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Bloodheart
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07 May 2013, 11:29 pm

Hopefully I'll be moving from England to California at some point...culturally it's very different, lots of very strong views on issues such as politics and religion.

I'm Atheist (Pagan-Atheist to be specific), I'm 100% pro-religion but formal religion is just not for me - in England we're a Christian nation but most aren't practicing Christians, where as in California Christianity seems to represent the majority. Even when looking at fairly run-of-the-mill Christians here there's still an idea that Christianity is the norm, as you go down the spectrum of Christian folks you then get those who insist their god is the only god* and who get overly sensitive about anything outside of their faith, that's also not even counting those who are fundamentalist or who use their faith to hate others.

* When I think of such people these are the situations that come to mind;
Online a company posted an image that included the words 'God damn' which was met with an angry customer complaining about using the lords name in vain, I replied pointing out that HER god may have a problem with it but not all gods do...the response was of course that there was only one god, absolutely no acknowledgement that her belief was her own and not the absolute truth. When sitting in the future step-kids gym class the conversations from 'soccer moms' are creepy, one conversation I overheard once involved a mom complaining that her kids school was teaching about Greek mythology and did an activity where the kids draw themselves as gods...'god of football'...'god of computer games'...'goddess of my little pony'...etc. but this fun silly little activity warranted the mom to act with such disgust that she was making a complaint to the school and talking about moving the kids school. These are the normal run-of-the-mill soccer mom types, not even the fundamentalists....god help me if I have to deal with a fundamentalist.

I don't have to tell anyone I'm atheist - but I don't much like the idea that in some situations I may have to hide my beliefs, which are important to me, and if someone assumes I'm Christian I worry about the potential response if I correct them, also if someone uses their faith as a means of controlling or judging others am I supposed to keep my mouth shut? If anyone where I live in England was to assume others follow Christianity or use their faith to act with prejudice towards others everyone would rip into them, where I come from that's just not accepted - but I have a feeling that in certain groups here it is accepted.

I also worry about how I talk and my sense of humor - I don't make any particularly anti-religious jokes in my day-to-day life but who knows what may offend someone, if I make a 'naughty' joke (Americans seem far more prudish, especially if also Christian), if I use the word 'god' or 'lord' when I talk, if I talk about my religion or forget that Christianity is the default setting here...that could cause problems, at least in terms of getting on socially with people. On top of all the other cultural differences, adding the issue of religion adds to the potential problems in that area. Does anyone know what I mean?


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Jacoby
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07 May 2013, 11:43 pm

I wouldn't worry too much to be honest, it's not like you'd be moving to rural Alabama or something. I've lived in more conservative parts of the country than Cali and I've never heard anyone hold any prejudice against atheists, you might get a few weird look over the Pagan part if anything. Know your audience and I can't foresee you having any problems.



VIDEODROME
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08 May 2013, 12:01 am

I think the Episcopalians are not quite as uptight. I think the Catholics may be the most uptight of them all.

If you meet an American who is Irish Catholic, that can be a volatile combination when it comes to them being defensive. I say that mostly from my experience because my mom defines herself as Irish Catholic and Fundamentalist.

I will say that in my town I hang around a book store where the owner likes to promote open Political / Spiritual discussion. The people there have managed to keep it civil and they would welcome someone like yourself to share your Pagan beliefs.

As for me, my parents are great for letting me stay with them while I go back to College, but I conceal my alternative views on religion. I lean toward Non-Theist with misc influences from Taoism and Terrence Mckenna lol.



danandlouie
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08 May 2013, 12:01 am

i live in the south and to be anything other than christian is to be evil. i've been in 50 or so countries and learned very quickly it is best to keep quiet about religious affiliations. even in california most people will assume you're a christian. why not let them unless it is a situation that you really want to speak up. many americans will simply hate you for your religious beliefs and that is a sad fact. it is not iraq, but close.



Raptor
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08 May 2013, 12:03 am

You'll fit right in very well in California, especially the LA area.
The only parts of the US where you might want to keep it to yourself is in the bible belt and even that's not nearly what some insist on making it out to be.


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VIDEODROME
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08 May 2013, 12:04 am

I sometimes imagine leaving here and moving to Europe actually.



marshall
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08 May 2013, 1:07 am

It's not that bad actually, depending on where you are. A lot of places it seems like the only religion people really follow anymore is professional sports. :roll: I imagine that's the same in most countries though.



