So, I am atheist.
July 18, 2015 at 7:38 pm #869
@simon, as a theist it makes me angry. WTH?
Now, I can appreciate it when the employer is a religious entity or one where they are trying to express a particular free-speech message, and the example provided by the employee is not consistent with that message. An atheist Sunday School teacher (with the notable exception of @Reg and his Fronkeys), or a recreational-pot-using executive for Families Against Drug Use, or Donald Trump as paid spokesperson for the Latino Immigrants Coalition are all examples of cases where one’s publicly expressed beliefs/non-beliefs are incompatible with that particular job.
@BeckyL is an ER nurse, though. Who cares if she’s an atheist as long as she can put in a quick IV or can do efficient triage so people aren’t bleeding in the waiting room for an hour?
Forget angry. It makes me furious. Her comments on my “self-delusion” notwithstanding. 🙂July 18, 2015 at 10:30 pm #883
@drbob – I think it has something to do with the misconception that atheists are amoral or “just want to sin.” After all, I work in a helping profession that is often compared to “angels of mercy” and so forth. But, I don’t think I would be fired for those reasons, at least not ostensibly. I should hope they are conscious enough of the EEOC to avoid that. However, I do believe the theists whom I work among would use it against me. Hospitals are a very political work environment, and I am in a management position. My current shift mates know my thoughts on the subject of religion and don’t care, but I have worked among others who were very vocal about their beliefs and were quick to judge patients and other nurses on that foundation. They even argued among themselves about who was the better Christian. *gag* The displays of ignorance when a patient came in wearing a hijab were painful to witness as was the bragging that one coworker’s son was in a Christian school and wouldn’t be exposed to evolution. He plans to pursue a science career in college… One of the ER doctors does a lot of missionary work and has a clinic in a nearby city wherein he provides care only to those who are willing to sit through a sermon first. I suppose he has a right to do so based on the fact that he doesn’t charge them for medical treatment, but I don’t think that is a particularly moral way to behave. I also find his bragging about all the “good” he does to be offensive. If he knew I was an atheist, I would have to either deal with his proselytizing or would run the risk of his finding fault with everything I said or did if I rebuffed his efforts to “save” me. Neither option is particularly appealing, so I content myself with throwing his newsletters away. (His newsletters are advertisements of how much happier the subjects of his missionary work are after “finding Jesus” – I’m sure the food, clean water, and healthcare have absolutely nothing to do with it. He also points out in them that he is responsible for spreading all of this “good news.”) I believe that my lack of belief is more moral than the provisional care offered by this doctor’s missionary work or the religious intolerance practiced behind the Muslim patients’ backs.July 25, 2015 at 8:30 pm #1332
Well I’m a travel RN that works med-surg and telemetry and you could just imagine the flack I have gotten in the past for being an atheist healthcare professional. How I could I possibly deny the existence of god when I am witnessing “miracles” everyday? I don’t know…Maybe because I believe in science? I am perfectly capable of doing my job without letting my personal non-beliefs get in the way. Unlike some of my religious cohorts who will just go into a patient’s room and announce they will pray with them (and then brag about it later) or the ones that act shocked that their patient answered atheist on their admission form and now they are creeped out about providing care. While traveling I always keep my mouth shut because they can cancel your contract for any reason. However, I always make friends with the nurses I work with and after I leave, they find my Facebook profile and then the shit hits the fan lol.July 26, 2015 at 3:57 am #1441
My story: raised Lutheran and never was allowed to miss a Sunday (or Wednesday – Advent/Lent) service until I was in my teens. Went to Lutheran grade school but was lucky enough to go to public h.s. I say lucky enough because by that time all of my childhood doubts in religion had come to a head and I was pretty much sure it was nonsense. Dawkins (or one of those guys called it “sinister nonsense” and I think that sums it up nicely. Told my dad it was all crap when I was in my early 20’s and never regretted it. My atheism wasn’t much of an issue until a few years ago when I was a radio talk show host on a station in central Illinois. I was probably the most well-known unbeliever and was fond of telling my listeners “You show me someone who believes in the bible and I’ll show you someone who will believe almost anything”. I think the faithful went to advertisers and told them they wouldn’t shop at their stores unless the station dumped me. Sounds good anyway. I still don’t have any use for belief that falls outside of rational, just such a waste of time. Whenever I hear someone spouting any religious belief I don’t hesitate to challenge them. I think the more these people are challenged the sooner we can move on. But I do have one fear…and that is that is that we never get a chance to move on.
What if… what if skepticism of all things rational and scientific – kindled and nurtured by organized religion – causes people to doubt the reality of our current predicament, i.e. biosphere degradation, to the extent that we blow past the tipping point and all go extinct.
