You’ve Got a Friend in…
Well, May has come and gone and I never wrote a “real” post as I had promised. I don’t remember if I ever made mention of this on here, but I have made something of a deal with myself to post at least one entry a month here. I am terrible about staying motivated to write things, but I feel that it is good for me. Since I’m no longer in school, this is my writing outlet. I procrastinate this just as much as I do writing research papers, apparently! Anyway, I’m going to say that I still made my goal, since I did have one post in May, even if it was just a little tiny post of no importance. Yeah, that’s the ticket!
I learned two things in May. One is that it is still hard for me to “come out” atheist to friends—even to non-theistic friends or those who are religious but aren’t Bible believing Christians. The other is that having friends whom I can discuss these sorts of things face to face with is a wonderful experience. I guess I knew both of these things already, but the month of May really emphasized it.
One of the reasons I didn’t make my personally imposed deadline is that last weekend a couple of my friends from grad school were back in town. One lives on the other side of the Mississippi river from here (halfway across the country, literally), and the other lives up in Tennessee, so we don’t get to see them very often. The one from TN ended up staying through Monday morning and we all had a grand time over the weekend. (For the sake of simplicity and anonymity, I’ll call him S for the rest of this post.)
Of our group of friends, most of us are pretty open-minded and those who are religious aren’t very outspoken about it. Most are either non-religious or at least skeptical of organized religion. There are really only a couple of exceptions (you’ve heard about one of those in a previous post), but when they are around we can’t really discuss such things.
Two of my friends in this group already know about my atheism and one has been shown this blog (the other is a Luddite and runs in fear when I start to work my technological wizardry in his presence). This past weekend I also told S about my deconversion, and we had a short conversation about it on Saturday while driving to meet some friends across town. I knew that S was only a casual church goer (an understatement, really) and figured him to be agnostic or atheist, but I wasn’t entirely sure. We just don’t discuss religion much and in our group J is the one who tends to dominate the conversation (J, mentioned in the earlier post I linked up above, is very religious for the most part, a conservative Calvinist). Even knowing that he is open-minded and not a believer, it was hard to say, “I’m an atheist.”
Sunday night, before I left the house that S was staying for the evening, I showed him this site, and that kicked off a 3 hour long conversation (ending at 4am, the best time for conversations!) about religion, atheism, rationalism, and politics. S and I see eye to eye, for the most part and it was very refreshing to have someone to discuss these things with. I believe that he will now be reading this blog, too, so hello to you!
It is awesome to have the resources and communities online dedicated to rationalism and atheism, the dialogs I’ve had with various people I’ve met in these places have been enlightening, comforting, and just overall very helpful. It is also wonderful to have a few people I chat with online about these things, theist folks and atheist folks. It has helped me work through many of the issues I’ve encountered in the past year and a few months as I’ve gone from rejecting my atheism to embracing it. However, it is so much more exciting and wonderful to have people to discuss these things with in person. May was a good month for that.
I have another friend here in town, P, who I have been very open with about my atheism, and I was open with him about my doubts before that. He and I have had some very good conversations about these issues over the past two or three years, and even more of late. Recently he had told me that he had stopped buying into organized religion, and just tonight he told me that he has now stopped believing in some sort of “anthropomorphic” deity. He thinks he is somewhere between being a deist and a pantheist. I think he is well on his way to becoming an atheist, and is just taking his time embracing that idea. Regardless of where he ends up, it is refreshing to have someone who is sharing some of the experience with me.