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?
I feel the religious intolerance in this area. I think you and I live in a very similar towns as far as race,religion and politics go. The town I live in is full of fundies who,for the most part,don't beleve in evolution. Ask yourself this 'can I make a difference and do I want to'? My family have been surprised about me openly claiming atheism but they are my family and we love each other. We don't discuss religion because their religion believes being gay is a choice and I know it's not. I haven't lost any friends or family over my decision and the people I come into casual contact with, store clerks etc.. think it's kinda cool. When I was on fb I used to post links to atheist wesites and only one person even commented on it. Maybe a couple tame, atheist posts, is a good way to put out feelers.
I can honestly say I haven't gotten the first horrified reaction. I keep hoping for one. Laugh.
Good luck with whatever you decide.
Home schooling is common in this area so the kids don't get exposed to science!!
Thanks, K. Hughes. In the past I've I've done exactly what you suggest-- put out a few facebook feelers, interspersed with posts that are full of sweetness and light. So far no horrified reaction. (just complete silence...) I suspect (paranoid?) that "they" are talking about me, but the best approach is to continue to be a caring, thoughtful person-- bring pound cake to family gatherings, be a good neighbor, compliment them on their cute kids, etc. Right?
I also post pro-gay rights stuff and posted a really funny parody of that Cheerios commercial with the interracial couple. Just could not believe that a mixed marriage is ANY kind of an issue in 2013-- even in the deep south... but guess what? It is!
I'm an old white man and my wife is from Kenya. She told me that people at her work do not like that mixed marriage Cheerios commercial. (We live in Missouri.) I told her that those people need to grow up!
And they need to learn that hatred that is a learned feeling can be unlearned. Yes, just grow up!
Google the lesbian version of the Cheerios ad. It's pretty funny.
I'm a total flamer. Most people seem to feel comforted by my atheism. It's like they thought I was going to be an intimidating smart person. But no, I'm a fool. Their book says so.
Its a difficult one.
Socially and professionally I am not afraid of telling anyone if asked but wouldn't go around proselytizing about it. Family is another matter.
My background is Catholic and my parents are very religious. I've had long discussions about this with them, especially centered around the baptism of my children, or the lack of. I take a don't ask, don't tell approach with my siblings. They have all had their kids go through baptism but apart from my older sister I don't think they they are regular churchgoers, or even believers. My older sister is a teacher in the Catholic education system here and is a churchgoer. It's not that I don't or won't speak with them about it, its just not central to the few times of year we get together.
I did recently come against a difficult situation however. All my fathers aunts, on his mothers side became Nuns, of 6 children only my grandmother got married. The five nuns have all been important parts of my life as a child. They are/where all amazing women who have spent their lives in service of others. While I have problems with the faith and organisation they represent I cannot fault their true devotion to it.
The last of these Aunts is now 99, and in very poor health. I don't expect her to be around much longer. I visited her last Sunday and at the end of the visit she grabbed my hands and implored me to make peace with God, because she wanted to see me in heaven. I admit I was this close to pacifying her with some platitude, but in the end I felt I owed her honesty about my beliefs. I told her that I thanked her for her concern but that I couldn't do that.
I felt really bad about the exchange. She is isn't quiet on her deathbed but not far from it and I refused her the comfort an empty promise would have given her. I did feel it important to be truthful to her though. I don't, and probably won't ever know if I did the right thing.
MB, that's a tough one. Still... didn't the current pope decide that God accepts all dead people, regardless of beliefs? Maybe that would give your aunt some comfort.
Jeez! the pope may have credibility to some ... but absolutely none to me. What the pope says is as important as a virus that spreads disease. Treatment for those infected, and prevention for those at risk seem to make sense to me. That makes it even more important that atheists speak up, take action and enjoy the process. Being passive gets us no where.
In Greek, the words run together and it is hard to catch the meaning of the author. For example no where appears as nowhere. Does that mean no where? or now here?
Heehee. Yep, of course I agree, Joan, but presumably MB's very aged nun-aunt, who is grieving because she won't see MB in heaven, would be comforted by her current pope's pronouncement. Actually, as totally nutty as Roman Catholic stuff is, they have seemed less intent than say, Southern Baptists, on insisting that all those who believe differently are doomed in some (non-existent) after life.