Ask Richard: Am I a Hypocrite in a Group of Christian Mothers? October 25, 2010

Ask Richard: Am I a Hypocrite in a Group of Christian Mothers?

Note: Letter writers’ names are changed to protect their privacy.

Hi,

I am a mother of two preschoolers. I am an Atheist. Those two things often isolate me on their own, but together, I often feel completely alone. To make my isolation worse, we recently moved to a new place, with no friends or family nearby.

I have found that in my community, the only active ‘Mommy and Me’ group meets at a local church, is sponsored by that church and is full of Christian mothers. They sometimes mention blessings, prayer and god, though they never pray in the group. I have mostly ignored it.

I enjoy the group, I get to hear other mothers talk about their children and I don’t feel so alone. But sometimes I feel like I am deceiving them. That if they knew I was an Atheist, I wouldn’t be welcomed within the group. That they wouldn’t want their children playing with my two little freethinkers. When I was religious, I wouldn’t have wanted an Atheist at our meetings.

I often point out the hypocritical ways of Christians, but lately I feel like I am abusing their fellowship. My husband told me that my personal beliefs are none of their business and it’s a mother’s group, not a Christian group. But I can’t shake the feeling of being a hypocrite. I mock them for their silly beliefs, but I hang out with them, in a church, to find a sense of community. Sometimes I feel like it’s the equivalent of a African American woman sitting in a KKK meeting, hoping they won’t notice…

Am I a hypocrite? Should I go back? Should I continue to treat my Atheism as a non-issue? Am I over thinking this? Or am I right in leaving?

Thanks.
Alana

Dear Alana,

Yes, I think you’re over thinking this. I admire your desire to be genuine and conscientious, and to avoid being a hypocrite, but from your letter it appears that the sponsoring church has not specifically described the group as a “Christian” Mommy and Me group, nor do I hear a strongly implied expectation that members should be Christians.

So just assume that the church has sponsored the group to fulfill the needs of mothers in the community, and if they expected something specific from you, they’d say so. I think that you are ascribing unnecessary significance to the fact that it meets in the church. If this were a group of women who met at a local park to watch their kids play, and they all happened to be Christians, I don’t think you’d be having the same conflict about you being an intruder or imposter or a hypocrite. They meet in the church because the church lets them. That’s nice, but apparently no religious requirement is stated or implied.

So I agree with your husband; your personal beliefs are immaterial. You are not “abusing” their fellowship, you’re contributing to it. As a human, as a woman, and as a mother you bring your own gifts of caring and wisdom to offer, and the group is richer for it.

Sadly, I think it is likely that despite your positive contributions, all or most of the Christian mothers would reject you and your children just as you described if they knew that you’re an atheist. One or two might not really mind, but they won’t oppose the others for fear of being ostracized too.

Now someone might say that you should give those Christian women a fair chance and tell them about yourself, but the snubbing, excluding and shunning of you and your kids could be severe, and we have seen this happen so many, many times. In the minds of too many people, the “a” word completely cancels and invalidates a person’s qualities such as loving, kind, helpful, generous, and so forth. You acknowledge that when you were religious, you would not have wanted to have an atheist in your meetings. This is how people protect their fragile faith. They drive away anyone who merely has doubts, and they huddle together in their little belief bivouac.

Now imagine if you were in a Mommy and Me group that just randomly happened to be comprised of all atheist mothers, and it was not organized specifically for that criteria. Would you want to exclude a lonely mother from that group just because she was a Christian? If your answer is no of course not, then you have become a more fair, more accepting, more generous person now than when you were religious. So don’t judge yourself so harshly as “hypocrite” for simply protecting yourself from bigotry.

You’re isolated, you’re lonely, you want a sense of community, you want companionship and closeness, and you want that for your little ones too. You’ll have some of that, but it won’t be perfect and it won’t be completely open because of the widespread irrational prejudice that so many Christians have against non-believers. Your atheism is only one small part of all that you are, and until you find a more accepting set of friends, you’ll have to keep that one small part private.

Enjoy what you can and contribute what you can to the group while your privacy lasts, because they may eventually find out. Then we will see how well those Christians have learned from their prophet. I think that a very telling measure of Christian virtue is how warmly and openly they welcome and accept non-believers into their company.

But atheists tend to be realists, and being warmly and openly accepted is a very rare experience. So although we might hope, I don’t suggest holding your breath.

