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meems
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19 May 2012, 10:00 pm

Do you often experience hostility as a reaction to your atheism when you discuss it?

If so, do you mention the hostility? Have you ever gotten the response that goes something like "but you attack us!" ?



Vigilans
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19 May 2012, 10:08 pm

When people are talking religion and I am asked what my denomination is, I will say "I am an atheist". This usually results in some form of hostility because apparently so long as you believe in something supernatural you are a-okay, otherwise you are to be dealt with with utmost contempt. So, "mentioning being atheist is an attack on their religious beliefs, even if asked!". I live in one of the most secular places in North America, too.


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LKL
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19 May 2012, 10:36 pm

I have been dropped by friends after describing my skepticism or lack of belief, even though I didn't use the word 'atheist.' I've been sneeringly told that I believe in a 'dead Universe,' and looked at with disgust when I said that 'I do not feel that god has some purpose for my life.'

I learned my lesson; I'm mostly still in the closet, even with respect to fairly close friends and family. As an aspie, I don't have any to spare.



Awesomelyglorious
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19 May 2012, 10:48 pm

Vigilans wrote:
When people are talking religion and I am asked what my denomination is, I will say "I am an atheist". This usually results in some form of hostility because apparently so long as you believe in something supernatural you are a-okay, otherwise you are to be dealt with with utmost contempt.

I get this feeling too about most people. If it's "religion" then it's alright, but non-religion is bad. However, the religion itself doesn't matter, unless it's a death cult. Even Islam is rated as more trust-worthy, and given how prejudiced people seem against Islam this is odd.

I keep in the closet around anybody who is not close to me, or who wouldn't be comfortable dealing with an atheist. I am out to my parents, but that wasn't by choice. My mom noted a change in my religious actions, and called me out on the situation. My dad then later blamed me for telling her. This has resulted in a good amount of distress within my family.



enrico_dandolo
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19 May 2012, 11:11 pm

I don't remember ever saying it to anyone, actually. I don't see what circumstances could ever lead to my saying that I don't believe in God, or in a god. I remember saying that the Bible was a) as spiritually significant as the old Star Wars trilogy and b) more important for Hebraic and Semitic studies than for any other purpose; but no "hostility" per se. In the second case, there were other observers in the room, and they seemed in agreement with me. So no, I guess.

To be honest, I don't really know anyone that is openly religious. To put you in context, neither I nor my sister are baptised, my parents married at the courthouse, my late grandfather was a maoist sympathizer, my grandmother is amongst the most militantly anti-religious people I know and her husband buys Richard Dawkins book. I live in a part of the world where you can buy churches at a fair price on the market, so I think being religious is rather the exception than the rule.

(I'm agnostic, though, to be precise.)



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20 May 2012, 1:07 am

While I don't like being labeled Atheist, because I think defining something by a lack of something else is somewhat derogatory, but mostly impractical...I still technically fit the label. But a more precise label would be ignostic. The issue I take is the fact that "god" means too many things, and no one likes or seems capable of sticking to just one definition when using it.

Anyway, yes...I have received strong backlash for coming out as an atheist, many…many times. Everything from simple verbal hostility, to physical aggression, to professional discrimination (fired). I have always been devoid of a god belief, always, and wear that fact on my sleeve. If it comes up, I am not shy about it. I am happy to point out how bizarre and irrational certain concepts are, and exactly why they fail the litmus test of basic reasoning. This does not earn me many warm wishes, but I really don't care, I'll happily martyr myself to spread truth (or correct mistruths), religious or otherwise.


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Burzum
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20 May 2012, 2:49 am

Not really. Most of the people I know are atheist, but.



heavenlyabyss
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20 May 2012, 3:29 am

No. This has never happened to me in real life.

The only antagonism I ever faced was in AA, but it didn't take the form of active opposition - it took the form of subtle but noticeable fear.... it seemed that people were afraid of my thoughts because they felt the same as myself were too afraid to admit it to themselves.

