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.