- What is Atheism
- Law & Politics
- Press Information
- Christians Take Over Interfaith Army Chapel in Combat Zone
- Press Kit
- 9/11: 'Never Forget' Must Include All Victims
- Atheists Advocate Separation of Church and State at DNC
- Congressman Pete Stark to Speak at 2013 National Convention
- American Atheists Announces 50th Anniversary Logo Design Contest
- American Atheists Announces Harassment Policy for Conventions and Conferences
- American Atheists Jubilant Over Latest Religion Report
- American Atheists Removes Religious Billboards from Charlotte
- Former Pastor Now American Atheists Public Relations Director
- Former Pastor Teresa MacBain New Public Relations Director
- ITALIAN JUDGE LUIGI TOSTI ACQUITTED!
- American Atheists to Protest Bradford County, FL Decalogue on May 19
Supporting Civil Rights for Atheists and the Separation of Church and State
No, all religious people are NOT bad guys. Most, in fact, are rather nice. This is a special page dedicated only to those religious sites who are, in my opinion, less than moral.
This is a list of links for people and organizations who would prefer to see kids become Christian, like it or not. They are sneaky, covert, and malevolent. Learn about them before they come to your school. If you find more, feel free to send the information to me.
Spreading hatred through tracts -- I just love it when Christians attack each other. Want to have some fun? learn this stuff and use it to start fights between zealots that you know!
Thou shalt not lie! Unless you want to. Are they being hateful? Read the About us section for laughs.
Common Ground - Clicking this link below will yield a pamphlet, distributed by an evangelical group, on how to recruit children behind their parents' backs. It's sad and pathetic, but these people care little about your right to raise your children as you see fit. Even more so, they use their own children as pawns -- tools of the trade. This is why you must ALWAYS know your children's friends, and their parents. Long Download.
Chick.com -- Who needs the truth? These people blatantly make stuff up, put their tripe into comic books, and distribute it to kids.
Wanna know why you're an Atheist? It's Daddy's fault and has absolutely nothing to do with intelligence or common sense.
Kids in combat. Jesus is love, now put down your dolls, get off your big-wheel, and fight. I'm not kidding.
Kids and teachers who spurting out Bible Verses at random times! They're not afflicted with a serious neurological disease, they've just been reading Bring Your Bible
Thinking is Satan! To free ourselves, you need (to give money to) First Priority of America
Christians recapturing America (please send money), http://www.chalcedon.edu/
Erik, who submitted this page, wrote a great commentary on http://www.capalert.com : \Another amusingly hyper-fundimentalist website trying to censor mainstream media based and protect the youth of today from the evils of humor, imagination and \offences to God\
John Jacobs and the Power Team - A ministry with athletes who go from school to school showing how strong they are, and preaching to God as the only \answer\. Mission: \To be a ministry of excellence and integrity with our heartbeat and focus on winning the lost, building the local church, and encouraging the pastor\.
What do you get when you mix one guy (who can't write), a lot of time, a lot of hatred, and Christian mythology? You get a hate site in the name of Christianity, bad-mouthing EVERYONE so poorly that even the domain name is misspelled. The cheery name of the site? http://www.yourgoingtohell.com
Also of note:
The AFA wants to have the motto \In God We Trust\ in every classroom in America (nothing new). http://www.afa.net/activism/aa051601.asp
DELETED SITES (included so you know how quickly these orgs come and go)
Here's a good riddle for you. How do you capitalize on tragedy to promote an unworthy cause? A Little lie here, an omission there, add a little dishonest friend-making and some stereotypical Christian bearing of false witness, and you get yesgod.org. Again folks, know your kids' friends!
Funwithfaith.org. -- Yes, you too can use your 6-year-old child as a pawn to preach religion.
Athletes In Action -- mostly a college-based group, but they have been known to go to public schools and show off (and preach while they're there). DELETED
Exploit your children! Make them give out stuff they don't understand! Then send us pictures. This link is SCARY!
Atheists are stoopid. They are bad becuz they are bad and stoopid. Learn about the luv of Jezuz and why Atheists are stoopid at faithofgod.com
Do you like Dungeons and Dragons? Check out this stereotypical site about the dangers of playing games with Satan. Excellent reading over a glass of wine and a frontal lobotomy.
Scriptures in School -- How many illegal, untruthful, or downright hateful messages can you find on this page? Make it a game with your kids!
Got more links? Send them to me!
3 2012-02-28 20:16:18
110 youth & family 0 6 smart kids
Note: These are genuine letters sent to American Atheists or published in newspapers. Only first names are given to protect anonymity. Send us email here!
ATTENTION: Some updates were lost in a recent file transfer. If you wrote in and it is not listed, Please send it again!
Saira, Age 14, No respect in church.
Tom -- 15, An honest and encouraging story about coming out.
Sierra -- 16, Won't get walked on (Atheist since 2nd grade)
Jeremy -- 21 (OK, not so much a kid, but his story takes place back then)
Jim, 14 -- An outed Atheist who is happy he's out!
Colette -- 15, Is a \moral Atheist\. Can it be possible? Ethics without a god?
Danny -- 15, coming out as an Atheist and a homosexual, in the south. VERY well-written!
Angela -- 14, writes a very nice poem
Steve -- 15, a brief note about using religion in a time of national Tragedy
Rachael -- 15, writes about going to church with a \friend\
Lindsay -- 14, wrote a poem worth reading
Hillary -- 14 fighting religious teachers
Rina -- a smart 14 year-old kid with intolerant parents
Angela, still not praying despite the \We Still Prey\ peer pressure
Mark (14) on debating (very good)
Barrry (15) hatred against Atheists en mass.
Jeanette (16) about hatred and prejudice
Christi and Daniel's Speech to a Youth Conference (separate page - must read)
Mandy (on school prayer)
Marie (Very Positive)
Roland in Canada (16) on the methodologies of the Xtian right
Saira -- Hi my name is Saira
Although I was born to atheism, around two years ago my mother converted to Christianity
She is now constantly telling about the love of Jesus and other things, although I have no problems with this; atheism is a religion like any other it deserves respect.
My mother wanted me to go to her church once and so I did. Now, no offense; but how is sending text messages in church holy? Or flipping the bird to each other? I showed more respect then they did, the point of this story?
Ethics does not have to do with religion Quite frankly if you need religion, not to steal, or not to drink, or not to do a bunch of really crappy things. Then you are a lot more immoral then Atheists.
