Society's Attitude Towards Atheism | Teen Ink

Society's Attitude Towards Atheism

July 21, 2010
By fibonaccimathgenius BRONZE, Birmingham, Michigan
fibonaccimathgenius BRONZE, Birmingham, Michigan
4 articles 0 photos 17 comments

Favorite Quote:
"I'm going to bed before you two come up with a worse idea to get us killed -- or worse, expelled." -- Hermione Granger, HP #1 <3 :]

Throughout my elementary years, all students were forced to recite the Pledge of Allegiance every day. That sentence alone might give you an idea of where I’m going with this, given the controversy in the news lately. Anyway, I had never been to a church in my life. My parents had decided to raise me and my brothers non-religiously. We celebrated Christmas every year, but that was the extent of our religious affiliation, and I had no problem with it. I mindlessly regurgitated the Pledge every weekday morning at 9:00, and was blissfully unaware of the complications that surrounded it. As I got older, though, and entered middle school, I became aware of the different religions and how mine didn’t really fit in. I had never met anyone who approached religion like my family did and so when my peers would talk about church group or similar activities, I would just quietly blend in with the nearest wall and try to look like I had some inkling of what they were talking about. The more I learned about this foreign concept called religion, the more I thought about it, and the more I thought about it, the more I wondered how anyone could ever actually believe any of it. But, as I attended a predominantly Christian public school, I didn’t speak up for fear of being abandoned by my friends or bullied.

In my freshman year World History class, we were taught about all of the religions of the world and how they came to be. This was enlightening for me, because all I really knew were the major beliefs of each religion. Learning about how Mohammed supposedly had seizures and hallucinations in which parts of the Quran came to him really put religion in perspective for me. What would happen today if someone started having the same experience and claimed that God was talking to them? You know as well as I do that they would promptly be shut in a cushioned room in an asylum far from civilization. Yet people today still believe what Mohammed recited so many years ago. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean to target Muslims in any respect; I am merely using their religion as an example of how ludicrous these ideas are to me.

After taking this history course, I read The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins, wishing to learn more about the scientific backing behind atheism. Theistic religions just didn’t make sense to me – when I heard people talking about creationism with all of the evidence of evolution staring them in the face, I wanted to rip my hair out or punch something exceptionally hard. The God Delusion put everything straight for me. It confirmed my suspicions and decisively disproved a lot of common arguments that Christians make against atheists. My favorite quote from Richard Dawkins is probably “We are all atheists about most of the gods that societies have ever believed in. Some of us just go one god further.”

Now, I don’t care who knows that I am an atheist. Many people resent me for it, or say that I offend them by not believing in God. My retort for that question is that I am offended by them believing in God. I have used this in more than one situation, and the person in question has countered the statement with a look of complete disbelief. Why do they think that it is okay for them to say something to me, but that it is not okay for me to flip the statement back at them? Ah, mysteries of society that I will undoubtedly never understand. My true friends are the ones that don’t care what beliefs I hold. Those who hold it against me are obviously not worth my efforts.

I think that society needs to realize that atheists are real people, too. As much as people nowadays think about not discriminating against Jewish people or Muslims, they do not think about the views of atheists. Why are public schoolchildren across the US forced to recite the Pledge of Allegiance every morning when it makes the reader swear that they are under God? Does the separation of church and state not go that far?

But do me a favor and think about religion and the factual evidence that is out there. Read Dawkins’ book. Ponder why you believe what you do. Is it because you’ve been told to believe it since you were very young? Or is it because it is truly what you believe? Don’t let yourself be blinded anymore. Open your eyes.

Thank you.

The author's comments:
I read the article 'My Religion' and really felt that my views could be expressed as well. Atheists have a voice and we need to be heard!

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This article has 145 comments.

on Dec. 11 2021 at 7:57 pm
WolfGurl PLATINUM, Not A Real Place, Indiana
20 articles 5 photos 177 comments

Favorite Quote:
Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened. –Anatole France.

A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than you love yourself. –Josh Billings

Men are from Earth, women are from Earth. Deal with it.- George Carlin

A nation that destroys its soils destroys itself. Forests are the lungs of our land, purifying the air and giving fresh strength to our people. —Franklin D. Roosevelt

Never lose. Either win, or learn. - Me

lol tho everybody yelling at each other in the comments

if you were thrown in a room together it would be a bloodbath

on Dec. 11 2021 at 7:56 pm
WolfGurl PLATINUM, Not A Real Place, Indiana
20 articles 5 photos 177 comments

Favorite Quote:
Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened. –Anatole France.

