If you're in an area where most people Believe, do they see you as an anomaly?
"(S)He's one of those!"
Do you think they comprehend more about non-belief by knowing you?
Do you feel pressure to be a good example?
Are you honored to demonstrate that a person does not need a mythological threat in order to be a good person?
I try to be nice to every one I meet.
I volunteer at a homeless shelter.
I try to learn something new every day.
I have some great friends, some are believers, some are not. but we all respect each other for the people that we are, not by what we believe in.
I'm not sure if any one pays attention to me, so I don't know if I set an example or not.
But it doesn't really mater, I am who I am, and I like the person I am.
First, for the initial question: Yes, I am an example for people around me. It is strongly suggested they not emulate the example I set.
As for the comments that followed, no, I feel no pressure. Yes, occasionally my presence has a positive or negative effect depending on circumstance. I have noticed the backing away from the heathen reaction a few times, but that involved the proverbial door-knockers with whom I love to engage in conversation. I must admit to getting an almost sexual gratification in watching them squirm and struggle to find the words they need.
I do feel like I’m a good example. I’ve been told that at work several times. As a result I often feel that “difficult “ patients are routed my way.
As far as being a “good atheist example “. My coworkers dismiss my non-belief and make comments like “I know one day you’ll be called”. ? I allow this because I don’t want to argue so I guess I’m not.
I try to live an honorable life. I meet people all the time who I get to be friends with, but I don't tell them I am atheist/pagan, but, usually they figure it oit. By the time they find out, we are friends, they know my ways, and it is a non issue. I'm not saying I never talk about it, but usually it is because I don't celebrate Christian holidays and I am asked about it. I have no problem telling people I am atheist/pagan, but I usually let it come up from my friend, and not from my bringing it up.
I live in a super small town but its still not small enough that I feel Ive got the word out about who I am or what I don't believe or anything; other than family and friends I can't imagine who would know. I don't have any bumper stickers or t shirts (yet) that would give anyone reason to know any relevant labels for my beliefs. I wouldnt care who knew either, but theres no obvious identifiers. Dont really care what most people think of me if they do know, except that professionally I hope my reputation as fair honest and hardworking precede me.
I'm pretty outspoken about my lack of belief in a supernatural deity. As a humanist wedding minister, I usually am "preaching to the choir" for work, as my wedding clients are usually also non-believers, though their guests or wedding participants are often of mixed faiths.
So, through my work in delivering inspiring ceremonies, touting personal responsibility in upholding their vows, and reminding them that the success of their marriage is in their hands, by not mentioning God, a humanistic theme is presented and hopefully inspires the believers to understand that humans are responsible for themselves, regardless of a belief in deities.
Socially, most of my friends are non-believers, though just not so outspoken about it as me. When we have a believer among us, and the conversation turns to religion, as it did last night, at a full moon gathering on the beach, the dialog is brutally honest, yet non-offensive, and I noticed the believer on my left just listened quietly, knowing she was outnumbered, yet still respected all of us who were non-believers, as it's obvious we all had come to our positions thoughtfully and intelligently. Her best friend, who was not present, is also an atheist, so she might eventually come around, hehe.
At home, at my condo complex, I'm surrounded by religious folks who know I'm atheist. The climate of disrespect toward me is slowly changing for the better, but slowly, slowly. There are still some folks who consider anything I say to be a lie, because I'm atheist, so in their minds I can't possibly be telling the truth. I have been mistreated by the board members of the homeowners association in the past, but as the board members slowly get changed out, I have hope that things will continue to improve. I try to set a good example with honesty and kindness. Eventually the truth will win out over the believers who have demonized me for so long.
Happy to be a champion for showing a humanistic viewpoint in a good light as best I can. I think I have turned a lightbulb on in some believers minds, to change their prejudice against non-believers. I do it in a respectful way. I remember being a believer (maybe when I was 6 or 7) so I try to honor that part of the people I'm talking with, while turning on the light that people can be good without belief in God too!
I'm not in that part of the country where people ask impertinent, intrusive questions about your personal beliefs. By the time they find out I'm a godless bastard, they don't really believe it because their snap judgment of me is that I'm a good, kind person of integrity, and therefore, must be religious like them. It's a known scientific fact that people stubbornly keep their snap judgments even after evidence proves them wrong. I use that to good advantage
Yes, I do my best to live with concern for others, caring about my environment and I make every effort to leave things better than They were when I arrived. Most folks don't ask or care about my religious preference. I live without fear and take people at face value unless they show me otherwise.
Nope. My experience has been that you can't cut through the preconceived notions (about amoral, baby-eating atheists) if you tried, so there's no point trying to be an example. That's just where I'm at.
Since I left my old church I've been toying with the idea of letting them know I've been an atheist all along--so they'll stop trying to win me back. I was much beloved and valued for my singing and music, and I think regarded as kind and humble. I am fully convinced that outing myself as having been a closeted atheist in their midst will instantly warp their picture of me into one of Satan's own corrupted, evil minions. It would scandalize them, and perhaps terrorize. I don't want to do that to them.