Been away for a while-- life got complicated, and I just got out of the habit of checking here. The constant emails from group discussions kept this place in my thoughts, however, and now that I've got some things stabilized in my life I think I will be active here again.

I have found recently that one of my biggest sources of support, a group of online friends I am very close to, is not the best environment for discussing the things this site was made for. There are a couple of members there who take it personally when I say I don't believe the things they do, and that sort of discourages discussion. On the other hand, my boyfriend and most of my close friends are atheists themselves, so at least in person I don't have to deal with that sort of thing.

Facebook has become a source of irritation in this regard. I have a ton of facebook friends that are mere acquaintances-- people I knew in high school who for some reason want to update me on their daily lives, for example-- and among them are many people whose... attitudes are not compatible with mine. I have refrained from starting shit when they post nonsensical things, though I nearly choked on my coffee when someone recommended her friends watch "180" because it was a good, thought-provoking film. (For those unaware, it's a half hour long anti-abortion video that basically says "Do you like Hitler? No? Then why do you kill babies?!" and filmed only the people who, upon hearing this argument, decided they should believe in Jesus.)

Back on Atheist Coming Out day... back in October, I believe?-- I posted to my facebook that yes, I am an atheist. A christian friend of mine promptly tried to argue that I didn't know what I was talking about-- clearly, if I wasn't declaring that I believed there was no god, but rather that I did not believe there was, I was obviously an agnostic, not an atheist. *sigh*

The most entertaining reaction came from the person I posted about previously-- the one who acted shocked and then stopped talking to me. He'll speak to me now. He drops an awkward reference to (usually) Richard Dawkins into every conversation. Things like saying "Thank goodness we have Richard Dawkins to tell us what to think!" when we were talking about... Pluto not being a planet anymore. Or when I was talking about wanting to do the local zombie crawl as dead literary figures, suggesting that I should go as zombie Dawkins instead. One or two of these would not merit remarking upon, but he has done it in every conversation since that night I told him I was an atheist.

I don't understand him. Or the people who think my opinion is an insult to them-- it may be true that I think their beliefs are silly, but I do not say that to them, ever. Are believers so insecure that they cannot stand knowing someone disagrees with them?

I have come, more and more, to the conclusion that I cannot understand how a rational person can, after actually applying their mind to the question, believe in the supernatural. I just do not understand. And yet there are numerous Christian groups on my college campus-- I am at the state's (and one of the country's!) best engineering school, among extremely intelligent people who study science and engineering. It seems like there are a disproportionate number of Christian groups, for the size (smaller than the other schools I have been at) and makeup of the student body. And yet there is no Skeptic or Atheist student group. Perhaps the believers are more insecure, and need more support and need to be more vocal? And the nonbelievers are content to know that they are more likely surrounded by others? I don't know.

Anyway, I'm rambling. Just thought I would come back and say a few things about what's on my mind, lately.

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Comment by Guy on March 14, 2012 at 6:40pm

I am new to AN. In my faither days I was told to watch out for the Gay recruiters, the Atheist recruiters, the Satan recruiters.  I have never had anyone try to recruit me except.... Yep you guessed it christians not even a muslim. College campuses are ripe places for people who just haven't figured out what they want to do in life or who they are yet. Faithers pounce on that and drive the fear of god into them. Fear is a very powerful motivator. Get them while they are looking for something and insecure. I remember searching for the meaning of life. It took a while because I was the son of a preacher so I was on my way to being a good little faither. Then I realized how the congregation was full of zombies. I was able to remove the god glasses and see the zombies all around me really weird feeling. At the time my dad was a preacher in training. When I woke up to what was going on it got ugly. Needless to say I survived. Faither leaders  are terrified at the thought of loosing control of their flock. Who else would they fleece? Education will set them free. It takes time.

I had to quit Facebook for the same reasons that you mentioned and your comments take on a life of their own sometimes they go on for ever. I like Google + in some ways. I kind of think you need to separate your social networks. Seldom do you invite work friends over at the same time as you invite your swingers club over? People at work just don't need to know. Separation is a good thing. Its just more work and Face bookkind of eliminated that work but caused more problems in the process.

Ok I think that was more than I expected. Enjoy your life here I think I will hang around here for a long time. This is a side of me that I enjoy.

Comment by Dylan Michael McFarland on March 9, 2012 at 1:04pm

Hi Diana,

I've also wondered why, especially a college of all places, would religiosity be so abundant? It's probably not because of the student body, but instead because of a tradition of trying to convert people; these religious organizations always strongly target schools.

I guess I've made up my mind that religious people don't rely at all on facts, or even paltry everyday observations (because like you said, it's impossible to understand them in any other way). Instead they seek a feeling, clasp it, close up their mind, and finally go about their day. I think the feud between religion and non-theism is not really based on worldviews, it's based on lifestyles. After all, if all of these religious people hate science so much to dispute the evidence for evolution, why then are they on facebook, also created and maintained by science? Or driving their cars? Using cell phones?

The lifestyle of religion, especially it seems in America, relies heavily upon hypocrisy. These people live in a world of constant denial, which breeds hostile emotions. They vent these emotions by persecution, and lately by acting clinically insane (I'm thinking of Santorum here...).

On my side (obviously an atheist) I'm also very hostile. I look at these people and I see a strange and yet somehow powerful blockade to progress. It's easy to envision a world that's a practical, realistic utopia. Where, everyone acting rational, humanity solves the great problems, like climate change and equal rights. I see these people focusing on such outrageous issues, and I blame them for forcing me to live in a world where such (relatively) easy problems go yet unsolved.



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