Being a part of a religious society I often find myself socially restricted just because of being an athiest. Unable to enjoy social activities as much as other arround me do. Dou you feel anything of this sort?

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Hell to the NO bro! I'm a proud atheist...mind you I'm not wearing a t-shirt screaming it but I go about my daily life just being myself and have no problems whatsoever socializing with others. I just stay away from churches, bibles, women with long skirts, guys with short sleeve white collared shirts and ties and old ladies walking down the street with a bible and pamphlets in hand... Oh and any religious wear on a person (ie, a cross) is usually a good sign too!
I do feel I'm missing out on some socializing if only because it's harder to find large numbers of Atheists vs. Theists.

But A) I'm not overly social to begin with and B) I'd rather be struggling to connect with my handful of Atheist friends than have a stadium full of holy rollers to play with. *shudder at the thought*

Mostly, Atheism greatly narrows down my dating pool even more.

But if I recall Amer, you live in a part of the world where you aren't free to express your Atheism. Where you pretty much have to pretend to be religious or else? If that's the case, hats off to you. That has to be tough beyond what most of us can imagine.
As you know I am athiest like you and living heavily religious society... yes at some time we feel being isolated from the majority (community) around us...we do not share with their beliefs, rituals, festivals..and even do not appreciate them.. but overall we also can not declare ourselves as 'athiests' in the society..they could be violent on us.. so we should remain partly a part of our society and partly aloof from them... keeping a balance in it, we would have the advantage to express our views among them and try to create at least a ripple in their mind.. being a 'born muslim'.. we can live with them without creating a hostile environment against us and can assert positive effects on them through our intellectual force.

As for to fight with our aloneness in the society to which we do not conform, we can create our own like minded groups and have a good time with them. even we should develope family relatiionships with each other. It will make us sense that we are not so alone... After all, in the whole history of human beings, intellectuals, artists, thinkers, scientists remained in minority of whole human beings.. Awareness and pursuit of knowledge give more joy than to remain ignorant amongst whole gathering of ignorants..

I am grateful of my life that I did not remain ignorant and did not live a animal level of life. I am living a conscious life. The whole universe is with me and within me.. I am not alone. Rather I feel sorrow for the people around me who are living innocently ignorant life...they making fools of them and their fellows..they are deceiving their gods and themselves...
I don't think I'm restricted as much as you are, Amer, but there are events I don't attend because the focus is religious.

So, yes... I do at at times feel socially isolated. Then, I log-in to A|N.
"....then I log-in to A/N" Amen sista! :) Does it for me every time! I live in a tiny mountain town in Colorado. A/N and conferences out of state make all the difference. And raising my children to be people who question and use logic and reasoning. They are better company than most adults I know. But, yes without these outlets I, for years, felt very isolated from others in the sense that we didn't have much in common. Once you become a parent, forget it! Even those who may have had agnostic tendencies pre-parenthood seem to feel as though they need to raise their kids "something".
I'm looking forward to attending a conference or two.

Once you become a parent, forget it! Even those who may have had agnostic tendencies pre-parenthood seem to feel as though they need to raise their kids "something".

A friend felt obligated to get her kid's baptized Catholic because her mother asked her, on her deathbed, to do so. I don't think she's pushed the Catholic thing beyond that because she has issues with the church not allowing homosexuals to participate.
But she did get her kids baptized? Gross. I was raised Catholic. Eight years at St. Matthew's, four years at St. Joseph Academy (for girls), and ten 2 years of Catholic/Jesuit schooling at Creighton University before I transferred to Colorado State University and found myself with some other like minded people. My husband and I were married by a judge and not in the Catholic church. My parents were not happy, but didn't say anything. But when we decided to have kids and I was pregnant with my first child, I was visiting my parents and my dad talked to me, earnestly and humbly, about baptism. "It's for the kids", he said. "Don't make them pay for what you believe in. What if you're wrong?" He is a very kind and gentle man who never much seemed to care for church but this seemed important to him. It was something he'd thought about. I was actually stunned. He was worried my children were going to go to purgatory. I joked to him that the Catholic church had changed their minds about purgatory and that now my kiddos could just look forward to hell. He did NOT find it funny in the least. He really, truly implored me to think about it. I couldn't believe that he actually believed what was coming out of his mouth and I shouldn't have but I said, "what do we care? Joe(my husband) and I are baptized. We know where we're going! We'll miss those kids up there in heaven!". He got tears. We've never talked about it since (that was in 2002), and I still sometimes wonder if he really believes that we'll all be up in heaven somewhere and Molly (Now 7), Jack (6) and Tommy(3) will be burning and being tortured for all of eternity. WOW. I mean WOW. I would NEVER be guilted or shamed into participating in a religious ceremony in order to please another. I mean, when I'm at someone's house and they pray before dinner, I bow my head with the rest of 'em. I'm have manners. But to baptize your children because it was someones dying wish. That's jut not thinking things through. No one should make you feel like you owe it to them to practice their beliefs. God knows, we all know what that feels like. Those are the pivotal moments. I would never have argued with a dying woman, and I may have lied to her just to give her peace at her time of death, but I would never compromise my own beliefs for some weak-minded dead person.
Usually not this judgemental, but those are the moments that matter.
This is the routine psychological torture that religion inflicts on its adherents--people live in anguish that they might not see their loved ones in the afterlife. Such a compassionate creed.
And the cruelest thing about the whole afterlife thing is that there is no afterlife. We only have this life. When we die, that's it. Yet, people waste their lives away in their stupid meaningless religious rituals, while the most important thing to do is to live their own life to the fullest.

Is Christianity good for the world?

I take a different tact. I disagree with your father, but I would baptize my children if it was the dying wish of a parent.

I would rather have compassion for the dying, then be so hell bent on my need to prove the strength of my convictions, that I would deny them that wish.

It doesn't matter, because baptisim doesn't matter. You end up making a symbol out of a symbol you don't agree with by refuting it. It is meaningless to me. But I love my parents, and if it's meaningful for them so be it.


It would be a different matter, if they expected me to actually teach the religion they have been baptized under.

Aaaaand, I look forward to seeing you at a conference or two. Keep me posted on any upcoming atheist or humanist conferences. Besides the AAI conference in Australia.... I wish!
Actually, I find it's the opposite here.

The religious are the ones who are outnumbered here... at least, as far as I've seen.
Luckily for their personal sanity they have church when they need people of the same oppinions.

... but in the daily world, where I live, the religious are the outcasts. Not that we treat them as outcasts, they just tend to tuck themselves in a corner and keep quiet. Well... at least the sane ones do.

There's always the odd Fundie who decides everyone in the room is a sinner and needs to be re-educated... that's always fun. Usually leads to a straight hour of religion ridiculing goodness.




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