Small Town Leper Reports on The Pew Forum Survey on Religion and My Favorite God Quote EVER!

September 29th, 2010

I am sure by now that most internet junkies have heard about the recent Pew Forum Religious Knowledge Survey.  Last night I was trying to access the site and it was down for hours.  When I googled it I noticed that it was #78 on world wide searches at the time.  That made me wonder what #1 was and then I realized that it was probably ‘Pioneer Woman Flowy Top’.  In short, the survey came back with the startling results that atheists and agnostics are the most knowledgeable about religious matters.

Since I couldn’t get on the Pew Forum site to read the results first hand, I spent a bit of time reading other people’s commentary about the survey.  I found a few interesting opinions.  Conservative columnist Cal Thomas had this to say about the ignorance of American Christians regarding their own faith…

Forgetting God produces not only eternal consequences, but earthly ones as well. Moses warned about forgetting God and when ancient Israel did, she was conquered by her enemies. New Testament writers penned similar warnings. Alexandr Solzhenitsyn concluded the major reason Russia suffered under Communism for six decades is that his people had forgotten God. Abraham Lincoln blamed the Civil War on a nation that had forgotten God “and the hand that graciously preserved us.”

Talk about propogating paranoia!  According to Cal, we are not only going to hell for our lack of religious zeal,but it is also going to destroy our country!  Oh I beg to differ Mr. Thomas.  It’s religion that destroys and logic and science that rebuilds the resulting catastrophe.

This much more meaningful response came from Clarence Page a columnist for the Chicago Tribune regarding what he felt were problems with the content of the survey…

But what really dropped my jaw with surprise were the two lowest-performing groups: Black Protestants (13.4 percent) and Hispanic Catholic (11.6 percent).

What? Having grown up in the black church since before I could walk, I think maybe the pollsters were asking the wrong questions.

I would not be surprised, for example, if quite a few black folks thought “Martin Luther” was a reference to a great American civil rights leader, not the German priest and professor who initiated the Protestant Reformation.

And I didn’t learn until I went to college that the Dalai Lama is Buddhist, that Jonathan Edwards participated in the Great Awakening, that Maimonides was a great Jewish leader. Fewer than a third of the people polled by Pew got those last two right.

Maybe black church products like me would have scored better with questions like this:

1. How is Thomas A. Dorsey most often remembered by cultural historians?

2. What do the initials in the A.M.E. Church stand for?

3. What is America’s largest black religious denomination?

4. What do these “Negro spirituals” have in common: “Steal Away,” “Wade in the Water” and “Follow the Drinking Gourd.”

Page raises some valid points in his protest of the survey.  Every religion has it’s own cache of pertinent factoids.  I am sure that there are cultural figures in the Hispanic Catholic church of whom I have never heard, so why should a Hispanic Catholic be able to identify John Wesley?  And like Page stated, I have no idea who Thomas A. Dorsey is, but I sure could give you a synopsis on the life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer.  I wonder if the Pew Survey was broad enough to truly include the specialized knowledge that each religious group has.

When I finally did manage to access the Pew Forum Religious Survey site, I took this test which is a short version of the larger survey that was given to a random sampling of Americans this summer.  As mentioned previously (but let me just grind it in a bit) the results clearly depict atheists and agnositcs as having the most religious knowledge in the general population.  Jews come in second, Mormons third and white evangelical protestants totally drop the ball at a distant number four.  You can see all the results here.

The funny quote that I keep reading as a result of this survey is…

If you want to know about God – ask an atheist.

Ha har ha hee ho hee ho har har hee hee har har HO!

Of course there are all sorts of reasons why Atheists might do better in a survey like this.

.

One – to get the answers right you need a broad knowledge of religion and not be a specialist in the minutia of the book of Second Peter.

Two – People with more education tend to have less religion and more education means better Trivial Pursuit skills.

Three – Atheists are frequently people who left religion because they understood it very well.

