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    Thread: Atheists: How many people know you are atheist?

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      Atheists: How many people know you are atheist?

      Do you tell anyone you are atheist? Or do you keep it to yourself? Do your parents know? Siblings? Close Friends? Not-so-close Friends? People you hate?

      Anyways. I tell everyone who asks. If I just so happen to wind up in a conversation of people announcing their religion, I'll say I'm atheist. So, all of my close friends know, many not close friends. Even a lot of people I hate. If I don't know the person I'm saying it to very well, I'll base my opinion on them based on their reaction.

      The only people I will never reveal it to are my parents, It would be to awkward. I don't think they would really care to much. But if I just walk up to them and say I'm atheist, they might react negatively. Actually, I think my dad is atheist, and I think he knows I'm atheist as well. But my mom doesn't know I'm atheist. My brother knows, because hes atheist as well, although our opinions of religion differ (mine far less... kind).

      So yeah, pretty much everyone I know except my mom :/ How many people know you are atheist?

      EDIT: and please explain why
      Last edited by Solarflare; 12-25-2011 at 03:03 PM.

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      DEATH TO FANATICS! StonedApe's Avatar
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      Not sure, a lot, but probably not the majority.
      157 is a prime number. The next prime is 163 and the previous prime is 151, which with 157 form a sexy prime triplet. Taking the arithmetic mean of those primes yields 157, thus it is a balanced prime.

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    3. #3
      Xei
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      Like, all of them. Certainly if we're talking about young people who don't have faith; Christianity is very rare, as far as I can tell on Facebook. Nobody really cares or talks about it. I don't think anybody in my inner circle of friends is religious... that's not intentional, it's just the people I became friends with. There's one guy who places a lot of importance on being in the Jewish community, but he's an atheist.

      Edit: I read it as 'how many people do you know who are atheist'.

      In my social environments it's just common to assume the person you are talking to is non religious really, so most of them by default would say I'm atheist.
      Last edited by Xei; 12-25-2011 at 11:49 AM.

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      Nobody. Why should they know what I really think?

      Everything works out in the end, sometimes even badly.


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      If someone asks I'll tell them. I think most people sort of are here but don't really think about it, and they'll claim to be 'agnostic' or that they think there 'might be something out there' or something. And if I say I'm an 'atheist' they'll judge me negatively and think it means something it doesn't, like that I'm aggressively anti-theist or in rebellion or something. For that reason, I won't usually tell anyone unless they ask. I think most of the problems arise from people not realising what an atheist is. But I never lie and pretend to believe in anything I don't either. I'd say my parents know, and any friends online who ask. I don't have any friends in person.

      My dad's side of the family is Jewish. They're those people who believe in it for social reasons and don't really think about it or care if it's really true, but assume it is anyway. It doesn't make sense to me. I keep quiet around them. Anyway, while a little buzzed at the last family gathering I asked my cousin's boyfriend if he's an atheist (since he said he didn't really celebrate Christmas much), and he responded "no, no I'm just... a guy. I've got an open mind, you know..." It was a little annoying since he obviously didn't know what an atheist was, but I found myself nodding along because I didn't want any confrontation. I don't want to look arrogant or anything.

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      Xei
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      I have arguments with my friend every so often. Not as in heated arguments, just discussions. Actually I have another Jewish friend too. They both insist that they're going to marry Jewish girls and my opinion is that it's both a sorry state of affairs closing yourself off to so many people, and also basically racism (pointless discrimination at the least); it's not about religious beliefs for them, just accidents of birth. One of them gave the reason that Jews raise their children properly and I said that that's basically making a derogatory statement towards gentiles and pretty unacceptable... not to mention nonsensical because he is free to raise his kids in whatever way he deems best irrespective of the religion of his spouse. Which he conceded, really. But didn't change his mind.

      Just one of the many weird things that naturally arises out of the nonsense of religion in general; how discrimination based on arbitrary things is terrible sometimes yet socially accepted in other circumstances.
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      I think my cousin is the only person who knows for sure that I'm an atheist, since he is also an atheist and we've discussed it before. That's not because I hide it (I have absolutely no reason to hide it), it's simply because the topic of religion never comes up in a conversation with anyone I know. If anyone ever asks, I have no problem telling them. They really don't care what I do and don't believe in. Why would they? It's quite an unimportant factor in their lives.

