Thanks for the welcome. As you can see, I've been diverted from making a response for a while.
I have no history of reading or participating in blogs, so this is a little like Alice's entry into wonderland, or at least it was fun to write that.
Where to start...well, one thing I personally notice is that I'm a lot better at accepting religious people than they are at accepting me. Perhaps I have an unfair advantage, in that I've been exposed to them all my life, so I'm used to them. In most cases I could explain their point of view without first hearing it from them. On the other hand, most of them would be completely at a loss to explain my point of view. I usually find they're singularly incurious as to the premises and line of thought that lead me to be an atheist. Fear of contamination, I suspect, accounts for the lack of interest. I am caught between conflicting impulses: On the one hand, I think freethinkers need to have a strong public presence in order to bring about a better understanding and to promote freedom of thought. On the other hand, I have a distaste for making people uncomfortable and/or having unproductive exchanges with people who are unprepared to make any positive use of what I might say to them.
There, I went on and on...that's a hazard for me with this topic.
Thank you :)
I laughed a bit after reading in your profile, "There is no greater social suicide in this part of the USA than admitting to Atheism. I'm willing to take the risk."
In fact, things aren't so extreme here in Portugal, but the christianism still have more power than it was supposed, and that fact pisses me of more than any other social "illness" in this country.
Hugs and kisses from Portugal
Fair enough. I've gotten the get-thee-behind-me- hollow-gollum-infused-with-the-breath-of-life-yet-seats-no-soul reaction.
This reminds me of a sketchier misadventure when I went with a Catholic friend to attend a charismatic evangelical church in eastern Washington state. The congregation could be generously described as armed band geeks enamoured with Adonai's fervor. They certainly waved around guns, tooted on horns, and talked in tongues to emphasize how serious they were. Ugh. As it turns out, the field trip also supplied a less-than-principled moment.
I dunno know about the social suicide you mentioned; to the contrary, the old African American ladies with whom I work pray for me every day "'cuz walkin' without god gotta be so lonely." They've even tried to arrange dates with their church-going daughters and granddaughters... which is a kinda skeezy way to try to bring me into the fold, if I think too much on it. Eh, the sentiment's sweet. Ok, it's mostly skeezy.
Hi, Kaye. Thanks for the welcome. I've never been on any kind of social networking site before, so it took me a little while to get my bearings. I also grew up in the Bible Belt (Indiana). I've been an atheist a long time, but the internet has completely eliminated the isolation I've felt all these years. Isn't it wonderful to be able to interact with our tribe?
Oh I completely understand. That morality argument bugs me so much! Do people even think before they say things like that? "You're telling me if you didn't have religion that you would just go around hurting people, lying, etc." I see kindness in the wild between social groups, what is to keep US from being the same. Being an upstanding citizen is beneficial for survival, otherwise you might get cast out of the group and left to fend for yourself. I also wonder what they think happened to me when I became an atheist then? Did all MY morals go out the window? Umm no. I think morality and compassion that comes from you rather than teachings can often times be more genuine.