Atheist and career
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23-06-2012, 11:41 AM
Atheist and career
I'm sure this has been talked about many times before, (insert dead horse here), but I can't find quite what I am looking for. I don't personally know anyone else who is an atheist, which is how I found this place.

I live in rural Utah in a very mormon community. My family is not LDS and I have never believed in a god. Very few close friends and family know my lack of beliefs. Most people just assume my family has some kind of christian faith, but doesn't go to church. I am a teacher in our local school district and am worried that if people find out I am an athiest, it could have a negative effect on my career. I just finished my first year teaching, but have been encouraged by higher-ups that I should be going into administration.

I'm just not sure how to respond to the "What ward to you belong to?" and "What church do you go to?" questions. I'm not ashamed, I just don't what to deal with the backlash. Because this area is so small, something like this could be a wildfire. One more fun fact; my school district prays at the beginning of every meeting.

Any way, I'm not really sure what I should do. Just answer and deal with whatever happens? Deflect? Run away? Cry? How would you handle this situation?

"Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler." Albert Einstein
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23-06-2012, 11:52 AM (This post was last modified: 23-06-2012 11:55 AM by Thomas.)
RE: Atheist and career
This is a personal decision. You are protected by civil rights laws (if you teach public school), but they can be gotten around.
Like being gay though, you may have to move to an area where you feel more comfortable. I could never have stayed in my "small" hometown in the south and been an open atheist. In a bigger more secular city (Chicago) others would come to your defense if you were singled out for abuse, which would not likely happen. I've yet to have someone ask me where I go to church, assuming that I'm christian.
What I'm trying to say in a nice way is, get the hell out of Utah. Mormon is in the drinking water there.

The old gods are dead, let's invent some new ones before something really bad happens.
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23-06-2012, 12:16 PM
RE: Atheist and career
You could say the following, given the circumstances you are in.

"I don't mean to be rude, but it's my belief that ones religious convictions are a matter of privacy. My faith is practiced in my home. I don't flaunt it about like so many other people. (Give the bible verse about praying in secret) - No matter where I am, I keep my religious views private. I'm sorry it's simply a matter of habit. I hope you understand, if not I could say it a little slower." - ok you might want to leave off the slow comment.

Say this in such a way that you are looking down upon them in a shameful manner for flaunting their religious practices in public. Smile

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23-06-2012, 12:55 PM
RE: Atheist and career
(23-06-2012 11:52 AM)Thomas Wrote:  This is a personal decision. You are protected by civil rights laws (if you teach public school), but they can be gotten around.
Like being gay though, you may have to move to an area where you feel more comfortable. I could never have stayed in my "small" hometown in the south and been an open atheist. In a bigger more secular city (Chicago) others would come to your defense if you were singled out for abuse, which would not likely happen. I've yet to have someone ask me where I go to church, assuming that I'm christian.
What I'm trying to say in a nice way is, get the hell out of Utah. Mormon is in the drinking water there.
It would be nice to buy alcohol on Sundays, or before noon. Still, this feels like home, (plus the golf is cheap and I don't need a tee time). I see what you are saying though, the culture of this area is not going to change anytime soon. I guess we will see what happens, if they keep screwing with our kids, we will probably be out.

"Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler." Albert Einstein
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23-06-2012, 01:09 PM
RE: Atheist and career
(23-06-2012 12:16 PM)Rahn127 Wrote:  You could say the following, given the circumstances you are in.

"I don't mean to be rude, but it's my belief that ones religious convictions are a matter of privacy. My faith is practiced in my home. I don't flaunt it about like so many other people. (Give the bible verse about praying in secret) - No matter where I am, I keep my religious views private. I'm sorry it's simply a matter of habit. I hope you understand, if not I could say it a little slower." - ok you might want to leave off the slow comment.

Say this in such a way that you are looking down upon them in a shameful manner for flaunting their religious practices in public. Smile
I like this and I'm going to steal it, but I don't think they'd get the bible reference. It's all about the book of mormon here which is a strange read. Stranger than the bible. I'm pretty sure Joseph Smith was on crack. I wonder how many christians actually read the bible.

"Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler." Albert Einstein
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23-06-2012, 01:17 PM
RE: Atheist and career
(23-06-2012 11:41 AM)Spivey May Wrote:  I'm sure this has been talked about many times before, (insert dead horse here), but I can't find quite what I am looking for. I don't personally know anyone else who is an atheist, which is how I found this place.

I live in rural Utah in a very mormon community. My family is not LDS and I have never believed in a god. Very few close friends and family know my lack of beliefs. Most people just assume my family has some kind of christian faith, but doesn't go to church. I am a teacher in our local school district and am worried that if people find out I am an athiest, it could have a negative effect on my career. I just finished my first year teaching, but have been encouraged by higher-ups that I should be going into administration.

I'm just not sure how to respond to the "What ward to you belong to?" and "What church do you go to?" questions. I'm not ashamed, I just don't what to deal with the backlash. Because this area is so small, something like this could be a wildfire. One more fun fact; my school district prays at the beginning of every meeting.

Any way, I'm not really sure what I should do. Just answer and deal with whatever happens? Deflect? Run away? Cry? How would you handle this situation?
For what it's worth, their meeting prayer is unconstitutional, but you may or may not want to point that out. Dodgy

If I feel that telling someone I'm atheist is risky, I go the privacy route. I can't actually remember the last time I dodged the question, but I don't live in Mormon or Fundy La-La Land.

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23-06-2012, 01:54 PM
RE: Atheist and career
Plain & simple, yes, it may well affect your career. You know better than I that you live in a theocratic cult state.

I'd probably stick to the non-confrontational "I'm not very religious" type of statement, or state "I was raised __________" (insert religion you were raised in, if appropriate) and leave it at that. I've used the "I was raised catholic" line many times around here to avoid a long & ugly confrontation with people I have to work with. Other times, depending on my mood, I just don't give a crap & tell 'em I'm a militant atheist. So far, so good...
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23-06-2012, 02:08 PM
RE: Atheist and career
(23-06-2012 11:41 AM)Spivey May Wrote:  I live in rural Utah in a very mormon community...
Move - move quickly

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23-06-2012, 02:51 PM
RE: Atheist and career
Smile Agnostic might satisfy their questioning -it's fairly non-commital.

Of course, then they might seize every opportunity to pull you to "right thinking". Drag. Dodgy

Fuck it - tell them you're a Pagan - it'll keep 'em busy for a while. Thumbsup

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23-06-2012, 02:54 PM
RE: Atheist and career
Just give them permission to perform their baptism for the dead hoodoo on you after you die; you'll join their church then.
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