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View Poll Results: Have you, an American, been treated differently because of being an atheist?
Yes, and I'll state the circumstances in a post. 24 20.17%
Yes, but I won't post the circumstances. 34 28.57%
No, definitely no. 6 5.04%
No, not that I'm aware of. 40 33.61%
No idea. 4 3.36%
Other. (Please post.) 11 9.24%
Voters: 119. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 13th December 2011, 12:45 PM   #1
Gawdzilla
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POLL: Have you, an American, been treated differently because of being an atheist?

Have you, an American, been treated differently because of being an atheist? I am wondering if there is a lot of this in real life. I've been i the Bible Belt for years now and other than issues with my family the matter has not even come up. YMMV.
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Old 13th December 2011, 12:46 PM   #2
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If were not american can we answer this one?
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Old 13th December 2011, 01:26 PM   #3
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In a job interview, a manager explained to me how important faith was to the corporate culture and then asked me if I was a member of a church. I was not and didn't get a second interview.



ETA: I should note that I was having serious health problems at the time and it showed in my appearance. It could have been that. On the other hand, less than a month later I got a job at a company with a very tolerant corporate culture so maybe it wasn't the health.

Last edited by Ladewig; 13th December 2011 at 01:30 PM.
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Old 13th December 2011, 01:42 PM   #4
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I've been told directly that "since atheists have no morals, I don't want to speak to you again". By somebody at first meeting, and no, I didn't bring up religion. Other things have also occured but I dare say that's enough.
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Old 13th December 2011, 02:21 PM   #5
Bram Kaandorp
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Originally Posted by Ladewig View Post
In a job interview, a manager explained to me how important faith was to the corporate culture and then asked me if I was a member of a church. I was not and didn't get a second interview.



ETA: I should note that I was having serious health problems at the time and it showed in my appearance. It could have been that. On the other hand, less than a month later I got a job at a company with a very tolerant corporate culture so maybe it wasn't the health.
Or maybe your health was interpreted as a symptom of not being affiliated with a church.

You know "a healthy mind in a healthy body - reverse".

Either way, that was just stupid of them.

I could understand that if someone is in poor health, they might call in sick more often, but then you'd have to really look ill to give such an impression, methinks.
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Old 13th December 2011, 02:29 PM   #6
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I've never met open hostility when I've admitted to atheism, but I often get the "Mother Hen" approach.

Oh, dear boy, you don't believe in God?

Yes.

What's wrong with you?

Nothing.

Oh well. You'll learn your mistake one day.


I love hearing Christians talk about "atheist oppression."

ETA: This isn't a one time experience. This happens whenever I choose to admit that I might disagree with what some (where I live) assume to be an unassailable fact.
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Old 13th December 2011, 02:29 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Gawdzilla View Post
I've been i(n) the Bible Belt for years now and other than issues with my family the matter has not even come up. YMMV.
California...born and raised...never had anything like you are suggesting happen to me...



Then again, I don't generally go around shouting "there is no god".
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Old 13th December 2011, 02:30 PM   #8
Bram Kaandorp
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Originally Posted by TheGoldcountry View Post
I've never met open hostility when I've admitted to atheism, but I often get the "Mother Hen" approach.

Oh, dear boy, you don't believe in God?

Yes.

What's wrong with you?

Nothing.

Oh well. You'll learn your mistake one day.


I love hearing Christians talk about "atheist oppression."
Well, it does exist.

Many atheists around the world are oppressed.

That's what "atheist oppression" means, right?

Right?
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Old 13th December 2011, 02:36 PM   #9
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1) In high school, I had a close friend who was absolutely tormented by his fundamentalist family, because they perceived him as effeminate (he was straight, cisgender). Several times, this friend ran away, my family allowed him to stay for a while. Friend's parents forbid him from talking to me because they believed I was making their son a gay atheist.

2) Every once in a while, people incorrect peg me as Buddhist or creepy religious, its understandable because:

- I don't eat meat, dairy, eggs, or gelatin.
- I don't drink alcohol or use tobacco.
- I haven't listened to the radio in 4 or 5 years, preferring just to drive in silence.
- I haven't had cable for 5 years.
- I don't cut my hair.
- I live a very frugal, ascetic lifestyle.

