Childrearing

My Daughter Is An Atheist And I’m Terrified For Her

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what if god doesnt believe in AtheistsA few weeks ago, my oldest daughter (who is 10 going on 25) came to me with a serious expression on her face. She sat me down and said to me “Mama, I need to talk to you about something” in that tone that makes your heart drop to the pit of your stomach. Of course, every terrified thought you can imagine went through my head: Is someone hurting her? Am I going to have to buy a shot gun? Did she some how figure out how to rob a bank? Thankfully the next words out her mouth weren’t an admission of pre-teen armed robbery but something I’ve been expecting for a while now: “Mama, I’m an Atheist.” I was both relieved and terrified…

But not because she is a non-believer. My husband and I have exposed our kids to as many belief systems as we could over the years. We have Jewish and Christian heritage, we live in the cultural melting pot that is NYC, and the kids currently attend a Parochial school. However, I have identified as a non-believer for most of my life, and the same can be said for her dad (my ex-husband) and her step-dad (my husband). What I’m worried about is how Atheists are treated in the U.S., and how this may affect her life down the road.

When I first came”out” as an Atheist, half of my family completely cut me off. My mother and her side of my family are very open-minded, but my dad’s side leans towards fundamentalist Christianity, and could never understand why I chose to break away from “salvation,” therefore “condemning my soul to hell.” I was raised by my dad around these folks, so having them turn their backs on me for my beliefs was a tough pill to swallow, especially as a pregnant 19-year-old kid. My dad loves me unconditionally, but he’s never fully accepted that I no longer believe. Thankfully my children will never have to worry about us turning them away, but the rest of the world is a different story.

Atheist discrimination is rampant in America. There are still six states with laws on the books that would bar myself or my daughter, as Atheists, from running for office (even though that’s against the constitution). A 2012 survey found that roughly half of all Americans find Atheism “threatening,” while a University of Oregon study concluded that people distrust Atheists like myself and my kind, generous, loving daughter more than rapists. Seriously. Apparently, according to some folks, not believing in a deity is worse than forcing yourself on someone sexually.

Of course, this is all stuff my daughter will have to face as an adult. But discrimination doesn’t wait until adulthood to rear its ugly head. A perfect example are The Boy and Girl Scouts of America. The Girl Scouts didn’t allow Atheists become scouts until 1993. The Boy Scouts still prohibit non-believers. Yes, still. The Boy Scouts also require scouts to pledge to “do my duty to God and my country,” and the organization has resisted any calls to remove the ban or this portion of their oath. And lest you think this is an ancient rule that isn’t enforced, in 2009 Eagle Scout and Aquatics Director Neil Polzin was fired from his position after his beliefs were called into question. So what reassurance do I have that they aren’t discriminating against kids, too? My daughter won’t have to deal with this, but my son very well might.

So yes, I’m terrified for my Atheist daughter. But I’m also proud. Not that she’s decided to follow “my path.” I would be just as proud of her had she had chosen to follow Christianity, or Judaism, or some other belief system not my own. No, I’m proud because she took the time to understand what was out there, take in the facts and make a decision on what she believes, all on her own. All I’ve ever wanted for my kids is for them to be independent and self-reliant. From what I see, she’s well on her way.

(Photo:BW Folsom/Shutterstock)

262 Comments

  1. Wicked Prophet Kay Sue

    July 13, 2014 at 6:39 pm

    (hug) I feel you. I live in one of those six states you mention, and recently, it was actually brought up that the head of one of our state departments might be an atheist. Watching people actual argue that she should be relieved from service simply because of that–in accordance with state code, of course–was difficult for me, as someone with kids, who’s essentially raising them “arreligiously”.

    • Frances Frumpy Mumps Locke

      July 13, 2014 at 8:25 pm

      That’s rough. It still baffles me that there are laws like this, especially since they’re against the constitution and pretty obviously so. I love how you put it, arreligiously!

    • Wicked Prophet Kay Sue

      July 13, 2014 at 8:29 pm

      Yeah, it was even more baffling when there were at least a hundred and one legitimate reasons to remove her form her position…but no, let’s do it because she violates the requirement to believe in a Supreme Being.

      And when our governor defended her, it wasn’t, “It doesn’t matter what she believes or doesn’t”. It was, “She can’t be an atheist. She’s Jewish.”

    • NotTakenNotAvailable

      July 13, 2014 at 9:49 pm

      Besides the glaringly obvious stupidity of the governor’s “defense”…he clearly hasn’t met any modern Reform Jews, has he? :p

    • Wicked Prophet Kay Sue

      July 13, 2014 at 9:51 pm

      Apparently not. *sighs*

    • Kapibara-san

      July 14, 2014 at 5:11 am

      That’s so strange to non-Americans 😮 I mean, I don’t even know if the politicians in my country are religious (except for the Christian party ofc) and I don’t think most people care. I thought US was supposed to have separated church and state.

    • Black Atheists

      July 14, 2014 at 7:24 am

      They’re slowly getting rid of that.

    • Wicked Prophet Kay Sue

      July 14, 2014 at 5:09 pm

      Technically, we have the establishment clause, which protects both religion (by not allowing the state to interfere in the religious) and secular (by not allow the state to recognize religions). This was, of course, born out of a strong tradition of deism and even religious doubt and atheism/agnosticism among the intellectuals of the time of our nation’s founding.

      However, with the Great Awakenings increasing fundamentally Christian leanings, the World Wars setting us up as opposed to monarchy and fascism, and then the Cold War setting us up as a “Christian” nation opposed to atheistic communism of the Soviet Union, we’ve had a strong anti-atheistic trend. A healthy dose of reconstructionism (HA!) means that we now have an American public that buys into the idea that our nation was founded on Christian principles without questioning it–despite specific evidence–textual, contextual, explicit–to the contrary. Reconstructionists even argue that the First Amendment of our Constitution is to protect only churches from state interference–it doesn’t actually separate church and state. Ironically, they quote Thomas Jefferson many times to support this–and Jefferson was at best a Deist, at worst an atheist.

      So it is a perfect storm of sorts, because we have so many factors that have come together to create an ass-backwards America in which the secular is consistently threatened by the religious.

      But alas, I go on too long. Sorry for the long-winded explanation.

  2. VA Teacher

    July 13, 2014 at 6:39 pm

    Where in the world do ya’ll LIVE? I’m honestly shocked by your experiences. I live in the South, in the freaking Bible Belt and have never seen/heard this.
    Maybe just teach her to say “My beliefs are personal and private” when asked about her religion. I wish everyone had that attitude about religion anyway. No one needs to explain or defend their beliefs. Just remind her that for every wonderful, kind person she meets in her life, there’s an idiot right behind them to ignore. 😛

    • Frances Frumpy Mumps Locke

      July 13, 2014 at 8:04 pm

      Personally, I’ve never been one to be pushy on the subject of religion (or my lack of religion). It’s only ever been an issue for me when people have tried to push their beliefs on me. This happened a lot when I lived in the bible belt. The first thing I was often asked by new acquaintances was “What church do you go to?” Which could make things pretty awkward. Not everyone takes “My beliefs are private,” and leaves it, unfortunately. Though it’s great that this has been your experience, I wish this was true for everyone. And I genuinely mean that, I hope it’s not coming off snarky (I know that’s our usual tone around here, lol, but I’m being sincere!)

    • VA Teacher

      July 13, 2014 at 9:46 pm

      Nope, no snarkiness! Obviously, everyone’s experiences are different. I’ve run into those rare few, but I just keep up with “sorry, don’t discuss it.” Hard to have an argument alone.
      Your daughter is going to eventually figure out what works best for her and it probably won’t be what works best for anyone else. Maybe practicing a few different tactics will at least give her a bag of options to fall back on when she does meet up with those idiots. I think, just like we teach our kids how to respond to certain social cues, practicing what she would say might make it easier to stand up for herself if it ever comes to that.

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      July 14, 2014 at 10:51 am

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    • Kelly

      July 13, 2014 at 11:12 pm

      Are you an atheist? Because if you aren’t, it’s not surprising that you’ve never encountered discrimination against atheists.

      I had someone demand that I be fired from my job over it. People can get pretty nasty.

    • VA Teacher

      July 14, 2014 at 12:17 am

      My personal beliefs are private. 🙂 Just as I stated above, that’s the only answer I ever give. I have no doubt that people are rude. People are always rude and nasty. It was the systematic discrimination and the survey that was more shocking to me. Honestly, other than the girl who tried to baptize people in the sink in high school, I’ve never seen my openly Atheist family members and Jewish and Wiccan friends (separate friends, not a weird Jewish/Wiccan hybrid :P) get much of a reaction besides a snotty little “hmmmph!” and a bit of a side eye. Maybe an occasional “I’ll pray for you, bless your heart.”

    • beachbum

      July 13, 2014 at 11:13 pm

      That doesn’t work. Saying “my beliefs are private” apparently means “I need to covert this heathen ASAP!!!!” to the Christians who are of the crazy persuasion. I lived in eastern Kansas and no matter what I said they would harangue me until I threatened a restraining order. From the random woman behind me at the grocery store to the guy at a freaking Burger King. It made me go everywhere with headphones on at one point. But this was the home of the WBC so I should not be surprised.

    • Personal

      July 14, 2014 at 3:56 am

      I’m originally from the deep South, from a very conservative (dry) county. When you meet new people, they will, sooner or later, ask you ‘Where do you go to church?’ and not ‘Do you go to church?’ I see no way whatsoever to avoid having to lie about beliefs if one is to keep the fact that one is an atheist private.
      My ex-husband wasn’t from there and he told someone once. Some time later, the Board of Education had a woman stand up at a meeting and ask that I not be allowed to work as a substitute teacher because ‘If he is, then she is.’ (And at the time, I wasn’t.)
      I suspect if you haven’t encountered discrimination, then you either are in a larger, more multi-cultural area, or you are not an atheist.

    • Black Atheists

      July 14, 2014 at 7:25 am

      Which is why the word “terrified” doesn’t fit here. Now if she was black and an outspoken atheist in the bible belt? Then terrified would fit, but just barely..

  3. Okie Agnostic

    July 13, 2014 at 6:43 pm

    I live in the South and my children were definitely treated badly when others found out they were not christians. One little girl would tell them on the bus everyday that they were going to “go to hell.” A daycare worker refused to let my fourth grader read the Harry Potter books and made her remove her shoes because they had the golden snitch on from the movie on them.

  4. Heather

    July 13, 2014 at 7:00 pm

    Maybe she should just not go around preaching her lack of faith in anything, just like people who do have faith in something shouldn’t go around preaching their faith in whatever it is in. She should be tolerant of other people’s faith, and when/if other people pray or participate in religious activities around her, she should allow them to do so without comment. They don’t need to know about how she feels, because as Disney taught us so well, If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.

    If her friends go to church and she doesn’t and they question her on it, she can tell them she isn’t interested in going. Period. She doesn’t need to argue with them about why, and she doesn’t need to answer personal questions. This is a good time in her life to teach her that she is allowed to say no to people without giving an explanation. No Thank You is a perfectly acceptable response to invites to places, sometimes with a gracious “Thank you for thinking of me” thrown in for good measure.

    Personally, I feel like it’s hard to not believe in anything divine (I had used the wrong word here before), even if it is just science. I’m not particularly inclined to believe in any specific deity, though I have identified as Christian in the past, but I just don’t “get” it. But I don’t question every self-proclaimed atheist I encounter and demand they explain themselves to me so I can understand their non-faith! I’m pretty sure a lot more people are like me, in not really caring what you choose to believe or not believe as long as you’re a decent person, than not.

    • Wicked Prophet Kay Sue

      July 13, 2014 at 7:03 pm

      So…she should be quiet, because she has nothing nice to say, but they should be allowed to say what they want? That seems incredibly unfair, honestly. Her beliefs–or lack thereof–are just as valid as theirs.

    • Heather

      July 13, 2014 at 7:09 pm

      Yes? If she doesn’t have any specific religious rituals to observe, what does she need to say? Why can’t she let other people pray over their meals with their heads bowed and she just wait a second to respect them as people, regardless of their religious preferences? Or not wait, and just proceed with eating without making a scene? Why put up a stink and when someone says, “Let’s bow our heads” and speak up about not believing? They do, let them. It’s about tolerance.

      Sure, if she is specifically asked about her personal religious beliefs by someone who she cares about enough to want to speak with (best friends, in the future boyfriends, etc) she should feel free to explain how she feels. But there is no reason to interrupt someone else’s religious activities because you don’t believe the same way.

      Just today at a family picnic one cousin got everyone’s attention so he could pray over the meal. I don’t choose to pray to any specific deity, but I didn’t need to stop him and say that I don’t believe the same way as him. I just kept eating in silence while he said his piece. When he was done he went to eat and so did everyone else. Should I have jumped up and said, “I BELIEVE SOMETHING ELSE SO YOU CAN’T PRAY AROUND ME!” ?

    • Wicked Prophet Kay Sue

      July 13, 2014 at 7:28 pm

      There’s such a thing as creating a balance, yes. But expecting someone to never mention that they believe differently? Or don’t believe at all?

      Personally, I wouldn’t sit in silence. I’d begin eating, but that’s just me. I don’t owe anyone’s beliefs respect, especially if they don’t respect mine.

      I can’t believe that they are owed the idea of tolerance, but the nonbeliever isn’t. Either you are arguing for tolerance, which means everyone gets a chance to voice their belief or nonbelief, or you are arguing for privilege, where the majority group gets to run roughshod over the minority’s beliefs without ever being asked to stop to consider for a moment that there are, perhaps, others present that belief differently.

      No, she doesn’t have religious rituals. This means that the observance of them can be incredibly alienating. That doesn’t mean people don’t get to observe their beliefs–obviously they are going to, and the nonbeliever has to be prepared to deal with that reality–but that doesn’t mean that one has to be silent about one’s lack of belief. A simple explanation, and then TOLERANCE from those you are speaking to, can go quite further towards creating a non-hostile environment than anyone jumping around.

