I just would like to say, to all the people like Nia, who suffer this sort of thing, keep smiling, we are slowly winning.
Remember, you could always come down to live in New Zealand or Australia if you get sick of being repressed. Almost unheard of here for religious people to dare to disapprove of someone not believing in sky-beard-man stories.
Even our sub-communities such as Sikh and Catholic and Muslim people are almost understanding of their own people who lose faith. We have a kind of tolerant attitude to peoples beliefs here.
I was going to make a joke about that, but actually, on consideration,
Let Portugals loss be New Zealands gain, you would be very welcome I think. Though to be perfectly honest and open with you, the shops, beaches and weather is far nicer in Australia!. ( It hurts a Kiwi to admit that in public, but I know my duty to a friend, Nia. :) ) Half a million Kiwis live in Australia simply because it is more fun and less rain.
Auckland University though, has always had a pretty good reputation for research!. The sailing on our Harbour is pretty amazing too.
I would love to visit/live in Australia if it were not the expense of moving and finding somewhere to live. I have heard some great things of the beauty of Australia.
Good for you. I live in Florida on the SE coast with many bible thumpers. I don't hide my atheism but I have the benifet of an atheist Meet Up group. Not all the believers shun me but they make no bones about it when they do. I could care less. As long as atheist hide in the closet the longer it will take to be accepted
I'm from Wyobraska. (Nickname for the Nebraska Panhandle.) About as far from civilisation as you can be in the continental USA, more specifically Broadwater (population 128). Sixty miles (100km) E of Scottsbluff, Nebraska, and sixty miles N of Sidney, Nebraska (the home of Cabela's).
Life in this village is pretty slow, the biggest thing recently that happened here was a bull attacked the post office in the middle of the night smashing its door, then stampeded up the street in front of our house and left a cow pie in the street out front.
The streets are dirt, everything else is dirt too, and the village runs on cattle and corn.
Hobbiton, Middle Earth.
Which is cunningly hidden in plain sight in Auckland, New Zealand.
*Waves hello to the north and north west*
I'm from Ottawa, Canada.
For those looking to assemble physically/IRL: We have a major atheist conference coming up here at the end of November. We're only 5 hours by car from Toronto, 2 from Montreal, 6 from Buffalo, 8 from NYC and Boston (and also have a train station and international airport for those farther afield). Hope to see some of you there: eschaton2012.ca
I'm here in Yuma, AZ. Very conservative religious atmosphere, good-ole-boys town. I moved from Texas (southern baptist, assembly of god sects) to this border city which is drenched more in catholicism and private, small conservative evangelical churches. We have one church, United Church of Christ, this is supposedly Open-And-Affirming and embraces, welcomes Atheists, Agnostics, Alternative spirituality and they ARE a very active, supportive member of our PFLAG Yuma charter, so I give them a few kudos and do refer them to unfortunate GLBT youth and sad-n-lonely GLBT's who need that spirituality 'home',ha. I actually attended a UCC service (accompanying my In-Recovery Sober partner who can't get past the 3rd step of AA's religion-based 12 step program) and yes it was warm, welcoming but also very prayer and god based, which turned both of us off. My partner attending that religious service still did not help her with the 'god' aspect of AA. Thankfully we have a no-religion based alternative to AA here finally, SMART Recovery :)
Lastly, religion rears its' ugly head within work places and even on job interviews here. I've been unemployed for a bit (taking my time this time). My last job's supervisor discriminated against me because I'm GLBT and he hailed from the bible belt south and was obviously VERY southern baptist. The company supposedly had a o-tolerence bullying policy but my boss blatently gave preferential treatment to straight people (i was out gay and had loving pics of my partner on my cubicle wall). I did not pray, bow my head when he gave prayers for various touchy-feelie situations (employee died; disaster deaths etc) in our little closed-door team meetings. Could I "prove" I was being discriminated against? No! So, I endured the treatment until I my physical and mental health became unbearable, then I quit. Going on job interviews (& I dress and conduct myself most professionally), I can see and 'sense' the bias. At one job interview earlier this year, (private, AZ-based company) the Interviewer actually asked me: "If I was hired into a work atmosphere that was 'family-based' and supported employees exhibiting their religious beliefs, what are my feelings about that? FYI, AZ is a Right-To-Work state where you can be fired for being GLBT or if they just don't like you. From what I can recall after composing myself from the shock, I think I said that I have no religious beliefs and as long as religious employees did not try to enforce their beliefs on me or the religious exhibitions did not prevent me from doing my job or being rewarded for good work, I have no problems with that). From the look at the person's face and the fact that I was never called back, I'd say my response blew my prospect of getting that job. Yes, I could have lied and given an answer he wanted, but I am trying to be 'true to myself' and I hope it doesn't get me killed here (there are known KKK groups here and they're tight with the local bubbas). OK, enough from me. TMI, lol
Don't let the barstards grind you down, sport. :)
I can see how much more your burden is with the religious. Maybe you don't owe them the truth, have you thought?.
Consider the real danger they may put you in. It is nice of course to be friends with your workmates, but that, in the final breakdown, ain't why we go to work, is it. We go there to earn money, first and foremost, and maybe to extend ourselves.
Maybe you owe it to yourself to lie, even though it is repugnant to a moral person, but maybe it is the sane thing to do?. Kind of like lying to an enemy force?. I don't see that you need to risk your own safety, merely to tell the truth to a pack of bigots?.
Arizona is one of the worst for being anything but the general religious populace. It is tough being Hispanic, gay, atheist . That bitch of a governor and the legislature has all the cards. I hope they vote her out but to many zealots in that state prevent that from happening.Florida is no picnic but in my area it is tolerable.
I feel for you John,we hear all about Arizona here in Australia, the great american dream doesn't apply in Az unless you're a white, wealthy, fundie who votes republican.
Wherever there is bigotry, hatred and ignorance, religion is not far away.