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?

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I NEVER bring the subject up myself, but if it comes into conversation by someone else, I make no bones about my atheism. I don't give a flying fig about what people think of me either, & I put on no act for anyone, including family.

That is wonderful Patricia - I am somewhat open and like you I don't bring it up - only my family does not know.

I'm not wearing a t-shirt with a big letter-A ... but if someone wants to know what my "religion" is, I'll tell them.  No, I won't go out of my way about it ... but if some day I'm on jury duty and am supposed to swear to something and the closing words are, "so help you god," my response will be, "Keep god out of it and you got a deal."  Same deal swearing on a bible - I won't do it.  The three sets of Jehovah's Witlesses who have come to my door have learned that an atheist lives here, and that he's not afraid to say so or to cross wits with them ... though his suspicion to this point has been that his opponents have arrived largely unarmed.

I am an atheist ... and I don't care who knows it.

I've had to report for jury duty here 3 times, & each time there has been a choice of swearing on the bybull & the so help you god thing, but they also had the choice of swearing on your honor to do your duty honestly & fairly. I was quite amazed at just how many here took that option.

Here is a hypothetical situation as an example:  You are sitting at a small extended family gathering-- a baby shower.  Someone mentions that her cousin, a young mother of five children under age 8, will be home schooling starting this fall.  She adds that the cousin does not want to home school but has been "called" to do so and is therefore being "obedient".  Do you question any of the several ridiculous assumptions in that statement while others in the room are nodding their heads in acceptance and understanding of what has been said?  Or do you keep quiet? 

I love this "called" business.  Was the call person-to-person, collect, or what?  What they're being obedient to is something that is not in any way innate to them but was more than likely TAUGHT, indeed INDOCTRINATED into them as children before they had any means to evaluate what they were being taught for themselves.  Should we also mention that this teaching has no mechanism for verification or corroboration and amounts to very little more than a 2,000-year-old MYTH?  And while we're at it, this is the myth which doesn't seem to like science because it contradicts their magic book's assertion that the world is only 6,000 years old and was made in seven days, rather than a universe that is about 13.78 billion years old and a planet that has been around for about 4.5 billion of that?

Oh ... and just WHO is this person being "obedient" to?  If some god, are they in direct communication or is the obedience by way of some earthly proxy?

They got any answers?  I got LOTS more questions!

EXACTLY, Loren.  But would you bother to point any of that out to the baby shower lady?  (By the way, this was a mixed-sex baby shower.)  Specifically, would you suggest that the "god" of this 4.5 billion year old planet in a 13.78 billion year universe probably would would not have a great deal of investment in prescribing the particulars of this one young mother's children's education?  Because, believe me, these people think this IS the case!

Well ... I don't do baby showers ... but if someone's in a one-on-one  conversation with me and the subject comes up ... they better be prepared for the answers, 'cuz I won't hold 'em back!

For one thing, I wouldn't be there to start with....I can't stomach this nonsense, & refuse to put myself into the position.

So you wouldn't attend a baby shower (this one didn't involve any silly games-- just good food and wishing the parents to be well with some gifts) OR would you not be at a gathering if you knew that those attending are religious?

I am very much a loner, & been there done that with showers where I'm very uncomfortable around people I barely know or don't know. Religion doesn't play a part in my decisions not to put myself into places I don't particularly want to be. As for ''knowing'' the people are religious, I definitely don't wish to make any effort to be there, family or not. I may send a gift or not, depending on who it is. 

I would ask a lot of questions. Who "called" her to homeschool her children? How will they benefit by being home schooled? Does she know how to teach all the subjects a child needs in order to succeed in a technological society? Will she offer opportunities to her children if they show interest in higher math, science, music, liberal arts, or sports? How does she intend to help them learn participatory behaviors with people who are different? Who does she have to obey? Why? Why does she not rely on her own knowledge? From what is she protecting them? Are there other options? 

The rest of the family may agree with the mother for her reasoning, but she is entitled to ask herself these questions. I am sure every mother who home schooled her children asked similar questions of herself. 

If there are problems such as bullying taking place, that requires a parent/teacher/administration intervention. No child should be subjected to tyranny from anyone, student or teacher. 


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