living in jeebusland

For help in being a non-believer or campaigning for secularism while beset by believers. If believers post here they should remember that this is a support forum. There is also a members-only subforum.
User avatar
Jackrabbit
Posts: 1312
Joined: Fri Aug 05, 2016 9:30 am
Location: City Dump

living in jeebusland

Post by Jackrabbit » Thu Sep 29, 2016 5:16 pm

I've had a dilemma for decades now. I'm an atheist, but I live in an area with wall-to-wall biblebangers (Atascocita, an unincorporated area in the county that includes Houston, and before that, the Dallas area).

There's a church every ten feet (including one literally a few hundred yards from my house, the closest non-residential structure). Fast-food drive-though workers give me the "have a blessed day" shit on a nonstop basis. I can't go five minutes without religion in my face.

Yet I don't like other parts of the country for other reasons: too fucking cold, too fucking congested, too fucking expensive, too fucking economically depressed, too fucking something else. Yes, Houston itself is congested, but it's not too bad this far out, about 25-30 miles from downtown.

Even despite the biblebanging, I like living here otherwise. I periodically consider moving, but I never do.

The blessyou shit bothers me more than it should. It's just that it's so fucking stupid. I don't like the idea of someone thinking I am that stupid, even if that someone actually is. It's stupidity by association.

I've had a few run-ins over it, but my current tactic is to respond with "May the Force be with ya."

It's just as real, just as valid. And the Jedi are far more admirable than biblebangers.
Moe: "Why don't you get a toupee with some brains in it?" <whack!>

User avatar
pobblebonk
Posts: 76
Joined: Fri Sep 23, 2016 11:34 pm
Location: The Biggest Little State in the Union

Post by pobblebonk » Thu Sep 29, 2016 7:43 pm

I have friends in Austin. They seem to like it. Also, my SIL lives in Asheville, NC, and loves it there. I don't know much about the economy or anything in either area.

Having been military, we lived in some difficult areas. Did time in both of the Carolinas and also Virginia. Virginia was especially difficult because we also homeschooled while we were there. Finding secular homeschoolers was a bit challenging, but we did manage (thanks to the interwebs).

Rhode Island is densely populated and is the most Catholic state in the country, because the colony originated as a haven for all the people the Puritans hated. So we have a lot of Catholics and Jews. A significant number of JW's, too. This is by my front door:

Image

Overall religion doesn't affect my life too much here. We can even buy booze on Sundays now! Every so often some dipshit will try to screw with abortion rights on a local level. But yeah, our economy sucks, it's congested, and it's cold here, so you wouldn't be happy. ;)
256 shades of grey

User avatar
pobblebonk
Posts: 76
Joined: Fri Sep 23, 2016 11:34 pm
Location: The Biggest Little State in the Union

Post by pobblebonk » Thu Sep 29, 2016 7:45 pm

[quote=""Jackrabbit""]
The blessyou shit bothers me more than it should. It's just that it's so fucking stupid. I don't like the idea of someone thinking I am that stupid, even if that someone actually is. It's stupidity by association.

I've had a few run-ins over it, but my current tactic is to respond with "May the Force be with ya."[/quote]

Do you mean when you sneeze?

When people sneeze DH says, "The power of Christ compels you!"
256 shades of grey

User avatar
MattShizzle
Posts: 18963
Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2010 6:22 pm
Location: Bernville, PA

Post by MattShizzle » Thu Sep 29, 2016 8:13 pm

I don't think that most people who say it when someone sneezes mean it in a religious manner. I've read it was originally said because at the time people thought your soul could escape when you sneeze.

User avatar
Tubby
Posts: 3744
Joined: Wed Dec 18, 2013 3:32 pm
Location: USA

Post by Tubby » Thu Sep 29, 2016 8:45 pm

[quote=""MattShizzle""]I don't think that most people who say it when someone sneezes mean it in a religious manner. I've read it was originally said because at the time people thought your soul could escape when you sneeze.[/quote]

I heard a different take on it. The sneeze is a demon coming out, and by blessing the sneezer you are blocking the demon from going right back into the person.

Our family's hound dog back in the day would sneeze. I don't know how that might be dealt with theologically.

User avatar
Jackrabbit
Posts: 1312
Joined: Fri Aug 05, 2016 9:30 am
Location: City Dump

Post by Jackrabbit » Thu Sep 29, 2016 8:46 pm

A soul doesn't have anything to do with religion? Yeah, I've heard that's where it came from. Expelling your dubious soul along with the snot is a whole new level of silliness. I wonder if any of them know where that came from. You'd think they would be embarrassed it they did. But prolly not.

