Fellow Atheists/Agnostic Atheists - Let's Chat: Do you feel it is risky being "out" these days?

Interesting article in io9 about Zach Kopplin, a 19-year old history student at Rice, taking on the Louisiana Science Education Act.

For Zack Kopplin, it all started back in 2008 with the passing of the Louisiana Science Education Act. The bill made it considerably easier for teachers to introduce creationist textbooks into the classroom. Outraged, he wrote a research paper about it for a high school English class. Nearly five years later, the 19-year-old Kopplin has become one of the fiercest — and most feared — advocates for education reform in Louisiana.

(We don't have a Creationism vs. Science thread -- and probably don't need one -- this seemed the best spot to find people interested in the article.)

I think we've tried a couple times on Creationism v. Science, and I think it hasn't gone well either time. We always seem to derail ourselves into threadlock.

We actually have creationists in p&c? O.O

Yeah.

I know the difference, I guess I just don't label the latter category to be "creationists," since there isn't much "creating" going on so much as a "setting the ball rolling" in those views.
Maybe we can label them "rollingists."

I grew up with young-earthers, maybe I'm still a little territorial.

It's important to distinguish between types of creationists. There's the young earth creationists, literalists who believe God created the earth only a few thousand years ago; and then there are the people who believe God created the world, but in ways that don't conflict with the evidence we now have.

The thing about the former category? They're so totally off the rails, it's pointless to discuss anything at all with them, since they basically don't believe in logic. And those are the people writing education policy in poor, rural areas in this country. I suspect there aren't too many of them around these parts...

"Creationism" in the US usually refers to Young Earth Creationism, or more generally to a disbelief that evolution caused the diversity of species in the world (as opposed to Creation of "types" which were then preserved after the Great Flood.) Tied with this is a denial of modern geology, because that gives us a good idea of the age of very old things; a distrust of cosmology, for the same reason, including theories of the origin of the universe; and a general distrust of science as an authority on the world, because the aforementioned fields and their relations (physics, especially) are supposedly contradicting God's word.

Old Earth creationism is simply the idea that "God created the Earth/universe long ago, as science tells us" and the believer then picks which specifics they want to layer on that. "God created evolution", or "The Earth is old but God created all the species as they are today, however, over 99% of them have died out" and so forth into many variants.

Saw a good quote on Metafilter:

Pope Guilty wrote:

To be a militant Christian, you have to shoot abortion providers. To be a militant Muslim, you have to blow up buses. To be a militant atheist, you have to not be quietly ashamed of being an atheist.

Cue Stalin/Pol Pot/Mao cite in 3...2...1...

Robear wrote:

Cue Stalin/Pol Pot/Mao cite in 3...2...1...

How about an Ayn Rand cite ; D

CheezePavilion wrote:

How about an Ayn Rand cite ; D

Fiction authors don't really apply here.

Robear wrote:
CheezePavilion wrote:

How about an Ayn Rand cite ; D

Fiction authors don't really apply here. :-)

I think that one needs a little more time in the oven--doesn't make sense, so I can't give it a smiley.

We just had a lot of weak people (i.e. intellectuals) that couldn't re-educate themselves or survive without food for more than a few months. And according to Wikipedia, China's population actually doubled under my stewardship, so I'd say my policies were on the whole pro-life, really.

Robear wrote:
CheezePavilion wrote:

How about an Ayn Rand cite ; D

Fiction authors don't really apply here. :-)

So we can stop quoting the bible then?

Spoiler:

ZING!

Sounds good to me, Lupus.

Rallick wrote:
Robear wrote:
CheezePavilion wrote:

How about an Ayn Rand cite ; D

Fiction authors don't really apply here. :-)

So we can stop quoting the bible then?

Spoiler:

ZING!

I love all of this.

The internet exists for your amusement, Nicholaas. Never forget it.

McIrishJihad wrote:
Nicholaas wrote:
krev82 wrote:

Rep. Kyrsten Sinema Sworn Into Congress without a Bible.

She's the first one apparently, a shame she still can't do so as an open atheist and must do so as 'unaffiliated' but it's a start at least.

With Pete Stark out of Congress, at least we have some kind of non-theist representation. Whether or not she's an atheist is irrelevant; she won't be (implicitly) swearing to uphold the laws of a mythological tale filled with genocide, infanticide, slavery, misogyny, incest, and celestial rape presided over by a cruel, immoral, petty, infantile god.

Good on her.

But tell us how you really feel

Look, she's got Sin right in her name. How unfortunate.

