I have been curious for a while about other Canadian atheists experience with simply being an atheist in Canada.

I have commented to others that where I live now and where I grew up it was remarkably easy to be an atheist in many ways.

I had several friends growing up who where theists and still are to this day probably, but my lack of religion was never an issue with them. Even today it isn't an issue within my current circle. Though I am among my friends the only out and admitted atheist and I have always been surprised by that. I have been curious for a while if my experiences in some ways were typical Canadian or if I escaped religion because of my upbringing.

So what say you?

Where you raised in a religious or non-religious house hold?

Was religion predominant in the community you grew up in?

Did it cause any issues growing up, if you were raised non-religious among your religious friends?

Have you ever been called out by someone about your stance on religion and belief?

Do you find it difficult to be an out atheist in Canada?

If you are not an out atheist, how come?

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Replies to This Discussion

See Meag, I know just what you are thinking. What's the big deal about being atheist anyway? I grew up in small town Ontario and there were plenty of religious people but I was never short of friends and like-minded people to hang out with. But you haven't experienced the discrimination and xenophobia of bible-belt America. Down here we are a hated and mistrusted minority. Pinhead conservatives rant against atheists on Fox News like we're no better than terrorists: that we have no morals, no principles and are a threat to (their) America's values. And all the 'sheeple' down here believe them. So it must be hard for people in Canada to understand why some of us down here might seem so militant, but it is almost a civil rights issue for us. If I had more atheist friends locally, it would be easier to ignore all the religiously retarded people, but I don't.
Don't worry, eventually Canada always follows the USA. Since native Canadians tend to no longer procreate, the religious immigrants are doing all the procreating, and so 'undeclared' Canadian secularism is in grave danger. Every single new immigrant I meet is religious.

Tho I don't like France's Sarkozy on most policies, I do approve of his anti-burqa policy. The more we let religious symbolism (and sexist symbolism) permeate our society, we will lose our cherished secularism.
I work with a whole bunch of chinese immigrants, and only two say they are christian. And one of those two only is trying to be religious because of our constitution. The way he said it to me was he was "trying" to believe in god.
The others aren't even buddhists. They just don't believe, but don't call themselves anything for it.
I was raised in a household that was 1/2 Roman Catholic and 1/2 Jehovah's Witnesses (if you can imagine!) but neither side was dominant. I had the luxury of only being somewhat forced into learning both faiths and after my parents' divorce, religion took a back seat.

As far as being an atheist in Canada, it hasn't been an issue other than on a few occasions where, at dinner parties or what not, religion would come up and I'd be rather annoyed at the frequent claims by others that religion by default should be 'respected', which of course is bullshit. Luckily, most of my friends are secular or agnostic so they're open to hearing all opinions without the discussion turning into a series of defensive comments. I think we're pretty lucky in Canada in that regard, or at least that's been my experience.

Stay well.
Nice one. Indeed, the whole respect thing is so misguided! religion's about the least respectable thought around!
not to mention the religious being some of the least 'respect-ful'. I refer to my former pastor who started rumors about congregation members, and then weaselled his way through an 'apology'. I also refer to the myriad of priests who assault children, and the major efforts of their superiors to cover it up. I heard a former priest say that hardly any priests are celibate, so what does that say about their stupid religion??? On top of that, we all subsidize churches with our taxes!!!
ARRRRRGH!!
Where you raised in a religious or non-religious house hold?
Religious. Both of my parents are believers. I went to my fathers church (Mormon/LDS) until part way through grade-school, then both that church and the Catholic church (which my mom and her side of the family are a part of) until middle school.

Was religion predominant in the community you grew up in?
Somewhat. It wasn't THE part of the community, but it was still a part of weekend life. The LDS church took up the entire day, and the Catholic church had several meetings throughout the day so I would sometimes miss meeting up with friends if they went to a different service.

Did it cause any issues growing up, if you were raised non-religious among your religious friends?
N/A

Have you ever been called out by someone about your stance on religion and belief?
Yes, by my family, when I was a minor. They have since come to terms with my belief of non-belief when it comes to a sky god.