      And Frances isn’t merely referring to a grace said here or there. She’s referring to a culture that is openly hostile towards those without belief–immeasurably more so to women without belief, even. That’s a complicated reality to live in, let alone to raise your child to deal with. To say that the answer is to just shut up about one’s lack of belief? That’s incredibly intolerant, in and of itself.

    • LK

      July 13, 2014 at 7:43 pm

      It really is about finding a balance and mutual respect. And it’s completely valid to remember asking a person who doesn’t believe to sit through religious observances can be equally as alienating as the reverse. And the company your in, is a big component of that. If you are at your friends’ house for dinner and they always say grace before meal (and don’t know you’re an atheist), OK sure, no need to launch into a theological debate. But the poster’s experience included alienation from family, and certainly family should be, not just tolerant, but ACCOMODATING. If I had a guest over for Thanksgiving dinner and knew they were an atheist, I’d swap, the official pre-dinner prayer for a silent one to myself to help make them feel comfortable.

    • Wicked Prophet Kay Sue

      July 13, 2014 at 8:17 pm

      I think that’s totally fair–perhaps even beyond fair.

    • Heather

      July 13, 2014 at 7:44 pm

      I think EVERYONE should just shut up about what they do or don’t believe.

      I do understand how a person could feel alienated for believing differently. I get that if “all your friends” are going to VBS but you aren’t Christian, you can feel like a loner. If the youth group at the local church is “where it’s at” on Wednesday nights and you don’t go, you can feel like you’ve missed out on some secret party that everyone is talking about on Thursday morning. Participating in “fellowship” is a huge part of Christianity, so gatherings are frequent and often entertaining. At these gatherings there are usually people who are deeply convicted and if a non-believer chooses to go to spend time with friends they can feel extremely pressured to behave in a way that doesn’t line up with their beliefs and that makes them feel helpless and isolated. I get all that and I felt a LOT of that growing up.

      But, as I mentioned, if this girl (or any person facing a similar situation) doesn’t feel like it would be safe for them to explain themselves (to, say, turn down an invitation to one of these events where they will feel uncomfortable) they don’t need to. If a person knows that saying “No thank you” or “I don’t really want to go to that. But thanks for thinking of me” will graciously decline an invite, why do they need to say “No. I’m an atheist.”? Why not just be gracious and move on.

      I also stated that if she feels comfortable with someone and wants to discuss religion, she should feel free to do so, but she doesn’t need to with every person she encounters. Not every schoolmate who invites her to a youth group or Sunday school or mission trip or whatever needs to hear her story. Her closest friends should. It isn’t about hiding who she is, it’s about choosing to be classy and choosing battles. She can decline invitations graciously without causing rifts for herself that will make life harder for her, she can tolerate other people’s religious beliefs occurring near her without making a scene, and she can speak with people she trusts about her beliefs and what that means for their relationships. she may need help navigating some conversations, because she is young, but there is no reason she has to grow up thinking that she can only be a zealot on either side.

    • CMJ

      July 13, 2014 at 7:51 pm

      I see nothing wrong in saying “No thanks, I am atheist” to anyone. Why is that a problem? That’s not being gracious?

    • the_ether

      July 13, 2014 at 8:04 pm

      Just BEING different is offensive and ungracious. They should just masquerade to fit in when out in public.

    • Heather

      July 13, 2014 at 8:24 pm

      It is only a problem if you believe it is going to start some kind of argument or battle that will make your own life harder.

      I’m not saying we live in some kind of utopia. SHOULD everyone be tolerant and simply accept others as they are? Absolutely. But, for this young girl she will be growing up in a society that is still predisposed to christianity and as such it will improve her life if she is able to distinguish when to speak of her non-religion and when it isn’t.

      I just don’t understand WHY it is a problem to NOT speak of what religion you do or don’t have. I would recommend the same for someone who is Jewish in a Christian neighborhood or a Christian in a Muslim society or any minority religion/non-religion in an area predominantly affiliated with a specific religion. The people who matter, sure talk to them about it, but you don’t need to hop on top of a rooftop to shout about your own religious beliefs or non-beliefs. Don’t be something you’re not, but you don’t have to wear your heart on your sleeve!

    • CMJ

      July 13, 2014 at 8:30 pm

      But if someone is asking me if I want to do a specifically religious thing how is saying – “No thanks, I am atheist” shouting from the rooftops? So they are allowed to be open about their religious beliefs and I’m supposed to keep quiet about mine? I really disagree with that and I do NOT think simply saying “No thanks, I’m Jewish/Atheist/Muslim/Christian/Etc” means a person is being argumentative.

    • Frances Frumpy Mumps Locke

      July 13, 2014 at 9:20 pm

      I mean, if I invited a Christian to a baby eating festival, and they declined by saying “No thank you, I’m a Christian, we don’t eat babies,” I would think that was a very gracious way to say no.

    • Wicked Prophet Kay Sue

      July 13, 2014 at 9:24 pm

      BUT BABIES ARE DELICIOUS!

    • Frances Frumpy Mumps Locke

      July 13, 2014 at 9:29 pm

      I KNOW, BUT WE GOTTA KEEP THAT ON THE DOWN LOW.

    • Wicked Prophet Kay Sue

      July 13, 2014 at 9:36 pm

      #BabyEatersForLife

    • Frances Frumpy Mumps Locke

      July 13, 2014 at 9:38 pm

      #WahWahNomNom

    • Wicked Prophet Kay Sue

      July 13, 2014 at 9:46 pm

      Will this work? I don’t know, but here goes!

      http://youtu.be/nd2rBWbvDbA

    • Heather

      July 13, 2014 at 9:29 pm

      I don’t think it is argumentative. I think that, in specific company, it could become an argument. And as an adult, you can have that argument and try to make the world better. But for the child being written about, it should not be her responsibility to get into the argument if she doesn’t want to, which means she should be taught she is ALLOWED to leave out her religious convictions when declining an invite to a religious event or something like that.

    • Kelly

      July 13, 2014 at 11:19 pm

      Then maybe you should focus your energy on the hateful, intolerant company that would turn something so simple into an argument.

    • Cruelty Cupcake

      July 13, 2014 at 8:36 pm

      “It is only a problem if you believe it is going to start some kind of argument or battle that will make your own life harder.”

      What kind of ass-backwards victim blaming bullshit is this?

    • Heather

      July 13, 2014 at 8:39 pm

      It isn’t about “victim-blaming” it’s about taking personal responsibility about your own interactions with other people. I don’t believe in organized Christianity, if I’m invited to a Christian event, I choose to not start an argument by saying “I’m not Christian” because Christians tend to take that as an invitation to “save me”

    • Cruelty Cupcake

      July 13, 2014 at 8:44 pm

      I need to take personal responsibility for the hatred and intolerance of others..? Yeah, that’s called victim blaming. I can’t control how anyone reacts to anything and I’m not “looking for a fight” by telling someone I’m an atheist. Frankly, your comments on this post are incredibly fucked up. I’m also not sure what world you live in–I hardly ever encounter these crazed lunatic atheists you speak of but I know about a trillion loudmouth, rude, intolerant “Christians.”

    • Wicked Prophet Kay Sue

      July 13, 2014 at 8:45 pm

      “Loudmouth, rude, intolerant ‘Christians'” are part of the reason I’m an atheist. 😉

    • Heather

      July 13, 2014 at 9:18 pm

      I’m not talking about any crazy lunatic atheists. I’m mostly speaking of the rude, intolerant Christians who, if you even politely say “I’m atheist” look at that as in invitation to save your heathen soul and decide you are their new pet project. If I know I’m the chew toy that the “converter” has their eye on, I can CHOOSE to say “No thank you” without adding anything about my religious convictions. That means she has no door to stick her toe in. She doesn’t know if I’m Christian or Wiccan or Atheist or Agnostic or Jewish or Muslim or Buddhist or anything. She doesn’t need to know I’m an atheist and if she tries to insist on making me tell her, I know that she isn’t the kind of people I need to spend my time on. Period.

    • Cruelty Cupcake

      July 13, 2014 at 9:32 pm

      Here is the crucial point you don’t seem to understand: a Christian reacting to my atheism with hostility is 100% at fault. I’m not inviting religious persecution by mentioning I’m an atheist. Being an atheist is not a dirty secret of mine and I will talk about it whenever I feel like it. Period.

    • Heather

      July 13, 2014 at 9:42 pm

      YES! Whenever YOU feel like it. That is my point. And if you are a 10 year old girl who doesn’t want to lose friends or get labeled as a weirdo at school, you can CHOOSE to not take on the responsibility of changing the world and simply omit the information about your religious convictions, and that’s okay too.

    • Cruelty Cupcake

      July 13, 2014 at 9:51 pm

      Well that is NOT the point you’ve been trying to make throughout this entire thread, but ok. Maybe you should re-read some of your comments? I was going to post parts of them to illustrate the vast difference between my point and yours, but tbh I would be posting whole paragraphs. Everything you have been saying is offensive and pretty much the opposite of “everyone should be free to talk about their religion or lack thereof whenever they feel like it.”

    • Wicked Prophet Kay Sue

      July 13, 2014 at 9:56 pm

      Based on our conversation a few comments earlier, I don’t think Heather realized how her phrasing was coming across. I don’t think she intended it nearly as offensively as it read.

    • Heather

      July 13, 2014 at 9:56 pm

      Most of the time I’ve been speaking specifically of a young person just marching into this territory for the first time and I think it would be wise to try to teach a young person that they can choose to avoid an uncomfortable situation if they don’t want to talk about it. That they don’t have to say “No thank you, I’m atheist” if they don’t want their friends to know that about them yet. They don’t HAVE to omit the information or avoid the conflict, but if they want to, they can.

    • Cruelty Cupcake

      July 13, 2014 at 10:07 pm

      If that’s your opinion, you shouldn’t go around saying things like “she should just be a nice, quiet little girl and not tell anyone,” “why do atheists NEED to say anything?”, saying that it’s only okay for Christians to speak openly about their religion bc that’s “their job” or some crazy bullshit, and implying (or outright stating, in your case) that people can somehow bring religious persecution down upon themselves for merely mentioning their non-belief.

      I certainly agree that she should be able to choose when and how she discloses her non-belief and to whom.

    • Heather

      July 13, 2014 at 10:16 pm

      I didn’t say anything about a nice quiet little girl, for sure. I still agree with my statement of why do atheists need to say anything? I mean, if they want to, they should, but they don’t NEED to. That is still a matter of personal preference. In a general, worldwide view, yes, SOME atheists NEED to speak about it, in order to make the world a more tolerant place, but any specific individual doesn’t NEED or HAVE to say anything about it, if they choose not to.

      It’s not “only” okay for Christians to speak about their religion. I think all of it is pointless and irrelevant and shouldn’t have anything to do with most relationships. I just said I EXPECT Christians to do it, whether it’s appropriate or necessary or whatever, because it’s part of their faith to make more people think and believe like them. I say that because I expect Christians to be more pushy. If they aren’t, GREAT. But, based on experiences, I expect a Christian to come up to me, tell me they are Christian and try to make me be a Christian too. If a person is an Atheist, they aren’t going to be trying to convert me to Atheism and I wouldn’t expect them to come up to me and tell me they are Atheist. So, NOT saying you are an Atheist isn’t some kind of slight against your non-faith and doesn’t make you a “bad atheist”.

    • Cruelty Cupcake

      July 13, 2014 at 10:38 pm

      You didn’t say “nice quiet little girl,” you just said that she shouldn’t tell anyone she’s an atheist and if she doesn’t have anything “nice” to say, don’t say anything. At this point we are just splitting hairs. I’m glad you seem to have changed your opinion.

    • Heather

      July 13, 2014 at 10:41 pm

      Okay, That was where I used a phrase that I didn’t think through. At the time I wrote it, I wasn’t thinking of it in the perspective of saying that a person is an atheist isn’t “nice.” My thought of the quote was that you don’t have to give more information than you want to be polite. It was definitely the wrong quote to use. My opinion has remained the same, but the wording I’ve chosen has definitely lines up better with my actual views.

    • Zepol Odracir

      October 30, 2014 at 4:05 pm

      There’s a difference between how things are and how things should be. I feel like all of you are on the exact same page as Heather but are just woefully misunderstanding her point. She’s acknowledging the current state of affairs and agrees with your view on how things should be, but is saying that, in light of how things actually are, sometimes it’s more practical to avoid discussing these things (especially when it doesn’t even matter) in order to avoid potential conflict in certain situations. It’s not about being ashamed in any way, victim blaming, bowing to the masses, or any of the other retarded things you’re shoving in Heather’s mouth.

      Those of you that are immediately bashing Heather frankly don’t seem to have very good reading comprehension; Heather’s explained herself pretty clearly about a million times and you still don’t get it, thinking that she somehow disagrees with you. This is most likely because your stance on this topic is so unnecessarily strong and hostile that you automatically became defensive and imagined that Heather was on the other side of it. She isn’t, you’re on the same team.

      Heather just seems to be the type of person that likes to keep to herself and doesn’t give two shits about what other people think, is happy and confident (not insecure or apprehensive) with her points of view, and would rather make her life easier than pretend like she can make a difference by unnecessarily telling people she’s an atheist when she doesn’t have to. The words intuition, forethought, discipline and indeed grace come to mind.

      And Her Vajesty, sorry but you come off as unreasonably and unnecessarily defensive and hostile. It’s not a good look. And it’s comical because Heather actually agrees with what you’re saying.

    • Ursi

      July 13, 2014 at 9:56 pm

      It’s not her responsibility to change the world but it is her responsibility to be true to herself. Sometimes that means speaking up for what we believe in even though it’s unpopular. What kind of message is it to keep silent about our beliefs just because we’re afraid of what others will think?

      Just saying “I’m an Atheist” is nothing anyone should be afraid of.

