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Thread: How it is to be an atheist?

  1. #21
    Senior Member Array Lark's Avatar
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    I dont think that atheism provokes any sort of reaction among any of the people I know, its pretty accepted and widespread, there are a great many "anonymous atheists" that I know who have not reached a conclusion of a philosophical sort but from their behaviour it is clear they are non-believers.

    Their actions speak volumes, the spiritual side of their lives is either denied, non-existent or repressed, sometimes if it does get an airing in their consciousness it takes the shape of esoteric or foreign belief systems but never anything which requires that much commitment, features a deity or is difficult to dispense with or abandon at a moments notice.

    If people express non-belief in the company of believers it is generally accepted, there is not even the sense of disappointment or pity this would once have evoked for many of my dad's generation, that's just one generation removed, when people who adopted atheism where mainly those who had lost hope, couldnt take heart and despaired one way or another.

    There are nuisance preachers or evangelists, most of them attack Roman Catholics as much as atheists, in fact more often that is how the divide operates, at least in Northern Ireland and there are thriving congregations which exist through which people are able to give vent to or channel their hostility towards people who believe things differently from themselves (most of these individuals I have discovered do not have a great understanding of their own beliefs themselves and have not read or understood many of the thinkers upon whom their creeds are supposedly founded).

  2. #22


    Quote Originally Posted by tinker683 View Post
    The only people who know about it are my closet friends [...]
    Ah, you have those too. It figures!

    Quote Originally Posted by tinker683 View Post
    My other younger has since softened on his opinion of my atheism but when I first came out he threatened me with physical violence if I ever "bad mouthed Jesus".

    Over all, my life as an atheist is a relatively quiet one but then that's because I keep it to myself. If I were more open about it, I imagine it would get really complicated and frankly I prefer my life to be relatively quiet and simple.
    So sometimes, in the country of the blind, the one-eyed man pretends to be blind as well.

  3. #23
    Señora Member Array Elfa's Avatar
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    Jan 2011


    Quote Originally Posted by Rasofy View Post
    Personally, I think it's pretty incovenient.
    Yeah, it may be incovenient sometimes, but I just can't not be true to myself. I accept the consequences. And I say some expressions envolving God, and I take them only as expressions.

    1-How it is to be an atheist?
    It's ok. I like it.

    2- Have you ever gotten in a less favorable situation because of it?
    I've met two people who weren't very sympathetic... They seemed a little awkward after knowing I was atheist, and they were very religious. One of them just mocked me a little and went to talk about something else. The other one was my piano teacher, she asked me if I believed in God, and I said I didn't. She said she was sure I must haven't had really thought about it, because it was obvious there is a God. I didn't say anything else, and neither did she... Still, I got a little offended. Yes, I did spend a lot of my time thinking about it, doing research and talking about it with some people. My family isn't very religious, but I had actually a lot of contact with christians my whole life, in school, and a lot with the scouts.

    Last month, I attended to a class at a catholic church, because I was going to be my cousin's godmother, and I felt very weird to hear the priest saying the worst thing that could happen to someone is to become atheist. And also being almost the only person who knew the answers of his questions about the bible. '-' But that was okay, I knew I was in the wrong place anyway... I just felt like a liar by being there, an atheist in the middle of those catholics, but I was making my aunt a favor, and I was happy for being my cousin's godmother, so I went and everything went better than expected. ^^

    3-Are you open about about it?
    Yes, I think I am.

    4-Do your family and co-workers know it?
    Yes, they do. When they ask, I say it, with no problem.
    But only when they directly ask me. Otherwise, I avoid expressing my atheism.

  4. #24
    Away with the fairies Array Southern Kross's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nales View Post
    I don't believe it works like this in France at all. People here aren't very interested in religion, I remember seeing that our population is about 1/3 religious, 1/3 atheist, 1/3 agnostic. I almost never mention being an atheist (nor does anyone ask me or care about it). It's the same for most of western Europe, I think.
    I know America is more religious than we are, but is it that much? Or is Brazil an even different case?
    Yeah, it's similar here in New Zealand and, I believe, also in Australia. There isn't any prejudice against atheists, and religion isn't discussed all that openly. People are mostly pretty quiet about their faith or lack thereof - there don't hide it, but they don't bring it up all that much.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rasofy View Post
    1-How it is to be an atheist? Have you ever gotten in a less favorable situation because of it?
    No big deal. It doesn't affect me.

