Atheist Reality

I’ve read some good essays on this subject. In this one, I attempted to present from a viewpoint of addressing someone who may be considering open declaration of no belief in gods, nor support of any religion, especially if they currently practice, or belong to, a religion. This is my first of several. I wrote one similar blog in June. You can see it here.

So you want tell people that you’re an atheist?

Select all applicable answers

Select all applicable answers

If you think you might want to be known as an atheist, you should know this. Perhaps your idea is that all it takes is to not believe in any god. That’s true on the inside and in your mind, not so on the outside where you’ll have to deal with other people. You may think that your beliefs are private, and not anyone else’s business. You may think that no one cares. Maybe you have the incredibly naïve opinion that no one will judge you. Maybe you foresee other atheists waiting in the shadows to welcome you with open arms. Some are. They’re not in the shadows. There are groups which you may join, but first this.

In your naiveté, you may believe that your only life change will be that you’ll stop pretending and covering up. Thus, finally being truthful about what you do, or do not, believe. Maybe you think that you’ll continue to be the same moral, loyal, loving friend, family member, and citizen that you have always been. Of course you will, but not in everyone’s eyes. And, I’ll bet you did not know this: there is a test and there’s a penalty. A test for all, and a penalty for most.

The Never Ending test.

Atheism1You have to pass a test to be an Atheist. Did you know that? And the damn test never ends – you take it repeatedly. The questions may be the same, or they may keep changing. Every answer you give will be wrong. You’ll be forced to keep explaining and justifying your wrong answers. You may be criticized by your family and friends for not choosing the correct answers. Knowledge will not help. If you try to use science, you will be told that you know nothing of science. You’ll be given a grade of F for trying to use it to explain your position. If you dare to use logic or philosophy: F. History? F! God forbid that you use religion/scripture/dogma: F-minus.

Are you willing to pay the price?

If you come out as an Atheist, you will be penalized (test results notwithstanding)– up to and including the death penalty (unlikely, but possible). At some level, you may be ostracized. It may be by people close to you, some group that you belong to, or perhaps at your job.

You can forget about being POTUS. Almost anyone can be president regardless of race, sex, number of marriages/affairs, baldness (or silly hair), borderline mental health condition, or creed. But, no creed at all? No cred! If you don’t believe in a god, you will not be elected. Religions with much lower percentage of population numbers, such as Muslim, Hindu or Buddhist have a better chance. But they are not atheists. (Okay, maybe some Buddhist sects are.)

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If you live in the Americas, most of Europe or Asia, and are of Christian or Jewish background, you’ll probably not be killed. But, if you live in many countries, some fundamentalist religious groups, or the government, may decide to enforce the laws of god according scripture (yes, they do say that) and your ass will be dispatched into the fires of Hell. It happens. Even in Hebrew/Old Testament scripture, apostates must be gone. Few people continue to follow that old law of god, thank god.

An alternative for some.

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For some people who don’t believe in any gods, they admit atheism, but they stop there. They refuse to take any test. They either don’t care about consequences or aren’t affected by them. They realize that no answer will ever be sufficient for most concerned believers.

The quiet, timid, in the shadows non-believer is a personal choice for many. But so is not ever fighting for or defending your rights and the rights of others. Many believers may wish you’d be quiet. Some may enjoy the fray and attempt to stump-the-chump. While a few others may be legitimately curious or some combination of all three.

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Be honest and wise.

May you make wise, informed, and well-considered decisions. May you find the patience and grace to face the challenges of life with aplomb. May each day bring you joy, and may you spread that joy with love around the earth.

Note: A blog post on the test is under construction.

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18 thoughts on “Atheist Reality

  1. I think as people become more secular, slowly in the United States of course but much more quickly elsewhere, people are becoming far more tolerant of atheism. Bernie Sanders claimed he “wasn’t particularly religious” and he did pretty well, among liberals albeit but he polled higher than most any Republican.

