I just wanted your opinions on why atheism needs such a united voice there in your part of the world.
To give you a bit of background, I am an atheist, in truth I have always been, I just didn't always realise. However, where I live, and was born/raised (Manchester, UK) I have been approached 3 times (spread out over 15 years that I can remember, I'm 30 now and the last time was 3 years ago), by religious people trying to make me agree with their particular "thing".
Most people I know do not try to force their opinions on anyone, and by that I mean politics, religion, etc etc. In fact I can't think of one person who preaches religion at me at all.
Possibly there are many reasons for this, but it still appears very different than what you guys in Austin go through. I would just like to understand how different being an atheist is over there.
Being an atheist who openly admits that they are one is different from place to place, not only for different countries, maybe 2 blocks away from where you live somebody is getting bugged every day, but lets ignore that.
There is a big chance you can't even ask many atheists from some arabic countries about how their life as an atheist is.. because they simply get killed if they don't submit to their crap and dare to have a different opinion about life...
Well i'll keep it short, just this much, you are pretty lucky to only have been approached 3 times.. here in Bosnia often when i sit with some friends of mine and they have a beer or 2.. they try to "talk some sense" into my head.. and when i was a child that was much worse... with my family and their friends and my teachers and so on. People even avoided me for not believing in their God... others beat me up.. insulted me, threatened me. The worst thing that happened to me because i am an atheist is losing my job but still, that is nothing compared to what others go through.
ps. -united voice- sounds great, just realized that when i read the term :)
I mean its easier for people to stand up for what they believe in (or not believe in) if they have a group of people with similar opinions, encouraging them to openly talk about that and not let others intimidate them.
I am very envious of how smoothly your atheism is going ;) I cannot count how many times religious individuals have tried to preach their religion to me and have even threatened me because of my disbelief. It is almost an everyday battle for me.
I'm in college and my fellow students hate me for being atheist. Sometimes I don't even tell them but if they suspect I don't have a religion, they become very hostile. My professors are the same way. They constantly bring up religion during class and talk about how everyone who sees the bible as a contradiction is unintelligent.
My professor, just last week, was talking about how it is immoral to be a gay person because the bible says it's wrong. I have a gay brother and sister, so of course I got offended. Sometimes I can't sit through an entire class without wanting to walk out. The subject of religion comes up every day. In my philosophy class, they talk about religion constantly- teaching that there is no other explanation for the world existing if it isn't for God. I feel like I am living in the 1800s.
I would love for school officials to completely ban religious teachings and stop letting all these teachers slip through the cracks and get away with it. I would also love for those students who hate me to understand what atheism is really about. They think atheists are bad people that are going to hell and they always want to get in your face about it. Really, it is an uphill battle to be an atheist here.
By the way, I live in Fort Worth TX. Austin is a bit more open-minded.
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The ACA Lecture Series continues Sunday, March 8th at 12:15pm at the Austin History Center, 9th and Guadalupe. The building opens at noon. Ryan Bell will talk on "My Year Without God: Now a Permanent Condition."