Where in South Carolina is everyone and what are you experiences as being an atheist?

I'll start. I'm in Columbia at USC, and I rarely feel fearful admitting that I don't believe in God. Of course I don't go around just saying it, no more than I go around spouting that I'm a liberal or a humanist. 

Most of the times I am confronted with someone religious, it is in a classroom or (funnily enough) out in the bars. One specific experience comes to mind: one night I was outside killing my lungs with a cigarette and half-intoxicated admittedly. I was with several friends and we were talking when a guy came up and starting shouting that YOU ARE ALL SINNERS, YOU NEED TO ACCEPT JESUS AND GET OUT OF THE BARS AND FIND GOD--I paraphrase of course. I was so enraged, shouting that we don't come to his church and drink and he shouldn't come to our bars and preach God and immediately ranting about the hypocrisy and untruth of religion, especially Christianity. Most of my friends are not outspoken atheists and probably wouldn't call themselves atheists, but I'm sure that most of them don't really believe in God, much less the Christian one. Some of the others outside too were obviously Christian, including one of my friends, and they went to the guy and started saying that he shouldn't preach the word of God like that, with shouts and anger. Soon enough all of them were kneeling in prayer with him. I was disgusted. I did however make brief friends with another critic shouting back at him. I could have handled it a little better, but when you mix an outspoken, loud-mouthed, gay atheist with alcohol, that's what happens, but oh well.

I just wanted to share one of my experiences and hear of some of yours here in our Palmetto State. I was glad to find that even though I was in the minority, no one was trying to suppress my different view. 

So please share.

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Hello Root,
I'm in Florence here in S.C. I read your posting. I found out the hard way that come out as a athiest here in the south can have it's fall out. Good luck in Myrtle Beach. I would think your location would have a few more free thinkers becasue of the import of minds out side of the area.
John .. from Florence
I laugh at this because you gave yourself your own labels yet they still wanted to label you something else.

Some people just don't have enough room in their little minds to make new pigeon holes.
I'm in Easley. It's more been pent-up frustration with working around bible study groups and Christian-themed events. But, having a bit of social anxiety, I don't confront them, content rather to just slip away quietly before any awkward encounters happen.

In a couple of cases with my last job (insurance sales), I had to bend the truth slightly so that I wouldn't alienate the people when they asked me things like "Have you accepted Jesus into your heart?" or "Where do you go to church?" Fortunately, being a de-convert rather than a lifelong atheist I could answer that first question with a straight face while omitting that I evicted him years ago. Still, it's not fun having to go through social situations with the fear of conflict constantly on my mind.
Hi Phillip!  I went to school in Pickens and grew up in Dacusville so I'm right there with you...except I am pretty much a lifelong atheist so I have no good answers to give people when they asked questions like that.  I was in sales too so I couldn't be completely honest with customers who would ask me things like that.  We have moved away now though, so I am hoping people here in L.A. won't be so religion-centric.
I am in Columbia and I have been on AN for a couple of months now. I have been corresponding with some folks from Greenville, they are a Yahoo group. I would love to organize a group to meet in Columbia once a month so if there is anyone else here from Cola who would like to arrange to meet regularly please let me know. We can get this thing started. I am feeling quite lonely here in suburbia surrounded by all the magical thinkers.

My experience with being an atheist in SC has been pretty low key, thankfully. One thing that makes it especially difficult is the fact that we home school our children and we have a hard time finding folks who are of the same mindset and so we are mostly on the fringes here as far as that goes. Most homeschoolers in SC are religious folks and while most of them are "normal" they loose the normal when they discover our beliefs.
I live in Greer, and would love to get together with a group once in a while. Like most of you, I have kept my atheism hidden from everyone. I have been more open about it with long time acquaintances, and family. The results were mixed, but needless to say, I don't have contact with many of them, now. I have found a few people, who do not care what I do, and do not believe.....very few.
I am a small business owner, and get extremely frustrated by all of the proselytizing that I see from the "faithful". I also hate, not being able to speak my mind around people. You never know what kind of reaction you will get. My sister in law, and brother used to be normal, until about six months ago. They started going to church more, and excitedly asking me to come along(they did not know about me yet).Obviously I politely declined, and changed the subject. Not long after, they started quoting scripture on facebook quite often. Then it came to a head when my girlfriend joined an atheist group on facebook(my sister in law happened to catch), my sister in law started a crass correspondence with her. She basically told her the usual .."you are going to hell", "you should meet my god",and blah blah , blah. After this, they found out that I was an atheist, and assumed that my girlfriend was the cause. I find it funny because, she is an atheist due to my influence. We both would love to meet likeminded atheist people, so if anyone happens to start a group. Count us in.
AimeeJoe, Mitchell:
There is a fairly active social group called Freethought Society of the Midlands (Formerly "Godless Columbia"). They have various meets, usually once or more a week, from Sandhills/NE to Lexington.

On Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=32766472688

In my experience it's largely a social group. They get together for movies, meals, and drinks. It's not preachy or (a)theological; just a bunch of non-theists enjoying the company of other non-theists. Some family-friendly events too, if you have children.
Thanks Jason, I will join up.
AimeeJoe, I am in Irmo and would LOVE to be part of a group that meets! I am so deparate for some non-religious friends! My name is Sam, and my email address is samridgeway@bellsouth.net - I don't really have the time in my schedule to be the organizer, but I would be a great helper and certainly a loyal attender. Will look forward to hearing from you!
I was born and raised (and still reside) in Spartanburg.

My favorite (baptist) cousin is the only member of my family who knows that I am an atheist and I sure hope it stays that way. With those outside my family and not in any way associated with any of them I am quite open in my atheism.

Just today I had a nice little experience when I got back from a delivery (part time pizza delivery driver) and found that all of our cash boxes had been labelled with everyone's name by the 1st assistant to the GM. I was glad to see this as there have been instances of drivers being so stupid that they put their money in someone else's cash box *rolls eyes*. When I looked at mine it was labelled "Satan". Although I found it enormously amusing, the sentiment from my boss was not meant to be humorous (he's been trying to convert me since he found out I was an atheist). I'm still trying to decide how to react to this because I actually kind of like my cash box being labelled "Satan" but at the same time his thought process in doing this kind of disgusts me. One thing I know I'm not going to do is make it an issue with HR...I will not be the cause of his unemployment unless he intentionally causes me true harm. He is not a malicious man and in fact when we do have time to shoot the breeze we share in a great deal of laughter nearly 100% of the time. Actually now that I see my thoughts in print I think I'm just going to leave it there and enjoy the humor of it. He is overall a really great guy and I enjoy working for him.

Anyway I'm new to AN and even newer to this group...Glad to have found you!




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