I have been curious for a while about other Canadian atheists experience with simply being an atheist in Canada.

I have commented to others that where I live now and where I grew up it was remarkably easy to be an atheist in many ways.

I had several friends growing up who where theists and still are to this day probably, but my lack of religion was never an issue with them. Even today it isn't an issue within my current circle. Though I am among my friends the only out and admitted atheist and I have always been surprised by that. I have been curious for a while if my experiences in some ways were typical Canadian or if I escaped religion because of my upbringing.

So what say you?

Where you raised in a religious or non-religious house hold?

Was religion predominant in the community you grew up in?

Did it cause any issues growing up, if you were raised non-religious among your religious friends?

Have you ever been called out by someone about your stance on religion and belief?

Do you find it difficult to be an out atheist in Canada?

If you are not an out atheist, how come?

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I was raised in a household that was 1/2 Roman Catholic and 1/2 Jehovah's Witnesses (if you can imagine!) but neither side was dominant. I had the luxury of only being somewhat forced into learning both faiths and after my parents' divorce, religion took a back seat.

As far as being an atheist in Canada, it hasn't been an issue other than on a few occasions where, at dinner parties or what not, religion would come up and I'd be rather annoyed at the frequent claims by others that religion by default should be 'respected', which of course is bullshit. Luckily, most of my friends are secular or agnostic so they're open to hearing all opinions without the discussion turning into a series of defensive comments. I think we're pretty lucky in Canada in that regard, or at least that's been my experience.

Stay well.
Nice one. Indeed, the whole respect thing is so misguided! religion's about the least respectable thought around!
Where you raised in a religious or non-religious house hold?
Religious. Both of my parents are believers. I went to my fathers church (Mormon/LDS) until part way through grade-school, then both that church and the Catholic church (which my mom and her side of the family are a part of) until middle school.

Was religion predominant in the community you grew up in?
Somewhat. It wasn't THE part of the community, but it was still a part of weekend life. The LDS church took up the entire day, and the Catholic church had several meetings throughout the day so I would sometimes miss meeting up with friends if they went to a different service.

Did it cause any issues growing up, if you were raised non-religious among your religious friends?

Have you ever been called out by someone about your stance on religion and belief?
Yes, by my family, when I was a minor. They have since come to terms with my belief of non-belief when it comes to a sky god.

Do you find it difficult to be an out atheist in Canada?
Nope. It grinds my gears around Christmas/holiday time since people tend to assume that you celebrate "something" .... But when I volunteer all the shifts that nobody else wants, people are a-ok with my being a heathen ;) Though it pretty much comes out in October when I insist on taking the 31st off, using "religion" if necessary - if believers can get multiple days off, I should get one too! (especially since every place I have ever worked closes on 12/25 (usually more))
Well, my parents are theistic to the best of my knowledge. I know my father used to go to an Anglican church, however, to the best of my knowledge they haven't been to a church as long as I have been alive. My mothers family is pretty Christian, my aunt would always take us to church on Sunday when we stayed with her, yet no one in our family, immediate or extended, would ever comment or impose religious ideology on myself or my siblings. My brother freely attended Sunday class because of a girl he liked when we were younger and I joined them a couple of times. It wasn't my cup of tea. So ya, no real pressure on the religious front. I have attended a few church services mostly out of interest on an intellectual level, but no one has ever been pushy. Even the occasional door knockers seemed to get the picture that they couldn't say anything I was interested in. Then again, it was rather easy to find friends who were atheists without even trying. They kinda just came to me, as well as my share of theistic friends. But whenever religion has been raised around me (unless my brother is present) it has always been more of a philosophical debate. My brother makes it more of a heated debate. I guess the Christian girl burned him in a way that he hasn't brought up.
I personally was raised in a Christian household. Prayed before every meal, went to church every Sunday, listened to Christian music - the whole nine yards basically. The community I was in made it really easy to not question those ways as well. It's a small sort of rural place in Southern Ontario... and most people are fairly conservative there. Though I'd say the younger people tended to be a little more secular. That doesn't much help you fit in if you are raised in a house like I was though lol. So that definitely was an issue with me. Ironically. It separated me from much of the 'popular' kids, having to adhere to my parents' beliefs.