In the meantime, you should also look for other friends in places not attached to a church, for people who are less likely to be narrowly conditional about including you. Don’t depend entirely on one group. Look for a Unitarian Universalist Congregation, and start your own Mommy and Me group there, if they don’t already have one. There are probably other ways to become an involved and participating member of your community. Hopefully some of the readers here will have some suggestions.

Alana, I wish you and your family well as you find ways to make yourselves belonging members of your new community. You deserve to be welcomed and included.

Richard

You may send your questions for Richard to AskRichard. Please keep your letters concise. They may be edited. There is a very large number of letters. I am sorry if I am unable to respond in a timely manner.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • I’d say that as long as nobody asks, as long as it never comes up, you are not required to disclose you are an atheist. I would personally draw the line at lying – if I were asked about my beliefs, or if it would come up in another way, I would not lie and pretend to not be an atheist. But if it is not even an issue whether you are Christian or not, why make it one?

    Besides, after they’ve gotten to know you, and are comfortable around you, should the topic come up naturally, who knows, maybe they’ll be willing to listen to you before judging. If not, it’s their loss, not yours.

  • June

    We are a homeschooling family and we run into this quite a bit since most (but thankfully not all) of the local homeschool groups are christian-based. I found a secular homeschool group that we are in love with but there is another local group that meets at a church and there is a lot of “god” talk, blessings, prayer answers, etc. mentioned in forum posts and meetings. However I’m not any more offended by that than I am of the multitude of christians that claim to pray for me when they find out I’m an Atheist.

    What I do give the local group credit for is that those that are super-religous always break it apart from general meetings. For example, there’s a “club” gathering weekly and if you want your child to participate in a bible study drop them off at 1 and if not, drop them off at 1:30. I like that it gives everyone the option. And since everyone is always running late… my kids are not the last to get dropped off. LOL

  • Alana,

    Don’t forget to check with the local public library for story time sessions – that can be a great place to meet other mothers in a completely open setting.

  • Michelle

    Being new in town and a parent of babies/preschoolers can be very isolating if you don’t seek out groups and activities to socialize and meet new people. I’ve BTDT too. There will be all sorts of people that don’t mesh with your beliefs…even parenting styles can cause heated debate. I think that keeping religious belief/non-belief to oneself is a good idea. I think that looking for a UU group is a good idea too. Wish I had thought of that when my kids were that young!

    It does get easier to socialize once kids are in full-time school, and you get to meet a larger variety of people…eventually you’ll find friends who are like-minded through the school and extra curriular acitivies…you’ll also have more time to develop your own interests and activities separate from the kids. 🙂

  • Jenni

    Alana, I am also an atheist and a mother of two small children, and dealt with a similar issue when I moved to a small, southern town five years ago. I joined a local playgroup and found myself to be the only atheist. I struggled with weather to “come out” to my new religious friends, but was so afraid of losing the one source of companionship in my new life that I kept quiet for a long while. I really enjoyed the company of these women, and would have been devastated if they had rejected me because of my beliefs.

    After about a year I had formed real genuine friendships within the group, and began to feel more comfortable being myself. I eased into the “coming out,” at first only hinting that I wasn’t religious. Eventually I worked up the courage to come out completely, and tell my two best friends (both of them are Catholic) that I was an atheist. They had of course already figured out as much, and did not seem the least bit phased by my revelation. They are still my dearest friends, and we are able to talk about our differences openly and without any bitterness or anger.

    Of course, I have no idea if the women in your group would be as accepting, but I wouldn’t give up hope. My advice would be to continue strengthening your friendships, and eventually you will get a sense of whether these women can be true friends who will accept you despite your differences, or just acquaintances to pass the time with. Bottom line: the more they get to know you and realize you are a good person, the less likely they will be to disown you because you don’t share their beliefs. Good luck!

  • Jason

    If it came up, I wouldn’t hide the fact that you are an atheist, that would be disingenuous. But so long as you are not perpetrating a lie, there is nothing to feel bad about. Who knows, if it comes out in a year or so that you are an atheist, your positive contribution to the group may go a long way to showing that atheists aren’t evil.

  • Michelle

    @ June

    Interesting to hear that you homeschool. Around here, I have only heard of those families who homeschool because of religious beliefs. I know of one family that have chosen to homeschool because even the local Christian school (publicily funded) wasn’t a good choice…they didn’t want any outside influences on the kids education-wise.

    Makes me wonder if there are, in fact, any athiest homeschoolers here.