    2-Are you open about about it? Do your family and co-workers know it?
    Like I said above, people don't discuss this much in NZ. If you asked me, I would be happy to state my belief, but I don't feel the need to shout it from the roof tops.

    I do think, however, that I would be uncomfortable talking about it if I lived in a place where people think less of you for being atheist. I admit I got pretty freaked out reading the statistics in the articles people posted about America. Especially this:

    only 34% of Americans have at least a mostly favorable attitude towards atheists; 52% have a mostly unfavorable or worse attitude
    INFP 4w5 so/sp

    I've dreamt in my life dreams that have stayed with me ever after, and changed my ideas;
    they've gone through and through me, like wine through water, and altered the colour of my mind.

    - Emily Bronte

  5. #25
    failure to thrive Array AphroditeGoneAwry's Avatar
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    1-How it is to be an atheist? Have you ever gotten in a less favorable situation because of it?
    I'm answering as someone who identified as an atheist from the age of 19 to about 41. But somewhere in my late 20's, or early 30's, I started ascribing Godly qualities to The Universe, which, in retrospect, basically ended my tenure as a true atheist, although I called myself one until 41.

    I do not get in less-favorable situations. Every situation is given to me for a reason.

    But no, being an atheist versus theist didn't necessarily bring me different circumstances, just a different awareness of, and certain appreciation for, those circumstances.

    2-Are you open about about it? Do your family and co-workers know it?[/B]
    With my close friends first. Family second (as my parents were/are either religious or were believers). Acquaintances rarely--I kept it under wraps, especially professionally, as most of my clients were/are Christian.

    I think the main problem is religion, not whether you are a believer or not. I think most of us agree that the most judgmental of people tend to be church-going Christians, while I'd have to say I know many seeming altruists who are atheists. That is why I DID try to hide my atheism from Christians; I found myself often judged, which is highly ironic, being as Jesus taught only God, and Himself, can judge.

    Being a believer for me just means I'm more in touch with God and it brings a reverence to my life that I lacked previously, even when I ascribed Godly qualities to The Universe.
    4w5 5w4 1w9
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    The more one loves God, the more it is that having nothing in the world means everything, and the less one loves God, the more it is that having everything in the world means nothing.

    Do not resist an evil person, but to him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer also the other. ~Matthew 5:39

  6. #26


    Over the past 5 years I have alternated between being a theist, an atheist, a deist, an agnostic, and all areas in between. The loneliest path I ever took was the atheistic one. In fact, I'm not even sure I would have been so privy of the internet today if I had never relied on online communities of atheists for a sense of acceptance.

    There are reasons on all fronts why any position of belief would be uncomfortable - social discontent, sense of integrity, rationality, and sense of intellectual honesty are all compelling forces in the life of one who is trying to establish what they believe, not to mention the basic emotional perks that come packaged in believing or disbelieving. Social forces are probably the strongest influence, since they dictate an atmosphere of information and acceptance, dwarfing the sense of self-acceptance and individual thinking most people could ever develop independently while shaping how rationality plays out. Even if the influences backfire, they tend to affect people just as deeply, if not deeper; every push can push back, rationality can be brought against any idea, and any idea can be praised.

    The most independent variable is what people really want to believe in the first place, and from there all other things flow.

  7. #27
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    I decided to stop being an atheist for the sake of my sanity. So, I guess, in my experience it was rather horrible.

    Now my religious views can be summed up by "meh". It's a lot easier on the psyche.

  8. #28
    Honor Thy Inferior Array Such Irony's Avatar
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    I consider myself an agnostic, not an atheist. I think there is a possibility some God or higher power exists but more than likely not.
    I'll answer anyway.

    1) How it is to be an atheist?

