I have been curious for a while about other Canadian atheists experience with simply being an atheist in Canada.

I have commented to others that where I live now and where I grew up it was remarkably easy to be an atheist in many ways.

I had several friends growing up who where theists and still are to this day probably, but my lack of religion was never an issue with them. Even today it isn't an issue within my current circle. Though I am among my friends the only out and admitted atheist and I have always been surprised by that. I have been curious for a while if my experiences in some ways were typical Canadian or if I escaped religion because of my upbringing.

So what say you?

Where you raised in a religious or non-religious house hold?

Was religion predominant in the community you grew up in?

Did it cause any issues growing up, if you were raised non-religious among your religious friends?

Have you ever been called out by someone about your stance on religion and belief?

Do you find it difficult to be an out atheist in Canada?

If you are not an out atheist, how come?

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Replies to This Discussion

That being said, I grew up 2 hours NE from here in a much less extreme religious area...probably same amount, but being predominantly Catholic and Evangelical, they were not as extreme as where I am now.

I grew up in Edmonton and I had a very different experience which would sort of fit with yours (2 hours NE). I also knew growing up that southern Alberta had a lot more religion in general, then Edmonton.

It just doesn't come up and to be honest I don't generally try to bring it up. That being said, since joining this group, I have been getting more "open" about it.

Haa haa me too, its a funny line to walk, because lets face it when you say your an atheist to someone who believes otherwise, they will often take it personally.
As a fellow Alberta bible-belter (I'm from Olds) I have to say your experiences do hit home. The abundance of conservative christian opinion in this area can be quite galling to anyone who has a difference of opinion, not just atheists. I grew up in an Anglican family, which is a fairly liberal church and in this area, a relatively sane one. It is also fairly small, and the difference between it and the local Baptist church is like the one between a mouse and an elephant. My family was very understanding when as an adolescent I started to have doubts about religion, but some of my peers were not... I still remember an argument with a young Baptist friend where I argued that there could have been many expressions of God (a la Hinduism), and he replied with the brimstone warning that I was on the doorstep of hell for saying that. So much for ecumenism. But even then, I had been so used to being around religious conservatives I developed a sort of grudging tolerance. Moving to the city (even though it was Calgary) gave me more perspective. And I think that's the real difference. In small town rural Alberta, you are outnumbered and isolated if you are an atheist or even an agnostic. In places like Red Deer or Lethbridge you have more breathing space, and in Edmonton or Calgary you have the room to express your non-theism freely.
Don't get me started on the Baptists in this area! They can't take a crap (especially the women) without getting approval from their minister. I know some who have had to change many "life plans" because their church leader didn't approve...including whether or not to have kids. And if I hear one more of them explain how the 3rd world countries are in the situation they are because God is punishing them...I'm going to scream! O.K., done with my rant. At least my son has fun pushing their buttons...good entertainment for him (^_-)
Well that last part is ... partly true, natural disasters turn into cataclysms in religious countries, because people waste time praying instead of doing. Third world countries will remain 3rd world as long as religion is dominant trait.
What DO baptists think of anglicans?
I should correct myself...I'm talking about "bible" baptists (not your everyday, run of the mill baptists) and I'm sure they figure they're going to hell (^_^)
And I don't know your political bent, but Tommy Douglas was a Baptist minister... ironically he'd probably be excommunicated these days!

And as for the attitude of Baptist towards Anglicans, it's like Baptists are the only 'true Christians' and hang the rest of them. John Calvin would be proud.

BTW, despite being a 'liberal' church, the Anglican Communion worldwide does have a fair sized lunatic fringe.
oh ok, so not ALL religious people are evil ;)

We have an expression for learning grammar in French: The exception makes the rule!
I hear you. I am in a career change phase of my life since being MORE out (I've always been a little out) I find I immediately seek out certain characteristics of the people I may work with. Two years ago I worked in a very religious pharmaceutical company and that was very odd hearing people constantly rattling on about how they thanked god for this and that and the need for prayer at every instance. I hope to find a company/employer more compatible with myself, but it's a risky endeavour, from many perspectives
I was raised in small town Ontario and my mother tried to make me go to Sunday School and then even tried to teach me some bible verses at home (when I pretty much got thrown out of SS for being disruptive). But it was pretty effortless growing up atheist in Ontario in the 70's and I moved to Montreal in 74. Wonderfully hedonistic times. But I will say I never remember feeling any stigmatization from anyone about not being religious. Of course I have a stark frame of reference now, as an evolutionary biologist living in rural Kansas (yikes!). I was never one to turn down a challenge, but I really wasn't really prepared for the ignorance, superstition and xenophobia ingrained in so many of these narrow little minds.
I am finding it much nicer/fun/easy to be atheist since I found a local group, Saskatoon Freethinkers. The thing I find most difficult about leaving church, which I did 20 yrs ago, was the lack of community. It is so wonderful to be with like-minded people, which I sure don't have with my family members, mostly.
See Meag, I know just what you are thinking. What's the big deal about being atheist anyway? I grew up in small town Ontario and there were plenty of religious people but I was never short of friends and like-minded people to hang out with. But you haven't experienced the discrimination and xenophobia of bible-belt America. Down here we are a hated and mistrusted minority. Pinhead conservatives rant against atheists on Fox News like we're no better than terrorists: that we have no morals, no principles and are a threat to (their) America's values. And all the 'sheeple' down here believe them. So it must be hard for people in Canada to understand why some of us down here might seem so militant, but it is almost a civil rights issue for us. If I had more atheist friends locally, it would be easier to ignore all the religiously retarded people, but I don't.


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