A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than you love yourself. –Josh Billings

Men are from Earth, women are from Earth. Deal with it.- George Carlin

A nation that destroys its soils destroys itself. Forests are the lungs of our land, purifying the air and giving fresh strength to our people. —Franklin D. Roosevelt

Never lose. Either win, or learn. - Me

I was not raised as a true Christian

I personally encountered God (no I don't have sesuires), and when I felt his ending, never giving up, always and forever love...

Well, I knew my beliefs were wrong. I knew that God was true and that his love was true.

And on the subject of love — that's the thing I do agree about in this article. Society's bias and cruelty and bullying to atheists and everyone else's different religions are WRONG. Show Jesus's love be to those who don't know it. That is how you should go about converting people.

H-Millz said...
on Oct. 7 2016 at 9:55 am
@RumMonkey At the same time, who ever said that atheists are choosing logic and science over personal belief? Atheism is a religion in an of itself, because you are believing in something you cannot prove. You cannot prove there is no God, and you cannot prove how the world was created either. It takes faith in order to not believe in something, as well as to believe in something.

on Oct. 11 2015 at 3:07 pm
WhatOnceWas SILVER, Kirkland, Washington
6 articles 0 photos 23 comments
It's funny, because we're learning about religions in AP World, and I've actually lost a lot of respect for Christianity. I'm not going to walk up to someone and say, "You're a moron," but I'm shocked that something that existed in many empires as a way to keep the population ignorant and obey the law still has as many believers as it does today. And when I read that Muhammad had "visions", I paused. In today's society, he would be pumped full of medication and tied down, so he couldn't form his army and attack people over their opinions. My mom allowed me religious freedom since the day I was born; I decided what I wanted to believe, and I chose atheism. I can't believe something that a guy hallucinated, or an ancient book that humans wrote still has all these followers. Honestly, I feel like if god were real, he would have written the bible himself. If he can "perform miracles", surely writing a book is within his power.

on May. 28 2014 at 12:20 am
JesusandHisLawyers SILVER, Austin, Texas
7 articles 0 photos 99 comments

Favorite Quote:
"who the fuck has a favorite personal quote what does that even mean" - me, just now.

Friendly advice, from one atheist to another: Don't cite The God Delusion as a source, ever. Nobody over the age of 13 takes Richard Dawkins seriously. He's something of a running gag in the non-theistic community due to how completely off his rocker he is. 

on Mar. 31 2014 at 9:47 pm
cosmos4242 GOLD, Bethel Park, Pennsylvania
11 articles 0 photos 15 comments

Favorite Quote:
I don't know where I'm going but I promise it won't be boring." -David Bowie

Interesting bit about the pledge of allegiance: It didn't used to include "under God."  It was changed in 1954 in response to Communist threat.

on Mar. 27 2014 at 3:15 pm
Mister_J PLATINUM, Colorado Springs, Colorado
42 articles 3 photos 17 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Captain, I wish to report a mutiny. I can name fingers and point names." - Captain Jack Sparrow

I'm a born Christian, but I considered myself atheist starting in 7th grade. Atheists got to represent, we just get no respect for choosing to believe in ourselves rather than some higher being!

on Feb. 25 2014 at 10:37 am
alexj56a BRONZE, Kings, North Carolina
1 article 0 photos 3 comments

Favorite Quote:
the definition of insanity is doing the same things over and over again and expecting things to change

i commented now what

on Nov. 18 2013 at 8:55 pm
I'm a born Hindu, but around 5th grade, I became an atheist. Nobody except my two closest friends and I know about this, not even my parents, because I'm afraid that they might not accept me because of that. I can really relate to this article, and I love it. BTW, by law, schools can't force you to say the Pledge of Allegiance. It is one of our student rights to say no to reciting the pledge.

ALenny GOLD said...
on Jul. 31 2013 at 11:23 pm
ALenny GOLD, Melbourne, Other
11 articles 0 photos 12 comments

Favorite Quote:
Colour my life with the chaos of trouble.

I LOVED THIS! And am in complete agreement. It frustrates me deeply having to put up with the preachers of a mass delusion and yet be vilified for believing in the facts of science. Well done for speaking out. I'm so over this crap infiltrating our lives. Have your beliefs, sure, just keep them to yourselves if you expect atheists to keep to ourselves and stop trying to shove religion down my throat!

on Jun. 1 2013 at 5:21 pm
The_Introvert PLATINUM, Bellevue, Nebraska
36 articles 0 photos 20 comments

Favorite Quote:
“She seems so cool, so focused, so quiet, yet her eyes remain fixed upon the horizon. You think you know all there is to know about her immediately upon meeting her, but everything you think you know is wrong. Passion flows through her like a river."

