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Fri Apr 13, 2012, 10:05 AM

Am I unusual, I've never met another atheist?

By which I mean not that I've never actually interacted with another atheist, I'm sure I have but I have never knowingly done so, I've never had someone say "Hey, you're an atheist, so am I" or something like that..

I've lived around this area for a big chunk of my sixtysomething years and have no clue where I might go to deliberately meet another atheist.

Anyone else here never knowingly meet another atheist in the flesh, so to speak?

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Arrow 50 replies Author Time Post
Reply Am I unusual, I've never met another atheist? (Original post)
Fumesucker Apr 2012 OP
Sarah Ibarruri Apr 2012 #1
rrneck Apr 2012 #2
Fumesucker Apr 2012 #9
rrneck Apr 2012 #11
Fumesucker Apr 2012 #12
trotsky Apr 2012 #3
Fumesucker Apr 2012 #5
izquierdista Apr 2012 #4
Fumesucker Apr 2012 #7
ZombieHorde Apr 2012 #6
Jokerman Apr 2012 #8
Fumesucker Apr 2012 #10
AlbertCat Apr 2012 #13
Fumesucker Apr 2012 #14
safeinOhio Apr 2012 #15
cbayer Apr 2012 #16
JNelson6563 Apr 2012 #17
Odin2005 Apr 2012 #18
Fumesucker Apr 2012 #19
Odin2005 Apr 2012 #21
laconicsax Apr 2012 #20
Fumesucker Apr 2012 #22
Lydia Leftcoast Apr 2012 #23
Fumesucker Apr 2012 #25
laconicsax Apr 2012 #28
Fumesucker Apr 2012 #29
laconicsax Apr 2012 #30
Fumesucker Apr 2012 #31
laconicsax Apr 2012 #32
Fumesucker Apr 2012 #33
laconicsax Apr 2012 #27
ButterflyBlood Apr 2012 #37
Lydia Leftcoast Apr 2012 #48
ButterflyBlood Apr 2012 #49
Silent3 Apr 2012 #24
Fumesucker Apr 2012 #26
MineralMan Apr 2012 #34
Fumesucker Apr 2012 #35
MineralMan Apr 2012 #36
ButterflyBlood Apr 2012 #38
LeftishBrit Apr 2012 #39
Fumesucker Apr 2012 #40
rug Apr 2012 #41
Fumesucker Apr 2012 #42
rug Apr 2012 #43
Fumesucker Apr 2012 #45
rug Apr 2012 #46
Fumesucker Apr 2012 #47
pinto Apr 2012 #44
raccoon Apr 2012 #50

Response to Fumesucker (Original post)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 10:08 AM

1. Last nite I went out with a group of liberals, and I met TWO!

Very cool people.

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Response to Fumesucker (Original post)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 10:10 AM

2. Me too.

Of course I was raised in the Bible belt.

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Response to rrneck (Reply #2)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 10:42 AM

9. I wonder if a Christian in the USA can even conceive of never meeting another Christian?

I can think of a dozen churches around here and I don't even pay attention to them, Jehovah's Witnesses have a big new Assembly Hall about a mile away and there's at least one church on the direct route between here and there.



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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #9)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 10:49 AM

11. Not likely. The world isn't built that way.

Most think hell is full of atheists.

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Response to rrneck (Reply #11)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 10:54 AM

12. Go to Heaven for the climate, Hell for the company..

-Mark Twain

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Response to Fumesucker (Original post)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 10:13 AM

3. You probably have.

In real life, most of us try not to mention it. Good Christian folk tend to treat you differently once you do, most notably in certain areas of the country.

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Response to trotsky (Reply #3)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 10:21 AM

5. As I said in the OP, I'm sure I have..

But it's also not a subject that arises often in conversation, "Oh, by the way I don't believe in God"..

As you say, Good Christians tend to treat you differently once they find out.