    • Heather

      July 13, 2014 at 9:58 pm

      It is a message that you get to decide what you share and when. Period. If you want to shout it from the highest heights, go for it. If you want to whisper it to your mom, do that. If you want to not tell anyone while you try to figure it out on your own, do that.

    • Ursi

      July 13, 2014 at 10:12 pm

      Having read through all the comments I understand where you’re coming from but here’s the thing. My belief system is the foundation of my life. Now some Atheists may also feel defined by what they believe and if they do then I don’t think it’s really helpful to say, “Don’t tell anyone unless you feel comfortable.” unless it is a situation where you’re in a place where you’re in danger for your beliefs. And even then Christians are expected to be forthright to the extent that they do not deny God.

      I live in the US. Atheists face a level of persecution that Christians do not face in America. However, children of people of other faiths do routinely brazenly display that faith in the face of antagonism. Children of Muslims still wear hijab to school, even if they faced being teased for it in some places, because their faith comes first and they should not be ashamed to display it regardless of whether it leads to teasing. I would be very upset if I found out that a Christian child of mine was afraid to admit she were Christian because of what others would think. We’re not put on this earth to hide in the face of discrimination.

      There are things I would be quiet about if I were in mixed company or if I felt maybe it wasn’t worth it to be honest. Faith is simply not one of them.

    • Heather

      July 13, 2014 at 10:38 pm

      I understand that. If it is a part of you that you are passionate about I can understand willing to be persecuted for it. I would certainly hope to teach my children, regardless of faith, that they should stand up for the things they truly have convictions about, even if doesn’t earn them friends. But I would hope that the things I teach them to stand up for are things like helping other people, defending people who cannot defend themselves, etc. If my kids grow up with a conviction in their faith they are willing to be persecuted for, well, power to them! I don’t have that conviction in any kind of faith, but if they do, I will try to support it and teach them how to have their convictions and stand up for themselves without putting others down or making other people feel pressured or uncomfortable.

    • Guest

      July 14, 2014 at 8:07 pm

      Well, I have encountered my fair share of both, so to each their own.

    • Ursi

      July 13, 2014 at 7:54 pm

      No one should ever be put in a position where they have to pick their battles simply by mentioning or not mentioning how they identify spiritually.

      I’ve never been ashamed to tell anyone I was a Christian and though I’ve occasionally been a little afraid of their reaction I don’t deserve anyone’s ire for making my beliefs public. Every Atheist ought to have the same freedom.

    • Frances Frumpy Mumps Locke

      July 13, 2014 at 9:18 pm

      If someone tried to shame or question a Christian in my presence, I would absolutely defend that person’s right to their beliefs. I think everyone should have that freedom.

    • Wicked Prophet Kay Sue

      July 13, 2014 at 8:20 pm

      It’s not a zealot to say, “No thanks, I’m an atheist.” That’s a completely inoffensive response. It’s not a “not nice” thing to say. It’s no more offensive than saying, “No thanks, I’m a Christian” or “No, thanks, I’m Jewish” or “No thanks, I’m a Muslim.”

      If someone visited my home, and I offered them a ham sandwich, and they replied that they were Jewish or Muslim and thus couldn’t consume pork, I wouldn’t think twice about it. I doubt most people would. You can politely decline invitations to participate in religious ritual while also stating your beliefs. And if you are in a situation that makes you feel unsafe for professing them, that’s entirely the fault of the people that make you feel unsafe. You shouldn’t have to hide yourself for any reason.

    • Heather

      July 13, 2014 at 8:28 pm

      It isn’t about being able to decline while sharing your religious beliefs, it’s about why do you NEED to? Why do you HAVE to broadcast that you’re anything? Christians feel pulled to do that because it is part of their religious organization to spread their faith and convert people who don’t believe into their fold. So it makes sense that they choose to talk about it. But just because they want to talk about it doesn’t mean anybody else HAS to.

    • CMJ

      July 13, 2014 at 8:33 pm

      Wow. So Christians can do it because it’s part of their religion but everyone else should just go with it and keep their mouths shut?

      This is a horrible sentiment and I disagree completely with it.

    • Heather

      July 13, 2014 at 8:36 pm

      No, I’m saying I EXPECT Christians to do it, even if it makes them uncomfortable because their religious affiliation makes that a “requirement.” But that if a person doesn’t feel like they want to tell someone else they are atheist, they don’t have to. If they are being asked by a group of Christians to an event, or why they didn’t go to the last youth group or whatever, this girl can know that she isn’t being a bitch or bad or anything if she chooses to not divulge the fact that she is atheist. She shouldn’t lie and pretend to not be atheist, but she also doesn’t need to yell “I’m atheist” and run away like the Christians have the plague.

    • Frances Frumpy Mumps Locke

      July 13, 2014 at 8:54 pm

      “but she also doesn’t need to yell “I’m atheist” and run away like the Christians have the plague.” Who does this? Where in my post did I suggest that this was our M.O. when dealing with religious folk? Lol

    • Heather

      July 13, 2014 at 8:57 pm

      I don’t think she HAS an MO if she is just now identifying as atheist.

    • Frances Frumpy Mumps Locke

      July 13, 2014 at 9:03 pm

      I meant that to mean what she observed from myself and my husband and other Atheists. And I wanted to add that if you’ve encountered Atheists that have yelled “I’m Atheist” and run away like someone had the plague, then they’re not just an Atheist, they’re an asshole. Lol. There are plenty of asshole Atheists, just like there are plenty of asshole everything else, but I think the majority are not. Like I said, I worry about the vocal minority, and the fact that there is still a lot of societal discrimination against Atheism. And a lot of that could be improved if more Atheists were open, but kind and not pushy, about their beliefs, so believers could actually get to know us on a personal level. I would never expect my daughter to be more open about her beliefs than she’s comfortable with, but this is how I see it for myself. Does that make sense? Sorry, I’m in desperate need of some coffee, lol!

    • Heather

      July 13, 2014 at 9:08 pm

      I do understand. I just know that when it comes to religion MOST people get pushy. Because NOBODY likes to be told they are wrong. Even if they aren’t overzealous and unkind, you can be put into a situation (or in my case CYCLE of situations) that you aren’t comfortable in because you don’t know that you’re allowed to just say “Nope. Not interested” without going further.

    • Frances Frumpy Mumps Locke

      July 13, 2014 at 9:15 pm

      See, I’ve actually written about this kind of thinking on here before, though in a different context. I guess some people see other people’s choices (or lifestyles/sexuality/insert other hot topic-o-the-day) as an indictment on their own, when in fact this doesn’t need to be the case.

      I’m an Atheist, but I have nothing but respect for people’s religious convictions. I think this is true for most Atheists. If I mention, in passing, that I’m an Atheist, it’s not to throw your beliefs shade, it’s just my way of opening myself up just a crack to whomever I’m talking to. It in no way means that I think your beliefs are any less valid.

      I think a good analogy would be mentioning my bisexuality to someone. Again, in passing. This doesn’t mean I think someone who is straight, gay, pansexuals, or anyone else is less valid. It’s just who I am.

    • Heather

      July 13, 2014 at 9:23 pm

      I think it is a difference in personality. Because I don’t think anyone I’m speaking to in passing needs to know anything about me. If we are chatting at a public event or a large-ish social gathering, I’m going to stick to the surface level stuff. Weather, jobs, kids, non-controversial anything. Just nice and simple. If I like the person and we choose to be better friends, then I’ll start getting deeper with information, but I’m not going to go into a second “friend date” talking about my feelings about my mother dying while we were estranged and my deeply held religious convictions and my sexual orientation. That’s stuff for real friends and family.

    • Frances Frumpy Mumps Locke

      July 13, 2014 at 9:28 pm

      Well, I’m talking about someone I randomly just met at a party or whatever, though even in that situation I think mentioning my Atheism shouldn’t be a huge deal (I typically don’t though). I’m talking more about people I have at least some connection to.

      On another note, to people really have “friend dates?” Like, I’ll go and get a drink or some Starbucks with a new acquaintance, but I’ve never called it that. I have heard other people say that, though. Is this a thing?

    • Heather

      July 13, 2014 at 9:38 pm

      I refer to meetings with new potential friends as “friend dates” but not WITH the new potential friend. Just to other people.

      I think that if you have a close enough connection to someone that you feel comfortable talking about sexuality or religion, it is probably important to know that they will be supportive. I am the kind of person who would bring up controversial ideas in non-personal ways first, to feel them out. If I talk about how the Hobby Lobby situation made me feel and they talk about how the whores should be thankful someone like Hobby Lobby is willing to save the babies, I may choose to discontinue my relationship prior to telling them I’m not a gun-toting Christian conservative republican.

      However, if they talk about the situation moderately, even if they favor the side I don’t favor (Like they say that they understand a companies desire to not be forced to purchase products they don’t believe and think private companies should have less government intervention, but still also understand why women would be upset about the decision), I’d be more willing to share. I have friends on all sides of everything, from deeply religious to wiccan to I don’t even know what (and I don’t know if they do either) and what makes us friends is that we are generally moderate and choose to believe that even though we feel one way, feeling another way isn’t automatically wrong.

      But it’s a process for me. Not just an “I’ve met you a few times so here is something deeply personal and individual to me”

    • Frances Frumpy Mumps Locke

      July 13, 2014 at 10:00 pm

      I don’t know if I see my beliefs as something as deeply personal as, let’s say, my political beliefs, though. I just don’t believe in a higher power/deity, etc. Nothing more, nothing less. I think my opinion on something like abortion or gun control is way more personal than my non-belief. At least to me.

      I think this where a lot of stereotypes and misconceptions about Atheism come into play. I have an Atheist friend who is also a hard-line Libertarian. He’s a total Ayn Rand fanatic. I have another Atheist friend who is completely against abortion. She just thinks it’s wrong. The only thing necessary to be an Atheist is a lack of belief in a divine higher power. Heck, have you seen this group? They’re technically Atheist, I suppose, but their outlook on life is completely different than mine (or most people). They think aliens came to earth and started life!

      http://www.rael.org/home

      TL:DR Atheist is just a lack of belief. I don’t see it as personal as I think you might.

    • Heather

      July 13, 2014 at 10:05 pm

      I guess, because I define myself as more “agnostic” than atheist, it is still pretty personal, and I feel like with some people I would have to explain my beliefs.

      Do you have a story or process that you came by your non-belief? I feel like there is something personal about it, that you just don’t consider a “personal” story based on your own levels of comfort in sharing.

    • Frances Frumpy Mumps Locke

      July 13, 2014 at 10:12 pm

      Agnostic might be the best way to describe how I feel as well, though for the most part I lean towards not believing there is a higher power. For me, the whole religion thing never made sense, even when I was very young. But I’m open to the idea that I might be wrong, and I like to think that a compassionate god/gods would be understanding and may even encourage rational thinking. My step-grandfather, who helped raise me, was a well-regarded biologist who worked for the EPA for 40 years, and was an Atheist, and I definitely think this helped shape some of my feelings on the matter.

      You might be interested to know (or perhaps not, lol) that King Mega Atheist himself, Richard Dawkins, actually says he considers himself an agnostic in his book The God Delusion. The way he sees it, he doesn’t really feel, rationally, that there is a god, but he is open to the idea that he may be wrong, because some things just can’t be known. I’ve always felt that this was a good way to look at it, at least from an Atheist perspective. I think it’s arrogant for anyone to think they have all the answers. Atheists included.

    • Heather

      July 13, 2014 at 10:24 pm

      I think the term atheist is what makes it such a polarizing thing. Because really, in my world view which is my own, It means that you really don’t believe. Not just in a divine god, but in any god. So no “I’m my own god” no “science is god” no “there are many gods” or anything like that. Just there is no nothing. There is nothing controlling anything. Not fate, not even chaos, because chaos is a higher power. Real atheism is a… rare thing. To ME.

      I think many and more people are closer to agnostic and identify as atheist because they specifically believe that God, in the typical religious sense, doesn’t exist (where as agnostics believe a god or gods may exist, or they may not). But most Atheists believe in some other higher power that drives existence (science, self, chaos, fate, etc)

    • Frances Frumpy Mumps Locke

      July 13, 2014 at 11:04 pm

      That’s the thing, though. There are SO many ways to be an Atheist. I really see it as more of an umbrella term. Heck, my daughter’s version of Atheism will probably turn out to be very different than mine, especially since we have different upbringings.

      This is why I think awareness is so important. There are a lot of misconceptions about us, and the only way to rationally combat this on a larger level is for non-believers to actually get to know Atheists. And how else for that to happen but for us to casually mention it from time to time? It’s not about pushing our personal shiz on to you or anyone else. For me, it’s kind of like saying “Hey, this is what I believe and I’m still a normal, cool person that you can have a beer with and trust.” I can’t tell you how many times someone has gotten to know me and said “I didn’t realize Atheists could be so nice!” And this is coming from someone with a serious case of bitchy resting face, lol!

    • JessBakesCakes

      July 13, 2014 at 10:24 pm

      The problem with that is, sometimes people don’t respect “No thank you” without some sort of qualifier. Example: I used to work retail. A woman came in quite frequently and tried to get me to convert to whatever religion she practiced, asking if I’d been saved and handing me Chick tracts. I simply said, “Thank you, but no thank you” and she pressed further. Even when I politely excused myself and tried to look busy/do work, she would continue to press. “Why not? Do you want to go to Heaven? Do you want to be a good person?” At that point, ignoring her seemed rude, but I also wanted to tell her “Look, I’m Catholic, and I’m very secure in my religion and I’m not interested, but thank you.”

      She did this every single time, and would continue to ask “Why” and try to press. I get what you’re saying about not disclosing too much personal information, but if I’m secure in my religion and not going up to random people and saying “Hi! I’m Jessica, and I’m Catholic!” I don’t see any reason why I shouldn’t be able to mention it in response to someone openly sharing her beliefs.

