15 Atheists Describe What It’s Like To Be Judged For Not Having A Religion

PROKhánh Hmoong
PROKhánh Hmoong

1. “I hate that question, ‘Why are you an Atheist?’ You wouldn’t ever ask someone who’s Christian or Jewish why they believe in what they believe. I just don’t share similar values. I don’t ‘get’ the belief system. There isn’t any disrespect intended, I just see certain weaknesses in religions that I can’t get over and pretend don’t exist.”

— Billy, 21


2. “Anytime I tell someone I’m an Atheist, I feel like they immediately think of me as a lesser person.”

— Sarah, 21


3. “I really admire people who have religion—except for when they’re attacking me for not sharing their beliefs. I sometimes wish I could believe in God, but I also think it’s unfair to pressure me into it. I don’t hate religion, I just don’t understand it.”

— Ray, 22


4. “Look, I went to Catholic school for over 10 years. I know the whole shebang. I graduated Catholic high school with too many questions to just blindly have faith in what the Bible was telling me. My decision. What drives me crazy is when my former classmates accuse me of ‘losing my way’ or ‘defecting,’ as if I failed myself. I just made a different choice.”

— Molly, 19


5. “People always tell me that I’m going to hell because I don’t believe in God. I don’t believe in an afterlife either, so those threats don’t mean a whole lot.”

— John, 21


6. “I don’t hate people for believing in God. I’ve found that religious people get mad and defensive towards Atheists and it’s never the other way around. Doesn’t that say something?”

— Kevin, 21


7. “I find life is a lot simpler being an Atheist. This is especially proven when I inevitably get sucked into a one-sided debate with someone who isn’t an Atheist. People really love lecturing me. But I mean, it doesn’t bother me, because when people go off on me I’m just reminded of how I made a better choice by letting religion go.”

— Helen, 20


8. “Probably the most annoying aspect is that people get pissed that I’m an Atheist but still celebrate Christmas. For me, Christmas is about family, joyful music, Elf, and exchanging gifts. I think it’s way too commercialized and social to be considered a strictly religious holiday that only Christians can celebrate or talk about. Don’t tell me I can’t watch fucking Elf because I don’t believe in God.”

— Caroline, 22


9. “I do wish I had religion. My friends who are religious and regular church-goers do seem to have this extra sense of security and stress relief because of it. It’s hard for me to explain to people that faith is truly a gift; it’s not something I can just force upon myself. Be happy with what you have, don’t scream at me because I don’t have it too.”

— Sean, 24


10. “Religion makes me ask questions that nobody seems to know the answer to. I like being confident in knowledge, and religion seems to be 95% ‘grey area’ with no actual explanations. If someone would answer them for me, yeah, maybe I would change my mind about the whole thing. But anytime I try to ask questions, I get shut down and told I ‘don’t understand.’ Well, then help me understand!”

— Peter, 22


11. “I come from a very religious background. It was only when I got older and started learning about how many wars have started over religion that I began to really question a lot. My family completely disproves of that decision, but I felt like I was living a lie by pretending it didn’t bother me.”

— Maddie, 18


12. “I really believe that religion is a projection for people to find and create ‘meaning.’ At least, that’s what I justify it as when people ask me ‘what’s the point of living if you don’t believe in the afterlife?’ What kind of question is that? Why would the point of living be to die so you could move on to another life? What about the one happening right now?”

— Charlotte, 21


13. “Often people misunderstand Atheism as being ignorant about religion. If anything, Atheism is the result of being very knowledgable about religion.”

— Emily, 20


14. “Religions are fascinating from an academic point of view. People assume you can’t be an Atheist and study religion, but I really do enjoy it. I hate being told I shouldn’t. I just don’t necessarily believe or support what they’re preaching, but I’m allowed to think it’s interesting.”

— George, 19


15. “The Bible says everything is a sin. I just don’t understand how people can tolerate guilt over something like having sex before marriage or being gay. How can people get equally angry with me, for not believing in God, and another guy, who actually shares their beliefs, but is gay? Why am I the one being portrayed as evil? I don’t care if he’s gay or if he believes in God.”

— Alex, 22 TC mark

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