Booklover, I didn’t mean to suggest that an education equals a college diploma; however, I can understand how my comment could have been taken that way. I guess I need to pay more attention to exactly how I say things. I’m sorry if my comment was offensive.
Oh no Jonathan, I wasn't offended and I didn't think you meant it that way. I knew what you were saying! I just tend to clarify everything, I guess it's a bad habit! lol, but it comes from educating people about my Son's (17 1/2) type 1 diabetes. It's an auto-immune disease, not a lifestyle disease, and type 2 is so prevalent these days that people just say DIABETES like it's one type. They say dumb things to us like, well if he'd eat healthier and exercise it would go away. It makes me so mad. I'm like NO, his body killed the insulin-producing cells in his body, and the only way he can NOT be on an insulin-pump is if they find a CURE.
See? I'm educating again! LOL.
Anyway, don't worry about it for a minute! ~ Melinda
I recently moved back to my Bible belt birthplace (South Carolina), and have found myself walking on eggs much of the time. I didn't at first -- just spoke my mind the way I'd become accustomed to in more rational climes (Colorado High Country). Before long I realized that virtually all of my neighbors, many of them good and intelligent folk, took such talk about the same way they might if I'd thrown acid in their faces. I found that I had caused hurt when that was the farthest thing from my intent. The effect was remarkabe enough that I've just about shut up until I can figure out a better way to engage than simple honesty. Deception is something in which I wouldn't engage even if I knew how, so for now my answer is mostly silence (not outright denial) until I get a better handle on communicating within this very tricky culture.
When I was taking openly about my lifelong lack of religious faith (thanks Mom & Dad!), and what I thought about what faith implies, many of those who didn't just walk away denounced me as a Satanist, or at least deluded and in the grip of Satan. Most of them said that they would pray for my immortal soul, and a few offered thinly veiled threats in the form of some of the darker passages of the Old Testament. Nowhere, not once, has there been a scrap of offer to continue discussion.
To put this odd cultural situation into context, I should note that about half of the people I know here are the least religious one might hope to find in the Deep South. Dear Li'l Sis, my next door neighbor and best friend, is an agnostic lesbian. Her (and so my) social circle includes mostly people who attend the local Unitarian church -- almost all very nice intelligent people. But as far as I've seen, all of them begin every meal with some sort of prayer to God. It's as if no food can be consumed without this symbolic act of contrition / submission. Sis's 8-year-old son attends a Christian private school (where he asks his teachers why Christians don't believe in evolution -- bright kid!). Mind you, these are the least religious around here. Pretty much everyone else believes strongly that the earth is less than 10,000 years old, that the Bible is the inerrant word of God, that sexuality is the sole purview of the Church, and that Sick Rantorum is the only viable presidential candidate. It's a steep hill.
Wow Ted, that must be so hard to take. I'm sorry you have to deal with that. I'm glad we all have Atheist Nexus!~Melinda
So glad that you found us!
For goodness sake, how has your sister survived? She has so many challenges facing her. It sounds like her 8-year old son is developing nicely. Has there been any problems that he hasn't been able to handle?
Typically, I find that this is only the case if someone doesn't already know me. People that know what kind of person I am don't suddenly question my morals when they find out I'm an atheist. People (in general) do seem surprised to find out I'm an atheist. I suppose they are expecting baby-eating maniacs. We're just regular people!
Staci this person didn't really know me well. But they made a value judgement of me because I'm a non-believer.
Right, I try to do that as well. I don't always succeed. But I do try.
Am I the only person here who is genuinely evil? jk ;)
That depends, of course, on who you ask :).
I'm continually astonished by how arguments that would be considered innocuous in any other context are worthy of vilification if they touch on religion. I've recently been called strident, pedantic and intolerant, and accused of taking myself too seriously by fellow atheists for merely suggesting that religion tends to stifle discussion. Apparently there is some special clause hidden in the contract for being human in which any implied criticism of spiritual beliefs broaches a taboo.
South Carolina is not Wazooistan, and my dear neighbors are cutting my head off only metaphorically rather than physically. But is this the best that we can expect from 21st century America?
All you can really require of others is tolerance, not acceptance or approval. It's not intolerant to disapprove of someone's lifestyle, that's everyone's American right. As far as religious discussion goes, atheists tend to approach those with superior absolutest attitudes that breeds confrontation. That's not to say that the religious don't do this often, but we can only change our own behavior. A calm controlled voice goes a long way in diffusing any tense argument/discussion.
"Those who cannot hear an angry shout may strain to hear a whisper.” Spock
That's my nerd quote of the day.