    • Heather

      July 13, 2014 at 10:30 pm

      I think that in that situation you can choose to say that you are Catholic if you are comfortable. It isn’t that you CAN’T divulge the information, just that you don’t HAVE to. I was harassed at work once (not religion, but might as well have been) and when I spoke to a manager told me I was able to tell the person that there is no solicitation allowed in the store, and that if there was a problem with that, to talk to them and they’d stop the problem. So the next time my little pink lady came along to bother me at work I told her “I’m sorry, but my boss told me the other day that there is no solicitation allowed in the store, you aren’t allowed to hand out information in here anymore.” and that was that. Thankfully I didn’t need to involve the manager again, but I also didn’t have to tell the woman that I had participated in her cult-like pyramid scheme and sent product back which made me a pariah.

    • Cruelty Cupcake

      July 13, 2014 at 8:58 pm

      I’m starting to think Heather has just never met or spoken with an atheist…

    • kiki

      July 14, 2014 at 2:57 pm

      Well, I may have to now. Yelling “Plague! Plague! Plague!” like the town crier.

    • Cruelty Cupcake

      July 13, 2014 at 8:34 pm

      Fuck this comment

    • Wicked Prophet Kay Sue

      July 13, 2014 at 8:35 pm

      Well, the simple answer is…some people want to talk about it. And that’s a totally valid reason for talking about it.

      Most of us have an innate need to share our thoughts and feelings, to connect with those around us. That’s what we do, as social beings. It’s the reason why we do things like congregate in the comments section of a website that appeals to all of us. We want to connect with other human beings.

    • Heather

      July 13, 2014 at 8:37 pm

      Right, and she should feel free to CHOOSE who she talks about it to. Her mother says she is fearful for her daughter, which means she expects her daughter to encounter uncomfortable situations. Which is when it is my personal advice and opinion to CHOOSE to not draw attention to the lack of faith and to just bow out gracefully and leave it alone. If the daughter CHOOSES to speak about it, then fine, she needs to be educated on her choices and what that means for her and prepared for a life of other religions whose sole purpose is to save her to badger her relentlessly.

    • Wicked Prophet Kay Sue

      July 13, 2014 at 8:41 pm

      You want a victim of religious persecution to choose to avoid persecution, rather than perhaps people choosing not persecute? I don’t think we are on the same wavelength on this subject at all.

      Someone should be able to say, “No, thank you. I’m an atheist,” without fear of reprisal. Anything less than that is unacceptable. It’s one thing to believe that your beliefs are personal, but it’s another entirely for the world to be such a hostile place that you would rather avoid simply stating your beliefs.

    • Heather

      July 13, 2014 at 8:46 pm

      Well, of fucking course I would choose people to not persecute her for her choices in faith. But she is growing up in reality and she WILL encounter situations where she will have to choose whether she wants to share or if she wants to walk away from an uncomfortable situation without burning bridges.

    • Wicked Prophet Kay Sue

      July 13, 2014 at 8:49 pm

      The only way we change the situation is for people to be told it is okay to say “I’m an atheist” even if it makes them uncomfortable. That’s the world we live in. If we continue to exist in silence–or if we continue to allow the fringe majority that IS combative to be our public face–then we continue to lose ground in the public eye.

      I’d rather burn a bridge than allow myself to associate with bigots.

    • Heather

      July 13, 2014 at 8:53 pm

      Would a 10 year old girl prefer to burn bridges and alienate herself than associate with other kids who are being raised in a bigoted fashion, but who may not even realize that they are hurting other people? Would a teenager? Most wouldn’t. Most would rather NOT alienate themselves and so it should be perfectly acceptable to CHOOSE when you want to divulge WHATEVER information about yourself you choose.

      Nobody should be able to demand information from you just because THEY think they should have it. Such as why you don’t want to attend their church.

    • Wicked Prophet Kay Sue

      July 13, 2014 at 8:58 pm

      I can agree with that on a certain level. But the expectation that someone bow to a majority that won’t accept them is still just…mind boggling for me, honestly. I can’t even come to terms with it.

    • Heather

      July 13, 2014 at 9:09 pm

      I think “bowing to the majority” would be participating. It isn’t “bowing” to just decline to comment.

    • Wicked Prophet Kay Sue

      July 13, 2014 at 9:13 pm

      Naw. Bowing to the majority can take a lot of different forms. Pretending like your own beliefs don’t exist is one of them.

      Here’s what I was trying to express with brevity in my former comment:

      There’s a difference between someone choosing not to express their beliefs because they don’t want to, personally, as a choice and choosing not to express them because they feel like they can’t.

      If you are choosing not to express your beliefs because you feel like you need to avoid conflict, or because you are afraid, that’s wrong. That’s unjust. It’s not the same as choosing, of your own free will without coercion, to keep your beliefs to yourself. This is the disconnect for me in what you are saying. I get your point–and I agree that people should feel free to express or not express their beliefs. The difference is that I don’t agree that anyone should ever feel pressure to keep their belief or lack thereof to themselves simply to avoid conflict because someone else won’t accept them.

      Acceptance and tolerance goes in all directions.

    • Heather

      July 13, 2014 at 9:25 pm

      I don’t disagree with you. I agree that it would be infinitely better if everyone could feel safe with speaking about their decisions, but they can’t. And I don’t think the responsibility lies on the shoulders of 10 year olds who stand to be ostracized by their peers for speaking up.

    • Wicked Prophet Kay Sue

      July 13, 2014 at 9:45 pm

      I think that I would have phrased it differently, honestly.

      I would have said it was important for her to know that she could talk about her nonbelief when she felt comfortable, but that if she didn’t feel comfortable, she didn’t have to. No one has the right to demand it of her.

      But I wouldn’t mention avoiding conflict, and I would emphasize, 110%, that people’s reactions to her nonbelief are their reactions. It’s not wrong or dirty or offensive to want to talk about it, or to mention it, and she’s not responsible for what they think of it.

      I do think the assertion regarding comfort is reasonable, but I think the underlying context is something that I, and I’d wager a lot of other nonbelievers on the thread, are picking up on as offensive. When you say “if you don’t have anything nice to say…”, it implies that simply stating a lack of belief is critical of religion, and that’s deeply disturbing to those of us that are atheists. It’s most certainly not something I would ever want to pass on to a young atheist.

    • Heather

      July 13, 2014 at 9:50 pm

      I was quoting Disney. I understand where the problem is, now. I did not mean it literally, as if saying you are an atheist is not “nice” somehow. It was more a way for me to say you can let others be without speaking up or to decline without additional info. When looking at it from that perspective, I agree wholeheartedly. That should not be the type of phrasing that you should use with someone young and just identifying in ANY way. I grew up in a way that made me feel as if I couldn’t/shouldn’t talk about it if I didn’t feel the same way, and I went through uncomfortable times because I thought I was wrong and actually WAS a christian because I was supposed to be.

    • Wicked Prophet Kay Sue

      July 13, 2014 at 9:55 pm

      It’s one of those cases where parenting is a balancing act, because you want to encourage your children to be secure in their identity but you also want them to feel safe and accepted, I think.

      I can understand where you are coming from better now that we cleared up that turn of phrase. I don’t really think our point of views are that far off from each other. I’d just phrase it differently myself, which is not unusual. Thanks for your tenacity in this discussion.

    • Heather

      July 13, 2014 at 10:01 pm

      Thanks for allowing me to realize my perspective was a little off. For me it’s about teaching my kids autonomy. It’s their life. Their hurts hurt me, but they live their lives every day. They have to make decisions that are right for them, whether that is about talking to certain people, behaving in certain ways, or believing what they believe. I will guide them while they’re young as best as I can, but in the end, I hope they know it’s up to them and that I’ll try to support them in the ways I’m able.

    • Wicked Prophet Kay Sue

      July 13, 2014 at 10:05 pm

      I think we can all raise a glass to that!

    • Frances Frumpy Mumps Locke

      July 13, 2014 at 9:06 pm

      I think there is some misunderstanding about what my actual fears are, though. I’m more worried about the overall societal discrimination Atheists face in the U.S., more than uncomfortable situations (though of course I hope I can help her navigate those as well). IMO, the best way to help negate negative stereotypes against Atheists, is for Atheists to be willing to talk about what they believe.

    • Frances Frumpy Mumps Locke

      July 13, 2014 at 8:49 pm

      I don’t see the problem with simply saying “No thanks, I’m an Atheist, but I appreciate the offer!” though. As long as the person isn’t being pushy about it, what’s your problem with it? Do you feel this way about other belief systems? Is my Jewish aunt who says “No thanks, I”m Jewish,” when offered a pulled pork sandwich at a BBQ (which just happened this weekend, and no one batted an eye) a problem too?

      I’m genuinely curious, btw. I know these types of discussions can get sorta heated, but I’m genuinely here to learn and very open to hearing a Christian perspective.

    • Heather

      July 13, 2014 at 9:01 pm

      It is about the pushy people, of course. With not pushy people, I guess if you want them to know you’re Atheist, or Jewish, or Muslim, or Wiccan or Whatever, then fine tell them. But you don’t OWE any person your religious convictions (or lack thereof). It would have been just as easy for your aunt to say “no thank you” if she thought the admission of her Judaism would make the rest of the picnic uncomfortable for her because there was a lady with a WBC shirt on. It wouldn’t have been a “secret” that she was Jewish, she just wouldn’t be broadcasting it in a situation that could become confrontational.

    • Frances Frumpy Mumps Locke

      July 13, 2014 at 8:45 pm

      I have Jewish friends and family, and this kind of thing does occasionally come up. They simply say “No thank you, I’m Jewish, but I appreciate the offer!” and that’s the end of it.

    • Wicked Prophet Kay Sue

      July 13, 2014 at 8:46 pm

      That’s specifically why I picked it. Kosher diets lend themselves to the analogy, lol!

      It’s not rude, it’s part of normal human interaction.

    • Frances Frumpy Mumps Locke

      July 13, 2014 at 8:51 pm

      This weekend my aunt was at a BBQ with some of us and the host offered her a pulled pork sammie. She legit said, almost verbatim, “Oh, thank you, but I’m Jewish! I’d love some of that potato salad though!” and no one batted an eye. And I live in a predominately Catholic part of Queens. Most people are actually pretty cool about this stuff. It’s the zealots I worry about.

    • Heather

      July 13, 2014 at 9:06 pm

      I just think I would roll my eyes if someone said that to me. Maybe I’m anti-social. I am a lot more introverted than I ever used to be, but I just don’t personally care about that info from other people. I just don’t worry about it.

      I mean, if I were holding an event with mixed company and there would be some dietary restrictions I’d ask if there was anything I needed to avoid for people and try to plan, but I wouldn’t ask WHY they need to avoid it. If I invite someone who is Jewish and someone who is allergic to peanuts, I wouldn’t make the main meal a pulled pork dish with peanut sauce in it (Is that a thing? I don’t know). I’d pick something kosher and peanut free. But I wouldn’t have to then tell those people that I don’t have an organized religion because they do!

    • Frances Frumpy Mumps Locke

      July 13, 2014 at 9:10 pm

      IDK, maybe this is just a more common phenomenon in NYC? The way she saw it, letting them know she was Jewish also let them know that she wasn’t turning her nose up at their (delicious) food. Honestly, this type of convo happens so often here in my part of the country that I stopped noticing it for the most part. The only reason it even popped into my head was because this happened literally a day a go.

    • Heather

      July 13, 2014 at 9:14 pm

      I understand that. I think that is part of where learning to say no thank you without having to offer more information comes in. I don’t think it is rude, in any way, to say no thank you. Even if I AM turning my nose up at something. If I don’t want some pork because it smells like feet, I can just say “No thank you, but I’d love some potato salad” and come across as just as polite. No other stuff needed to not be rude. That is the most important lesson I learned when I “grew up” and my lord has it saved me. No more “white lies” to spare people’s feelings or getting myself into situations I would rather not be in.

    • NoMissCleo...JustMe

      July 13, 2014 at 9:23 pm

      And I’d take it a step further and find out what kind of sandwich or other food I could get or make for the guest in lieu of the pulled pork.

    • Frances Frumpy Mumps Locke

      July 13, 2014 at 9:25 pm

      That’s actually exactly what our friend did. He was totally nonplussed!

    • Frances Frumpy Mumps Locke

      July 13, 2014 at 8:39 pm

      Honestly, I’m not sure where you got the impression that myself or my daughter would have a problem with anyone praying over their meals, or anywhere else. Much of my family is Christian or Jewish, and I have NEVER tried to stop them from observing their beliefs around me. Most Atheists don’t, only a vocal minority does. Comparing run of the mill Atheists to those folks is like comparing run of the mill Christians to the Westboro Bapists. It’s silly and unfair.

    • Heather

      July 13, 2014 at 8:41 pm

      This was one specific example.

    • Black Atheists

      July 14, 2014 at 7:28 am

      REALLY?! What?! Just when I thought I read it all… It’s too early in the AM for this shit. Where’s my oatmeal…

    • Cruelty Cupcake

      July 13, 2014 at 8:29 pm

      Right? Sorry boutcha, but openly acknowledging your atheism isn’t “mean.”

    • Wicked Prophet Kay Sue

      July 13, 2014 at 8:35 pm

      I so very much agree.

    • Heather

      July 13, 2014 at 8:43 pm

      The idea is that if you’re just saying something to be critical of someone else, don’t.

    • NoMissCleo...JustMe

      July 13, 2014 at 9:19 pm

      How is expressing her non-belief being critical of someone who believes?

    • Lackadaisical

      July 13, 2014 at 7:48 pm

      I don’t think that anyone should ever have to be silent or hide what they do or don’t believe unless their beliefs are centred around inciting people to hurt other people. I do think that people shouldn’t be aggressive with their beliefs and should be respectful of other peoples beliefs but I am very uncomfortable with teaching a child that she should keep her beliefs (or lack thereof) quiet as if they are a dirty secret.

