Out and proud! Brand spanking new AN member, here. I just moved from New Mexico to rural Missouri, and it's been both more and less of culture shock than I expected, in different ways. New Mexico is definitely more religious than Missouri (statistically, speaking) and heavily Catholic, while Missouri is primarily Protestant of some sort or another, from what I can tell.

But in NM, I used to wear my "Christianity Is Stupid" T-shirt openly, whenever I felt like it (y'know, from the NegativeLand song of the same name). Even wore it to class a couple times, without incident (it was clean :). I'd get the occasional dirty look or comment, but usually just surprise that I had the huevos in such a heavily Catholic community. Most folks that commented on it thought it was funny.

Here in Missouri, I wouldn't even wear it around the farm. The sense of self-righteous piety is palpable. There might be fewer true believers, here, but too many of the ones we have are willful and confrontational. God talk is everywhere - on half the t-shirts people wear, 1/4 of the billboards along the road, throw a rock and bust out a church window. In general, they are more zealous and easily offended than NM.

So I might not wear my favorite t-shirt, now, but I'm sure as hell not going back in the closet. It's stuffy in there. My GF's Grandpa died and her aging, almost blind Grandma was facing the end of her years in a home, so we pulled up stakes to come take care of her - she's also an out of the closet atheist. Not any of the true believers in her family - we the heathens did, and I think it's been something of an eye-opener for the moralizers in the community who thought all us atheists were amoral bastiches.

Should be interesting! I joined AN to try to find other atheists/agnostics/humanists/skeptics in MO - never felt like I needed support group in NM. Here? Oh yeah. We're definitely going to need to find some like minds who use their minds. Looking forward to blogging about my experience in the coming months/years!

Lovin' Atheist Nexus!!

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Tags: Missouri

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Comment by James Yount on June 12, 2012 at 1:11pm

I was born in St. Louis, though I've spent most of my life on the west coast. It's in California and Arizona that I became religious. I spent a long time pursuing protestant Christianity and finally Messianic Judaism before finally having enough and joining the ranks of the secular. My skeptic's nature always forced me to try to make everything fit along logical lines, something that I could never achieve with the Bible (though I tried very hard for a long time). In the end, I like to believe my "Show Me" spirit won out. I no longer give any credence to anything that I can't see with my own eyes or by insurmountable proof. I often wonder the path I would have taken, If I had been raised in Missouri though.

Comment by jay H on June 10, 2012 at 6:58am
Some years ago I was traveling through Alabama. A young man at a convenience store noticed that my wife (Jewish atheist) had a neck chain with her name in Hebrew, and quietly whispered that he was Jewish too. He felt the need to whisper! wow.
I guess Alabamians get a culture shock visiting NYC.
Comment by annet on June 9, 2012 at 10:39pm

Bravo Joseph. You and granny are a good influence on that state.    You may  have to go in to St. Louis to find some other freethinkers besides grammy. Good luck.

Comment by Sentient Biped on June 9, 2012 at 8:52pm

You are an honorable person, to be sure.  I've spent plenty of time in Missouri, mainly east or northeast. My family's farm was near Hannibal.  I still wonder why everyone in the "Show Me" state believes so strongly in a god that has been shown to no one, no one can see 'him', and no one sane can hear 'him'.  I would not wear your atheist T-shirt anywhere in Missouri - keep it in a drawer or something.  Maybe you can find a Unitarian church where at least people think somewhat for themselves and sometimes tolerate atheists.  That's what I did when I lived in Indiana.  It was the only place I knew there, where atheists weren't regarded as the spawn of satan.

Comment by Joseph Edwards VIII on June 9, 2012 at 7:40pm

Fixed it!! My bad - had some extraneous html in there. All better.

Comment by Joseph Edwards VIII on June 4, 2012 at 9:08pm

Yeah! What's up w/that?! Since I'm such a noob, here, I'm not sure what gives. Trying to figure out why my blog post doesn't expand... :(

I won't give up. Lemme send the admins a message and maybe they have an answer.

Comment by jay H on June 3, 2012 at 8:37am

Something's wrong here. When I try to view the blog article, the text appears for a moment, then disappears. Hitting 'view blog' repeats the process.

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