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Response to Fumesucker (Original post)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 10:15 AM

4. Easy to find

 

Just look for the people that are NOT wearing yarmulkes, NOT wearing St. Christopher medallions, do NOT have tattoos of praying hands, do NOT have a cross&dove lapel pin, are NOT carrying a Bible or copies of the Watchtower, do NOT have WWJD keychains in their pockets, and do NOT have some sort of cross on the back window or license plate frame of their car.

But if you really want them to find you, put a 'Blessed Be' bumper sticker on the back of your car and they will come out of the woodwork and say hi.

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Response to izquierdista (Reply #4)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 10:33 AM

7. No car...

At least for now anyway..



And I can't find anywhere big enough on my bicycle or motorcycle to fit a bumper sticker.

But thanks for the tip, I'd heard the term but had to Google for the meaning..



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Response to Fumesucker (Original post)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 10:25 AM

6. The vast majority of my friends are atheists.

A few are occultists. A couple are Christians.

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Response to Fumesucker (Original post)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 10:40 AM

8. I know several people who have no use for religion...

but they avoid self-labeling as an atheist because of the social stigma and potential backlash.

The only other "out" atheist I know is my sister.

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Response to Jokerman (Reply #8)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 10:45 AM

10. I bet they avoid talking about it entirely until they are very comfortable with people..

Being an atheist, it's kind of like being the only sober person in the car and the others will beat you up if you mention it..

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Response to Fumesucker (Original post)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 11:05 AM

13. Try a science fair...

or the science section of your local B&N.

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Response to AlbertCat (Reply #13)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 11:12 AM

14. The closest B&N is 25.3 miles and I have a bicycle..

No insurance on my motorcycle right now..



I wasn't really looking to meet anyone, I'm thoroughly used to my situation, just wondering if I'm in a unique position.



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Response to Fumesucker (Original post)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 12:21 PM

15. About half the members of my

Unitarian Universalist Church are atheist and proud of it. A great place to meet like minded folks.

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Response to Fumesucker (Original post)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 12:29 PM

16. I meet them frequently. In fact, I meet more of them than I do self-identified religious people.

It may be because of my lifestyle and the kind of *community* I live in.

The place I spend most of my time doesn't even have any kind of place of worship at all.

Except for the handful of overtly *hostile to religion* people, I enjoy discussing religion with many of the people I know. I find most atheists to be very willing to talk about their views of the world and most are also interested in mine.

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Response to Fumesucker (Original post)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 01:14 PM

17. I really didn't now any until

I joined my local Dems after the 2000 coup. I was surprised and delighted at how many fellow atheists I met.

Julie

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Response to Fumesucker (Original post)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 08:15 PM

18. You probably have without either of you knowing it.

Many Atheists are reluctant to tell anyone except their most intimate relations out of fear.

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Response to Odin2005 (Reply #18)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 08:20 PM

19. I mentioned that in the OP although I could have worded it more clearly.

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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #19)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 08:48 PM

21. DOH!

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Response to Fumesucker (Original post)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 08:43 PM

20. You probably have and just didn't know it.

 

Everyone else is ignoring your first sentence, so I thought I'd jump on the bandwagon.

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Response to laconicsax (Reply #20)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 08:50 PM

22. Thanks for that.. I didn't word it very well when I look back at it..

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Response to Fumesucker (Original post)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 09:21 PM

23. Obviously, you've never lived in Oregon

It's the default position there.

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Response to Lydia Leftcoast (Reply #23)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 09:34 PM

25. But how does it come up in normal conversation?

I doubt even people in Oregon walk around with Darwin fish pendants..

I tried putting a Darwin fish bumper sticker on my truck once, that was an expensive mistake I will not repeat.

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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #25)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 10:08 PM

28. It doesn't.

 

It's probably like being Christian in other parts--you can just assume.

