Public reactions from theists?
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18-09-2017, 06:14 PM
RE: Public reactions from theists?
During aprox 8 years that I have considered myself an atheist, I haven't encountered a single real life situation where I needed to say the words "I am an atheist".
People that talk to me on a regular basis kinda understand that at some point, especially if they engage in conversations about religion.
Direct questions about my (lack of) belief are answered plain and kind (Yes, No,...) and in-depth questions are answered with clear one liners (I am not religious, I don't believe that, ...).
The thing that I do not do, no matter if friend or coworker, I will not engage in actual religious debates.
Now most of my friends and coworkers are either atheists or practice their religions in private as they should. So it really just never comes up and I think that's a good thing.

I have one friend from work, who I bonded with. And we ridicule religion with a passion. But we do so quietly on chat so that we don't offend anybody by mistake.

Captain Underpants
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18-09-2017, 07:38 PM
RE: Public reactions from theists?
I've been an atheist for 53 years and 4 months. I'm old. So is this thread. Smile

NOTE: Member, Tomasia uses this site to slander other individuals. He then later proclaims it a joke, but not in public.
I will call him a liar and a dog here and now.
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18-09-2017, 09:04 PM (This post was last modified: 18-09-2017 09:08 PM by Bucky Ball.)
RE: Public reactions from theists?
(18-09-2017 07:38 PM)Banjo Wrote:  I've been an atheist for 53 years and 4 months. I'm old. So is this thread. Smile

Not so old. In 20 years you'll think you were a baby. Tongue

Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein It is objectively immoral to kill innocent babies. Please stick to the guilty babies.
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18-09-2017, 09:12 PM
RE: Public reactions from theists?
(18-09-2017 09:04 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  Not so old. In 20 years you'll think you were a baby. Tongue

I may be young but my face is old. The last time I saw a face like mine, it had a hook in it's mouth. Smile

NOTE: Member, Tomasia uses this site to slander other individuals. He then later proclaims it a joke, but not in public.
I will call him a liar and a dog here and now.
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18-09-2017, 09:20 PM
RE: Public reactions from theists?
(18-09-2017 03:18 PM)Mathilda Wrote:  
(13-11-2015 11:28 PM)smeli Wrote:  Of course to some degree it would depend on who you were talking to, but I can see "I'm an atheist" being a phrase that silences a room.

It also depends on where you live. In some countries it's normal to be an atheist. I personally assume that most people I meet aren't particularly religious. The ones that are religious are uncommon.

Me too. Really religious people aren't advertising. Most everyone meets on common, secular ground.

My strategy of ignoring my problems until they disappear never seems to work out for me. ...I'll try to get around to dealing with that in the near future.
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19-09-2017, 02:50 AM
RE: Public reactions from theists?
(18-09-2017 10:38 AM)Aliza Wrote:  
(18-09-2017 06:52 AM)Sushisnake Wrote:  Conversations between intelligent people can still be stupid conversations, Aliza. And conversations between theists and atheists are rarely simple. Most theists are honestly astounded atheists don’t believe something that seems so self-evidently real to the theist and often plays a large part in the theist's sense of self. And then there's the misconceptions- the notion that atheists are angry people: angry at god, angry at a church, angry at life and so they deny god. Or they think we want to sin. I've come across a lot of theists who sincerely believe atheism is denial, not disbelief.

Some theists certainly do think that way. I've met them. I think the chances of you meeting someone like that depend on where you live and how high the concentration of fundamentalists in your region is. My personal perception is that the majority of theists are fairly secular themselves or are cosmopolitan enough to respect that different people have different views. Either that, or they're polite enough to keep their thoughts to themselves.

I think you're generally not going to have a problem with the nut cake religious people (outside your own family, as OP said) unless you're looking for trouble.

Most of the theists I meet are Australians. They're not fundamentalists in any way, shape or form - just moderate cultural Christians who find it well nigh impossible to get their heads around someone not believing in an idea that's been around them since the day they were born, so they think atheists must have had a bad experience of some kind and it's made us angry. They're not nasty about it in any way and they're not certainly not religious nut cakes, they're just honestly puzzled. The more devout ones are saddened because they believe they won't get to hang out with me in Heaven because I'm an atheist and won't be allowed in. The less devout ones believe in a more inclusive Heaven where you're judged by your actions, not your beliefs.

The one's I've come across who use the " You just want to sin" line tend be American fundamentalist Christians and they can be quite fierce and nasty. Muslims can be, too.
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03-10-2017, 11:03 PM
RE: Public reactions from theists?
(14-11-2015 05:08 AM)Peebothuhul Wrote:  At work.