In all my recent reading on atheism and the problems with Christianity, one of my very favorite quotes comes from one of Richard Dawkins’ books where he recounts the story of Evelyn Waugh bribing Winston Churchill’s son to read the bible with unexpected results…

In the late stages of the Second World War, Evelyn Waugh was trapped in Europe in the company of Randolph Churchill, the boorish son of the wartime prime minister. “In the hope of keeping him quiet,” he wrote to Nancy Mitford, “Freddie and I bet him £20 that he cannot read the whole Bible in a fortnight. Unhappily it has not had the result we hoped. He has never read any of it before and is hideously excited; keeps reading quotations aloud… or merely slapping his side & chortling ‘God, isn’t God a shit!’.”

I just love that response.

God!  Isn’t God a shit!

It really is the only way to properly respond to the bible.  I wonder if we will ever, as a race be able to view it as the hideous relic that it truly is.

In other news…

Someone sent me a link to this spectacular post which has gone viral in the past few days with over 1,000 comments.  And he didn’t even have to give away a mixer!  The post discusses our ridiculous pursuit of perfection and the damage that results.  I especially see the results of the ‘perfection disease’ in the world of mommy blogging.  Seems like everyone wants their lives to look like the cover of a Martha Stewart magazine.  I struggle with this every single time I sit down and try to write.  How much truth do I really tell?  Where do I draw the line?  What is the balance between writing for an audience, keeping an audience’s attention, entertaining an audience and delivering an authentic version of your life.

On the other hand – sometimes I think that if everyone told the truth about their lives, my favorite writers would be out of business.  I love David Sedaris because he is so honest and frequently shocking with the confessions he is willing to make in his books.  Tim Gunn, Ayelet Waldman and Julia Child are three authors I have read recently who struck me as very truthful for their willingness to reveal painful things about themselves.  But how much of that revealing is calculated?  How much of it is tested in the market prior to being released in book form? Has it all been engineered to perfect palatability prior to reaching the general public? Dooce knows she has to drop the F bomb in every third post to keep the kiddos reading.  PW knows that her audience drools over big heads with fuzzy backgrounds.  Have Sedaris’s people figured out exactly how shocking he can be and still be salable?  Did Ayelet Waldman’s publisher understand that her willingness to confess to aborting a child with genetic defects was the most marketable statement she could possibly make?  Or are they all still scarily risking something for the sake of telling the truth?

Do I go on?

Do I tell you about how much confessing to be an atheist has cost me personally?

Do I tell you about the friends I have lost, the family members who won’t speak to me, the alienation I feel whenever I see a member of my former church?  A few months ago I attempted to ‘friend’ someone from my former church on facebook.  Someone who I thought would surely still want to have a relationship with me in spite of our philosophical differences.  Someone who I truly loved when I was a part of the church and still love today.  My ‘friending’ was ignored.  I feel like the town leper.

‘Tis okay.

I still have a good life.

I have friends (though far fewer these days).  I have my own little family.  But there is a cost folks.  A real cost.  A real, painful, pound of flesh cost to renouncing your faith in a public way in a religious family and small town middle America.

A few months ago a man wrote to me seeking advice on how to tell his devout Christian wife that he no longer believed in God.  I told him that unless he was willing to pay heavily or his wife was an extraordinarily accepting human being – to skip it.  I could never counsel someone to reveal their atheism at this point in my life.  I know far too well what you can lose.  Tis better to spend the rest of your days pretending to believe like Mother Theresa did or maybe edge away from religion slowly and stealthily and never tell anyone why.

It turns out that the deep deep love of Jesus that all those Christians sing about???

It’s just a chorus in a song.

Comments

  • michelle:

    You know they were never friends in the first place it doesnt matter what someone believes in that is not a basis for a frienship you are better off without them and am glad you are back to blogging regularly!!! Unfortunately there are too many people who are narrow minded you dont need those in your life take care

  • Jennine:

    Well, Rechelle… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H9nPf7w7pDI
    You’ve made me THINK outside my Christian box and for that I am forever grateful. Well, by forever I mean until I die and turn to dust, but you know what I mean.

