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A bit of a rant ahead. I'm new here; I don't know if this is the right place.

I have no non-religious friends (living in the Bible Belt is awful) to vent this to because I don't want to offend them, so I'm leaving this here. TLDR: told me that I have a "lifestyle difference" than others because I am an atheist.

I'm living with my parents (wonderful people, we only ever disagree on religion as they raised me Christian) until I go to college in the fall. All of my friends are Christians because of my area. Recently, one of my best friends told me that she was upset of her lack of relationship with God; she felt it wasn't as strong as it used to be. She said she was going to take a look at her influences around her and try to build her faith.

Side note here: my friends and I have discussed religion in the past and it has never been an issue. They've been nothing but supportive of my views, and I've supported their views equally. Regardless of that, I was still anxious that she was going to spend less time with me because I may be a nonreligious "influence" she doesn't want.

So I asked my mom what she thought about it for advice. I was hoping to be told that I was reading into it too much, or something. Instead, she said "Well, when you really believe in something, sometimes that causes rifts in people." She was right; people have the right to choose friends that are similar to themselves. But why am I able to throughly believe in a lack of something, but still keep my relationships separate from it? Then my says that atheism is "a different lifestyle" and that I need "to learn how to bite my tongue about religion." As if my friends and I don't have respectful discourse! Her remarks actually really hurt my feelings. Plus, why should I have to be the one to hold back, every time? Don't get me wrong, it's rare I get to have honest conversations about religion because I do hold myself back in order to preserve the relationship, but why is it always the duty of the non-believer to preserve the believer's faith?

What she doesn't realize is that, throughout history, people with "different lifestyles" are the ones who change the world to be more accepting. Members of the LGBT were considered to have different lifestyles, but now they are starting to finally have the rights and equality they deserve. Assertive women, before we could vote, were considered the same but we are finally normal in society! I can't wait to move out of the bible belt, start making an impact on the atheist community, and maybe get a secular therapist for things similar to this I hear all the time!

Thank you for taking the time to read my post 🙂 Please let me know if you think I'm in the wrong here; I don't want to be so blinded by my hurt feelings that I completely miss that I was a jerk.

SunshineTrin 4 Dec 27

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You are at a point in your life where you will likely see a LOT of changes in your friendships. This would have happened with or without religious differences.

Yes, you should be able to engage with friends of different beliefs, either by mutually showing respect or by simply ignoring matters you disagree on. And most of the time, you will! But yes, sometimes those differences will flare up, and friendships will be lost. I've lost a few myself (oddly enough, though, my closest friend is also my most religious friend. Go figure.)

Or maybe it's not so odd at all? Maybe those who are secure in their beliefs have nothing to fear from us heathens - and those who are less secure (like the friend you mentioned,) are the ones who will pull away.

Or maybe I'm dead wrong. I've been known to be wrong, often, and sometimes dramatically 😁. Anyway, I'm glad you found this site; it's nice to meet you.


You are not wrong on any level, and by your writing you are considerately aware of the feelings of religious friends and family around you. I became aware of the larger worlds of thought and truth in college, specifically through a "World Religions" class at that Lutheran university, which was not their intention. I have realized that being outside of my small, conservative home town community was a huge advantage, and even with that it was many years before I was truly comfortable in breaking from the church.

Yes, you will encounter negative reactions from friends and family, but please remember that is about THEM, feeling protective of what they have been taught. Some may change over time, others not, and you can only live your life in YOUR truth, seeking this marvelous community of others who are open to the peaceful lifestyle based on rational thought.

I admire you for locating this site and reaching out! We don't consistently discuss dogma, but many of us are happy to support you, and allow you to express your thoughts without judgment. Your clarity and maturity are certainly greater than your years, and stepping away from that bible belt will be a breath of fresh air for you.

Cheers, and take good care!


Hello and welcome to our little corner of the net. You are in the right. You feel the way that you feel and know what you know. Finding like-minded people to be friends with is essential. For me, this site is nearly it, particularly with the COVID restrictions. Relax but don’t let anyone else on your computer.