I go to private school, which just happens to Christian. Recently our principal decided to explain \Imagine\ by John Lennon.
Go atheism, we're the only sane ones
To this day, I'm still not quite sure why I first questioned the religion into which I have been immersed since first grade. Mine was a strange fundamentalist hybrid of Methodism, Presbyterianism, and perhaps Southern Baptism. For about two years, give or take, I was an ardent little crusader for my Christ, believing everything the good Lord, the Bible, and every preacher with Jesus Christ on his lips, said to me. But for some reason, I decided I'd had enough, and began to wonder if what I believed was true.
I wallowed for a bit in agnosticism, searching desperately for something to hold onto as the God I had relied so heavily in began to fade away from my life. Eventually I got over this, and became a convicted atheist. I'm still not sure if there is an Ultimate Reality, that impersonal anomaly that some mistakenly call \God,\ but I am convinced that theism (the belief in a personal god or gods) is a lie, a mistake, or perhaps both.
My parents, as you can imagine, didn't take this too well. It was a sad day when I first told my mother, and she immediately walked away from me without a word. Whether this was a prudent time for such a revelation or not, I told this to her in church, before the worship began. I did not attend that day. During the middle, my father came up to me and asked why I wasn't there. (After explaining to him, he insisted that I should have attended even though all I saw was a bunch of bald people talking to their ceiling. Go figure.) They tried to accept the decision, and had a hard time for awhile. They made me attend church, not to force me to change my mind, they explained, but because it was somehow \good for me,\ a good \influence.\ They gave this up eventually, and finally accepted my rejection of religion.
To their credit, they were very understanding, given the circumstances, and were loving. My friends thought it was amusing (they just knew a smart, overly skeptical, and often rebellious kid like me would do something like this), and were accepting as well. For the most part. There have been some who took the news with much praying, some crying, and excessive attempts to convert me back. I have heard distorted versions of the teleological argument, Pascal's wager in an unoriginal (but ignorant of the argument's origins) costume, and at least two wonderful synopses of Left Behind. Everyone is amazed at how well I know the Bible, due in part to my years in an ultra-conservative Christian school and in part to my search for answers during my \agnostic period.\ I hear that many atheists receive similar reactions. Sadly, some of my friends finally gave up on my soul ever being saved, and I have not spoken with them since.
I have learned to live in a world without God, but obstinantly with a plurality of secular and superstitious gods. I have succeeded in remaining a loving son and a caring, trustworthy friend, and I have finally found some peace of mind. I know I am very fortunate to have gotten through the storm of \coming out\ so easily and so quickly, facing only the occasional drizzle today.
\Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former.\
-- Albert Einstein
SIERRA - Being a kid Atheist is hard, no matter where you are from. I am from Wisconsin, but not the cozy liberal parts like the cities of Madison or Milwaukee. No, I would never be so fortunate. I am from the cow raising, God praising, conservative small community. Now this spells trouble for just about anyone who is in favor of Separation of Church and State, or \God\ forbid an Atheist. My mother was raised a Catholic, but broke away in her high school years. When I came around my mother didn't want to push a belief system on me, like one was pushed upon her. She thought it best to take me to a Unitarian Church, where I could choose my own religion after I had thoroughly examined numerous other beliefs. Believe me Atheists, Unitarians are good people. Anyway, I had decided very young that religion wasn't for me, little did I know how this was going to affect my life in the near future. In the second grade, it all began. One of my friends was
discussing how her church was going to a camp or something, and asked what church I belonged to. I simply told her I did not go to a church and I did not believe in a God. I had never been confronted with confrontation
through my beliefs before, (since that had never come up with my friends before then, only the bronze hunk who sat across from he in math) and I never expected to receive a negative reaction. Well, needless to say, I
did. From then on I was the only kid who had to defend their beliefs (of non-believing). I always stood strong in my debates, but when I got home I always seemed to collapse with tears. (Kids can be so cruel) But not
anymore. I think it is because I started at such a young age, and have had to fight with it even today. Everyone knows I am an Atheist, but they still seemed convinced that they can convert me. \Why don't you come to my youth group?\ \You could go to my church camp this summer.\ \Why don't you just
come with me to church?\ \Will we see you at the pole?\ It is so frustrating, but now that I am in high school things are a little easier. I am still invited to all these church outings and what not, but nowI think
it is more my friends just want to hang out with me, since every fun function seems to be centered around the churches. Still, I have worked too hard for the church to think they have won the fight with me. Being an
Atheist has made me stronger, wiser, and I would not trade it for anything. I am now President of my debate team, and amongst the favorite of my social studies teachers (the more liberal ones anyway). Thank you for this site. I wish I had only found it when I was in 2nd grade.
JEREMY - I was brought up to be a good christian. My grandparents always took me to church to listen to the preachings of our minister. Later when I was older I saw that I was being wrongfully influenced. I never had the intention of wanting to believe in such a thing. What saved me was a new athieist friend I made when I moved to a new school. He never tried to force his beliefs on me. yet he believed in me, unlike the christians who I grew up with that would dislike someone whos beliefs are different. People who would literally stop at nothing to get me to become a sucessful christian. I soon began to see what my friend was talking about and slowly began to throw off my former beliefs. I feel like a freed person. The religious extremeists that I knew would do several unchristian-like things to get other people like me to believe in thier religion. Why should good people have to go through this and see that every day others around them will go to hell because they are not as devout as they are? Good people who want to do good things for mankind as a whole. These people are shunned and disliked by these pious persons.
JIM - I am a 14 year old atheist in Illinois and I am writing in response to all the other teen atheists and their bible pounding peers. I live in a fairly large conservative community, where there are many churches... even though polls say only 60% of the community is actually a member of any church. Anyway, most people at my school go to church, but aren't the fundamentalists I see the others writing about on the \Smart Kids\ page. Many people (including the religious ones) know I'm an atheist, but they don't care. They don't try to change me, and they respect my views. I have figured out that a couple of my teachers are probably atheists also. We had a Meet me at the Pole thing last year, but they got rid of it this year. I had one person ask me if I was going, and I said no. He asked why not, and I said I was an atheist, and he just said \really, that's cool\ and walked away. It was never announced at our school either. We do have a bible study group that has oh, maybe 60 members or so. They never announce meetings, but they do have t-shirts. I know another atheist at our school who doesn't say the pledge (which I do) because of the \under god\ clause, and none of the teachers notice. And, I know they would never make assumptions of our behavior just because we are atheists. I am really thankful that people at our school are so respectful of others views and opinions and don't try and change them. I feel so sorry for the kids in the bible belt living with what is basically state sponsored religion at their school. I hope they may change the views of someone some day!
