Does well-educated mean less religious?

I have read that the more educated you are the less likely you are to be religious.

Do you think that’s true?

I don’t consider myself well-educated. I was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder as a young adult and dropped out of college four times. However, I really love school and I’m a very persistent (and sometimes stubborn) person, so I kept going back. Finally, in my thirties, I graduated from a local community college with an associate’s degree in commercial art. But I am itching to go back. I would love to get a four-year degree and maybe even go further. As I said, I really love school and there’s no doubt in my mind I could do it.

That went a little off-topic, but that’s my story. Am I the exception? I have been a pretty passionate atheist for most of my adult life.

I posted an article about this on Facebook a couple of years ago and it really pissed some people off. Apparently, there are some pretty well-educated religious people out there, too — even among my friends and family.

I think most people would agree that college is more than an education; it’s also a life experience. Being from a rural area, a lot of the diversity that surrounded me in college was new. Maybe it’s also that part that influences a student’s feelings about religion.

If you google this topic, a lot of articles and studies pop up supporting that the more educated you are, the less likely you are to be religious, but here’s an interesting article that states Christians maybe be the exception.

How do you guys feel? What do you think plays more into this — the college experience or the education?

 

Dark Clouds Over Toledo

Dark Clouds Over Toledo

The topic of conversation
Most days
The forecast throws us a lifeline
We feel the extremes
But still, make it through
Low rumbles in the distance
Soon leave us drenched and cold
Our wind-swept brains
Are exhausted
We retreat indoors
And wait for a peek of the sun

Phrases Derived From Religion

How do you guys feel about saying religious-based phrases in everyday conversation?

I say “oh my god” and “thank god” a lot. I still say “bless you” when someone sneezes. 

Saying these phrases are just an automatic reaction that I would usually not even think about. A couple of years ago I had a coworker and fellow atheist tell me that he avoids these phrases. If someone sneezes, he says nothing. I can really see his point. Even though these phrases are so ingrained in me, I am now more aware when I use them. They’re still coming out of my mouth though, and now I feel a little awkward about using them.

Do you guys use these phrases? Do you avoid them?

Unfortunately, my 40th post is about COVID-19

How are you all doing? This has all been a little rough, to say the least.

I am staying home from work and my daughter from daycare. Tomorrow a stay-at-home order goes into effect in Ohio.

My husband is a fire and rescue dispatcher for the city of Toledo so he will be going to work no matter what.

We’ve gone grocery shopping a few times and we get what we can. The shelves are pretty bare. Stores now have limited hours and people are outside their doors early in the morning waiting for them to open. Tonight we’re getting delivery for supper. Thankfully that’s still a thing.

Shit got real this morning when I learned that a couple of people I know personally are now sick. It’s no longer just a story on the news. Needless to say, my husband and I are now taking this quarantine thing a little more seriously. 

This may suck but I still feel grateful in our current situation. We are safe, we are healthy, and we haven’t killed each other yet.

How are you guys holding up?

Sharpies Mend My Brain (And I’m Not Alone)

I work as an artist and mental health advocate and my work is very important to me. I am staying home right now due to the COVID-19 outbreak and I am really missing my job. I want to share with you a little article I wrote about my work.

 

Mental Illness and the arts seem to go hand-in-hand. Makes sense. Deep emotions. Losing touch with reality. It seems like all the greats were afflicted. However, this article is not about the greats; it focuses on the everyday life of everyday people struggling with mental health issues.

I always carry big purses so I can take Sharpies and paper everywhere. Waiting at a doctor’s office? Draw with Sharpies. Slow day at work? Sharpies. Sneaking away for a quiet moment alone at a family get-together? Definitely Sharpies.

It wasn’t that long ago that Sharpies were my lifeline. I was isolated — stuck in a different world — when I was experiencing auditory and visual hallucinations. I discovered art was a way I could communicate what I was experiencing. Everyone else got to see the world I was stuck in. Over time, I didn’t feel so isolated anymore.

A couple of drawings turned into dozens of drawings. I really loved creating them but I also needed something to do with them. Maybe this was my passion so I took it up a notch and started entering exhibitions. I let everyone into my world of living with schizoaffective disorder.

Art gives me purpose. It calms me and boosts my confidence. It’s part of my identity now. What started as a tool to cope with mental health symptoms has now become a way of life. So why not make a career out of it?

I love participating in exhibitions, but I feel the experiences that influence the artwork are just as important as the piece itself. My art is a part of my story and vice versa. I’ve learned that I can use my story to help others and I was searching for an opportunity to make that happen.

And I found it right here in my own community.

I now run a small arts center that is part of a local nonprofit helping the homeless. The participants at the center are all struggling with mental health and addiction issues. I facilitate art groups for the participants and our time together feels magical. The atmosphere is supportive and we bond. Our artwork is everything from a distraction from life to a way to express our symptoms. Whatever role artwork plays for the participants, it is an obvious driving force in their recovery. 

The participants come from all walks of life. It is very clear that mental illness and addiction do not discriminate. We find common ground in our daily battles. Then we make those battles beautiful, thought-provoking works of art.