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Response to laconicsax (Reply #28)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 10:25 PM

29. No need to assume with Christians, with rare exceptions they let you know very quickly..

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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #29)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 10:30 PM

30. Never having been one, I wouldn't know.

 

Most of the Christians I've known just assumed that I was one of them and were repeatedly shocked to find out that I wasn't. Yes, repeatedly. As in, learned, forgot, and learned again.

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Response to laconicsax (Reply #30)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 10:38 PM

31. How did you know they were Christians?

Did you figure it out from their behavior?

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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #31)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 10:40 PM

32. I found out the normal way.

 

You know, by observing their public god bothering.

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Response to laconicsax (Reply #32)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 10:44 PM

33. As I said, they usually let you know very quickly..



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Response to Lydia Leftcoast (Reply #23)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 09:59 PM

27. Only in the good parts of the state.

 

i.e. Portland and Eugene.

Almost everywhere else I've been in the state is awash with god-botherers...except Ashland which is full of new age spiritualists and goddess worshipers.

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Response to Lydia Leftcoast (Reply #23)

Sat Apr 14, 2012, 12:08 PM

37. Huh?

By the last survey, Oregon was 67% Christian and 27% "Unaffiliated". That's obviously far less Christian and religious than the nation at large, but it's not even close to being majority "Unaffiliated", much less atheist, which would be the case if it was the default position.

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Response to ButterflyBlood (Reply #37)

Sat Apr 14, 2012, 10:48 PM

48. It's the default position in Portland

and Oregon, and the Pacific Northwest in particular, is noticeably less religious than the Midwest.

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Response to Lydia Leftcoast (Reply #48)

Sat Apr 14, 2012, 10:58 PM

49. I'd be surprised if that was the case even in Portland

The rural areas in the west too also have a surprisingly high amount of "Unaffiliated" (even Wyoming and Idaho), so it'd be tough for even Portland to be majority "Unaffiliated" if 27% of the state is and remember "Unaffiliated" does not necessarily mean "atheist" (probably not even majority atheist with all those "spiritual but not religious" people around.)

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Response to Fumesucker (Original post)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 09:22 PM

24. Which area is "around this area"?

That could have something to do with it. I live in one of the most atheist parts of the country (New Hampshire) and, although I know a few "out" atheists, it's not like it comes up all that often that someone is an atheist, even around here. If you live in other parts of the country, especially the "Bible Belt", there are likely fewer atheists, and those atheists who are around you will be more reluctant to publicly identify as atheists.

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Response to Silent3 (Reply #24)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 09:36 PM

26. The Bible Belt..

And yes, I know it has something to do with it.

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Response to Fumesucker (Original post)

Sat Apr 14, 2012, 10:26 AM

34. I rarely meet a new person who identifies as an atheist.

It's just not a subject that comes up right away. Just as I don't ask people I meet what church they go to, people don't usually inquire into others' religious beliefs or non-beliefs until the acquaintance becomes more complex.

That said, I know a number of atheists. They are friends or people I've known for some time. It's just not the first thing that comes up when you meet someone.

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Response to MineralMan (Reply #34)

Sat Apr 14, 2012, 11:02 AM

35. What church do you go to is usually the second question..

Right after what do you do..

Determine social status and religious persuasion in only two questions, usually within the first minute or two.

It never even occurs to people here that you might not be a Christian.



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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #35)

Sat Apr 14, 2012, 11:11 AM

36. Not where I am, apparently. I guess it could be different in

different parts of the country.

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Response to Fumesucker (Original post)

Sat Apr 14, 2012, 12:12 PM

38. I'm a bit of an oddball in that I probably know more closet Christians than closet atheists

The latter are somewhat common in the whole punk and indie rock scene, one of the few social circles in the US where this is the case, (Perhaps not closeted to acquaintances outside that scene, but that often means a good chunk of their friends.) In fact in that sense I am basically a closeted Christian myself.

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Response to Fumesucker (Original post)

Sat Apr 14, 2012, 12:15 PM

39. You would be unusual in England.

I knew two atheists (my parents) from birth; and know plenty of atheists, plenty of religious people, and plenty of people who wouldn't care enough to know themselves which they are, which is common in England.

