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Minnesota Atheists Meetup Group Message Board › Starting Out/Starting Over

Starting Out/Starting Over

A former member
Post #: 1
I wanted to send this to you to show you what I was talking about when I asked you for help ?Starting Out? as an Atheist. I read it at exchristian.net. Maybe we could start an education group within Minnesota Atheists for this particular need.

Thanks,

Jeffrey Gunderman

http://exchristian.ne...­

Deciding to come out as an atheist
.: posted 1/04/2008 ::: by .:webmaster:. ::: EmailThis! »
By Psiemens

First, I want to thank all of you for your positive comments and suggestions regarding my recent thoughts on Madelyn Murray O?Hair. As a result, I have written a letter to our local editor regarding religion and politics and am starting an Atheist Meet Up group later this month here in Beloit, Wisconsin. Again, you have helped me find courage to move forward. Thank you.

Lately I?ve been reading comments about the Richard Dawkins ?Coming Out? campaign. I get the impression that many, who have been atheists for a very long time, don?t quite understand a whole new subculture of atheists which I?ll call ?blue collar? atheists. Many of us do not represent the educated elite. We are middle class, paycheck to paycheck, struggling Americans. Religious indoctrination, which began when we were very young, has succeeded in keeping us ignorant and in the dark. Because of these long held religious beliefs we have shunned much of science, in particular evolution, and we have much catching up to do. We are very busy, everyday kinds of people who are desperately hungry for knowledge and want to try to catch up, but find little time to do so and few who support our new ?ideas?.

Most of our ?support? groups have been from our churches. Now that we embrace atheism we find ourselves having to break away from church and family members who see our changes in thinking as being ?blinded by Satan?. Years of service to the church get summed up in pat phrases like ?they must have never really been Christians after all? by people whom we looked up to and called friend.

The issue of completely ?coming out? is not a trifling sort of idea for us. This choice will bring a great deal of upheaval to our marriages, our family lives, our social lives, and for some even work lives. Most of us know no others who are atheists and are hungry for like-minded friends with whom we can confide and share. I would suggest that those who have been fortunate enough to have been atheists for most of their lives, who are well educated and versed in atheism ideals, help us who are just starting on this journey. We need mature role models, teachers, and leaders. We need to develop friendships with fellow atheists ? I know for me, this would be the greatest gift you could offer of yourselves.

I think we can change our world. I feel that the time is right to reveal ourselves ? to finally start to be ourselves. Those of you who see all this as ?old hat? ? please don?t shrug off our coming out as something passé and of no importance. We need your help.
A former member
Post #: 35
I'm going to work on this. There is a dynamic culture, and lots of information out there which can be over whelming for people who don't live it each day. One of my goals for 2008 is to have small group discussions to talk over a book, or bring people up to speed on atheism and who to deal with family, etc.
A former member
Post #: 23
I learned most of my science through reading Darwin, Sagan and Dawkins as I got older. Being raised in Utah in the late 70's and early 80's and mormon upbringing I didn't learn about evolution until reading Origin of Species after high school. I did have some biology in high school but not enough to understand how the real world works. Since then I read mostly science books and some philosophy also so I think getting to gather and sharing knowledge would be great.
A former member
Post #: 2
This is my first reply here as a non-believer xtian. I have come out as an atheist to my family and friends (many Lutheran ministers in my family) it was difficult, but PZ Myers, Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris helped me to be a more thoughtful thinker and more peaceful American.

As a former lutheran I have to say, we have been a convincing lot, but I have found that direct confrontation about evolution and it's ramifactions isn't the best approach to converting xtians to the New Synthesis. It's dropping Dawkins name and "The Selfish Gene", "The God Delusion" and "The End of Faith" ...it's those books that most believers can read and digest to become faithless doubters of "The Word."

"The God Delusion" is more confrontational to the believer's in faith. We all have to be educators and have patience with this conversion of xtians......but only patience to a point....once we reach critical mass in our lessons we will over-take the religious folks just on the new-ness and logic of our information.

We have better information than a 2000 year old Bible or Koran...of babble and hyperbole. We just have to promote science and evolution as the New Synthesis...and lets move forward. Others will follow when they Google what we are saying.

My wife and I own a health care communication company here:
http://schauerglobalh...­

and we teach evolution and its cures in health care communications to 60 million Americans through employers such as St. Jude Medical, UPS, Aetna and Cigna insurance companies. In short, we don't tell people to go to a church to cure themselves of type II diabetes. But rather to be "the person you've been waiting for" to cure yourself through sound science, medical expertise and the communications of the facts about a disease...not the hyperbole and vengence we find in the bible or koran. There simply are no cures or messages for humans in the koran or bible besides "love they neighbor as thyselves" and "seek the truth and the truth will set you free."
Eric
user 4434475
Saint Paul, MN
Post #: 16
I can totally relate to being a "blue collar atheist". I finally figured out that I was an atheist about seven or eight years ago. I was raised in a deeply religious home. My family attended the same Evangelical church for many years and my parents enrolled me into Bible school every summer. I memorized hundreds of Bible versus, prayed several times a day, participated in many youth group activities, and had complete reverence to God and Jesus Christ. I also attended an annual Church camp in Iowa which was actually kind of fun, to be honest, but saturated with indoctrination.

I never officially came out to my parents, but I only talk to them about once a month on the phone and see them about twice a year so we're really not all that close. I am nervous about coming out to people I work with though. Many of them have Christian imagery displayed around their workspace and I'm afraid they might view my lack of religious faith very negatively.

My transition from becoming a Christian to an Atheist involved a few years of being a hybrid Free-thinking Christian, if you will. I dropped a few Christian beliefs here and there while picking up a few scientific/philosophical views. This started about eight years prior to my epiphany that I am an Atheist. So I guess you can say that I began to rebel against my Christian upbringing about 16 years ago, but it took half of that time just to detox my mind from the religious poison injected into it as a child.

I am still trying to learn as much as I can about evolution, other sciences, and other philosophical views. I didn't have the benefit of going to college after high school so a lot of what I learned has been via internet, PBS, and books.
slave to r.
slave_to_reason
Saint Paul, MN
Post #: 32
The issue of completely ?coming out? is not a trifling sort of idea for us. This choice will bring a great deal of upheaval to our marriages, our family lives, our social lives, and for some even work lives. Most of us know no others who are atheists and are hungry for like-minded friends with whom we can confide and share. I would suggest that those who have been fortunate enough to have been atheists for most of their lives, who are well educated and versed in atheism ideals, help us who are just starting on this journey. We need mature role models, teachers, and leaders. We need to develop friendships with fellow atheists ? I know for me, this would be the greatest gift you could offer of yourselves.

Nothing wrong with uncomfortable change for the better. I will continue to let people know I think religion is a disease and act like it is contagious as I pose a question and walk away. It seems convincing people they look stupid being religious motivates reflection more than reason. Only one family member agrees with me but I'll continue to tell my cousins that religion is child abuse because when you go silent about things that matter, you will find it harder to respect yourself. Forget the old people set in their ways. My mom will die believeing that jesus crap but the young have a chance with the internet to stop buying bullshit. But what do I know.

I'm always willing to answer questions. I'm misanthropic maximus so it's hard to get me out, but buy me dinner or a drink and I'll answer any question you pose. Here is a link to my blog and videos and youtube I find worth the time.
Vote Ron Paul.
slave to r.
slave_to_reason
Saint Paul, MN
Post #: 33
Greydon Sqaure is refreshing atheism in action.
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