In order to keep some sort of peace in my life, I simply don't mention my atheism unless someone asks. This has the unfortunate consequence of leaving me feeling totally alone.
I sing in the local community chorus, when it isn't too frightening.
I'm an alto and a damn good one. The rest of the altos rely (too much) on me. That's part of what scares me. I just want to have fun, not be the fucking starting quarterback with everything riding on my every move.
The biggest problem is I know--without a shadow of a doubt--that most of the people who are friendly to me in the chorus would turn their backs on me (or spend copious amounts of time trying to reconvert me)--if they knew I was an atheist.
Matt Dillahunty said to be prepared to lose every Christian in your life when you come out as an atheist. He's right. That's exactly what happened to me and those important relationships have never been replaced. It's been over twenty years and I've never found my way back into a social groups or even a lasting, mutually beneficial friendship.
Instead I feel like I'm under siege. I really need the fellowship of singing in the chorus, but with each passing semester, it feels more and more like I'm splitting into two people: Atheist in FundyLand and some other persona who fakes it, smiling and keeping her mouth shut so the Christians in the chorus won't start treating her like a pariah.
There really are no other atheists in this town. I've only met one other self-professed atheist. Just because a person is an atheist doesn't mean you have anything else in common. I found a slew of agnostics at the UU Fellowship, but I'm nauseated by the services. I find "honoring all religious traditions" silly at best and dangerous at worst. UU isn't for me.
I tried being friends with Christians, but they absolutely will not and cannot agree to disagree. After a honeymoon period, the Christians try to reconvert me and I find myself feeling lonely and miserable again.
I've taken to spending my time at home with my pet and wearing my MP3 player when I venture into town. I'm cut off. I have been for twenty years. I've tried everything I can think of trying, including putting a six-week ad in the paper. It cost quite a bit of money, but I only got one reply and that one person would not respond to a follow-up e-mail.
For the most part, I've stopped whining. I've resigned myself to living my life without friends. But on nights like this, my defenses crumble and I find myself trembling in anticipation of another twenty years of being alone.
Atheist in FundyLand
P.S. Sorry to be so "negative". For the last year or so, I've managed to buck up and accept the way of things. Tonight (this morning?), I can't find that inner strength.
P.P.S. I can't move to a more hospitable town because my health and financial situation won't allow it. I can't do it on my own and people aren't exactly beating down my door to help me make it happen, anyway. About a year ago, I finally gave in and admitted to myself that moving away is an unrealistic option.
Due to my health problems, a drive of an hour one way and then back is too hard on me, so it would have to be someone who actually lives in my county and that is not very likely. It's a great, big rural county with very few people. If I meet an interesting person, that person moves within six months because the intellectual climate is so stifling. Even a guy I met from Chile (which he calls an insular, non-intellectual country) found my home town disgustingly dull. (Yes, he seems to have moved.)
I've done online relationships for many years, but I am to the point where I find them unfulfilling. Maybe that will change, but after 15-ish years of IRC and Internet forums, I find the prospect unlikely.
Sorry. :( I'm still grumpy. I didn't get to sleep until 5 a.m. and slept until 3:30 p.m. Maybe I should take up drinking as a hobby. Or is it more of a sport?
I've had the same issue. I live in the bible belt and I am hard pressed to find others that think like me. My best friend is also an atheist but he works an opposite work schedule than i do and has his own relationship to tend to.
I spend most of my time online or at work. I also travel alone. Even going to the local pub is hell because the people there, while enjoying the same tasty libations I am, are all going to ogo to church and report for doing so. It makes me not want to even bother. I also am worried it's making me bitter at 29 years old.
Keep your head up and keep looking for someone to connect with. I know it's rough. Hell i've not had a date in months because religion is one of my deal breakers.
I've been looking. I keep finding interesting people and they keep moving away within six months to a year. That's all of this town they can take.
I know an older man, an agnostic, who also can't move away due to health reasons. I think he must be losing his mind. He's beyond paranoid, talking about security cameras in the local restaurant as if they were some diabolical government plot. He's bought into every conspiracy theory. I used to give them some credence until my friend started talking about "fake" phone calls from the 9-11 planes. Then I took a closer look and discovered the 9-11 conspiracy theories don't hold water. (Neither do the JFK conspiracy theories.)
The last time I talked to him, he wanted me to walk him through how to use bit torrents. I tried. I really did. Finally, I just told him he was smart enough and to just do it. He got mad at me and wrote: "Maybe someday I'll find someone who can help me with bit torrents." I called him on this passive aggression and he's been chilly to me ever since. Maybe that's a good thing.
Wow! I digress. A lot.
My last "date" was 15 years ago or so. There's just no one here who interests me in the slightest. The guy from Chile was cool, but he was too young for me and he appears to have fled the area.
I understand that. The whole problem you have is your community. The only viable option it sounds like you have is the internet. Would even a one time move be too hard on your health?
I personally want to move to NYC. I'm finishing my 3rd stent in school (I keep finding other things I like to get degrees in lol) and after that I hope to move to NYC for a while. The two things I hate here in oklahoma is the cuture and the lack of public transportation. I HATE driving. i'd gladly pay 100.00 a month to NEVER have to drive again. Hell over the course of a year it's cheaper then the upkeep and fueling of a vehicle.
I have some family issues that I'd like to resolve before I up and move, but, im not hanging on them. I love my parents, but, I only have one life to live and I plan on living it.