Atheism is not a taboo here. 2 of our 3 main party leaders are atheists.

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Response to LeftishBrit (Reply #39)

Sat Apr 14, 2012, 12:24 PM

40. I have family in the UK I've never met..

I do know that a couple of them at least are atheists, we converse sporadically via email but it's hard to nurture relationships with people you're never likely to meet face to face even if you are related.

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Response to Fumesucker (Original post)

Sat Apr 14, 2012, 02:09 PM

41. If people keep their beliefs hidden you'll never know.

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Response to rug (Reply #41)

Sat Apr 14, 2012, 02:32 PM

42. Why should something which is a minor part of my life be a subject for casual discussion?

I don't feel the need to proselytize atheism and constantly declare publicly that I'm an atheist.

The same way I don't feel the need to announce my sexual orientation to everyone I meet, "Oh, by the way, I'm heterosexual"..

Of course, that one is fairly obvious, I'm far from fabulous..

I was raised a Christian but with the philosophy that an individual's relationship with god is a private matter as laid out in Matthew 6:6 , talking about it is in the same league taste wise as talking about your sexual relationship with your spouse or significant other, not done in polite company.



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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #42)

Sat Apr 14, 2012, 03:23 PM

43. If it does come up do you discuss it?

I ask because it's been posted here that there are negative consequences if one's atheism is known.

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Response to rug (Reply #43)

Sat Apr 14, 2012, 09:40 PM

45. Not everyone reacts really negatively of course, however..

Like any other range of human behavior it's a spectrum, there are some that don't care at all shading to those who think I must worship the devil and all but run away screaming..

I mean if I really was a minion of Satan but was still me I wouldn't want to scare people by telling them Old Nick was my boss if I didn't have to.

That Golden Rule thing, some people take it as an insult so I mostly keep it to myself until we know each other well enough that I think it won't be a huge issue. With a few people that's basically forever.

Very similar to the way I hear gays say that if they get to know someone as a person it's harder to pin the evil label on them..

I suck at prayer, no practice and I get self conscious and feel hypocritical if I even think about trying, but I'm an outstanding Bible reader and I like to read the King James aloud and get all the words right in a deep, sonorous tone. I'm a bit like Jim Nabors, but rather than singing it's reading for me that changes my voice for the better. I don't have to worry about what I'm going to say and making sense, just concentrate on saying the words on the page and making them sound good.The language of the King James really is poetic and powerful far beyond colloquial modern English, I can hold an audience of Christians rapt with it if I'm really "on".

Is that bad of me?

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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #45)

Sat Apr 14, 2012, 09:49 PM

46. Thanks for your response.

It's interesting how different people react to the same information.

Keep reciting. You don't need to be a drinker to play the piano in a saloon.

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Response to rug (Reply #46)

Sat Apr 14, 2012, 10:11 PM

47. Well put..

I'm reminded of the blind men and the elephant, everyone sees things from a bit different perspective, that's why people react differently.

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Response to Fumesucker (Original post)

Sat Apr 14, 2012, 06:03 PM

44. A cliche phrase, of course, yet my best friend is an atheist. For real.

We joke about it at times. As we do other personal things. Often pointedly. Friends do that.

We both share progressive political / social values. And we've been friends for eons.

She's gone with me to a few Christmas midnight masses (Catholic). Our mission does it as a high mass - the priest sings the mass, in Latin. She doesn't join in on the mass procedures. Doesn't kneel when others kneel, doesn't make the sign of the cross, etc. etc. Yet she loves the ritual, visually and viscerally, as I do. It simply is what it is for her. And she knows I've no expectations of her at all - except we support each other in our interests when we can. I feel and do the same.



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Response to Fumesucker (Original post)

Sun Apr 15, 2012, 10:27 AM

50. I hadn't til fairly recently, and I'm about your age. nt

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