Jumping back to the "is it risky to be out":

Me personally, I'm not an atheist for the same reason I'm not a theist...I'm more of a humanist and an empiricist. That said; I've learned not to say that out loud where I live; because it doesn't play well. My son has caught flack at school because he doesn't go to church. We have neighbors who don't let their kids play at our house because I have philosophy books in the living room that might contradict their young earth weirdness, and because I have a Qur'an next to the Bible, next to the Bhagavad Gita, next to the Torah, next to the...you get the idea. (To be fair, those people are also Teahadists, so there's a whole lot of reasons they don't want their kids at the house of the token leftist- intelligentsia.)

My point is; it would not be ok, where I live, to admit agnosticism, much less atheism.

duckideva wrote:

Jumping back to the "is it risky to be out":

Me personally, I'm not an atheist for the same reason I'm not a theist...I'm more of a humanist and an empiricist. That said; I've learned not to say that out loud where I live; because it doesn't play well. My son has caught flack at school because he doesn't go to church. We have neighbors who don't let their kids play at our house because I have philosophy books in the living room that might contradict their young earth weirdness, and because I have a Qur'an next to the Bible, next to the Bhagavad Gita, next to the Torah, next to the...you get the idea. (To be fair, those people are also Teahadists, so there's a whole lot of reasons they don't want their kids at the house of the token leftist- intelligentsia.)

My point is; it would not be ok, where I live, to admit agnosticism, much less atheism.

Sorry to hear that you cannot speak freely. I myself live in what is considered a bible belt in Canada with so many indo-Canadian temples and christian churches per capita that the first question that is asked by people is "what church do you go to?" My wife and I have been having a hard time meeting new friends with kids, becuase as soon as they find out my wife sometimes attends church and that I do not they are put off. We would not hear from them again. I found myself saying once or twice that I went to such and such church, but after felt dirty for lying to them and presenting a falsehood. We now have a couple parent friends and I find I do not care anymore if a parent asks me what church I attend. I tell the truth. It is crazy that my desire to make friends out weighed my moral compass and it is not something I hope to revist soon.

As with duckideva, it is sometimes unwise to mention your beliefs. Luckily areas of town are changing and I hope by the time my daughter goes to school it will not be such a big deal.

Do you all remember when you made friends based on the alphabet, math class, and zoning laws or which action figures/dolls you had?

KingGorilla wrote:

Do you all remember when you made friends based on the alphabet, math class, and zoning laws or which action figures/dolls you had?

And video game systems. All through middle school and high school, my friend had a Mac and Nintendo systems. I had a PC and Sega, then Sony systems.

KingGorilla wrote:

Do you all remember when you made friends based on the alphabet, math class, and zoning laws or which action figures/dolls you had?

My best friend for years was named Landon, and we became friends becuase my real is Brandon...

Some of my best friends I still hang out with from high-school were devout Christians. They didn't catch the dreaded atheism off me, and they never won me over to the holy side despite a few attempts. Atheists and religious people can certainly mix, religion doesn't even need to be conversation topic.

Admittedly they are the cool "Ska Music and Skateboarding" kind of Christians. The best sort!

Redwing wrote:

Some of my best friends I still hang out with from high-school were devout Christians. They didn't catch the dreaded atheism off me, and they never won me over to the holy side despite a few attempts. Atheists and religious people can certainly mix, religion doesn't even need to be conversation topic.

Admittedly they are the cool "Ska Music and Skateboarding" kind of Christians. The best sort!

My one friend once said I was the most honest non-christian person he knows... in the city where I live the divide is quite large and your are part of the community or not. That being said you do have a large majority of the middle ground of religious types. I agree that atheists and religious people can mix, but I have found over time my relationships with the more heavily involved of my Christian friends being eroded by their annoyance at my lack of faith. In some cases it got to the point where I was not invited to certain events because the events were only for his or her Christian friends. As the title says I find it risky being "out" these days due to an non understanding in the community where we live.

My wife isn't a theist, but she doesn't really label herself atheist, either. She just doesn't really care about religion. It's a non-issue.
My wife's former best friend, however, was a fairly involved Christian but religion was never an issue between them... Until the friend got engaged to another evangelical a little over two years ago. It must have created some weird feedback Jesus circuit, because the friend started relentless hounding my wife about her apathy-ism until it destroyed their friendship.

I am really surprised by how much proselytizing you guys seem to encounter. I have a 2-year-old and we use a day care which is run by a Methodist church. We sometimes hang out with parents of other kids there, and not once has religion ever been any kind of topic.

Anybody who is so ready to lecture you about why you don't have the proper religion (or the proper anything really) is probably just a jerk. It's one thing to just mention it casually, or respond if questioned, but anybody actively trying to drill their beliefs home (or actively avoiding you because you don't share those beliefs) is not somebody worth dealing with to begin with.

