This is just a post on the amazing and reassuring afternoon that I had.

I'm a relatively new atheist. It's been less than a year since the day that I realized I was in fact no longer a Christian. I became involved with my university's atheist/agnostic student group, a small group with only a few active members, and have since become one of the officers of the group. We decided this year that we need to make our presence more visible, being that the area that our university is in is extremely religious part of the state, and knowing that there has to be non-religious students here that are sick of the overwhelming Christian presence. Walking through campus right now means being smothered by religious groups, all trying to force fliers into your hands. We decided to set up a table of our own with a poster and a few fliers, but decided specifically not to try to hand out fliers, and let people come to us. I hate when people force fliers into my hand, and I wasn't about to do the same.

I was apprehensive... very apprehensive. How were people going to react to us? It was not what I expected. We got an overwhelmingly positive response! People were yelling, "Thank you!" to us as they walked past. Others were saying "I'm so happy there's a group like this here!" or, "I had no idea there were other atheists on campus!" We got high-fives, hugs, etc etc. It was unbelievable. Our first meeting is tonight, and I'm expecting bunch of new people there. I got plenty of dirty looks too, but also had some great, very civil discussions with some Christians, and got to show them that atheists are just normal people trying to live their lives. What a great afternoon!

Tags: atheism, campus, christian, christianity, fellowship, state, washington

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Great news! Well done! Don't forget to tell all your new friends about Atheist Nexus! Why don't you start a group for your student group on here?
Good call. That's something I'll look into doing.
It makes me wonder how many atheists are walking around near me, and just don't advertise it, because of the social pressure. Atleast no one can say that you are pushing your beliefs by approaching people. Keep setting up tables, putting up displays, etc. I hope your group does great things for the community, and let them know that atheists were responsible. You're in a good position - way to go.
I had the same thoughts. I've been on this campus for over two years now, and know only a small circle of atheists. There had to be more atheists there that I didn't know about it. I'm glad to see that I was right. Many of the new people that came to the meeting today were freshmen. I'm sure they appreciated knowing that there was a group like us available to them.
This is fantastic, Ryan. As for the "civil discussions" with some Christians, that's not an unusual experience. You'll find some liberal Christians with some interesting ways of explaining their faith. A lot of them are future atheists, struggling to hang onto their faith against the pleadings of their rational mind. As damian said, really good decision to not approach people. It's best to allow them to come to you.
The people that I had conversations with were definitely pretty strong Christians, and were more... perplexed... I guess, about people being atheist. Hopefully they walked away with a better understanding of what we're about. The not approaching method really paid off. Many people expressed appreciation about using that method.
Us atheists are only nice to you because we want to eat your babies.
Hmmmmmm. fresh tasty babies.
I felt it wasn't in my best interest to reveal to them right away my desire to eat their babies.
Thats why it is important to be an "out of the closet" atheist if at all possible. One just may be pleasantly suprised. At the very least it shows that atheists are not the scary people that some theists have made us appear to be.
One finds atheists in the strangest places. I went to the optician a few weeks ago and he was asking me what I used my glasses for, mostly. I said I read a great deal and work on the computer.
"What kind of books do you read?" he said.
"Oh, mainly religious books," I replied cautiously.
I noted a kind of 'rabbit caught in the headlights' look in his eyes so I added, "Atheist tracts mainly."
You should have seen the relief on his face!
"Oh! I'm an atheist too!" he said.
From then on we were great friends and he was incredibly attentive in getting me just the right prescription.
When I returned for an adjustment he recognized me and said, "Oh yes! You're the atheist!"
Atheism is pretty common in Australia, but still it was nice to see someone so happy and relieved that his customer wasn't a Christian! ;-)
This is something that I'm noticing lately. It's subtle and hard to explain, but when I talk to a person new to me, there is a certain caution. I know that if this person asks me about religion, or tries to preach to me, it will not go well for him/her; or I will lie, because i'm simply tired and want to go. It is pretty overwhelming here, and i'm pretty good at knowing who's religious, which is pretty much everyone. In the past i've had trouble with bandmates. We just didn't see eye to eye, but never thought about discussing religion. A while back i had a band with amazing chemistry, until the singer/guitarist moved. About one month into the band, i found out that i was playing with an agnostic and another atheist. That is the only time i've experienced that relief you are talking about. Older people around here don't have a clue about this movement. For instance, one customer asked me (without hesitating) "Are you Catholic?" Yes, i was a deer caught in headlights, and this woman may have had a heart attack if i told her the truth.

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