I've been wandering around the forum and taking part in some discussions and a thought has occurred to me. Of all the nationalities represented on this site, the States appears to be the one with the biggest contingent of dissatisfied members. For all of the disquiet I come across, it would appear there is little difference between the integration of church and state there and with other more 'fundamentalist' states like Iran for example.

Now before anybody jumps down my throat I am not comparing the 2 on a like-for-like basis, but some of the things the Americans say about the way religion affects their lives puts me in mind of states like Iran et al. I am stunned at how deeply entrenched in every day life religion is in the US. I haven't really had a grasp of how significant atheism is for Americans until seeing some of the posts.

I was raised as a catholic by a woman who made the pope look like a heathen. My dad and 5 siblings just went along with her faith. When I eventually arrived at my own atheism it wasn't the end of the world, nor has there been much dissent amongst my family. I therefore find it remarkable to read 'coming out' stories from somewhere as supposedly advanced as the US.

Am I reading things correctly, is religion so completely immersed in the American way of life that it's abandonment is such a big deal? Or are the atheists here just more (apparently) militant than in other developed countries?

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It is that immersed. Of course I can't identify with the "coming out" stories since I was always an atheist. This is a country where an atheist can't run for president because most people don't find them trustworthy.
Interesting and important question, Anne.

Am I reading things correctly, is religion so completely immersed in the American way of life that it's abandonment is such a big deal?

Yes.

Or are the atheists here just more (apparently) militant than in other developed countries?

It's not surprising that "loud" religiosity be met with "loud" atheism.
I would have to agree that it is immersed within this country. I've only been an Atheist for a few years and not unlike yourself I was raised by extreme belief. I think that was partly the reason I turned away at first. However, it was a big deal to them when I first "came out" about being an Atheist. Not only that but my fiance's dad is still insisting we talk with a priest before we get married! It is insane extremists that are running/ruining this country. So I would have to say, based upon my own experience, you aren't too far off by comparing this country to those.
I guess I'll be number three to say , yes, it is a big deal here in the states. When I was growing up in the late seventies, early eighties I was under the impression that the US was becoming more and more secular. And I believe we were. But the right wing in this country managed to polarize politics thru the nineties, and of course you get to 911 it scared the shit out if so many people. Before that the shootings at Columbine,Jant Jacksons "nipple slip" (which I believe caused Europe to laugh at us you tell me) every event that's occurred for the last fifteen years has been immediately turned into a divisive political argument.
In the suburbs of our country the middle class and upper middle class seemed to "leap" to an over protective attitude toward their children. Their longing for community drove, herded them into the phenomenon known as the "megachurch" . Many are fundie Church's many are not, but of course they enable the fundies.
All of this driven and fueled by right wing talk radio, and of course Fox News, the propaganda arm of the right wing christian movement . The pendulum is swinging back the other way now, it will take awhile but there is backlash in the air!
I personally laughed at the Jackson nipple debacle. I can't understand how the home of Baywatch and the Playboy mansion can be so coy. The double standards are staggering.
It's really that severe. If American Atheists come across as more militant, it's because we have to be or to have been in order to be or to have become atheists in this highly religiofied environment. I think of it like a hot soup (This place gets called "melting pot" anyway, eh.)--the relgionites are jumping around with high speed, so, whatever we are, our speed will inevitably be high as well, since thermal diffusion of this sort works like that.
Are you kidding me??? Christians hang people here, they beat them, they laugh at them, ridicule them, take them to court, kick them out of school, run them out of town, spray paint there houses, burn crosses in their front yards, run ad campaigns against them, and do all manner of evil against them falsely. If you say you are an atheist at any public gathering save a few rare fields (such as biology), you are treated like you are diseased. Our country prays before congress, it says in God we Trust on our coinage, it says one nation under God in our pledge. We have funded the restoration of the Israeli state for nothing more than because the bible told us so. We regularly subjugate other people. We send "aid" to third world nations in the form of Christian missionaries which essentially tells them, "you're wrong, be like us and live." We circumcise our males. Let me repeat that. We circumcise our males, a practice reserved for the most barbaric, primitive and superstitious societies. Politicians here always talk about their religion. Churches are tax exempt and some real charities are not, and there is literally a church every mile or so in this (&)(&*^)*&^ country. I cannot stand it. The bible thumpers are ridiculous here. At least in Europe they acknowledge science. Here they practice faith healing, casting out of demons, (yes demons, can you @#%@#$ believe it?) they refuse to give their children life saving procedures in the name of their god. They strip others of rights because their bibles tell them so. Personally, and I am a pacifist. I find the whole unholy Triumverate of Christian, Muslim and Jew to be so thoroughly destructive to our world and our way of life that I would not lift a finger to prevent their destruction, and that is saying alot for me. Honestly. If I knew their doomsday were true and all of those idiots would die in a fiery cataclysm and all I had to do was touch my nose to stop it from happening, I would cut both of my arms off to make sure that I never did so.

Sorry. I was raised Christian. I spent 9 hellish years in private Christian school and almost 16 in church, and I find their philosophy to be the most perverse that has ever existed.

They will ruin this planet, and you know why? Because God made it for them and he's only going to blow it up anyway. I hate them. They have no respect for how absolutely important the life on this planet is.
I have never been out of Iran and i know US only from books medias and some American friends so i am not a good judge here. but i think however you can find some similarities between Iran and US in this subject but these are not enough to compare them.
Why they seems the most unsatisfied nation here ? my reasons are :
1 Yes atheists in there in comparison with other western countries really suffer . but this suffering is not comparable to what happen to someone like me in a country like Iran.
2 Most members here are Americans so they have stronger voice than others for example here can find many of their shared experiences about this subject.(i am the Iranian atheist (active member(however not very much)))
However i think Christianity is dangerous like Islam and Judaism but i think it(most branches of it not all) are more tolerant or at least Christians don't care so much about their religion so they have became more tolerant .
Well, that's proof enough that NYC isn't really part of the US! ;-) Maybe it's actually a part of the UN, as well as its capital? I remember reading somewhere that close to 40% of the population of NYC is foreign-born.
You had my attention at "Possibly Controversial"

I've noted this too. How crazy Americans are over their religion. I've lost friends and family over my decision. It's insane. Why are we letting an ancient religion developed by some nomadic tribe dictate how we live our lives, how we see our world. And, why is it such a big deal to look at the lack of evidence and reasoning and say, "No, not for me."

You would think we would be more enlightened than this by now...

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