Could I take a poll? How important is it to YOU for others to know where you stand on the God fantasy? Do you go out of your way to let others know you are an atheist when you could just as easily keep quiet? (We'll assume that most of us are careful when employment or personal safety is at stake.) But how about those situations where you know you will be quietly pitied or quietly condemned for your atheism but will not be openly vilified, rejected or threatened? In other words, I'm thinking about relationships and situations where you know that people will talk about you behind your back but probably will not confront you in any way. Do you feel that to be intellectually honest you need to "share" or reveal your atheism, even when there is probably zero chance of awakening or enlightening others or causing them to rethink religious dogma?
The point is this: currently, believers are in the majority, though their largest individual denomination has fallen below 50%. THEY expect US to back off in the face of their numbers, if for no other reason than to pander to their comfort zone. I won't do that. I don't broadcast my atheism, but I'm not Peter before the cock crowed the second time, either.
If they have the balls to bring up the issue, they better be willing to face some answers they're liable to find unpleasant from me.
Online it's easier for me to pronounce I'm atheist, but in real life it's harder. Being shy makes it hard as well. Usually I would say I am one if I'm asked about religion or whatnot but I don't really say outright that I am or "parade" around that I am. I am more comfortable talking to my family, so I've told them I'm atheist.
Jessica, trust your feeling. When you are totally confident of your thinking, content with your atheism, you will be less shy and more vocal. Your thinking will let you know when you are ready to confront and challenge delusions. Some situations demand standing on principle.
B.K. By all means, reveal you are an atheist, that you have morals and ethics, that you function well in troubled times and can keep your eye on what is right for you. Trying to live down to some primitive value does not do anyone any good. Live up to your principles and let that shine brightly. No bragging needed. No superiority required. Just self-confidence and -assurance that you think and reason and function as a mentally healthy, mature, adult human being ... with a bit of playfulness thrown in just for the fun of it.
I let almost everyone know I'm atheist, if they start talking about religion. Proselytizers get an earful.
A few years after I became atheist, I became very tired of the constant religious talk and many religious pictures on the walls of my siblings and parent, so they all received a large letter from me pointing-out the many reasons religion is not rational, and the science that explains life and the universe without a need for a god.
I was also concerned about the time and money they spent on religion, and hoped to make them think about it. However, I also let them know that continued talk about religion would cause me to avoid their company, unless they were sincere in wanting to know more of my thoughts on the subject.
There are a few places where I will keep my mouth shut. Places where service may be compromised. One of those places is with a religious doctor. However, I find a new doctor as soon as possible after I find-out one is religious.
Idaho Spud, I wondered how your parents and siblings reacted to your letter. Was there any indication that they read all of it? And what is your current relationship with these folks? You've probably explained all of this in other forums, so hope you don't mind the repetition.
B.K., my dad is dead, but my mom and most of the siblings haven't responded. One of my sisters sent me a long e-mail repeating all the poor mormon arguments we were brainwashed to respond to disbelievers with.
It sounded like she read all of my letter, but never addressed my good arguments against religion. Of course, that's understandable, because there are no good responses to reason, logic, and science.
I think I gave good responses to her pre-programmed responses, so she finally said, "We will have to agree to disagree."
Other than that, none of them have yet given an indication that they want to talk to me about it. I finally went to a get-together with a few of them and had a few laughs until they started talking about religion again. I didn't want to argue with them when it was 6 against one, so I'll wait until I get them each alone.
In the meantime, I'll just avoid any meet-up that has more than one of them there, and if they want to know why, I'll tell them religion is evil and it's annoying listening to them talk about it, but mostly it makes me sad that they are still brainwashed, and especially sad to see the poor children being indoctrinated.
Idaho, Mormons interest me because somehow their beliefs at least seem to take absurdity to a new level. Now I kind of suspect it just feels that way because most of the Mormon stuff is less familiar to most of us than, say, the standard Protestant absurdities. So I'm not sure there are really degrees of ridiculous. But I had a question. Do you think, to the best of your ability to figure it out, that your relatives REALLY believe the Mormon myths literally?
I had a discussion of this issue with my husband about his Southern Baptist relatives including his 86 year old VERY religious mother. My husband maintains that of course his mother doesn't "really" believe in life after death and all the rest of it. Makes me wonder.... I tend to think he is absolutely worng and that she absolutely DOES believe it, but then maybe there are different kinds of belief... Can they believe something emotionally and sentimentally but not intellectually? Doesn't make any sense to ME....
I think most of them really believe the myths literally. Maybe one of my brothers questions some things because he is more scientific than the rest, but he told me he still believes. That's about as far as our conversation went.
My other brother is reasonably scientific and rejected mormonism many years ago, but still believes the stupid bible. I think he just emotionally "needs" to believe.
My sister that e-mailed me a response is a firm believer. At least that's the face she puts-on. It may be a desperate attempt to hold on to something to reduce the depression and stress she is under. She said something to the effect that she could not face the hardships of life without her god.
My other sister has never said a thing to me about it, but she may also have doubts because she is also more scientific than most. I'd like to talk to her about it, but she lives a ways away and I've also been a little chicken about opening a can of worms.
As far as mormonism being more absurd than other christian religions, I'm not sure, but I think not. I think it just sounds more absurd because it's not been around as long and it's a new take on christianity.
I may be biased because I was raised to believe it, but mormonism seems more scientific and logical that other christian religions. The founder, Joseph Smith, saw some of the stupidities of the bible, and gave them a more logical and moderate interpretation.
For one thing, he said that hell is not eternal, and is not literal burning. The torture is like burning. It's the fearful thinking about your punishment for your sins.
Another thing is that he said there were 2 creations. One spiritual, and the other physical. His explanations overcame some of the illogic of god's creations in genesis.
But, in the 1830s he didn't know enough about the universe and science to prevent him making some stupid claims. For one thing, he said there were people living on the moon. That was repeated by Brigham Young, who also added that there were people living on the sun.
The response of the modern leaders to any questions about things like that is that in that instance he was just speaking as a man, not as a prophet of god. But, they try to keep the flock from reading and hearing the ridiculous things the preceding leaders said because there are hundreds of them.
The mormon "prophets" contradict each other, they contradict the scriptures, and the mormon scriptures contradict each other. So easy to see the illogic and stupidity of it all once you reject it, but easy to think-up justifications if you're a believer.
A short time after writing this, I remembered the main reason I think mormonism is more scientific than other christian religions. That's because they don't say god created the universe and all it's laws. They say he just uses the natural laws of the universe to accomplish what he wants.
They also say he had a father, who had a father, and so on back through time. But, they don't say where the first god came from.
I want to make it clear that this doesn't mean I'm defending mormonism. It's just an interesting subject.
It's easy to prove mormonism is just another man-made philosophy that's bogus. Plus, I think it does much harm. It causes people to waste time and resources, it's anti-science in several ways, and causes fear and guilt in many people.
That's a perspective on Mormonism that I never considered. I see where you're coming from. Certainly, when looked at like this, not quite as absurd as OT nonsense but still so obviously totally bogus. The golden plates, dead people living as gods on other planets, tribes of Israel living in Missouri! Well, I may have my "facts" wrong, but that's the sort of absurdity that we read. Plus the Wizard of Oz type charades that apparently take place in temples. (Some guy behind a curtain or something?) I guess the most positive thing I ever heard about the LDS church was their family values and family activity night at home-- or whatever it's called.