.
I don't consider myself to be ashamed of my beliefs, but I usually don't go around advertising it unless I'm involved with some sort of religious conversation. I will always stand up for myself if needed.
I am also a fairly sweet person, so when people do find out about my atheism, it usually comes as a shock to them. Sometimes they don't even believe me : /
Great point about saying "I'm not really religious" instead of using the dreaded a-word. I've experienced this too. Saying I'm not religious or don't go to church is one thing. It will upset some people and does lead me to be condemned to hell sometimes, but it is nothing like the reaction I'd get for the atheist label.
Depends on your field, I guess. In science and higher education, I've only had a couple of problems, but a lot of good support.
As a teacher, though, I think you'd better claim to be "not very religious" or otherwise evasive. (Go for deism, if you have to.)
There are too many small-minded people in a school's administration and among your colleagues who can make things extraodinarily difficult for you, not to mention crazy parents who will accuse you of failing their child without reason because they used the argument "because God said so" in a critical essay.
Sometimes I wonder with teaching if I would have to pre-screen the books that I make available to the children. I can only imagine the parents talking to me about their children reading a colorful book about evolution. I hate the idea of keeping children from exploring their world, especially if they end up finding it facinating!
I am a blackjack dealer and I like to vocalize my stand on religion a lot when someone makes a reference to god or religion; I am not shy to put in my two cents. It has gotten me into a bit of trouble sometimes. For example, I took a lot a this guys money one night and when he left he said god hates me and I am going to hell. I replied by saying "well its a good thing I am an atheist and I don't believe in hell". The guy got really mad and offended and went to my bosses and told them what I had said. My bosses told me that what I did was wrong and I should not publicize my beliefs but they really couldn't do anything to me.
As far as education goes, I think you are in a good position to be a role model for children on what an atheist is. If you are a good person with good morals and the kids know you are an atheist they might realize it is not a bad thing and might check it out themselves. I am all for there being more atheists in this world and I think the best place to make that happen is in our schools. I don't know how the system will react to you verbalizing your atheism but I think you should not hide it.
I am in Australia, so I find it relitively easy to be open about my atheism. In a previous job all the management team were atheists. I wear a "godless" cap to work and a hoody with ATHEIST emblazoned on the front so I guess I am lucky.