Friday, April 16, 2010

Responses to my column on atheism

Yes, I know I should be frantically working on my thesis, but I'm taking a break to post some news I promised I'd share. On Wednesday I wrote an article on my experiences as an atheist at Purdue and the Society of Non-Theists. The overwhelming response was people emailing me, thanking me for writing it, which is absolutely awesome. I also found wonderful write up by a fellow Purdue student about how my experiences mirror his of coming to the Midwest as a Mormon:
When I lived in Utah most of the kids in school where Mormon. In Tennessee I could count the number of LDS students on one hand, two of them being myself and my sister, out of a student population of about 2000. And with Utah’s reputation of being “Mormon country” whenever someone learned where I was from the conversation would usually go something like this:

Person: “Where are you from?”
Me: “Utah”
Person: “Are you Mormon?”
Me: “Yes”
Person: (In disbelief and with a serious tone) “Are you going to have 10 wives when you get older?”

And the multiple wives question was usually just the tip of the ice berg. I could not believe how many strange outlandish questions I got asked about being LDS. It got to the point where I almost dreaded telling someone else I was LDS because of the various stereotypes and nonsense people would then assume about me. This was also when I began to meet LDS members who have had their families and friends shut them out of their lives because they became Mormon. I also met a girl here at Purdue who told us of her conversion and how her parents had cut off all contact with her because of her decision to become LDS.

So after reading Jennifer's article I began to relate to what she was talking about. I could even relate to the preachers who stand out on the mall preaching hellfire and damnation on all those they disagree with because, surprise, they think Mormons are going to hell as well. Whenever you see one of the street preachers holding a sign with a list of “damned” groups of people, look at the names and you will see Mormons listed along with atheists, pedophiles, democrats, and homosexuals.
While we'll probably never agree on theology, it's wonderful that others understand what being an atheist is like, and realize we can be more similar than they might have thought. Responses like this make me think my article was a great success!

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