T Nation

Questions for Atheist in America


There have been studies that have shown atheists are the least trusted group in America. For this reason I would like to ask: do you feel the need to hide the fact you are an atheist?

Is there a real possibility you could miss out on a promotion if people found out? Could it cause you to fall out favour with your boss and coworkers?

What if your neighbours found out? Would they avoid letting your children play with theirs?

What sort of reaction do people generally have when they hear about your godlessness?



Being an atheist is a bar to holding public office in many jurisdictions.




Are you referring solely to elected officials? Or does that include appointed positions as well?


Its not usually something I talk about with people outside of political forums but I do not hesitate to answer it or offer it if a religious matter is brought up. Last night, in fact, I was having a conversation with a young lady who happened to be Christian and made a joke to me about getting right with Jesus and I replied to her, "as an atheist I am probably closer to Christ than most Christians are." This offended her but after explaining myself she agreed that many Christians do not act Christlike at all.

I have nothing against the peaceful messages of any religion; especially the messages that offer good advice. I just don't believe in a divine authority called god.

I don't think people should judge me except by my actions. I thought it was a tenet of Christianity that only God can judge -- or not judge, as the case may be :slightly_smiling:


When the U.S. Constitution and its first ten Amendments were written, the authors included guarantees of religious freedom among the federal civil service and officeholders. Article 6 of the Constitution states:

"No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States."

Inclusion of this clause was probably partly motivated by the large number of non-Christians among the authors of the Constitution, including many Deists.

However, many state constitutions -- when originally written -- required officeholders to believe in a God (or Gods or a Goddess, or Goddesses, or a God and a Goddess, or Gods and Goddesses). Most Constitutions didn't specify the number or sex.

After the 14th Amendment to the Constitution was proclaimed on 1868-JUL-21, its Article 6 became binding on individual states. The religious requirement clauses in state constitutions became null and void. The 14th Amendment stated:

"No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States."

Still, the clauses remain on the books in a few states AR, MD, MA, NC, PA, SC, TN & TX), and are occasionally dusted off in the media when someone wants to bash Atheists, Agnostics, etc.


To more directly answer your question, I am an atheist and have felt like I needed to keep quiet about it often. Although I now feel much more comfortable telling others about how I feel, I still use discretion, primarily to avoid conflict (conflict avoidance is apparently a Libra thing). I follow a subreddit on reddit.com dedicated to the subject, and there is a ton of information there, anecdotal mostly, about how often atheists are discriminated against. On a related note, my experience is that lifters seem more likely to be believers than other groups I converse with. It may be they are just more likely to talk about God and faith than others, or it may be they are more religious. In any case, I feel like I have to be particularly careful about revealing my leanings in the gym because of this, though I have never been discriminated against in the gym by a believer.


Think it has more to do with where you are & who your dealing with. For instance I've seen the reverse as well, A friend of mine is branch manager overseeing hiring for several smaller branches. while interviewing prospects for superviser of one her branches, there was a clear standout, guy was qualified, they got along great even talked a bit about training & lifting. Then she did the old "anything else you want to tell me?" dude felt the need to say "well I'm a christian". He didn't get the job.


Same here pretty much. I don't really give a shit who knows I'm an atheist, and that includes my cousin the priest!


Most of the atheist I have meet at college whether students and a particular professor didn't seem to hide the fact that they were atheist, in fact they seem to make that fact quite apparent. Although I guess its probably different for some older atheist.


Not surprising. If he had decided to state he was an atheist, he wouldn't have got the job either. Personal religious beliefs (or lack of) remain at home, they are not for the workplace. If you feel the need to state it, it implies that you will not be able to leave it at home.

The employer made the right call.


Oh I completely agree, just saying. . . reactions & consequences vary depending on situation.


I would venture to say there are a lot of closet Atheists




I don't think I would have titled Harvey's clip as a "Hate" speech. He was far from hating.

But on another note, and from personal experience, I had two friends in high school who were self-admitted atheists. One was a real slime-ball who screwed people over for the sport of it. The other (his friend) was just a spineless, go-along and giggle wimpy kind of guy. I eventually stopped hanging out with them, and I'm happy I have better friends (mostly in the non-devout, lukewarm Christian and Jew category).

So, I'll admit my personal experience has flavored my opinion of atheists. I definitely don't 'hate' them. Most of us have probably had moments or phases of atheism in our lives as we work out our own paths. But if someone tells me they are an atheist, in the back of my mind I'm agreeing with Harvey, thinking that there is no moral barameter and to be 'on-guard', as they are liable to do just about anything. I know that's biased as hell, but I'm speaking from personal experience.

EDIT: Sorry, I know the original poster is looking for an atheists response - but I had to comment on Harvey's so-called 'hate' clip.



The guy came on to the show and called all atheists dumb for their beliefs. Replace atheists for a prominent religious group and suddenly you wouldn't disagree it's hate speech.

You don't consider it hate speech because you have a poor opinion of atheists and likely agree with his opinion.



I'm sure there are many who go along with prayer and go to Church regularly for the sake of community and to not be labelled as an outcast.

I'm sure a significant % of church goers are atheists.


Lots of stuff should 'remain at home'...


My girlfriend had a job interviewing for Aspect, a program for norwegian highschool students living with families in USA. Atheists are recommended to keep quiet about it. Partly because most of the families are christian, and a lot of the social activities are involving the church in some way.