You sound like a reasoning, normal type of person. The problem that I see with most religious people is they try and fit themselves into an altered state, seeking spirituality. This is not the same as meditation, where you clear out all thoughts and give the mind a rest. They proceed to insert a dogma, that is supposed to sail them away to never-never land and hopefully afterwards they have obtained a holy feeling! And, this is not the same as using the scriptures to teach us how to become well rounded human beings. Instead it supports separateness, in case you should be led astray by non-believers and the ‘lost!’

After a person sees the errors in this religious ‘thing,’ rarely, can we go back to the past and if we were never exposed to hardcore religion, we cannot in good conscience take to it. (Probably some exceptions to this, but on the whole, if you have been exposed to nurturing.)!

I am sad to say, that over my lifetime, I separated myself from certain friends and family members. THEY, were cruelly, judge-mental or anxious in my presence. The loss hurt, but I had to carry on, as living an authentic life is all that is truly mine.


All I can say is that there are going to be lots of changes coming up especially when you get to Uni. Some friends may drift away, some may and then return later, keep your options open, do not turn your back on any of them but let them go if they want. Do not take it personally the person you are going to be in 10 years will have some very different views to you right now on a whole range of issues.

If your friend feels the need to be away from you then tell her you will respect it but will be there for her any time she wants to connect.

Your Mum is probably thinking about how hard it is for you to be part of the wider community when you do not hold the same views as that community. The same way that parents of LGBT kids probably told them to fake it as being different was going to be too hard and they would not get accepted.

I am an adult and a vegetarian and some people (mainly work not friends) still tell me (when we are organising an evening out) that it would be easier if I just ate like everyone else. So this need to have everybody the same does not change it is a cross we have to bear, or a bear we have to cross (sorry being silly) ;}

@SunshineTrin Blame Robin Williams I listened to one of his shows where he talked about the right to bear arms or arm bears whatever you want. Since then I do this to a lot of sayings as in we will bridge that cross when we get to it. It makes people stop and think a bit.


Unfortunately you will lose some friends because you are "A Godless Heathen". When you go to university and out into the wider world, you will find people with more divergent views and believe as you do. Until that time, we will be your Heretic friends.

@SunshineTrin We are all in this together. Most of us have experienced this to a degree.


You are in a tough spot, being young, and in the bible belt. Young, I get, as you are going to college in the fall. If you are in a particularly religious enclave, with many friends and acquaintances who are religious, you may well risk loosing some of them to religious differences, over time. Most of us do not retain huge numbers of childhood friends, I think, but those to whom we can remain connected are very valuable.
I do not know that atheism is a different "lifestyle, but in the sense that an atheist would not be involved in local church activities, maybe she has something there.
From my perspective, the most important thing is to allow yourself to be comfortable with your perspective on religion, and value yourself as the unique human you are.
You do not have to, ought not feel forced to, justify your point of view to others, but certainly can discuss it with people who are not out to "save" you.


Break away from negative people.
The more you connect with likeminded
people, the more energetic and productive
You’ll become.
I’ve been here for barely a couple of hours
but already feeling at home, quite comfortable and inspired.
You’re on track! Keep going!


I grew up in the bible belt of rural north Florida, and in a religious family. Once out of college I left the area and never came back except to visit. I do not wear my atheism on my sleeve. When asked about my religious affiliation, I simply reply that I am not a church-goer. I tolerate people who are religious, but make it clear that I do not want them pushing their religious beliefs on me.


Stick to your guns there friend, do NOT let yourself be adversely influenced by others, be TRUE to yourself and should you loses friends, etc, then you WILL find more and far better friends, etc, that WILL accept you for you and you alone.


Hi! And welcome to this group. I've found a lot of common ground among people on this website. Basically, most of us accept that all religions are make-believe. As a species, homo sapiens has lots of leftover beliefs (from when we lived in caves) that powerful sky-beings control everything. But it's all make-believe. And yeah, we sometimes have to shut our mouth and let the Believers rant on and on. When you're outnumbered, that's often the smartest thing to do. But the simple truth is: There ain't no gods.

Now YOU have graduated from the Believers. Which in my opinion means you're smarter and more truthful (especially with yourself). So hang in there, be nice to the Believers, because they know not what they do--or why. Don't try to save them. And don't try to change them. You'll get very frustrated.

After living most of my life in a colder environment run mostly by Believers, I was finally able to move to a climate that suits my clothes. But I'm still surrounded by a majority of Believers. Even so, I have collected a circle of friends who are heathen like me. And I enjoy my life.