  • Carol:

    Your complete honesty has been refreshing. I am putting off my complete honesty until my mom dies. She’s 90, so I figure I have at least a decade changing the subject, listening politely, and only objecting to the most egregious statements while ignoring the rest. It helps that I live ALLLL the way across the country. However, merely dropping out of church has been enough to put most of my old friends on alert (that and calling myself “unaffiliated” on FB under religion). Thankfully, my husband and I are pretty much on the same page, and we have quite a few friends who aren’t believers, so that helps. That, and raising our kids to question and seek truth wherever it leads them.
    I know the cost of your honesty, and that’s why I’m putting it off. I figure my mom (and my mother in law, for that matter) will be more worried and relations will be more strained than they already are and at this stage in their lives, our revelation will be more painful to them than it would be helpful for us. I applaud you for your courage, and dang, we should all meet up in Vegas for a weekend to get to know each other and form our own ersatz home away from home or something. : )

  • I got 14 out of 15 right — always forget that the Sabbath starts on Friday night — and I’m a card carrying atheist. Or, I would be if I didn’t think having such a card would leave me open to being bludgeoned to death with rocks and sticks.

    I always try not to laugh when people (Christians) tell me about how God will smite me, I’m going to burn in hell, everlasting damnation, blah blah blah. I don’t believe in God or hell, so why would this be a cause for concern? It’s like someone always worrying about how shoving hot pokers up your nose will cause pain and death. If you won’t be doing any hot poker shoving, why waste your time worrying about the consequences?

    (Maybe that’s a bad analogy, but who doesn’t love a good hot poker up the nose scenario?)

  • Kay in KCMO:

    I took the abbreviated quiz yesterday at the Pew site (slow as hell, btw) and this atheist got a perfect score. Woo hoo, i guess.

    I have not completely come out as atheist. My parents – who are in their 80s – would be devastated, devout United Methodists that they are. And the potential implications are not something I’m prepared to deal with. If someone asks me about religion I don’t lie, but I rarely bring it up. Mr. Kay in KCMO is also atheist, which makes life easier. If he was a believer I hate to think what my life might be like. One of my siblings knows as does a good friend in Minnesota (waves to Jill who lurks here). Other than those people I’ve generally kept it under wraps.

    Rechelle, living in a tiny town as you, I can’t imagine what you go through day to day just living your life. You had the courage to be openly honest and that takes guts. The people you thought were truly accepting of you obviously weren’t and that says more about them than you, but you know that. So, if I haven’t said it before, I’ll say it now: Thanks for your courage.

  • I just found your blog, and I want to give you a giant hug. I laughed out loud at some of this post (my husband and I were both enjoying the results of that survey this morning), and I am so excited that you have been willing to stand up for what you (don’t) believe in. I can imagine that some of the lost relationships have been extremely difficult, but I think there are a lot more of us out there that are just too afraid to come out of the closet because of those consequences. Maybe someday in the future we’ll see more people embracing their atheism and becoming more acceptable in the mainstream. Until then, I’m so glad I found you – cheers!

  • DirtyKSmama - Nikki:

    Wow, your post has perfect timing for me today! Thank You, I needed it.

    After a neighborhood SAHM brunch at Christmastime, where it was obvious the other 7 rural moms were devout Protestant Christians, I didn’t make a big effort to socialize with any of them. Just chit-chat at school functions.

    But now they have a weekly brunch and chick flick, and I thought maybe I should back off the Internet relationships and get to know my “neighbors” (nearby town is pop. 850, but our farms are all 1-4 miles apart.) After all, we’re all around 40 and our kids go to school together.

    So I went to their brunch this morning, and WOW, if it wasn’t a picture of rural Kansas stereotypes. I don’t care what the subject was – employment, cat missing for a few days, whatever – God will provide, God has an answer, it’s God’s way, tell your children that EVERY pet they’ve ever had in their life will hang out with them in Heaven, etc. Wow!