      I was raised by rather zealous, militant atheists (while I tend towards just a milder and quieter personal lack of belief in anything) so I do understand that some atheists can be a bit … mocking and offensive. I don’t think anyone should ever ridicule or be smug in their beliefs, religion is a very personal thing that we don’t get to dictate to others. That doesn’t mean she should evade all mention of a lack of belief though. I am not sure that would help a child’s self confidence.

    • Heather

      July 13, 2014 at 8:33 pm

      I don’t think she needs to “hide” but I also don’t see why she needs to share either? If she wants to, by all means. But if she doesn’t feel comfortable sharing, she doesn’t have to and THAT is what she should be taught. She doesn’t HAVE to tell someone she is atheist just because they invite her to church.

    • Frances Frumpy Mumps Locke

      July 13, 2014 at 8:37 pm

      I don’t know where I ever mentioned either myself or my daughter “preaching” anything. It’s wonderful that you and those around you are able and willing to be polite when folks say “No thank you, I’m not interested, thank you for the invitation,” and I genuinely mean that. But plenty of people aren’t, and that’s what I’m worried about.

    • Wicked Prophet Kay Sue

      July 13, 2014 at 8:44 pm

      It took three polite and gracious text message two weeks ago before I finally told a neighbor inviting us all to church that we don’t do church. Three times I very nicely tried to say we weren’t interested before I finally said we weren’t sure what direction our children’s spirituality would take and as such, we weren’t pursuing spiritual instruction until they were old enough to understand it better.

      There are a lot of people that don’t take no for an answer, no matter how kind and polite you are.

    • Heather

      July 13, 2014 at 8:50 pm

      I’m saying that it is better to MAKE people accept no thank you as a final answer. If they continue you don’t HAVE to say anything. They can call your phone every day and you can say “I appreciate your invitation but I’m not interested in attending your church events.” And you don’t OWE them anything. If they continue, that is THEIR energy and THEIR problem.

    • Frances Frumpy Mumps Locke

      July 13, 2014 at 8:53 pm

      You have a point, but this gets exhausting for everyone, lol.

    • Wicked Prophet Kay Sue

      July 13, 2014 at 8:54 pm

      If only we could say, “No thanks, I’m an atheist” so that they could begin the process of respecting our beliefs…

    • Heather

      July 13, 2014 at 8:56 pm

      I don’t disagree. And as a teenager I WASN’T taught that I was allowed to bow out gracefully and I spent a lot of time in a very uncomfortable church that taught a lot of stuff I didn’t agree with because I wanted to have friends. It was a LOT more exhausting to try to put up a front with people because I didn’t know how to say “no thank you” without giving more information.

    • Frances Frumpy Mumps Locke

      July 13, 2014 at 8:58 pm

      I see your point, Heather. I’ve always been pretty good at this, especially when my step-mom came into my life, because she is the queen of genuine politeness and she taught me well.

    • Kelly

      July 13, 2014 at 11:16 pm

      I shouldn’t have to lie about my lack of religious belief to avoid persecution any more than a Jewish, Muslim or Christian person should have to lie about their beliefs.

      That’s really not ok.

    • Katherine Handcock

      July 14, 2014 at 6:16 am

      I think Heather is just trying to say that, because of the diversity of beliefs and opinions in the world, we should all be mindful that the people we are speaking to are likely of different belief. Not ACTIVELY inserting reference to your particular beliefs (or lack of beliefs) is different from lying when the topic comes up. A good example would be the whole Merry Christmas/Happy holidays boondoggle that happens every year: while I personally think happy holidays is nicer because it’s more inclusive, there’s an excess of responses like “Well, I’m not celebrating Christmas because I’m not Christian!” or “Shame on you for not keeping Christ in Christmas” instead of responding to the spirit of the phrases, which is, “Enjoy the special occasion, whether it’s a religious holiday or just some days off work.”

      Also, independent of religion, we should ALL stop trying to explain why we decline particular things. We’ve reached this weird place socially where people no longer accept the classic “three polite ‘no thank yous’ = not interested.” Miss Manners points out that giving a reason simply invites argument, and I tend to agree with that. I have become very good at robotically repeating, “I’m not available that day. Because I’m not available. Because I just can’t. Because I’m not available.” 😉

  5. LadyClodia the Modest Rat

    July 13, 2014 at 7:08 pm

    That’s great that your daughter came to her own informed decision, and it’s so great that she was confident enough to talk to you about it.
    I applaud you for having told your family you’re an atheist too. I haven’t, and I can’t imagine when I would ever tell my whole family. I hate familial conflict, and I’ve decided that I don’t care what they think, and they don’t need to know. I still haven’t told my 5yo that we don’t believe in God. It’s quite difficult to figure out how to handle atheism with kids. On one hand I want to be honest with them, but on the other hand I don’t want to tell them so they don’t have to deal so much with the negativity and prejudice that exists towards atheists (I also don’t really want them to out us to family.) I hope as our children grow attitudes towards atheists will improve. In the meantime it’s definitely a struggle. It looks like our boys won’t be joining the Boy Scouts either.

    • NotTakenNotAvailable

      July 13, 2014 at 9:55 pm

      When I was young, my parents simply didn’t talk about religion much at all. I imagine that if they did, it was couched in terms of, “Some people believe that…”

      I think kids generally adopt whatever religion their parents follow, unless that religion just doesn’t hold water for them (and the cases where I’ve heard of children and their parents parting ways on theological matters were only if the parents really forced obedience to their beliefs). So I think as long as your kids know they’ll be loved even if they do someday believe in God(s), they’ll turn out okay regardless.

    • Frances Frumpy Mumps Locke

      July 13, 2014 at 10:02 pm

      I feel this way too. And for the most part, “Some people believe…” is how me and our family discuss other belief systems too. Though I’ve always been open about being an Atheist and not believing in a higher power, yada yada yada. But it’s always been just another fact about me, like my hair being black or my eyes being baby poop green, lol.

    • LadyClodia the Modest Rat

      July 13, 2014 at 10:38 pm

      It’s a bit tricky for us with our 5yo because he did attend a Catholic preschool for the last two years, so he’s had quite a bit of religious teaching, which is why I’m not sure how to explain that we don’t believe in God to him. Life’s complicated, and I would have preferred he’d gone to a nonreligious preschool, but that didn’t work out.

      I’m also personally having a hard time with my biases against Christians both because of how I used to be and also how terribly some others close to me acted, and I’m working on getting over my bitterness and cynicism about my own past.
      I definitely want my boys to feel comfortable talking about their beliefs and knowing that we’ll love them no matter what. I think teaching them tolerance and to be considerate of others’ beliefs will go a long way.

    • NotTakenNotAvailable

      July 14, 2014 at 1:39 am

      I think tolerance and consideration are great policies in general. Interestingly, I don’t remember having any sort of conversations about religion when I was very young, though obviously I must’ve absorbed my parents’ atheism somehow. My guess will be that even if one or both boys have that exposure to religious teachings, they’ll be perfectly content with, “That’s what your teachers believe. Here’s what we believe. Here’s a simple explanation of why we believe it, though that doesn’t make us superior to anyone else just because we have different opinions.”

      FWIW, I have almost no religious education to speak of besides whatever was necessary to understand metaphorical language in most of Western literature, but my male cousins went to Hebrew school and had their Bar Mitzvahs. They’re all atheists, but they know to keep their mouths shut about it around Grandma!

    • Kapibara-san

      July 14, 2014 at 5:15 am

      I’m 24 now and still don’t know what my parents believe in. I guess they believe in god, but they only go to church for weddings and funerals. They didn’t say anything when I quit the church, though I think mom once jokingly called me a heathen. I guess believing in god is such a private matter here that people don’t necessarily even tell their kids about it, lol.

    • guest

      July 14, 2014 at 10:42 am

      I actually rather like it that way. My parents weren’t raised super religious and didn’t take us to church (except once my mom did because my little brother wanted to go). Once when I was really little I asked my dad if he didn’t believe in God and he said he was not an athesist he just didn’t need to go to a church to pray. To this day, I will never tell anyone who I vote for including my own husband. I just follow the “I don’t talk about it since you really can’t win either way, and I don’t fall distinctly on one side or the other anyhow.”

  6. jendra_berri

    July 13, 2014 at 7:16 pm

    I find this so, so strange. While most Canadians identify with Christianity, there’s a strong atheist and agnostic population. And most favour secular public life. People who don’t bring religion into their professional life are looked at as more trustworthy and intelligent.
    We have some evangelical politicians and if they’re vocal, they’re laughed at for “believing in the Flintstones” or made irrelevant when they cause offence, or they’ve kept their mouth shut about it as much as possible so as not to alienate voters.
    I’ve never once heard of anyone who was in any way shamed or mistrusted due to their lack of spiritual belief here. No one comes out as anything religious. No one cares what you do faithwise so long as you keep it to yourself. I think that’s the way it should be.

    • Frances Frumpy Mumps Locke

      July 13, 2014 at 8:09 pm

      This is why I love Canadians. I have a ton of Canadian friends and they are great about this stuff. So non-judgey (about everything, not just religion) and laid back.

    • Ashie

      July 14, 2014 at 9:08 am

      Canadians for the win. I love living in Canada!

    • Lilly

      July 14, 2014 at 10:47 am

      Another canuck and I have found in my conversations that when people mention going to church or something most people respond with awe that there are still practicing religious people out there. That being said it is brought up almost never (especially in the context of just meeting someone or work relationships).

      Most churches in my area are being converted to condos/lofts since there are not enough congregants to support them.

  7. LK

    July 13, 2014 at 7:26 pm

    I live in a very red, conservative, Christian state, and I (luckily) haven’t encountered any of this attitude towards atheists, although we are churchgoing Christians, albeit progressives. I can’t imagine getting the kind of treatment you describe, so I probably can’t speak too intelligently about those kind of people. But history is bending rapidly towards agnostics and atheists, so your daughter will hopefully find a more accepting future. I expect this trend is why we see a rise in fundamental Christianity vs. mainline denominations. Many people are not secure enough in their faith to be comfortable when they encounter someone who doesn’t share it (and cue just about every major human conflict in history). I swear we’re not all fundy whackjobs!

    • Frances Frumpy Mumps Locke

      July 13, 2014 at 8:05 pm

      Well said, @disqus_JSaHCF5lKD:disqus. Especially on how some people are insecure about their faith when faced with opposing beliefs.

    • Cruelty Cupcake

      July 13, 2014 at 8:21 pm

      I totally agree that their anger just stems from insecurity. If someone was confident and happy with their belief system, I don’t think they would go ape shit just because I don’t share it.

    • Frances Frumpy Mumps Locke

      July 13, 2014 at 9:30 pm

      Yup. I don’t understand this at all. Just because I believe something different, doesn’t automatically make someone else’s beliefs wrong in my eyes.

    • WhoremonalCrazyLotusBitch

      July 14, 2014 at 8:47 am

      This, Frances! This is a very rare and profound statement. It’s the one based in humility that leaves your door open and doesn’t make anyone else feel foolish or ashamed. Love you for this.

    • Catholic-shamed Guest

      July 14, 2014 at 7:46 pm

      Oddly enough, when I said I considered myself to be Catholic my largely atheist family slammed me and accused me of being “intolerant”, since being a Catholic automatically meant I apparently thought all other beliefs (or non-beliefs) were wrong. I found that incredibly offensive.

      So, I guess I get where you come from, even though I am looking at it from the opposite perspective. Where I am from, admitting to being religious means people giving the side-eye and thinking you are some kind of fundamentalist monster (FYI I am the most left-wing in my family). So I just think everyone needs to take a chill-pill on the religion front and live and let live.

    • WhoremonalCrazyLotusBitch

      July 14, 2014 at 10:28 pm

      I completely agree…and you’re much better at it than I. *kicks dirt with toe*

    • VA Teacher

      July 14, 2014 at 1:07 am

      You think they’d be happy! If they turn out to be right, that just means more room to stretch out in heaven!

    • Cruelty Cupcake

      July 14, 2014 at 7:54 am

      I hope they’re right too! More room for me to stretch out in hell with Johnny Cash. #sataniswaitin

    • noodlestein

      July 14, 2014 at 5:43 pm

      No kidding! Hell has always, always, always sounded like much more fun to me. Plus, at least I’ll know people there!

  8. Lackadaisical

    July 13, 2014 at 7:37 pm

    Things seem to be a fair bit better for atheists in England, I have had very minimal reaction to it (only from the very rare extremely old fashioned Christians). I would imagine that where you live the reaction to being a non-believer is better than it was when you were growing up and hopefully will be better for your daughter than it is now when she is an adult.

    I realise that I live in another country but the differences between the UK and US aren’t that great, I would imagine. As a fairly open atheist I have been friends with several vicars and not even they had a problem with my lack of any faith whatsoever. Here the scouts and guides, boy scout and girl scout equivalent, allow atheists (although not as the section leader of scouts, assistant leaders are fine though) and the guides have a non-religious promise for all while the scouts have a non religious alternative that atheists and people whose religions are not covered by the various other alternative promises can take. Over here it is against the law to discriminate based on religion and that covers atheism too, My own eldest (11 years old) decided he was a heathen unbeliever like me some time ago and his brother followed suit (although as he blatantly just wants to be like his big brother I try to get him to keep an open mind). My daughter is a Christian, as is her father.

    My own experiences of growing up atheist is that as long as I was respectful of other peoples religions and honest about my own lack of faith I have not upset, offended or been discriminated against. My own advice, which may be utterly useless as I live somewhere different, is to not ever make her hide who she is and what she believes (or in fact doesn’t) but remind her that just because she doesn’t believe it doesn’t mean that she should ever disrespect those who do.

    • Frances Frumpy Mumps Locke

      July 13, 2014 at 8:20 pm

      I think your advice is spot on. I’ve always been a big believer in not hiding what you believe (without shoving in other’s faces, of course!). I think the fact that we’ve been big on exposing all our kids to different beliefs and religions will hold her in good stead. Thank you!