  • Meredith

    Heck, I volunteer at a preschool located IN a church. I often feel the same during staff meeting prayers and blessing from the director. Some know about my atheism and some not. While I do not advertise it (to them), I do not lie when it comes up. For instance, I didn’t attend the church service where the pastor “blesses” all of the staff for the upcoming year.

    So I think you are fine. Find companionship and enjoy the social outings. I am not sure I would have made it through my kids being toddlers without some of those mom groups.

    If someone asks, be honest and light. It makes me think of those cliches we tell our kids… “If your friends don’t like you for who you are, they aren’t very good friends now, are they?”

  • Siamang

    I’m going to put out there a different opinion from Richard, though I do appreciate his answer.

    Here’s the danger as I see it: You are afraid of the worst from your mommy friends. Because of fearing the worst, you don’t give them the opportunity to let them show you their best. By fearing their rejection, you are assuming they will be bigoted.

    Now some may react badly. And some might react brilliantly. Others here might well say it’s none of those other people’s business, and let sleeping dogs do whatever sleeping dogs do.

    But here’s where I think there’s a danger: these fears of yours are coloring your opinion of these people. If it wasn’t a big deal, and you could let it go, that would be one thing. But it seems to me you’ve let this fear cause you to think less of your mommy friends. And maybe it’s because of you projecting your own past behaviors (when you were a Christian) onto them.

    The analogy you chose, of the KKK, tells me that you are feeling some strong resentment. It sounds like some bitterness is intermingled in your feelings, and you’re going to need to find some inner peace and emotional balance.

    It’s a danger to let your feelings toward these people fester. Seek peace and charitable feelings toward these other parents. Show by example exactly who you are.

    Give them the opportunity to surprise you with their open-mindedness, or let them be condemned by their actual behavior.

    Because right now they’re already in your doghouse, and they haven’t done a thing.

  • MadScutter

    Alana, I’d have to agree with Richard, and I certainly understand your predicament. Just this weekend I had to sit down with my seven year old and explain why we couldn’t continue with Cub Scouts.

    I had previously told him that I had reservations about belonging to a group with such an integral religious component (ok, I didn’t use those exact words). I had been struggling with feeling that I would have to hide my beliefs and just “play along” ever since the first meeting, where I learned that belief in and duty to God were a core part of the Scouting way. I was willing to do that, because I felt that my silence and discomfort was a small price to pay in exchange for the benefits of Scouting. Unfortunately, with just a bit of research (which I clearly should have done BEFORE the first meeting), it became clear to me that their policy on atheists/agnostics (and homosexuals) is not one that I can support. So we had our little talk. (I was pleased to hear him say that it was “stupid” to think that Atheists couldn’t raise good children).

    But I didn’t feel comfortable telling my neighbor (the den-mother) my real reasons. It is none of her business in the first place, and in the second, her son is one of the few 7 year olds in the area, and I didn’t want to risk my son being “punished” if she decided not to let her little angel play with the nasty heathen across the street. Now, I don’t know that she WOULD do that, but I don’t think it is worth the risk.

    I wish I lived somewhere that I felt was tolerant enough to accept atheists. Somewhere that I didn’t have to consider things like whether or not my child would be persecuted for his parents’ beliefs. But you have to make your way in the best way you can, even if it sometimes means that you are less than completely open with those around you. (It feels dishonest, and I hate that, but securing my son’s safety and wellbeing comes first).

  • Amy

    I feel for you. I moved to a new area (Charleston, SC) about 5 years ago and felt overwhelmed by the Christian atmosphere here. I did find quite a few moms groups, though, so that helped at first. Some of them were secular in that they weren’t based on religion, but it seemed that the vast majority of moms were religious, so that was off-putting. Although I never outright lied, I also felt that I was being deceitful, just by not mentioning my atheism. I’ve finally reached the point, and it took me a long time in getting there, of being more open about my beliefs. It has cost me (and my children) some friendships, but I feel better about myself and being open could possibly give another closeted atheist a much-needed opening. I also felt like, by not being completely honest, that I was making the decision for my Christian friends, and that wasn’t really fair to them. Knowing that I would run the chance of alienating them, I do feel it is better to give them to chance to show that they are good people, as well. Better to be hated for who you are than loved for who you’re not. It IS tough, though, when your children are at stake. Ultimately, you have to do what you feel is best for you and your children.