Even though I said "blessyou shit", I don't really hear that one so often, since I don't associate with religious people much, and therefore do most of my sneezing in a jeebus-free zone.

It's the equally moronic "blessed day" that gives me the most annoyance.
Moe: "Why don't you get a toupee with some brains in it?" <whack!>

User avatar
Jackrabbit
Posts: 1312
Joined: Fri Aug 05, 2016 9:30 am
Location: City Dump

Post by Jackrabbit » Thu Sep 29, 2016 8:54 pm

[quote=""Tubby""]
MattShizzle;655974 wrote:I don't think that most people who say it when someone sneezes mean it in a religious manner. I've read it was originally said because at the time people thought your soul could escape when you sneeze.
I heard a different take on it. The sneeze is a demon coming out, and by blessing the sneezer you are blocking the demon from going right back into the person.
[/quote]
And of course one might ask why they have a demon up their nose in the first place. Might be time for a stoning or something.
Our family's hound dog back when would sneeze. I don't know how that might be dealt with theologically.
Damn heathen dogs.

There was a scene in a movie where some escaped convicts were being tracked by hound dogs and dumped a shitload of pepper on the trail. The epic canine sneezing fit expelled an untold number of demons and/or souls. That was in Cool Hand Luke, I think.
Moe: "Why don't you get a toupee with some brains in it?" <whack!>

User avatar
Jobar
Posts: 26251
Joined: Mon Feb 23, 2009 6:42 pm
Location: Georgia

Post by Jobar » Thu Sep 29, 2016 11:20 pm

Yep, Cool Hand Luke. One of my favorite movies.

We get the "blessed day" stuff here in Georgia, too. But I figure it's just another one of those linguistic relics of religion like 'goodbye' (God be with ye). As long as it's intended politely, I don't make any comeback- though I do like your 'Force be with you' reply. :)

As long as I'm not being delayed, insulted, or evangelized, I treat such remarks as useful cautions that the one using them is probably a fool- perhaps a well-meaning one, but not someone I want to get to know better.

User avatar
Jackrabbit
Posts: 1312
Joined: Fri Aug 05, 2016 9:30 am
Location: City Dump

Post by Jackrabbit » Fri Sep 30, 2016 3:05 am

Yeah, it's kind of a early warning system.
Moe: "Why don't you get a toupee with some brains in it?" <whack!>

User avatar
DMB
Posts: 41484
Joined: Mon Feb 23, 2009 6:13 pm
Location: Mostly Switzerland

Post by DMB » Fri Sep 30, 2016 3:06 am

I think there are a lot of pretty meaningless habits of speech. I am currently annoyed by "How are you today? and "Have nice day" from people on checkouts in English supermarkets. I think it's been imported from America, because English people never used to say any of this stuff. I also think the managers tell their staff to say it, since they all seem to do it.

In Austria, the peasant greeting is religious: "Grüß Gott" (=God's greetings), but in German-speaking Switzerland that is mashed up into "Grüezi", which doesn't really mean anything.

In French-speaking Switzerland you can always greet people with "bonjour" (= good day), although "bonsoir" (=good evening) is used at the end of the afternoon onwards. When you leave someone what you wish them depends on both the time of day and the part of the week. "Goodbye" in the morning is usually "bonne journée" (have a good day). If you say goodbye at the end of the morning then you wish someone "bon après-midi" (have a good afternoon). At the end of the afternoon you wish them "bon fin de journée" (have a good end of the day) or "bonne soirée" (have a good evening). If you say goodbye to someone that you won't see again before Monday you usually wish them "bon weekend" (have a good weekend) and if you say goodbye on a Saturday you wish them "bon dimanche" (have a good Sunday). I find it all a bit tiresome.
Last edited by DMB on Fri Sep 30, 2016 3:28 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Jackrabbit
Posts: 1312
Joined: Fri Aug 05, 2016 9:30 am
Location: City Dump

Post by Jackrabbit » Fri Sep 30, 2016 3:24 am

Yeah, "have a nice day" is pretty standard here. I do have to admit I get that more often than the blessed day shit. It doesn't bother me, though. Not needed, but better than being surly. And yes, no doubt dictated by management.

Also, I think there is a sexual bias. The blessed days seem to come more often from females and nice days come from both genders.
Last edited by Jackrabbit on Fri Sep 30, 2016 3:43 am, edited 1 time in total.
Moe: "Why don't you get a toupee with some brains in it?" <whack!>

User avatar
Tubby
Posts: 3744
Joined: Wed Dec 18, 2013 3:32 pm
Location: USA

Post by Tubby » Fri Sep 30, 2016 5:35 am

Under parental influence, this schoolboy prodigy believes he will be the first to nail down the proof that his parents' god really does exist.

