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I think what surprises me most is the look of confusion on people's face when you say that you don't believe in God, gods, and the sacraments. It's totally outside of their experience and they are gobsmacked. Invariably they come back with some inane response, like "Well, at least you believe in Jesus, so I guess it's OK."

Dick_Martin 7 Feb 9
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1

Jesus is ok...he is a hard worker, and helps me improve my Spanish.

1

HA, Just yesterday I had a conversation at the library with someone I work with. Before she got there I found this book at the book sale called the 7 Pillars of Health, written by an MD. So I started reading and realized it was a religious book, but good for someone. If it wasn't for the religious parts I would have bought it. So she comes in and and I know she is religious so I show it to her and say "This looks like a good book but it is Christian" she laughed and said "what are you anti Christian?" I said "no I'm agnostic and I think it might have good info in it but I can't get past the religious parts" So she asked "What does it say?" I tell her " It talks about Yoga, which I know she is taking a class, but it clearly states that he would only suggest Yoga as exercise and never to include the spiritual aspects of it" So she surprised me and said "Oh wow, I'm not even that close minded!" It was funny to me and I always wonder just how devout some Christians are.

0

We don't really have that problem where I live. Many don't believe and those that do don't really care. My neighbor, a good friend, once remarked when I told her that I was a non-believer "Why do you hate God"? That was all she said and we are still close.

0

When started dating a jewish woman, my ex mother-in-law (oh how I love that phrase) asked " Well when do they celebrate christmas then? "

0

When I was in high school and middle school you really had to hide it. There's a TON of social pressure to convert into the local religion... which is kind of how I knew it was all bullshit at a young age.

0

Not much of a problem here in Oregon, especially the blue side. Another story out in the countryside. Probably a lot of it is I don't go to places where it might happen.

0

For some, it may be the very first moment they've been faced with the idea. Their blinders are off for those few seconds and they don't know what to do ! The door to their tightly closed minds has been pried open ...

1

Cognitive dissonance. It isn't just for breakfast anymore!!!

6

I occasionally house-sit at this 125-year-old log cabin that's on the side of a hill in Rockcastle County, Kentucky. It's safe to say that this is "the boonies," but that doesn't make it safe territory from the door-to-door thumpers, as I soon found out. One day, I look out the door, and there's two women out there, and it's obvious why they're there. I cut them off at the pass by saying, "Sorry, not interested, I'm an atheist." One of them screws her face up in the most cartoonish display of confusion I think I've ever seen and asks in total disbelief, "You mean we're just WORM FOOD??" I just said, "They gotta eat, too," and closed the door in their faces.

Later on, I was sitting on the porch with a cold beer contemplating the sunset and that interchange and got to thinking that it's human arrogance lurking behind much of people's religious beliefs around here. They don't accept evolution because then we'd be descended from apes. There is an afterlife involving us sitting around on clouds being some sky daddy's sycophants into eternity because otherwise we'd be "worm food."

Agreed, but I’d never pass up an opportunity to educate them ..or talk to a couple of women in the middle of nowhere..

@Varn I don't know, maybe you're right about a missed educational opportunity. But then I'm kinda more into keeping my blood pressure down these days. As for talking to a couple of women in the middle of nowhere, remember Kim Davis, our state embarrassment of a couple years ago who refused marriage certificates to two gay guys? 'Nuff said....

2

I love the look you describe; it shows the level of their ignorance.

6

It's ok to say you don't believe in God, but don't whatever you do say you're an atheist. That's crossing the line..... 🙂

A line I enjoy crossing as much as possible.

@SteveB @DUCHESSA. You'd be surprised. Dawkin's favourite story is about the daughter who told her mother that she was an atheist and the mother exclaimed "Oh darling we don't mind if you don't believe in God, but an ATHEIST!!!!!!"

3

Man, I'm telling ya.. it's like Plato's Cave....

5

all the time. I try to be very polite about it especially when it's an older person. many times I can see in their eyes how they are truly worried for my soul and they're going to pray for me. when all that begins I tell him it's okay and I know they're going to pray about the heathen they met in town, and to have a nice day. I don't see any point in antagonizing a person who's clearly not of a mind to debate, which would be pointless anyway.

around here you're never asked if you're a Christian, it's always "what church do you go to?"

See, since they -young or older- are not polite (ignorance is never polite) I don't care about the person's age. I tell them that I am an Atheist and I enjoy their reactions. The best part is that in many occasions...after my loud voice / accent are heard....a person approaches me and says "I am an Atheist as well. I wish I had your courage."

