And when I woke up and left my church, I lost every last friend I had as I only had friends in the church.
It was rough, but I couldn't go "public" with it.
I moved to AZ for 2 years. When I moved back to PA (4 hours west of Philadelphia), I only had long distance friends.
It's difficult to have conversations without their imaginary friend getting interjected, or a meal without a prayer (I don't fake it, I keep my eyes open the whole time). No matter how much reasoning you show them or demonstrate that they have ZERO evidence for any gods, they continue to live in fear of death being the end.
It's very sad, really.
I used to work in a city (population about 23K) that wasn't necessarily full of Bible thumpers, but I saw a LOT of anti-abortion bumper stickers. Made me want to follow those people home and tell them to mind their own damn business. One idiot in the town had a car where the back was just covered with these stickers, you could barely see any paint. The dope went to another city in the state that has an abortion clinic; he had a gun and was going to shoot up the place. However being the inbred moron that he is, he was looking at the gun in his motel room and caused it to go off, and he got arrested before he was able to hurt anyone.
My heart goes out to you living in such a place, but at least you remind them that your spaghetti monster is bigger than theirs.
The influence of religion where I live is still very strong. Fortunately, there is a growing underlined drive for sanity to prevail.
Many ordinary people in this part of Britain simply cannot be bothered with religion, they were taught to pray and believe in the words of the King James Bible, and none of it seems to work.
And so now they pray to the gods dwell within their mobile telephones and worship at the temples of McDonald’s and Kentucky Fried Chicken.
I live near The Villages in Florida.I am very familiar with the bible belt.I have a T-shirt that says " Science doesn't give a shit what you believe." and a FSM T that says "He boiled for your sins". I get nasty looks but, noone dares to approach me and preach to me.
Yes I am stuck in such a place in a very rural farming area and working to get the hell out! I am not "out" as an Atheist here but when I do relocate in a few years I plan to be there. Yes our numbers are growing thankfully to the younger generations who are not blindly believing what they are told and choose to form their own opinions after looking over everything first.
When I first moved to this new town in Central PA I met a few people in the coffee shop and sat with them in the mornings for a few months until I got the point that they were all really bible thumpers and didn't like "my type". This is a very old fashioned village, more like the middle ages than 21st century. So I get in my car and travel around exploring by myself.
I truly believe that its nobody's business but your own about your religious concerns. Wearing your shirt is tauntamont to wearing a yamulka,hijab, religious cowl. cone shaped white hat, or a masonic bib. You are alienating yourself from any form of discussion or constructive conversation and posing yourself as being above all of those whom see you as such.
The argument will go no where or leave one with a feeling of betterment.
I live in a small town in central Pennsylvania. I'm not the only atheist, but there aren't many. There are a lot of people who I refer to as default christians. They believe because they've never really thought about it, and only go to church on holidays if they go at all.
The only thing default christians have in common with the regular variety is the certainty that they can fuck anyone over and be forgiven without repercussions.
Since it's arrived, I wear my "Agnostic.com" t-shirt all over the place.
So far, no one has said anything to me. Haven't noticed any 'looks', but then, my eyes are bad, and I don't pay much attention to other people's expressions these days.
I'm kind of looking forward to having someone say something to me though.
That should be an interesting conversation. My little corner of the Bible Belt is chock full of believers.