I like one of the comments at the bottom----
Just because the kid is smart doesn't mean that he'll be able to disprove folks that have a huge amount of knowledge and experience that are head and shoulders above him. Part of this does sound like either naivety or an ego that has been slightly inflated due to his abilities relative to his age. And the proving that God exists via science... I would be curious to see what happens when the contradictory aspect of this starts kicking in; how will he handle it? Since "proof" of God is pretty much impossible considering belief in God works on blind faith.

User avatar
Jackrabbit
Posts: 1312
Joined: Fri Aug 05, 2016 9:30 am
Location: City Dump

Post by Jackrabbit » Fri Sep 30, 2016 12:26 pm

Doesn't seem to be related to this particular thread and probably should be in its own.

In any case, it definitely proves that intelligence and common sense can be mutually exclusive. With all the real knowledge waiting to be discovered, he's going to waste time and effort with this shit?

Just one more reason why religious brainwashing of the young is despicable.
Moe: "Why don't you get a toupee with some brains in it?" <whack!>

sohy
Posts: 10981
Joined: Fri Mar 13, 2009 8:32 pm
Location: Georgia, USA

Post by sohy » Fri Sep 30, 2016 12:31 pm

I guess we are all different. I live about 25 miles from Jobar and we do indeed live in the heart of the Bible Belt. I love it here even though I plan to eventually relocate to be close to the son and his family.

I don't mind all the expressions that are historically based in religion. I'm more concerned by the intention, not the words. I love the poliite southern culture, even though I grew up in New Jersey where people often come across as down right rude. I love the fact that the south if far more racially integrated than anything I've even seen in the north. ( Yes, I'm serous. ) I especially love the much lower cost of living and the milder climate.

Here's one thing that has helped me enjoy the area even more. In 2003 we joined two atheist organizations that had monthly meetings. They were both in Atlanta so it was an hour long drive to get there. In 2009, one of my neighbors started up a local freethought group and we get together at least once a month for dinner and stimulating conversation. I've made some close friends from that group and I've discovered that quite a few of my own neighbors are atheists or agnostics.

I've also learned that many of the Christians here are more or less cultural Christians. They seem to love doing charity work, and enjoy the community they have in their churches. Despite their beliefs, they are pretty decent people. Not all of them, but a lot of them.

Let me share a story. About ten years ago, my husband and I were stranded in a town about thirty miles from home. We have no mass transit here and we had nobody to call to help us out. A man overheard us trying to decide what to do, then he came to our rescue by offering to drive us more than 30 miles out of his way. During the drive, he told us that his preacher had encouraged the congregation to do more good things for other people. Naturally we didn't tell him we were atheists but we did come to realize that there are some people who are motivated to do good things due to their beliefs or religious communities. And we sure did appreciate the help from this stranger that refused to allow us to give him any money for gas or for his time.

I don't mind all the Christians as long as they are like that man. I judge people by their actions and never by the beliefs they hold dear, even if those beliefs make absolutely no sense to me. I've met countless numbers of good people like that right her in the Bible Belt. "That's what I love about the south." It's not perfect by any means but there are far worse places to live.

User avatar
DMB
Posts: 41484
Joined: Mon Feb 23, 2009 6:13 pm
Location: Mostly Switzerland

Post by DMB » Fri Sep 30, 2016 12:46 pm

My husband the atheist has driven stranded people at least 30 miles without needing a god to tell him to do it. I think a lot of people just like to help others.

User avatar
Jackrabbit
Posts: 1312
Joined: Fri Aug 05, 2016 9:30 am
Location: City Dump

Post by Jackrabbit » Fri Sep 30, 2016 1:16 pm

[quote=""sohy""]Naturally we didn't tell him we were atheists [/quote]
This is kind of telling, especially the "naturally". Why didn't you tell him? Because he might have treated you differently?

Yes, christians can be kind. To each other, or those they approve of. Far fewer of them will help anybody who needs it.

There were stories after Katrina about christians coming around to offer aid. Then when they found out the recipient was an atheist, they just walked away.

The church I grew up in never did anything for people in general. They supported an old folks home (only for people of their denomination) and an orphanage (same thing, though I'm sure they would have happily accepted and brainwashed the helpless younger kids that didn't know "the truth"). Why not? They did it to their own kids.

They didn't even want to associate with other people.