My Name is Colette, I am 15 years old and I have been a true atheist for about a year now.
I was brought up catholic so I consider myself to have morals. As in I will not have sex until I am married and I will not smoke or do drugs. I am an all around good kid and not because a book or a god told me to. My parents both went to catholic school all their lives. Fortunately for me I have been able to go to public school, which makes my decision to be Atheist a little easier.
I started to doubt \my faith\ when I was in seventh grade. A religion teacher to me and my classmates that Catholicism was then only right religion. It bothered me that she said that because most of my friends were
protestant or Jewish. To this day I wonder why she chose to tell that to such young impressible children. I also started to get really annoyed with all the hypocrisy in the church and the ignorance of people. The one thing
that bothered me the most was the fact that all the denominations could not get along. I wondered why people would follow a god if all those things happened.
In my eighth grade year and into my ninth I became very good friends with an Atheist whose father was a reverend. We talked about religion quite a bit and we both believed the same thing. She had both a good and bad impact on me. Together we were negative and sarcastic and eventually the two of us did not hang out with anyone else. I made fun of a really good friend who was a born again Christian. Soon I got sick of it and became nicer and I now hang out with new people.
The first time I said something in public about not believing in a god was in my 9th grade Language Arts class. I was talking about having to see something to believe it. My teacher asked me to give and example. \God,\ I
said. \I do not believe in God.\ I would have to say my class looked pretty surprised. One boy even instant messaged me to ask me why and to tell me he was praying for me.
There are obviously other people praying for me too. For instance the Christian girl I mentioned above that I made fun of. We are best friends again and most likely we will always be. She forgave me for all the stuff I
said and did… Her reason? \Jesus. I guess I should be sort of thankful that she is Christian, but isn't it sort of ironic that she is still friends with her Atheist friend because of he religion? But then again that is the thing
that will always come between us. She thinks it's a phase, as do my parents. I am getting confirmed in the Catholic Church on September 15th, 2002 against my will. My mother says I will be happy I did it when I get older and have children of my own. I doubt it. I tell my friend and my parents that my views might change, just to humor them. I doubt that as well. I go to mass every Sunday and my parents tell me that when I come back to visit then I have to go. Plus there are about 50 people praying for god to save my soul. And still I don't think it will change my mind.
Just like to thank you for saying all the things i was too sad to say after the attacks. I, too, am disgusted with these ideas that a god may be lurking behind a corner calling for these actions or that a god somehow permits
this. I will think about these victims, full knowing that my thoughts only mean well, and will not actually affect anything. A call for prayer, in this free country, is rude, inconsiderate, and wrong. In my brother's 2-4 grade
school, a woman sang \god bless america,\ which made me even more sick than i already was. Unfortunatly i was too sad and angry at bin laden and all his relgious nonsense to speak out against our own nonsense. Your article was perfect in that it combined the right amount of respect with the right
amount of disgust for these acts. Thank You.
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STEVE - I am a 15 year old Atheist living in PA. For many years, various people have
tried to \save\ me. Even in first grade, there was one girl whose family was
VERY religious, I forget which one, but the girls couldn't cut their hair and
they always had to wear skirts...anyway the family would put on a pancake
breakfast and invite all the girls from the class, then we would walk to
school after (they lived a few blocks from the school). Once, they invited me
to their church and, not knowing how to turn them down, went. They were
giving out balloon animals, and the minister (who just happened to be the
girl's father) would count back a number of rows, then a seat number.
Surprisingly enough, I got one of the balloon animals! A couple years later,
I realized what they were doing...trying to make me join their church by
bribing me! I had another friend later whose dad was also a minister, and
whenever I wouldn sleep over at her house, we would go to church the next
day, but this was completely different. I wasn't once asked to join the
church. My best friend's church was the same way...if I slept over on a
Saturday night, we would go the next day, but never a word about joining. In
fact, her funny dad would always goof around in church.
Recently, I read a fiction book called \Leaving Fishers\. It is not about
atheists, but it is a very real account of how some cult-like churches
\recruit\ members. In this book, the main character is recruited, but then
finds the strength to leave after she finds out more truths about the group.
I would highly recommend this book to everyone, and if this email doesn't get
on the website, I think you should mention something about the book somewhere on your site.
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LINDSAY - I'm a 14 year old girl from a small town in
California. Currently I am on summer break, but during
the school year my Language Arts teacher happened to
be the wife of a local pastor. All my family is
Christian, with the exception of me (I began to
question religion at 7 years old), and thay went to
the same church. My teacher was really nice, but I got
really tired of hearing how everything is in god's
hands, and god bless. They even started \Venture Club\
while I was in Middle School, a club for Christians,
and once a year they hand out bibles to everyone. Is
that legal? Well, with all this frustration at school,
I decided to use my poetic talent to write several
poems about my perspective on god. I wrote two, but I
haven't copywrited my other yet. This one I wrote
while I was really mad. Feel free to use it, it is
already copywrited, and my full name is Lindsay Louise
Brandt. You can use that too, I already came out of
the closet. This poem describs how your life can be
ruined by a belife in god.
Being drained of all joy and content
brought down from splendor and into ever lasting
and bringing upon you the hell to which you were sent
is the god who saved you, and inverted your elation
Transformed your euphoria into conquering fear
as he demolished the pieces of your life
metamorphosing you from confident to mere
your once fulfilling existence is now dominated by
converting you with his promises of infinite peace
states of pure joy and of stable tranquillity
As you crave for a Satanic hell in the least
You endure unimaginable pain and suffering for a sweet
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HILLARY - My name is Hillary, and I am 14. I have been an atheist for about 3
years. I have had to put up with a bunch of crap in those 3 years.
...Guess what? I live in the great Fundamentalist state of Texas. I
lucked out, eh? Anyway, I used to live in a small town outside of
Houston, of course, with the small town mentality. Everyone knew
everyone, and most everybody was Baptist. The Golden Rule was: You're
not a Baptist, you're not with us, you're a devil-worshiping outsider!