      My family are like most families in this part of the world. Religion plays no role in their everyday lives. They don't pray, don't go to church, don't read the Bible, etc etc. But they seem to use religion as a kind of crutch when they need it. Like when a family member dies, they'll have a church service, sing hymns, say prayers. And afterwards, they'll console each other with assurances that their lost loved one is in a better place. It's like they know that none of it is likely to be true, but they're happy to let themselves be comforted by the thought of Heaven when they really need it. They also take part in the usual Christian rituals, such as Baptism, Communion, etc. But I think they do those things more out of tradition than actual belief.

      I don't think any of them (apart from my cousin) has ever stopped to really question religion. If they did, I'm sure they'd feel they same way I do when you're at a loved one's funeral and the priest won't shut up about how great Jesus is, instead of actually talking about the person we're all there to remember. But meh, it doesn't bother me. They can believe whatever they like. I'm just glad none of them are pious maniacs who try to shove their beliefs down my throat every chance they get.

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      I prefer to call myself an existentialist and I have a typical existentialist attitude. While I fit the definition of atheist according to other atheists, I am certainly not typical. I also tend to shy away from calling myself atheist because it seems most people that label themselves atheists are fundamentalists that think no one else is entitled to their own beliefs. I also like things like prayer, meditation, giving thanks, attuning myself to higher energy, etc... etc.. and none of these rituals make me a theist but they do make people assume I am not an atheist.

      Truth is once you're truly free of the need to believe in anything or be right about anything, you're free to explore anything. Dropping one's family's religion results in two paths: One can dismiss anything that cannot be substantiated by mathematical law and whatever and try to find the objective universe or one can acknowledge they are shrouded in infinite mystery and go play in it.
      Last edited by Omnis Dei; 12-25-2011 at 06:06 PM.

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      Czar Salad IndieAnthias's Avatar
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      Hard to say.. really hard. I have only really settled in on atheism recently. All my recent acquaintances assume it of me because of my course of study (evolutionary anthropology). But my older acquaintances... it's a mixed bag. I move around a lot and don't keep many long-term contacts. I suppose that the more recent people I knew the last place I lived assumed it. But it just didn't come up much.

      As for my family, that's a different story altogether. My father is a preacher, actually... so it's a delicate thing around both him and my mom, both still very religious. Neither of them know I'm atheist. It doesn't serve me or anyone to make it known to them. My dad is a genuinely good man and to say hey dad, I think your whole whole angle on life, which you made a profession and used to support me throughout my life is bogus; would be an insult of the worst kind. I still go to church whenever I visit home. Dad's one of those "I think Christianity is compatible with evolution" types... (if he only knew... lol). But we always have some good talks whenever we meet.

      Plus, mostly what Omnis said, lol. IF I'm an atheist it's in the Stephen Fry sense (sympathetic and intrigued by all faiths), not the Richard Dawkins (militant anti-faith) sense.
      Last edited by IndieAnthias; 12-26-2011 at 12:40 AM.

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      Quote Originally Posted by Xei View Post
      Actually I have another Jewish friend too. They both insist that they're going to marry Jewish girls and my opinion is that it's both a sorry state of affairs closing yourself off to so many people, and also basically racism (pointless discrimination at the least); it's not about religious beliefs for them, just accidents of birth. One of them gave the reason that Jews raise their children properly and I said that that's basically making a derogatory statement towards gentiles and pretty unacceptable... not to mention nonsensical because he is free to raise his kids in whatever way he deems best irrespective of the religion of his spouse. Which he conceded, really. But didn't change his mind.

      Just one of the many weird things that naturally arises out of the nonsense of religion in general; how discrimination based on arbitrary things is terrible sometimes yet socially accepted in other circumstances.
      I agree that it's discrimination. Here at least, being born Jewish means you're part of a social club. You befriend other Jewish people, who are usually richer and more trendy than the average person, and get to feel like you're superior to all the normal Christian people. But they don't see anything wrong with it, and seem to justify it in a way with the fact that 'we' were persecuted historically so we have to look out for one another. That's the impression I get anyway.