Must admit, in my current work space where there is more scope for 'Social chatting' my 'Non-thiest' ideas have caused quircked smiles and the occasional "Really?" Followed by the usual "Then where did everything come from." questions etc.

"The same place your god came from," you can reply.

No
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15-12-2017, 01:05 AM (This post was last modified: 15-12-2017 01:13 AM by Catharina de Aragon.)
RE: Public reactions from theists?
I was talking with a friend/coworker about literature (Unamuno specifically, if anyone is curious). I knew her enough to know she was an atheist for all practical purposes. She was the one who greeted me with "welcome to the USA, if you are agnostic or atheist hide it or you may get fired" adn the one who told me that people in the school know which one was "the" family who didn't go to church as a reason why she disliked Utah. During that specific conversationhe had even identified with Unamuno's struggle of wishing he could believe but being unable to do so, and was talking about it right then. Out of the blue, just after talking about all the reasons why she couldn't believe in a zombi carpenter or any other deity, she said:

"Don’t take me wrong. I am not, like, an asshole atheist, I just.."
"I am.Actually"

I cut her. It was almost automatically. It just bothered and surprised me so much that I just blurted the answer out. I think it was the dissonance of what I kne about her, added to the "asshole" in the sentence and the internalized shame and prejudice that was showing in it all what made need to answer.
It was the first time I ever identified as an atheist either in public or in private. I never had in Europe. I don't think I even was one then, I was more of a traumatized pseudo catholic, but I had to do something about that mess of prejudice and shame she had just said, and that was the answer that came out.
As for her reaction, she looked away and changed subject completely.
From them on I decided to shelf identify as atheist for as long as I was in USA and I was not actually directing my behaviour according to any particular faith, regardless of my own inner struggles with faith at the time. I became an actual atheist a couple of years later.

After that, pretty much every time I have identified as atheist in public in USA or Canada, the most common reaction has been to change subject immediately and pretend like I hadn’t said anything while obviously uncomfortable. The second most common has been to jump at the opportunity to discuss the things that don’t make sense and the doubts of faith someone may have (this I got mostly from agnostics, and only in Canada, never happened in the USA)
Back home, the most common reaction is: “ Well, it is not like I believe in an old man on the clouds, BUT...I do believe there is something that (insert explanation)”

"Just kill them all. The Lord will sort them out" -Cesáreo de Heisterbach-
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15-12-2017, 03:11 AM
RE: Public reactions from theists?
(13-11-2015 11:28 PM)smeli Wrote:  So have any of you ever been talking to someone at a work or social gathering or anything similar (outside of family functions) and mentioned to the person that you're an atheist or heard someone else say it? If so, what was the reaction?

Of course to some degree it would depend on who you were talking to, but I can see "I'm an atheist" being a phrase that silences a room.

I continue to be amazed that "I'm an atheist" could trigger shocked reactions from people when the opposite should be true. If someone came to me and told me they worshipped an invisible being in the sky who watches them all the time but never makes an appearance but does sometimes help them find their car keys, and I told the person they needed to get help, that would be considered rude. Yet society expects everyone to have that belief. Telling people you don't worship an invisible being who sits back and watches babies die of cancer and starvation should get you some applause, not a scornful look.

Shocked reaction? Hell round here thems fighting words. "Do you believe that" (well frankly I don't and I don't like the way you say belief, it's not a matter of me believing something, it's a matter of demonstrable facts, pull your head out of your ass) *What I really say* Um.... to an extent maybe..... (then come up with some quasi argument that might help bring them slightly out of the fucking deep end.... hopefully. But this is in real life, online I'm an asshole atheist. Why? Cause being anything even close to suspected of non belief could get me fucking killed in real life)

DLJ Wrote:And, yes, the principle of freedom of expression works both ways... if someone starts shit, better shit is the best counter-argument.
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15-12-2017, 07:51 PM
RE: Public reactions from theists?
When I told my family, one aunt cried, and a couple of people had questions. After the initial "coming out ", they all completely ignore it, except for one uncle who made a snarky underhanded comment after the prayer last Christmas.

It doesn't actually come up often, but there are a couple of instances I recall. One was right after I became an atheist. I bought a copy of American Atheists magazine at Barnes & Noble. The checkout lady asked "are you an atheist?" I felt kind of defensive, but just said "yes." She then asked if I attended the local atheist meet up, and I said I planned to, and asked if she was a member. She said "No, I'm a Christian, but my friend is a member". Then, she gave me my magazine and receipt and wished me a nice day.

The other incident was when a client asked me at the end of an appointment where I went to church. I didn't say I was an atheist because I like to actually keep my clients, so I just said "I don't ". He said "shame on you" and he wasn't joking.
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