I want to thank everyone for their support. I feel very welcome. I am receiving a lot of support from new found friends as well. Although I have not the courage to overtly state my opinion to everyone in my family, I also think it is not necessary that they all need to know right away. I have been very open about it in public and most of those people are either indifferent, agnostic or atheist themselves. I am a little shocked by this realization. I was under the impression that so many people I associate with are christian or religious. I tend to find and befriend the most tolerant people anyway. So, perhaps, no big shock there.
I was taught in church that tolerance would rip this nation apart. That an atheist hated god and was evil. I was taught that those not "saved" could do no right, because of their inherent evil. These of course being the same people that use products everyday built or improved upon by people of all faiths, creeds or indifference to religious practice. I always felt bad for the "outcast". In a small town there was no homosexuality. But I know my faith preached that they were evil and as such were not tolerated. I always felt disgusted by this idea.
That said I was a die hard christian. And some of these ideas seep in after a while. So in self evaluation, many years ago, I determined that I would hate the sin and not the sinner. Of course I realize how stupid that is, now. I didn't realize that I was in fact demeaning their life, not their lifestyle. It was simply the best I could do with the constructs given to me to believe.
I hate how ignorant I became, and how I was systematically told not to think, but believe. Beliefe with no thought is bliss, or some crap like that. Ignorance is also bliss. Ignorance on purpose is poison. It offers false hope and imaginary friends. I was once told, that Jesus is coming back to save the world. I was also told that when and where he comes back didn't matter because everyone would be able to see it if they looked up at the sky. As a child, I gazed the sky night and day looking for him. Because if you see him descending and you were not saved, you would instantly go to heaven. Southern Baptists are weird. But I believed.
So I have a lot of this crap still hardwired into my system. A friend of mine is curious as to why I've borrowed and purchased so many books on atheism. It's simple. I entent to deprogram myself from this faith based disease. I honestly feel that I have had such staunch training that residual christianise must remain and should be flushed out.
Now, I'm a super nice guy, I certainly am not trying to change that. Nor am I planning on fighting against this spiritual disease in others. Live and let live. If it becomes an actual problem and I think I can help, certainly I will try.
Another thing that bothers me is the bumper sticker (COEXIST). I get it I really really do. I like the idea, the concept. Its finding mutual respect within the world looking past religious doctrine. I may go purchase one myself, I don't know. But religions are built and fueled on fear and intolerance. Which means if you do not believe exactly like they do then your going to hell, or some variation. What incentive do these religions have to coexist?
My x-church says that Atheist are hate fueled. Sure, people are people and douch-bags likewise. But Atheist or (Anti-Theist), simply don't want to or refuse to believe in gods. Not all atheist are like that. Christians on the other hand have douch-bags and are hate fueled. Again, people are people and all that. They lost the argument, not based on lack of evidence, but because they can not say they are any better. Sheesh.
You know I should probably write that paper now for my MBA.