@SunshineTrin Don't tell anybody I said this, but it might help to remember that you are actually a little bit superior to people who believe in gods and spirits and all that. That little tiny feeling of superiority might allow you to feel a little more generous to the Believers, BUT all without expressing or acting out your superiority. By the way, why don't you post your first name, at least...


I was like you, but even where I live there’s a Mega Church, so it’s a MAGA Church, but here in California I’ll never have to interact with any of them. In the city you can be as invisible as you like where you really can’t in the rural Bible Belt.
I rate it at meh...
which is considerably better then rural Alabama!
I rate that at being anally raped by a full costume Iron Man.


Firstly, bravo for having the presence of mind to take a step back in the name of objectivity. Personally, I think you’re absolutely right. Your friend is choosing a relationship with God over your friendship when there’s no reason she can’t have both. It’s willful ignorance for the sake of something unattainable.

Secondly, the sad truth is that most of the time we do have to be the ones to bite our tongues to keep the peace. I absolutely think your mother is incorrect and in no way do I think you’ve done anything wrong; however, faith is the purposeful suspension of critical-thinking, which means that believers train and strengthen the ability to not use logic. When this is probably know all too well. In no way is what I’m saying fair or moral, but in my experience it’s true. If you want to be outspoken and proud about your atheism then I applaud your bravery, just know that it will almost always be met with derision and often times aggression (especially as your repertoire grows).

Any time this becomes overwhelming please don’t hesitate to seek out thoughts, support, or just the friendly ears of we your community of nonbelievers. I wish you all the best and sincerely hope I’ve been of some use.


Welcome! The shortish answer to your question of why it’s up to us to bite our tongues n compartmentalize our relationships with religious people, if we care to keep them, is: we’re more mature than they are. We can love someone despite their idiocy sometimes without freaking out too much or acting high n mighty over it. There are some rare exceptions but if you give the average religious person half a chance to freak out, condemn, shun or alienate you, and they probably will. Up to you how much you care about their judgement and how much you’re willing to take in stride but there’s always gonna be some element of that distance when they find out you don’t believe what they do. Hopefully and probably not to a dealbreaker degree with your friends but among parents and authority figures in the Bible Belt it’s pretty cut and dry. Just do your best til you escape n you’ll keep the friends that matter, and find many others with more similar views to you at college and in communities like this.


Hurt feelings IMO are a huge waste of your time & energy. And stop asking your mother (or anybody else) what you should feel.


Hi, welcome to the site. I have friends that are religious but there have never been any issues about me being an agnostic. We sometimes discuss it and agree to disagree. Unfortunately in the US things are not like that. There is far too much hatred towards something or someone who is not of the same opinion or persuasion as they are. Religious people there are terribly inflexible. You will have to find new friends that are not that way, and it will happen. I find those people like your friend are just afraid and that has nothing to do with religion but all to do with her being "frozen" out from the religious network that she belongs to.


Welcome to the club. Keep exploring, you'll find others like us nearby and we're here until you do. You'll find school will show you that friends come and go and sometimes they're there for us to learn something about ourselves. There are times that we need to sit back and realize the lesson learned was they some are judgmental and will never grow. We have to be open to growth. Realize that we don't know everything but we can learn about it. Never let go of that curiosity about the world.

You're picking a harder road but one extremely fulfilling. Don't let anyone pull you down. You've got this!


Now you know how minorities feel. Anyway, look for a meet up or create one until you move the heck out of the bible belt.


As an atheist in the bible belt I sympathize with you BUT... people rarely tell you the truth about why they are distancing from you. Mostly because they've made a decision, right or wrong, and don't want to be challenged. There's nothing wrong with being different from others and I have several friends who are religious and several who are not. I love them all and they me. It can work that way but it won't always. It may be that she's questioning her faith for some reason or another but in her fear of change and growth blames you. She may not really know. Let it go. You can't change people and IMO shouldn't try.

I will say this, even in the deepest bible belt communities there are non-believers. If you want to make secular friends while at home or even when you go away to college a good place to start is Go to their website and search atheist or secular groups in your area and I'll bet you'll find at least one close by, maybe many. People are people, some better and some worse but having a thing like being in a secular group in a religious community can be both a support and an outlet. Good luck!