      Quote Originally Posted by Omnis Dei View Post
      I prefer to call myself an existentialist and I have a typical existentialist attitude. While I fit the definition of atheist according to other atheists, I am certainly not typical. I also tend to shy away from calling myself atheist because it seems most people that label themselves atheists are fundamentalists that think no one else is entitled to their own beliefs. I also like things like prayer, meditation, giving thanks, attuning myself to higher energy, etc... etc.. and none of these rituals make me a theist but they do make people assume I am not an atheist.
      I understand why you don't want to label yourself an atheist. But it's a shame that the 'real' definition of an atheist (anyone who isn't a theist) isn't more widely known. There should be some other word describing the type of atheist with all the baggage that often comes with the word.

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      LD's this year: ~7 tommo's Avatar
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      I read it as the first two posters did too lol

      But, everyone knows I'm an atheist. I would assume anyway, I don't hang out with old people and most young people are atheists.
      Although I never really bring it up, coz it's an unimportant thing, for the most part.

    12. #12
      Terminally Out of Phase Descensus's Avatar
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      Eh, just my immediate family and some friends mostly.
      The worst thing that can happen to a good cause is, not to be skillfully attacked, but to be ineptly defended. - Frédéric Bastiat
      I try to deny myself any illusions or delusions, and I think that this perhaps entitles me to try and deny the same to others, at least as long as they refuse to keep their fantasies to themselves. - Christopher Hitchens
      Formerly known as BLUELINE976

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      Worst title ever Grod's Avatar
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      No. I don't bring it up because you're not supposed to do that. Nobody wants to hear about your beliefs or <<<<LACK OF BELIEFS>>>>, as I'm sure someone will point out. And nobody wants to hear about it not because they "hate atheists" but because nobody fucking cares.

      If someone starts talking about their vehement atheism in front of me I usually make fun of them until they stop talking.

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      Quote Originally Posted by Grod View Post
      No. I don't bring it up because you're not supposed to do that. Nobody wants to hear about your beliefs or <<<<LACK OF BELIEFS>>>>, as I'm sure someone will point out. And nobody wants to hear about it not because they "hate atheists" but because nobody fucking cares.
      Well why the fuck not? I care about that type of thing, I enjoy hearing people's beliefs and even lightly arguing about them, a lot more than I care about most of the unintellectual bullshit people like to talk about.
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      By definition, everyone is atheist to some sort of God. Most modern gods are the only true God, forcing people to either only believe them or not believe them at all. Of course you can always take my approach which is that Gods are thought-forms, created and empowered by the faith of the followers
      Last edited by Omnis Dei; 12-26-2011 at 08:47 AM.

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      Worst title ever Grod's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by Dianeva View Post
      Well why the fuck not? I care about that type of thing, I enjoy hearing people's beliefs and even lightly arguing about them, a lot more than I care about most of the unintellectual bullshit people like to talk about.
      One reason being myself and almost everyone I know is atheist or agnostic so its incredibly boring to talk about how much god doesnt exist when its just a chorus of "I agree" over and over.

      The other reason is how religion is such a loaded topic to "lightly" argue. Doing that in real life with your friends or otherwise almost always escalates into a clash of wills and someone is going to feel slighted or hurt in the end.

      But dude, mostly, religion is simply boring to talk about. Youre never going to change the other persons mind, so why bother? I find the people who talk about religion irl do so for an ulterior motive - they have something to prove.

      There are so many other "intellectual" topics to discuss that will actually get you somewhere.
      Last edited by Grod; 12-26-2011 at 08:50 AM.
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      I love discussing religion but to me it's never about describing how much we don't believe in something nor challenging someone else's belief that they have no intention of changing.

      You can't change someone's mind, but you can help it grow. You can provide the information necessary for that person to reach a deeper understanding but it takes detachment from their opinion, detachment from accomplishing anything and most importantly, detachment from the need to be right. For these reasons, I'm typically not very good at this.