I was a Wiccan at the time, so I had to deal with the harassment of the
school I went to...Where's the ACLU when you need it?
I learned alot from the incident in the small town...STAY IN THE
CLOSET! Don't risk it! I am staying completely in the closet at the
school I go to now. I must emit that \Atheist aura,\ some people are
accusing me of being a devil-worshiper...Baptists and Roman
Catholics...Yep, in their eyes, I AM a devil-worshiper...I do confuse
them quite often, I wear Pagan, Buddhist, and Hindu symbols! It happens
I have a Fundamentalist as a science teacher (does that go
together?)...He's always saying crap about how America's down the
crapper since we removed religion, how we should preach to lost souls,
etc. I argue with him frequently. He has said a few things that have
hurt my feelings. I have to keep my temper in control, though. An
interesting incident happened in his class the other day:
I was reading a book about the history of the debate of school prayer
when my friend wanted to see it. She stood up at my desk and looked at
it. A few seconds later, she said she was going to recite the Lord's
Prayer. Instead of saying \prayer,\ she said \player,\ which was funny
at the time. A boy put his head down, and she said a couple of words,
but the teacher (the Fundamentalist) interrupted. She said something
about God would be mad at him. Before she said anything else, I told
her she couldn't do it. She asked me why not. I said school prayer was
inappropriate if the class is disrupted. She said she wasn't disrupting
the class. Luckily, the bell rang. Well, 23 more days to go until the
end of school.
Director's Note: Hillary has a good point here. Sometimes it's not only OK, but mandatory, to stay closeted until you are out of school. This keeps you safe.
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I am currently a member of a college free thinkers group, the University of Minnesota-Duluth G.O.D. Club (Gregarious Opponents of Dogma). While they have been a great way to get together with other atheists, I found your page on coming out very helpful. I am having trouble expressing my choice to my Catholic grandparents, and I think this will help. In other words, I am sick of getting their God emails. Yesterday they send me a memo supposedly from God. Wow, do I feel special.
Anyways, I am thinking of becoming a member, and just want to say thanks again!
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RINA - Dear American Atheists ( NOTE -- Opinion Journal & Weekly Standard Readers, Please Click here),
My name is Rina and I am fourteen years old. Recently I moved from Minnesota to Texas, and it has been quite a shock for me. Everyone here is into that \See you at the pole\ crap. In Minnesota, most people are Lutherans. But people here are Bible-banging Baptists who want to shove a foot and a half of Christianity up yer @$$ if you don't believe in Jesus and God and \all that good stuff.\ Frankly I don't care for Christianity, or any religion at all. In my opinion, religion is a silly thing. Look at what it's caused. People being Jewish in the 1940s caused WWII.
When I told my parents I didn't believe in God, I was told that since I am under eighteen that it doesn't matter and that I will still attend the church of their choice anyhow. This battle between my parents and I has been going on since I was about 11 years old. My estimation is that I stopped \believing\ when I was eleven. In fact, they are forcing me to get confirmed. And whenever I attempt to prove my atheism, I am told to can it until I turn 18 in July of 2004. So, for about three years I have been forced to sit in Lutheran and Episcopalian church pews and sing religious songs, recite creeds and prayers, attend youth meetings, and go to confirmation class. All listed above was completed against my will. My parents totally disregard the fact that I don't believe in God. Instead, they cancel my beliefs out and pretend that I am Christian, which I can't stand at all.
And since I just recently moved from Minnesota to Texas, everyone here is Christian and won't understand my views at all. Which just makes it harder for me to make friends.
I have written a quote by Frank Lloyd Wright that I particulary like on my backpack. It reads, \I believe in God, only I spell it Nature.\ I have been critisized for advertising what I believe in. Maybe it's time for me to take a stand against everyone else who wears \See You At The Pole\ t-shirts to school. On September 19th, the school, which uses televisions to show clocks in every classroom, put an announcement running along the bottom of the TV. It read, \Tomorrow at 7 am at the flagpole, a prayer session will be held in the honor of 'See You At The Pole'. Join us....\ I believe that since the school is endorsing it, that it is school-organized. The SCHOOL advertised it, even though www.syatp.com states, \....SYATP is student-led, it is before school hours, and it is outside of any school building. It does not cost the district anything financially for students to meet to pray, so they aren't \establishing religion\ with tax money.\ True, in a half-sense. The school may not be \establishing religion\ with tax money, but they may, however, be establishing it by advertising it. And, although SYATP is held outside of the school building, it is still located on school property.
I think that if people want to pray and be Christian or participate in any other religion, they can do so without encouraging others. There is no need to wear \A prayer every day keeps the psychologist away\ t-shirts to school. In a sense, wearing a religious shirt matches up with wearing a Marilyn Manson/ \Satanic\ shirt to school. Prayer does offend some people, whether it's in school or outside it, and people just don't catch that. I for one don't think Marilyn is encouraging Satanic practices at all. It's just music. If one does not like it, then don't listen to it. Religion and schools should be kept separate unless one wishes to attend a religious school. Any school which establishes prayer should be deemed a private school.
I haven't broken my atheism yet to my relatives. I've only told my intermediate family and friends back in Minnesota. I'm sure my parents must talk about how I need Jesus in my life. They have tried to convert me into a Christian by lecturing me on \how to find God\ and how they accomplished the feat. I am not interested at all. Oh hell, my parents might as well be Baptists since they are so \into it\ already. The thought of sitting in a church against my will makes me cry. I cry because I will not be accepted for who I am because of my beliefs. I am no different than a Muslim in Texas.
I remember in Minnesota, when I was in sixth grade, there was a high Indian migration rate. People from Pakistan, India, and neighboring countries flooded into the state, and several were in my junior high classes. Kids would poke fun at them because the girls had to wear dresses and headcoverings. They basically pointed and laughed at them because of their religion. And I am no different. I'm not accepted either - in school or in my own house.
Despite what I have said above, I don't bash Christians or any other religious group. I respect my peers because of who they are, not their religion. It is their right to practice what they believe. I only get angry when someone tries to convert me. And yet, something else angers me - the Pledge of Alligience. It starts out, \I pledge the alligience to the flag and the United States of America............and to the Republic, for which it stands, one nation, under God, indivisable, with liberty and justice for all.\ I find that HIGHLY wrong. IF there is liberty and justice for all, they are favoring believers by stating \under God.\ And that is not justice at all. And also, printed on American currency, it says \in God we trust.\ That would be establishing a religion, would it not? So America, in many ways, has violated its own Constitution and Bill of Rights.
