Friday, October 14, 2011

Wanting to Scream

Today is one of those days when I feel completely disgusted and frustrated by religion in general, and particularly with the ignorant, conservative religion so prevalent in my area. I discovered that another "family" member unfriended me on Facebook, almost certainly because of my recent outspokenness in regards to my atheism.

I was discussing this with Bonnie, and she admitted to me that when she meets new people on the playground, at soccer, or elsewhere, often one of the first questions they ask her is, "Where do you go to church?" She says she never knows what to answer and usually says something like, "We go to different churches" or "We haven't found a church we really like yet." It breaks my heart knowing that the vast majority of her peers think that the church a person attends is an important indicator in whether or not the person will be a new friend. As much as I want to tell my daughter, "Be honest about your own beliefs and the people worthy of your friendship won't judge you for something you believe or don't believe," I can't say that, knowing from my own experience that honesty could easily lead to her losing or not making friends.

I don't know what the answer is. I've told Bonnie that she is allowed to decide for herself not only what she believes in regards to religious faith, but what she chooses to tell others. I suppose I wish that all parents could teach their kids that there is more than one way to live a good life, and that what a person believes doesn't matter. If I can't get that, can I just get some tolerance for those with different beliefs? Like, could you go on believing I'm going to burn in hell but not teach your kids to tell my kids that?

As for my family members who don't want to be confronted from my atheism on Facebook, can you just hide me from your newsfeed and still be my friend? That way you can still check in on me, send me messages, see pictures of my kids, and so on, without ever having to read anything I post unless you want to. How do you think I manage to stay friends with so many people who link to Fox "News" articles? :)


  1. You mention Fox News once more and I'm calling the cops! My kids have to use this internet... Xxx

  2. I had my mom tell me that some of my family members asked her what was going on with me because of my facebook. She told me she couldn't tell them because she doesn't read my blog or anything.

    Way to go mom! *rolls eyes* She's not even religious. But she lives in the south and is surrounded by 'god-fearin'-folk *hear the country twang*

    Great article btw :)

  3. When I meet people, it's important for me to learn about their beliefs, whether political or religious, as a matter of self-protection, so I don't see this as a huge problem. Believers are likely to represent it as a way of being friendly. After all, a believer is a proselytizer who wants to spread the good news. If they meet someone looking for a "church home" they might regard it as an opportunity to offer theirs. Thirty years ago, I lived in a dorm with a floor of black students, a floor of Latino students, and a mixed race floor (mine). The first question someone asked me was, "What is your ethnicity?" I explained my mixed heritage, and it was as though that knowledge was necessary before the person knew how to deal with me. In fact, this person, half Japanese, half Caucausian, expressed jealousy about my Cherokee great-grandmother. This sort of curiosity seems to be a common way to identify potential allies in a complicated world.

  4. Thank you for speaking out about this stuff - I can totally relate. I am constantly torn between wanting to be "out" so I can just relax and be myself, yet also feeling like I have to keep it a secret lest people stop seeing me as ME, and instead projecting their own "angry baby-eating atheist" stereotypical impressions on me. It is just so frustrating that people still cling so tightly to ignorance and superstition even with all of the knowledge and information at our fingertips today. And don't get me started on the complete lack of tolerance and deeply UN-Christian behavior that so many Christians exhibit towards us. Ugh.

  5. Oh, I am so happy to have found your blog. It so completely reflects my experience that I could have written it. I also grew up in the bible belt and have a family full of devout believers - and even a sister that is a missionary who is angry that I've never made donations to the cause. It is hard to "come out" to people who wear blinders to all other possibilities in life and who, you know, will shun you when they discover your true self. It is especially sad when these people are your own family! Ah well, I have finally realized that I have to be true to myself and just hope that they can move beyond their prejudices. I'm glad you and other people like us are out there. And blogging!