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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Lucky, only if you ARE A STRAIGHT FEMALE.
Do you really think that the gay community has gone about promoting their civil rights the wrong way? I've always considered gay rights an excellent model for atheists. Of course, I also know exactly what you mean about the dangers of flaunting one's atheism. Living in Mississippi tends to give one an appreciation of the risks.
That Jae Baeli encounters less discrimination for homosexuality than atheism is, I think, a promising indication for the eventual increased acceptance of atheism. I don't recall if the ARIS report on us 'nones' measured religiosity by sexual preference, but it seems as if the gay community would have a larger percentage of 'nones,' since it is primaliry organized religion fighting against their rights.

LV
I'd be interested in the real stats on that--on how many atheists are gay. One would think there would be a higher number of gays who are atheist. But just from my anecdotal evidence, it doesn't appear to be so...many of them stay in a belief system and just ignore the patently prejudicial condemnation of gays. Or else they believe or practice NOTHING of religion, but don't OWN the moniker of atheism. I recently had a woman on a date tell me I shouldn't say I'm an atheist, becuase that will turn people off becuase they don't understand it. She has a good point. And yet, I'm NOT ashamed of it. Maybe it's a question of losing the battle to win the war. Don't say "atheist"--just say, "I'm not religious"--then get to know people, and let them get to know you, and when they discover you ARE an atheist, it might not matter to them, because they know and love you by that time.
Living in Arkansas tends to do that too. That's why I moved to Denver.

But yes, i do believe there are many things wrong with the model. Not that there aren't good things about it. But look at how long gays have been trying to get the gay marriage thing passed. They're going about it the wrong way. They should be pushing for domestic partnership legislation that gives gay people (or anyone applying for domestic partnership) the same rights and benefits as marriage. Then the Bible-thumpers can stop squealing about how marriage is a sacred institution between a man and a woman and we are trying to corrupt it. Let them have it, I say. We can get our own. Problem solved. But somehow they keep gunning for the "marriage" moniker.
I used to have Pastafarian as my religion on facebook, now I have Atheist.

I want my friends and family to know; I'm proud and I'm tired of us hiding because it makes our numbers look smaller than they are. I don't particularly want my coworkers to know I'm Atheist, so I have a no-current-coworkers fb friend policy.

I know Atheist hurt me on match.com and eharmony, but I don't want someone who doesn't want an Atheist, so I left it on. One guy I met said he found me by looking for Atheists - he was 'spiritual but not religious'. Chicken!
See my reply to Lee Vegas, above.
I have the same issue. I think it's wise to have a no co-workers FB policy. I don't have c-workers, so it's a moot point. But notice, per my above reply--perhaps you might have to keep it to yourself until someone has a chance to know you--the problem I have come across is NOT that people are unfairly prejudicial--it's that they are not EDUCATED about it. For instance, in that date i mentined from last week, the chick says "I thought all atheists were devil-worshipers."

"How can we be devil worshipers," I said. "If we don't believe in mythical and/or invisible beings?"

She had no idea. Now she does. And though the date was a train wreck because she was apparently an alcoholic, she at least said over and over how much she liked me. Progress, however paltry.

When they know me, and i explain and they learn that all their beliefs about atheists were erroneous, they then seem happy to continue the relationship. Perhaps you could experiment with that, Susan. I'd love to know your results!
I was having a conversation with a gay friend of mine, and we were comparing notes.

She's out to her entire family. I am not.

She's out to all of her friends and acquaintances. I am not.

She's out to all of her coworkers. I am not.

We both live in the Bible Belt. When I made a comment that maybe I should be out to more people, she put her hand on mine and said, "Honestly? I wouldn't do that if I were you."

That made me very, very sad.

That said, I'm out to all of the people I care about. But when I think of the things my coworkers have said about non-believers, I think my friend is right. I work with at least two gay people, but no one's been outed as an atheist yet. I'm sure I would have heard about that.

Who knows? Maybe I'll sack up someday and be the first.
This is such a precarious balance, Amanda. There are considerations for some people that are worthy of our discretion. Like keeping your job. And yet, we would all like to see more acceptance of non-belief. It's such a personal decision. I say the middle is probably best. Be "out" to those you care about, as you say, and the rest are a "need to know" basis. If you form some type of friendship or romantic connection, there will then come a time when you'll have to be honest about it. Hopefully, they will already care for you enough to dismiss any negative ideas about your non-belief.
It may sound pedantic, but "godless heathen" is actually an oxymoron. "Heathen" are pagans, typically of the Nordic flavour, and very definitely not "godless".
you are absolutely right!
see how easy it is for us to parrot the terminology we hear in our lives?

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