    Fortunately, we now have a Secular Humanist parent support group (Secular Humanist Families of Charleston) in my community. It’s like a moms group (with weekly playdates and MNOs), but is for the whole family, too, with weekend activities and socials and fieldtrips and such. It is so nice to have such a supportive group and to have a safe place. And we are open to non-atheists joining our group, too. So far no Christians have been interested, but we do have Jewish, Buddhist and the general non-religious members as well as those who label themselves atheists. I personally think religion should be beside the point, and that’s what our group tries to do, but unfortunately, there are some people who make religion a big deal and so it is nice to have a group like this.

    Regarding atheist homeschoolers, there are quite a few. Not as many as the Christian ones, of course, but they are out there. Our group here in Charleston has several and they try to do group activities and to support each other.

  • Rich Wilson

    I always thing it’s better that people find out I’m an atheist after they’ve formed an opinion of me void of that fact. I don’t hide it in any way, but I don’t make it the first thing out of my mouth.

    Atheist homeschooling: My son is only almost-4 so it’s too early to say, but if circumstances warrant, I’d home-school in a heartbeat. Luckily my work situation is such that I could probably work out a schedule by which that would be possible.

  • Danny Wuvs Kittens

    Excellent post Richard, but I would like to add and correct one thing. Christians, and people in general, are likely to shun people if they find that they don’t share beliefs. If they find out that one of their friends has changed beliefs, then they may begin to shun them or they may just kind of ignore it.

    If they find out that a person has had a belief different from theirs the whole time they’ve known that person, they’ll have a much more difficult time shunning the person, because they’ve grown attached.

    While you might have indeed shunned an atheist STRANGER, its unlikely you would shun an atheist family member or friend.

    I don’t think they’ll all of a sudden they’ll shun you after they’ve known you for a long time just because they ask you about faith or religion and you respond “oh, I don’t believe in God”.

    Just be friendly and kind. Help them out with small things when you can; holding the door, helping them carry things from their car. Compliment them occasionally. If they still want to be bigots when they find out, they’ll have to kill off a good friend.

  • Alecia

    I know how hard it can be to move to a place where you know no one but to do it with children is even harder. If I don’t make serious attempts at meeting up with other families I feel like I am neglecting my motherly duties. My child needs to socialise, just as an adult does.
    I belong to a forum online and after a few months I decided to “come out” to this otherwise religious community. While there were several people who couldn’t accept me any longer, there were also staunchly religious mothers who were kind. In fact, I see and talk to one of them regularly and our children love to play.
    I agree that telling your play group may cause more harm than good in that it could isolate you and your children. In the meantime, I would check local libraries. My little one and I go to a group where a woman reads a couple books then there is open play time for a little under an hour. It’s easygoing and no one has brought up god! Good luck to you and your little ones.

  • I recommend continuing to interact with the mommy group and if religion comes up just say that you are kind-of “home-schooling” your children on morals and religious belief. I recommend coming up with some stock answer about your own religious beliefs…. something somewhat evasive and under a cloak of privacy. You can be up-front with them about not attending church but reserve your right to privacy about full disclosure of what your beliefs exactly are. I view it legitimate for an atheist to say that they basically follow the teachings of Jesus… but you don’t buy into all the hell-fire damnation stuff. (that would actually describe most people who call themselves Christian).

    As for the other commenter that pulled their child out of cub-scouts, I decided to let my kids be in scouts. I’m actually the den leader for my younger child and also an assistant scout master within the troop for my older child. I just tell the parents that we will not do the god related achievement(s) as a den. Each family will do those on their own. Everybody likes that arrangement. I haven’t felt it necessary to proclaim that I’m an atheist. The national scout leadership is bigoted with their exclusionary policy, but the people in the local programs don’t all have that viewpoint. At least not all of them.

  • I sympathize with your situation. If it’s MOPS you’re talking about, they are infamous for being saturated with Christianity. And of course no matter what, any random group of moms will be mostly Christian – some fervent, some not.

    I think you should trust your gut about whether to come out. I don’t think it’s dishonest not to, if you are just omitting the fact.

    However, to offer you some hope – I am completely out as an atheist, and I haven’t noticed much backlash, if any. My best friend is an evangelical Christian! I just mention my atheism casually when it comes up in conversation – I never had a big coming out speech, and I don’t get all sniffy or condescending when religion comes up. People seem to roll with it pretty well.

    Another vote for looking up your local UU “church,” where you will find plenty of atheists and people who tolerate all beliefs.