As for the extremely religious people, they don't really bother me. I just view them as strange, kind of the same way I would view a person with schizophrenia who thought he was an alien or the CIA was after him. I would think, oh, that's interesting. Perhaps that is why people don't bother me so much. I don't antagonize people for believing in strange things. Otherwise, they would probably would oppress me.



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20 May 2012, 3:35 am

Can I assume that all this anti-atheist feeling is in the US. I wonder how UK atheists feel about this. This just isn't an issue in the UK. In fact Christians may feel themselves to be persecuted.



TallyMan
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20 May 2012, 4:15 am

Grebels wrote:
Can I assume that all this anti-atheist feeling is in the US. I wonder how UK atheists feel about this. This just isn't an issue in the UK. In fact Christians may feel themselves to be persecuted.


I concur with your statements. In my experience in the UK anyone saying they are an atheist is about as controversial as saying they don't like anchovies on pizza. However, anyone claiming to be a Christian is more likely to be regarded as a prude, bigot or just plain weird.


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Grebels
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20 May 2012, 5:08 am

I try not to be a prudish, bigot but let's face it artists by and large do tend to be a bit weird anyway.



WilliamWDelaney
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20 May 2012, 6:29 am

meems wrote:
Do you often experience hostility as a reaction to your atheism when you discuss it?
From uneducated country bumpkins, yes. From anyone literate? No.

Quote:
If so, do you mention the hostility?
I don't hold religion responsible for it. I blame a lack of education. I also blame a lack of education for certain forms of religion.

Quote:
Have you ever gotten the response that goes something like "but you attack us!" ?
I have had a number of people give me the lecture about "all the Christians all over the world who are being persecuted." It is not very common, but I always answer with, "it doesn't help the cause of atheists to have a dumb persecution complex. It helps your cause less."



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20 May 2012, 7:59 am

I do feel and see a certain hostile attitude from muslims, which is somewhat under the surface but looks can say enough, not really from christians. But I don't live in the US. I discussed religion on the internet some time ago, and what really bugged me werethe irrational attacks on my person because if you don't believe, you are to some a bad person or equal to a nazi or whatever. But didn't know them irl luckily and you'll always see such people.



ArrantPariah
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20 May 2012, 8:47 am

TallyMan wrote:
Grebels wrote:
Can I assume that all this anti-atheist feeling is in the US. I wonder how UK atheists feel about this. This just isn't an issue in the UK. In fact Christians may feel themselves to be persecuted.


I concur with your statements. In my experience in the UK anyone saying they are an atheist is about as controversial as saying they don't like anchovies on pizza. However, anyone claiming to be a Christian is more likely to be regarded as a prude, bigot or just plain weird.


Even in Northern Ireland?



TallyMan
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20 May 2012, 11:31 am

ArrantPariah wrote:
TallyMan wrote:
Grebels wrote:
Can I assume that all this anti-atheist feeling is in the US. I wonder how UK atheists feel about this. This just isn't an issue in the UK. In fact Christians may feel themselves to be persecuted.


I concur with your statements. In my experience in the UK anyone saying they are an atheist is about as controversial as saying they don't like anchovies on pizza. However, anyone claiming to be a Christian is more likely to be regarded as a prude, bigot or just plain weird.


Even in Northern Ireland?


I don't know, there may be a different dynamic in N.E. due to the high proportion of Catholics. In England religion is generally regarded as irrelevant to people's lives so anyone stating they are a Christian tends to stand out from the crowd. I guess the exact opposite is true in the US.

Religion seems pretty much irrelevant here in France too, some are superficially Catholic but none of the people I know attend church other than sometimes for weddings and funerals, the local church is gradually falling into ruin as are many others. I think it is Catholic but am not sure, went there last year when a neighbour died; they did the waving around of incense thing, but to be honest I didn't notice which brand of Christianity it belongs to.


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