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Topic: Things that bother me as a non-believer

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Subject: Things that bother me as a non-believer
Date Posted: 6/4/2008 6:29 PM ET
Member Since: 4/20/2006
Posts: 5,647
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So my husband was listening to his country radio station in the car the other night, and one of their promos comes on, and it says "If you don't believe that the word 'Under God' belong in the Pledge of Allegiance, then this station isn't for you........93.1 The Wolf, America's Country Radio Station".  Nice station, huh?

I get really tired of this kind of crap.  Jokes in the funny pages of the paper about atheists should only claim April Fool's Day as a holiday, while Christian jokes are all cutesy and involve children.  Christians complain that they are always being picked on, but I certainly don't see it.  Everywhere I look, they are being catered to and welcomed with open arms.  Today at the public school talent show, a little girl sang "God is Not Dead" and practically got a standing ovation.  None of the other individual acts got that amount of applauce.  The emcee even asked for her to get a second round of applause.  How unfair and biased.  What do you think would have happened if my child had sang a song that proclaimed God was non-existant?  I bet it would have been bad......

Of course, no one cares if atheists on non-believers get their feelings hurt, because obviously they don't have any.  They are only the mistrusted group in America.  I wonder how many people sitting in jail cells claim to be Christians, and how many life-saving scientists and doctors are non-believers?  And what is our crime as non-believers for this outcast position we are put in?  We simply don't believe in something that there is not proof of.  It's not as though we can pretend to believe it.......you either believe something or you don't.  I'm certainly not going to pretend to believe something I don't to make the majority of Americans feel better about themselves.  That would make me a liar....would people rather all non-believers be liars just so they can sleep better at night?  I don't get it, and I don't get the hatred.

I just get tired of it.  I get tired of the open bigotry and the fact that not only is it allowed, it is accepted.  People can think my beliefs are wrong, but it's very narrow-minded of them to gang up on me and others like me and shout it from the rooftops for kicks.  That strength in numbers, atheists/non-believers can be the butt of the joke thing, isn't going to last forever.

I assume just about every minority group feels this way sometimes, but today it just sucks!  So thanks for letting me vent.

Date Posted: 6/4/2008 7:10 PM ET
Member Since: 8/28/2006
Posts: 462
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You are not alone! Just remember that.  <<hugs>>  I can't stand reading the newspapers anymore..there are always these huge ads for being saved..blah blah...and then there is the billy graham column...I watch ABC news or read it online...

How sad that the one girl got a double standing-o and the other kids got more or less blown off because they didn't sing about god...how lame....not very inclusive...

I bet there is a song out there somewhere about god being non-existant....if your kid is game..it could be interesting to see the reaction...lol...DD tends to want to do a thing even more if she thinks people are going to try to tell her she shouldn't...lol

 

L. G. (L)
Date Posted: 6/4/2008 7:34 PM ET
Member Since: 9/5/2005
Posts: 12,412
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Amanda, I think a lot of what you are experiencing is Chrisitian Privilege in society.  It's sort of like White Privilege, if you've ever read anything about that.  You just sort of have to recognize it and point it out when you see it, stand against it when you can, and get on with your life.  Most people in the US are religious, so they don't see it or refuse to recognize it.  But those who are in minority religions or atheists see it and experience it every day. 

A really good article is...

 

Christian Privilege: Breaking a Sacred Taboo.

Schlosser, Lewis Z., Journal of Multicultural Counseling and Development, v31 n1 p44-51 Jan 2003

...if you can get a copy of it.  I have it around here somewhere - I'd have to dig it up.

Date Posted: 6/4/2008 7:49 PM ET
Member Since: 6/19/2007
Posts: 5,928
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I wouldn't say this bothered me, but the other day my doctor sent me for an X-ray of my knee "to see if everything was as God intended it to be".  Not sure if he was serious or just using hyperbole, but it kind of through me for a loop.  I was just like....oookey dokey.



Last Edited on: 6/4/08 8:10 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 6/4/2008 7:58 PM ET
Member Since: 4/20/2006
Posts: 5,647
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Thanks L.  I have read that before....it's a great link!  Sometimes it just amazes me that people are so comfortable exluding other people because they have the numbers on their side.  They think it's okay to offend the minority because the majority is behind them.  It just frustrates me.  This week I have been particularly grumpy about it and really seeing it when i normally just overlook it.

