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 completely agree, but for different reasons. I don't mind telling new people I'm an atheist; their reaction doesn't usually bother me. It's my family I don't want to know. Most of my relatives are, if not christian, at least spiritual. And I know if a cousin or aunt found out, my dad would find out within a few hours, and my mom shortly after. I don't really care what my dad thinks of me, but I'm close to my mom and I don't want to lose that. She's very religious and would be heartbroken if she knew I didn't even believe in god.
Welcome, Jae. I hope you find this space to be what you need. I truly do understand your predicament and your hesitations. You say, "I hate that this is so. But it is." You are correct. And it will always be so as long as we atheists stand meekly by and let it be so. You wish for people to know YOU first without atheism. But if athiest is any significant part of who you are, then no one can really know you without knowing that. I do not presume to lecture you, and I cerainly support whatever you decide for yourself. Trust me, it is no harder than waving my Rebel Flag in front of my Liberal friends and demanding to be judged upon MY merits and weaknesses.
Lobo- do you have family?
a wife or girlfriend?
children?
how long have you lived where you are living?
Do you have a job outside your home?
Do you have a social group of some kind?
Are you healthy enough to fend for yourself all the time. and if not, do you have help?

I ask, because these are things i don't have--and i just relocated to another state and am starting over. I also don't have the luxury of alienating people before they get a chance to know me. I can't change the fact that people are brainwashed--at least not overnight. I have to pick my battles. I have to, in fact, lose the battle, to win the war. I will not spend my life alone, lonely, growing old with no support system to help me when something goes wrong, because my atheism is a large part of who i am, but i am many other things, and that nonbelief does not keep me warm at night, nor does it offer help when I have a ruptured disc in my neck and can't function, and it sure as hell never gave me an orgasm.

You, of course, don't know me, and if you did, "meek" would be the last thing you would call me. Making wise, considered choices does not necessarily equal meekness. I understand who I am and why. I embrace my nonbelief, and I am not ashamed of it for an instant. I am proud of it. But i still have to function in this world, and I have other ways of doing my part to educate everyone (for instance, I'm a writer); I will not accomplish that goal by being miserable in every other area of my life and crying myself to sleep because i feel I'm disappearing.

Hope that sheds some light on my stance for you.
Jae
Jae--I hear you woman! I have theist folks who love me-and I cant afford to alienate them by disagreeing everytime they offer up comfort with a maxim I disagree with. Seriously, I am trying to survive, and need all the help I can get.

There is a time and a space for disclosure and sharing. We know when that is.--that;s when the other person is receptive.
Thanks for sharing that, Deb. I see you get where I'm coming from. I guess I'm lucky in that my closest friends (who are all elsewhere, and whom I don't get to see in person much--both now, and in about a 7 year period before now...which is why i relocated. I wanted to have more people in my life, in person) --all of them have been very supportive of me. That's why they are my closest friends. Two of them are "Christians"--one church-goer, one not. One is more a Native American spirituality, love-the-Earth-type person, the other just doesn't like most Christians, and sort of has my attitude about most things, though doesn't really call herself atheist. I suspect she probably is. I think many people nowadays are opting for that "I believe in a Higher Power" or "I'm spiritual, not religious" shtick. I did it too. But it was a segue into complete rejection of God. They might very well do that eventually, too, but i realize most people don't have as much time to think as i do. LOL. The rest of my "peeps" are on the periphery even more, but I still care for them, and they don't seem to be concerned about my godlessness either. I think that's because they all KNOW me. They love me for me, and we already have an established relationship and a history, before this nonbelief thing became current and present in my life. But i can't say that for the new people in my life. I don't know how they will react. I only know that there are certain subjects that will shut people down before things even start, and atheism is one of those things. I've just been lucky enough not to get a direct hit, yet. But that's because I haven't had to wear that godless coat around in public yet. As for family--they disowned me many years ago for being gay. So if that hadn't happened, then, it would certainly have, now. :^).