I've got some strange reactions when I tell them I'm an atheist who just happens to be an ethical vegan, dislikes the taste of alcohol, finds no pleasure in tobacco, hates mainstream radio, hates cable television, happens to look better with long hair, and views conspicuous consumption with disdain.

3) I've been told, to my face, that I cannot possibly be moral if I'm an atheist, and that the very fact I'm not a sociopathic mass murdering Nazi proves I'm "at least agnostic".

I suppose it didn't help that, at the moment, I was murdering eleven babies with sharpened bones of the nine other babies I'd murdered earlier. In self defense.

4) Counselors at Allegent Health refused give me service because I'm an LGBT atheist.

5) Someone broke the feet off of my Darwin Fish. I replaced it with two fish, a Satan fish and Devil fish on both sides; afterward, no matter where I parked after work, consistently for about a year, two other cars would park on both sides of me, each of them with Jesus fish on the back. Confirmation bias? I parked on the spots to the side of the building, plenty of spots available, same two cars.

6) On the plus side, I've also been treated favorably for being an atheist. I've had political conversations at work or with coworkers that would not have been possible if I were not an out atheist.
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Last edited by Dessi; 13th December 2011 at 02:41 PM.
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Old 13th December 2011, 02:42 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by R.A.F. View Post
California...born and raised...never had anything like you are suggesting happen to me...
I was stationed in California, 1983-1989, and had no problems there either.
Quote:
Then again, I don't generally go around shouting "there is no god".
Do you know anyone who does/did and do/did they have problems?
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Old 13th December 2011, 02:45 PM   #11
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No, but the closest I've ever been asked is "Do you have a religious preference?" by a recruiter. I said "No", so presumably my paperwork says NORELPREF. Planning to change it when I go to boot.
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Old 13th December 2011, 02:57 PM   #12
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Generally, the topic of faith doesn't even come up. I happened to mention that I was an atheist to a group of friends I have known for 40 years and they were surprised. None of them had ever thought to ask. (I live in the Philly area).

People talk about their own religion, but rarely do I get asked about my own faith.
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Old 13th December 2011, 03:00 PM   #13
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My answer is a qualified "no" in that very few people are aware that I'm an atheist.
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Old 13th December 2011, 03:06 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Dessi View Post
1)
5) Someone broke the feet off of my Darwin Fish. I replaced it with two fish, a Satan fish and Devil fish on both sides; afterward, no matter where I parked after work, consistently for about a year, two other cars would park on both sides of me, each of them with Jesus fish on the back. Confirmation bias? I parked on the spots to the side of the building, plenty of spots available, same two cars.
Lost a few Darwin fish as well. Had one of them broken in half and stuck under my windshield wiper. Gotta love the American South.

Edit: While the Darwin fish on my car can sometimes be trouble, it once brought me some joy. I had an attractive young lady knock on my right side glass as I was about to crank my car. She motioned to roll down the window and I did thinking she must need some help. She then proceeded to lean in my window, low cut shirt displaying some amazing cleavage, and tell me how great it was to see another Atheist around these parts. I was transfixed for at least 3-5 minutes by the view. Made my day but the wife was none too pleased with the story.

Last edited by ToddH; 13th December 2011 at 03:10 PM.
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Old 13th December 2011, 03:08 PM   #15
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Yes, although it can be difficult to tease out why some people have really disliked me - is it because I'm an atheist, because I'm gay, or because I'm me?

For those of my family who have rejected me, I think it is primarly because I'm gay. The same goes for some friends that I lost when I came out.

Being gay definitely affected how I was responded to at two jobs.
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Old 13th December 2011, 04:36 PM   #16
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Yup multiple times. Get a lot of the mother hens too. "How could a pretty girl like you not believe?" Also had a guy on my university campus try and tell me that since I'm female I couldn't be an atheist because I have the ability to create life. Yay for living in the south. =/ Every time something like that happens I go put an extra couple dollars in my "must go to TAM" fund since it gives me an even stronger urge to be around people who won't look at me like I've grown two heads because I flat out state I don't believe we are in the "End Times"
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Old 13th December 2011, 05:40 PM   #17
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Born, raised, and still residing in San Francisco.

