Sunday, April 8, 2007

Accepting Atheist Identity and Gaining Strength

The NYTimes website recently ran an inspiring article called Accepting Gay Identity, and Gaining Strength. In it, I found many parallels to the tribulations of being an atheist in the American "Christian Nation." I am certainly not the first to see this connection. Atheism is sometimes described as the other closet. The Brights is a movement whose purpose is to adopt the strategy of the homosexual community to gain a positive presence by appropriation of the word "gay" as a label with positive connotations.

Both groups have readily identifiable issues that, from a legal standpoint alone, has cast these two groups as being "controversial." The primary issues the public has connected to atheists are a collection of first-amendment and church/state separation issues such as prayer in public schools, and removing "in God we trust" on our currency and "under God" in the pledge. The homosexual issues revolve around family, such as gay marriage and adoption and their corresponding rights.

Despite having issues of greater personal severity, the gay community has gained some social acceptance in the last 30 years (although not much legally). In the 1978-2007 period, a series of Gallup polls showed that the percentage of Americans who would vote for a homosexual president rose from 26% to 55%. Atheist statistics remained fairly stagnant over the same period, growing from 40% to only 45%.

The atheist community should take note. We can learn from the gay rights movement -- as Paul Geisert and Mynga Futrell realized when they started the brights movement. We can not only learn what to do as a community, but we can learn what the sense of community can mean to the individuals within it, and how it can help them. Atheists that are wanting to come out have a wealth of gay anecdotes that can tell them exactly what to expect. This is where the NYTimes article's parallels are most useful.

The article begins by introducing a younger Zach O'Connor, before he came out. Zach was afraid of discovery. He was in denial. He even asked girls on dates in order to convince others -- and himself -- that he was straight. Sound familiar? Many atheists feel the same way, before coming out. We are afraid of negative reactions from our family and friends. We might have trouble admitting atheism to ourselves long after we stop believing in God/Allah/etc. Some of us even still attend church in order to fit in and appear as theistic as most of our peers. Many of us shy away from the term 'atheist' despite being non-religious. For both groups, these feelings and questions create negative pressures on life. Zach began doing poorly in school, and was quick to lose his temper. He didn't have many friends.

What I found so inspiring about the article was the story of acceptance that followed. Zach finally admitted his homosexuality to himself, and told his parents. The fireworks he expected to follow were non-existent. Nobody else in his family was gay, but they still completely accepted Zach.
"With all our faults," Mr. O'Connor says, "we're in this together."
Zach began meeting with a gay youth group. He was teased and mocked by some school bullies at first, but quickly gained ground socially. His grades improved and he made more friends -- even male friends. One classmate even used Zach as the subject of a class essay on heroes.

Atheists see many of the same social stigmas as homosexuals. The same school bullies that teased and mocked Zach would probably tease and mock an atheist. But Zach's classmate should not be the only one to view Zach as a hero. Atheists should feel the same way. Are you still in the closet, maybe even in denial to yourself? Are you afraid of what might happen if you came out? Zach's story is an inspiration to anybody that is afraid of discrimination.

17 comments:

Nacho said...

Thanks for the blog post and the site. Glad to have found it!

I wonder if perhaps you could share with me the code you used to display the drop down menu for the Atheist Blogroll? I'd like to add it to my Typepad site, but the OPML feed is just not cutting it.

Thanks,

N
http://www.woodmoorvillage.org/

David W. said...

no problem -- just email me at atheistself [[AT]] gmail [[DOT]] com and I'd be happy to send the code.

anti-nonsense said...

Very good! You have some good thoughts.

Mel Steffir said...

"God is an Atheist, He can't believe how some people are so full of it".
If you believe:
1. Making a mental note that Jesus does exit, gets you into Heaven.
2. Atheists go to Hell.
3. Christains go to Heaven.
4. Jesus Acended into Heaven.
5. Jesus walked on water, healed the sick, and raised the Dead.
6. Your old body comes to life again after 3 days.
7. Virgins give birth.
8. Asking God to forgive you on your death bed grants you forgiveness.
9. Mary is a Goddess.
10. The Bible is the word of God and man did not tamper with it.
11. Jesus died for you.
12. God can hurl lightning bolts.

You could be full of it.
God said Man put his own hand in the bible. It is not the true word of God. Take heed,
"God has returned.",

Mel Steffir said...

In the Spring of 2006 God sent a message. The message is about the meaning of First is Last and Last is First. The message is this:

In the morning I go to Heaven. In the afternoon I live my life. In the evening I die, death.

What does this mean? It means that Birth is Last and Last is Birth. God also gives an example so that you can understand this better. Example: Mike Douglas died on his birthday. (Note: Mike
Douglas and Michael Douglas are two different people.)

Mel Steffir said...

In 2007 God had this to say:

We each die in succession, then we are born on the sameday.

Mel Steffir said...

God sees everything, doesn’t he?