I think there’s a very good chance that’s already happened. I’d say somewhat better than 50/50 actually.
So that leads me to the final statement. I said it on my radio show once. I doubt many people were listening, but I’ll repeat it here. If aliens ever came to the earth and I had a chance to speak with them, I’d have only once question: “How did you manage to get past religion?”July 26, 2015 at 1:07 pm #1463
@tonidatyga Yes. I can well imagine. 🙂
@mammonista I applaud you for holding fast to your convictions. I do believe that the best way to loosen the grip of religion and thereby hasten it’s extinction is for non-believers to be bold and demonstrate that religion is unnecessary. The reasons that many of us have for remaining “in the closet” are often not as simple as all that. I failed to mention in my bio that I am married to a theist. When we married, we were both in the agnostic camp and in agreement. Later, my agnosticism drifted more to the atheistic side until it became just plain atheism. He, on the other hand, drifted more toward the theistic side – probably owing to some degree to his fundamentalist (Southern Baptist) upbringing. We found ourselves disagreeing on the subject more and more. Up until recently, we simply agreed to disagree and avoided discussing our divergent feelings on religion. (It is worth noting that this is a second marriage for both of us and the raising of children is not an issue. He raises his and I raise mine without interference.) Unfortunately, this detente recently came to a head, and it remains to be seen whether we can salvage anything or not. His dream is that we would happily attend church and have church friends and a church “family”. My dream is that we can just be happy without all of that church-y playacting (and regardless what anyone may think about their church friends and church family, there is some playacting involved in maintaining that church-y image.) I tell you all of this because I can certainly see why so many atheists keep a low profile and hide their convictions from even their closest family members. Some people are willing to publicly declare themselves, damn the torpedoes. Others simply find the price to be too high.July 26, 2015 at 1:30 pm #1464
Well I just can’t imagine being married to a person that irrational. Let me ask you a question… (and don’t take this the wrong way, please); would you be comfortable being married to a scientologist, what about a mormon, someone who believes in voodoo, a flat earth?
Both my ex-wife (16 years) and my current gf (9 years) are atheists. At times there has been disagreement with both of them in terms of how much we should “keep our heads down” when the topic of religion comes up, but never the importance of rationality itself. Here’s the question you must ask yourself; “Do the benefits of living with/and being emotionally tied to someone who is so totally irrational on this most important of all subjects outweigh the negatives?” For myself, I never wanted to ask that question. 🙂July 26, 2015 at 1:56 pm #1465
@mammonista I get what you’re saying, and while I have never met a scientologist (not knowingly, anyway) or a voodoo-ist, I have known a number of mormons with whom it is safe to say I am friends. Their beliefs don’t bother me in the least as long as they aren’t foisting them off on me. Now, would I marry one? No. I didn’t marry a theist either. I married an agnostic with whom I agreed. And he and I changed, as people often do, over a number of years. And we are currently in serious disagreement over this issue. Is he irrational on the subject. He is right now. Is he irrational on any other subject? Nope. Is this the most important of all subjects? Perhaps it is the most important subject for you. And that’s fine for you. It is not the most important subject for me. It is a very important subject. I will not deny that. But the assertion that this is the most important of all subjects is yours, not mine. I have no problem with living with his theism with one caveat: I expect the same respect from him.July 26, 2015 at 2:49 pm #1466
I do hope you are able to restore your detente.
Unfortunately, Christians often feel commanded to convert others, in fact, they express horror at the thought of anyone going to hell, and will do a lot to try to prevent it.
He may be in a state of mind where he thinks it’s just as urgent to convert you, as you would think it was to put out the flames if he were to splash burning oil on himself. If that’s the case now (or it gets that bad in the future), he’ll be insufferable.July 26, 2015 at 3:41 pm #1473
@steveinco I know. If it gets that bad, I will have to rethink the situation. For now, I won’t throw the proverbial baby out with the bathwater.July 27, 2015 at 1:40 pm #1524
@BeckL that’s a hard spot to be in. There’s no way to predict how and when people will change over time but it does happen. My wife and I both were agnostic when we met. For me, it was just a matter of coming out fully atheist. When I did, I was hard core and angry for awhile about how religious this country is. Then I settled down. After that, it was her turn. It was kind of cute actually. Her bringing up subjects I argued about just a few years back. But I’m glad she came around because then she became more comfortable in her skin as she started announcing her atheism. We have often spoken about relationships in which one is an atheist and the other a theist and how that would cause some major problems. She has a co-worker who has a small child that has yet to tell her husband she’s agnostic. He wants their child raised in church and she’s trying her hardest not to let that happen. I think the greatest problem that can exist between two people in a long term commitment is that their core beings along with their beliefs will eventually come into conflict. It’s inevitable. I hope it continues to work out for both of you.
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