For many, proclaiming a personal rejection of the supernatural is a non-event. Within the home and throughout the workplace, it changes nothing. But for others, the term "atheist" is toxic and carries significant personal consequences.

These are the actual voices of several men and women who have been cast out, cut off, ostracized and/or otherwise penalized for the crime of thinking for themselves.

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Comment by Joan Denoo on January 24, 2013 at 4:30pm

I am an atheist! Oh yes, that caused no end of rejection and accusations by people I expected to understand or at least be interested and to listen. No! That is not what happened. I found a new family, new friends, and neighbors and co-workers who shared my distaste for religion and dogma. I made new ways to celebrate life without religious underpinnings. After all, every single Christian  festival is based on some pagan beginning. For those of you who are interested, Googling alternative celebrations will turn up many, many, many sites.

The easiest and first thing I did was to cross out all religious events on my calendar and then look to astronomy and the changing of seasons and constellations to be a focus for our feasts, dances and singing. Then it was easy to find celebration in birthdays, joining of two people together and their anniversaries, and celebration of life upon death. 

Religion is too small for me. There are too many things to celebrate other than Bronze Age memorials. People free of religion are so much more interesting with whom to participate. My brain and thinking become much more valuable tool than being obedient to some unseen god with strange beliefs that cannot produce evidence. Seeing life with a non-religious core opens up the whole Earth to explore and to wonder at the time and space of the universe. Questions are much more interesting. Answers with evidence present exciting things far beyond any fool's tale. 

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