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Nov 14 2011

Atheists of [your area here], unite!

Lynnea and I had a wonderful time in Orlando, doing all the stupid tourist things we could pack into five days.  If you want to see what we were up to, add me on Facebook for the photo albums, but first a word to the wise: Message me when you do it.  Just say something as short as “I want to see the vacation photos.”  Otherwise, you’ll be stuck in friend request limbo for a while.

Anyway, tourist traps aside, I think the best time we had was going to the Oasis Tiki Bar to meet fellow atheists.  I think about twenty people showed up.  We met students, bartenders, bus drivers, and lawyers.  And you know, even though a couple of them said goofy things like “You’re like a movie star to me!” it seems like what everybody really desperately wanted was to talk to… each other.  I even saw a couple of people get together and form a carpool to the upcoming rally in Washington, D.C.

I love talking to fellow atheists, especially those who don’t already have a community.  Living as an atheist without support can be a difficult experience, because so many people openly think that your beliefs are wrong, it is very hard to continue to believe that you are not just correct, but actually sane.  It always seems to come as such a shock to loner atheists that there are so many other people right in their backyards who feel the same way, but also can’t come out and say it for fear of being attacked.

It’s often said that organizing atheists can be like herding cats, but whether they’re organized or not, my general experience is that atheists love talking to each other and often don’t get the opportunity.  In fact, one of the reasons I love doing the TV show is that it’s an excuse to get a whole bunch of people together afterwards who just want to eat, drink, talk, and enjoy themselves.

So this is my message to all you people who aren’t fortunate enough to have a local TV show as an excuse to hang out with other atheists on a regular basis: make your own excuse!  Start your own group.  Start a game night.  Advertise in the papers.  Take advantage of meetup.com.  Go out on a limb and cautiously identify as atheist, or at least skeptical, to some friends who you think might be sympathetic.  Network.  You’ll be glad you did.

7 comments

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  1. 1
    reeddlh

    Sent you a friend request from FB, as Diana Hickman.

  2. 2
    davidb

    Another way for atheists to enjoy support from, and conversations with, other atheists is online.

    Perhaps by becoming regular commenters on blogs like Pharyngula and The Freethinker, or, indeed, this one; perhaps by becomong part of a discussion board community, of which there are many.

    I have a preference for Secular Cafe, of which I was a co-founder, but some might like boards with less, or more, restrictive moderation standards. Some may like large, fast moving, but rather anonymous boards, others might prefer the more intimate interactions of a smaller board, where everyone can know everyone. Some may like to spend some time at more than one sort of board.

    Whatever – real life interactions are good, but for people who feel isolated by knowing few atheists, particularly outspoken ones, or people from small towns who enjoy discussing politics, science, arts, hobbies, all sorts of things with their peers, then people with similar interests can be more easily found on-line.

    Meeting people with similar interest in real life is good, but then again, so is meeting people with similar interests online.

    So a word in praise of on-line secular communities in general, not just mine.

    I sign with my usual internet handle

    David B

  3. 3
    Chris

    Hey, I live in Orlando! What is this Atheist group meet up you speak of?

    1. 3.1
      Russell Glasser

      Sorry Chris — we announced as much as we could before we took our trip that we’d be meeting with show fans last Wednesday.

  4. 4
    DobermanGuy

    I cant agree more. I find it difficult to express myself as an atheist and on top have very few people in my area to discuss the topic and skepticism in general. These few blogs and reading material online is about 95% of my “atheist content”.

  5. 5
    Gabo

    I’m from a really Catholic country (Peru), where there is supposed to be a separation of Church and State, but honestly, how big a separation can there be if the vast majority of politicians are Catholic and put their faith before their jobs, (i.e. let their religious “morals” dictate what policies to put forward)? In the end, this usually leads to a stagnated lower class, public health issues, etc.
    I don’t have a single atheist friend (except my wife), just a lot of those that tick the Catholic box in official forms and call themselves catholic cause it “gives them hope” or “they’ve never heard of another explanation (but won’t listen to mine)”. It’s impossible to have an intelligent conversation with them about atheism or even religion, since they don’t know much about either and aren’t willing to engage in one.
    I was reading The God Delusion by Dr. Dawkins when one of my friends told me that it was a waste of time, it would be easier for me if I was just a Catholic. Sad.

  6. 6
    Brianna Nielsen

    IAs an atheist I do find it hard to connect with people and to talk about what we go through. Since we do not have a religion or something (i.e god) to lean on, what do you guys look towards or how do you view the meaning of life? Right now I’m having an exististial crisis with my meaning of life and living in a repressive community does not help. Any of your comments and views on this issue would be very much apprecitated.

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