    And coming out as atheist has been awesome. Sure, it’s awkward around my grandparents or whatever, but it’s liberating to live my life for myself and not for a god. Not having to go sing songs once a week on a Sunday morning? I call it a victory. 🙂

    Great post though, and important questions for any blossoming atheist to consider.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. i’ll second Travis’ thoughts. I’ve always been the plaid sheep of the family so it didn’t surprise them very much when I came out as an atheist. I do find it necessary to always stand up for my rights and those of others. Many theists do get quite upset about that, especially when their false claims are pointed out to them.

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  3. Excellent post. I’ve been a vocal atheist for 20 years and although I’ve met a few people who tried to challenge me on it, I’ve found it doesn’t really happen in my personal life. Online, sure, but people argue about flavors of chips online so I don’t take anyone seriously. My lack of challengers or haters may be because religion or lack thereof isn’t important to me… I don’t believe in a god but I don’t go around shouting it from the rooftops. I think most people are atheist when they aren’t thinking about it.

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  4. Well I never mind an atheist. They all seem to be reasonable people and best of all, they don’t go round trying to get me to see their way 🙂
    I was 33 when my first real-live atheist friend came out to me. Initially, I was so sad she didn’t have belief. Then I realized that’s how Christians feel about me, so I got over that pretty quick. I have way more atheist friends now. (I also attend a church with some atheists…cause UU.) Anyway, I think it’s become a more viable option, but as with many societal goals, it’s a long way to go.

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    • Thanks, Joey. I suppose it is our human tendency to notice the most difficult people first, learn that they are one of these or those, and then stereotype the group bases upon what we observe.

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      • It must be, as I surely do it.
        There are people who like ketchup on their spaghetti marinara. I’d rather focus on those people 😉 lol — In reality, I need to teach myself not to care.

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  5. I find it harder to be agnostic. I was atheist for a number of years and most people just shook their head at me as though I was doomed and let it go at that. But once I admitted a god, then it was like, fresh meat. Quick convert her to our god before someone else gets there first. sigh. Then I find myself trying to explain I believe in god, but not religion. And that’s…dangerous….

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    • “May you make wise, informed, and well-considered decisions in your life. May you find the patience and grace to face the challenges of life with aplomb. May each day bring you joy, and may you spread that joy with love around the earth.”

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Psalm 46:1- ‘God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.’ Jesus has been such a good friend to me. I see Him so easily, and also the evidence of Him, I mean. Belief is required to be saved- from loneliness I think, and yet without belief, you can’t see to believe. So then, Atheists- one can’t help but respect them- most of the ones I’ve met. I appreciate honesty. (Ha ha, I sneer at the ones I complain about!) You, my new friend, are among the cream of the crop.

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  7. Interesting post. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I was fortunate enough to grow up in Canada where atheism and secularism are far more tolerated, but I’ve ironically immigrated to a very conservative part of the United States. Im very open about my atheism if anyone asks, but I tend not to being the topic up to those around me due to the ridiculous assumptions attached to it.

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  8. I’d never realised one could ‘come out’ as an atheist, or be criticised for it. I know religion strongly pervades US culture and thought, but I always supposed that being an atheist was considered no big deal. In the UK or France, it’s about as contentious as being a vegetarian.

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    • Based upon comments on this post, it depends on location and how religious families are. Some responders have reported relief from the burden of covering up. That is in real life, on line is a bit more dicey. Thanks, Curtis.

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  9. ive never directly discussed my own slide away from the church with anyone in person. I don’t know or mingle with great numbers these days, and the subject simply does not come up. Yankees just dont do that in-your-face thing about religion, I find, unless they are Witnesses or Mormons. Most people practice live and let live and are careful not to look in your windows when they walk by. And online, as someone once said, no one can see your eyes. So I feel much freer to gas about any of it.

    Curtiss, you have apparently never run afoul of Born Again Christians, or Wiccans, or Jehovah’s Witnesses. They are convinced that their God is THE God and simply cannot let go. You have to remember that this country was originally founded because one group of people wanted religious freedom. Not for everyone, just for themselves. That kind of feeling has persisted for centuries now and everytime someone argues about it they bring up the “religious freedom” thing, not realizing how accurately inaccurate they’re being.

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