I had an English class that is now over due to finals ending yesterday. I was working on our last paper with a partner. He was very nice and we got along great. On our last day, we had a lot of free time to talk about things with each other. I was asked what I was going to do over the break, and I said that I really wasn't going to do anything. I said I don't really celebrate Christmas, but the Winter Solstice, I do. He asked if I went to church, and I told him no. He asked why, and I told him I'm an Atheist. He was silent for a minute, and gave me a puzzled stare. He then began preaching to me, asking me why I didn't believe. I told him there simply wasn't enough evidence. I also said that I don't judge someone based on their religion alone. I am friends with people of many different religions including Christianity, Catholicism, Hinduism, and Islam. I got along very well with all of them, and they all know I don't believe. We still hang out and have a great time, however. By the time class was over, he hurried out the door and got ahead of everyone. The funny thing is, we usually walked together and talked while we headed to our cars. I caught up to him, and he seemed upset. I thought to myself: "Why does my lack of belief mean SO much to him? He knows I'm still a good person. It's not fair." I've dealt with religious people who do and think the same things, and I just keep thinking to myself how much of a poison religion is...

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Comment by Thomas True on December 18, 2010 at 4:57pm

I am in a relationship with a believer and she has a great deal of difficulty with me no longer being an adherent. The thing is we dated 20 years ago when she was in college. At that time I was a Christian and wanted to get married to her but she broke it off. Now she says that she wants to have a relationship but she doesn't know how we can since I am no longer a believer.

 

I find some of her reason to be very hard to believe to be quite frank. But the odd thing I feel as strongly, if not more so that I did back then.

 

It is possible that he had some romantic wishes about you and your POV hurts his options. Plus if you are as honest about your lack of faith then he will find that to be a barrier to his acceptance. He may feel that he has no hope with you since you will never be able to be "equally yoked" as the adherents put it.

 

it is not easy, I know this too. For the Bible doesn't tell me pooh!  Smiles!

Comment by Glen Rosenberg on December 18, 2010 at 4:12pm

four star comment John

Comment by John Camilli on December 18, 2010 at 3:44pm

People do not deal well with challenges to their faith because it brings to light that they have taken some things for granted; they have made assumptions they cannot prove. If he could not convince you, it means he has not convinced himself, or he would be able to come up with a solid argument for his case. That's why it upset him.

 

Religious people dont really see it that way, I imagine. They have usually been dogmatized to the point that they see discussion itself as evil; the very act of questioning one's faith as wrong. But, of course, that is the primary tenet of a theist - to accept without proof.

Comment by Glen Rosenberg on December 17, 2010 at 3:25pm

The greater the religiosity the greater the intolerance-at least with christianity and islam.

Your challenging his world view. In addition he has been brainwashed to believe that atheists are awful nasty misguided devil worshipping miscreant pinko commis. 

Comment by Joseph P on December 17, 2010 at 2:24pm

He responded that way because you threatened him.  In some ways, it's worse than a physical threat.  You've threatened his entire worldview.

Your religiously moderate friends aren't as much of a threat to him, even the Hindus and the Muslims.  They're still religious, even if it's not the same religion.  Like I say at one point, in my standup, we're the real threat to Christianity.  Evangelism by opposing religions ... Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, Pentecostals, Southern Baptists, Muslims, Hindus ... it doesn't really damage the system.  That's just healthy activity, since a convert to a new religion is going to be more zealous than most existing congregants.

We represent the end of the system.  Someone who becomes an atheist for good, skeptical reasons is lost to religion forever.

This guy can at least see within the other religions the same sort of 'divine' authority to give someone morality and life structure.  When he sees you, being a good, stable person, without an invisible friend holding your hand, it's completely beyond his ability to comprehend ... and it's scary.

Comment by Bryon on December 17, 2010 at 2:19pm

This is a shot in the dark but, Perhaps he has a lot of doubt in him and his "faith" is weak. You represent a further eroding factor and he fears that. Or he is so pious that you represent real evil to him or he is just a jerk. What ever the reason no big loss...

Comment by Samantha Thomas on December 17, 2010 at 1:52pm

People add significance to all sorts of things in Life.  That is mostly what Being Human is all about, and always has been.  Whatever he made Your lack of belief mean, it doesn't mean that.  It's not about You.  It is about how he has his universe constructed to support his identity.  Religion separates, isolates and alienates people from each other.  In part, that is what makes it persist.  People automatically assume that it is easier to survive if one limits one's associations with "others" (those "not like me").  In truth, the opposite is true.

What if we experienced and expressed absolute love for ourselves, each other and everything that is, without any reservations?  What if we didn't have pre-constructed barriers against the "others?"  What if we honored each other, as our creators, in the way religious people honor the imaginary creator they create for themselves?  This is how I live my life, and many people think I'm "weird."  I'm OK with that.  Life is unequivocally magnificent, when one is in Love with Everyone and Everything, with no one excluded.  However, not everyone can tolerate such "nonsense," and I love them too.

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