http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2014/05/the-myth-of-a-w...

very interesting read.  the gist here is that religion still enjoys a massive amount of respect in America, which causes non or less religious people in America to lie about their faith practices.  this paragraph in particular rings true:

Social practices can retain, or even increase, their prestige while becoming less common. Think about military service, which is lionized more today than it was during the Vietnam War, even though fewer citizens serve. Something similar has happened with religion. Americans, especially left-leaning Americans, are less likely than they were a generation ago to go to church. But they’d rather you not know how much less, because religious practice—like service in the military—enjoys prestige as a marker of morality and self-discipline. And the more Americans fret that those values are being lost, the more they value religious observance for carrying them on, if they aren’t religiously observant themselves.

i think this is what makes many of us unique.  i know not all atheists are open about it.  there are lots of reasons for that, most of them perfectly valid.  but for those of us who are, we are outliers in society.  it's a sad but true fact that those of us willing to tell people what we really believe, who don't lie when asked, and who are comfortable telling others that they don't believe in religious myths or the supernatural, display a certain amount of courage.  

in a strange way, it actually takes some gall to inform a true believer that you're an atheist.  in doing so, you're telling a person who believes something as FACT and may even define who they are that you think it's all a bunch of hooey.  the nerve!  of course, there's no logical reason for their beliefs to be put on any kind of pedestal over ours.  but when has logic ever played into the equation?  most people believe in something and we don't.  and it turns out most people want to play nice-nice.  

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I'm 65 and never in my wildest dreams did I ever expect to see: 

1. An African American elected president

2. 2012, 30,000 atheist at reason rally in DC

3. 19 states legalize gay marriage.

4. The Affordable Care Act passed

5 One in five Americans have no religion.

These gives me hope.

me too
@ matt , it may happen yet. I saw the first ad, first for me anyway, for FFRF on television last night.
I was excited by it . Maybe we'll get there yet.

I saw that too. Ron Reagan Jr. It was great!

And for those who haven't seen it:

"...not afraid of burning in hell."  

possibly the greatest sign off i've ever heard!

We know the reactions we get from everybody when we declare that we are atheist, but I cannot help but believe that there are many more of us silently setting in church pews in cowardly fashion. Give it some time and they will also develope a voice to speak.

I like to think that also.

I used to not just state to people that I'm an Atheist.  Now I just say it.  If they don't like it, or like me because of it, then buh-bye!!!

I've found that most people really don't believe. A group of people may question my non-belief and even make fun of it in a group setting, but when we have one-on-one discussions it's a different story. They admit to not believing in many tenants of their religion, even some very basic ones that everything else is based on. Hell, look at how many of them are terrified to die! What is there to fear when you get to go to happy fairy-tale land? Humans are herd animals and a lot of religion and politics comes down to peer pressure and being willfully ignorant.

Yep, "...peer pressure and being willfully ignorant."  So accurate.

You know who are a strange bunch? Atheists who are politically conservative. They're wise enough to have figured out that the god concept is a ridiculous and antiquated farce, but they hate to be associated with anything that has liberal followers, so they bad mouth atheists just as bad as religious conservatives. My experience is that they're very conflicted about not sharing that aspect of conservative ideology with their tribe.

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