To be non-confrontational or not to be confrontational, that is the question. Most every atheist I speak to is very lax in their atheism. I, however, am the atheist that makes others think there is fundamentalism in atheism. Not only am I open about it when it comes up, I carry a copy of The God Delusion wherever I go, daring someone to ask about it.

When I moved to where I am now, I was still in the closet. The thing that caused me to 'come out' as I remember, is I found a friend who, when asked, said he was an atheist. Now, it's not like I felt I was alone, I grew up without religion, my father is a staunch atheist. So, about half-way through the 8th grade it became rather common knowledge among most of the 8th graders that I am an atheist. At the time people would come up to me at lunch, always in groups too, i noticed, and would start spewing anti-atheist pro-christian stuff. I have a fairly vivid memory when these 3 boys came up to the table where me a few friends were and started yelling at me, I told them "One at a time, I can only prove you wrong one at a time!" And I loved these skirmishes, I never did any damage of course, such was helm of delusion they wore at all times, but I was hooked.

After 9th grade people stopped confronting me about my atheism, and consequently I never really thought about it. Besides contributing to me breaking up with my then girlfriend (Not that she cared one iota about it, it had to do with me not liking her fundamentalism). It just laid dormant until my 11th grade year. When I was a junior my father brought home a copy of the God Delusion. Two days later I was half-way through my second reading. I credit that book with blowing my apologism out of the water. I started being more aggressive when I 'debated' a christian, I refused to acknowledge the benignity of mainstream religion, and refused the 'i respect your beliefs, you respect mine' dodge I constantly hear. To this day, no one wants to talk to me about it because people know I tend to inflict "Grievous intellectual harm" on whoever is on the other side of my scathing tongue.

Anyways, I don't like it. And I am beginning to question whether it is 'nice' to be so confrontational. I know most other atheists I know aren't. But, I am a 'Strong Atheist', and the one thing I despise is aggressive ignorance. When evidence refuses to move someone, it really makes me mad. And I'm not just talking about religion, that is widespread it doesn't affect how I judge a person very much, what really bugs me are things like pronouncing 'Nuclear' as 'Nook-you-ler'. I find myself increasingly hating religion. I know it's 'their choice' but their indoctrination will lead to more indoctrination, and exacerbation of the problems that religion bring. I guess the problem is that I care too much!

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Comment by Timothy on March 2, 2009 at 10:32am
Hey! (By the way, I'm in Indianapolis and we are VERY fortunate to have a relatively luxurious (for a non-profit group) office of the national organization, "the Center for Inquiry". I do think you would enjoy this group of folks and encourage you to check it out...anyway, I enjoyed reading your thoughts here and want to encourage you to continue your interpersonal activism. You are obviously up there in the echelons of standard deviations from the IQ average, so BE PROUD OF THAT. All you have to do is take one trip down to our General Assembly to see what effect STUPIDITY has on society. This social phenom of anti-intellectualism is too rampant (thank you, REPOOPLICANS).

I propose a radical new economy based on IQ, NOT production. It would be a totalitarianism with the Brights at the top of the social caste and the Dims at the bottom in complete servitude. The Averages are not allowed to run the government nor become priests or shamans or god forbid, TEACHERS. The Averages woudl be required to farm and mine and build/maintain the infrastructure.

Like it? Let's do it!
Comment by D. E. Hall on December 19, 2008 at 9:42pm
Thanks for the comments! I do appreciate it. As for what Gregg Deering said, I do keep a bible in my room. Admittedly I haven't read it all, but I am acquainted with most of the mainstream books. I've been meaning to read more, but it's my senior year and unlike many, I am taking this very, very seriously.

As for what Freethinker has said, that is the main thing bugging me right now, and it was that which provoked me to write this.

My main goal through seeking out these confrontations is to let all those around me know that I am an atheist with strong views, and that it is a position with merit. Though I know I will not, in itself, change minds; I feel complacency betrays my goal. It is for these reasons that I am advocating the OUT campaign, to make it easier for others to accept atheism both for themselves and in others.
Comment by Gregg Deering on December 19, 2008 at 6:23pm
To be a truly effective prostelatizing Atheist you have to know your Bible! You may be way ahead of me on this, but to get a feeling for where other atheists talk about the idiocy - as well as real scholarship - of stuff some people think is true start wading through:

I love this site, I've learned a huge amount.

Comment by Father Nature on December 19, 2008 at 11:25am
My approach is pretty much like Freethinkers. Your passion for the subject, D.E., is admirable but enlightening the hard-core religious through debate alone can be problematic. They don't care about "facts" and are usually just parroting ideas they were programmed with. I'm glad to discuss religion with people who are really looking for answers but I don't waste my time in debate with fanatics.

Of course, if you really enjoy a debate, then go ahead and have fun. And always, as Tarvu says, "Be nice".
Comment by Fr33think3r on December 19, 2008 at 7:57am
I was once in a place where I wanted everyone to wake up, grow up and see the light. While I have always questioned religion I have not always defined myself as a freethinker. Once I knew for sure that I was a freethinker I wanted every one to get the "good word". I started conversations with everyone about religion. Then one day I realized that my actions were no less annoying than a evangelical proselytizing to me. I was pushing my freethought on people that did not want to hear it.

Now I only talk about religion if it is the topic of conversation or if I am with other freethinkers. In conversations about religion I usually am asking many questions rather than making statements. I don’t have to tell people that I am a freethinker I just let them come to the conclusion. I really want to explore what people believe and why they believe it. I feel that many have not questioned what they where told as children and when I start to ask questions I hope they will continue the conversation within themselves.

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