  • I don’t belong to a playgroup, but I do have a friend who is a Baptist, and we have regular playdates with our kids. I think she and I are successful because we’ve come to an implicit agreement about accepting each other. She must know I’m an atheist – all the links on my blogroll make it clear. But there are so many other differences in our philosophies that we’ve fallen into politely discussing those issues instead of the larger religion issue. But it takes a special effort, with people you already have a rapport with, to reach that kind of friendship. There are some other moms who go to her church who I probably would not get along with at all, and one who pries me about my lack of True Belief but hasn’t rejected me as a friend; she just insists she likes me and then asks me more questions. Okay, whatever.

    If you’ve already gotten to the point where you’re mocking the other women about their beliefs, then you’re probably not feeling much of a connection, and I don’t know if it’s possible to have a change of attitude to improve the situation. You may need to try again, and hope that your next moms’ group has a more appealing vibe to it, so that you’ll find it easier to tolerate the beliefs and philosophies you don’t share with them.

  • Tucker

    My son was born in Texas, and joining one of these groups was the only socialization we had for much of his younger years. I kept silent during any church talk, which there was a fair amount of, but I did manage to make some very good friends that ended up splintering off into our own group. My best friend from those days was a very devout Catholic, and she had zero problem with my atheism. We spoke of our religious differences very honestly and respectfully, and I cherished the times that we had as friends. Now that I live in Illinois, most of my “mom friends” are either atheist or agnostic, but I do have one very religious friend, who is one of the best friends I ever had. It’s very hard to gauge whether you will be accepted or shunned, but I always think it’s better to be honest (and only if openly asked) about your atheism. If they shun you, move on. I think you’ll find that at least one other mom won’t care, and you may make a good friend in the process.

  • sailor

    “But atheists tend to be realists, and being warmly and openly accepted is a very rare experience.”
    I actually disagree with that. I am older, I come from Europe and I spend some time in the US. I have long been an atheist, I have not chosen friends because of their belief or lack of it. But most of my friends do not believe in God, they are not atheists with a big A because not believing is just matter of course. I do have a few religious friends, we may disagree about Gods, but there is no active issue or bad feeling about. One of the reasons I like these sites is they inhabit an area where there is conflict. But the danger of that is to give Alana an overly depressing picture of what it is like to be an atheist in this world.
    I suggest that real friendship is much more important than belief, and when you develop really good friends they will stay that way whatever the difference in your beliefs.

  • beckster

    Judging by my experience with various moms’ groups, you should be more careful about what you say about breastfeeding and vaccines than your religion! Being on the wrong side of those topics can really get you kicked out!

    Seriously though, if you wish there were a more secular playgroup start one. If you are disappointed in the playgroup choices, then I bet there are other moms (and dads!) that wish there were another option also. It doesn’t have to be an atheist/non-religious group specifically, but should be open to everyone and should meet in neutral places where everyone can feel welcome. I belong to a wonderful playgroup with moms and dads of many religions and plenty of atheists and it is wonderful! We are all able to be open with each other and our children get the added bonus of interacting with kids from many different traditions.

  • Robert W.

    I am curious- Do you think that a group of Atheists mothers would shun a Christian mother who joined a secular group if she started to talk about her beliefs?

    I would tend to think that the reaction would be the same as Richard believes these Christian mothers would react.

    That would be a shame for either group

  • Claudia

    I am curious- Do you think that a group of Atheists mothers would shun a Christian mother who joined a secular group if she started to talk about her beliefs?

    I would seriously doubt it, unless by “talk” you mean incessantly proselytizing to the mothers and the children, which would get her quite reasonably booted (as would an atheist constantly informing theist mothers of how ridiculous their beliefs are). However if she merely stated she was Christian and brought her views up when they were relevant to the conversation (if religion came up) then no. Atheists don’t believe you can’t be moral and Christian at the same time. Atheists in the US are so surrounded by believers that the notion that merely having a believer around is a threat to your beliefs is ridiculous.

  • Sean

    I mostly agree with Claudia, with the proviso that it depends on the group of atheists. In almost any demographic there’s likely to be a few aggressive nuts; the same is true of atheists.

    I’d like to think that atheist mothers would accept a Christian if she wasn’t being obnoxiously intrusive about it. Without having any such groups to take examples from, it’s hard to really know what the problems would be.

    But the “Christianity is the source of morality” thing is definitely a barrier to atheists being accepted sometimes.