Never had any trouble.
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Old 13th December 2011, 05:53 PM   #18
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200 views, 28 votes. Sigh.
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Old 13th December 2011, 06:01 PM   #19
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Im not an american, but I have a story anyway

For a while I was quite involved with old arcade machines. On the newsgroups I had built up some friendships with like-minded people. One, in particular, was American. We spoke via email for a while, generally about the lack of decent quality arcade machines in Australia vs the USA. We spoke about the possibility of a venture where he would fill a seatainer with arcade machines from a warehouse not far from him for import into australia. We spoke a lot about his arcade machines, some quite rare ones, and his projects. In time we even spoke about family and life in general. At one point he helped me out a lot by shipping a bunch of arcade doors to me, as they were cheap in the USA and although the mechanisms took quarters I needed them for the asthetic value if nothing else.

One day I forgot who I was talking to. I dont quite remember the details of the conversation, probably some event local to him about which he had lamented that these people would most likely go to hell, and I made the mistake of responding in part with something like "well, as an atheist I dont need to worry about eternal torment but that behaviour is unacceptable from any POV".

After that I received a short, terse email from him stating that he would help me with the machines, if only because he had promised he would. I emailed his a few times afterwards about other things, but never received a reply.

It didnt matter that he had gotten to know me well, that we had common interests, we were quite good friends, and we were, for the most part, aligned morally, even if it came from different sources. He broke off communication with me simply because I was an atheist.
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Old 13th December 2011, 06:08 PM   #20
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I had some very mild social backlash when I revealed I was an atheist at a former workplace. The fact that it is a former workplace has nothing to do with my atheism, BTW.


It was back around the the late ninties, and patriotism was running pretty high. I enjoyed those days because I have always been pretty patriotic.

Anyway, this one lady in the office kept mass emailing everyone with these weird spam emails full of dire warning that atheism was on the rise, and quotes that demonstrated how you could not be a real American unless you werea christian.

So finally it became to much to bear. I talked to her in as friendly a way as I could and told her that I loved America, and I was an atheist. i explained that her emails were bothering me because they made me feel liek a second class citrizen, or unpatriotic, neither of which were true. She looked upset, but was rather nice about it and apologized. We never spoke of it after, but for weeks after that, several people aorund the office looked at me with this kind of mixed pity & horror, like they felt I needed a hug, but I would bite their necks if they tried it.

A couple of them eventually screwed their cuorage up enough to make weak attempts to show me the error of my ways by citing Pascal's wager. I thanked them for their concern, but explained that I really did not believe, and that I felt if there was a God, faking it wouldn;t get me any where with him. They sadly nodded in agreement as though they could see my imortal soul sliding down to hell.

That's really about it, but I do not tell many people I am an atheist, because I felt like I got off lucky that time.
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Old 13th December 2011, 06:30 PM   #21
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There was this older Mormon lady on an airplane who interrupted my reading to talk to me about converting. I told her, no, I would have to be enlisted. After she puzzled on that for a while, she asked me what denomination I belonged to - I said none. She asked if I believed in god, I said 'not for a minute'. Then she left me alone, wouldn't even look at me for the rest of the trip.
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Old 13th December 2011, 06:39 PM   #22
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Oh yes. By my family.
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Old 13th December 2011, 06:58 PM   #23
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I've been distant friends for years with some people on a hobby-related forum (post regularly, meet a few times a year in person). Naturally, religion occasionally comes up, along with politics and other subjects, though they're generally minor side discussions. I think there's one other atheist, who doesn't post as much.