Do you find it difficult to be an out atheist in Canada?
Nope. It grinds my gears around Christmas/holiday time since people tend to assume that you celebrate "something" .... But when I volunteer all the shifts that nobody else wants, people are a-ok with my being a heathen ;) Though it pretty much comes out in October when I insist on taking the 31st off, using "religion" if necessary - if believers can get multiple days off, I should get one too! (especially since every place I have ever worked closes on 12/25 (usually more))
Well, my parents are theistic to the best of my knowledge. I know my father used to go to an Anglican church, however, to the best of my knowledge they haven't been to a church as long as I have been alive. My mothers family is pretty Christian, my aunt would always take us to church on Sunday when we stayed with her, yet no one in our family, immediate or extended, would ever comment or impose religious ideology on myself or my siblings. My brother freely attended Sunday class because of a girl he liked when we were younger and I joined them a couple of times. It wasn't my cup of tea. So ya, no real pressure on the religious front. I have attended a few church services mostly out of interest on an intellectual level, but no one has ever been pushy. Even the occasional door knockers seemed to get the picture that they couldn't say anything I was interested in. Then again, it was rather easy to find friends who were atheists without even trying. They kinda just came to me, as well as my share of theistic friends. But whenever religion has been raised around me (unless my brother is present) it has always been more of a philosophical debate. My brother makes it more of a heated debate. I guess the Christian girl burned him in a way that he hasn't brought up.
I personally was raised in a Christian household. Prayed before every meal, went to church every Sunday, listened to Christian music - the whole nine yards basically. The community I was in made it really easy to not question those ways as well. It's a small sort of rural place in Southern Ontario... and most people are fairly conservative there. Though I'd say the younger people tended to be a little more secular. That doesn't much help you fit in if you are raised in a house like I was though lol. So that definitely was an issue with me. Ironically. It separated me from much of the 'popular' kids, having to adhere to my parents' beliefs.

And being called out on my "Christianity"... I guess I was challenged by peers my age, when I was young enough to still believe in it without question. But especially once I entered high school, I started to apply my own rationality to my life. Once I started doing that it was a constant struggle with my family (and extended family) because they are all religious. Ever since I felt I was a pretty strong atheist though, no one has really pressed the issue. My family and I don't talk about that anymore lol.

In my personal experience, I think it was more difficult to be a Christian. Perhaps that's because my personal views always seemed to be in contradiction with the Bible though. I think Canadians are fairly lucky as far as religion goes. We are safe to believe what we want here. Mostly. The only scorn you'll receive is typically from smaller communities. That's been my experience anyway.

If anyone asks, I'll tell them I don't believe in any god. So I guess I'm an 'out-atheist'. I've always been fairly straight-forward with what I oppose and what I support, so I think people usually just put two and two together. Again, my family doesn't really regard me as an atheist though. Mostly because they just haven't asked. They know the types of issues I support though if we talk about it. I'm pretty sure they just don't want to acknowledge what that all means lol. Once I have children though I will be raising them in a secular environment, and I won't be appreciative if they try to influence my kids religiously. So I'm sure they'll get I'm serious about it then.
I have never had any issue with being an atheist in Canada. The most impact I see on atheists in Canada is the fact that some laws are still based on outdated religious-based ethics, such as the illegality of euthanasia. We have however made great progress in other areas such as divorce, abortion, and gay rights.
Hmmm...yet you don't give your real name (^_-)
Good discussion. I was raised in a semi-religious home. My parents sent me to catholic school and before the age of 10 I knew I was a non-believer. When I say semi-religious, my parents took me to church twice a year... at christmas and at easter. I can only remember my parents ever saying any prayers when I was a kid in the 70's. But by the time my father passed away I think even my mom secretly gave up whatever faith she may have had left. I am in my second marriage, and my first one was to a girl from a fundamentalist christian family. My time spent with her (going to family functions and what not), are the only true times I have had any real hard times as an atheist. But it was enough to make me bitter for a few years about it. I think it really depends on your community that you live in if you will have a hard time as an out atheist. I live in one city and work in another a 40 minute drive from my home, and where I work there are a lot of funamentalists. where I live, there are around, but it's pretty rare that I find actual practising christians, although lots of people say they are from a particular flavor of christiandom that they grew up with. Muslims are another story. It is hard to find a muslim (or exd-muslim) in my experience that will admit he is not active in his faith around where I live.
I am an out atheist and I do like to get in discussions with people, but I like to call myself a non-believer or secularist rather than an atheist anymore because of how radical atheists are giving those of us who are not militant in our atheism a bad name. That being said, many of those radical atheists are highly intelligent, but feel the need to be angry and yelling rather than appearing like the rational, critical thinkers we like to think ourselves to be. I typed this out quickly, so sorry if its full of mistakes.

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