In school, every Monday morning, we are required to stand and recite the Pledge. I don't recite it.
Thank you for creating such a wonderful website. I told all my agnostic and atheist friends.
Note: click here for info on the coins issue
ANGELA - Hi. Well, first I would like to say thank you for all your invaluable resources. I'm not an atheist, but perhaps moving that way and your website has been invaluable in helping me move away from my southern baptist roots. I'm writing you to comment and add some insight into the school prayer issue. I live in Asheville, North Carolina, formerly home of the best reputation in the South, and now home of \We Still Pray.\ I attend Reynolds High School, and was mortified we were chosen as the site for the rally. The night of, I was trying to get home from downtown and was stuck in traffic for two hours. Most of my teachers and fellow students were wearing We Still Pray Tshirts the next day, and I was dreading the upcoming football game, which I have to attend, because I was sure that prayer would break out among all the students, and I would be found out: I'm not a Christian. I try to keep that to myself, as in my white Christian school its an \abomination.\ This is a school were my homeroom teacher has a sign that says \Its good to know Jesus\ in the front of the room, another has the Christian poem \Footsteps\ hanging on the wall, another denounces evolution as sill, who would ever believe that? and another assignes the reading of Genesis and treats it as fact. This happens every day at my school, so I was expecting the whole \spontaneous\ thing to go off without a hitch. Surprisingly, it didn't. There was a break in the program after the national anthem, but I didn't see anyone or hear of anyone actually praying. It was a complete shock, and a big relief. Since then, there hasn't been any. However, I would like to comment on your coverage of the We Still Work Magic rally. The rally is being held because the Pagans are protesting the Christian rally as it looks like Reynolds supports it. You gave a quote that made it seem like the Pagans had the same agenda as the Christians, but they are just protesting the use of the stadium. The quote you gave was Strivelli in reference to the method in which they were applying for use of the stadium. I thought you might like to know, but anyways, thank you for your resources.
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MARK - Hello. I'm Mark, I'm 14 years old, and I've been an atheist for quite
some time. For two and a half years (since I was 12), I've been debating
fundamentalist Christians, and since that time, I have learned much. Though
it can get very tiring and frustrating, it can be very educational at times
(albeit repetetive after you have seen the same thing over and over again).
First of all, don't feed yourself illusions that if you argue with
anyone, you'll be able to change his or her mind. The only person who can
change someone's mind is himself, and you can only give him a reason to. In
this case, though, most fundamentalists I've run into are hell bent on
blocking anyone's opinions out. Often, if you have a point that they cannot
defend against, they might tell you that God knows the answer, or that when
you die and are being asked what you did to deserve to goto heaven, all of
your knowledge (i.e., what you were just talking about) will mean nothing.
When you hear them do this (and believe me, talk to them long enough and you
will), that is usually a sound of your victory. At that point, stop talking
about it, since you cannot change the person's opinions, and will succeed in
doing nothing further save annoying him.
Second, don't make the same mistake. If they have a point that you cannot
defend against, acknowledge that you do not know, and continue on. If you are
an atheist, you probably do not have the zeal that they do, which means you
cannot say, \I KNOW that [insert doubted claim here] is true,\ even if they
merely think they know it. You must acknowledge the possibility they are
correct, even though they often won't acknowledge the possibility that they
are wrong. Be civil when losing in a debate, and don't fall to the level they
might if they were in the same position.
Third, be sure to have researched (and if you haven't, find resources
quickly) what you speak of. This may seem obvious, but often I have been
confronted with claims I'd never heard before, and had to find information on
it quickly. However, also be sure to view both sides of the argument, and not
just your own. Study both his and an opposite claim, and then draw your
conclusions, instead of looking at seeing one that'd side with you and
immediately jumping for it, because it may have already been refuted by
someone else. If it is, he will probably be able to find that, and will be
very vocal about it, which will cause you to lose face.
Finally, and this goes hand-in-hand with number three, question your own
beliefs. After all, you probably question everybody else's. If you see a flaw
in your argument, even though your opponent or past opponents might not,
don't just ignore it. Always try to improve your claims, and throw away what
doesn't work (that is, after all, what reason fundamentally does). Never
think, though, that your argument is perfect, because chances are, it isn't.
Don't consider yourself \absolutely right\ on any point. You may potentially
be wrong on literally everything (and I could be potentially wrong on that!),
so always remember that, or else you might risk becoming arrogant.
There are many more points which can be addressed, but I'm sure that you
either do or will realize them. After a significant amount of time debating,
you will notice many recurring patterns, and I can often not only tell those
I debate with what they're going to say before they say it, but my response
to that, then what they'll respond to that, then my response to that, etc.
until I can reconstruct the entire future of the argument before another word
is said. It's a neat trick, but if you can do it, you've probably been around
so long you're getting bored.
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BARRY - I am a 16 year-old Atheist in the Heart of the bible belt, Oklahoma. I
would just like to share with you all why separation of church and state
is so important to me, and all other non-christains under 18. This will
be rather long, but it seems as if the time is right for me to write it.
This year at school was a living hell for me, which end in my dropping
out of public school for correspondence at the semester. In my school
district about 98% of the teachers graduated from ORU (Oral Roberts
University), and is run by the fundamentalist right. There was still
school lead pray in many of the schools until 1994, when they were
sued. At the school I went to for the last 2 years (9th & 10th grades)
CSU (christain student union) was a huge part of the student population,
and it seemed that half the school was a member.
I became an Atheist when I was 7, and was raised in a Liberal Christain
household, I first learned about Evolution and the big bag theory at
church (they taught it as fact, and they never taught creationism).
When I came out, soon after my dad died, when I was 10, it was a shock
to everyone that found out. And I decided to be open about it to
everyone except my relatives (besides for my mom & brother, which were
the first I told), in my extended family I have two Southern Baptist
preachers and one very fundamentalist preacher so you can see why I hid
it from them. Okay now that you know some of the back ground, I will
tell you and the sooner past.
