I have a MySpace and a Facebook page, but I have found it's a bad idea to include my atheism on those pages, as it has a tendency to put you in a position of being pre-judged by new people you might meet. And while it's easy to say "I don't need them if they are going to judge me" the reality is, I'm a minority in this society, and also a pariah several times over. Being gay also, means that my odds of finding a partner are dismally low...I can't do things to undermine any success at it I might be able to have... if i ever hope to find new friends, have dates, or a partner, i first have to let them know ME without the trappings and banners of atheism, so that i can show them how their prejudices are baseless. But you can't go at it waving the Godless flag and expect everyone to accept you. This was also the problem with the gay community. They went about it the wrong way, for the most part. They behaved badly, and then expected people to treat them with respect. Bad behavior is bad behavior. But with atheism, it's more about the strength of religion in this country, and the brainwashing, and how people don't really know what they believe until they are forced to think about it. IF you try to force them to accept you as a nonbeliever, they will have a kneejerk reaction before they even give you a chance. I have numerous profiles on a plethora of dating/personal sites, and let me tell you, the minute i ticked the box for "atheist"--the silence was deafening. When i selected "other" or "not religious" things went back to normal.

I hate that this is so. But it is.

I am, at this late date, dealing with another round of prejudice in my life--and i feel safe saying that being an atheist is already much more difficult than being gay.

Thoughts?

Tags: Facebook, gay, lesbian, myspace, networking, prejudice, social

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I just gotta be me
and being me is atheist

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I am "out" as an atheist on my FaceBook page. Any long-lost friends that happen to read my info page and find out - oh well. If they choose not to interact with me, I can still by happy without them. However, what I've found is that more of my relatives and friends are atheist than I had suspected, which I only discovered because of their Facebook info. A few of my long-lost friends found through Facebook told me that they basically avoided me in years past because they knew I was raised in a Catholic home and assumed I was religious UNTIL they saw my Facebook info. I think it's a benefit to be open about it. The more "we" display who we are, the less of a social stigma it will become.

For a social life, I have also met some good friends in an atheist group I found on Meetup.com. The friends I've met from this and other atheist groups are much nicer and honest than anyone I've ever met in any church. I would have never met them had I pretended to be religious just to be socially acceptable.
Hi Tom. I've had some similar experiences, and that's why i go back and forth about my openness. My dilemma, (as I've posted about before here) is that I'm not set yet on my social circle, since i just moved to Denver, and I also don't have a partner. Those are considerations that have to be included in my "outness" about my atheism. If i embrace my pariah status too much, it will be near impossible to make connections with people. Now, if i had a partner already, and my social circle (locally) was already in place, i'd say, "screw it!" because I'd have nothing to lose. But i do. And that's the harsh reality of it. Hard enough to deal with the 10 to 20% population of gays, and find them as a gay woman, but add atheist to that formula, and you're often SOL. I don't need to be creating more roadblocks for myself. But once i have my other things established--i will NOT CARE who knows. Isn't that interesting? We NEED other people in our lives. we NEED those social connections.
I just put other in that part :)
one of the things i have learned about leadership and management is that you HAVE to be upfront, honest, and confident to everyone unilaterally if you wish to gain their respect.
i say you should wear your atheism on your sleeve and let everyone you meet know upfront what you think. sure, it will put some people off, but you will be forcing them to react to you. in any interaction, there is the person taking the action, and the person reacting to it. this is how control in a relationship is established.

they might not agree with your viewpoint but they will respect your honesty, and then they will be forced to deal with you own your own terms. why should YOU be the one to have to be over conscious of your words and always watching what you say so as not to offend someones belief?
watch with laughter as they become the ones tiptoeing around their statements.

act like its the norm and be surprised when they say that they are not an atheist. make them feel uncomfortable and watch their body language change. moving one foot back to shift from open to closed stance. hands go into pockets as their confidence slips. look them straight into their eyes and nod your head up and down inviting them to agree with you. make them stumble on their words and second-guess their own beliefs.
damn - i read way too many books on sales and body language. i love to completely mindfuck people :)
I'm having to separate things like that too on Facebook, so few people know and my husband is having a difficult time right now. Having a small business in a southern town, and it goes against all that he was raised with (things he also doesn't want to let go of), I'm really pushing his limits to think be on those walls but I am trying to be informed myself and do give him info slowly. Here at this time of the year has made for stress between us, when some people push the subject, like putting up displays at the state capital, or friends being very closed minded and making statements of saying "merry Xmas to me and not any thing else, because all the rest it just damned".

Last year I sent no cards at all, for many reasons mostly too many activity and ran short of time. This year I'm trying to connect with friends and relatives, but my cards all say happy holidays, and winter season and such, good positive things, well wishes, I hope people will just appricate the fact that they are hearing from us.

