Months ago a group of teenagers rang our door bell and introduced themselves. They were from a local church and were out trying to spread the word on their church and when services were. When I told them we were Atheist in our house and were not interested something intriguing happened. The leader of the group took a small step back like I had punched him in the stomach. I assure you I had not. But the effect of my statement seemed to physically show on his face and in his body language. Immediately the group began proselytizing1 in a very firm and aggressive manner. I told them that I wasn’t interested and to please leave, before they could respond I shut the door. This is just one reaction to informing someone from middle America that you are an atheist.
What we really want to talk about is how social pressure from the hard core bible beaters affects the people of this area. Here, it is socially acceptable to be a “bad Christian” but to be a good and honest atheist makes you a social pariah. As a child Locke was forced to attend a Methodist church, while Demonsthenes was raised and then sent to Catholic school for several years. Over the years we have observed how attendance is very different during the regular Sunday service and the services on Christmas and Easter. My hardcore Methodist family informed me that this influx of attendees was due to the “C and E Christians”. These C and E Christians were both loathed and loved by the church. First the church liked the opportunity to get some needed money from donations and try to convert C and E’s to become every Sunday Christians. The “true” Christians judged these C and E and made hurtful comments behind their backs. The same could be said for the Catholic population, who’s attendance seemed to increase during Lent, when having smears of soot on your forehead was a social badge of pride to carry to out into the world that said “See, I am making a personal sacrifice for my faith. Ask me about it!”
Every week we want to share either a personal experience or story about our lives as atheists; how we got here, how our relationships with family have been affected by coming out of “the god closet” and the hypocrisy we observe around us. Hopefully you find some humor and relate to our experiences. If not, well, at least you had something to kill some time at work with.
1. Proselytizing: present participle of pros·e·lyt·ize (Verb)
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