We hold our art groups in a small space near downtown. It’s bright and welcoming with tall windows allowing lots of natural light to flood the room. Canvases line the window sills because there’s just not enough space on the wall. There are colors and emotions everywhere you look. It’s a new location for us but it already feels like home.

Sharpies still hold a special place in my heart and I make sure there’s plenty of them at the center. Sharpies are unforgiving and require very deliberate lines. However, their colors are bold, stark against the paper, and beautiful. I see my recovery (and the participants’) in every stroke. 

 

I hope you are all well during this crisis.

Ask the Questions (with an Added Jab at the US Government)

Just because something is unexplained, doesn’t mean it must be god’s work. Everything has an earthly explanation — even if we haven’t figured it out yet. Nothing just happens — there’s always a cause or reason.

New discoveries are being made every day and it’s not a miracle. Let’s give the doctors and scientists credit and support their work. They — not god — are making our lives better.

The most admirable trait of good scientists, doctors, scholars, and others making a difference is that they’re not afraid to ask the questions. “God’s work” is not an answer anyone should settle for. Curiosity should be embraced, not squashed with a blanket response from religion. They keep it vague to cover all bases.

Religion has always been about giving power to a corrupt few to control the masses. They were never in the business of explaining the world or answering big questions. They were never there to help. 

Funny. I feel the same about the current system of government in the US. You got to admit, there are a lot of parallels.

Babies aren’t “blessings” or “miracles”.

When you get pregnant, people tend to throw around words like “blessing”, “gift”, and “miracle”. It was annoying and even offensive sometimes, but I didn’t let that ruin the awe I was feeling when I was expecting my daughter. 

I was in awe of my body and nature. It’s just amazing to feel a tiny person form inside you. Our bodies are capable of some incredible things.

I was in awe of modern medicine. There were some complicated things to consider when we conceived, and although the pregnancy was high risk, everything went smoothly. Everyone was and is healthy. The tests and procedures I went through while pregnant were absolutely fascinating and they kept my baby and myself safe.

I know pregnancy isn’t the right choice for everyone, but I feel really grateful I got to experience it. It has actually made me feel more comfortable in my own skin. My stretch marks are like battle scars — I can wear them with pride because they were a part of my daughter growing in my belly. 

Becoming a mother also felt like joining the biggest support group ever. I now have a special connection to all the other moms in my life. Good or bad, we can all relate.

My pregnancy was never a “blessing” or “miracle” and my daughter isn’t a “gift”. Having a baby was an amazing, natural event and I now feel joy watching my daughter grow, learn, and explore. 

Let me also take this opportunity to thank my amazing doctors who brought my healthy baby girl into this world. They were knowledgeable and professional. They get the credit — not god. 

Has anyone else experienced this? Was your pregnancy a “blessing”?

Rambling About My Place in the Universe

In the grand scale of the universe, we are insignificant. We play our part and then we die. Religion makes humans feel special but I feel in many ways it disrespects the rest of the living world. We are not above anything else. We need our planet, but it doesn’t need us. 

Nature and science are amazing, so let’s give them the credit and respect they deserve.

I’m not trying to be negative or downplay the human experience, but you don’t need a higher power to feel special or significant. We are a part of the universe, not above it. 

Confidence comes from within — not above — and it is up to you to set your place at the table. Freedom and individuality are important to me, and I define myself by my ambition. I say what makes me special, not god. 

Respect yourself. Respect other living things. It really is just that simple. I don’t need instructions from a holy book to tell me what’s right or where I stand.

I’m going to enjoy my tiny moment of time in the universe. I’m not going to waste my time betting on god to provide humans with an afterlife. I will play my part, then die.

What would I do if my daughter became religious?

What would I do if my daughter became religious? This is such a tough question. 

We all know that when you are growing up, your friends are a huge influence. I may not be pushing religion at home, but my daughter is going to see it everywhere else. However, I don’t want to shelter her. She needs to know about the world and make her own informed decisions. Keyword there is “own”. I’d like to think my husband and I will have instilled a healthy amount of curiosity and skepticism in our daughter so she won’t fall for any sort of fantasy or makeshift explanations for the universe, but that is still up to her.

If my daughter does develop some sort of religious belief, I don’t want to be an asshole. It would be incredibly upsetting for me, but I can’t judge her or shut her out. She’s my daughter and that wouldn’t be fair.

I know I’m totally jumping the gun here — my daughter turns four next month — but it’s still a thought that leaves me feeling uneasy. It’s mostly exciting to think about what my daughter’s future might look like but sometimes the amount of unknowns is also scary.

Have any other parents experienced this? Any advice or insight? Even worse — has anyone actually asked you this question? I don’t think I would even consider it if someone hadn’t asked me before.

My anxiety has always gotten the best of me and that was amplified when I became a mom. I worry about things like this.

Skepticism for the win!

My atheism sometimes acts as a guiding light keeping me level-headed when life feels questionable. I don’t need to find comfort in faith, I feel relief in common sense. I know you have to be willing to ask questions to get answers. Putting your hands together in prayer just doesn’t cut it. Everything has an earthly explanation — even if we haven’t figured it out yet. Bring it on — I got this.

Atheist mom: 1
Fantasy fairytales: 0