This is a brilliant article. I can't tell you how many times my family has been threatened simply because we're atheists. And the Christians who do it have the nerve to talk about their "good Christian morals."

on Dec. 2 2012 at 11:10 am
NewIdentity GOLD, Arden, North Carolina
15 articles 9 photos 11 comments

Favorite Quote:
If life for you
Been less than kind
Take a number
Stand in line
We've all been sorry
We've all been hurt
But it's how we survive
That makes us who we are
- Survive by Rise Against

I just started reading The God Delusion. So far it is very interesting. I have become an atheist recently, but I have to hide it from almost everyone. I can't tell my parents because they are conservative christian missionaries. I really hate hiding such a big part of me from everyone.

on Aug. 11 2012 at 12:01 am
VandalSpirit DIAMOND, Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin
51 articles 9 photos 185 comments

Favorite Quote:
Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of Gods great love, we are not consumed. His compassion never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

Who ever said we think atheists deserve death for their beliefs? I know many of us are completely aware that's the path atheists choose and don't get offended when we try to change your minds, it only genuinely means we care (except for some its a pride I-need-to-prove-you-wrong thing)

on Jun. 5 2012 at 12:23 pm
swcricket98 GOLD, Williamson, Georgia
13 articles 17 photos 102 comments

Favorite Quote:
Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.

I respect the first sentence greatly.

on Apr. 25 2012 at 2:05 pm
TerraAnimusPatronus BRONZE, Eden, North Carolina
1 article 0 photos 61 comments

Favorite Quote:
«You are either the best kept secret or just surrounded by blind people.»

its kinda disrespective but it all good its your personal belief more power to you

on Apr. 25 2012 at 10:49 am
Liberty-May GOLD, Surrey, Other
11 articles 0 photos 9 comments

Favorite Quote:
the pen is mightier than the sword, and considerably easier to write with

lol Well said

on Apr. 22 2012 at 10:43 pm

I am not the biggest, religious person at all in any religion. Honestly, right now Hinduism sounds pretty cool to me. I have plenty of friends that are Christian, Muslin, Athiest, and Jewish. I believe that as long as everyone's happy with what THEY believe, then why should it matter to me what it is that they believe? Personally, I agree with every word in this article. Go you for speaking out!! But seriously, to everyone commenting rudely on this about how your a Christian or something else: What you say isn't going to change the beliefs of anyone who reads it. Once again, why does it matter to you how someone else lives their life as long as they're ok with how they're living it? I believe if you're going to have a religion, good for you. Don't abuse it though. And if you're not going to have a religion, good for you as well.

Once again, great article.

Genya GOLD said...
on Mar. 9 2012 at 5:05 pm
Genya GOLD, Bridgewater, New Jersey
10 articles 0 photos 52 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Never do anything that you wouldn't want to explain to the paramedics."-Unknown Author

A big mouth calling others a big mouth? O_O

Some people here are angry atheists, some are angry theists, some are innnocent bystanders, caught in some pseudo-scientific/faith fight, and some people here JUST LOVE TO WITNESS THE DESTRUCTION. If the absolute hatred and intolerance of an Internet chatroom run by hotheaded teenagers(or anyone for that matter), was released onto the world, you would see total annihilation in a guaranteed 5 minutes...

Atheits call it nuclear war, theists call it the Rapture. But in the end, everyone dies anyway!

shinjite said...
on Mar. 2 2012 at 2:21 pm
God has His Ways and He doesn't get frustrated in the same way. If your human and you're frustrated with someone, you would take out your anger at first chance. As God, He punishes us when He needs to. If you let a child do whatever they want, they might eventually listen to you. But 9/10 chances, they won't. They'll just get worse. He needs to punish His Children to help them learn. He is only being a good father. He is all powerful and knowing therefore He knows that sometimes He needs to lay down the law to get the point across. Also, if you say that God can't have human emotions, then how does He love? He doesn't just lash out of us out of anger is my point. He disciplines us when it would help us to learn and to be better people. Hope this helps you see my view ^^.

on Mar. 2 2012 at 2:02 pm
TerraAnimusPatronus BRONZE, Eden, North Carolina
1 article 0 photos 61 comments

Favorite Quote:
«You are either the best kept secret or just surrounded by blind people.»

lets be peaceful about our debates now