Post # 1
Okay…I want to start with a disclaimer: I’m not trying to start drama with or disrespect people who identify as Christian (or any varient therof). I’m from a city that is practically the Holy See of North America, and I was raised Catholic. Many of my friends and family consider themselves Cathoilc or more generally Christian and I respect their beliefs and I would never fault those who feel they have found a fulfulling set of religious beliefs (wherever they come from).
That said…I kind of feel alone sometimes in NOT sharing those beliefs. I was a religious studies minor at a Jesuit university and what I’ve come away with is a strong belief in secular humanism. I don’t know if I’d even call myself “spiritual” or “agnostic”…I believe in us…not in a personal, capital G god. I’ve experienced several uncomfortable conversion-attempts (by well-meaning people whom I still consider friends), and, frankly, I’m tired of being made to feel like I’m immoral, or less worthy, or un-American if I don’t identify as a monotheist.
Anyone else in the same boat?
Post # 3
Hi! I’m in a similar boat, although I’m an atheist amidst Protestants. Honestly I don’t talk about religion with people because it only seems invite drama and hurt feelings (on their end, not mine). I feel like they’re somehow threatened by my lack of faith, as if they feel I’m trying to invalidate theirs by simply expressing my view. Of course that’s not the case, just as you wrote.
If your well-meaning friends are the ones who bring it up, maybe there’s a polite way to tell them that you appreciate their concern but it isn’t necessary. I go the more blunt route when they’re not grasping my hints to drop it already. 😉
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Post # 4
I should add that it’s completely American to have your own religious viewpoint, or lack thereof! Just look at the First Amendment in the Bill of Rights, and there is no legally recognized religion. Christianity just happens to be the majority.
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Post # 5
@Sazerac: You are not alone. I too was raised Catholic (my father is Jewish, but does not practice), but now consider myself a secular humanist/atheist. I’ve been open with my close friends, most of whom share the same views. However, the hardest part for me is feeling like I can’t share my beliefs (or lack thereof) with my sister or other family members.
I know what you mean about being made to feel immoral or like you aren’t a part of the club. Religion does not equal morals…plenty of people who are religious lack morals. Without god I know it’s best to treat people kindly, I’ve never taken something that did not belong to me, and I don’t go on a killing spree when I am in a bad mood…I don’t need god to tell me that 🙂
Post # 6
@vaness13181: Word, I’ve often restrained myself from punching someome sturdily about the face…and it wasn’t because of god.
@automaticflowers: You’re so right about the constitution…but when I think about the fact that you can’t even run for president (or for any public office in many places) without proclaiming your belief in god…I get…cranky.
Post # 7
I went to a mennonite high school and was openly (and probably antagonistically) atheist. One year, one of my Christian friends gave me a WWJD bracelet for my birthday. People are stupid sometimes.
My officiant is a secular humanist officiant. She says that we can have anything in our vows as long as it’s not religious. I love her!
Post # 8
@Sazerac: I feel you. I grew up Catholic and decided at 18 that I don’t believe in a personal god who cares what you do on earth. I’m not sure honestly if there is a god, but I’m pretty sure (to a human’s resonable degree of certainty) that if there was an omnipotent all powerful being, it wouldn’t care what puny little people do. It’s like me caring what ants do.
I have lots of theist family members and friends. I just don’t bring up the subject with them. I used to feel like I can’t talk about my lack of beliefs because it was insulting to them, but felt so constrained that other people can proudly talk about their faiths all day and I wasn’t supposed to mention anything. I’ve since changed my views. I now proudly say I’m an atheist when asked. I’m educated on how to defend my beliefs. The family I keep in contact with knows my beliefs (or lack thereof), and it is a non-issue. You can be both respectful of other people’s faiths while holding on to your own agnostic/atheistic beliefs.
I agree with you that it’s sad we can’t elect an “out” atheist to public office. The separation of church and state is something I vehemently believe in. I feel that as more people admit they are agnostic/atheist, it will become more and more acceptable, and hopefully it’s a non-issue one day. Ag/Atheists as a group generally don’t care what people think of them, and are not given to identify themselves according to this worldview; personally, I hope more and more ag/ath “out” themselves and stand proud of their logical/secular humanist worldviews.