And being called out on my "Christianity"... I guess I was challenged by peers my age, when I was young enough to still believe in it without question. But especially once I entered high school, I started to apply my own rationality to my life. Once I started doing that it was a constant struggle with my family (and extended family) because they are all religious. Ever since I felt I was a pretty strong atheist though, no one has really pressed the issue. My family and I don't talk about that anymore lol.

In my personal experience, I think it was more difficult to be a Christian. Perhaps that's because my personal views always seemed to be in contradiction with the Bible though. I think Canadians are fairly lucky as far as religion goes. We are safe to believe what we want here. Mostly. The only scorn you'll receive is typically from smaller communities. That's been my experience anyway.

If anyone asks, I'll tell them I don't believe in any god. So I guess I'm an 'out-atheist'. I've always been fairly straight-forward with what I oppose and what I support, so I think people usually just put two and two together. Again, my family doesn't really regard me as an atheist though. Mostly because they just haven't asked. They know the types of issues I support though if we talk about it. I'm pretty sure they just don't want to acknowledge what that all means lol. Once I have children though I will be raising them in a secular environment, and I won't be appreciative if they try to influence my kids religiously. So I'm sure they'll get I'm serious about it then.
I have never had any issue with being an atheist in Canada. The most impact I see on atheists in Canada is the fact that some laws are still based on outdated religious-based ethics, such as the illegality of euthanasia. We have however made great progress in other areas such as divorce, abortion, and gay rights.
Hmmm...yet you don't give your real name (^_-)
Good discussion. I was raised in a semi-religious home. My parents sent me to catholic school and before the age of 10 I knew I was a non-believer. When I say semi-religious, my parents took me to church twice a year... at christmas and at easter. I can only remember my parents ever saying any prayers when I was a kid in the 70's. But by the time my father passed away I think even my mom secretly gave up whatever faith she may have had left. I am in my second marriage, and my first one was to a girl from a fundamentalist christian family. My time spent with her (going to family functions and what not), are the only true times I have had any real hard times as an atheist. But it was enough to make me bitter for a few years about it. I think it really depends on your community that you live in if you will have a hard time as an out atheist. I live in one city and work in another a 40 minute drive from my home, and where I work there are a lot of funamentalists. where I live, there are around, but it's pretty rare that I find actual practising christians, although lots of people say they are from a particular flavor of christiandom that they grew up with. Muslims are another story. It is hard to find a muslim (or exd-muslim) in my experience that will admit he is not active in his faith around where I live.
I am an out atheist and I do like to get in discussions with people, but I like to call myself a non-believer or secularist rather than an atheist anymore because of how radical atheists are giving those of us who are not militant in our atheism a bad name. That being said, many of those radical atheists are highly intelligent, but feel the need to be angry and yelling rather than appearing like the rational, critical thinkers we like to think ourselves to be. I typed this out quickly, so sorry if its full of mistakes.
I grew up in Calgary, AB. Yup, its defiantly a bible belt city. I somehow got lucky though. Religion was simply never an issue at all in my house. Christmas was always about family and Santa, in fact I still get the odd gift from "Santa" and I am 33 and have a kid of my own now! Easter was about the easter bunny and hunting for eggs etc.

None of my friends where really religious except for one and he could not be bothered to talk about it. Although he would have to sometimes skip things to go his church and set up chairs for AA meetings and such. The first Time I really got exposed to it was when I was about 17 and my sister got made friends with a girl from an Evangelical family. Her friend started getting My sister to go to church/ Sunday school with them. They started writing things like "god is great!" in some old bible that my parents got as a wedding gift and had never bothered to even open. I found out later in life, her family would tell my sister that her family was going to burn in hell and that she should come to church with them if she didn't want to. I know, nice eh?

Once when my Sister was about 13 her and her friends found the key to my moms car. Her and her friends decided to try driving and ended up smashing the car into the fence of..... A church. Her evangelical friends parents had just won 100k in the lotto and her had just got himself a new corvette with some of the winnings. Can you guess what family was the first to refuse to help pay for any damages? I now think that it was probably because the church was a different denomination or something.

And that was the only experience I ever had with religion until much later into adulthood, so it was very easy for me to see how silly the "teachings of Christ" are when I actually looked to see what those teachings where later in life. My sister also believes that religion is a bunch of shit. So her friends family has failed in their quest to "save" my heathen sister.

