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PM
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15 Jan 2011, 4:58 am

I have the unfortunate task of living in the south, and my family tells me to hide my atheism. Why would they tell me to do that? I have a Constituional guarantee of religous freedom, but apperently southerners are too stupid to realize that. Apperently it could keep me from getting a job. I'm to the point of telling them, " I' m an atheist and there is not a damned thing you can do about it". Does anyone have any suggestions on what I should do?


If anyone wants more information, let me know.



ruveyn
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15 Jan 2011, 4:59 am

PM wrote:
I have the unfortunate task of living in the south, and my family tells me to hide my atheism. Why would they tell me to do that? I have a Constituional guarantee of religous freedom, but apperently southerners are too stupid to realize that. Apperently it could keep me from getting a job. I'm to the point of telling them, " I' m an atheist and there is not a damned thing you can do about it". Does anyone have any suggestions on what I should do?


If anyone wants more information, let me know.


Move.

ruveyn



Subotai
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15 Jan 2011, 5:02 am

Have ye no faith in the god/s of olde?

How do you explain lightning?



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15 Jan 2011, 5:03 am

Ask these guys for advice.


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ruveyn
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15 Jan 2011, 5:05 am

Subotai wrote:
Have ye no faith in the god/s of olde?

How do you explain lightning?


A breakdown of the dielectric of the atmosphere been a charged cloud and the ground. Sort of like the discharge of a capacitor.

Either that, or Jove hurling lightning bolts.

ruveyn



PM
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15 Jan 2011, 5:08 am

ruveyn wrote:
PM wrote:
I have the unfortunate task of living in the south, and my family tells me to hide my atheism. Why would they tell me to do that? I have a Constituional guarantee of religous freedom, but apperently southerners are too stupid to realize that. Apperently it could keep me from getting a job. I'm to the point of telling them, " I' m an atheist and there is not a damned thing you can do about it". Does anyone have any suggestions on what I should do?


If anyone wants more information, let me know.


Move.

ruveyn


I don't have the choice to move at the moment, but as soon as I can I will.



ruveyn
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15 Jan 2011, 5:17 am

PM wrote:
ruveyn wrote:
PM wrote:
I have the unfortunate task of living in the south, and my family tells me to hide my atheism. Why would they tell me to do that? I have a Constituional guarantee of religous freedom, but apperently southerners are too stupid to realize that. Apperently it could keep me from getting a job. I'm to the point of telling them, " I' m an atheist and there is not a damned thing you can do about it". Does anyone have any suggestions on what I should do?


If anyone wants more information, let me know.


Move.

ruveyn


I don't have the choice to move at the moment, but as soon as I can I will.


You day of liberation is nearly at hand. Hang tough in the mean time.

ruveyn



TenFaces
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15 Jan 2011, 9:01 am

If these southerners are as simple-minded and backwards as you say, then you can pretend to join them in their primitive cult. You can manipulate them into making yourself their god.
You can have an army of fanatic followers at your call. They can sacrifice their children to your statue. When the economy collapses they will be most vulnerable to brainwashing.
I have similar plans for the Northeastern suburbanites I live among. The suburbanites I live among have a cutrious cult where they worship themselves.



Quartz11
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15 Jan 2011, 9:34 am

PM wrote:
I have the unfortunate task of living in the south, and my family tells me to hide my atheism. Why would they tell me to do that? I have a Constituional guarantee of religous freedom, but apperently southerners are too stupid to realize that. Apperently it could keep me from getting a job. I'm to the point of telling them, " I' m an atheist and there is not a damned thing you can do about it". Does anyone have any suggestions on what I should do?


If anyone wants more information, let me know.


Sure, the Constitution says that the government grants religious freedom. However, it doesn't stop your neighbors and the people around you from being a thorn in your backside about being an atheist.

P.S.: I live in one of the most liberal states in the country, and my family gives me grief from time to time for not being Christian.



AngelRho
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15 Jan 2011, 10:14 am

PM wrote:
ruveyn wrote:
PM wrote:
I have the unfortunate task of living in the south, and my family tells me to hide my atheism. Why would they tell me to do that? I have a Constituional guarantee of religous freedom, but apperently southerners are too stupid to realize that. Apperently it could keep me from getting a job. I'm to the point of telling them, " I' m an atheist and there is not a damned thing you can do about it". Does anyone have any suggestions on what I should do?


If anyone wants more information, let me know.


Move.

ruveyn


I don't have the choice to move at the moment, but as soon as I can I will.


I'm a Southern Christian, so I kinda know what you're talking about.

The problem (which really isn't a problem) with the Constitution is it guarantees free expression along with freedom of religion, and the southeast is predominantly a region that is majority Christian, ergo there is generally no harm in expressing those viewpoints.

There's not really any HARM expressing those viewpoints anywhere, in fact, or not as far as I'm aware. When I lived in New York state for two years, it was the first time I was really exposed to a more predominantly "ecumenical" perspective. But the really lovely thing about those people is though many fewer shared my point of view, I never felt persecuted for expressing my views. I'm a fairly typical Southerner for my age, and one of the main reasons my mentor campaigned for the school to accept me was to show New York people that not all southerners are hateful bigots; apparently this is a prevailing Northern view.

The thing is Southerners in general aren't USED to a lot of people who believe differently because of how often we meet others who aren't unlike us. Professing your alternative views comes as an initial shock because it isn't something we expect. Church life, for example, is such a big part of our culture that when we invite someone new to church and they say, "no, I'm an atheist," it severely limits the options because, well, we don't know what else to do! Southern Baptists generally prohibit drinking and dancing, so going to the local bar isn't really an option. Movies are a lot of fun, but not really conducive to conversation, and the more conservative of us aren't really going to see any movies we'd be uncomfortable taking our kids to.

