Are self-declared atheists still treated as (social) pariahs?

Here in Australia we are well known for our religious indifference, much to the chagrin of the faithful. However even in this environment many will openly profess disbelief in God, typically Christian, though still reluctant to embrace the term 'atheist'. I'm willing to use the term and, to be honest, have not felt any particular antagonism from others including family members. Admittedly, most of them are atheist or atheist-friendly any way.

From postings at Atheist Nexus, though, many members feel threatened by the public knowledge of their atheism. It appears that, in many communities, atheists are still treated more contemptuously than other traditional social outcasts. Is this particularly true in parts of the US?

Alex
Alex's Heresies - Embracing a Physical Reality

Tags: acceptance, atheism, society

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It should be expected that anywhere religious fundamentalists make up a significant portion of the population disbelievers will feel pressure from them. I think this is probably universally true.
true, but also think this 'atheism=fundamentalism' comes from a mainstream who are not necessarily committed to religious faith. It may that they don't want to hurt the sensibilities of believers and see that atheists offend them by publically rejecting god and so on. Alex
I haven't been treated as a social pariah. The closest it ever came to that was at a party where one girl wanted to have a pagan ritual, I said I was uncomfortable and she said I could go wait in the kitchen. I have conservative Christian classmates, one asked "what religion are you?" (he's a little socially challenged, and asks everyone that) I said I was atheist and he still talked to me after that, I even did a speech in speech class about being atheist and my other religious conservative classmates were respectful of it and still talked to me. It probably helped that the speech wasn't all "I hate religion", it was just saying atheist isn't a dirty word, and debunking the stereotypes that atheists are all depressed, immoral and hate all religious people. I'm in Pennsylvania on the outskirts of Philadelphia...no question it's different in other areas.
"I even did a speech in speech class about being atheist..."

Good for you. We should all hope for opportunities to educate people about typical myths but those opportunities are few.
Yes......yes it is.
Should have said "Yes.....we are"....at least here in my neck of the woods.
When I travel to the States I am definitely more guarded about it. However all my friends who live in the States know I am an atheist and do not have any issues with it. Granted I haven't been to any of the really southern states yet. Colorado is as far south as I have made it so far.
It depends on who you're among, really. Most of my friends and family know that I'm an atheist. They may not like it, but they accept it and don't try to change me. The exception is my father's side of the family. I have to remain "closeted" around them because they are such staunch conservative Christians that I would get disowned if it was known. >.X But it's easy because I hardly have anything to do with them, anyway. They already dislike the fact that I come from a Mexican mother with her own mind.

Another issue for me was visiting Christian friends in Nevada (I swear the church they go to is a secret cult, they scare me that much). I went with one to IHOP with another friend of hers and they were having a weird conversation about me, talking in riddles and passing notes...apparently, by being atheist, I was another species or something. D; My friend's roommates also talked about how they won't even be friends with nonChristians. >.X

I think it was Gallup who did a poll a couple years ago about what characteristics would you vote in for President assuming all other views matched yours. It was found that the majority would not vote for an atheist. Found the link:

http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/archives/black_president_more_like...
It's interesting that atheists need to be circumspect around deeply religious people while religious people are not circumspect around deeply atheist people. Or perhaps we don't get deep! :-) Alex
Yes. Here in the Soiuthern U. S. it is frowned upon to be non-Christian. Tolerance is tolerance for the most part, the whole "agree to disagree" is a popular mantra but don't be caught in a group. Like fire-walkers you'll easily find yourself getting burned because you don't respond positively to their brand of mental/social ""coal-walking" or mountain-moving" rationalization. It's awesome to hear that Australia does not have our type of exteme religioius/political movement. I don't know, maybe you don't have the same historical revisionism we have here. These theists in our country are willing students to lies about how are country perpetuates itself throughout the decades. Good to hear your political insanity is a bit more sane.
We have Christian fundamentalism in Australia but they somewhat marginised by the mainstream who are fairly sceptical of any such religious extremism. Door-to-door religious sales guys tend to get short shift. I imagine organised religions and their respective structures are caught up with a general sense of questioning of authority. It is not uncommon to see scathing op-ed pieces, criticising church behaviour, in daily newspapers or extensive letters to the editor criticising some pro-Christian commentator.

On the other hand many, perhaps most, people see themselves as vaguely spiritual - not necessarily in a new age smorgasbord sense - and therefore not able to embrace a physical-only view of the world.

This is probably very simplistic but give a sense of what happens here. Alex

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