Post # 1
In my day to day life I don’t go around publicly proclaiming my atheism. I am not ashamed by any means but I’m one of those people who prefer not to enter into dinner conversations about politics or religion because I know some people get overly heated about it. I am the type to vigorously debate someone and once the conversation is over I drop it and don’t hold it against them.
In certain situations when it becomes uncomfortable I tend to make it clear that I am not religious and then spell out explicitly that I am atheist. Which leads to all interesting things, such as people being surprised and saying I am not the “type” who seems to be atheist. Recently I had someone smugly tell me that he was certain that god was working through me and he was certain I was going to eventually “come back to the lord” gag.
I think there seems to be this thought that basic morality and being a ethical person is somehow anti atheist, and that somehow because I don’t believe in religion or god/jesus that I am not capable of being a good person.
Have you atheist agnostic bees encountered the same thing? Do you think that there is a public perception that atheist are unmoral? Why do you think there is such a mistrust of people who aren’t religious or don’t believe in god?
Post # 3
I’m a practicing Catholic, so I can only give you my insight, but not really answer your question. I don’t think that being a good person and having good morals is linked to religion. I believe that religion teaches these values, but so does good parenting, a good support network, good teachers, etc. I don’t believe all atheists are immoral/amoral, but I also don’t believe all religious people are necesarily completely moral/ethical all the time either.
For someone to judge how you live your life on whether or not you have felt called to a religion is a bit ridiculous.
Post # 4
Most rational people know that morals are not tied to religion. However, there are some zealots out there (who tend to run for office) who believe that one cannot be moral without going to a (Protestant) church every Sunday. I wish people would stop thinking that. Feeling and acting superior because you go to Church is not how I thought a Christian was supposed to feel/act.
Post # 5
There are some who use religion as a crutch rather than as vehicle for personal development. They live by the letter of the law, not the sprirt. For those, there is no interpretation of things at a moral level; something is either wrong, or it’s right, and if it’s wrong then it’s not worthy understanding or knowing or forming your own evaluation from a moral perspective. I suspect you’re running into a lot of this type of people, making it seem like atheists and agnostics are seen as wicked, immoral people. Fortunately, not everyone thinks that way.
Post # 6
- Wedding: October 2011 - Bed & Breakfast
Oh goodness, yes. When I’ve felt it necessary to declare my lack of belief in a god, I’ve had such strange reactions. Like somehow, since I’m a relatively moral, honest, upstanding person, I MUST believe in a god because surely there is no other way to be a moral, honest, and upstanding person. It’s such a strange response, and it really helps me see just how narrow-minded those people were.
I don’t have any advice, really. I typically just shake my head and exit the conversation. Narrow-minded people take way too much energy and patience to deal with, and I have better things to do that futilely try to expand their horizons.
Post # 7
Well, most Western morals are based in some way on Christian religious values, so you are living those values to a certain extent whether you realise it or not… they have just become such an ingrained part of society, and this has been passed onto you during your upbringing.
… but of course, that doesn’t mean that you have to be religious to live them! I find it a bit bizarre that people cannot separate the religious from the social.
As an aside: “In certain situations when it becomes uncomfortable I tend to make it clear that I am not religious…. people being surprised and saying I am not the “type” who seems to be atheist….I think there seems to be this thought that basic morality and being a ethical person is somehow anti atheist”
Allow me to change your words in order to describe my own experience: “In certain situations when it becomes uncomfortable I tend to make it clear that I am religious…. people being surprised and saying I am not the “type” who seems to be religious….I think there seems to be this thought that being an intelligent, thinking, non-dogmatic person is somehow anti-religious”.
*Sigh*. Sometimes human beings are just too ridiculous…
Post # 8
I know exactly how you feel. My SO and I are not really atheist, but we have fallen away from the church we were raised in. I have also dabbled in some aspects of paganism which I would never tell anyone in real life. I know people would judge and not accept that. His parents will ask us crap like when was the last time you went to church, and when we say last time we went with the family on vacation I can tell they are thinking wow they have issues. Basically his family thinks since we don’t really participate in a formal religion we are horrible people and must have some closet issues. It’s very frustrating.
Post # 9
This is amusing, since where I live (Quebec) it’s the opposite. Religion is associated with Catholicism which is associated with pedophilia and homophobia. I guess it’s an equally absurd association as atheism to amorality. I minored in religious studies in university (studying religion as an atheist was interesting), and people thought that was very odd and it was generally perceived negatively.
On the other hand I have US family who I’m pretty sure think I’m going to hell because I wasn’t baptised… There’s this idea that no matter how much good I strive the bring to the world on a daily basis, as my SO said (jokingly, paraphrasing his family), “it doesn’t matter if you’re a good person, without being cleansed of the original sin you’re inherently sinful”.
On the flip slide, I’m an environmental scientist and I’ve noticed that there’s a tendency to portray religion as silly and irrational in the scientific community. My collegue said the other day that “oh good, your SO doesn’t believe in God, because otherwise I would consider him stupid”. WHAT? She said a few times that she finds him extremely intelligent, but belief in God would change your mind? That annoys me just as much.
Why can’t we all just respect each other? I’m happy that the Bee seems to be non-judgemental!
Post # 10
@TwoCityBride: I notice this all the time. I simply choose to not tell people i am athetist unless the flat out ask me “are you religious” or a question of some sort. Once I share that information a lot of people no longer want my input on advice, constantly want to ask me why, tell me they will pray for me, or (and this is the worse) question why good things are happening in my life because they apparently believe i should have a horrible life and be miserable. It is a very touchy and hard subject and i have lost a lot of friends by telling them this information. At the end of the day I dont care because i will not change my beliefs to be friends with someone. I think it is really sad because most of the time i would not judge anyone for their decisions to be reiigious (as longas they arent shoving it in my face). Growing up in a religious family i think this sterotype comes from religious people honestly believeing atheist are horrible people, out to hurt and deceieve everyone else. People are judged based off of their beliefs rather than their morals, and it is very sad.
Post # 11
@cincilover: “I have also dabbled in some aspects of paganism which I would never tell anyone in real life”
Hahaha that’s funny. I also had an interest in paganism for a while, and I still wear a pentagram pendant – to me it symbolises harmony and the 5 elements. My US family seem to think it’s the mark of Satan.
Post # 14
I’m agnostic, but I’m very involved in community and charities, and it’s given me a different insight.
I think the belief that morality is somehow linked to religion is derived from the fact that it is SO MUCH easier to become involved with charity work if you go through a church.
I love my FI’s church because, at the start of each sermon, the pastor runs through which community groups need a little extra help and how you can get involved with them. It’s so much easier to become involved when explicitly given the means to involve yourself: meeting the people you need to talk to right away and being able to sign up on the spot.
My Fiance is an athiest, but we both continue to be involved in his church and volunteer with his youth group, because we love the community aspect of it.
We may not believe in a God or believe the bible is fact, but we appreciate the community aspect the church brings to our lives.
Post # 15
@arathella: Right! I love pentagrams and I haven’t had the courage to buy one! People are so uneducated…I believe the pentagram in inverted if it represents Satanism LOL. My dream place to live would be a community that is small and diverse..unfortunately that probably isn’t happening for awhile.
Post # 16
@BeachBride2014: I very much agree with this! My SO really dislikes the church and I am trying to convince him to at least respect a lot of the work they do. We previously have done missions trips not for the religous aspect but for the work we did for people and it was very rewarding. There are also so many soup kitchens and services for homeless people provided by churches in our city which is huge because our city needs the help!