    Now, if I had to label, I’d probably call myself agnostic – haven’t researched all the rules for that label, because I think what I think – don’t care what you call it. My husband believes in God but listens to my thoughts, and my best friend, unfortunately out of state, is a “Bad Jew” who loves a good mix of dairy and pork. I’m a good listener and pick my battles. But WOW, the God-talk was smothering this morning! So I listened, and politely offered to hold a future breakfast at my house to reciprocate and keep things cordial. But I don’t think I’m going to feel any more guilt by liking Internet people most, rather than having the support of a non-family, in-person, local BFF again like I did before we moved here from the much-more-liberal Pacific Northwest.

    So again, Thank you. You’re probably my favorite “Internet friend,” who has the ability to make my day when I need it.

    • Rechelle:

      Sorry about the get-together Nikki. What could we do to lure some liberal Jews to Kansas? Dang do we ever need a bit more diversity around these parts.

    • LucyJoy:

      Man, I’m with ya there Nikki! If God existed, why would the cat get lost, or so-and-so loose their job, etc. in the first place? I hate the answer, “We just don’t know His reason yet.” BS.

    • Spinny:

      I know exactly how you feel. I play Bunco with the neighborhood women and just keep my mouth shut most of the time and inwardly roll my eyes (a LOT) at the things they say.

      I enjoy the adult female conversation, but after a while, the church-y talk makes me cringe.

    • I too know what you feel like. I feel like this every time I talk to one of my family members. God this and God that. I agree with the quote above. God! Isn’t God a shit! I too live in small town, bible belt America it’s so draining sometimes to hear God be given the credit for absolutely every single thing. My facebook page is over whelmed at times by giving credit to God for such mundane things. I’m beginning to develop some internet friends too and I like them so much better than some of the real life people I met. Some of my family included!

  • Nancy:

    Well I, for one, have wondered what it’s been like for you–perhaps selfishly because I’m attempting to settle into a small town not too far from you where, for most of the summer, every third house had a sign on the lawn advertising a weeklong “crusade” and several of my new neighbors have very kindly (and repeatedly) invited us to their church, my daughter to VBS, etc. etc. I don’t want to offend anyone, but I’m also not prepared to compromise my (agnostic) beliefs to placate anyone (I’ve had to do enough of that with my mother) although I don’t relish the idea of becoming known as the neighborhood heathen. Luckily we’ve found a few other heathen families nearby to bond with; none of them live in our town, but I’m still holding out hope that we can’t be the only ones among the entire elementary-school population….I for one would definitely be up for a regional unbelievers’ meet-up!

  • LucyJoy:

    The test was fun! Had I not questioned whether Mother Theresa was a Catholic or not, I would have had a perfect score.

    Boy, can I relate, Rechelle. I am a pariah according to my husbands family. I have been “un-friended” by two of his relatives and blocked by many others because of my criticism of Christianity. It’s sad really, I figure it’s they’re loss if their world doesn’t exist beyond the end of their noses. They’re missing a lot. I don’t tell too many people what my beliefs are unless they ask…

    I also find it interesting, before elections, the amount of backstabbing & name calling that comes from candidates that profess to be Christian…Someone who’s willing to name call, etc. doesn’t seem to be a very good Christian in my book! Yech!

    I thank the Universe for internet friends such as yourself. It’d be fun to have a Rechelle Unplugged week-end sometime so we could all get to meet!

    Hugs & Smooches!

  • It still amazes me that people reject you for what you believe or don’t believe. Maybe because I was brought up in NYC where there are so many religions and people don’t make that the main focus of their lives, it’s different here. I have friends who are deeply religious whether it be Catholic, Jewish, Muslim and friends who have no religion yet we’re still all friends. We don’t even talk about religion. Even family! Two of my sisters were brought up Jewish and two of us brought up Catholic!
    I read your posts and it makes me sad that people are so close minded that they let what you believe shut you out of their lives. Too bad you can’t drop a few of them in the middle of Manhattan and see how far their religious prejudice gets them.

