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Atheism / Atheists - What's Life Like In The US?  
User currently offlineFlyboy1980 From New Zealand, joined Nov 2003, 253 posts, RR: 0
Posted (9 years 9 months 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 2183 times:

Is living as an atheist in the US difficult?

Are people respectful to you?

I'm an atheist, and around 1 million New Zealanders stated in the 1999 census that they identify with no religion - that's 25% of our population. So, it's quite common to know and work with several other people who are atheists. Is it common in the US?

THIS IS NOT TO DEBATE WHETHER OR NOT GOD EXISTS - this topic is to find out what life is like for Atheists in the US - Thank you  Smile

28 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineUSAFHummer From United States of America, joined May 2000, 10685 posts, RR: 53
Reply 1, posted (9 years 9 months 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 2175 times:

Im an atheist, life is fine...I dont go around wearing a big shirt saying "I'm an atheist", so its a total non-issue...if people ask me what religion I am, I tell them the truth, and most stop there, if they want to know why, Im happy to explain it to them, and that satisfies most who ask.

Greg



Chief A.net college football stadium self-pic guru
User currently offlineWn700driver From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (9 years 9 months 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 2159 times:

I'm an atheist, and around 1 million New Zealanders stated in the 1999 census that they identify with no religion - that's 25% of our population. So, it's quite common to know and work with several other people who are atheists. Is it common in the US?

Careful there. Not I'ding w/ a religion does not an Athiest make. I do not affiliate with any religion in particular, but don't even think about putting me into that group.

While (WN700driver philosophy = true) { print "yes, believing in an all-powerful being that cares about 'lil ole me makes about as much sense as a pair of cricket skates. but if you really believe there is nothing out there, I have a few bridges to sell you. small bills only please  Big grin ) }

To answer your question, in the US, we treat religion much the some way Ancient Rome did. Mostly we just pay lip service, while a few real believers suffer their cause/religion being hijacked by right-wing extremist types.
On the other hand (in addition to the five fingers typing, lol), atheism has been similarly hijackeck by radical left-wing extremist types.
So, if you are real hard-core about it, expect no overt harassment (relax, we're not Iran or anything), but don't expect anyone take what you have to say about it with a straight face. I would say that honestly, Atheists get about as much respect as any other religious fanatic would.

Hope that helps. . .


User currently offlineSlamClick From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 10062 posts, RR: 68
Reply 3, posted (9 years 9 months 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 2160 times:

I am more agnostic and figure I'll find out soon enough, but I agree with Hummer, as long as you don't carry a sign it should never be an issue. The only reason it would be an issue if you had it on your shirt is the same as for any other "issue" of the day. To proclaim your politics or religion too loudly is to invite debate - and we are not polite debaters anymore. I worked quite well for a time with some real born again, Bible-thumpers and found them to be great people. We just never debated religion.

I don't go to church and no one notices or cares.

That is what it is really like here.



Happiness is not seeing another trite Ste. Maarten photo all week long.
User currently offlineVafi88 From United States of America, joined Apr 2001, 3116 posts, RR: 17
Reply 4, posted (9 years 9 months 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 2158 times:

Atheist here.

Life is fine usually. When people ask you they seem amazed and they try to pursuade you to come to church and *discover the path* and I just usually tell them that I make my own path - my own life.

Some people just won't understand though. I had a kid ask me how it's possible not to believe in god and that I should really come to church if I want to be saved. BS if you ask me.

Also the pro-life people usually tell me that god made everyone so only god has the right to take life away, and I usually respond *what god?*.

Life is alright - but there are a few that tell you that you're going to hell or that believing in god is better than believing in yourself.

Oh well - don't make it an issue, and it won't be - Here in the US at least.



I'd like to elect a president that has a Higher IQ than a retarted ant.
User currently offlineCorpsnerd09 From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 448 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (9 years 9 months 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 2114 times:

I'm an Atheist

Sometimes people are surprised, but a lot of them respect your decision and don't judge you based on it. About 98% of the time, and most people who aren't also atheists are tolerant and understanding, and fun to argue with because they're fair and respect my beliefs.