Candice, all that stuff makes me crazy too, but I can deal with that a little better. I figure, it's paid advertisement, supply and demand for the BG column, that sort of thing.  I just hate seeing a majority group act with such arrogance and disregard.  It really burns my butt.  A child who performed a song about God deserves no more or less praise than the one who created his own puppet show (which was awesome, by the way).

It does make me wonder....do I ever make people feel that way?  Aside from being part of the white majority group, and the heterosexual group, am I part of any other groups that might intimidate other people?  i don't think so....I'm kind of a loner.  I have friends, but not a set group of them.  I'm pretty laid back and enjoy speaking to a variety of different people from all different walks of life.  Still, I would hate to think that someone is sitting there thinking that I have alienated them. 

Date Posted: 6/4/2008 8:08 PM ET
Member Since: 10/8/2007
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Last Edited on: 1/21/09 1:25 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 6/5/2008 3:11 AM ET
Member Since: 12/12/2006
Posts: 1,074
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Amanda, thank you for writing this.  I am constantly amazed by Christians who cry about being discriminated against, when they make the majority of this country and treat non-Christians and non-believers as if they were 2nd rate citizens.  Christian Privilege, indeed.  It seems like they just can't accept any "lip" from believe who believe differently than they do.  That somehow they are being oppressed by having to acknowledge that not all people believe like they do, and the kicker---that you can still be a good person and be a non-believer.

Date Posted: 6/5/2008 3:16 AM ET
Member Since: 3/31/2006
Posts: 28,486
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What I find interesting about the debate over "Under God" is children who went to school before 1954 didn't say it and they seemed to have turned out just fine.  It was added in 1954.

The original intent when it was written in 1892 was to make it all inclusive, a pledge that all Americans no matter what they believe would feel comfortable and proud to recite.

Amanda, what you wrote is sort of how I feel about being a vegan.  I don't really go looking for trouble, I don't really talk about my choice.  I don't feel the necessity to bring it.  I respect other people's choices.  Yet people always feel the need to tell me what they think about how I'm eating and they feel the need to tell me why my choice is wrong.  For whatever reason, they feel threatened by my eating choice and want to prove I'm wrong.

Date Posted: 6/5/2008 6:05 AM ET
Member Since: 3/10/2006
Posts: 2,819
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Amanda,

This really sucks.  I remember you mentioning previously that people ask about your beliefs at the local WalMart.  Can I ask where you live?   I hate to be the typical elitist Northerner who thinks your stories smack of a Southern Bible belt town, but...

I sometimes think I"m sheltered/spoiled because for most of my life I lived in NYC where none of this crap happened (except for that weird pro-life demonstration on 42nd Street), and I now live in a lovely liberal community upstate, where Bush's biography is in the Humor section of Barnes & Noble.  I would really hate to live in a place that is so brazenly non-accepting of a non-Christian lifestyle.

Write an editorial to your newspaper?  Send a letter to that country music station saying you enjoy the music but not the exclusionary announcements?  Stir the pot.  I'm sure you're not the only atheist/agnostic in your town.



Last Edited on: 6/5/08 6:05 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 6/5/2008 6:50 AM ET
Member Since: 7/5/2006
Posts: 4,669
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 where Bush's biography is in the Humor section of Barnes & Noble. LOL.. oh how I ache to do that! 

I hate it too. My chiropractor has scritture quotes posted all over,and plays the chrisitan station on the radio.  Stores have the 10 commandments posted in their windows.  I think it just comes down to it never occurring to someone that there are those that don't believe the same as them and it's a-okay.  I'm in the the bible-belt of the north, and because we are a business dependant on the community suporting us I just have to "grin & bear it".   

My child is now becoming obsessed with "god" and I got chided by him when we were playing a game and I said "oh god". 

Conservative Christianity is part of life in these parts, and is just accepted as the "norm", unfortunately.  I'm just waiting til my son enters 4th grade where they teach Chrisitianity in the elementary schools (yes, public schools, and not history, but as THE WORD OF GOD).

Date Posted: 6/5/2008 8:58 AM ET
Member Since: 4/20/2006
Posts: 5,647
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I live in NC, and the town I live in is obsessed with Christianity.  I can't begin to tell you how many churches there are here.  There are two huge bloody Jesus' in town in front of businesses, every drive thru window and newspaper box has a sticker on it that says either "Jesus saves" or "God is coming soon", and there are signs all over town that says things like "Abortion is murder.....Jesus Saves", "God is Good", and one that even requests that you pray for the local OB-GYN's because they will (gasp!) make you a referral to the abortion clinic if you request it.  How horrible of them to actually do their job by offering legal reporoductive services to women.  The pharmacy has a high tech sign up that says "Closed on Sunday for the Lord's Day!" and it's not unusual for a doctor to hand you religious material with his business card.  A lot of the local offices (doctors, insurance, etc) and stores have religious material and signs on the inside and outside of their businesses.  There are several that I purposely do not patronize for this very reason.  If all they want is Christian customers, they can have them.  I will take my business elsewhere....I am not religion shopping.  As much as I would love to support small town local business, you have to have something worth supporting first.