Mom told me one time: "Don't be part of the world, son." She treated "world" as if it was a dirty word.
Last edited by Jackrabbit on Fri Sep 30, 2016 1:34 pm, edited 3 times in total.
Moe: "Why don't you get a toupee with some brains in it?" <whack!>

User avatar
Jobar
Posts: 26251
Joined: Mon Feb 23, 2009 6:42 pm
Location: Georgia

Post by Jobar » Fri Sep 30, 2016 2:09 pm

Sohy is right that the majority of religious folks aren't so militant as all that. Sure there are those like Westboro Baptist, who basically hate everyone who isn't a member of their nasty and paranoid little church. But for many- most, I think- they view their faith as reaching for the good;
Jobar wrote:If religion were always the dogmatic and mind-closing force that we all know that it can be- the evil which wears the mask of good- I am at a loss how it can inspire and fulfill such men as Bob Patterson, and some of the members of my own family. The dogma and doublethink is there, no one doubts it. But there is also a humanistic aspect- the best religious thinkers know that religion is for humans more than for gods.

For so many people, God is synonymous with good. We all have seen the knee-jerk reaction which equates atheism with evil; for the ones who don't have the brains, or the inclination, to try to work out the meanings and values of life in their own minds, religion is like a ready made suit which they can don without the effort of tailoring their own. (Oh, it will bind in some places, and sag in others; seldom does an off-the-rack suit fit like tailor made.)

The ethics espoused by most Jews, Christians and Muslims are usually good, by and large. I think that the ones who look for the darker and more hateful side are dark and hateful people; they use religion as a justification for the pride and greed and powerlust inborn in their personalities. If ever a religion could be made which blocked this- which did not allow evil to wear a mask of good- ahhh, I suppose that's just wishful thinking.
That's from a post I made at II back in 2002. For more see http://secularcafe.org/showthread.php?p=289968.

User avatar
Jackrabbit
Posts: 1312
Joined: Fri Aug 05, 2016 9:30 am
Location: City Dump

Post by Jackrabbit » Fri Sep 30, 2016 2:31 pm

Oh, I have no doubt that the shit I was saddled with was one of the more toxic forms of religion, and that most of them aren't that bad.

But those types still exist and cause real problems for society, such as political activism against reproductive rights, same-sex marriage, and anything else that their cartoon god arbitrarily "doesn't like".

The "nice" ones are enablers, by not condemning the assholes enough.
Moe: "Why don't you get a toupee with some brains in it?" <whack!>

sohy
Posts: 10981
Joined: Fri Mar 13, 2009 8:32 pm
Location: Georgia, USA

Post by sohy » Sat Oct 01, 2016 1:23 pm

Of course it doesn't take a god belief to help others, but some people seem to need it or be motivated by it. That was my point. I've given money for gas to strangers, but I've never given a ride to a stranger. I'm not that brave.

I didn't tell the driver we were atheists because I saw no point in it. I've only had two negative reactions over the years when I've told people I'm an atheist, but I would have felt I was being a jerk if I told this man I didn't believe in his god, when apparently he was motivated by his beliefs to do a good deed. We just let him tell his story without bursting his bubble.

But all of that is beside the point. The point was that we live among some very nice Christians and some of them seem to be motivated to do good works due to their churches. In no way, was I saying that only Christians do nice things for strangers.

sohy
Posts: 10981
Joined: Fri Mar 13, 2009 8:32 pm
Location: Georgia, USA

Post by sohy » Sat Oct 01, 2016 1:33 pm

Oh I almost forgot. The church I grew up in never did anything nice either. They spent all their money on foreign missionaries, but that church was in New Jersey, not the south. While there are nasty Christians in the south, I find them to be in the minority. The beliefs might be similar as the northern church I knew, but at least they spend lots of money on things like food banks, free or low cost clinics, clothing drives etc. The Methodist church on the corner of my street does many things for the community, including supporting local charities, offering free classical music concerts and it also provides a gym that anyone can use for a very small donation to help with upkeep. This is pretty common in my area.

User avatar
Jobar
Posts: 26251
Joined: Mon Feb 23, 2009 6:42 pm
Location: Georgia

Post by Jobar » Sat Oct 01, 2016 2:21 pm

Have you ever considered going to that church's gym, rather than the commercial one you use? I know it's closer, and probably would be cheaper.

User avatar
Jackrabbit
Posts: 1312
Joined: Fri Aug 05, 2016 9:30 am
Location: City Dump

Post by Jackrabbit » Sat Oct 01, 2016 2:25 pm

[quote=""sohy""]I would have felt I was being a jerk if I told this man I didn't believe in his god, when apparently he was motivated by his beliefs to do a good deed. We just let him tell his story without bursting his bubble.
[/quote]
If he really is one of the "good ones", it wouldn't bother him to know that.