Surprisingly, I know a lot of people who aren't atheist but have no religious affiliation, meaning they believe in God but don't go to a church or claim to be of any religion.

There are the few fanatics who try and get you to come to church because as one once put "it is her duty to bring me to the steps of the lord". I guess she thought she'd score more convertion points on judgement day because she kept insisting, I kept refusing, and then she got angry.

One time, a girl at work who claimed to be Christian started ridiculing me, telling me I was going to burn in hell, and telling people to be careful because I was an atheist and might poison them. I'm glad she believes in hell, because that's where she'll be going.



If you really want to do it, you will find a way; if you don't, you'll make excuses.
User currently offlinePacificjourney From New Zealand, joined Jul 2001, 2732 posts, RR: 8
Reply 6, posted (9 years 9 months 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 2105 times:

I'm going to have to disagree with the previous 5 american posters. I'm a NZer as well and compared to there, the US is All Religion, All The Time.

I've lived in the US a total of 4 years and people were forever asking me about faith and what church I go to and saying they would 'pray for me', or that we must be 'hungry for the word' (my personal favourite) down there, etc, etc.

Shall we talk about how religion is a public issue in the US as in no other place. Any politician in NZ -and ever other country as I'm aware - mentioning his relationship to god would be considered slightly insane but in the US it is absolutely standard, even required in electioneering.

Who was the last avowed agnostic or atheist elected to high office ?



" Help, help ... I'm being oppressed ... "
User currently offlineFlyboy1980 From New Zealand, joined Nov 2003, 253 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (9 years 9 months 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 2098 times:

Pacificjourney - there's a United Future party member (an MP too) who's on a 21 day fast to try to get God to stop the passing of the Civil Union Bill (giving same sex and defacto couples a legal relationship registry).

That's pretty nutty and that's NZ.

Wn700driver - the census didn't have "Atheism" as an option under the religious affiliation. I was 19 then and I can recall from memory.

If you have no religious affiliation, it's reasonably safe to say you are an atheist or at least agnostic.


User currently offlineUTA_flyingHIGH From Tunisia, joined Oct 2001, 6495 posts, RR: 50
Reply 8, posted (9 years 9 months 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 2085 times:

When in the US people are respectfool as there is no way they can tell I'm an atheist Big grin

UTA



Fly to live, live to fly - Air France/KLM Flying Blue Platinum, BMI Diamond Club Gold, Emirates Skywards
User currently offlineGigneil From United States of America, joined Nov 2002, 16347 posts, RR: 85
Reply 9, posted (9 years 9 months 22 hours ago) and read 2056 times:

Its pretty simple in the US.

If you live in a city or major metro, the atheists (and gays, and minorities) go unmolested.

If you live in an area that doesn't border a city, and you're any non-Christian religion, or not white, or not straight, you live a miserable and tortured existence.

The other good rule of thumb is if where you live borders a major stationary body of water, you're safe. This rule does not apply to Savannah, GA or Jacksonville, FL.

N


User currently offlineLogan22L From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 10, posted (9 years 9 months 21 hours ago) and read 2049 times:

Seems like there is a good concensus here. To reiterate, in most urban areas, it is totally a non-issue. Stick to the coastal areas and the 40th parallel. I've lived in New England most of my 41 years, and despite some old puritcanital attitudes, it's totally not a problem.

Logan


User currently offlineDeltaMD11 From United States of America, joined Dec 2002, 1701 posts, RR: 34
Reply 11, posted (9 years 9 months 15 hours ago) and read 1985 times:

Over the past year, I have moved away from being a active practicing Catholic to pretty much an athiest. I've moved away from organized religion mainly because I personally felt like what I was practicing was highly contrary to my own doctrine, and the fact that religion has polarized this country and the world to the point of where it's better just not to have one. I simply felt like my attempts to practice religion were in vain. When people ask me what religion I am, I simply say that "I am myself." I have many jewish friends, as well as many christian friends. Everyone accepts eachothers beliefs and there really isn't a problem with it. I have a friend that has invited me to go with her to her church youth group and maybe I'll find something that I can relate to. I'm not overly enthused about doing so, but I like to see all that life has to offer so why not? So in short, I've been heckled more in my life for being a catholic than being myself. It depends upon where you live though---I'm in the Northeast. Go down south or out to the midwest and the story will be much different.


