Describe a setting in which you have collaborated or interacted with people whose experiences and/or beliefs differ from yours. Address your initial feelings, and how those feelings were or were not changed by this experience.
Nearly everyday that I speak out about my religious belief, Im ostracized for sharing my thoughts. Outright saying my belief in front of my peers or even my family is met with resistance. Im not allowed to be part of entire institutions, social groups, or considerations solely on my religious preference. If I speak out among opposite minded individuals, I am met with conflict. Though I have no doubts on what I believe, and I know there are many who share my belief, I still feel as if I am distanced to those who have a belief. I am an Atheist.
In today's world I feel that I’m more ostracized than any one particular race or religion. I've been called immoral, evil, and worthless. Its perfectly socially acceptable to say “God Bless”, but if I even mention how I am not religious, I get looked at and treated as if I’m some sort of monster. Everyday speech with a person can set the setting for how badly I am going to be judged, just by a slip of my tongue.
I used to hide it deep inside that I've never read the bible; That I've been to a church only twice; That I've never believed even in the concept of a higher power, because I thought I knew for those reasons that Id be seen as less of a person. Just because I don't pray before dinner and wake up early on Sunday, doesn’t make me a monster. I don't go around murdering the masses, lusting anything with a pulse, or am filled with an irascible wrath just because of my disbelief. I have my own moral beliefs on what is right and wrong based on my thoughts and experiences. My feelings prior to today were that of apprehension, seclusion, and fear of sharing what I believed. All because I have no belief.
Over time and being subjected to several Atheism bashing experiences, I found that instead of lying to seem very neutral to religion, being honest about how I felt led to me feeling better about myself. My thoughts have not changed but my attitude for sharing those same thoughts has tremendously. If someone asks me what church I go to, I will say “I don't go”. If someone asks me what division I am, I will say “I don't have one”. And if someone asks me if I am religious, I will say “Not at all”. Religion to me is a collection of moral beliefs that one person justifies as being right or wrong. That is exactly what I am doing on my own.
I'm not the monster underneath the bed. I'm not the one crucifying religion. I'm not an immoral pleasure seeker, and I am most definetly not the devil in sheeps clothing. I am just an Athiest.
Any critique is welcomed.