My son comes home from kindergarten upset a lot because the other children at his table keep telling him that Jesus is alive and watching him.  He asked me if this is true, and I told him no, that there was a man named Jesus that lived a long time ago, but he died.  He told the kids in his group that and they argued with him and he got upset.  The whole "My mom said....." thing.  I tried to explain to him that some people think Jesus is still alive, but he's not, and not to worry about it, but you know how stubborn little kids can be.  He doesn't even want to go to school anymore.  I told him to tell the kids at his table that he doesn't want to talk about Jesus or dead people the next time it comes up.  Sadly, this is just the beginning for him.  :(  My oldest son's best friend is very religious, and while I have never told my son what to believe or not to believe, he has decided he doesn't believe there is a God.  I have explained to him the best that I can that it is okay to believe that, but that his friend may not want to be friends with him if he knows that, or that his parents may not allow the friendship.  I told him that it isn't fair or right, but that it is a sad fact of life.  I hate having to tell my kids this stuff.  They shouldn't be worried about religion and stuff like that at their age.  It makes me angry.  I've always told them that people believe different things, and that's okay.  They know that their daddy believes in God and heaven, and that I can't say that daddy is wrong, that I just don't believe the same things as daddy.  So it hurts me to have to prepare them for the backlash that they are going to receive if they don't believe what the Christians believe.  It's cruel.  We have some friends in the area who aren't Christians and homeschool for this very reason.



Last Edited on: 6/5/08 8:58 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 6/5/2008 9:37 AM ET
Member Since: 3/10/2006
Posts: 2,819
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My heart aches for your son.  That is a lot of heavy weight on his shoulders.  I'm so sorry.

Any chance you can move to a more tolerant area?

Date Posted: 6/5/2008 9:45 AM ET
Member Since: 6/19/2007
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I'm sorry for your son too Amanda.  I remember having the "Jesus is God's son!" "No he isn't!" argument with my best friend who was Jewish in elementary school...lol, now we're both agnostics but at the time we didn't speak for a week.

Date Posted: 6/5/2008 9:57 AM ET
Member Since: 12/12/2006
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Oh, Amanda, that's awful! 

Date Posted: 6/5/2008 10:39 AM ET
Member Since: 2/6/2006
Posts: 376
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Last Edited on: 1/17/09 3:03 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
L. G. (L)
Date Posted: 6/5/2008 1:00 PM ET
Member Since: 9/5/2005
Posts: 12,412
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Amanda, I suspect we will struggle with the same battle with J, and it sucks.  I remember having those conversations as a kid too, and my Mom was great at alleviating my fears.  It's just a shame that you have to alleviate the fears of a 5,6, or 7 year old kid over this kind of stuff.

We already have to have a don't ask, don't tell policy with MIL and she's obnoxious sometimes, trying to inflict her religion on us, mainly on J.  I just get so tired of having to fight the same battles.



Last Edited on: 6/5/08 4:42 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 6/5/2008 4:02 PM ET
Member Since: 4/20/2006
Posts: 5,647
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We do have plans to move to a bigger area, closer to my husband's job, but it's still in NC, so......

It's just unfortunate that my children will have to learn these hard lessons earlier in life than I would have liked.  Even if they decided that they believed in a god tomorrow, they still have a mother that doesn't, so it still wouldn't be easy for them.  Really, neither of them is too young to know what they believe, but that doesn't matter to society.  If they don't embrace Christianity at a young age, they are treated as outcasts or bad kids.  Never mind that they are well-behaved, affectionate, caring, great students who are involved in community activities.  It bothers me.

I contemplated talking to my youngest son's teacher, but I fear it will do more harm than good.  She is a very Christian person and makes no bones about it, and I don't want her to change her attitude towards my child.  The school year is almost over, so I am thankful for that.  She's a good teacher, but I would feel a lot more comfortable with someone who doesn't bring their religion into the classroom.