Too often we ... enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought. - John Fitzgerald Kennedy
User currently offlineFlyboy1980 From New Zealand, joined Nov 2003, 253 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (9 years 9 months 10 hours ago) and read 1930 times:

DeltaMD11 - sounds more like you're having a crisis of faith. You haven't said outright that you don't believe God exists.

It's great to hear that your friends are so open-minded. I have to admit, I don't have many Christian friends but like I said in my earlier post, there really aren't that many here! I have a great Aunt who is in her 80's, goes to mass every week and is in the Catholic Women's League. She knows I'm gay and doesn't treat me any differently at all. She's an amazing person - she went along to SeniorNet to learn how to use a computer and the Internet, and goes to all the latest movies - she even went to see "Priscilla Queen of The Desert" when it came out! She didn't like all the swearing but she thought it was very funny.



User currently offlineScottieprecord From United States of America, joined Jul 2004, 1363 posts, RR: 11
Reply 13, posted (9 years 9 months 10 hours ago) and read 1923 times:

The easiest way for atheists to have a tough life in America is to temporarily succeed in taking "God" out of the pledge... I couldn't believe that when it happened.  Smile

-Mike


User currently offlineFlyboy1980 From New Zealand, joined Nov 2003, 253 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (9 years 9 months 10 hours ago) and read 1920 times:

Undoubtedly, the Christian religion has had the most impact on life on this planet, in some ways good and in others bad.

My feeling is that people are beginning to see that allowing one religion to be more influential than others (or no religion) is not healthy - or fair.

By having a secular society, everyone is free to worship and be a part of any religion (or none as in my case) without any one of the religions having more influence.

I don't think it's fair to impose religious dogma on people who are not a part of that religion.


User currently offlineBN747 From United States of America, joined Mar 2002, 5613 posts, RR: 51
Reply 15, posted (9 years 9 months 10 hours ago) and read 1915 times:

Gigneil said it all... live in a red state= you're screwed!


BN747



"Home of the Brave, made by the Slaves..Land of the Free, if you look like me.." T. Jefferson
User currently offlineCannibalZ3 From United States of America, joined May 2001, 392 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (9 years 9 months 9 hours ago) and read 1908 times:

C'mon people, seriously now. I live in North Carolina, which does not have a major city worth speaking of and is most definately a red state. There are some extremely serious religious people here: our freeway is named for Billy Graham, big cross mounted near the highway, posters, churches on every corner, etc; but I find that, as one poster noted, 98% or more of the time nobody cares. To be fair it's not something that usually comes up in conversation, but people generally respect each other's views. Dispite what that guy up above said, I haven't known a homosexual or atheist that would describe their existance as 'miserable and tortured' because of what other people do to them. That's just my 2 cents on this issue.

User currently offlineUSAFHummer From United States of America, joined May 2000, 10685 posts, RR: 53
Reply 17, posted (9 years 9 months 9 hours ago) and read 1905 times:

"The easiest way for atheists to have a tough life in America is to temporarily succeed in taking "God" out of the pledge... I couldn't believe that when it happened. "

This has always bothered me greatly, and it disturbs me that the Supreme Court continues to refuse to take it out...in school, what I did was say the Pledge, but when it got to "under God", I wouldn't say those two words...I hope someday that those two words are removed, but until then, I just wont say them...

Greg



Chief A.net college football stadium self-pic guru
User currently offlineTACAA320 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 18, posted (9 years 9 months 2 hours ago) and read 1879 times:

"Undoubtedly, the Christian religion has had the most impact on life on this planet, in some ways good and in others bad."

------------------------------------------------------------------------

There are more than 600 different denominations for Christians (among Catholics and Protestants) since the 1700's. So, when you refer to the "Christian religion" are you referring to ALL of them?