  • Jaime:

    I’ve still got your back.

  • km:

    I can’t even imagine. As Susie says, here in CT I don’t even know what religion anyone is. I only figure it out if there’s a Communion or a Bar Mitvah or some poor teen is fasting for Ramadan. It’s incidental as opposed to identifying. So much for freedom of religion or freedom from religion in your neck of the woods. Bizarre.
    I’m incredibly sorry for you that your bravery has caused such a rift and I admire you greatly for your bravery. I hear echoes of the Scarlet Letter. It saddens me.

  • I’m guessing that you’ve received the reactions you have because people just don’t know exactly how to react. They probably feel that they too need to take a stand. Your particular version of atheism has shoved them off the playing field! I’m a little worried that you’re throwing ALL the babies out with the bathwater. You’re pretty strong in your statements. I don’t think your Christian friends are as evil as you make them out to be. We’re all just trying to make sense of things. Religion is a touchy subject, but we all need to above ALL be kind. If you were my friend I wouldn’t ignore you, but I would hope you would LET me keep my faith–even if you thought I was an idiot. I come from a long line of people persecuted and driven out in the name of religion. I still practice the faith they died for. I’m educated. Rational most of the time. I know I’m not alone. Can we have some space in your world too?

    • jalf:

      Well, there’s the thing.

      In my world, you’re not really doing anyone a favor by allowing them to be wrong, uninformed or ignorant.

      You certainly have the right to believe what you want, and no atheist can or should take that away from you.

      But that doesn’t mean you have the right to be shielded from contrary points of view, or from being proven wrong, or from being taught new things.

      The religious people who can accept that (which, luckily, is most of them) can have some space in my world, sure.

      The ones who *fear* information, who think I’m doing them a disservice when I inform them of things they didn’t know, and which unfortunately don’t fit into their world-view don’t get much time or space, no. I don’t really see why I should accommodate them. And I’d think most atheists see things much the same way.

      So yeah, if, as you say, you’re “just trying to make sense of things”, then more power to you. You’ve come to a different conclusion than me, but you’re doing the same thing, trying to find out what’s actually *true*.

      But if you’re just sticking to your preconceived notions because they’re more comforting, if you feel threatened when people examine your beliefs, then you’re doing it wrong.

      God isn’t worth being wrong for. If he exists, then your faith should stand up to critical examination. And if he doesn’t, you’re better off finding that out now than spending the rest of your life living a lie.

      • Jimmy-boy:

        I really struggle with this too. While I don’t suffer for my atheism at all over here in Jersey (little island near France, not a US state on the East coast) I never know where to draw the line. Having promised myself I’d not tell my mum and dad (what good could it possibly do?) I find myself telling my mum (as she tries to force her horrible views down my throat) that her pope should be in prison.

        I’ve lost a few friends over my beliefs I suppose, which is a shame, but then I have very little time for folks who are prepared to be dicks about ther friends’ beliefs

        So I am sorry Rechelle that you live in a place where there is real cost to your beliefs. But presumably it is very good for those places that there are people like you who live there? And I bet that some of those people will look back in shame at their treatment of you.

        Not that this provides much consolation now of course…

        Do you have a local skeptical organisation at all? I’m going to try to fly to London for the next meeting of the London skeptics in the pub.

        http://london.skepticsinthepub.org/

        How good will that be?

  • Christine from Canada:

    I’m not 100% out yet. I have one relative in particular who sends me hate-mongering emails about atheists — and she doesn’t know I am one.

