Atheist in a Mormon Company

Katie says:

I am possibly an atheist in the making, but I have been through so many “isms” on my journey, discarding this and that part of religion on my way. I always thought that I was right, but then had to change my mind. I’m a little bit afraid that this is just another in a series, and I really don’t want to keep doing this. I went to skepticon 3 and it helped, as I now understand that for most atheists it’s not a dogma of no god, it’s just a lack of evidence FOR god. I am, however, a little bit intimidated by the sheer intellect in the atheist community. I have let my brain lie fallow for a really long time, and while I started out with a fairly high intellect, the atheist community seems to contain some of the greatest brains around.

ok, enough rambling…….my son is an atheist, but he cannot let it be known because there is a real risk of him losing his job. His workplace is full of Mormons, and they have consistently promoted Mormons ahead of him, but never criticize his job performance. He simply avoids the issue, finds a distraction when asked, but would love to ‘come out’ and speak his mind. The law says that what his employer does is illegal, but that would be of little comfort should he lose his job and be unable to support his family. Any suggestions?

3 Responses to Atheist in a Mormon Company

  1. The Atheist says:

    Changing our minds when we find that we’re wrong is the very foundation of rational thought! Wherever you end up in your religious beliefs, I would say that you are on the right track. It seems to me from reading your post that you are an intelligent sort and that you have no reason to feel intimidated by the other “brains” out there. As Damian, a poster on this blog once said: it’s not that I’m smarter than you, it’s just that I’m a book or two ahead of you (Sorry, Damian – I wasn’t able to find your exact quote but I hope this is pretty close). Quite probably, the atheist “brains” have just been reading about religion and science a bit longer than you have.

    It’s hard to generalize atheism beyond saying that it’s a rejection of theism. In the most general terms, atheism is the lack of belief in any gods. So you are right when you consider yourself an “atheist in the making” if what you are doing is rejecting the claims of various religions. If you reach the point where you have rejected all of the religious claims you know of, then “presto!”, you’re an atheist. I say reject claims “you know of” because it is impossible to reject claims we’ve never heard. So in my opinions, saying a priori that we reject all claims, including those we’ve never heard of, would be irrational, closed minded, and hypocritical.

    Beyond this most basic definition of atheism, different atheists hold different views about the existence of God, and the views range from agnosticism to “positive atheism”. I consider agnosticism to be a type of atheism, depending on what we mean by agnosticism. By “agnosticism”, I mean the view that there may be gods out there, but if there are, we don’t know anything about them. Richard Dawkins describes himself as an atheist with respect to any definition of God he’s heard of so far, but he’s agnostic about gods that he hasn’t heard of yet. At the other end of the spectrum, “positive atheists” believe they have enough evidence to explicitly assert that gods do not exist.

    Regarding your son’s job, it sounds to me like it’s not working out for him. It doesn’t matter the reason he is getting looked over for promotions (whether it’s his religious views, or whether his particular skill set is not optimal for this particular position), it matters that he’s not getting the promotions. Unless your son is able to fix the problems that are standing in the way of a promotion, or unless it’s a great job that he can’t afford to lose, I’d say he should look around for a better career opportunity.

  2. Don Severs says:

    Hi, Katie, I was at Skepticon 3 also. I’d suggest taking your time. Just keep reading and getting to know people. I’m on facebook and can suggest nonbelieving friends for you. It took me a long time to get my head around atheism, and even longer for my emotions to catch up.

    Best,

    Don

  3. That sucks. I’ve been denied employment because of my atheistic online presence. Not officially of course, but people talk.

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