First of all, hi! I'm new to the community :D

Second of all, it seems to be that most people here are from the USA. I'm not. I'm from a large, skinny country called Chile...things are different here. Oh yeah, my english is sloppy, sorry about that.

Here's my experience. My country is mostly Roman Catholic; the Church has a biiiiig influence here, mostly bad, but sometimes good. I come from a catholic family, though my dad is agnostic. My mom is catholic, but liberal in many things. I was in a Holy Cross middle/high school which is, in fact, one of the most liberal private schools of the country. Many of my classmates were atheists or agnostics; I even remember a guy who made himself Muslim, and the priests, who where great, didn't do anything with him, he was just another student (he went to school with bright, colored turbans and stuff like that). My science classes were very interesting, we never, ever saw Creationism, they teached us SCIENCE. It was an amazing school, with a free-minded atmosphere, where questioning everything not only was allowed, but encouraged.

In that type of place I was when I realized I was an atheist, when I was about 15 years old. Not only I realized that, but also that I had never been a theist; as a child, I "believed" in Jesus just as I did with Santa, the Tooth fairy or Sailor Moon. It was just another tale. My group of friends never judge me at all (I wasn't the only one) and my catholic friends were super tolerant and smart about it(most of them believe in god but not in the church as it is, anyways)...I just can't see why they would have try to stop our friendship because of my views. Of course I never judge them either. My mom was the only one that judge me, and still does, but she tolerates me, as I have nothing against her or catholics in general.

As you can see, my experience was great, until this year. I signed into Laws in the best university of my country...which happens to be christian (Universidad Catolica de Chile). The thing is that all the careers, or at least most of them, have absolutely nothing to do with christianity: I actually red Nietzsche (and other atheist philosophers) last year, while I was studying sociology there. But Laws...is just another world. Not only most of the students are catholic-lots of them from the Opus Dei or the Leggionaries of Chris-but some of my classes have a direct reference to "god"; the god of christianity of course. Imagine my disgust when I was forced to read the 10 ways to prove the existence of god that Saint Thomas wrote...not only red it, but memorize them for the final exam of a class!!! WHAT THE FUCK?? Sadly, IT IS THE BEST UNIVERSITY AND THE BEST LAWS FACULTY OF MY COUNTRY...As you can imagine, my "coming out" this year has been very different. I haven't tell I'm an atheist to a lot of my new friends (they can read it in my facebook profile haha) though luckily the best ones know and understand me. It's a shame, but sometimes I'm afraid other people will tell everyone and since lots are frankly fanatical, not only might ...stare...but YELL AT ME.

This has been the first time I have feel that people judge atheists as bad, amoral, sinful people. In infinite ways I'm way more moral than them...I'm proud of being atheist, and I won't change. I know that many, many theist are amazing, tolerant and free minded people, as most of my friends, family and my boyfriend are, and believe me, I'm not biased about it (my boyfriend totally supports me and though he believes in God, he doesn't believe in heaven or hell, or in the church in general). It amazes me how much my experience with my point of view has changed in such a short period of time, and how I know now that theism can turn people into horrible, close-minded beings. Aweful...

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