Are you open about being an atheist or are you in the closet?

I am semi in the closet. I do have to admit that I am not comfortable discussing my views with just anyone. I am the type that wants everyone to like me (such a fault I have!) and I am nervous someone will think I am a bad person. Even when I find someone who is passionate about science, I still try not to venture down that avenue. So lucky to have you guys!

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Matthew, yu make perfect sense when you write, "ones energy is much better spent planting new seeds than trying to tear up the whole garden, if that makes sense?"

I see so many irrational expectations and demands made by religious, my pot keeps boiling, even as I attempt to plant seeds, I also want to pour boiling water on the weeds of religious dogma. I hate what religion does to women; it causes us to internalize subordination and submission, to distract themselves with attracting husbands and sacrificing ourselves for everyone else, and seeking ways to be a martyr. I don't find martyrdom attractive or even beneficial.

When my husband or father, or bosses made decisions I perceived as ill-advised, my culture punished me and any thinking woman harshly and learned to play dumb from the cradle on. The worse was in elementary and secondary school. Distractions seemed to be pumped into my head ... be pretty, serve others, don't let others know how bright I am. I felt like I was wearing masks until I got into graduate school. The mind-binders came off, my thinking process became important to me. and I stopped self-dumbing down. Kind of like I didn't give a damn whether I was popular or fit in, I wanted to know all I could know.

I am in the most wonderful of places now. My income depends on my pensions, no one can use a job or income to keep me in line. My religion was as crippling as any physical disease, I am immune to such domination. I don't care if I step on anyone's toes. I think and reason and speak and act based on my best judgment.

Mathew, i agree. Men and women who realize we are partners in living, that the culture flourishes when all flourish. Holding women down costs society, just as slavery cost society. 

Joan, when the time is right, I plan on using your post and some of your others to see if I can convince my sisters of the abuse the church is placing on them.  They are both more outspoken and intelligent than most, so, if presented in the right way, they should be able to see what the church has done to them.

Grinning Cat, I love your Skeptic's Annotated Bible A good place to start with debunking all the bunk we run against daily. Time to get real here. Not a time to pretend there is no foolishness in the beliefs of believers, nor is it a time to remain timid when confronted with people willing to live according to the rules of sheep herding warlords of the New Stone Age. 

We didn't stop believing in fairies because we ran out of fairies. Nor did we stop believing in messages from stones because we ran out of stones. We didn't stop depending on iron because we ran out of iron, nor depending on bronze because we ran out of bronze. We didn't stop believing in gods because we ran out of gods.

We stopped thinking all these things had some kind of magical power as humans developed steel and aluminum and nuclear energy and now quantum physics and political science and human relations. We also started thinking, reasoning, discussing, developing hypotheses and testing them, only to discard those that could not stand up to testing. New ideas come along, and we try them, keeping what works and discarding what fails.

The test is, do our beliefs empower flourishing of all people of the Earth, or do they cripple and divert us away from productive, satisfying, and healthy lives?

Spud, of course, do use whatever you think is appropriate.The thing that started me to doubt was I was doing everything I was "supposed" to do, and the more I tried, the more things kept getting worse. I began to focus on fruits of the spirit and realized I wasn't experiencing any fruits, only more controlling behavior. Once I got to that point, it was just a process of waking up to what was real and start thinking of how to improve my children's lives and my own. I never, at any time, received the kind of guidance I so badly needed from my pastor or church community. Both my former husband and my belief system prevented moving toward healthy relationship.
Maybe I had told you this before, when I started back to school and tried to understand our family dynamics, I ran across groups of researchers working on gender roles. The researchers' questions were why do gender roles result in such dysfunctional behaviors and problems for clients. It didn't take long to discover medical doctors, mental health doctors, religious leaders and philosophy all seemed to be reading from the same manual.
The researchers then studied professionals who interface with troubled families. They found that all researchers found:

A mentally healthy, mature adult male is independent, active and dominant.
A mentally healthy, mature adult female is dependent, passive and subordinate.
A mentally healthy, mature adult person, sex unspecified, is independent, active and dominant.

Then they started studying what happens when a male with stereotypic female behaviors is having problems, the therapist or doctors or ministers gave counsel to bring them in line with appropriate male gender roles.

The next step was to study women who came in with stereotypic male behavior patterns and was in trouble. The therapy was to shape them into the appropriate female role.

The next round was to study single head of household women with dependent children who needed mentally healthy, mature adult behaviors to manage life's challenges and could not do the tasks with appropriate female gender roles, and were resistant to moving into the behaviors of a mentally healthy, mature adult, sex unspecified behaviors.

That cinched it! Appropriate gender roles do not produce the kind of roles needed for adult functioning.

This research was started in 1972. I left my husband in 1974, just in time for me to go back to school and try to figure out why our lives were so miserable.
Broverman, Broverman, Clarkson, Rosenkrantz, and Vogel, 1970, 1972

The next step for me was to learn mentally healthy, mature, adult behaviors. To do that, I attended Whitworth College (University) under Ed Lindaman for my master's degree in Applied Behavioral Science.

The secret is education! Families may not have the skills, religious guidance does not have the philosophy, education teaches for obedience and to be a good worker. At least in those days. School's purpose was to teach gender specific behaviors. In fact, the college where I taught had that as one of the mission statements.

Joan, I'm amazed at how far you've come.

Spud, there have been challenges. And you have had them as well. The good news is, we've come this far, still love life, and find joy and pleasure in each and every day. Sharing ideas with you is one of my daily pleasures.  

Those are exactly the reasons why I'm a gender atheist as much as a religious atheist. I am gender free. I am a female who refuses any imposition of social expectations called "gender". I do use the female toilets cuz they are the cleanest and don't stink so bad. I also fight for the access of females to Olympic activities, which means no penises can pass for female in sporting events. But our society is going down the opposite path. The "woman gender" of submission and obedience and dependence is highly valued by males, no matter what "gender" they profess to be... and it profession. Cosmetic surgery is no longer required for males to pass as females... denying our entire experience of sexual discrimination.
So in fact, gender roles, just like religion, deserve to be banned from society. When a Muslim female seeks cosmetic surgery and wants "vaginal rejuvenation, it should be no more paid for by healthcare than cosmetic surgery which inverts penis skin and pretends it's a vagina. Celestial theism may be on the downhill, but gender religion is on the rise. It may be our next biggest challenge.

Sadly i'm in a tomb not a closet.

Tomb or not, you have friends here.  Maybe we don't operate under the same restrictions you do, but we have eyes and we see.  We have ears, and we hear ... and we give a damn.  You have friends here, friends who will hear ... and LISTEN.  You have a forum here where you can curse and swear and tell Allah or Yahweh or any other non-existent deity (is there another kind?!?) that you have no time for them or their bullshit ... or for those who invented or perpetuated the myth of them and THEIR bullshit.  Talk if you want to, rant if you need to, but know that no one here is interested in judging in you and most if not all of us here are glad that you joined us and hope you find this a friendly and welcoming place to be.

Me?  I'm Loren ... a somewhat crazy guy from Cleveland, Ohio in the US.  If there's something I can do to help, lemme know.



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