      My point, for example, is that if you're talking about religion to a really dogmatic person, you should debate scripture, not the logic of God. If they're still instantly rejecting you then try being less antagonistic.

      Everything works out in the end, sometimes even badly.


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      To me, telling people I'm an atheist is similar to telling people I don't smoke. Actually, I think that's a really great metaphor. When someone offers me a cigarette, I don't just say "no thanks" - i say "no thanks, I don't smoke." It's not to show I'm better than them or anything; it's just that they'll understand where I'm coming from. I'm not rejecting their offer of a cigarette because I don't want one at that time, and I'm not rejecting their offer because I want nothing to do with them - I'm simply rejecting the cigarette because I'm not into smoking, and have no good reason to start. But I also wouldn't walk up to a smoker who is smoking, and start coughing awkwardly, or tell them those are bad for him. However, if there's a smoker deliberately blowing smoke in my face, I'm gonna call him on it. And if politicians were trying to force children to smoke in public schools, I'd speak out very vocally against it. Separation of smoke and state, I say!

      I don't hide it, and I'm not ashamed of it. It's too bad there are a LOT of atheists who don't live in as forgiving an environment as I do. Some people will get disowned for these things. Some people are truly ostracized for such things (at work, at school, by loved ones, etc.) and it's really sad.

      So I don't hide it. Most/all of my friends know, and we're all cool. Of my current friends, I'd say a minority would say they're atheists. My family is mostly catholic, though my parents aren't really practicing or anything.
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    19. #19
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      None of the family knows. Everyone else, if they ask or we happen to discuss that kind of thing, they know. But I think only my really close friends know, perhaps because in the college environment I'm in, no one cares.

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      Don't Ask, Don't Tell. I do enjoy laughing at the silly arguments the supporters of these mutually irrelevant personal belief systems throw at each other though.

      "How is the likelihood of god's existence different from that of Russell's teapot?"
      "Adolf Hitler was an atheist!"

      "Spirituality is necessary part of human experience."
      "Oh yeah? What about pedophile priests?"

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      Omnipotent Being. nitsuJ's Avatar
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      If I'm asked what I am I tell them I'm an Atheist. My parents don't know I am, but some of my other family members do due to me having them added on Facebook where I have it openly shared that I'm an Atheist. If my parents were to ever ask me what I believe I would let them know I'm an Atheist but I don't go around randomly saying that I am one. The only way I'd do that is if someone starts trying to preach to me or start talking about a lot of religious stuff. I've thought about telling my parents that I'm an Atheist before, but I don't know how that'd go over. I live in the Bible Belt and I'm in a VERY religious community. Most of the people around here are hardcore Conservative Christians and frown upon people like myself. I can only think of six Atheists (some are weak and some are strong) that I've met around here.

    22. #22
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      My family and friends know. But then again my parents were atheists, so it was never like a taboo thing for me or a way of resisting them. Causal acquaintances don't know unless for some reason the subject comes up - but usually the only way the subject of religion comes up is if somebody is devoutly religious and assumes everyone else is too or is wanting to check to see if they need to "work " on you.

      One situation where I won't bring it up unless I have to for whatever reason is if I'm with someone who's extremely religious - like a woman I used to work with who was always talking about her church and handing out religious pamphlets etc. You know talking about it to someone like that is just going to lead to incessant "talks" that are really just a clash of wills. Like Grod said, in these situations nobody is goin to change their mind and to talk about it only invites arguments and eventually fights or hurt feelings or a rift. I used to fall into the trap of thinking "Oh, we;re all adults here, we can have a civil conversation and nobody will get hurt" bla bla bla... but I've seen it happen too many times .You don't even realize it until suddenly somebody is all pissed off and then you suddenly understand things went too far without anyone noticing and now it's too late - people who were casual friends are now enemies.

      Religion and politics are extremely divisive subjects that can easily tear a friendship or relationship apart if you discuss them irresponsibly. It's like playing with fire and gasoline.

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      The two Mormon boys who came to my house a while back know.


      So... at least two.

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      All my friends are atheist- one was muslim but I made him renounce his faith.

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      No, Carôusol, haven't you heard? No one ever changes their mind.

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