Greg, Exactly! Just because we claim to be BEST doesn't mean we are. I am so glad to talk with you as you have been in countries other than USA and know what others' think of us, how others live, and can understand that differences are good. I am becoming more convinced that diversity is a high value and your reference to one kind of corn is a perfect example. When I lived in Texas I tried to grow corn and had to use so many chemicals to kill bugs and fungi, it wan't fit for human consumption. How will we manage when a really powerful bug or fungus attacks all our corn, or wheat, or apples?
As to religion ... it seems to turn humans into warring factions instead of communities of diversity.
My immediate family knows and they aren't taking it well. I hear the same crap repeatedly about how I need to repent and how I'm going to hell blah blah blah. That hasn't worked for seven years and its not going to work now. The only thing that will convince me is full blown proof, I need to see some ressurections and some divine power in today's day.
My situation is unique I suppose, I've always been an atheist (that's not the unique part), I was born that way. I'll save you the details, suffice it to say ...I was the only atheist in my family, but my family took the concept of personal belief seriously, emphasis on personal.
I was born in Canada, grew up in Canada and lived all but 2+ of my (almost …'bout 6 weeks to go) 50 years on this planet in Canada. I never had a reason to hide it, or to be overt about it either, though I probably deconverted more than my share of Christians and Muslims in the last few decades I lived in Eastern Ontario/Western Quebec.
...Mostly by discussing it with them, not debating it with them. Of course, this was mostly a meat-world thing, not "online". Though I've turned a few people online, ...it's a lot harder though.
I pick my battles, by that I mean, ...I only bother with the "soft-sell" with fence sitters, mostly people who only self-identify as an adherent because their family did. Y'know? Those who haven't actually read about, studied or actively worshipped. It's great to here someone say, "Y'know? You're right, I am an atheist."
A few "deconversion" rules of thumb...
Know your audience, treat 'em accordingly, never say anything you can't back-up, ...and remember, ...it's pointless to be unreasonable when trying to reason with reasonable people. The most important rule: You can't reason with an emotional conviction, ...don't bother, it never works.
A little over 2 years ago, I moved to North Carolina. Strangers and passing acquaintances assume you're a Christian
I don't hide my beliefs from anybody I know well, but I'm slow to bring it up. And, only with people who I've gotten to know well enough that there's at least the seed of a friendship ...mutual trust/respect.
Know your audience... Now, it's not just soft-sell, ...it's subtle-sell.
...and picked my battles there.
But, this is bible-belt, …churches on every corner. I don't make myself a target, that's for sure.
I have experienced the, "You're …[gasp!] …an ATHEIST?!?", but, I had to leave Canada to see it first hand.
@Richard - I'm in NC also, that smallest county in the very center of the state. /Waves hello! You definitely have to be careful with whom you out yourself here, we are the smallest county and yet there are literally 4 pages of church listings in the county phone book and we're a concealed carry state, not to mention a Castle Doctrine state, so yeah... it's wise to pick ones battles a little more carefully than you would in other states here.
I'm often irked to piss during holidays, by the constant wishes of Happy Easter... Merry Christmas, I love putting them on the defensive by pointing out that my last name is Jewish, but I haven't yet come to the point that I would feel 'safe' letting the atheist cat out of the bag around here. Another point of contention with me is those who will tell you they are 'blessed' for no apparent reason when you ask "How are you?" , I literally have to bite my tongue to keep from saying, "Did I hear you wrong, did you say 'touched' in the head?" What is the trend toward reassuring oneself in a public proclamation that you believe in an invisible sky daddy and it believes in you?
I am open about being an atheist and don't think that I've ever been in the closet about it. I was fortunate to grow up in a very socially diverse city and was raised by loving, compassionate parents who accept me for who I am. My brother and husband are also both atheists, as are many of our friends.
That's not to say it hasn't occasionally lead to problems. For instance, I once ignored my better judgement and had a discussion about religion with my manager at an old job I held for a very brief time. I don't even remember how it came up, honestly. After telling me her reasons for believing in God she asked me point blank if I believed in God also. I said no. Her response was simply, "Oh, well I do." I went from getting about 20-25 hours a week in shifts to 12-15 after that.
I am both open and closed about it.
To my friends and my father, I am open to them about being an atheist
To my mother and her side of the family, I am closed to even talking about it. I'd love to just go off and tell them one day, but I'd most likely get cut off from speaking with them for a long time and I am sure my mom is ok with it to a point, but I'd rather not be too out right with it.
I wished things could be better, but I'll just have to wait and see how things go.
I'm open about my atheism. My family and friends (all Christians) know and it's no problem.
I'm very open about my atheism. It has served me well to limit contact with annoying relatives and neighbors. The ones that do talk to me are so much more enjoyable. And, they usually have something relevant to talk about instead of wasting my time with meaningless noise. I sure am going to miss being a social pariah when atheism becomes more mainstream.
Andrea, great idea for a post! The way you appear to feel resinated with me. I don't necessarily worry about thinking I'm a bad person when I express my freethinking views, but moreso feel like I will be in an instant confrontation. I try to arm myself with information to battle any zealot. Keep up the fight! I will too.
I am semi out myself.It's very hard for me to accept the religious text.I'm the type of person that requires proof in order to believe something.