I'm like you. I'm semi in the closet. I'm open about my atheism on the internet and even have a Google blog on atheism under my own name, but I live in TN (Republican and Christian Central in other words), which is kind of intimidating. Everyone I interact with here in TN is either a Christian or Christian minded. I just learned that Knoxville TN (I only live like 40 miles from there) is the number 1 bible minded city in America.
You may find this hard to believe, but I assure you it is the truth. Two Septembers ago I was out at the lake camping by myself (a friend had driven me there and dropped me off because I don't have a car). After it got dark I built a huge fire. About an hour after I had built the fire this guy comes out of the woods all camoed out (he even had his face smudged with dark face paint). He had a bow and arrows, with an arrow already strung, though he had the bow facing toward the ground. He stood on the other side of the fire about 10 feet away from me. All I had was a machete and a hatchet, but like I said he was 10 feet away on the other side of the fire, and there was no one else at the lake. It was dark, and no witnesses. We talked for about 5 minutes, and then suddenly, out of the blue, he asked me if I believed that Jesus was Lord.
According to law you're not supposed to be in the woods deer hunting after nightfall, and strangely, he happened to be acquainted with a fellow I know who has cerebral palsy who believes in God and Jesus. But I'm sure you can maybe guess what my reply was when he asked if I believed Jesus was Lord since he was 10 feet away on the other side of the fire with a weapon that can shoot arrows at 70 or 80 miles per hour.
So, yeah, here in TN it is sometimes prudent not to tell anyone you're an atheist.
Interesting scenario, Anthony. Of course it would be reckless to irritate this guy. Did he seem a little psycho when you were talking? Did he ever mention violence? Your point is well taken.
Suppose you were in a Muslim country. Then the danger would be worse. (At least at the present time, not so as we move back toward the Middle Ages and the Crusades.)
The threat of violence is some sort of defense mechanism for the belief system. Makes it a lot harder to confront it head on.
Being a chicken myself, I would have not only told him “Christ is Lord” but soldiers of Christ should be given medals like they do in the U.S. Army.
Let's put it this way. Would you think someone who comes out of the woods with a deadly weapon past the legal time of day for deer hunting and asks you if you believe Jesus is Lord was a psycho ? And when it comes to being out of reach of such a person I'm a chicken too, lol. And, as a matter of fact, about two years before that I got an anonymous letter printed in marker post marked from Knoxville but with no return address, saying I had the wrong friends, and that my judgment day was coming.
Are you familiar with Pat Condell on Youtube? He’s an atheist orator, you might say. He once displayed his hate mail and it was very scary indeed. Scores of it, the idiocy of it!. Brave guy. Check him out on Youtube if you’re unfamiliar. He gets millions of hits.
The point is the vitriol is all bluster and mindless ire. But I admit it only takes one jihadist to make it real. That’s what makes the threats so effective.
One thing's for sure, you did right to realize your situation.
I love Pat Condell and agree he's a very brave guy. I'm not near that brave.
Sometimes, I think it's not a matter of bravery, it's just not being stupid. Like in Anthony's night encounter, I would have been very careful what I said, and lying would not have been out of the question.
Anthony's story bears an uncanny resemblance to an exerpt from Mirror Reversal, the Atheist Novel at the right. There are certain times in our lives when reality changes to a more primitive level.
Homer’s heart raced; he still didn’t know what to do. He hated that situation when consciousness is raised above the mundane, when the parties involved realized exactly what they were—jungle animals threatening one another for territory and breeding rights.
PC is one of the stupidest racist sexist atheists in the limelight. I no longer watch any of his vapid videos. He's the kind of atheist that makes us all look bad.
I hate to tell you this, Anthony, but your experience sounds perfectly usual to me here in the south. This was your typical redneck not a psychopath at all. And you responded in the only way you could have to avoid any kind of unpleasantness. You are talking here about people who handle rattlesnakes at church.
Same here Anthony. I am becoming more out of the closet gradually. Hope to be all the way out of the closet one of these days.
Try this: These are people who love to reinforce each other’s crazy belief system. So play that game; they’ll love it. Start with learning some buzz words like, Amen, Jesus is Lord, and try to sneak a couple "begottens" in there.
Hit ‘em with, “you know, the Holy Paraclete sure loves the blood of the lamb.” You could say “Holy Ghost” but “Paraclete” sounds more devout and mystical.
Try, “The Garden of Gethsemane doesn’t have weeds.” They’ll love it.
You’re walking past a church while the congregation is coming out. Notice, “it’s a beautiful day today, but it stormed like heck on Mount Cavalry when Christ was crucified.”
Keep on spouting this stuff and they’ll make you an elder in no time. Religion is a game.
Good points Richard.