Tell them I go to the church at the cross road where they bury people with wooden stakes through their hearts, where Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil ... there's a service tonight, you will come won't you?

I like calm, and peace. I've grown up all around it and their comments roll off me like water off a duck's back. I don't get to aggravated unless they get too pushy. have you ever seen an agnostic hillbilly being crystal clear? it ain't pretty.
I should mention, I'm still calm I'm still peaceful. but when I warn them that if they want to continue my next words will haunt their faith for the rest of their life, they tend to back off.

Once one of those older persons you mention lost her balance and went flat on her ass. I couldn't help but to ask her "Do you think it was God that pushed you down....to test your balance? " I had a d...m good laugh at her expenses. lol

3

At the Holiday season, when I am greeted with the "Merry Christmas", to which I oft smile and reply, "And a merry Mythmass to you too"
I get much the same reaction, the puzzled Dog hearing a squeaky fart look, that puzzled brow indicating "did I really just hear that?", which does not fit with their cognitive bias of non believers being hostile or angry, because I am happy and polite.

I will start saying "Happy MythMass"....I always say "Happy Atheism" but most believers don't know what Atheism means. Thanks for the idea.

I belong to a little choir. Most are god botherers of one denomination or another. For the last two end of year/ xmas bbq's I have handed out non religious cards saying "Seasons Greetings, Wish you a happy New Year". Not one has reciprocated. So much for christian joy and goodwill.

@DUCHESSA I like Mythmas

2

Well I use to give that look so I know what to expect... Yeah, it's a shock when they see your not kidding...

13

In the south of England you'd probably get the same reaction if you told them that you did believe in God 😉

I found that in Europe for the most part when I was there, except for certain Catholic strongholds

@Davesnothere Yes, there will be some areas where religion is the norm but these are very rare. In the UK Christianity is in decline (and has been for decades) except in evangelical churches that recruit from the African and Afrocaribbean community.

...I doubt the type of people we’re talking about here could find England on a flat map ..let alone a globe 😉

@Varn Don't generalize my friend....You will be surprised at how many Americans know geography..

@DUCHESSA, Narrow that to "religious Americans" and the outcomes change.

@Dick_Martin Not at all. I am a teacher and I can tell you that religion has nothing to do with the knowledge of history, geography and other disciplines....

9

It's sometimes like that here in the sticks in northern Wisconsin. I can relate to that confused look on people's faces when you say you don't believe in God. I had one lady and she seemed happy, or excited or something, and she said, "I've never met an atheist before!". Kind of like she had just spotted a rare bird in the forest.

More often, in the Sticks here in Maine, or in Cali, or in cities when traveling, I get that response from other Atheists because I am public, outspoken and quite often in shows i my choice in clothing, especially when travelling (love to burst those bubbles)

Lol yeah! It's almost like you're expecting to hear" wow! what do you feed them"

@Kojaksmom lol. "What did you feed them?". Babies!

9

We somehow or another have to break the fallacy that religion/god/the bible is the foundation of morality.

There is no morality in religion. Morality is doing what is right, regardless of what you are told. Religion is doing what you are told, regardless of what is right. - Unknown

6

I've never had that happen except in the South. It would drive me nuts to be surrounded by people like that.

7

Aaaw! It's sweet they are still trying to make you seem OK to their "God," despite your apparent heresy.

I had a similar disbelieving reaction here in Thailand before I could speak Thai, since foreigners are rare in the places I taught.

Students just couldn't comprehend that an adult human couldn't "speak."

If I said I didn't understand them, they'd look shocked, then repeat the question in a different way, or talk more loudly, or slowly, unable to grasp the concept that because I had NO IDEA what they were saying in Thai, those measures wouldn't help.

Haha, that's funny. I know Americans get stereotyped as just speaking more loudly and more slowly when someone doesn't speak English, so it's good to know it's not unique to us. 🙂

@resserts Like most Americans, most Thai never travel out of the country, unless they live near the border, as I do, here in Songkhla. Also, the entire country speaks Thai, and even though certain sub-populations have language variations, they can still understand each other.
Because of that, many Thai people who have never met a foreigner can't even grasp the concept of someone not understanding them. Much like many Americans. I've been in areas where people had never even SEEN a Caucasian foreigner and couldn't even understand that I wasn't Thai, even though, by then I could speak Thai and explained it to them. They just didn't get it.

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