    • BexleyS

      July 14, 2014 at 2:21 am

      I didn’t ever feel discriminated against as an atheist in England. I’d still consider it the norm. A few years ago however, I joined the Catholic Church and feel some discrimination towards that. That may just be because all the people I know are atheists though. My family and friends were dead against it but u made my choice for me. Religion is not something that ever comes up in conversation and in my whole life, nobody has ever asked me to join their church. I worked for 4 years in a Catholic school and the majority of staff were atheist/agnostic and it was never a problem. I think you’re right that the key is respect. We live in a tiny country with lots if different races and religions and it’s pretty much impossible to segregate ourselves from one another (particularly round here in Manchster). Everyone has learned to get along with one another and although in the past year or so the far-right are seemingly gaining some power, I’m hoping it’s a passing phase and we can get back to being tolerant and respecting each other as equals no matter what we do or don’t believe in!

    • Lackadaisical

      July 14, 2014 at 4:43 am

      Yes, there does seem to be a culture of cynism here that means that even though the majority of my friends are Christian to be open about Christianity being very important in your life can sometimes get raised eyebrows. Also most Christians I know would identity as CofE or a private and personal belief unaffiliated with any denomination so Catholic is a small step into different from there. I do know a lot of Catholics, but that might be because we live nearish to a well regarded Catholic primary school which would make it an attractive area to move to for a welcoming Catholic community, even for those in the local state school rather than church school.

      The UKIP popularity and general background level of intolerance is terrifying, isn’t it? I am seeing far to many people sharing bigoted tripe from the English Defence League on Facebook, although that improved after I “defriended” and stepped away from them in real life. Thankfully where I live doesn’t seem as bad as a lot of the country, where I live the EDL organised a march on a mosque so far more non-muslim locals showed up to support the mosque and the people at the mosque responded with tea and biscuits followed by a calm and friendly discussion (well played, York mosque, well played). To see so much hate towards people we don’t even know all over the country is heartbreaking, although thankfully it seems to still be the (vocal) minority attitude.

  9. Ursi

    July 13, 2014 at 7:42 pm

    It’s a tough road, for sure.

    I didn’t get Atheism for a long time. I admit to prejudice; feeling about Atheists in a way I did not feel about other non-Christians. I could respect the beliefs of anyone of any faith but Atheism was not something I could accept. To me it felt like an insult; a person turning their back on religion entirely.

    All that changed when I became close to a woman who was an Atheist in my mid 20s. She had been a Christian and she had left the church.. And it was so hard for her. Her family was as supportive as they could be but they didn’t understand and they were afraid for her salvation. And she felt so isolated. Like her friends wouldn’t understand. And I saw how difficult it was to be an Atheist in America– even in a fairly progressive place. She would run into people who felt like I did but they weren’t silent. And she helped me to tackle my prejudice simply by existing; by fearlessly embracing Atheism. And I respect her so much for that. Before I knew her I had no idea how difficult it could be. Now I feel that if you embrace that belief (or lack thereof) and you stand firm in it then you are a brave person. I hope she will find peace and acceptance.

  10. Amber Leigh Wood

    July 13, 2014 at 7:51 pm

    I know I’m not in the US but I have such a hard time understanding this kind of issue, to be honest I don’t think I’ve ever had a conversation with friends about what religion they are. I, myself am an atheist, my parents were both brought up religiously (went to church) but choose not to with their children. I only remember one of my friends from school attending church, and I even went with her once or twice, but I remember not really connecting with it.
    It’s strange that people find reasons to dislike each other which have nothing to do with that person at their core, religion doesn’t dictate the person’s personality or whether they are fundamentally a good or bad person.

    • Frances Frumpy Mumps Locke

      July 13, 2014 at 8:31 pm

      It really depends on what part of the country you’re in here. Thankfully we live in NYC right now, which is very open-minded. But people were much less so when I lived in areas like Ohio and Indiana. And friends in areas like Oklahoma and Texas say where they live is even worse (though there are even parts of those states that are supper inclusive).

    • Gina

      July 14, 2014 at 1:01 pm

      Oklahoman here to say that it’s true. If you’re not a captial ‘C’ Christian (meaning fundamentalist, evangelical) they think you’re a freak. I moved here when I was 10 and I was so shocked that on my 1st day in my new public school I was asked by almost every single kid what church I go to. Not where I was from or what music/tv shows/books/sports I liked, but where I went to church. And because I didn’t go to their church, some kids wouldn’t play with me. I’m not particularly religious but was raised Catholic (which some people have likened to being Atheist or satanic in these parts) and when I’ve met people here, even as an adult, they’re your best friend until they realize that they’re never going to get you to go to their church with them. Then they drop you like a hot satanic potato from hell.

    • AE Vorro

      July 14, 2014 at 11:08 am

      Honestly, Amber… this should be hard to understand.

  11. Coffee&Cats

    July 13, 2014 at 8:19 pm

    I can’t believe that there are people who would trust a rapist over an atheist. Like seriously wtf?! I’m a Christian, but not the judgemental, hateful kind. I follow the whole “live and let live” philosophy, so judging and hating people who aren’t Christians has never made any sense to me.

  12. Joye77

    July 13, 2014 at 8:22 pm

    I recently have discovered I am leaning more toward identifying as agnostic. I haven’t admitted this to anyone in real life. Religion seems to be one of those things you usually only discuss with people you know well in this area. ( FL, I seem to be in a very conservative area) I prefer not to participate in religious discussions and no one has forced me to talk about it. Some business is private.

  13. Garavriel

    July 13, 2014 at 9:36 pm

    As someone who lives in one of the least religious states and is going into a profession with a high percentage of atheists, it always shocks me when I hear about discrimination towards Atheists. Around here you’re more likely to be looked at funny for being highly religious.

  14. AugustW

    July 13, 2014 at 9:39 pm

    Once again, I find myself basking in my delightful bastion of liberalism known as Washington State. Ahhhhh…..

    • The Actual Devil

      July 13, 2014 at 11:13 pm

      Me too. :-p

    • M.

      July 14, 2014 at 7:37 am

      Lucky duck, I’m stuck in the south 🙁

  15. NotTakenNotAvailable

    July 13, 2014 at 9:46 pm

    Having supportive parents definitely helps! Both of mine were atheists, so they obviously had no difficulty with my lack of belief.

    I would definitely advise any younger atheists I knew to be very selective in whom they confided their (lack of) beliefs. One girl at my high school whom I told of my atheism very early on spent the next four years smothering me with offers to come to her youth group, her church, etc. to the point where it verged on harassment. And I suppose I had it lucky–I could have been shunned entirely. There’s really no in-between when you’re dealing with people who consider you a threat because of something that doesn’t affect their lives in the slightest.

    • M.

      July 14, 2014 at 7:42 am

      I hear that. I was just kind of always an atheist and I was pretty vocal about it at my heavily Catholic NY high school and my not believing in God turned into a giant rumor of Satan worship and witchcraft which spiraled into a bunch of trouble for me with school authorities (like not being allowed to go on an 8th grade ski trip) even though I never did anything to ACTUALLY get in trouble and didn’t believe in Satan any more than I believed in God. It was bizarre, to say the least. I learned my lesson though, and kept my views pretty quiet at my private non-denominational Christian high school in Florida…to be vocal would have just been asking for trouble, though I never kept my beliefs unknown to those I trusted. It’s a know your audience kind of thing 🙂

    • NotTakenNotAvailable

      July 14, 2014 at 12:27 pm

      I’m sorry for what you went through. The crap I underwent took place at a public high school, so at least the administration couldn’t come down on my apparently Satanjc ways. Which, BTW, is a total contradiction, but I guess the distinction between “not a believer” and “believer in something that happens to be the enemy of what many believe in” is too subtle to grasp. X(

  16. irarelypostonanything

    July 13, 2014 at 10:08 pm

    I think many people are quick to say they’ve never encountered extreme religious bias, and I hate to draw controversial parallels (I’m lying, I love it). However, how is saying you don’t see religious bias any different than denying the rape culture we live in by saying you’ve never seen anything ‘that’ bad… You sneeze. God bless you. You say happy holidays to someone, and they correct you to say merry Christmas. People ‘pray’ for us, and we’re supposed to act like this is somehow more effective than the Facebook shares of humanitarian causes (which we openly deride as being ineffective in the absence of true action). Religiosity is so pervasive in our culture, regardless of which side of the border or the ocean you’re on. God is in our anthems, on our money, it’s completely unavoidable. Atheists are finally saying they’d like to be acknowledged. They can do that as loudly as they like. Is it offensive to religion? Yes. It’s meant to be. It’s the very idea of rejecting blind faith in favour of cold facts and reason. That doesn’t mean you can’t believe whatever you want. But I can think you’re as crazy as you think a scientologist is, and that’s just logic.

    • JessBakesCakes

      July 13, 2014 at 10:47 pm

      You actually make a really good point regarding “God bless you.” I tend to say “Bless you”, but only because “Gesundheit” sounds like gibberish when it comes out of my mouth, and silence seems rude? Now I’m wondering why I even have to tell someone something when they sneeze. I’m having a crisis, don’t mind me…

      In all seriousness, though, I completely understand where you’re coming from. I’ve been very aware to be more inclusive in the way I speak and give general well-wishes (not “praying for you” but “I’ll be thinking of you”, etc) but that’s one I honestly never even realized I did. Thanks for making me more aware 🙂

    • Kapibara-san

      July 14, 2014 at 5:06 am

      I’m not an expert, but I think in many other languages you just say equivalent of ‘gesundheit’ (so health) when people sneeze. It’s funny how in English you have to get god involved.

    • EX

      July 14, 2014 at 6:15 am

      Yeah, but then in Austria (where they say gesundheit when you sneeze) the colloquial greeting is “grüß Gott” which means “greet God,” so we Americans are definitely not the only ones bringing god into everything!

    • Kapibara-san

      July 14, 2014 at 8:26 am

      Oh yeah, I actually knew that greeting but just now realized that Gott=God… I feel so smart now.

    • Shea

      July 16, 2014 at 1:03 pm

      In French, you say “À tes souhaits” (to your wishes) after the first
      sneeze, then “À tes amours” (to your loves) after the second, and if someone sneezes a third time you say “Qu’elles durent toujours” (may they last forever). Nice sentiments, and no need to bring God into it at all.

    • Katherine Handcock

      July 14, 2014 at 6:37 am

      I definitely see your point about religious bias being in some sneakily hidden places. If you say happy holidays and someone says, “You MEAN Merry Christmas,” oh, boy, do I have words for that person. If there are still states where you’re technically banned from public office for being atheist (REALLY? Sigh….) that needs to be fixed.

      However, there are some cultural things where the original religious implication has sort of disappeared, and I wonder about the value of addressing those. To me, a good example is “goodbye” – since it was originally “God be with you”, it technically has a religious implication. But then, I would put it on a parallel with Thursday – is that problematic for Christians because it’s named after Thor?

      I’m not saying we shouldn’t think about these implications, and I try very hard to – a big part of the reason why, although we’re affiliated with a church, we say, “We’re thinking of you” instead of “we’ll pray for you” – but just that we need to give different issues the weight they require, just like I’m more concerned about ending the gender pay gap than I am about whether we still call it “HIStory.”

      Oh, and as far as I’m concerned, an atheist loudly declaring they want to be acknowledged isn’t offensive to religion! The only time belief (or lack of belief) in discussion becomes offensive to me is when people refuse to allow others to believe differently. As long as everyone is shrugging their shoulders at the end and saying, “Well, that’s your take; I still don’t agree”, then I’m good 🙂

    • irarelypostonanything

      July 14, 2014 at 10:05 am

      Plenty of phrases (and holidays) have been secularised enough that the average person today wouldn’t recognise the religious roots. We don’t need to deny history or etymology, but there is still the assumption in society today that “we all” believe in god, just as there’s the assumption that thin is prettier than fat, etc. Things are changing for the better, we just so have a fair ways to go.

    • Katherine Handcock

      July 14, 2014 at 1:13 pm

      Totally agree that there’s still a large assumption of belief, although it’s definitely improving. Hopefully it continues to do so!

    • M.

      July 14, 2014 at 7:32 am

      God is in our pledge (our national anthem doesn’t mention god) and on our money, but wasn’t originally. “In God we trust” didn’t start getting printed on money until 1864, almost 100 years after the founding of the nation (http://www.treasury.gov/about/education/Pages/in-god-we-trust.aspx) and the pledge, originally written in 1892, didn’t include the words “under God” until 1954, which was added in response to the anti-communism craziness that was sweeping the nation at the time (http://www.ushistory.org/documents/pledge.htm). Religion has been inserted MORE into public life as time has gone on.

      I don’t see how not wanting religion shoved down our throats constantly is offensive to religion, or even how it’s meant to be offensive. Anyone can practice any religion they like, but how is it offensive to keep that out of public life where all of us are forced to be part of it? No atheist is asking for our dollars to say “God isn’t real” or some nonsense, we’d just like silence on the matter and for our country to recognize that not everyone believes a deity.

    • irarelypostonanything

      July 14, 2014 at 9:56 am

      It’s “offensive” because a growing number are no longer content to say “please don’t persecute me for not believing” and are now saying the observance of separation of church and state needs to start being a reality, not an empty dream. We’re no longer simply on the defensive, content to sit silently so long as no one actively hurts us. We’re demanding that policies be determined by scientific enquiry, not faith based. This would be a major overhaul to the ways things are, hence offensive to the status quo.

  17. JessBakesCakes

    July 13, 2014 at 10:31 pm

    This was a wonderful read! Your daughter has obviously thought things through and it’s great that you as a parent have allowed her the opportunity to decide for herself what her belief system is; she’s also incredibly mature to be so intuitive and aware of herself and her beliefs. When I was her age, the only thing I was sure I believed was that Lance Bass from *NSYNC was straight. Ahem.

