When form filling, how do atheists answer the question "what is your religion?" ?


When atheists are form filling, how do they answer the question "what is your religion?"? For most of my life I have written “No religion” or “Atheist”. But when I was a 17-year old schoolboy in the 1950s applying to get into St Peter’s College at Oxford University I encountered this question and I answered carefully by writing “C of E”. All the undergraduate colleges were nominally Christian with heads called Masters.

My response proved to be a useful device because everyone in England knows that C of E stands for the established Church of England---yet it was not what it meant to me.

For me it stood for Critic of the Establishment.

Phew. I can only add that by good fortune at the interviews I was never asked questions about religion. I had been so sheltered from religious practice that, as I recall, I was 15 before I saw the inside of a church, and only then because out of curiosity one day I went inside one just to see what the interior looked like. 

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If pushed, I respond with "Secular."

If pushed again, as in "What does that mean?," I respond with "I'm not into ghosts and magic."

If they continue to push it can get nasty.



Given no other choice, I'm okay with "none."  If I have the chance to say so, I'll say, "atheist," and I won't blink when I do so.  I'm three for three as it comes to that with JW visitations since I moved here, and if they don't like it, they're the ones with the problem, not moi.

You are a great example for others.

Depends on the choices they give you. Some forms don't put Atheist. Some just say "no preference". Otherwise I would mark Atheist.

"None", unless "Atheist" is a choice....


I do have positive beliefs, but they're not theistic. I also have values and even certain practices that could, in a pinch, be called a religion. But it would not be a line item on anyone's checklist. So when I say "other," I don't actually mean atheism; I do it with a clean conscience. ;-)

Usually, the only option given to me is "no religious preference".  I have once used "atheist" as a given option.  I am seriously thinking about adding "woo-less" in the "other________" category. 

I write "None" in the religion block of a jury summons.  I recently tried a case to a jury and got an acquittal but not before agreeing with the prosecutor to strike the only person who brought in a jury form that read: "Atheist."  (Religion was not involved in the case at all.)  When questioned by the lawyers, the woman claiming disbelief turned out to be quite eager to get out of jury duty.  She dissed the law and the constitution and said she'd already made up her mind as to innocence or guilt.  Frankly, if atheists are going to be like this in a court of law, I would rather they say simply, "None."  This kind of potential juror is the kind of person who gives atheists a bad name.

Orthodox Heathen




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