    In some ways I like it because I can think for myself and not blindly believe what some religion is shoving down my throat. The thing is sometimes, I really wish for the existence of a God or some higher power. Someone who help me get through difficult times and an afterlife is certainly appealing. But just because you want to be believe something is true doesn't mean it is. There just is no solid scientific evidence for God or higher powers. In a weird way, I sort of envy the religious people because they seem sure of their beliefs and have faith that things work out in the end and in an afterlife. I guess being agnostic makes me more in touch with reality- there is evil in the world, innocent people die all the time while evil survives. I do find death unsettling because I believe when you die, that's it but that knowledge makes me try to live the most fulfilling life now because I assume its the only one I'll get.

    Have you ever gotten in a less favorable situation because of it?

    No, except it makes it awkward when conversing with highly religious people.

    Are you open about about it?

    Only on the Internet. In the real world, there seems to be a stigma about it so I keep it secret unless I can trust the person won't judge me for it.

    Do your family and co-workers know it?

    I haven't openly admitted it to my family but I think they suspect it because I don't go to church and don't bring up religious topics.

    My co-workers don't know. Don't ask, don't tell.
    5w6 or 9w1 sp/so/sx, I think
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  9. #29
    Alchemist of life Array Coriolis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    Can you believe it? It's rather the kiss of death. Atheists were targeted during the Red Scare of the 50's too, along with homosexuals and artists and communists (who were often simultaneously referred to as atheists as part of labeling them an enemy of the state).

    Mitt Romney will suffer some damage in the upcoming elections due to being a Mormon, which many protestant Christians seem to label as a cult, but he's still better off not being an atheist. obama has also take a decent amount of politic damage during his tenure from the conservatives, who keep insinuating he's not "really a Christian." Belief in a monotheistic god of SOME sort seems to be the standard in the US, whether one is a Christian or a Deist or whatever...
    Unfortunately all quite true. It is almost as bad to follow "the wrong religion", though, as to be atheist or agnostic. Anything that strays from the straight and narrow of mainstream Christianity, or in some circles Judaism.
    Hope is the denial of reality. It is the carrot dangled before the draft horse to keep him plodding along in a vain attempt to reach it. We should remove the carrot and walk forward with our eyes open. -- Raistlin Majere

  10. #30


    - A lot of theists assume you believe in God (''dood, just trust in God and everything will be fine'').
    - Theists seem to demand words of comfort involving the word ''God'' when they lose someone dear to them.
    If I reframe 'God' as 'the workings of the universe' or 'unleashing one's inner light,' these still apply--but they apply in a way that, in my assessment, is much more true and meaningful. For example, the reason why 'trusting in God' is such a stress relief is because relinquishing psychological control is a major stress relief.

    I'd regard myself as a pantheist (ooh, and also a bit of an "igtheist"). If there is a God, it's ineffable. It describes 'the thing that we should ideally connect to on a deep and personal level but don't really know how to do so.'

    But, whatever. For all intents and purposes, I stand far enough away from most mainstream religions' views on God that I may as well be considered an atheist--at least, to those who hold those views.

    How it is to be an atheist? Have you ever gotten in a less favorable situation because of it?
    I subtly manipulate those who (a) I don't trust to think that I'm a good person without belonging to their religion and who (b) have some decent control over some aspect of my life. I don't lie to them--but I can talk about 'God,' for sure, so I can relate to them and often have them assume that I'm a Christian. I would ideally be more open and honest (see below), and perhaps I will be with time.

    It's also unfortunate that most personal development groups are centered around specific religions. That hasn't stopped me from participating in them (or in mission trips, actually..) but I feel that I would get much more out of them if we dropped the whole 'religion' thing from them.

    Other than that, I don't feel cheated.

    Are you open about about it?
    When asked, when I'm in trustworthy, open-minded company, or when someone is belittling a non-Christian religion or atheism, definitely yes. If we can 'come out of the closet,' we raise awareness that we're not so bad. Screw the potential personal consequences; the 'cause' is more important.

    My interfaith group is largely a collection of Christians and Muslims who pride themselves on trying to understand one another. I am not afraid of chiming in with a perspective that's quite different from theirs but that is still somewhat relatable to them--and I often do.

    Do your family and co-workers know it?
    My immediate family does, but they don't quite grasp my thoughts. They're not particularly religious, so they don't particularly care.

    It doesn't come up in conversations with coworkers, but I'm sure it could. I've revealed much worse about myself in a work setting.

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