    I’m sure she will continue to be mature and gracious as she encounters new situations and new people, and I hope the world will be equally gracious to her. I wish her all the best. 🙂

  18. beachbum

    July 13, 2014 at 11:04 pm

    I am an Atheist. Never had an issue until my military husband was stationed in Kansas. CONSTANTLY had people trying to push me towards their church and salvation, including co-workers. I had no problem telling people I was a non-believer and it just shocked their little minds. Finally had to tell my supervisor to tell them to shut up about their fire and brimstone song and dance or I was going to quit. Luckily my supervisor was none too thrilled and it stopped at work at least. From the grocery store to the water park, SOMEONE tried to ask me about what church I belonged to! It was a long four years of cruel and unusual punishment, so glad to escape that crap.

    The funny thing is that I am married to a practicing Christian. We both have our view on the world and we both respect that. It’s not hard, we’ve been doing it for six years now with nary an issue. I do like going to church on Christmas Eve so I can sing carols though 😉 The in-laws are not so hot on having a heathen daughter in law but my husband flat out told them if he had to pick between them and me, I was going to win.

    We are going to raise our kid to make her own choice on religion or lack thereof. One God, no God, many Gods or a Goddess, we will encourage her to find what feels right to her.

  19. Jo Mama

    July 13, 2014 at 11:21 pm

    If you read the constitution and declaration,,its very clear that America is theocratic,no specific church and no laws respecting the establishment of a church,so declaring atheism disqualifies a person from using the basic same set of ethics,the laws of nature and of natures god,,,hope that helps

    • NotTakenNotAvailable

      July 14, 2014 at 2:07 am

      1) Your second, third, and fourth “clauses” contradict each other.
      2) if you read the article, you’ll notice that the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence (I assume that’s the lowercase declaration you meant?) are mentioned NOWHERE AT ALL.
      3) But since you brought them up…compelling evidence suggests Thomas Jefferson and several other Founders were deists. Since I know how taxing it is to look things up on Google, I’ll let you know that deists believe that God created the universe, then abandoned it. So the author of the Constitution most likely believed in a god who didn’t give a fuck and wasn’t much of a presence, which would help explain why the Establishment Clause is open-ended enough to accommodate non-belief as being just as valid as any other system.

    • Jo Mama

      July 14, 2014 at 2:23 am

      your username has a contradiction ,you could have just used
      Not Available , if they we’re as you say deists,then why write it in?
      That’s contradictory

    • guest

      July 14, 2014 at 3:45 am

      How is it a contradiction? It’s not “AvailableNotAvailable”. It’s a pretty simple statement to me-not in a relationship, and not wanting one. How does that contradict itself? It’s just weird you even brought it up. And if I’m wrong about the meaning I don’t mind being corrected by the person who actually uses it, I’m not so sure I’d buy your interpretation. FYI, just because you’re “not taken” doesn’t mean you’re open to a relationship.

    • Jo Mama

      July 14, 2014 at 3:50 am

      ok

    • Gangle

      July 14, 2014 at 3:55 am

      Don’t worry about him. He is a troll that I have adopted as a pet. His name is Spot. He doesn’t really understand speech, but if you talk to him in low, soothing tones he responds.

    • guest

      July 14, 2014 at 5:25 am

      I’ll remember that next time. Thanks for the tip lol. And that was very nice of you to adopt him, he definitely seems in need of guidance. I just hope that doesn’t turn into a full time job for you, he seems like he could be a handful.

    • Gangle

      July 14, 2014 at 5:51 am

      I am kind of hoping others will help out a little. It takes a village to care for a pet troll. The thing to remember is that he thinks he is people, and tries to imitate human language, much like a parrot. That is why an awful lot of what Spot says sounds like gibberish. But he is harmless, really. If he gets too recalcitrant just give him a smack on the nose with a newspaper and put him in his crate.

    • NotTakenNotAvailable

      July 14, 2014 at 12:09 pm

      You got it. 🙂

    • WhoremonalCrazyLotusBitch

      July 14, 2014 at 8:12 am

      Because they were highly intelligent and were aware that an under-educated citizenry, maintaining religious devotion, may reject the core function of these proclamations sans mention of a “god”.

    • Coffee&Cats

      July 14, 2014 at 2:42 am

      That’s cute. I’ve read both those documents and there is very little religious language used. The religious language used was Deist to be specific (for example “our Creator” etc) and was used to appeal to the idea of “civil religion”. In simple terms, the Deist terms were used to cause the documents to be more appealing to American society at the time. Plus the majority of the Founding Fathers ( like Jefferson and Franklin) strongly believed in a clear separation of church and state. They fought hard to keep religion out of our government. So no, it’s a lie to say we were founded as a theocracy, but nice try!

    • Jo Mama

      July 14, 2014 at 2:46 am

      Its clear that the constitution subordinates itself to the churches.
      What would i feed ferrel cats as an atractant to my garden?

      I have a few around

    • Coffee&Cats

      July 14, 2014 at 2:49 am

      Ummm could you cite your proof? I had to write a 20 page paper over this topic at university. You’re wrong. About the feral cats, I’d leave them some dry cat food and a bowl of water lol.

    • WhoremonalCrazyLotusBitch

      July 14, 2014 at 8:05 am

      What’s really interesting is that it expressly does not subordinate itself to the “churches”. While it may acknowledge an unspecified deity (“their God”), it is clear about distancing itself from churches.

    • Coffee&Cats

      July 14, 2014 at 2:45 am

      Plus it’s illegal to disqualify a person from holding a government office based on their religious beliefs or lack thereof that’s stated right in the Constitution. Maybe you should, I don’t know, actually learn about our laws. You’re so ignorant of them, it hurts my eyes.

    • Jo Mama

      July 14, 2014 at 2:53 am

      Well dear,sorry to bring the news to you but lots of law is going to be tested in court,just because the system is being flooded doesn’t mean the water is all clean.

    • Coffee&Cats

      July 14, 2014 at 2:55 am

      I’m aware of that.

    • Coffee&Cats

      July 14, 2014 at 3:05 am

      A great example of a law that needs to be tested in court is the bullshit Hobby Lobby ruling.

    • Jo Mama

      July 14, 2014 at 3:11 am

      Thats just distiling some of the bad water in the ACA,much more to come

    • WhoremonalCrazyLotusBitch

      July 14, 2014 at 7:28 am

      One who divides a people using pride and envy and anger is demonic, one who draws them together with humility, kindness, hope and charity is saintly. Which one are you?

    • meteor_Whoricorn_echo

      July 14, 2014 at 6:49 am

      Gahaha, it’s the proud breeder again. You sound more and more like a charmer every single day – pro-life, basing your identity on your kids, illiterate, and apparently aggressively religious.

      http://31.media.tumblr.com/658a6713a3c1cf8da1e9e7a5ba5b4dde/tumblr_mr5vx1qjLu1s9snzmo1_250.gif

    • Gangle

      July 14, 2014 at 9:07 am

      Are you playing with Spot? Make sure you don’t wear him out too much. I only just got him from the troll shelter and tomorrow he has a big day planned. I’m taking him to the vets for his vaccinations and desexing.

    • meteor_Whoricorn_echo

      July 14, 2014 at 9:46 am

      Yay for desexing! Some obedience courses seem to be also due, as well as literacy courses 🙂

    • Gangle

      July 14, 2014 at 9:51 am

      The thing to remember with trolls is that they don’t really know what they are saying. Much like parrots, they just imitate language with no real meaning or understanding. That is why much of what they say appears to be gibberish. As for obedience… I am afraid we have to start right at the beginning with basics like potty training. If Spot gets out of hand he can go straight back in his crate.

    • Jezebeelzebub

      July 15, 2014 at 8:16 pm

      take his internets away! he’s hurting my EYEHOLES.

    • WhoremonalCrazyLotusBitch

      July 14, 2014 at 7:21 am

      Your demigods were deists, not Christians. SO, based on your theory, one could adopt a faith in any god or deity and be good to go?

  20. NYCNanny

    July 13, 2014 at 11:48 pm

    First world problems.
    Plus plus plus…you live in NYC. Everyone is an atheist. Please. Your daughter is fineeeee.

    • meteor_Whoricorn_echo

      July 14, 2014 at 6:45 am

      First world problems, huh? We have the same issue here in Russia, and Russia sure isn’t a first world country.

      Being shunned by family members for who you are isn’t a first world problem, it’s simply a problem. Don’t be so smug, it’s not becoming for a nanny.

    • Ursi

      July 14, 2014 at 6:54 am

      You’ve no right to belittle her fears about religious discrimination just because you haven’t experienced it yourself. Atheists are still legally discriminated against in this country. Would you say the same thing if she were Jewish? NYC is a pretty safe place for Jewish folk but antisemitism is still alive and well in the US.

    • Jezebeelzebub

      July 15, 2014 at 8:15 pm

      WORD. (says the Jew living in the Bible Belt.)

    • WhoremonalCrazyLotusBitch

      July 14, 2014 at 7:10 am

      Why minimize her rhinoceros? While I’m sure your comment was meant to quell her fears, it just came off as dismissive and condescending. What she has endured is her own personal experience and whether or not it has been your’s is irrelevant.

    • NYCNanny

      July 14, 2014 at 7:48 am

      Being “terrified” that her daughter has the same beliefs as most liberal NY’ers is ridiculous. I’m in my 20’s…all my friends are either athiests or not practicing their religions. Being an atheist is the norm for the younger nyc generation.
      There are many things to be terrified of, but your kid being an athiest isn’t one of them. Chill.

    • WhoremonalCrazyLotusBitch

      July 14, 2014 at 8:01 am

      I’m so glad that your 25 (+/-) years of life experience has taught you everything you need to know about humanity. Really, there’s nothing left for you to learn, is there? Nope, not even a little. Let’s hope, anyway.

      http://www.reactiongifs.com/r/ata.gif

    • CMJ

      July 14, 2014 at 9:15 am

      OMG! Your 20s?!? You know all. Thanks for explaining the world to everyone and relieving all of Frances’ fears.

  21. RW

    July 14, 2014 at 12:12 am

    I’m genuinely surprised to hear there is that much discrimination against atheism in the US. I had no idea! It’s (for the most part) such a non-issue in Canada, telling someone you are athiest/agnostic/whatever is for the most part like telling them you prefer mint chip to vanilla ice cream. I mean, sure, some people judge – I had a very close friend admit that she believed I was going to hell for not believing in Jesus – but she mostly kept her judgments to herself and quietly prayed for my salvation. And the few who have wanted to argue the point and bring me into the flock – well, I was raised very strict Roman Catholic and know the religion inside and out (hence renouncing it), so this devil can quote scripture to prove her point, and I enjoy a good religious debate!

    • Katherine Handcock

      July 14, 2014 at 5:35 am

      I was just going to say the same thing – it shocks me to hear that there’s so much vitriol against it. Heck, my husband is a minister in Canada, and HE’S never encountered any particular discrimination against atheists. About the closest thing is the fact that he’s upfront with couples coming to get married that, it’s a church and he’s a minister, he is going to be mentioning God; then if one of the couple says, “I’m totally uncomfortable with that,” he directs them to a venue where they can have a totally civil service without any religious overtones.

      FYI, I love that you’re up for a religious debate and I hope that you regularly find people who are willing to argue the point in good humour!

    • RW

      July 14, 2014 at 12:21 pm

      Thanks! I’m thoroughly fascinated with religion from a sociological perspective, so I love knowing WHY people believe what they do. Much of my sociology education involved courses on religion in sociology, history and anthropology. And I don’t care at all WHAT people believe so long as they know WHY they do. Blind faith is what pisses me off. People who hate because their religion “tells” them to piss me off. People who are members of a religion because their parents were and don’t understand it piss me off. People who claim to be of a religion but do not live by its tenets piss me off. But people who honestly abide by their beliefs and have a strong foundation are usually the ones I can respect and love talking to. If they are confident in their beliefs it’s remarkable what sort of open and rational conversations you can have!

      At the same time, people who hold certain beliefs – provided they harm none – should not be forced to swallow what they believe if wrong. For example, if a church is against gay marriage – fine. That’s their right. They believe it’s abomination in god’s eyes. Whatever. They should not ever be forced to perform a gay marriage if it is against their beliefs. But neither do they have a place in stopping those marriages from taking place in other venues.

      Sounds like your hubby is very comfortable in his role and is very diplomatic about it. It should be a no-brainer that if you want to get married in a church you’re going to have a religious ceremony, but it would no doubt be surprising how many people think of it as just a building and want to treat it as such.

    • Katherine Handcock

      July 14, 2014 at 1:09 pm

      Totally agree – you can believe what you choose, but that doesn’t mean you get to impose it on anyone else, especially on national law.

      Oh, and you would be totally amazed about how people think of churches for weddings. Sean has been approached by people who tell him, “Well, we don’t believe in God or anything, but your church matches our colour scheme.” Um, that’s the worst reason to get married in a church I’ve ever heard.

  22. ENorth

    July 14, 2014 at 12:31 am

    I don’t mean to belittle your fears. But I am an atheist in New York. And I am pretty open about it. Though I do try to be gentle, not out of fear, but mostly because I want to educate. You’ve given your child a mind of her own. She’s using it. Be proud.

  23. Eric Khalifa

    July 14, 2014 at 12:55 am

    ____.—-.
    ____.—-‘

    ____.—-‘`–.__
    ___.—-‘ | `–.____
    /`-._ | __.-‘
    / `-._ ___.—‘
    / `-.____.—‘
    / / |
    / / | _.–‘
    `-. / | __.–‘
    `-._ / | __.–‘ |
    | `-./ | _.-‘ |
    | | |
    | | |
    | | |
    | | |
    | | | VK
    | | |
    _______| | |_______________
    `-. | _.-‘
    `-. | __..–‘
    `-. | __.-‘
    `-|__.–‘
    How I feel about Atheists opinion

    • NotTakenNotAvailable

      July 14, 2014 at 2:07 am

      In your case, we’d need a microscope to find it.