  • My wife runs the local “Toddler Group” in the back of the church – and she would welcome you with open arms (probably because her husband is an atheist).

    However, if you are going to leave because you think you are being hypocritical – why not try just telling them, not that you are an atheist (which will have strong connotations) but that you don’t believe in god or any of that (personally, I’m never too sure myself how you say that). What’s the worst that can happen? They’ll kick you out – sure you were going anyway.

    I also know from “Toddler Group” that there are a number of strong personalities (bitches) that might reject you – but there will be others who are not so – try and figure it out.

  • Robert

    As a Christian I am sad to say I agree with you that the atheist group would probably be more accommodating. I wish it were different, but we Christians sometimes have a very hard time not trying to evangelize where its not wanted.

  • Where I live, there are plenty of Mothers Clubs that have absolutely no connection to any religion. I guess I just assumed it was the same everywhere. Have you checked with your local recreation center? They might be able to recommend an alternative to a church-sponsored group. Rec centers in general are a great place to enroll kids in short-term classes, and some of them also have playgroups. I think contacting the Unitarian Universalists is a good idea, too, or what about your neighborhood synagogue? The Jewish families in the area must have something going on. Is there a Jewish Community Center nearby? Our local JCC welcomes all families, and they have all sorts of programs and playgroups for kids.

  • Jen

    I stumbled on this site by accident, and read the entire thing anyway cause I’m bored. I’m a Christian, and I was a little offended at some of the comments. I would accept her. I wouldn’t want her children telling my children that religion is fake etc. But I would still let them play with my kids. I believe in diversity.

    Yes the catholic church is a big fat hypocrite(I always knew it, but I got a big smack in the face today), but I only believe in the biblical aspect of it, not the “no gay marriage” and whatnot aspect.

    I’d accept her like I would any other religion, cause in a way, you are your own religion. I’ve alway taught my kids to treat everyone the same, no matter what gender, race, etc. And I was a little hurt by the “you are kinder, warmer, etc.” comment (I know that’s not the exact words but I can’t go up and down on my computer without this big thing happening) and the “my little freethinkers” it’s comments like that that make the only non-hypocritical catholics left dislike the atheists.

    We’re not all bad you know. And I know you don’t believe in him, but you should “treat people the way you want to be treated” and if the atheists are going to say that (and i know some are) Catholics are stupid, ignorant people, the Catholics are going to fire back with everything they have. Trust me.

  • Richard Wade

    Hi Jen,
    Thank you for your gracious and inclusive attitude. I’m very glad to hear that you would accept Alana and her children. You are correct that not all Christians, and in particular, not all Catholics are intolerant or inhospitable to atheists, and that should be acknowledged.

    Please forgive us for our assumptions that most Christians would either be hostile to atheists or not willing to stand up against the hostility of their fellow Christians toward atheists, because too often, that has been our painful experience. You’re talking to a group that has been shunned, slandered and spat upon many times.

    I don’t know where that “kinder, warmer” comment is either, but certainly any individual person is capable of kindness and warmth. It’s just been our experience that too often with Christians, that kindness and warmth is conditional on our conforming to their beliefs. If we do not, it goes off like a light.

    However, despite our learned caution, we must constantly try to set aside our personal hurtful experiences, and give each new person a fair chance, just as you are saying.

    I’m not sure why you find Alana’s remark hurtful to you:

    That they wouldn’t want their children playing with my two little freethinkers.

    Her fear is based on her own intolerance when she was religious, and her learned caution after seeing or hearing about many other atheists’ children being rejected and shunned. If the hurt you feel is from something about the term “freethinkers,” that is simply a term used to describe people who do not think within a rigid, dogmatic framework. Alana is teaching her kids to think for themselves.

    From your description of your own views on the Catholic Church, I would say that there is a lot of freethinker in you.

    Most of the atheists I know well practice the Golden Rule. At the same time, most humans learn a little bitterness or hesitation when they’re beat up. Nevertheless, I don’t like hearing blanket condemnations of any group. We must rise above our own hurt. Thank you for visiting, and thank you for sharing an example of how important it is for everyone to keep trying.

  • Sarah

    Your over thinking this. If you feel like you are abusing their friendship by mocking them and then going to them for a sense of community, then don’t mock them. You don’t have to mock them to be an atheist. Just simply say “I don’t believe in religion”. Some will be offended, but others would probably say “ok”. Simple and easy. 🙂