Welcome to AgFo.

Leelu Level 7 Dec 27, 2020

Welcome, it's about all I can say for the words have already been said and I for the most part, I'm in total agreement with. 😉 Have faith in yourself and I wish you well. 😊


I'm not sure I can help with an answer becuz I never experience hurt feelings or question how my lack of faith is taken by anyone. It's who I am. I don't care if someone is upset by it, or feels threatened, or wants to part ways becuz of it. Bye.

I live in the bible belt too. There are FIVE churches between me and ONE Taco Bell just two miles up the road. If that were reversed, if it were FIVE Taco Bells between me and ONE church two miles up the road, everybody would think that was ridiculous -- and it would be -- but FIVE churches is perfectly acceptable to everyone but me.

This country is stupid with religion. About 75% of everyone you meet will have some kind of religious faith -- mostly Xian. You can't be worried about upsetting them or they upsetting you because you're not one of them. Be proud of it, own it and be liberated from the ignorance thru it.

I don't bludgeon ppl with my lack of faith but if I'm asked about religion, I state without hesitation that I have none. If anyone has an issue with that, so be it.

And, no, you're not being a jerk at all.

@SunshineTrin No problem at all.


Welcome to this community.

You are far from wrong - you are being honest with yourself and also to everybody else who is here.

And please welcome yourself to yourself, and be yourself.


No you are right and welcome here

bobwjr Level 10 Dec 27, 2020

The vast majority of people who call themselves Christian have never bothered to read the bible. The only reasons Christ-Insanity still exists is fear mongering by well meaning but otherwise brainwashed people and intellectual laziness. The bible is the world's best selling coffee table book people will buy several copies to leave strategically scattered around the house where others can see them but the closest they come to "reading it" is at church or "bible study" (indoctrination) meetings where they have selected passages read to them out of context and are told what the meaning of those passages "really is". Christianity was born and forced on the world at the point of a sword and now that they are no longer allowed to force their beliefs on others through torture and homicide it is dying out. This frightens believers so much they are making a last gasp effort to force a theocracy on us which is what the Trump administration was all about.

@SunshineTrin I finished reading through it at age 9 and never have understood the arguments from ignorance that Christians present for their own beliefs. If they hadn't been brainwashed into belief as children they would be horrified at their acceptance of their cannibalistic, hate-mongering, genocidal war god.

@Lizard_of_Ahaz If the preachers didn’t scare people by telling them they were going to hell the no one would believe the bs

"Religion is first of all to benefit the priest class and only the priest class"

@SunshineTrin It didn't work for Thomas Paine but I wish you luck with that source material. I would urge you to point them toward Jesus. They won't become Atheists, or Agnostics, but Jesus is a tad more liberal than God. That's who wrote the 10 Commandments, or Suggestions (as George Carlin said), and whom these gangs of Xtians always reference. Tell them about The Beatitudes.

@rainmanjr You do know Jesus was pro-slavery right?...


Of course you're right. Hey, I'm agnostic and a lot of atheists on here make ME feel out of place, regardless of the name of the site.
Don't trust anyone else to tell you what the 'truth' is; find your own truth, and accept it as your own. There is no ideology, formula, or BELIEF SYSTEM created by some other person or group which will be a perfect fit for YOU, who are an individual, one of a kind. Everything and everybody else comes and goes; only YOU will always be there for yourself.
I bite my tongue all the time, so don't feel like you're the only one. I live in rural north Florida and if most of the people around here knew what I REALLY think, they'd probably burn my house down! But I'm retired and the lower cost of living here makes it worthwhile. Eventually I might get an RV and get out of here, go back to California or some place, but for now I'm grateful for my freedom.
Anyway, you'll be a lot happier once you finally get away. If certain friends shy away, not to be cavalier about it but "that's life!"
Don't expect them to think like you, any more than you being expected to think like them; later on you'll get used to being different. (As for it being a "lifestyle," that's a weird idea!)
I HAVE gotten used to saying whatever makes things easier around religious acquaintances. If it matters so much, why not humor them? But rarely does anybody in the "adult world" bring up religious beliefs anyway.
To me, it's all about getting along. I think your age and present circumstances has a lot to do with your problem.
A lot of people will disagree with me but, like I said, you can't please everybody!

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