Hello, everyone. I am a 17 year old high school Junior living in the Bible belt of the south. I was raised home schooled in a household where I was not indoctrinated with any religion whatsoever. My parents simply allowed me to figure things out for myself. The result? I am an atheist, a virulent anti-theist, and a liberal to boot. Given these labels, I am often ideologically at odds with most of my peers, and I can feel quite lonely in my world view.
Though, I try my best to like people and hate the religion that has festered in their mind and closed them off to the true majestic beauty of the universe. I'm never quite sure, though, if it really is the religion that is the root cause of all of this stupidity I see on a daily basis, or if most people are simply inherently fucking idiotic and the religion simply supplements that ingrained trait.
Either way, I fight against it whenever I feel a speck of hope in me for humanity. Most of the time, I don't, so I don't even bother.

I came to this site because I'd like to discuss religious matters with my fellow non-theists. Plus, it helps me feel less alone.  

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Welcome, Zachary, and congratulations!  By not force-feeding you religion, your parents left you to figure things out for yourself.  I hope this site can provide some of the human -- thinking human -- contact you need.  Believe it or not, it's possible that you're not the only atheist in your town, or even in your high school.  I taught high school juniors for 13 years, before my retirement, and I found that it's an age at which many people try thinking in new directions.  Of course, "coming out" in your community would probably be a form of social suicide, so any peers who think as you do are also being very, very quiet about it.  As to whether religion causes conformity, or just benefits from it, I can't be sure.  They seem to feed off each other.  If I can help relieve the loneliness, I -- and many people on here -- would be happy to try.  If you're able, in under two years from now, to go away to college, I expect you'll find it a liberating experience.  (Especially outside the Confederacy.)
I'm not the only atheist in my high school, luckily enough. My good friend (and perhaps even my best friend) is an atheist. Neither of us are exactly outspoken, however we won't shy away from telling people the truth if they happen to ask us our religious affiliation. But I generally don't like to get caught up in debates (as most of the time they seem superfluous).
And I have no problem making friends with the more moderate, and more intelligent Christians who aren't put off by the fact of my lack of faith.
However, even so, I do often feel alone on this. Religiosity permeates the culture I inhabit to such an inescapable degree, and it's almost never portrayed in a negative light. And when I look at religion, it seems like nothing but a negative thing. It's the quick and easy answer to truth. It's harder to actually read, do research, and learn and think critically about the world around you to gain the truth. And when you do that, you probably won't come anywhere near the ABSOLUTE TRUTH that religion gives you wrapped up in a gift box with a pretty little bow on top. Not to mention the feelings of community and belonging and the feelings of hope that religion seems to give most people. It's a powerful force, and it's apparently hard for most people to give it up.
Personally, I've really never been bothered by feelings of not belonging, or lacking a sense of community, and I find plenty of personal hope in myself. It just gets depressing to think of how outnumbered I truly am, at times. 
Anyways, thank you for your reply.
Welcome to the site!




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