Could I take a poll? How important is it to YOU for others to know where you stand on the God fantasy? Do you go out of your way to let others know you are an atheist when you could just as easily keep quiet? (We'll assume that most of us are careful when employment or personal safety is at stake.) But how about those situations where you know you will be quietly pitied or quietly condemned for your atheism but will not be openly vilified, rejected or threatened? In other words, I'm thinking about relationships and situations where you know that people will talk about you behind your back but probably will not confront you in any way. Do you feel that to be intellectually honest you need to "share" or reveal your atheism, even when there is probably zero chance of awakening or enlightening others or causing them to rethink religious dogma?
Hi B.K. I'm currently a security guard in a seasonal recreational area in Missouri, and the owners are mostly christian. My immediate boss is christian, and the owners put faith in christian values (whatever that is.) One of them recently cheated me out of an hours worth of work thinking she was "doing the right thing." according to company policy. Some of them are Pentecostal.
A former Pentecostal myself, I was once trained for the ministry and discovered that I had become atheist after listening to a series of talks on UTube by former minister, Jerry DeWitt. That was only about a year ago, and Jerry made perfect sense to me. He's a graduate of the Clergy Project and I could identify with everything he said. My own deep study of the bible is also another reason I turned atheist. When you put it all together those writings just do not make sense, and they were not written to be put together in the first place! Now the gullible christians claim the writings are the origin and complete history of mankind, past and future. This is insane!
Only after you start thinking logically do you really realize that the dead are not in heaven. They are in the ground where you buried them. Many people just do not get it.
First (for what it's worth) I got the punch line wrong in the joke I quoted above: Being an atheist is like being the only SOBER person in a car full of drunk people and nobody will let you drive.
I'll have to look up Jerry DeWitt and check out his Youtube talks. I find it interesting that listening to some logic well presented really got through to your thinking. From the outside (outside of religion) it always looks to me like all it would take is ONE visit to a website such as godisimaginary.com to bring any religious person to their senses. Obviously it's not that simple in most cases... Well, I guess YOU had been studying and dissecting the bible a bit before you encountered DeWitt.
I've generally concluded that for someone immersed in Christianity since childhood it takes some event which gives the person some distance and which somehow interrupts that person's cultural bias for him or her to be able to see religion for what it is. Oddly, it is apparently pretty easy to live an insulated life and NEVER have that distance from the Christian cultural bias. I'm 67 and didn't really connect ALL the dots until about 15 years ago!
I only post here in spurts but it sure is nice when the mood strikes to find reasonable conversation with kindred spirits.
First, for what it's worth, I got the punch line wrong in the joke I quoted above. It was, "Being an atheist is like being the only SOBER person in a car full of drunk people and nobody will let you drive."
Dennis, that's great that listening to DeWitt really got through to you, though it sounds like you had been doing some ground work in dissecting the bible prior to that. It has always seemed to me that just ONE visit to a site such as godisimaginary.com would be enough to de-convert anybody, but obviously that is not true. I've pretty much concluded that it takes some life event that somehow interrupts one's cultural bias before a person is able to have enough distance from the assumptions they've held since childhood to be able to see through religious nonsense. It does appear that some otherwise normal people manage to go a whole life time without ever gaining that distance.
I don't post here that often, but when the mood does strike, it sure is nice to find conversation with like-minded folks. I plan to look at the DeWitt talks on youtube.
Arrgh. Apologies for posting the same thing twice. I thought I had forgotten to hit "Add Reply" and reconstructed what I had written and posted it again : (
I agree regarding the interrupting event and consider that quite insightful.
Some people just have extraordinarily large brains though that somehow lead them to think independently. Not me, I'm talking about others.
Its hard to meet a girl, as soon as my religiouse or political views get out it seems to cause a gulf.
I've lost relationships over saying "I dont believe that". One ex said "I want my children to be raised christian" and I had to tell her that I wasnt going to subject my children to the same abuse I went through.
I rather enjoy bringing the subject up in public, unless its family.
That's hard to take. I would suggest you continue to look though, possibly investigating atheist or agnostic dating websites.
I'm married to a catholic and it's led to some pretty serious abuse. I try to stay above it but it's difficult when you're provoked. She's pretty mainstream in her thinking and the pack instinct leads her to believe she has the right to crush dissent. Not much different than what's been going on for the last couple thousand years.
I tried to reply to this a few hours ago-- hope I'm not repeating myself. At age 23 I broke up with a guy primarily because he was an atheist. I didn't even bother to ask him to explain his views and perspective. The only atheist I knew of at the time was Madalyn Murray O'hair. I too wanted to raise my children as Xtians, and an atheist was not in my picture of how my life should unfold.
Times do change. Now I like to read about Secular Student Alliances on college campuses and I get a kick out of their "hug an atheist" fundraisers for worthy causes.
I too never bring it up but if asked I tell them.
I especially like "Misquoting Jesus" "Contradictions of the New Testament" "Forged" and "Legends, fictions and manuscripts that illustrate Christ's story".
Ehrman is easy to talk with, either by email or at presentations.
Hi BK-My sister is the only one in my family who I've pointedly told what I believe, or don't (as the case may be). My brothers, parents, and extended family don't know (although I'm pretty sure my mother knows, or maybe we've talked about it, I don't remember. She's such an accepting person, it doesn't really matter as long as you don't really eat the babies). If they were to ask, I would tell them, otherwise it's bloody well none of their business. My friends are pretty clear on where I stand, as is my husband and step-daughter, who are also atheist. One of the people I work with knows, the other doesn't (it's never come up). I had a flying spaghetti monster decal on my old car, but nothing on the new one for no reason except I haven't thought about searching one out on the interwebs. I'm not a confrontational sort of person, but I will explain my reasoning if asked.
As for the shower situation, I probably would perk up my ears and listen to everything being said, but wouldn't say anything in and amongst the crowd. However should the opportunity arise (either on the day, or later), I might ask her in private more questions about why she she feels called, how her husband feels about the homeschooling, if she feels pressure from other people (at church, at home, at work) to home school, why she thinks this is the best thing for her child. I'd try to understand and be sympathetic, and probably not counter everything she said with an argument against, but try to plant the seed of questioning in her brain. There are many times the seed of questioning can accomplish more than the sledgehammer of logic. So often we get caught up in what we believe (or don't) as being "right" that we lose sight of the fact that everyone has to deal with their lives on their own terms, even if that makes other people uncomfortable.
Thanks for starting this thread. I've enjoyed reading through the discussion!
Reg MM, I like the "seed of questioning" rather than the "sledgehammer of logic'.
also..."as long as you don't really eat the babies"... LOL!
On a serious note, it is kind of remarkable and even shocking and sad that many of us are so skittish and fearful and careful about making our atheism public. After all, we don't live in some restrictive Muslim country and we have no state religion... and all we're talking about is a philosophical opinion about magical thinking among our peers... yet some of us fear hatred and rejection for our beliefs. I know many of you who have wider circles and live in urban areas have no such squeamishness, but even with all the progress that has been made it is still a big step for some of us to simply state that we don't believe in the majority fantasy...