The Atheist Speaks. | Teen Ink

The Atheist Speaks.

March 15, 2012
By AgentOrange789 GOLD, Friendswood, Texas
AgentOrange789 GOLD, Friendswood, Texas
16 articles 0 photos 59 comments

Favorite Quote:
"It's a saying they have, that a man has a false heart in his mouth for the world to see, another in his breast to show to his special friends and his family, and the real one, the true one, the secret one, which is never known to anyone except to himself alone, hidden only God knows where."
-James Clavell, "Shogun"

Why? Why does this have to be so hard? Why does telling people about my religious views seem tantamount to walking out in the nude? Why is it that when I say “I don’t go to church,” I feel like I’m coming out of the closet all over again (yes, I mean it when I say “all over again”)? This essay might be the first time I have ever declared my religious beliefs without being asked, and yet I am still branded as one of those pushy know-it-alls. What is it about my beliefs that set people so on edge?

Could it be where I live? I have grown up in Friendswood, Texas, a Texas town founded by Quakers. Upon observing the town’s recent history, the tradition of equality and tolerance set forth by the Quakers is still alive and well. I will never forget the day in 8th Grade, when our principal invited a Muslim support group to the school to talk about their beliefs and clarify any misconceptions. This was just after a 7th grade Muslim boy was found in the dumpster after being hazed by his fellow classmates. I was one of few who listened interestedly as they talked about their customs and traditions, and also dished out a few words of mild, but well-deserved, self-defense. Two weeks after school let out for the summer, I got a letter in the mail. It took me a few reads before I finally understood what the letter was saying. The speech had not had the intended effect. Parents had been accusing the support group of “indoctrinating” their children into a false faith. The school board had been flooded with angry phone calls, the superintendent had been offered very few choices, and the principal had been fired. The letter itself was from the superintendent, essentially pointing her finger at everyone else involved in the mess. She managed to keep her job. Unfortunately, my principal, who had attempted to open our eyes to the diversity of the world, was not as lucky. The day I received that letter was the day I suddenly realized the gravity of my own lifestyle. I had been an atheist since the age of eleven. Would society really treat me this way…forever?

Thus far, it hasn’t been easy. I’ve had many a close friend tell me to burn in hell. I’ve had people gawp at me for even mentioning the word “atheist,” as though I had just spoken the most offensive curse word imaginable. And don’t even mention the adults. Granted, they are a little more subtle about it, and yet it is often more painful to watch them disguise their contempt in a nod of pretended understanding. And apparently I’m not the only one feeling the pressure of a predominantly Christian society.

According to a poll from Newsweek, more than half of registered voters find atheism an “unfavorable” trait in voting for a representative. Many responders associated atheism with crime, immoral behavior, and materialism. Roughly 48% would never allow their children to marry a known atheist. Why? My simple question to you, the reader, is…why? Why can we not simply get along? My contemplations of the universe are different from yours. We’ve figured that much out. We can sit and argue all we want over who has it right. Then you will go your way and I will go mine, both of us believing with a fervor stronger than ever that we are the right one. Or we could just not care. Hell, we could spend the rest of our lives as friends without ever talking about religion. With the way the world is, the last thing we need is something else to fight over. We need peace, and love, and friendship. It is up to us not to sacrifice that.

Oh, and one more thing…please note that not once in this essay have I tried to convince you that God does not exist.

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This article has 5 comments.

Thalion SILVER said...
on Apr. 2 2014 at 11:37 am
Thalion SILVER, Peoria, Illinois
9 articles 3 photos 53 comments
I don't know what to say... First of all, I am sorry that you feel this way about Christians. I am a follower of Jesus Christ and the only thing I can think to say is that it pains my heart for hear about the "Christians" that act this way towards other people. It is not our place to judge or to condemn (that is God's job) but it is our responisability to speak the truth in love.    Christians are humans, too. We are not perfect (not even close) and we do make mistakes! Some of those mistakes are telling people to "go to Hell" or hurting people physically or emotionally.    Also, your line about 48% of people not allowing thier children to marry an athiest seems a little out of place. If 48 dont allow it, then 52 does. I think that the reasoning for this kind of thinking is that if someone believes that there is no god, then they have no reason for morality. There is no consequence for imorality, for infedelity, or addiction, gambling, abuse. People, even those who do not believe in God, dont want those they love to be hurt. 

on Apr. 6 2012 at 8:15 am
wordbeater SILVER, Sharpsburg, Georgia
6 articles 0 photos 26 comments

Favorite Quote:
Truth is beauty and beauty truth, that is all ye know on earth and all ye need to know.


I really liked this essay. Intolerence has no place in our society. I really enjoyed your irony, like your town keeping up its peaceful and tolerant roots passed down from the Quakers. Also I'm not sure if this was purposeful but the line "Hell, we could spend the rest of our lives..." I thought was also very witty. I liked the sort of mocking tone your article had to it.

on Mar. 26 2012 at 3:52 pm
BlueRain BRONZE, Clarkston, Michigan
2 articles 5 photos 254 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Meeting you was fate, becoming your friend was a choice, but falling in love with you was beyond my control."

I find it disappointing that they find it perfectly "moral" to inform people of their heaven vs. hell status, and yet they have the nerve to call atheists immoral. More crimes have been committed in the name of gods than without them.

The Atheist reputation isn't very good yet, but it's getting better. We'd like to believe this is a Christian nation but it's beginning to shrink, there are a lot of closet atheists who are afraid to speak out. There are certain areas of Europe where religion has basically faded away to almost nothing, becuase they've embraced humanity instead. I'm not one myself but I am definitely not a Christian. There was no way I could undervalue myself enough to be one again once I had actually read the Bible.

The actions against that principle were ridiculous, I don't think they justified it at all. All the religious parents probably got angry that for once they were shedding some light on someone else's religion without pressure. It doesn't sound like indoctrination to me, it seems to be they were simply clearing up a lot of unfounded discrimination, which is part of what schools are for. And if you're that scared that your kids' faith will be lost in a single afternoon, then clearly there is something wrong with how it's been taught or your child is smart enough to realize it doesn't have enough weight.

Don't be afraid to voice your opinion. Especially in Christianity, I've experienced that their strongest weapon is to evoke fear, obedience, and guilt in anyone who doesn't agree with them. There isn't even agreement among Christians themselves. Seek out your own answers and be able to justify them honestly, that's all the advice I can give. It is with those kinds of people that I've found real unity.

on Mar. 22 2012 at 2:06 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.»

oh and i wasnt creepin on you i wanted to see your other work =p

on Mar. 22 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.»

i liked this and i think its awesome that you have a black belt i tried karate for a while but i didnt like it =p haha cause im lazy