L. G. (L)
Date Posted: 6/5/2008 4:44 PM ET
Member Since: 9/5/2005
Posts: 12,412
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It bothers me too.  FWIW, I lived in the research triangle area of NC, and it was the same there, though there was a good community of UUs who found each other.  Things may be better in Asheville, but I suspect it may be more of the same.

 

Date Posted: 6/5/2008 5:22 PM ET
Member Since: 4/20/2006
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We'll be moving closer to Winston-Salem, but I doubt it will make much of a difference.  I have researched which areas are highly Republican and elimated them from our potential areas to move to, lol!

L. G. (L)
Date Posted: 6/6/2008 3:53 AM ET
Member Since: 9/5/2005
Posts: 12,412
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DH and I met in NC and both of us couldn't wait to get out of there.  When we looked for places that DH could get a job - places we would be willing to live in - we pretty much boiled it down to DC (though he refuses to work for the government), Boston (though COLA was too high), Chicago, and the West Coast.  We nixed everything else, including IBM in texas where he used to work.  The W. Coast won because of Silicon Valley.  We were really happy to move to an area where religious (and racial) differences weren't a big deal.

Date Posted: 6/6/2008 8:17 AM ET
Member Since: 3/10/2006
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Amanda, for what it's worth, my nieces attend public schools in Durham and I've never heard about any religious issues there - and I think I would've heard from my atheist BIL on that one.

Date Posted: 9/12/2010 7:31 PM ET
Member Since: 6/30/2009
Posts: 12
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I'm so sorry for everything you've went through. I understand that your feeligs yoward this and how annoying people (especially biased highly religous peple) can be. And as I tell everyone who ask, it's not other religions that I have a problem with, it's the people who look down on me for my beliefs that get under my skin.

Subject: You deserve the love of Jesus
Date Posted: 9/13/2010 4:03 PM ET
Member Since: 4/15/2010
Posts: 76
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Hello Everyone,

 

As a follower of Jesus Christ I am greatly troubled by the way many of you have been treated.  I don?t know what value it is but I apologize to you on behalf of the church for the lack of love we have shown you.  I know that Jesus Christ has a passionate love for you that He gave His life for you to experience. 

 

Again, I am sorry for all the judgment that the church has passed on you and for withholding the love that Jesus commanded us to show to our brothers and sisters.  I hope and pray that you will consider Jesus and His teachings, not the condemnation of misguided Christians.

 

God bless,

Brandon

Date Posted: 9/14/2010 5:46 PM ET
Member Since: 10/17/2006
Posts: 1,427
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Brandon, thank you for the acknowledgement that some of your brethren have discriminated in this particular way.   It seems that many orthodox 'Christians' feel the duty of the 'missionary thrust', and are overzealous about 'taking the Gospel and spreading it throughout the world'.    I know exactly what the religious minority members have described in these posts, as I am now in my eighties, and such incidents have been happening in my life for decades.   "Christian privilege" goes a long way towards explaining the behavior of these unthinking Christians.  

I would like to add a couple of additional thoughts on how to respond when accosted by an over-earnest Christian.   The first is to remind that person that "the American way is assure each citizen of his/her freedom of religious belief"---and of course the freedom to believe necessarily includes the freedom to DISbelieve. Say, "YOUR freedom begins exactly where MINE ends" and vice versa. 

Second, when confronted by an overzealous (fundamentalist, likely) Christian, one can remind oneself that the insistence upon that  certain religious belief endorsed by the 'missionary' may be nothing more than protective coloration.   I'm suggesting that the orthodox person may be adapting his/her appearance and words to conform with what he/she perceives to be the 'official', 'approved' position or philosophy of the society as a whole (read 'MAJORITY").  Consider how Germans in Nazi Germany  began to display swastikas and raise their arms in that adulatory 'salute' to "Der Fuehrer" . . . . their enthusiam for the Third Reich, I am sure, varied in its intensity from individual to individual.    Don't you suppose that some were "just going along" ?

Third, and last,  one can behave in accordance with the old poem that spoke of how a circle was drawn to shut the poet out, but then how that barrier was overcome because, as the poet said,  "Love  drew a circle to encompass US ALL".   When I was young, I once asked A. Powell Davies (a Unitarian clergyman) what I could do when people I loved started to reprove me for my religious views, and he said, "Tell them again how much you love them."



Last Edited on: 12/30/11 4:46 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 9/17/2010 12:04 PM ET
Member Since: 4/15/2010
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I would also add that many Christians have failed to understand that we are called to love you so much that we would die for the lost rather than kill the lost because they do not believe in Jesus.

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