Everyday when I went to school I'd have CSU members trying to \save\ me,
it was as if I had a sign that said \I am an Atheist, come save me\ on
my back. I became more of an outcast than I had already been, which
didn't really bother me. This kept up for about the first 6 weeks of
school, until they started advertising the \Pray at the Pole\ crap (2
weeks before it was to happen, and they did this over the video
announcements). When they day came nearly 900 students were out there,
they went so far as to have plays \showing\ how evil Atheist, Jews, etc
I was already pretty pissed about that, then one of my teachers ask me
if I had gone to it. I said no, and she asked me why, I told her I
didn't believe in Church and State and felt that it should've been done
at a church not on government owned property. Soon after this my
schools were to come more of a living hell.
About a week later they (the school) found a book of poems I had written
(a friend had left it in a class) which they deemed \dark.\ They made a
huge deal about it, even though my mom to them to leave me alone. They
made me tell them everything about my mental status (i.e. if I was on
medication, etc.), they were hang suspension over my head if I didn't
talk to them. While this was going on I found of the my English teacher
(who had seen them) told all the other teachers that knew me it was a
suicide note written in blood, soon the students heard and CSU never let
up on me.
The only help (inside the school) I had was an ironic match, a very
fundamentalist christain (and leader of the CSU) teacher who helped me
as if I was his own son. He talked me through a lot of it, when I was
ready to give up. Even though he always push Christianity on me, it
wasn't too bad. The harassment though was never ending, I would be
called out of my classes everyday to go to the office to talk to the
counselors. I finally went to the principle and told him if it didn't
stop that I was ready to file suit against the school (hoping the ACLU
would help me). He got the administration off my back, but could do
nothing about the teachers & students.
It never got better. Most of the teachers where afraid to talk to me
for fear I'd comment suicide, or kill them, if they said something
wrong. And it seem like the christains of the school had a mission from
god to \save\ me. Then to top it off my science teacher decided it
would be better to teach creationism than Evolution, so then people
would try to debate me against evolution using the same words that he
So finally I dropped out, and got into correspondence (which has been a
very good thing for me). But that didn't end it, the school decided
that I owned them all kinds of money (which was total bs), and they
wouldn't send any of my information to my new school, and reported me as
a drop out (which since I was 15 at the time, my mom could've been
charged with a felony). Now to top it all off the school won't give me
the information I need to get my driver's license, they claim they lost
it (which is a crime within itself).
Sorry for the very long message, but right now it seems if you all are
the only people I can turn to. When I send letter to my congressmen
they tell me how we don't have religious freedom since we aren't forced
to pray in school, and I can't vote so that just makes it worse. I
would like to hear from you, not sure how you can really respond to
Well that is why I think Separation of Church & State is a MUST. Not
just for Atheist, but for all non-christain people.
Thank you for reading,
Barry A. W
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JEANETTE - Thank you for providing a site that doesn't compromise and doesn't forget what is important in schools today. I am a sixteen year old high school senior, and I have been appalled at recent events in my public school.
A known Christian group came to the gym for an all-school mandatory assembly. They never actually said the word God, but they handed out pamphlets advising me to go to their very large group meetings. Then, during the actual assembly,
I was eerily reminded of Hitler's speeches. The speakers ripped down people's psychological defenses by bringing up painful memories that were easy to identify with. They then used large displays of violence, exploding and breaking
things, while telling everybody that they needed to \fulfill the purpose\ they were \brought here\ for.
At the assembly, the technique that Aldous Huxley talks about in _Brave New World Revisited_, crowd-poisoning, was used often. People were
told to stand as a collective group, and the speakers said that those who didn't stand had \no backbone.\ There are two atheists in my school, and we were proud to remain sitting.
The emphasis on religion in schools serves a purpose which goes far beyond making all children conform to Judeo-Christian values. It emphasizes
the collective group as more important than individuals, claiming that altruism is the best value, and saying that children who act with rational selfishness are immoral. What does this do? It turns schoolchildren into a herd, ready
to be molded into whatever shape their leaders decide upon.
Religion teaches subordination to a leader, and that whatever is good for that leader is moral. Thus, children with religious values can be more
easily manipulated into obeying the orders of others, even if it is against their best interest. America's schools are not raising individuals,they are herding cattle.
I have stood against this for a long time, and I am a known atheist at my school. My being an atheist has led to all sorts of negative consequences: I don't get parts in the musicals directed by a fundamentalist teacher, I am
looked at as a possible security hazard (because atheists, apparently, are ALWAYS school shooters) and I am scorned by students.
Still, I believe that the positive aspects win out. Maybe I'm not in the musical, but I can think for myself. I am a rational, individualistic person, and my thoughts don't rely upon the thoughts of others. I do not obey blindly. I exist, not
because some being put me here, but because I was born. I am alive to pay tribute to myself, not to a god. I live to advance my own life and the
lives of people I love, not the Church. I am proud. In Christianity, that's a deadly sin.
To me, it is one of the highest virtues.
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DAVID - I want to say first that your site is awesome! It's visually appealing and exceptionally organized. The information presented is highly educational and lucidly so. Keep it up.
I'm a 19 year old guy from Texas who was born, raised, and confimred a Roman Catholic. Yet, over the past year I've lost my faith. I no longer believe in the idea of a god or the supernatural. I've studied intently various religious ideas and views, as well as non-theist views, and it's partially due to this that I lost my faith. Recently I finished reading a great book that really opened me up to accepting Atheism by George H. Smith called \Atheism: The Case Against God.\ I think this book was the major push that saved me from theism, and made me realize how I think. I'm an Atheist. And I'll remain so until death. I've yet to tell my family, though, of my Atheistic views. I've read your section on \Coming Out\, and I think that in time I'll be able to tell them - after I'm more learned and prepared to defend my Atheist views. I've been disputing theism vs. atheism with a theist via email. It's not been easy, but I'm learning as I go, and as I go, I get better, and more reasonable and thoughtful in my comments. I try to be more analytical as I go.
I'm currently in the final days of my senior year in highschool (class of 2000) and I plan on going to the University of Houston and majoring in Philosophy or History. I'm also looking into a few sciences (geology, paleontology), but I'm not sure.
I think that in the future I'm going to join American Atheists. Perhaps I will become an active member. I do have a yearning to be a writer - maybe writing for the cause of AA, and even of the cause of Atheism itself, is in my future as well. Only time will tell.
Well, anyway, keep up the good work,
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MANDY - I am a Colorado high school student that is gravely concerned and angered
by the proposed bills allowing religion into the classroom. Almost everyone
(is very Christian here (students and teachers alike) and I often get enough
criticism when I attempt to speak my mind. This, however, is going too far.