Some of them accept I'm atheist, while others fall into the persecuted Christian class (angry that evil people prevent them from putting up Christmas displays on public property, that kind of thing). Those hate atheists in the abstract, but usually don't have the guts to say anything to me directly. One Christian stated I wasn't welcome at any funerals of any in the group, because I don't mourn like they do and don't believe the deceased goes to heaven, even if I wouldn't say anything, since he'd know what I was thinking. Another has made some vaguely threatening remarks directly to me about my atheism, to the point that I now make sure I'm never alone with him in person.

Oh, I should add: Had a funny experience once. A group of Christians and I were together at a hobby event. These were all people who were cool with my atheism then, but are even cooler about it now. Long story, but a group of the Christians ganged up against one of their own over a trivial disagreement, convinced the volunteer minister to preach his sermon about the victim while she was sitting at services, and generally made themselves look like jerks. I of course wasn't at the sermon, but supported the victim over the bullies when I realized what was happening. Needless to say, when the group split, I went with the non-bully side, and am not considered the evil atheist among them.

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Old 13th December 2011, 07:00 PM   #24
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Not believing in gods is like not collecting stamps, there's little to no reason it would come up in the majority of social conversations. Even when it does, I don't feel the need to proselytize my disbelief any more than I need to sway a stamp collector to my side.

I can only recall three occasions it's ever actually come up in the last 30 years.

1) In the military some twit went on for five minutes about "how could you not believe?" He was just as upset later when he found out I didn't support the IRA. I guess that says something about him?

2) I was in a military survival school with a guy who had previously gone through the selection program for (what was then) Delta Force. He was a very nice guy, a fundamentalist Christian and strong like an Olympic athlete. According to him he completed all the physical tasks but was not selected by the review board. He felt it was due to his faith (implication being the team members might see it as divided loyalty). He also planned to go back and try again. We never talked about my beliefs or lack thereof. Never heard how he did the second time.

3) A co-worker in law enforcement, nice guy, very "Christian," once casually asked me about my "faith." I said I didn't have any and he left it at that. I don't feel it was anything other than casual conversation.
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Old 13th December 2011, 07:19 PM   #25
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I've found that the only negative reaction I've received concerning my lack of belief is from people who react badly to anyone who does not agree with them completely. I don't feel I'm being singled out, since these people seem to hate 99.something percent of the population.
In the service this was almost always treated as a personal matter. To ask the question was a violation of privacy. A "Nunya" issue.
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Old 13th December 2011, 07:46 PM   #26
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I voted other, I'm not American, but even when I've been in the US it's never come up. I just presumed people assumed I was some kind of godless Euro liberal (which is true) and didn't want to get into a conversation about it.
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Old 13th December 2011, 07:50 PM   #27
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I voted yes, though any negative experiences have been mild compared to some of the other stories here. Mostly they've been along the lines of people being surprised and confused to learn about it, because they already like me and didn't know how to react once they learned I was an evil atheist. However, there are definitely people to whom I deliberately don't reveal my atheism, specifically because I think it would lead to Bad Things™ if I did. And I strongly suspect that the reason I haven't had more negative experiences is because of that instinct.
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Old 13th December 2011, 08:03 PM   #28
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Sure, I've been shunned by a co-worker who loves to deliver sermons in the workplace but failed to "convert" me.

Then there was a woman I was seeing whose entire (devout) family gave me the cold shoulder when she told them about me. From that point on I was met with icy silence or if the subject of atheism ever came up I'd get something like "Not that there's any *wrong* with it!" Really.

Californian, born and raised, living in San Francisco since 1989 btw. Both of the above took place in The City.
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Old 13th December 2011, 08:13 PM   #29
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Yup, my fundie mentor teacher got me kicked out of my teaching program after I said I was atheist. Even though my other mentor was an atheist, too. That was part of it, I think: she couldn't do anything about the other atheist--her husband was president of the school board--but she could "destroy my career" as she so charitably put it, and she did.