That's not really a criticism, just a summary of southern culture in general, as I'm sure you're well aware.

But our culture isn't really that friendly in practice to Christians who are open about their faith, either. I mean, being a southern Christian is nice and all, but it doesn't really give you an "in." And it doesn't mean Christians are all warm and fuzzy towards each other, either. I personally know a wealthy businessman who fired a woman for being pregnant. You'd think that would be illegal, but there are loopholes. And this guy is one of the deacons at his church and generally seen as living an exemplary life.

The point is people suck, regardless of their status of belief. I mean, it really DOESN'T matter. Mormons seem to me to have a much greater religious sense of the importance of being nice to people, but even there I've met at least ONE whose particular religious fervor didn't match up with reality. I grew to hate working with that woman and her fake smile. But you do see that smile a lot on people who come to understand that somehow peace, joy, and happiness are inextricably tied to the religion and that must be on display at all times regardless of how they actually feel.

There should be a fine on excessive happiness.

And that's where your problem is. You are out of the ordinary for these people, so it naturally comes as a surprise when you express opinions that differ from the usual way of things.

But what I can't understand is how this would effect any prospect of getting a job. You're right. Religion (or lack thereof) is protected in this country. So why would your atheism be anybody's business when it comes to employment? I was discussing church with a co-worker one day when a new guy joined us. Not wanting to exclude him, we just asked what he thought about whatever it was we were talking about. He said, "Oh, I'm a heathen." Ok...new topic!

That's one thing. But does religion ever come up in a job interview? It shouldn't unless the job deals directly with religion. A Baptist church in the south won't hire an openly gay pastor because of religious views regarding homosexuality. If you're an atheist, why would you WANT a church job in the first place? That's the only reason I can think of why it would even matter, but not in the secular world. If religion comes up in an interview, politely decline to respond. The employer ought to know full well those are illegal questions.

I don't think it's right for parents to ask you to hide your views just because you're an atheist. Again, the question is in any given situation "What does it matter?" Why is it so important to be Christian/Jew/Satanist/Wiccan/agnostic/atheist/gay/straight? How is religion, ideology, sexual orientation, etc. even relevant to the job? If it IS, then there's a reason not to hire you. But if it's NOT relevant, it shouldn't even be part of the conversation. There's an appropriate time/place for those discussions. There's nothing legally wrong with being an atheist. What IS wrong is being overly zealous about those views. Not LEGALLY wrong, but just plain rude. That applies to EVERY viewpoint, not just yours or mine.

In other words, feel free to say/do what you want when it comes to religion/non-religion/anti-religion. You should also feel free to not be a d!ck about it.



Awesomelyglorious
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15 Jan 2011, 10:17 am

Quartz11 is right. A Constitutional protection means THE LAW can't discriminate against you. This does not mean that private individuals can't do whatever the heck they want. Now, while it is true that religion is a protected category from discrimination, however, given that atheists are one of the most hated groups in America, that protection can't really go too far. Even if a person is not consciously opposed to you for your lack of faith, they can very very easily be opposed unconsciously, and thus have you removed from your job. Even further, if they know about your atheism, they may not take the steps valuable towards getting you that job, and/or discriminate against you unconsciously on getting that job.(the interview may leave them with a much worse impression of you)

In short, you should probably hide your atheism somewhat. Not in all things, but a little. This means that you can be an atheist online. You can wear atheist shirts when you do things where you don't expect to see other people, and where things are clear enough that you should not get screwed over. (Restaurants may be a bad idea, depending on how religious the area seems to be to you.)

Really, if I were you, I'd hide your beliefs somewhat. I am not sure how well you can do this, but if you can, it would likely be idea if you could actually explore the religious opinions in your area to see what you could get away with in what contexts. This would involve messing with people you were unlikely to see again, in an attempt to create a random sampling per context. (or even just asking other people's opinions dependent on context)



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15 Jan 2011, 10:19 am

Of course no-one will hire you there, and, even if they did, your colleagues will make your life a living Hell.

Maybe you could tell people that you were Jewish. They would, on the one hand, be in awe of you as being one of God's Chosen People, and, on the other, both hate you and seek to convert you. You still would never get a job.



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15 Jan 2011, 10:44 am

Actually, Jews could get jobs. Atheism actually beats out most other issues in terms of how negatively it is perceived.



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15 Jan 2011, 11:06 am

atheism is the fastest growing religious movement in the world so just wait a few years them move back.

In the meantime, move to North Dakota where the highest incidence of atheist households in the US is.


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15 Jan 2011, 4:26 pm

AngelRho wrote:
<snip>.


Nicely said Rho.


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15 Jan 2011, 7:18 pm

Actually, a lot of people who do go to church really aren't religious at all. A lot of people go to church because it is easy to make business connections. A lot of independent contractors, realtors and car salesmen are church goers. I remember one pastor writing about his experiences at a small church. One of the church members was a car salesman, who knew that he had the pastor. The pastor felt that he was overcharged by an amount just equal to the salesman's annual donation to the church, which wasn't very much.

Here is another option--read the Bible, say that you are a member of some religious group (pick some ancient Greek or Hebrew word, but preferably Greek, so as not to appear Jewish), and say that you are a member of, say, Agape Fellowship (Agape Fellowship already exists, so find another Greek word). When they invite you to their church, tell them that you had been there previously, but just didn't find it to be filled with the holy spirit. You can also find some acceptable Biblical reason. An easy one is to say that the Bible requires women to wear hats in church, and you objected to the bare-headed women at the Sunday service.

This will be a lot safer than letting on that you are really an atheist.