I honestly don't think that it will get passed; rather, I believe it will be
shot down (if it does get that far) by the Supreme Court. The fact that
truly makes me cringe is that it has already gotten this far and will be
seriously considered by our representatives! Is this not openly violating
all free speech in the hypocritical mask OF free speech??? It's bad enough
that they must make armies of followers; they now expect me to be recruited by
law! Now this, at least to me, is absurd, but apparently it all makes sense
to someone! I was wondering if there was anything that I could do help my
voice and other like-minded student voices to be heard. I know that there
are others out there that feel like this. We are automatically overlooked as
the dumb, smiling children of the world with no thoughts or opinions, happy
to be pushed and prodded like cattle off to slaughter as long as we are force
fed bubble gum pop, sugary icons and a lovely blanket of beliefs... And
those of us who question the standards, who think and dress apart from the
rest are simply engulfed by the constant negative energy we receive until it
is all we can express in return. I for one am tired of being muted by other
people's ignorance and hope you can help me with some suggestions.
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MARIE - After reading the letters in your Smart Kids section, I
felt that I had to write in. I am seventeen years old and live in
Wilmington DE. I attend a very small private high school in the rich
neighborhood of town. Most of the posted letters tell about how awful
kids are treated for being Atheists. I would just like to say that I
have never experienced that negaativity. I have been openly Atheist
since I can remember and have never been treated poorly for it. My
school is Christian, and in preschool and elementary schools we had to
pray every morning. Most of the parents are very Christian, and out of
my 50 senior classmates, only one is Jewish. My extremely unusual class
has at least 5 Atheists and 5 agnostics though. When we discuss
religious ideas in any class, when the teachers or religious class
members support religion, most often the Atheists win the arguments.
There are also several high school teachers who I believe to be Agnostic
although they won't admit it. I come from a religious household and
attend a religious school, but I am accepted for who I am and what I
believe. I feel sorry for any children who are rejected for their
beliefs but I have never seen it happen in my sheltered environment. I
wish the best for all Atheist and I will hepl if I can. Thanks for
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It seems that some people, looking for an easy excuse, will always blame the government for anything wrong with society. People always say, \The government made this rule, it imposed this tax, that is the reason something went wrong.\ It is never the community as a whole that gets the blame.
Lately, many people have been blaming the government for violence in
schools. It's not the fault of parents. It's not the breakdown of the
family. It's purely the government. And why? The government deemed it
illegal to have prayer in public schools.
Even though the prayer ban makes school more comfortable and fair for
individuals, it is consistently pegged as the sole reason that immoral
events take place.
Maybe just the opposite is true. Maybe this law helped cut down on school violence.
Many times the students who commit violent acts feel ostracized and
different from their peers. By removing religion from schools, these
students have one fewer difference openly pointed out and can blend in
more with the norm.
They do not have to face the daily taunts by people who call their
religions \backward\ or \satanic,\ for no one has to know their
religion. This name-calling comes from the same peers who claim to be
upstanding religious students, but who bully students for not having
One thing that many proponents of religion do no think about is that
if prayer were allowed in school, everyone would have to be afforded
As soon as a Satanist started praying, there would be uproar in the
Perhaps if the proponents of prayer in school would stop blaming the
government for social woes and start taking an active role in the
community, some of these problems could be avoided in the first place.
Cara is a senior at Wheeler High School in Marietta.
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CLAY - Firstly, I would like to congratulate you on a fantastic website, I am going to recommend it to many people who could use it (brainwashed religious zealots). I am 15 years old and I first bacame an atheist around the age of 13. It was very difficult since I come from a religious family and community. Nowadays I try to help others to think for themselves. Sometimes I get a little depressed because everyone is thoroughly set in their Christian beliefs. When I found your website it gave me a sense of hope for humanity because I realized that there are people just like me who have broken their mental chains. I will try hard to contribute to your website and I plan to soon become a member.
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I am a 16 year old male and have admitted to myself and began admitting others that I am an atheist. I have always had an interest in the unknown and weird theories like \what if everything we knew was just in our minds\ stuff like that. I often disscuss them to amuse myself and to satisfy my interest in disscussion. I am (ironically) very interested in religion and how in times of great need or dispare people can be so easily swayed to certain ideas (propoganda is also an interest of mine, I try to hear stories from all sides before making a desicion) I read every article on your page and my ideas remain the same and before I read it I called myself a \free-thinker\ and a \rationalist\. It may seem odd to hear these subjects coming from a 16 year old, some would say that teens only skate board and drink. These ideas are so sterotypical they make me sick. What makes me even more sick is how teens follows them as if that were their role. With this hurdle I find it diffic!
ult to speak intelligently to other teens without them going \your wierd!\ or \You gotta get out more\.
I wish there was a Canadian Atheist Org. but I have yet to find one since I live in Canada. But your organization i hope has no bias against Canadians or else you are a bunch of hipocrits which I am sure you are not. the only difference between a Canadian and American organization is the laws are different.
I live on the north end of Vancouver Island (the south tip is near Seattle and actually drops below the 49th parrallel). I live in port Alice a small town of 1200 people, I go to grade 11 in a nearby town (25mi away). As you can imagine the church like in many small towns in North America is very dominant where I live. This causes several problems for me. Most of them are obvious.
I was actually baptized in Greece when I was a baby (tradition, even though my Dad has atheist beliefs, he doesn't talk about them directly.) After a few years a made friends and life was normal. I developed interest in civilizations like Egypt, Greece and Babylonia. I also love the idea of UFOs and aliens. I had lots of friends and life was good until one day. Matthew, a good friend of mine asked me if I'd like to go to a thing called \Kid's Club\. Sounds fine right? I asked my mom and she said no, I wasn't part of the pentacostal chruch. Disapointed because all my friends got to go to \Kid's Club\ and I couldn't I wondered what they did in there. Matthew was always very pious but never tried to convert me. I didn't care really what he was but soon we joined different groups and lost close friendship unrelated to religion, don't forget I was not athiest yet I was still technically Greek Orthodox.
