I'm Getting Bashed on a Writers Website for Coming Out Atheist

I'm on this writers site and recently posted a piece about Atheism. It was my way of coming out, saying hey I am who I am, I accept you for you and you should accept me for me. Well it turns out they're not. They can write a bunch of bad poetry about God but I can't write an essay on Atheism. They're leaving me bad comments and telling me to leave because of the content of my essay and not the quality of my writing, and they're all standing behind their comments, telling me I'm a bad writer and a bad person for writing about something I knew was going to get people angry. Oh well sorry if the fact that I exist gets people angry. What can I say to defend myself? I want to go to the site admin but I don't know if that would do anything. I have a right to declare my lack of faith and not be harassed for it right?

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You know, a bunch of people that think of themselves as artists should be among the last people to pitch a fit about something being inappropriate. What kind of crappy artist says "Dear god, you can't write that! You might offend someone!" Isn't the entire point to make people think?
I imagine your well written and controversial post is doing a far better job of forcing people to think than all the God poems combined.

If they think being willing to only write things that make your reader feel good about themselves is the total of being a good writer, they've got it as back-asswards as they possibly could.
So you've challenged their comfort zones and made them realize things exist outside their narrow worldview.
You know, what actual good writers do.

You could just tell them "Art: Yr doin it rong."
Wow do I know where you're coming from!

Years ago in college I discovered a love and talent for writing I didn't know I had. In one such honors composition course the professor's final project for us was to pick some hot topic and write a research paper on it but with our own opinion, supported by our reasoned research. He got us into heated discussion about abortion, capital punishment, race, politics, you name it. But when someone asked if we could do it on religion that was the one topic he warned us to stay away from. "If you really want to, I won't stop you, but in 5 years of teaching this course I have yet to see a student tackle religion without getting into a faith-theology debate."

Of course, it's like a scene in a movie where everything and everyone around me goes dark except the professor, looking directly at me, saying, "Mary! You should do yours on religion! And since I'm a former Presbyterian minister you should attack my religion specifically!"

The day before the paper was due I brought my piece, "Institutionalized Christianity; The Formation of a Repressive Political Tool" to the writing center for a critique. My usual critique-folks weren't there that day so I took it to this lady I'd never met before ... who proceeded to rip me and the paper to shreds. "Where is your thesis statement?!? What do Jesse Jackson and Adolf Hitler have to do with each other?!? How can you say this kind of stuff about the Bible?!?"

She actually suggested I'd be better off to not turn in the paper at all and take a zero for the project. Yet I could tell from the way she was going on about it she was angered over the content, not the writing. By the time you're in Honors Comp in college you don't need a thesis statement. I want you to be pissed off that I name Jackson and Hitler in the same sentence, it's supposed to make you wonder what the hell I could possibly be talking about. I want you to be shocked at some of the allegations I bring up about the Bible, it's supposed to make you go to a bible and read it for your own damn self.

I thanked her. I turned in the paper without a single edit. I got an A and a congratulations from the professor on being the only student so far to successfully tackle religion as a research paper without getting into theology. Hence to this day, my worst review still stands as my most useful and in a roundabout way my best review.

As to your situation, maybe you're a fabulous writer, maybe you aren't, I don't know. But I do say that when you have other self-proclaimed writers attacking you on the subject matter and not the substance of the writing itself, you've definitely struck a weak nerve with them. That alone is a solid point in your favor and says you're on the right track.
I'd love to read your paper, Mary! Do you still have it?
To bring up one more example; Elane Morgan and "The Descent of Woman"/"Aquatic Ape."

As a self-stated writer, not scientist, bringing this evolutionary theory to the masses, when the first book was roundly attacked as feminist nonsense (and indeed, it is couched in HUGE amounts of politics and feminism), a fan inspired her to write the next one. The inspiration: He pointed out that of all the scientists and so-called experts slamming her book and the theory, not one of them was offering evidence to contradict the substance of the theory itself. And these are scientists! They're all but admitting out loud, "It's not that we won't consider the theory, it's just that if true, it would disprove our own work and our little egos just can't handle that."
I agree...I'm reading this and wondering:"Where is the admin?"
I was attacked multiple times on a bunny forum for speaking my mind on religion and several other things.
The Admin intervened and told them to leave me alone. They also know if they write me off list the letter goes right to the Admin and they are in hot water.
Nicole, can you post your piece about Atheism here or give a link to it? I'd like to see what you wrote.
Reminds me of my first good, intellectual conversation on religion with a Xian Fundie. Well spoke, well educated, by the end of the 3 or so hours I was able to say, "I still think your views are horrifying and fucked up, but I genuinely respect that you've come about those views honestly and articulate them better than any other Fundie I've met."

Seriously. The guy gets an A in my book for substance and delivery. Even if what he's delivering is obscene and immoral.
I would think someone seriously into writing would embrace all kinds of views - even if they did not agree with them. Would it not help build up an understanding of the variety and depth of human experience. The fact we are in the minority for not believing in god should make these "aspiring writers" sit up and investigate, ask questions and learn about our worldview. It doesn't sound like the best site for this.
I agree entirely with Kevin's statement. is it a large group? There are a lot of writers here that may find an interest in being part of your group. Does the site have a Terms of Use Policy? If all else fails I hope that you will enjoy the local writers groups here on A|n.
Nicole, don't let people on the internet effect how you feel about yourself or your writing. They're not 'real' people - they're shadows who can be as mean as they like on the internet while they're anonymous. They have nothing real to do with you or your life. Worry about what your real friends think about you - they're the ones who count. How do you know these people know anything about writing anyway?

I see you haven't joined any groups yet. How about joining AN's "Atheist Writers" group. There are some real, published, authors there and I'm sure you'll get some valuable feedback.

You could look at joining "Young Atheists" too - sometimes feedback on your work is better from people in your own age group. Sometimes we old fogies just don't 'get it'.

Good luck with your writing! Work hard and keep learning and edit, edit, edit and I'm sure you'll do great!

Hummm try this approach..."Freedom." Freedom from Religion, Freedom from theist constraints, Freedom of Fear of the unknown, Freedom of Religious Dogma,.... try that approach to them....
I mean, I'm free of the fear of burning in hell for all eternity for say, being a Jew or Muslim and eating a piece of pork.... Think of it...a Jew or Muslim enjoying a grilled ham and cheese sandwich for the first time in their life! Play it like a baby having ice creme for the first time.... the excitement of the taste buds all coming to life and so on....
Or, if you really want to turn up the heat...equate it to having sex for the first time and experiencing an orgasm for the first time....
Yeah, going to the site admin would be the thing to do.

Save whatever writings you have there that you want preserved, though, so if the admin's all "Fuck u athiest comie>" and deletes your account, you can keep ahold of your writings. Better to try than to not, eh.


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