I have Christian friends and it's just a complete non-issue. They don't badger me, I don't badger them. That's just how non-jerks behave.

Yeah, I mean, to be fair, one of my bestest friends in the whole world is a Pentecostal Christian; but she would no more evangelize at me than I would try to make her learn Catholic catechism. (I was raised Catholic, went to Catholic schools, and eventually shipped off to a convent when my parents realized I was developing hormones...and they wanted no part of that, thanks. Heh.)

I actually think that being raised by nuns probably set my feminist ideology in stone when I was pretty young; nuns are tough old birds, most of 'em, and there's nothing a nun can't/won't do if she sets her mind at it. But I also think, because they taught world religions as well as Catholic religion, that it set me on a path of questioning all religion...or at least the part about hairy sky thunderers. (To be honest; in times of great stress, I still say the rosary, because it's like a worry stone; it's just a calming zen koan kind of thing. I'm not really thinking about the words, so much as the familiar sounds comfort me. And I count one of my biggest losses the fact that I don't have my grandmother's rosary, which was made of roses in Biblos, Lebanon. An ex-boyfriend took/destroyed/disappeared it decades ago, and I've been heartbroken about it since.)

Evangelists will very rarely get into a debate with me; because I know the bible way better than they do, most of the time. And I know it in Latin and Aramaic and can argue the Gnostics as well as the KJV mis-translations. (Witch/poisoner for example). I love a good debate, and am willing to have a completely unemotional debate about biblical theory, but evangelists get all weird when you start questioning their understanding of something that most of them have never read.

All that said; now that Boy is 10, I'll soon start taking him to various churches and temples; because I think exposure is important. If he finds something that resonates as true for him, I will make the effort to provide him with opportunities to experience it. I suspect that he will end up more like me, however, in having a "live and let live" ideology where it regards faith.

Bonnonon wrote:
Redwing wrote:

Some of my best friends I still hang out with from high-school were devout Christians. They didn't catch the dreaded atheism off me, and they never won me over to the holy side despite a few attempts. Atheists and religious people can certainly mix, religion doesn't even need to be conversation topic.

Admittedly they are the cool "Ska Music and Skateboarding" kind of Christians. The best sort!

My one friend once said I was the most honest non-christian person he knows... in the city where I live the divide is quite large and your are part of the community or not. That being said you do have a large majority of the middle ground of religious types. I agree that atheists and religious people can mix, but I have found over time my relationships with the more heavily involved of my Christian friends being eroded by their annoyance at my lack of faith. In some cases it got to the point where I was not invited to certain events because the events were only for his or her Christian friends. As the title says I find it risky being "out" these days due to an non understanding in the community where we live.

Please tell me you're in some hole in the Interior, like Midway or PG, and not the Lower Mainland or the island where I may someday go if I retire.

H.P. Lovesauce wrote:
Bonnonon wrote:
Redwing wrote:

Some of my best friends I still hang out with from high-school were devout Christians. They didn't catch the dreaded atheism off me, and they never won me over to the holy side despite a few attempts. Atheists and religious people can certainly mix, religion doesn't even need to be conversation topic.

Admittedly they are the cool "Ska Music and Skateboarding" kind of Christians. The best sort!

My one friend once said I was the most honest non-christian person he knows... in the city where I live the divide is quite large and your are part of the community or not. That being said you do have a large majority of the middle ground of religious types. I agree that atheists and religious people can mix, but I have found over time my relationships with the more heavily involved of my Christian friends being eroded by their annoyance at my lack of faith. In some cases it got to the point where I was not invited to certain events because the events were only for his or her Christian friends. As the title says I find it risky being "out" these days due to an non understanding in the community where we live.

Please tell me you're in some hole in the Interior, like Midway or PG, and not the Lower Mainland or the island where I may someday go if I retire.

I will give you some hints and if you know BC at all you will know where I live... It is considered the bible belt and we were also the murder capital of Canada for some time. To be honest you can live in my area, live your lifestyle and not experience what I have experienced to a degree, but at some point or another you will encounter the fanatical push my religion on you. You may also have friends/acquaintances that throw away all non Christian CD's, and stop dancing due to religion, which is fine by me until the sermon starts. I think it is hard to live in my community and not have some connection to one of the main religious groups. I paint a gloomy picture, but keep in mind that it is only my point of view and others in the area may have not experience what I have depending on what part of the city they grew up in. Also keep in mind that the times are changing in my city and the days of the bible belt are diminishing, due to the decrease in chruch attendance around the city.