    Her most recent, which she asked me to “pass along” if I agree, is the one about “If you don’t know God, don’t make stupid remarks!” You’ve probably seen it: some hypothetical story about an atheist university professor who shouts, “If you’re there, God, then knock me off this platform!” After a time, a soldier who has done a bajillion tours in war-torn countries gets up and cold-cocks the professor, saying “God was too busy today protecting America ‘s
    soldiers who are protecting your right to say stupid
    stuff and act like an idiot. So He sent me.”

    This story is, obviously, wrong on so many levels, and sheds such a shitty light on Christians, the Military, universities. I won’t get into that here.

    What I SHOULD do, is send her a link to the Pew Study, with the title, “Actually, atheists DO know God”.

    • km:

      There is almost a fetish-izing of soldiers among the hardcore Christians in this country, isn’t there?

    • Jimmy-boy:

      I’ve run into several versions of this story floating round (all with the same core theme). My Dad sent me one involving the Imam who was ‘amazed’ to be confronted by a (truly pathetic) attack by a christian.

      I think what these stories tell us about their protagonists is the really interesting piece. We seem to seeing christians getting a bit desparate over here in the UK for eg. The pope’s recent attacks on aggressive secularists, and suggestion that we caused naziism were really quite unbalanced.

  • Always amazes me that anyone claiming to be “Christian” would turn their back on someone. Especially someone at an unexpected crossroads. Still here in good ole Salina if you ever need a friendly ear or good food and unburned bread.

  • susan:

    Geez…the hyprocrisy is exactly what bugs the crap out of me in organized religion. Pure b.s.! It disturbed me when growing up in the 50′s in a Baptist home and led me to question when I was in my late 20′s – 30′s.

    What about ‘do unto others? That mantra emcompasses all of humanity as far as I am concerned and doesnt have anything with religion.

  • km:

    Look, I know they have their own issues but the Amish who forgave the crazy schoolhouse gunman and his family won my admiration for putting their money where their mouth is.

  • Oh Rechelle. It’s tough. I can’t even imagine. Dealing with my boyfriend’s mother alone is stressful enough – and she’s not even that bad. If I had to deal with an entire town that thought they knew what being an atheist meant about me…I’d go insane.
    You are awesome. Your internet friends love you, and your friends who’ve stuck with you are obviously the coolest and best anyway.

  • I know you can’t run away from your problems, but why not get the hell out of Dodge (you are in Kansas right. lame joke)? I am an atheist and live in a small town and , yes some of my family members are christ loving weirdos. The difference is that I live in an educated community where the jesus freaks are in the minority. I would never have wanted my son raised in a community full of right wing bible beaters. gross.

  • Thank you for expressing your feelings about how it’s been for you with your family, “friends” and others within your community.

    I cannot even imagine what you’re going through or what new things you have to feel/consider on this journey you’re taking.

    Know that I wish you only the very best!

  • Christine from Canada:

    Rechelle, I cannot FATHOM what it’s like to be an atheist in small-town or rural America. I feel alone (“ish), being an atheist in a fairly large, fairly liberal Canadian city.

    What did we atheists ever do to believers to make them hate us so much? No really. I’d like to know. We pay our taxes, raise excellent children, mow our lawns, neuter our pets, stop at red lights, volunteer, and are grateful for health/good food/sunny days. Why do they portray us as if we were cold-hearted assholes who can’t be trusted?

    Don’t know if it’s already been mentioned, but one such example is the Christian movie that’s coming out in time for the holidays: “Christmas with a Capital C”. Don’t know if the link will work, but here it is: http://www.imdb.com/video/screenplay/vi2858747673/.
    If it doesn’t work, Google it.

    Oh. I scored 14/15. (Hmph! I say haughtily, all full of myself.)

  • jalf:

    Reading this, I’m *really* glad I live in a not-very religious country. People are generally more surprised when they encounter a Christian than an atheist here.

    Oddly enough, though, I don’t think the Christians we *do* have feel as threatened as their American counterparts.

    I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s just that they’re less dominant/influential, so they don’t feel threatened. They have less to lose, basically. They can’t lose their iron grip on education or government, because they don’t have one to begin with.

