I never noticed this thread before but it was nice to see that I finally fit into some sort of group, I guess.
It's certainly interesting to be a non-believer in a Christian community in the Bible belt. It's been even more interesting to watch my non-believing children try to navigate through it.
I think what allows us to function where we are without a great deal of strife is that we respect the religious beliefs of others. For me, even though I find the concept of God completely illogical, I also can see where believing could be comforting and uplifting for those who are able to have faith in unproven parables and stories that often defy logic. I do, however, appreciate the Bible and other religious books for the historical perspective they provide. I don't try to argue points with religious people because I do have a great deal of respect and it's very unusual for the beliefs of others to have an affect on me. I don't, however, have any issue with telling people that, while I respect their beliefs, my beliefs or lack thereof are none of their business. Basically, I think we are all trying to navigate through life's joys and difficulties and we all have to do so in the best way that works for us.
As for punishment and reward, well I've often told people who have asked what moral code I live by, that I try to live by the Golden Rule because I only have this one life to get it right and for as long as I live, I have to live with myself.
There are always going to be people who judge and try to convert me to the "right way of thinking." I always try to remember that they really believe they are doing me a service in trying to change my mind. I also try to remember that for most religious people, their belief frequently comes with the requirement to bring the word of God to others. And, yes, I do still capitalize God and bow my head when people pray. Not because I believe in God but because I believe it is respectful of those who believe. My human code requires that when I'm in the presence of others with beliefs and customs, that I show respect for that. So far, I've found that most people are respectful in return. When I encounter someone who is not, I remember that in every area of life there are some good and some bad. Just as there will sometimes be atheists who use their lack of religion to excuse inappropriate behavior, there will sometimes be religious people who use their religion the same way. I simply don't allow my encounters with the few to color my view of the many. And I still believe that most people, regardless of religious beliefs or lack thereof, are good at heart.
20 yrs. old, single, naive, thoughtless, but not deliberately hurtful.
OW#2 05/2010- 07/2010
44 yrs.old, married bitch in heat who acted like a whore and got treated like one.