User currently offlineGary2880 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 19, posted (9 years 9 months 1 hour ago) and read 1869 times:

i read in the paper once that if in america someone is up infront of a jury and is asked to swear on a bible and refuses as they are an athiest their pretty much screwed because the majority will think that if your not a christian your a bad person, which isnt fair

[Edited 2004-12-07 15:41:23]

User currently offlineAir2gxs From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 20, posted (9 years 9 months ago) and read 1864 times:

Pacificjourney,

What you related in your 1st couple of paragraphs is not a just Christian/Atheist or Christian/non-Christian issue. I'm Christian (Greek Orthodox) and have been told in the past by some (I'm sure) well meaning people that I will find the "true path" soon and truly find the Lord, or some such gibberish. These are people that are not satisfied until all the people around them are of, not just the same faith, but of the same denomination. Just look at this link:

http://dir.yahoo.com/Society_and_Culture/Religion_and_Spirituality/Faiths_and_Practices/Christianity/Denominations_and_Sects/

These are all Christian denominations and churches (just the tip of the iceberg) that feel they are the only true Church.

Religion is all over the place in the US because we, as a nation, tolerate all religions, the right not to practice any particular religion and the right to be Atheist. As a people, some have a problem wih the non-religious and the Atheists.

As for elected officials: they are out to get votes. The majority of Americans identify with some belief in God. Thus, a question of faith is a valid concern to many voters and a valid question to ask.

I know Atheists, they seem to lead normal lives empty of ridicule for their beliefs (or lack thereof, as one says).


User currently offlineAlberchico From United States of America, joined Sep 2004, 2918 posts, RR: 0
Reply 21, posted (9 years 8 months 4 weeks 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 1851 times:

Most ''religious'' people in this country don't even practice their faith.They just keep it there in case they might need it in the future


short summary of every jewish holiday: they tried to kill us ,we won , lets eat !
User currently offlineJaysit From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 22, posted (9 years 8 months 4 weeks 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 1846 times:

Its fine and dandy.

Unless you're planning on running for office.

Then its All God, All of the Time.

I'm an atheist and I just put up my Christmas tree. It beats any tree put up by any Bible thumper in any Red State. I combine the holidays of Christmas, Hannukah, Diwali, and New years eve and have a rollicking good time.


User currently offlineSlamClick From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 10062 posts, RR: 68
Reply 23, posted (9 years 8 months 4 weeks 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 1842 times:

Well Flyboy1980 as usual you've gotten some good and some bad council here.

First off, you can utterly discount anyone from outside the USA who says "I've heard" or something like that. They don't know.

Next, you can pretty well discount anyone who makes the "red state - blue state" argument. They are fighting some other battle and just wanted to strike another blow at that dead horse.

I believe that you don't even need to ask Pacificjourney what his opinion is. He is a one-man hate parade and I'll BET he got harassed. I'll bet he gets into religious and political arguments all the time whereever he lives.

So what to believe?

Come on over and find out for yourself. Welcome.

Oh, one last thing. In the more than fifty years since I last went to church not one person has ever asked me my religion. Not one. Not ever. I have never asked that question of any person. Not once. Not ever.



Happiness is not seeing another trite Ste. Maarten photo all week long.
User currently offlineJaysit From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 24, posted (9 years 8 months 4 weeks 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 1836 times:

In most parts of the country, you will see that asking someone what faith they practice is tantamount to asking how large their pay check is. No one does it as it is considered rude and churlish.

One's faith is generally a privacy issue, unless one decides to make it publicly known.

I've been preached to by fervent proponents of their faith, but a polite "Thank you, I am not interested" usually stops that interaction.

Of course, were an atheist to run for office, I bet that he'd have no luck.


25 Flyboy1980 : Our Prime Minister is an agnostic and no one really blinked an eye. I read an interesting article in the newspaper here, probably re-produced from a U
26 Post contains links and images Cedarjet : Slamclick: "Come on over and find out for yourself. Welcome." Very classy. This one's for you: View Large View MediumPhoto © Sam Chui
27 L.1011 : i read in the paper once that if in america someone is up infront of a jury and is asked to swear on a bible and refuses as they are an athiest their
28 Cancidas : nobody really cares. well, a few people don't agree with it but they leave me alone about it. parents, that's a seprate case.
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