Texas. Perhaps one of the most idyllic states for a conservative Christian.
I am not a Christian. I am not conservative (except on certain issues). Yet I am a resident of Houston, Texas, USA.
Now, Houston is currently one of the few major cities in the US to boast having an openly gay mayor. Hence objectively the conservative appellation might not seem to apply. But try actually living here for a few months. Or years.
Everyone, with few exceptions, professes a belief in a god. It could be the Christian god, the Jewish god, the Muslim god, or any of the other gods from around the world. Yet belief in an invisible friend is pretty much standard practice ‘round these parts.
I have become somewhat of an evangelist for atheism. When I go out for the evening, whether it be to a bar or to a club or to dinner, whatever, I will often wear one of the shirts which I own that is emblazoned with a saying that identifies Me as an atheist.
Reactions: Positive and Negative
I’ve gotten some real-time feedback on this propensity of Mine.
Mostly, believe it or not, the reaction has been positive. I’ve had people approach Me out of the blue and just confess their atheism, basically saying that they are too afraid to announce it publicly and admiring Me for doing that. I’ve had people ask Me questions, both in a confrontational and a non-confrontational manner. I respond to both.
Once in a while, but very rarely, I’ll get someone who comes up to Me and says that they are offended by My T-shirt. My response is pretty much always the same: “If this T-shirt offends you, then you are exactly the kind of person that this T-shirt was meant to offend.”
I believe that there are atheists out there. They want to disavow their religion, their make-believe god and their arbitrary rules. They just don’t know that they can do that without going up in a pillar of flame.
The Atheist Community
There is a bit of an atheist community in Houston. There are regular meetings and get-togethers at which We do not sacrifice goats or babies. (Sorry if that’s what you were looking forward to.)
There are some smart people in these groups. There are also some dumbasses in these groups. Statistically speaking, atheists are more intelligent than believers. Yet as Mark Twain once said: “There are three kinds of lies: Lies, damn lies, and statistics.” If you expect someone to be intelligent because they are an atheist, you may be disappointed.
On the other hand, socializing with others is never a bad thing. In particular, socializing with others who share your worldview on at least one topic can be rewarding. This is particularly true when those whom you encounter on a regular basis believe something rather opposed to your views.
Wherever you are there are going to be people who don’t “believe.” Find them. Make friends with them. Associate yourself with them.
Yes, there will be problems. Some from you, some from them.
Personally, I’m agoraphobic. I feel safer at home than I do anywhere else. Going anywhere else requires a massive effort on My part. If I get on a bus I might end up where I’m going. Or I could end up somewhere completely different. I don’t drive because the “somewhere completely different” would turn out to be Dallas, or New Orleans, or Salt Lake City. (One of which would be very cool.)
We all have problems. Don’t believe that your problems make you less of a person than anyone else. That’s not true.
Are you shy? An alcoholic? A schizophrenic? A person with Narcissistic Personality Disorder? Don’t let that stop you from finding other people with whom you can relate at some level.
If you have a problem with somebody else, either ignore them or bring it to their attention. Or to the attention of the group leader, assuming that there is one.
Yes there are atheists in Texas. Rick Perry should not be used to judge all of Us, because he’s an idiot.
Atheists in Texas are a small group at this point, but We are growing. As others realize the truth of their fairy-tale lives, I expect a large influx. Atheist Evangelism can sometimes be good. I encourage you to try it.