Atheist in America

Question from Ellen:

Great site, I found it by coincidence. Are you guys from the US? I’d like to know how it is to live openly as an atheist in your country. If you’re outspoken about it, that is. What do people say? Does anyone exclude you ever? What did your family/friends say when you first told them? You get my point. I’m a big time atheist, but I’m from Sweden so it’s not really a big deal here. I’d just like to know!

Answer by Andrea (rewritten after she got more time to write):
Hi Ellen,

I admire your great country on its wide-spread secularism. Your society is much healthier than ours, which sociologists attribute to your lack of religion and our surplus of religion. (See studies by sociologist Phil Zuckerman for details.)

Anyway, from my experience being a large part of various atheist organizations, I can tell you that I’m not outspoken about it, and many people ask why I don’t believe in a god to which I usually respond, why do you? To me it just doesn’t make sense.

Regarding not being invited to events, most of my friends know I’m an atheist and that hasn’t made a difference with that regard.

I think most people in the US are afraid to admit to their atheism because there is so much superstition in this country and therefore bigotry against atheists. The radical religious right here hold a lot of power since they are politically allied with big corporations and although “non-religious” is the fastest growing group in the US, I think most of us are still afraid to proudly proclaim our atheism. I know I don’t make a big show of it since I work for the son of a minister as well as with many religious folks.

Things are looking up though. We recently formed a National Atheist Party and more and more people are “coming out.”

Thank you for your question. Be thankful for the rationalism in your country.


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