Ok, so I've been a solid, hardcore Atheist for almost 10 years now. Unfortunately, I live in a 3-mile-wide conservative town in the middle of the California desert, right along the Nevada border. Dating for me already seems to be difficult for me with the fact that I'm a huge nerd and very liberal. Add Atheism on top of that and the town will rally with pitchforks and torches!

I'm not a closet Atheist, but I don't run around town starting debates. People who know me can figure out I'm not Christian, that's for sure. 

Actually, my main issue is not dating a Christian, but dating non-Christians. You see, anyone I've met in this town that isn't at least a little bit religious is going through that social rebellious stage. In my mid-20s, this is disturbing. It seems that not believing in a God to these people makes it ok for drug and alcohol abuse, unnecessary violence, racism... everything I'm still against even though I'm not some goody-two-shoes Christian.

Anyone else here know what I'm talking about?

Here I am, stuck on the fence. Christians don't want me because I don't believe in God and have tattoos, everyone else wants nothing to do with me because I still have morals.

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Replies to This Discussion

Hi Colin,
I know how you must feel. I am much older than you, but in a similar situation out here in a small conservative close-knit town. My advice is this. Just be candid and stratightforward about your beliefs from square one with everyone you meet. I find that I have made a few good friends, some of whom are quite religious, and we simply don't feel the need to argue differences. If people find you interesting and good company, it won't matter to them you're an atheist. The same goes for dating. Be up-front about it, but say you really don't care about what others believe. I am on an internet dating site with a very prominent discalaimer about my denial of religious beliefs, and I have young Christian women hitting on me all the time saying they don't mind. And I am now dating a very charming and interesting woman who is Catholic (and 18 yr younger than me!) and the differences don't seem to matter to us. So don't give up on the Christian women! Just be a charming person - you never know - 'conversion' can also work in reverse :) Best of luck! J.P.
Christian girls in this area won't even talk to me. It's like they think tattoos+piercings=Satanist.

It really is black & white in this town. I am the gray area. I am an exception to the rule here.

Besides, I can't take someone who truly believes in some invisible guy that looks like Jerry Garcia floating around in space seriously. (Ok, I can't take anyone with a Baphomet tattoo on their tail bone and wearing upside-down crosses seriously, either).
Well you are a young guy, and you obviously like body art and as a form of self-expression. I don't want to judge that. But that is making a strong first impression on people - I know - that's the point - but many people are never going to look beyond that. You are sending out strong signals that are bound to be interpreted in different ways by different people - and the wrong way by more conservative types. As you get older (and maybe concerned about employer impressions, etc.) you may find that you become more willing to internalize some of that self-expression for the sake of employment goals, or simply trying to project a more 'neutral' persona - probably exactly the opposite goal of the tatoos, I know. But I think you are already starting to realize that is probably why most of the Christian girls don't give you a second look. And young atheist women are hard to find, except maybe around here...
My theory is: the #1 thing that separates people from animals is art. I am an artist. And one's own body is the ultimate canvas.

I do understand that in spite of the famous saying, people still, even subconsciously, judge this book by his cover. But really, are there THAT many people in the world who are THAT judgmental and refuse to get to know someone beyond the ink on their skin?

But, you know, if a nice Christian girl is the type to judge one by body art, that's not the kind of person I want to associate with. My visible tattoos do help me weed out the incredibly closed-minded, you know?
"are there THAT many people in the world who are THAT judgmental and refuse to get to know someone beyond the ink on their skin?"

Unfortunately, as you are finding out, far too many.

"My visible tattoos do help me weed out the incredibly closed-minded, you know?"

True enough. But there's a flip side - you are also weeding out a lot of people who would quickly realize that they did like you if they got over their superficial reaction to your piercings etc. Its just a hard thing for many people to accept because of a lot of mental associations that, as you yourself pointed out, are not representative of who you are. So that's the cost of broadcasting strong signals. A lot of people will interpret them incorrectly because of false assumptions in their own minds. For example, I used to have the bumper sticker "Freedom of religion means freedom from religion" because it was a strong signal I wanted to send. But I finally painted it over because I realized I was offending a lot of people that I didn't really want to offend. People took it as an attack on their religion, when I meant it as a statement about my constitutional rights.
I just don't understand why MY tattoos seem to turn people off. Tattoos are mainstream now. Everyone has them. Even a lot of "good" Christian girls here have "tramp stamps".

This just... hurts my brain!
Gotta let you know, I think tattoos and piercings are hot, and look good on a lot of people! But I know what you mean about the people thinking "satan" when they see them! I only have one tattoo (for now) and when people see it, they call me a "devil worshiper"
I always hated how people say "devil worshiper". They don't go by "God worshipers". I think maybe it's their way of discrediting the religion.

Maybe I should get some photos of my ink posted if ya like tattoos. My most recent is one I'm particularly proud of... it's Maori Ta Moko done by a guy named Whteu in a town called Opotiki. If that ain't traditional, I don't know what is!
Yea that would be great! I would love to see them. Im working on designs for more tattoos that I will someday get!! :)
Let me start with, you're American first, anything else you wanna be second.
Save up get equipped and learn how to play music, it helps.
I've had to stand alone on so many subjects/issues/beliefs it's not funny...
it's a Cold World... but this flame of freethought is burning deep; and in others more everyday.

Jam man, jam.
Music? I play trumpet, French horn, tin whistle and bodhran! And it seems to be driving the ladies away more than anything.

I just hope some day my flame of freethought catches innocent bystanders on fire.
I'm glad you didn't get hit and that this person didn't follow you onto the bus. Maybe blind dates not such a good idea, eh?

I never did understand kissing the icon. I know the Bible strictly forbids the use of idols in worship.

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