I live in St Augustine Florida. Our nation's oldest city. One of the most religious towns that I've ever lived in as well. Sometimes when it becomes known that I'm an atheist, the response is, "How do you wake up in the morning? Don't you know that God breaths life into you every morning." How the hell do you reply to that. You'd need to give that person an entire education. I think thats the problem here in the south. The public schools suck and everybody goes to Sunday school.
Hey Jared, where in Arkansas do you live? I moved here from MN in September myself. I live in Little Rock (which I assume you don't, since LR isn't dry). Its actually been pretty easy for me, I live near UAMS, so there is a bit more logic being used, but its still tough when the "specialty Bible" section of the Barnes and Noble is bigger than the science section.....
NEA is the worst for finding groups, even with ASU there is no place to get together. I called ASU to ask if they know of any social group of freethinkers or even speakers/lectures. zip/not a thing. It is sad around here.
I live in a town with a population of about 20,000 and we have over 80 christian churches and just the other day, a mormon one. jesus is EVERYWHERE. Pretty much everyone knows I'm an atheist. I'm not shy about it. However, I don't just shove it in people's faces. If the topic comes up and I'm asked about my religion or what church I go to I just say I'm an atheist.
My husband accidentally outed me to my boss several years ago, he's very religious, and... nothing changed. It helps that I live in a town very close to a large city and with a large military installation. I did try reaching out to fellow atheists a little while ago to start a group. It just didn't pan out. I believe that if religious people become friends with atheists before they know they're atheists, then a lot of the stereotypes and crazy beliefs about atheists will go away. Of course, I'd still love to hang out with like minded people every once in a while.
Hi Geta-- I agree with you that "if religious people become friends with atheists before they know they're atheists, then a lot of the stereotypes and crazy beliefs about atheists will go away;" However, it's sad that many of them won't accept you if they know that you are an atheist too soon. I took a graduate class in multicultural counseling recently. We had many open and honest discussions. Unfortunately, I found out that there are many counselors and aspiring counselors (the class composed of both practicing counselors and students intending to be counselors) with strongly held prejudices because of their religious beliefs. Many of the beliefs were anti-gay but quite a few were anti-atheist. I had become close with another woman in the course. However, when I divulged that I was an atheist (I wasn't keeping it a secret, it just hadn't come up before) she was shocked. She said that she would have never been friends with me if she had known right away. Ever since her discovery there still seemed to be a wedge between us. I know part of it was that I was annoyed at her bigotry. But, I still think she could not really get past the fact that I don't believe in her god. I feel sorry for clients she (and many of the other students in the course) works with (gay, atheist, etc.). Even though I am sure that she would try to treat them fairly, I imagine that she could not completely hide her feelings. It is really sad.
Do you live anywhere near a university? I am originally from the North. However, I have lived in two places in NC. One of those was near a university. That wasn't as bad. If you live near a university, it may be helpful to attend some university events, esp. ones lead by science department members. You may be able to meet other like minded people (I went to a biology department program on evolution and that helped). Or even to attend functions that bring like minded individuals. I also attended a creationist event and met several biology department members who came out to explain why the arguments presented were false.
Sometimes there is no escape. After living in NC for 17 years I finally got run out of town when the idle remarks turned into nasty insults, then the local churches tried to break up my family, then my property started being damaged. I finally left when the death threats started. I am in Alabama now and I thought it could not possibly get any worse, but holy shit was I wrong. There isn't enough space here to even begin to try and explain the asshattery here in rural Alabama.. All I can say is "wow...just...wow". Thus far I keep my mouth shut, my guard up, my guns loaded and my desire to move the hell out of this godsmacked jesusland as soon as humanly possible.
Wow, I am really glad I have not seen anything quite that bad here in the two parts of NC I have lived! What part of NC did you live? Did you report the death threats to the police. If so, what was the reaction? I am really wondering what happened in Alabama. I am sorry you have to go through this!
I live just outside of Tulsa,OK in Sapulpa. I'm totally alone it seems. I am trying to start a local group for my family to get to mingle with like minded people and not have to deal with the constant thumping, but I haven't been having much luck yet. I do have a few friends that are Atheists but they live out of my area and don't feel much like I do about getting a local social group together. Meanwhile, the faith-based churches have enjoyed a near-monopoly in providing their members with a sense of community and a ready source of personal, emotional, and social enrichment and support. I have 2 daughters that are homeschooled and are in need of some sane socialization. I'm in need of it too! I just seem to be banging my head on a brick wall though when it come to trying to create a local group. I really don't want to go to Tulsa and mingle amongst the huge crowd they have at ACT. They seem really nice, I've chatted with a lot of them online, but I want something much smaller in numbers, not in the hundreds. And not so far away.