That said, there would be no reason to bring it up, unless he wanted you to pray with him or something. So I'm not sure why it was necessary to point out that you didn't tell him. There was no reason to.

This one time (not at band camp, to make a movie reference) I was in a line at Fry's, the electronics place, and got to talking with this guy and his son. It was a long line, so we went on quite a while about computers and shit.

It continued in the parking lot for a while longer, and then he had to go and invite me to his damn church. I was a nice guy, had to be another biblebanger, right? I didn't respond right away, but my negative reaction was pretty obvious. Finally, I said something like "thanks, but I don't go to church. Sorry. Nice talking to you." Continuing would have been awkward, so I went to my car.

There was no need to bring up atheism. There are believers who don't go to church.
Moe: "Why don't you get a toupee with some brains in it?" <whack!>

User avatar
pobblebonk
Posts: 76
Joined: Fri Sep 23, 2016 11:34 pm
Location: The Biggest Little State in the Union

Post by pobblebonk » Sat Oct 01, 2016 5:39 pm

DH has been dealing with some shit lately, so he's in a partial hospital day program doing a lot of group therapy.

A few days ago, a new person joined. A transgender woman. After the first break, another guy in his sixties (We'll call him Biff) who had been sitting next to her decided to come sit next to DH. Biff said something about the woman being annoying. DH didn't think anything of it until Biff said, "You know, if God brings you into this world as a man, you have no business trying to be something you're not."

So DH's ears perked right up and he looked at Biff and said, "Well, I don't believe in God...so are you going to also have a problem sitting next to me?" Biff stammered a bit and said "no," but then they went on to have a discussion regarding trans people and whether they should live a lie to make others comfortable. DH can be pretty direct, so I think Biff got some food for thought that day about biases and assumptions!
256 shades of grey

sohy
Posts: 10981
Joined: Fri Mar 13, 2009 8:32 pm
Location: Georgia, USA

Post by sohy » Sun Oct 02, 2016 2:11 pm

[quote=""Jobar""]Have you ever considered going to that church's gym, rather than the commercial one you use? I know it's closer, and probably would be cheaper.[/quote]

I only pay 25 dollars a year to work out at the senior center. The gym at the church doesn't usually have classes and it costs a dollar each time you use their walking trail. Nothing against using the church facility, it just doesn't serve my needs.

Pooble. I too would have said the same thing to that person. I'm very outspoken about my atheism, when the situation is appropriate. I think it's good for atheists to be open about their atheism. It's best to be open after a person knows and likes you, but there are times when it's appropriate to just blurt it out.

I once gave a homeless woman money so she and her kids to stay in a motel for the night. She started trying to say something religious to me, like god bless you. I told her I was an atheist and this gift was between me and her, not from any god. She just gave me a hug and we parted.

I once told a black hospice chaplain that I was an atheist and asked him what words he could say to a dying atheist that might comfort him/her. He looked amazed then I told him there was a black atheist group in Atlanta. He stood back and said, "No way. Not the brothers. No way." I smiled and told him it was true. I had a lot of fun with him that day. We never discussed atheism again, but he was always very cordial and friendly to me whenever I saw him. Atheists don't believe god exists and some theists don't believe that atheists exist. :D

User avatar
pobblebonk
Posts: 76
Joined: Fri Sep 23, 2016 11:34 pm
Location: The Biggest Little State in the Union

Post by pobblebonk » Sun Oct 02, 2016 2:37 pm

[quote=""sohy""]I'm very outspoken about my atheism, when the situation is appropriate. I think it's good for atheists to be open about their atheism. It's best to be open after a person knows and likes you, but there are times when it's appropriate to just blurt it out.[/quote]

I get sooo aggravated when patients try to talk about religion or politics with me. Actually, I get kind of annoyed when they try to get personal with me at all. Depending on the exam, I could be with a patient for an hour or more, just the two of us. It's not like an MRI where I put you in a machine and stand far away while the machine is working; I'm right there, touching you. It's quiet and dark and largely boring for the patient, so some of them get super chatty. It's distracting at best, but I try to accommodate them to the best of my ability.

A couple of years ago I had an elderly Hispanic man straight out randomly ask me if I believe in God as I was examining him. I was honest; I said no. He looked sad, didn't say much about it other than that we were both doing our jobs (turns out he was a pastor). Typically I don't volunteer that sort of information during patient care, but it was a direct question and I'm not going to lie. The funny thing is that halfway through the exam, I got a nosebleed. He probably thought it was God's wrath! :p
256 shades of grey

Post Reply