This is one small piece of proof that God talked to me:

Like I said earlier, the Holy Spirit talked to me, besides his message about First is Last and Last is First, he had something to say about “Who Killed JFK”. Christ tells me that the man who shot JFK is a policeman. He also tells me the name of the shooter, but it is in a jumbled word. The word is “Fritters”. I see the name F. Ritter right off so I think that is the name of the killer. Now God has lots of other messages for me to figure out, so I put “who Killed JFK” on the back burner for over a year. A year or more later , just recently, I have more time to look for F. Ritter. I can’t find a policeman with that name who lived in Dallas, Texas in 1963. So I am searching for information about who killed JFK and there is a picture of a policeman by the name of J D Tippit. Now Tippit kind of looks like Ritter. Now I unjumble the letters of Ritter to get TIRRET. Now TIRRET looks more like TIPPIT. Now I make the R’s stand at attention, I get TIPPET. One problem is that the I and the E are not the same. So I do some research on the family name TIPPIT. Turns out that in the late 1800’s JD Tippit’s grandfather changed their name from Tippett to Tippit. So the next step I change the E to I. So Tippet is now Tippit.
Now I have FS Tippit and JD Tippit. The first two initials are not the same. Next I go to Wikipedia, there I find; “Some thought that J D stood for “Jefferson Davis” however JD does not stand for anything”. That means his name is just J D. So the initials F S , do not stand for anything. I just have two initials that do not stand for anything. Are you following me?

Next what does “FRITTERS” mean. If your following my thinking here, God is going to tell you what happened to JD Tippit after he was shot. Fritters is a dough that is deep fried. Bread also means body, like in the last super Christ takes the bread and says this is my body. Look in the dictionary, PIT means HELL. TIP means money paid, gratuity. There are other meanings to. These meanings tell a story.

JD Tippits body (dough) is placed in the deep fryer (lake of fire). Now I think this clue (Fritters) was ingenius. After all God came up with it. I think he does have a sense of humor too. Kids now have a new game to play. They can play God. Pilsbury dough boy fry’s in the lake of fire. You get HELL! fry baby fry!

If you think this is just crazy. Remember I am just the messenger. Jesus is the one that had to talk about JFK. So he had a reason for doing that. Only God knows who the killer is. This is proof that Christ talked to me and that is the reason he told me “Who killed JFK”. It is proof. I had forgotten about the case years ago. This is a cold case now, it been 45 years since the shooting.

I also read the part about giving false prophesy. God says false prophets go to Hell or something like that. I only repeat what God told me. Now what I wrote above is from God. He told me who killed JFK in 2006. The above is not a lie or a joke and I am going to HEAVEN without fear.

Before I forget. Gods messages usually have more than one meaning. F S could also stand for “Fence Shooter”.

Who are the co-conspirators? Turns out that there are two policemen named Tippit, and one Tippett working in the Dallas police Department that same year(1963). Back to the clue word Fritters. That is plural, you know about plural. We have two fritters or two donuts. The co-conspirators name is Gayle M. Tippit.

Now the Dallas Police Department obviously covered up and framed Oswald. He was the Patsy. They did it cause it is very possible that one of the other police officers rushing to the scene saw Tippet fleeing the scene carrying a rifle. They covered it up because of the embarrassment of one of their own was the man that killed JFK? And the Warren commission must have also figured that out so they stuck with the Dallas Dept. story saying that it was Oswald. It could have been a National embarrassment. Now if you look at the evidence like I did. It is easy to see that the DAllas Police Dept tampered with the evidence over and over again. And they did a very bad job of it too.

Now this is my opinion, not Gods. I think God is behind the creation of the Internet. I could never have been able to figure out a lot of his messages without the use of the Internet. People on the Net have been a big help to me. God talks to other people too, they just don’t know it. God let me know it was him.

Now I just made solving the case of “Who shot JFK?”, look easy. I also gave you proof here. Did you see it? You ask where’s the proof. The proof is that it is impossible for anyone to repeat what I just did above. I mean try it. And I do that over and over again in all of God’s messages.
See if you can make up a word that is a fried food (like fritters). Unjumble the letters to reveal the name of the killer (Tippit). Then divide the word Tippit into words that describe what happened. Tip- means that JD Tippit was paid for the job and the presidency was over turned. Pit - means that he went to Hell for what he did. Pit means the worst Hell.

See if you can prove me wrong. Show me how easy it is to make up a name like “Fritters” that solves the crime. This clue is ingenious. God came up with the name “FRITTERS”. God is a genius, not me. I am only the messenger.

Then the two remaining letters F. S. stands for Fence Shooter. It’s INGENIUS!

Then on top of that it just so happens that there are two Tippit’s working in the Dallas Police Department in 1963. Fritters (plural) means we have more than one Fritter going in the deep fryer . The other shooter is Gayle M. Tippit. He goes to Hell too. Now I did some research on Gayle M Tippit. There is very little information on him unlike JD Tippit. In my search I found two Gayle Tippit’s still in Dallas. One died in 1967 and the other is married and still lives in Texas. So the other conspirator could still be alive and has managed to avoid detection.

This is where it gets intesting. Does Gayle M. Tippit come forward and ask God to forgive him? I think he also has to ask the American people to forgive him for his part in the murder of the president or he gets the worst Hell just like JD did. God told me that waiting until the 11th hour is too late. God is forgiving, but you can’t wait until your on your death bed to ask to be forgiven.

Now if Gayle M. Tippit wants to save himself from the deep fryer. (This could be a long fry, not a quick dip.) He has to come forward and ask to be forgiven. He still gets death or Hell but it won’t be the worst Hell. Just like the worst death is being crucified. The Dallas Police Department also has to answer to God for their part in the cover-up and the arrest of an innocent man.

God's Messenger, Mel

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