But it is all unsettling to my peace of mind. I'll just do the best and keep my chin up and face each day with a smile and grace.

Hello all.

I'm new to this sight, but am already feeling right at home. This thread is striking a cord with me I'm afraid. I hope it's OK to jump in?

A little about me: A lifetime atheist, I've lived amoung Christians from the very start. Married one.

She came out of the closet, two years ago (now she knows she's a lesbian, always has been, just didn't realize it - and no I didn't abandon her, she's my friend) But now she's back in the closet.

Here's why, and here's what I believe. Most people are incapable of breaking out of their early childhood programming. Whoever they were, and whatever they believed, as of about six is who they will be for the duration. They will gain knowledge and experience (or not) but who they are will not change.

Reasoning with them will only make them angry.

When asked, "Isn't it funny how God hates the same people you do?" They will not see the humor, they will not have a apiphany. They can't.

It's just the way most humans are wired. I think it's likely we are in the minority for basically genetic reasons. Our brains demand something different than the average neurotypical. On some level, we can't help it, and they can't either. Think about how useless it would be to try to convince Kelli not to be lesbian, or myself not to be hetero. You might as well try to talk a carnivore into becoming a vegan.

Let's set aside for the moment that it's not really that simple (I know, believe me I know).

I'm fond of saying that "You can not reason someone out of something they were never reasoned into."

It is true, but here is my point, (and I do have one): Do the social and economic calculus before you out yourself to too many people. In my experience any rational cost benifit analysis shows it only pays to tell close friends that you trust, (think what you would do as a Jew in Nazi Germany) and my personal view is to not care too much about the other folks.

And if you do have one, or two, true friends that will stand beside you through anything (and vice versa I hope) then count your blessings, and smile. You're richer than you think.

One man's view.

Thanks for your thoughtful input, Steven. And welcome.
You said, "You can not reason someone out of something they were never reasoned into."--I couldn't find an attribution for that quote, but I like it too. Not certain it's entirely true, but all indicators seem to point to its veracity. We've all come up against those who simply don't understand what we're trying to say. Their brain does not work that way, and it feels like there is little you can do. They NEED to believe what they believe.

 

The only pertinent insight i have on that is that i was a Christian in my younger years, and even went to a Nazarene college. I believed in God, and went through all the motions. It made me feel safe and accepted, because there was a group of people--a tribe, if you will--who was on my side. (Ironically, we know that this is the very essence of the evolution of human beings...they are naturally social animals who thrive when in groups). But this tribal aspect of Christianity/religion was especially attractive to someone like me, who had no family bonds to fill that void. Now, I'm a card-carrying atheist because i discovered that bond could be had elsewhere, and those beliefs in supernatural beings could be replaced by the wonders of nature and science...and when i look back and consider that journey, it began with EDUCATION and was accomplished through TIME. The more often you are exposed to a new idea, the more acceptable it becomes, so in that sense, yes, it is important for us, as nonbelievers, to spread the word of our own "gospel." But in order to understand all of it, I had to acquire information. Most notably, i studied under a Bible scholar, and the list of questions and confusions only got bigger. This led to cognitive dissonance, and ultimately, my search for the truth. This is why i started working on the 6-VOlume book, Supernatural Hypocrisy: The Cognitive Dissonance of a God Cosmology (took three years to write it and it should be available from Amazon by mid-March). I cover all this territory in those books....But by recording the details of that intellectual journey, I saw clearly what the facts were. The more I learned about reason and science and logic, the more absurd those Christian beliefs became. Perhaps, then, there are those who can experience that cognitive dissonance, and some who cannot. And that means there will always be some who can't be reached, because they NEED to believe in a god. They would otherwise fall apart if they didn't. That, to me, is more about a weakness in the human being, than a strength that is inherently needed.

I do understand those who wish to scream it from the rooftops that they are atheists. There's a certain pride of ownership, if you will, when you know who you are and what you believe. But to let someone know upfront about your beliefs, i think is not necessary. Would you say,

"Hi, I'm Dave, and prefer sex standing up."? or

"Hello, I'm Tina, and I believe in gun ownership."?

That's like, TMI...If we did that, life would be like an AA meeting all the time. Thus, there are, i believe, appropriate times to bring that up, and perhaps that's what you meant, SteveT, perhaps not. But I do think that it is on a need-to-know basis--personal things like beliefs and sexual orientation, politics. If it comes up, and someone asks, then sure, speak your truth. Or if you are in a gathering that is ABOUT that subject, yes, say it. But there is discernment to be had here, and frankly, it's not always another person's business what i believe, who I sleep with, or what party i vote for.

Thanks to all of you for your thoughtful remarks...I welcome any others.

Kelli Jae Baeli

http://jaebaeli.com

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