I was good friends with Edwin and Iain for many years until they were invited togo to this thing at the church. Soon they started to change and the stopped hanging out with me and started hanging out with the church kids (heavily pious people who will never change ideas and won't accept the real world for what it is, sad but true, these people will spend five to six days a week at church, a little obssessed? I think SO!) I lost 2 good friends because of this thing. I made two friends who didn't go to the church Robert and Shaun. They have similar interests and we grew to become really good friends, Shaun who is also an athiest now (Shaun and I are the only Athiests at our high school and there are 600 kids there.) When I first went to High school in a different town this year I realized the little church group in Port Alice was a huge dominating force here in Highschool. 30 kids recruiting new people all the time. I realized something about them. Instead of Johova Witnesses knocking at your door openly trying to convert you and politley leaving when asked. The Christians sneakily bring you in with a series of catch 22's. I have broken their recruiting process into steps.
1: A few of them find someone who has little friends and a small self esteem maybe going through family trouble or having trouble making friends the sterotyped name is nerds or geeks I like loners better. They become friends with them and introduce them to the group.
*the kid now feels that someone cares about them and wants to b his/her friend. Excellent right?
2: The people all accept this person and treat him like hes really something and pretend to be friends. Then they say something like \were having a party on Saturday, wanna come?\
*how can he refuse, hes never been asked.
3: They let him know that its at the church. But now the kid feels he must go so not to insult or let down his friends. New friends can be a touchy business.
*he goes to the \church party\ doesn't quite sound right does it?
4: Anyway, at the party they (indirectly) make him believe in god because if he doesn't he runs the risk of losing all the popularity he just got and never had. They tell him slowly about hell and heaven and he starts to feel better about it.
*This is a catch 22. They have now him under control.
5: He receives a gift like a necklace that may say WWJD(what would jesus do?)on it? Another catch, or a T-Shirt that says \I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ\ on the back. They all wear them, so he wears it. Another catch.
*Now he can't quit or he'll go back to being a nobody again. If he get a girlfriend from within the group he will be hooked for good. Everytime something good happens they tell him \god is work with you now! do you see it?\. How can he leave now!?! He beleives that its true and beleive his self esteem is rising whenreally all he's doing is not beleive that he could do something good on his own, That he needs the power of god to get him through. This makes you dependent and weak.
This process sounds bad because it is. I have seen it happen to Iain, Edwin, Brendon, Sean, Chad, Adrienne, Paula and the list goes on and on and will continue to grow because every new person assimilated is another one to recruit.
FACT: Out of my brother's class (grade 9). Every single person out of 30 people except for himself, Greg, and Shaun have been recruited. The number in our school is rising. Its amazing how a few people can become so many. Since only 3 out of 30 were originally church people. The number is exponential.
Posters in our school advertising the church fill the walls and this propoganda, or rather brain-washing has gone too far. I am wondering what I should do? Is this legal in Canada? I know I will never join but I fear for my friends for it is very tempting. Shaun will never join but I hope people realize this Stalin style aproach to controling people. What should I do, it really bothers me to see people tell my 12 year old sister she will burn in hell if she doesn't go to \Kids Club\ on Friday. She has withstood this long hopefully she too won't be changed. The worst part is that parents beleive that this is good for kids and allow them to go. I'm thankful my parents made me not go. Everytime I try to tell them to test their new friends or to re-think what they are doing they tell me to stop recruiting them to Atheism, HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. How can you recruit them into something that you don't beleive in, it dosen't make sense.
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BEN - Hello! I saw a program done by you guys on my local public access station in Los Angeles, CA. Unfortunately, I only caught the last coupla minutes. I would have liked to watch the whole thing.
My name is BenI am a high-school junior (16 yrs old). I attend school in Los Angeles. I was raised under a strong conservative Jewish presence. And ever since I can remember having meaningful independent thoughts, I remember questioning and denying the existence of god, and the absurdity of so many organized religions.
Not until recently, when I realized that I was gay, did I fully reject my religion. I didn't even know until...well..today that there was a an Atheist movement. It made me happy to know that there are others that have the same ideas as I.
There are so many things I hate and disagree with regarding the Judeo-Christian beliefs. First of all, I do not believe in creation, I believe in a biological development of sorts (I'm not really sure how to define it). But at the same time, I am apprehensive about believing evolution. As far as homosexuality is concerned, I take a purely genetic standpoint on that, too. Too many religious people are bent on thinking that being gay is a choice. One thing I am sure of, however, is that god did NOT say, \Let there be light\. And then poof...
I do not like the bible (or torah). It makes me uncomfortable when people quote from it and try to twist its words around. In my opinion, the bible was written by people, as a collection of fables. Sometimes if I am getting know someone for the first time, and then I found out that he/she is religious, its hard not to lose all respect for him/her.
I can STAND people like Falwell and Phelps, because they were born and raised in the swamps of the south, so there is no reason they SHOULDN'T have the viewpoint that they do. The people I CAN'T stand are young people; young people who are driven to racism, hate and homophobia because they cling to their religion. Sometimes it makes me want to scream.
It makes me feel sick that so many members of the religious right want to tell me how to live my life. I am tired of people telling me I will go to hell because I am gay. I am tired of people who believe in their religion so much that they impose it on others and make THEIR lives hell.
Sorry...I have so much more to say, but I just can't say it all...its frustrating. Hope you guys get my letter!
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CHRIS - You may not remember my e-mail, but I have e-mailed you before. Im the 13 yr. old atheist. I was just wanting to let you know that I have finally came out to my parents that I am atheist. I had to I was about to break down there for awhile. At first they were of course very surprised. They said it was like hitting a brick wall, they never expected that I would be atheist. After they realized that I really was they said that I was evil, and that atheists are evil and all that, but after a while the came to realize that we (atheists) are not evil. They thought about counsling, but I talked them out of it. I think there just trying to except my beliefs, and see that nothing they do will change it. I told them that I would have to change on my own, but I told them I wasn't going to, because I was happy wit my life, I am happy being what I am, and that I am happy with my life.
I just wanted to say thank you very much for making this website, it has helped me so much. It has made me feel so much better about myself.
I still kind of feel alone, cause there is not one atheist that I know around where I live, well, there is one, a friend of mines brother. He is 19, I don't know him. I also feel alone cause everybody my age is Christian and give me a bad name, for my atheism. I don't let it get to me though. I just wish i could relate to someone thats my age, and knows what Im goin threw.
Thanks very much, you should be happy that you made this website. The purpose of making it has worked. It has made me feel so much better about my self.