    • Katherine Handcock

      July 14, 2014 at 5:30 am

      Mommyish, can we ban this guy or something? Seriously.

    • CMJ

      July 14, 2014 at 10:02 am

      Is this the bro that keeps putting pictures of balls all over Mommyish?

    • Katherine Handcock

      July 14, 2014 at 1:15 pm

      That would be the one.

    • Jezebeelzebub

      July 15, 2014 at 8:13 pm

      I like the balls better than the god-awful (heeee!) wholesale slaughter of the English language this dumbass is perpetrating. He’s like the Pol Pot of grammar, I wish God would smite him already.

    • noodlestein

      July 14, 2014 at 6:15 pm

      If this TROLL gets Mommyish banned at work for nudity/balls I am going to find him in real life AND CUT THEM OFF.

  24. JAN D WRIGHT

    July 14, 2014 at 1:22 am

    The thing about atheist is they have fallen for the oldest trick in the book and that is, Satan’s greatest trick is convincing man he doesn’t exist. When he did that many have questioned if there is a God and that’s just what he wanted by questioning if God is real you lose site of the devil thereby allowing him the continue his influence and intent to destroy man. Satan came from heaven so don’t think he doesn’t know how to fool man remember Adam and Eve Satan’s main goal is to keep man disobeying God and it’s working!.

    • KarenMS

      July 14, 2014 at 7:14 am

      Plenty of non-atheists out there “disobeying God.”

    • keelhaulrose

      July 14, 2014 at 10:16 am

      They’re not “disobeying God” any more those who pay him lip service once a week, then spend the other six days judging others, denying help to the poor, and claiming to be Christ-like while rallying behind causes that dark-skinned, long-haired, hippie socialist would condemn.

  25. Airi Magdalene

    July 14, 2014 at 2:08 am

    Frances,
    I have a lot in common with your daughter. I realized I was an atheist when I was six years old. I didn’t have a mom like you. I have a very delusional pentecostal mother who believes god gives her the power to levitate and control the whether. And she’s like that because her family is like that. I was so horrified that I tried, after suffering internally for a very long time, to say I was a buddhist or something else, because I feared what would happen if I broke that silence. When I was 14 when I finally had the balls to come out ot my family, and that’s when they started giving me “deliverance”, or exorcisms.
    Many of my extended family members won’t let me around their children. I’ve never done anything wrong. I’m not a criminal in anyway. I seldom drink and I don’t do drugs. I’m not a thief. I’m just an atheist. And to them, that’s infinitely worse.
    While I find that the entire world largely discriminates against atheists, what I get from the world is not nearly as bad as I get from my family, who tell me that satan lives inside of my brain on a regular basis. As long as she has a mom and a family who loves her and accepts her regardless, she has the support system she needs to take on the world.

    • js argh

      July 14, 2014 at 8:31 am

      As a Christian, I just want to say that I’m sorry for how you’ve been treated by others who share my belief system, however loosely we may share it. I cannot fathom treating anyone in such a way – anyone! – but especially family. I hope you have a healthy non-family support system.

  26. vernamchurch

    July 14, 2014 at 2:09 am

    my Aunty
    Allison recently got a nice 6 month old Jaguar by working from a macbook.this website C­a­s­h­f­i­g­.­C­O­M­

  27. JAN D WRIGHT

    July 14, 2014 at 2:11 am

    One thing I do believe is the LGBT is the most immoral lie ever! gays have their right’s everyone born in this country have right’s however these are the laws of the land but spiritually they do night want to admit to the sin of homosexuality they even think they are Christian what they fail to understand is Christian acknowledge all sin including homosexuality. That the real reason I dislike Gay’s is they are hypocrites in the worst way the will concede to all other sins mentioned in the Bible accept homosexuality and now they have the nerve to try and force this lie one everyone else. The immoral act of homosexuality is the sin same as murder,stealing and there are many other’s that’s why I call them hypocrites, do you eat shrimp? the Bible says don’t eat it but many of do point being it is still a sin the only defense we against sin is acknowledgment and repentance that means all! sins no just the one’s you think!. The Bible does not ask for your opinion that’s not it’s intent it is guide lines to follow to save your eternal spirit and soul that’s what people fail to see.

    • Coffee&Cats

      July 14, 2014 at 3:39 am

      Stop being hateful! Jesus was all about love and compassion. It’s not our place to judge other people because NOBODY is without sin! You’re making Christians look like hateful bigots.

    • Coffee&Cats

      July 14, 2014 at 3:54 am

      Plus gay people are born gay, just like straight people are born straight. So they aren’t “choosing” to be gay. Just wanted to point that out. You also compared gay people to thieves and murderers. That is soooo WRONG I can’t even with you…

    • meteor_Whoricorn_echo

      July 14, 2014 at 6:53 am

      I want to start making out with a girl in front of this dude just to have him get a rage aneurysm, even though I’m straight. Am I horrible horrible, or just horrible?

    • Coffee&Cats

      July 14, 2014 at 3:46 pm

      I don’t think that’s horrible at all! :p haha

    • Jezebeelzebub

      July 15, 2014 at 8:10 pm

      I’M DOWN. Girl, I will put it on you so good even *I* won’t believe it. But you will, because I got it like that. I think. I’m pretty sure, anyway. Well, you can let me know later- just not in front of that guy. HOLLA!

    • JAN D WRIGHT

      July 15, 2014 at 4:04 pm

      Your confusing Judgement with truth telling! that’s the same argument Gays use, what you don’t understand is Christians are commanded to speak out against all sins not just a selected few it’s Christians like you who are allowing this false prophecy to move forward because you think it’s judgmental to tell Gay’s they are wrong you are a cowardly Christian! I rather be called a bigot than a coward your faith is weak! Jesus spoke against all sin and was killed for it. Jesus him self was radical, however cowardly Christians like you are to afraid of being called names by the general public. The cock has crowed three times because Christians like you are to cowardly to speak against the sin of homosexuality so you agree with the public for fear of being noticed as a follower of Christ. you need to go back and read your Bible start with Rom1:26-28 there you will find God has already passed judgement on them for disobeying him and homosexuality is the result of his judgement so how can I be judging them all I’m doing is stating what the Bible says stop being a cowardly Christian!.

    • WhoremonalCrazyLotusBitch

      July 14, 2014 at 7:25 am

      Here is where Abrahamic zealots lose credibility. Your faith teaches that life is hell. There is poverty, disease, godlessness, carelessness, there is murder, there is deceit, fatalism, destruction and hate. There is so much hate. More hate than love. Your Christ teaches that humility is the path marked by sacrifice that leads to your “heavenly reward”. Not judgment. Not condemnation of your fellow man. Not breeding fear and contempt. Yet this is how human beings have bastardized what may have been some pretty righteous lessons about living in a diverse and complex world.

    • brebay

      July 14, 2014 at 11:01 am

      Seriously…it’s just a coincidence that bigots can’t use even ONE language properly, right? An apostrophe shows possession, it does NOT make a word plural.

    • guest

      July 14, 2014 at 11:02 am

      GTFO.

    • noodlestein

      July 14, 2014 at 6:19 pm

      Hi! You must be new to Mommyish. We’re pretty accepting, but I think most people here don’t appreciate hatred cloaked in religious fervour. To your brand of toxcicty, we say…

      http://sarahsaysreadbooks.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/no-thank-you.gif

  28. Rebecca

    July 14, 2014 at 4:21 am

    People are different everywhere I suppose – I was pushed out by NOT being atheist. I know I keep hearing from people that christianity is the dominant thing around the US, but apparently I don’t hang out with them? I don’t know. I converted to Catholicism and lost most of my friends. I should note that I had converted to, and been a practicing Catholic for two years before anyone found out about my double life, and then I accidentally ‘outed’ myself, and all manners of sh** hit the fan. My brother, my own flesh and blood, and he’s SO DAMN LUCKY I LOVE THE EVER LIVING SH** out of him, outed me to my parents. That was the worst – when my parents found out. And I was 30 years old at the time! He had been away at school for the prior year on my parents’ dime, and by ‘away at school’ I mean ‘smoking away what my parents had saved for him for college’, and it went down like this. He said ‘Mom, dad, I have to tell you something. Your daughter is converting to Catholicism. Also, I spent all of my college savings on weed.’ Aaannnnddd…..I got to hear ALL ABOUT how I am throwing my life away. And I still do. And it’s FIVE YEARS later. I can’t even figure out for the life of me why anyone cares so much.

  29. Katherine Handcock

    July 14, 2014 at 6:46 am

    See, Francis, you just need to move to Canada 🙂 Honestly, I have several friends who have been open about agnosticism/atheism since high school, and while they occasionally encounter someone who’s offensive in response, for the most part, people sort of shrug and say, “You do you.”

    Please tell your daughter that, increasingly, those who identify as religious are becoming more open to those of all belief systems, and that includes those who identify as atheist. In fact, many atheists are better at articulating things like the importance of compassion and charity because the answer for them is more complex than, “Because my faith tells me to do it.” As long as she doesn’t disdain the beliefs of others, and still involves herself in making the world around her a better place, she’s all good in my book 🙂

  30. Black Atheists

    July 14, 2014 at 7:23 am

    “Terrified” is like… REALLY reaching here. Worried? Fine. Terrified?Don’t make me laugh.

    • WhoremonalCrazyLotusBitch

      July 14, 2014 at 7:52 am

      Fear is the most profound emotion a living being possesses. It is at the core of love and hate and survival. While the fear in some inspires them to protect their children from harm, in others, it motivates them to project hostility and even violence upon others. Read some of the comments below from the very people that Frances fears will visit harm upon her little girl. By being mean-spirited, you stand as a perfect example of what those zealots fear from atheists. Nice job.

    • CMJ

      July 14, 2014 at 9:18 am

      Where did the fear-splainers come from?

    • WhoremonalCrazyLotusBitch

      July 14, 2014 at 9:30 am

      Right? They seem to be doing a really good job of actually justifying her fears.

    • brebay

      July 14, 2014 at 10:59 am

      American kristians are TRULY TERRIFYING. And getting further and further away from their Christ every day.

  31. Zunair Butt

    July 14, 2014 at 8:12 am

    iphone 6 production problems

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  32. WhoremonalCrazyLotusBitch

    July 14, 2014 at 8:14 am

    Mommyish Mods: We are being overrun with the advertising trolls.

  33. JenH1986

    July 14, 2014 at 9:24 am

    Kudos for raising an independent and thoughtful kid! It’s nice to know there are people out there who actually do their research and figure out what they believe based on what they have learned v. just spouting whatever. I think it’s very brave of her, you and @kay_sue:disqus when you discuss your non belief. Mostly because I’ve seen in just the comments how…difficult…people can be when someone believes differently than they do.

  34. Ashie

    July 14, 2014 at 9:27 am

    Maybe things are vastly different in Canada. I myself am religious, but I have never been rude or cared what other people believe or not believe. I haven’t witnessed in Canada anyone really caring if you are Christian, an Atheist, A Jew etc. We just really like maple syrup, bacon and hockey.

    • brebay

      July 14, 2014 at 10:58 am

      Maybe? Uh, yeah, we’re on the cusp of a return to the dark ages down here. Science is being rejected, religion being used to make unconstitutional court rulings, women are advocating their own subjugation. It’s creepy as fuck here lately. Pretty soon you’re going to have as much of a problem with your southern border as we have with ours!

    • NorthernGirl

      July 14, 2014 at 11:20 am

      This scares the crap out of me.

      Edited: Not the border stuff, come on over! It’s the other stuff.

    • NorthernGirl

      July 14, 2014 at 11:18 am

      It’s quite different. As a Canadian living in the states, I noticed a huge difference when I moved here. Many people I met would immediately ask about what church I was going to (even before I finished unpacking my house, people brought me info about their churches so I could go there), which I had never been asked when moving within Canada. I’ve had to find ways to answer that without answering it, because I don’t want to have a lengthy discussion.

    • RW

      July 14, 2014 at 12:26 pm

      Wow, really?! Whereabouts in the States are you?

      Though I have to say I have noticed even just south of the border in North Dakota, how utterly Christian the culture is, and that’s really saying something, because I went to university in the Bible Belt of Alberta, and it was nowhere near as religious as ND. It was mostly apparent in business hours but the amount of religious radio stations shocked me. On the plus side, the people were super-nice, which I have to stereo-typically state that I wasn’t expecting at all.

    • NorthernGirl

      July 14, 2014 at 1:21 pm

      I’m in Minneapolis. Not exactly Bible Belt, but maybe the top of the buckle? Still, very different from NW Ontario and Manitoba.

  35. Ginny

    July 14, 2014 at 12:15 pm

    She’ll be alright. I became an Atheist at 10 myself. I’ve had a few comments, gotten into a few arguments, but so long as she handles it well and doesn’t make a big deal about it, she’ll be okay.

  36. emilyg25

    July 15, 2014 at 11:47 am

    I’m 29 and have been an atheist for about 20 years. It’s really not a big deal. I’ve never been discriminated against for it. Of course, I generally keep it myself, like I do with all my personal beliefs, and I live in the Northeast where we’re legion. But really, don’t be scared.

  37. JAN D WRIGHT

    July 15, 2014 at 4:35 pm

    Atheism is now a religion how dumb is that, The devils greatest trick is convincing man he doesn’t exist and atheist are his best tricks other words they are being pimped so hard by Satan they made it a religion. They are standing on a corner telling you to turn from eternal life because their pimp (Satan) want’s them collect as many souls as they can in his name. They will say they don’t believe in God or Satan that’s the trap they are in if you don’t believe in either one of them then Satan does not exist and that’s just what Satan wants because even he knows God is real However he has fooled the atheist perfectly that’s a neat trick atheist have fallen for.

  38. Pingback: 10 Things Not To Say To An Atheist Mom

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