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Reflections on Sunday
Reflections on Society's Attitudes Towards Non-Believers January 23, 2011
Venue: Home of Schera & Ted Lollis, 9219 George Williams Road, Knoxville, 37922
Call 865.690.8742 for directions. TIME: 4:00 to 6:00 pm. Bring a dish or just come!

People generally like and trust folks they consider to be "like me", believing themselves to be moral and good Americans. What do the conservative, evangelistic sects of Eastern Tennessee think about non-believers? They certainly don't consider us to be "like them", and therefore may have difficulty relating to us.

We'll start with the questions below:

Does religion provide values and a sense of meaning?

Can atheism provide values and a sense of meaning?

If religion gives "a framework for seeing oneself as a good person and one's life as basically good", can atheism not also provide a similar framework simply built from different planks?

What has been your personal experience, here in the southeast, with social prejudice against your non-belief? In other parts of this country?

Do you suspect that the religious milieu in which we live here is more accepting of agnosticism than atheism?

Have you found it easier to discuss your lack of belief as you have aged, or as you have become more comfortable in expressing it?

Do many folks here in East TN try to convert you to a religious stance? How adamantly do they argue their points, or are many of them willing to accept you as you are?

Have members of your family accepted your non-belief? How has this affected your relationship with certain relatives or friends?

Do you encourage your children or other young folks to express their non-belief freely or cautiously?
[For those of you interested in statistics on this issue, the article below will be helpful: "Atheists As “Other”: Moral Boundaries and Cultural Membership in American Society" by Penny Edgell, Joseph Gerteis, & Douglas Hartmann. University of Minnesota AMERICAN SOCIOLOGICAL REVIEW, 2006, VOL. 71 (April:211–234)]

Posted by schadwick
Jan. 21, 2011