    Or maybe it’s because they’re generally less fundamentalist, and so find it easier to find common ground with atheists.

    I don’t know, but man, it must be a struggle coping with religion in a small American town like yours.

    @Christine from Canada:
    In short, I believe you/we threaten their way of life. Your “excellent children” go on to say religion is unnecessary or even harmful, which undermines their position that faith in God is all that’s keeping this world in one piece.

    And hey, everyone prefers to blame the outside threat, rather than admit that we might be wrong. :)

  • Irma:

    I was raised Christian, but now at forty I am an agnostic. I believe there is “something”, I just don’t think any one group can claim to have the only answer. And while I don’t walk around talking about my (lack of) beliefs, it has still “come out” and it was a BITCH. Still is, actually….in theological and philsophical discussions I am usually treated like my opinion isn’t worth listening to, like I’m some uneducated crack pot loser.

    So I can not even begin to imagine how much MORE difficult it has been for you to realize and live your atheism. I feel for you, girl, I really do.

  • km:

    http://awkwardfamilyphotos.com/2009/10/14/eye-contact/
    When they start taking photos like this in your house, you should start to worry about the social leprosy thing.
    Hint; look to the bottom right corner.

  • the editor:

    Woo Hoo 100%!!!! This was NOT a hard quiz. As someone who considers herself to be sorely lacking in religious literacy, I am astounded to think what my high score actually means…

  • Jenny:

    Since you wrote about this on the blog, I will respond that way. I’m responding to the statement of losing friends because of your declaration of atheism. I have no doubt you have lost friends, I wonder how many of those were more like acquaintances through church or other activities rather than true friends. Nonetheless, I know of one friend who didn’t leave, one friend who was the one who did all the calling, “hey, what’s up?”, did most of the inviting, “Let’s go…” and who was met with many reasons why not and more and more “no’s”. I think when people get involved in major life changes they become preoccupied with themselves and lose touch with how they are reaching out to the world. After a while this friend thought, I don’t think she wants to be friends anymore. You brought this friend flowers on her first day of work and she was really excited to seeing you coming until you could only stay for less than a minute to pass them over. Is she still interested in being friends…??? The new job is pretty consuming so the energy this friend is able to expend on her friends has been going to the ones she knows will say yes.

    Still right here when and if you’re interested.

    Why did I write this in third person???

    • Rechelle:

      I don’t think one ever really knows who one’s true friends are until one goes through someithing difficult. You are clearly a true friend.

  • Sarah:

    Rechelle,
    Your profound honesty in this last year has made me regard you even more. It blows that the same honesty has caused so called “Christians” to shun you.
    Let it be a small consolation to you to know that you have knocked Oprah off my 5 most admired women list!

    1. Mom – cause she’s my mom!
    2. Hillary – for how she’s handled Bill , the Secretary of State stuff ain’t to shabby either .
    3. Michelle – taking on the childhood obesity issue and her arms.
    4. Jamie Lee Curtis – helping to dispel the “beauty myth”, plus, I want the nerve to let my grey hair grow out.
    5. Rechelle – honesty and courage in writing about deconversion.
    6. Oprah – cause she’s Oprah!

  • Lynn:

    Rechelle, perhaps the shunning is not from your change of heart but from the hurtful, scornful and hateful things you said about Christians in general. You think you are allowed to be hateful without consequence. I’ve seen this before: “if Christians really practice love I should be able to say anything and they have to still love me.” Christians don’t claim to be perfect–far from it. Jesus still loves you, Rechelle, but all too human Christians will probably walk on the other side of the street to avoid your hurtful mouth.

    • Rechelle:

      I recently re-read all of my earlier posts on coming out as an atheist, and it was far from hurtful, scornful or hateful. They was simply honest. It is your religion that hates, scorns and hurts. And honey – it is I who would cross the street to avoid your ‘hurtful mouth’ and I don’t have a pretend deity chastising me for doing it either.