Floating in a crazy world
I live near, and my business is in, Ashland, Oregon, home of retired hippies, new age craziness, and a church on every corner. I've been a rational thinker for most of my adult life. About 12 years ago I decided to really explore the concept of a god, any god, in case I was missing something. I explored several eastern religions and finally settled on Wicca, which served me fine for a few years. At least I could say, to my dear and believing friends, that I believed in something.
Thankfully, the ruse only lasted a couple of years. I just couldn't keep doing something that I found I really didn't believe in. Oh, the rituals were awfully fun, and can certainly aid in putting oneself in a trance. It's in that trance state that we can convince ourselves of believing all kinds of silly things. Well, I once again woke up, saw the real world in all its natural splendor, and have since been living in it with both feet firmly planted on Mother Earth.
My "coming out" as atheist did have an impact on some of my friendships; mostly we agree to disagree. I do have one friend, though, who constantly likes to point out coincidences as evidence her god is real. Of course, she believes in lots of supernatural ideas and things, so I just smile and nod, smile and nod. You see, she gets pissed off if I hold my position, yet feels free to express hers constantly. Fortunately I like enough about the rest of her to just ignore, smile, and nod.
I don't do that with the rest of the world, though. I have to be a little careful in the business community in order to protect my business, but in my personal life nearly everyone knows I'm a hardcore atheist and can hold my ground and debate every single point.
UPDATE 7/4/09 I've been involved with a wonderful, amazing man for the last several months. He's been working with the spiritual community in Ashland for years, but has told me he's really been re-thinking his position. We have intelligent, informed discussions regularly about my path and where he is now. We connect on so many levels that I really hope this one doesn't get in the way.