I am surrounded by irrationality.....catholics on either side and a church across the street. Not sure about the forum. good ideas. it would be nice to see some activity.
So, you think I'm a crackpot? Religious people usually get really embarassed by the mere mention of sex, and maybe a little of a religion virus is still in you. You could still find a real relationship without resorting to a pro sex worker, I just mean that religion or american culture implicitly teaches that sex is dirty or bad and if sex didn't exist you would be perfectly happy with the amount of interaction you might already get from people now. I mean that religion makes us feel so guilty for our want or need for sex and relationships and this guilt is bad for you.
Alternatively, start some new topics about things you'd like to discuss.
I just moved into Ohio, and found this site by Googling for "Youngstown Ohio atheists". Then, like you, I saw the age on most of the posts on the forum, which was kind of disappointing.
I just stumbled across the Ohio Atheists group and hope to reverse the trend of inactivity and stale posts! Well, one person alone won't do it, but perhaps a stimulating injection of discussion material would start a self-reinforcing process.
So here's the proposed topic of the day: are we in the "bible belt", or not? There is a "bible belt" discussion group on this forum, and judging from their postings of horror-stories of dealing with religious proselytizing, Ohio is tame and civilized, compared to the deep South. But my impression is that while Midwesterners are generally polite and not as pugnacious as are those blazing with the Southern messianic zeal, religion is nevertheless used as a litmus test for judging people's moral suitability - which of course is tremendously ironic, at least in the context of Christianity, which in theory is supposed to preach non-judgment. Ohio Christians are perhaps more willing to tolerate non-religious people than would have been the case in the South, provided that the non-religious remain isolated and self-segregated. The practical impact is that while I don't feel somehow threatened or insulted as an atheist, I do find myself to be isolated. And while most people of most faiths (or non-faiths) are willing to entertain casual conversation and exchange of pleasantries, upon learning that so-and-so is an atheist, the relationship definitely becomes strained.
But there is a broader issue, beyond the question of organized-religion as a source of prejudice or denigration of the out-group. In America, religious adherence forms a sort of community ritual. Many people, in my estimation, are lukewarm Christians at best, but resort to religious ritual and organization to form a kind of community identity and fellowship. How many people genuinely care about learning about their "Lord" on Sunday mornings? Many, I would think, are more interested in socializing with their neighbors, maybe having an excuse for a communal meal, to exchange gossip or get tips about who's kid does lawn-mowing and who knows of a good tax-accountant. Church is a center of community life, and those of us who eschew religious indoctrination find ourselves shunted from community activity. The question, then, becomes how to form an atheist "church" - not to worship, of course, or to pass around cheap wafers or to mumble idiotic hymns, but to develop a casual network of actual neighbors on whom to rely and with whom to socialize.