i asked brother richard why the hell did the surey need to know anyones sexual oriantation , this is what his reply was ,

Brother Richard has sent you a message on Atheist Nexus.

Hey, thanks for the question. One of the primary purposes for the survey is comparing "coming out" atheist with "coming out" gay. This is the only reason for such questions.

SO i ask again why and what the hell does that have to do with atheism,?

am i the only one that finds this strange.

mike

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Comment by michelliberty on December 21, 2008 at 11:14am
it should have been this bullshit as apposed to these bullshit ,lol.
Comment by michelliberty on December 20, 2008 at 3:32pm
well coming from the middle east its not surprise, in some areas they still treat a woman like live stock , and a woman is still dirty and must not be touched by a man in some parts of that country , so its noting for them to say man shall not with man , but it seams to be ok for woman to do it , probably for there entertainment do doubt.don't forget these guys are still in the stone age today imagine how they felt back then , it still blows me away the fact that all these bullshit come from the middle of the desert , how did it survive , very needy people i guess and some really good con men ,lol.
Comment by michelliberty on December 20, 2008 at 12:45pm
you see i live in Canada (Quebec to be exact) where we have freedom from religion ,in Quebec we as a people decided to make sure religion was not going to bother our way of living, and the churches have been trying to get us back for it for a long time now, even the most religious of us don't attend churches, so i'm having a difficult time to understand the use of the word coming out for atheists , as an atheist i have never had any difficulty to tell any one what my views are,but wen some one asks a persons sexuality in some kinda of survey its strange , you see here in Canada( the Ontario side )the religious right is trying to label atheist as devils they are calling us every thing in the book and they love to say we are all gays by using because they still putting down gay people with scripture ,(Leviticus 18:22, Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.)
don't get me wrong I especially have nothing against gays , but you can see why i would be suspicious of a quiz that would use such a question .


mike
Comment by Richard Haynes on December 20, 2008 at 12:13pm
First, I really don't care what someone's sexual orientation may be. As I already said to you, the survey is comparing the similarities between coming out atheist and homosexual. It may not matter to you, but to several others it is very difficult (especially in the Southern US). It is one of my goals to encourage people to "come out" of their religious closets and be strong enough to be honest with their friends and family. This is very similar to what Richard Dawkins has spoke about repeatedly http://outcampaign.org/

Second, I am not the one who created the survey or who is studying the results. This is being done by Dr. Tom Arcaro. Since you are a new member, below is a copy of an article he wrote for our last newsletter explaining his intentions.

Begin Article:

In the academic world, sabbaticals come around only once in seven years and each faculty person knows to invest that precious time away from the classroom effectively. In my case, when the time came to write my sabbatical proposal I had recently finished reading all of the books from the "Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse", namely Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens and Daniel Dennett. I have been reading Dennett and Dawkins for years as I followed closely their work in evolutionary psychology (I have written several essays that touch on this topic; go here), and when Dawkin's The God Delusion came out I devoured it quickly, finding myself in agreement with much of what he said.

The semester after I read Dawkin's book, I had an Intro to Sociology student who needed a research project, and she and I surveyed over 100 undergraduates using Dawkin's scale of belief (he introduces in the first chapter). Those data indicated what I already knew from living in North Carolina for the last 23 years: I was living in the Bible Belt. That short experience with researching people's religious beliefs whet my appetite for more in depth data, and I began some preliminary reading of what other sociologists had written about being an atheist, particularly in the so-called Bible Belt where I lived. I found some reasonably interesting work, but none that sated my interest in the social consequences of coming out public as an atheist.

As a bit more background, I have been working for a number of years on the issue of HIV and AIDS and have studied in some detail the problem of the social stigma attached to being HIV+. A good friend of mine, Anita Isaacs from Oshakati, Namibia, became HIV+ in the late 90's and then came out public in November of 2002. This brave act changed her life and has defined her ever since. In no way do I want to say that being HIV+ is the same as being an atheist, but what I do argue is that the phenomena of stigmatization, described so well by the sociologist Irving Goffman in his classic book Stigma, is the same in both cases: both are devalued social statuses.

Immediately after the topic of my sabbatical research was published on our university web site I began getting calls and emails from colleagues who supported my work and wished me well. Many of them shared their own stories of being in the closet about their atheism and, in fact, the survey that I am asking you to take was written with the critical feedback of many colleagues both on campus and elsewhere. Two colleagues who also happen to be lesbians talked to me about the differences and similarities of dealing with the social responses to their sexuality and their atheism.

Why am I doing this research? As a tenured full professor I have no pressing need to add to my curriculum vita. My motivation for this research is to reach out to other atheists and provide them with an additional sounding board for their experiences. I want to describe the population of self-proclaimed atheists and ferret out some of the correlations between their gender, age, and other demographic variables with their responses to the array of questions that are posed in the survey. After the data is collected, I will openly share the summarized results both in the popular press (and, of course, appropriate web sites) and in sociological journals. I pledge to do my best to describe, analyze, summarize and present the data carefully and, importantly, to absolutely maintain the confidentiality of each participant.

Ultimately I hope that this survey and the publication of the results will, in some small way, encourage more of us to more openly be who we are, atheists.

Finally, I want to publicly thank Brother Richard for working closely with me on the final versions of the survey and, more importantly, for all of his patience as we developed this project over the last five months. That he shares my vision and is willing to use his resources to maximize the exposure of this survey is a great gift to me and to the atheist community.

End Article

I appreciate that it may not be enough for you, but I hope it at least answers your questions.
Comment by Krista on December 20, 2008 at 11:51am
no matter how enlightened and accepting society gets being gay will always make me different. I'm a tiny minority swimming in heteros. I AM different and it's ok to say so. It's ok to study the fact. If he was trying to get data saying atheists are gay he's in for a disappointment anyway. I'm sure gay people are the same percentage here as in society in general. Even if it's a little higher, I don't see how this could hurt anything other than making people who are already totally against atheists and gays turn up their noses at us all for the billionth time. Who cares. And I really do think you are totally paranoid and ridiculous. Relax! Have a beer. It's the weekend.
Comment by michelliberty on December 20, 2008 at 11:32am
i don't care what your sensuality is ,in fact its normally out of the question who you or i sleep with, and your missing the point , its no ones business if you are gay or strait ,specially in a place like this where we are strive to be enlightened people , there is absolutely nothing wrong with being gay its wonderful, but it is not necessary to ask that question , it feeds into the religious fanatics that love to use quizzes to use against , alternate life style, , there are gay people everywhere we all know it and there is no problem with that its just human nature , but why ask it in that quiz, is he trying to coralate some type of data to say that a lot of atheists are gay , why is that question so pertinent, i think there's is some thing wrong here and you cant see it.
Comment by Krista on December 20, 2008 at 10:43am
I don't find it strange. I'm gay and it is interesting to compare the two, just as it is interesting to compare gay rights to African American rights. People who are fighting for gay rights today look to the past to learn ways to do it. Atheism is something you can't tell by looking at a person and half the time being gay is the same way. I think these are the reasons for, as he said, comparing. Someone like me may feel that it's hard enough being out and gay and may stay in the closet as an atheist, or may say oh well why not be out as an atheist I'm out as a homo anyway. So it's interesting to know how many people who are gay/bi are out. The survey is voluntary and I don't see anything wrong with asking. The whole idea of it being too personal a question falls in with the sentiment that it is something to be ashamed of in the first place. Asking, race, family status, location, etc, falls into the same level of "personal".

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