1000Knives
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08 May 2013, 1:17 am

New England is mostly atheist/agnostic/doesn't care.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bvjCGgG26CI[/youtube]
How I feel when talking to people about religion where I live. That's if they're nice and not Richard Dawkins fanboys/girls.



mds_02
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08 May 2013, 1:24 am

Your custom rank says Grisha's gal. I'm gonna assume, correct me if I'm wrong, that you're moving here to be with him. If I remember correctly, he lives here in LA. That being the case, don't worry about it you'll be fine. Sure there's individuals who might give you a hard time but, on the whole, non-christians don't suffer any particular discrimination around here.



PsychoSarah
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08 May 2013, 8:57 am

California isn't bad about that. It is the deep south you have to worry about. And Utah.



Tequila
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08 May 2013, 9:14 am

PsychoSarah wrote:
And Utah.


That place sounds like a dark hell for atheists.



PsychoSarah
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08 May 2013, 10:16 am

Tequila wrote:
PsychoSarah wrote:
And Utah.


That place sounds like a dark hell for atheists.


:) Atheists don't believe in hell. Just life. But you are right. Missionaries dominate, and scream at you if you are unwilling to convert. And I find the religion itself to be very... strange. That is an understatement, but I would rather not offend any Mormons on this site. More reasonable than Scientology, at least.



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08 May 2013, 10:52 am

Not everybody believes in otherworldly hells, but we all know there are very real, earthly ones.



TomGunsmoke
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08 May 2013, 8:30 pm

PsychoSarah wrote:
:) Atheists don't believe in hell. Just life. But you are right. Missionaries dominate, and scream at you if you are unwilling to convert. And I find the religion itself to be very... strange. That is an understatement, but I would rather not offend any Mormons on this site. More reasonable than Scientology, at least.


Disclaimer: Following post is not intended to offend any individual's, or organization's, belief system.

I've generally welcome any Missionaries, Witnesses, Mormons, JW's, et. al. into my home to discuss what they were presenting. Oddly, after the discussion, and genuine questioning posed to them in the interest of garnering knowledge, they never return (even though they typically promise to do so). I've heard that indicating no belief in God is the most certain way to encourage them to continue contact attempts (anecdotal).


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AngelRho
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08 May 2013, 9:11 pm

Tequila wrote:
PsychoSarah wrote:
And Utah.


That place sounds like a dark hell for atheists.

It's an especially dark place for theists as well. I've known Baptist missionaries who have gone to Salt Lake City to pass out literature on street corners and even go door-to-door (sound familiar?). Every Mormon I've ever known personally where I live I've gotten along with quite well--with maybe one exception. That person was trying to be the archetypal "good Mormon" and put on a good show of it. We worked together in community theater the one season I was musical director. She was one of those who smiled all the time because that's what she felt she was SUPPOSED to do. In reality she didn't really know what she was doing, was unbelievably rigid, and the abject misery she felt shone through the fake smile.

But otherwise they've all seemed rather nice to me.

Utah was built largely as a sanctuary for LDS. So I think it's ironic that they have the same reaction many of us tend to show LDS and JW when legit Christian groups and/or even atheists show up knocking on their doors (I saw a video on youtube of an atheist going to Utah...anybody see that one? I think he even bought the underwear!). From what I understand, Christian groups are poorly received up there.

I'm not an atheist. I imagine you'd have a better time there than you'd think as opposed to the various other forms of theism. The few times I've ever gotten a Mormon to just talk about religion and not really debate it, I've noticed there is a certain feelgood, Mayberry-esque kind of vibe they get. I imagine this gets amplified in Utah. I don't think anyone would be overly judgmental if they learn you're atheist. But I imagine you'd be sufficiently annoyed with that level of exposure to it to not want to hang around any more than you have to!



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08 May 2013, 9:35 pm

Quote:
If you meet an American who is Irish Catholic, that can be a volatile combination when it comes to them being defensive. I say that mostly from my experience because my mom defines herself as Irish Catholic and Fundamentalist.


In my experience, there are many Protestant denominations whose members are FAR more defensive and uptight than the average Catholic. Baptists and Assembly of God members spring to mind, specifically.
Lutherans and Methodists tend to be less easily ruffled.