So between all this transition into identifying as atheist, owning it--and also being smack dab in the middle of a mid-life crisis, and recent health issues and a complete uprooting of my life, ALONE--well, I'm a little ragged. Okay, a lot. But I'm trying to keep myself in a positive space. One thing i do know is that human nature dictates that we all have a support system--that we have friends, at the very least. Real time friends, not just the ones online or on the phone. Humans are social animals and we are not meant to be alone. I'm just trying to feel human again.
Thanks for reading.
Jae
Thanks Brian. You're one of those Kindreds I cherish so much.
Jae...I am right there with you...we are about to be uprooted too I think...I'd love to be online friends, and to provide support and encouragement. I'm on FB...let me know if you'd like to...!
I use facebook to keep in contact with family and friends I haven't seen since high school (30 yrs). Like Thinksforherself (Deb) said, I keep it superficial. Also, I specifically don't come out and confront some friends about religion/politics. Sometimes I will, but only with those who want to debate a bit. I have make religion listed as atheist but there has really been no 'backlash.' Most of the people in my life are tolerant, I guess. I think it is more of them being "uninterested in my beliefs-interested in their own beliefs" than anything. I'm 46, married w/kids, so maybe it's the age group.
I'm interested in which you feel generates more ostracization in the US for you - being an atheist, or a lesbian?
It's a high risk strategy, but in your (I hope not too desperate) tour of the "social networking" sites, you could try a more pro-active, aggressive, and inventive strategy, aimed purposely at immediately weeding out any brain-washed, bigoted, prejudicial, ignorant, and moronic potential friends.
Instead of simply telling them that you're an ordinary atheist, which is the actual default belief in most of the developed world (though sadly not the USA, apparently - though I believe the statistics on the religiosity of ordinary americans to be wildly at variance with the actual situation), give 'em a kick in the pants, gal - tell 'em you're a devout Jedi, or a Welsh Druid, or better still, buy a Harley and some cool bike leathers and a whip, and let them know you're a Dyke on a Bike S&M practitioner who is a devout adherent and worshipper of Thor, the Norse Viking God of Thunder, and whose hobbies are group-sex, and biting the heads off live chickens.
Then watch the "contacts" come flooding in.
You can let them know that you're just an everyday gay atheist later, and that you were just kidding about the Thor/chicken's heads stuff - which will then make you appear simply rational and perfectly normal - which is clearly what you are.
Trust me.
In a wider world outside of certain parts and constituencies in America, it's the cretinous militant religionites, creationists, racists and gay-haters who are the freaks - not you my dear :-)
Dai James--LOL. thanks for that. I so appreciated your colorful dissertation....LOL.

To answer your first question, i definitely feel that being godless is far more ostracizing than being gay ever was.

Now back to your advice: I see the merit in the strategy--if you tell them something horrid and bizarre, then the truth will be ever so much easier to swallow. The trick there is that it's normally so hard to weed out all those TYPES until you converse and get to know them a little. I had hoped my various profiles and offerings on my social pages would draw those who appreciate those things, I hoped it find those commonalities. And that's true sometimes. But I've also found that when they see all these things i do, they act like they're not up to it---like it's too much for them to handle, and then i feel punished for trying to accomplish the things I have in my life. It seems a double edged sword...a paradox. Like my best friend says about those types: "I gave you everything you said you wanted, and you ran away." I think it's because often people don't really know what they want. (Chicken head-biting notwithstanding). :^)

On a practical note, i have been proactive since arriving....(let me preface this by saying that i don't think gay dating is much different from straight dating--we're all still humans). I've had two dates since i got here in August--the first, one who gave every indication she was all about me and all about showing me around and hanging out, and possibly being romantic...then who played huggy-bear-kissy-face with me several times, and then once hugged me 9 times before leaving, saying "You're so hard to walk away from," and then in between, she just fell off the grid, didn't have time for me, and then she bolted, saying she was not emotionally ready for anything. I just wanted a damn date and an activity partner. I wasn't asking her to freakin' MARRY me... What was so scary?

Second date was a lovely young woman with whom i had much better rapport, and we had a great dinner, and laughed an dgiggled through an entire movie and then sat in my Blazer and talked for another 3 hours--real conversation, meaningful. It was a great time and she seemed completely genuine, but she doesn't seem to be pursuing anything more than that one date...("You don't bring me flooooweeeers any moooore!") --not sure what's up with that. Emotional baggage, too i guess. She spoke of not being over some heartbreak. (sigh).

I also was proactive in starting a meetup group for "Atypical Lesbians" and there has been brief discussion and rumination about starting another chick-band with one of those members. Yet i feel so lost, still.

Maybe my problem is impatience. What with the midlife crisis thing--i feel I'm running out of time, and came off 7 years of mostly isolation...wherein i painted myself into a proverbial corner and got trapped and only recently was able to get out with a very desperate move 900 miles away, with me pulling an overloaded U-Haul trailer. (That trip was a solid nightmare). I was seeking a new life, and new opportunities-- Interaction. PEOPLE. So I am a little short on patience. But maybe it will all feel better once i have an established social network here in town, and have some things going. Until then, this really sucks.

But i appreciate all of you chiming in and offering ideas and commiseration--it means a great deal to me. Thank you!
Jae

Networking and Dating for us Heathens


I have not signed up for this yet but when I found it I said "O Thank God " out loud :-)) http://www.freethinkermatch.com/ I think my tipping point of all the things in my life that made me Atheist the last straw was I was in a church that sort of was pushing me and 'the preachers' daughter together. She was young attractive but something was not right ( to make a long story short ) it hit me ... If something happened ( I get killed ) to me would she is the woman I would want to have taking care of my children? Or (my children ) in this church? I left the church soon after that...

Atheist are the one of if not the most discriminated against group. http://www.atheistnexus.org/photo/unpleasant-poll?context=user and http://www.atheistnexus.org/photo/n16907829-33086468-756?context=user...
Funny.
Yes, I am also a member of the freethinkermatch site, but all my searches come back ZERO. This happens to me a lot, even on other sites. Often, they match me with MYSELF. That's always fun, when they say I winked at myself, and that i should join immediately so I can take myself out on a date. Probably the only way I'll get laid.
Isn't that masturbation?

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