I Actually used to be more of an agnostic until after 9-11 I saw a little video called "loose change" and ended up on the Info wars truether nut forums. It was a good fit at first, I was skeptical by nature so it was easy for me to be skeptical of the governments explanation of things. After a while I started to argue with some fellow "truethers" That they could not possibly so skeptical of the government version of events and yet so completely believe the crazy teaching of their church. Oddly, most of them would go on religious rants at that point. That led to me to question the truethers version of events, and realize how nutty they, and their ideas are.

But it wasn't until that that I been truly exposed to the religious in all there full nutty glory that I gave religion enough thought to consider my self an Atheist. Before that I was just a guy who really didn't care about religion or its implications. A true agnostic I guess. Although, I don't think I even knew the meaning of that word back then.
In Quebec it was easy.

Catholic church had a stronghold on everything personal and cultural for centuries, but they were completely & thoroughly thrown out of public life. They lost all their influence starting in the sixties. People are still mostly soft-believers and will shy away from discussing their faith or my lack thereof. It doesn't seem religiosity takes a big place in peoples lives here.
I was raised agnostically (I THINK my father is an atheist but we've actually never discussed it. My mom is/was disaffected with Christianity but not particularly sceptical about other claims like ghosts, spirituality, etc.). My relatives occasionally did take me to Church and Sunday School, which was mostly boring and/or confusing as I had no idea what any of them were talking about. I was a deist as a child but when I was fourteen and actually sat down and thought about it, realized that God made more sense as a comforting delusion than as a reality.

My best friend when I was 9-14 was a devout (although not especially conservative) Mennonite. It wasn't a problem for us at that stage though it is probably part of the reason we drifted apart after. I can't say the religion ever had a big impact on our relationship at the time, although her mother did try to talk to me about God once or twice. This family remains one of my best examples of "Good Christian People" to this day, however.

Personally I've never had bad experiences about being out about atheism, although it's not something I spend a lot of time advertising---in the social circles where I usually move talking about your religion or lack of it would seem equally out of place. It did worry my in-laws (lapsed Catholics) a bit at first, but hasn't come up recently.

It did impact my daughter once, when a fellow child at daycare (seriously, four-year-olds here) told her I was going to Hell because I didn't believe in God. This upset my daughter quite a bit, but I explained that first of all I didn't think Hell existed and even if it did a God who would send me there just for not believing wouldn't be a very good God. Also they were a bit singled out because I wouldn't let the daycare lady put my kids in bible camp in the summer with the other kids, but she was quite good about making up special activities just for them, so they didn't feel too left out.

I don't spend a lot of time advertising my atheism, but then I don't spend a lot of time around people who advertise their religion either. It's certainly not something I hide.
"Where you raised in a religious or non-religious house hold?"

My parents are Atheist. My brother and sister are too. Even though my immediate family, as welll as most of my extended family were Atheist, my parents never pushed me into anything. I went to church when I was really young. Even then I knew it wasn't for me. I went from being very young to perhaps 11 or 12.

"Was religion predominant in the community you grew up in?"

I was in a fairly religious community. I would say. I didn't know it at the time as a child, but now that I am older, I can really see it.

"Did it cause any issues growing up, if you were raised non-religious among your religious friends?"

Religion was never an issue - ever. Among people I talked to, or friends.

"Have you ever been called out by someone about your stance on religion and belief?"

Yes, many times. The one I find most ridiculous was when I was at a party once. The conversation got into how I don't smoke, do drugs, or drink hardly ever. A guy near me says to me, "What are ya, religious or something??" I said, "No, I am an Atheist". He lunged at me, yelling at me. I don't even recall what he said, but he was clearly angery at me and wanted to physically harm me. I left the party. I find out later he was high on coke and a good ol' christian. I belive that is a microcosm of society at large.

"Do you find it difficult to be an out atheist in Canada?"

Notwithstanding the above situation, it isn't too hard. The odd ocassion you are confronted, but, at least the socio-political environment in Canada heavily supports secularism. Religion in regards to a political leader is not much of an issue. And, ethical/social issues in Canada are settled.


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