Screw it. America deserves the right little morons its getting.
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Old 13th December 2011, 08:13 PM   #30
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I have to say that I am lucky to have a supportive family. They have never attacked me for being atheist. However, I always feel that they think that I'm just "going through a phase." I know that they will never abandon me, but it frustrates me to think that they perceive me as "wrong" somehow, because I don't believe.
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Old 13th December 2011, 08:24 PM   #31
JeanFromBNA
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No problems here in the American South, so far. But I don't pontificate about religion unless it's important, and think that most of what passes here for religiousity is mostly harmless. Like my secretary saying she would pray over the mailbox so we would get checks to come in. I told her to do whatever made her feel better, and if it worked, great! Also like respecting a short silence if somebody wants to lead grace - I can go over my grocery list, or just reflect on the food or the company.
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Old 13th December 2011, 09:25 PM   #32
learner
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Originally Posted by Gawdzilla View Post
200 views, 28 votes. Sigh.
Maybe you are assuming all of the viewers are Americans. Some of us aren't and as such are excluded from voting.
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Old 13th December 2011, 09:37 PM   #33
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I chose Other because I express skepticism of religion without coming right out and labeling myself an atheist.
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Old 13th December 2011, 10:19 PM   #34
Wartrac
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I run into this all the time, more so with my ex-wife as recent as this past weekend.

She decided to raise our two sons Catholic, which I allowed based on the idea that when they were old enough to start asking questions I would offering my thoughts followed up with providing books, documentation etc so it didn't appear to them I was just pulling things out of the air.

This past weekend my oldest who is now 13 asked my opinion about Noah. So I started listing things like, if all of mankind was wiped out 4300 years ago, how did we evolve into so many different races as well as rising to the current population. How big a boat would have been to hold all the animals, supplies, etc etc etc. And how the population of man and animals come into existence on various islands.

My youngest son who is about to turn 10 started asking questions as well. Anyways, this got back to my ex and she left me a voice mail as well as several nasty text messages. Now keep in mind, I don't plot ways to talk my kids out of the church, I only talk about it when they bring it up. Main reason is because of the divorce, I don't want to ever make them feel it's a "me verses her" type of thing. I also don't go around screaming for xmas decorations to be taken down and I don't get upset when someone wishes me a merry christmas. I take it as a wish of well being. I list all that to try and put into perspective the conversation I was having with the kids.

So yes, almost any time I speak to my kids about religion I catch several days of *** chewing. Luckily for me I don't lose my temper when she does this and hitting delete on my phone is easy enough.

Another time was when I had a heart attack last year at the ripe old age of 38, being in good shape and ex-military I chalk it up to the stress from my ex wife . The say I was to be discharge a Deacon came in to talk to me and I tried to explain to him that he made a mistake and I appreciate the visit but I am not a religious person or a believer. He said on my medical forms it listed me as belonging to a local church, which gave me pause for a second, and then I remembered as a teenager 25 years ago I signed up at a church just so I could play basketball with my friends on the CYO team. He sat down and started doing the join our team speech. It took several times of asking him to leave as well as calling for a nurse before he actually left. Seemed rather arrogant to me to start telling me my situation was due to my lack of faith, considering he thought I was a church goer initially and I bet he would have taken another angle.
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Old 13th December 2011, 10:44 PM   #35
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While I don't recall specifically being treated poorly, there have been many places and times I was reluctant to say anything to Christians that I was an atheist. So I voted 'other'.
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Old 13th December 2011, 11:01 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by Dessi View Post
I was making their son a gay atheist.
If I sent you the yarn, would you make me one too?
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Old 13th December 2011, 11:22 PM   #37
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Originally Posted by Ladewig View Post
If I sent you the yarn, would you make me one too?
me too..... are you taking orders?
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Old 13th December 2011, 11:30 PM   #38
learner
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Originally Posted by Ladewig View Post
If I sent you the yarn, would you make me one too?
Damn! I haven't got any Yarn. If I told you a yarn would you make me one too?
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Old 14th December 2011, 12:32 AM   #39
Fascination
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Just a few conversion attempts. I was raised in Florida and now live in Nevada.
As another poster stated however, it almost never comes up in conversation.
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Old 14th December 2011, 01:07 AM   #40
Gawdzilla
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Originally Posted by learner View Post
Maybe you are assuming all of the viewers are Americans. Some of us aren't and as such are excluded from voting.
Not assuming anything.
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