The gist of the article was that once an Atheist was persona non grata, but now he or she is a more accepted - and growing - group in American society.
A reviled minority
For years, non-believers have been considered undesirable, untrustworthy and essentially reviled. I mean, in a country where "In God We Trust" is printed on every dollar bill, would you expect anything less? A USA TODAY/Gallup Poll in 2007 found that more than half of Americans 53% — would not vote for an atheist. No category fared worse. A University of Minnesota study taken a year earlier found that Americans rank atheists as the most disliked minority group in the country.
... Now that we of no faith are more willing to come out and be counted, we can start to change the perceptions that others have of us. As we speak out and make it known that we are atheists (or non-believers or any of the other names we can call ourselves) who can also be good people who care about our families, our communities and our country, we can start to change those negative perceptions.
The author goes on to talk about reconciling with her family, who are believers of some religious faith. The rejection she must have felt!
So, I'm not here to condemn this author at all, but I was thinking on how my experiences have been very different. I have only alluded to it on this blog, but I'm a new Christian. I've only begun my walk in the past two years and I know that while I've learned a lot, I fail every day and I still have so much to learn. What's been interesting to me is that my status as a believer (one of the 80% cited in the article), has put me into a minority in my peer and family groups. Perhaps it's because I've been in academia for way too long, or because I live in a very diverse city. I don't know. I do know that I could count on one hand, in fact TWO fingers, any of my friends who claimed to be "religious" until very recently.
What I do know is that I've been very shy about sharing anything about my budding faith, because I don't want the ridicule. I don't want the people who previously liked me to say the things I've heard them say about other people of faith: intolerant, bigot, deluded, etc. I can't think of worse words to describe me.
I'm sure these fears and worries make me a lukewarm Christian - which is another way I know I've still got a mile to grow. On the flip side, I do think about anyone who has that sort of separation from friends and family - the kind that stems from strongly held beliefs. It's hard to feel that segregation, no matter where it came from.
Forgive the tardiness of this post.