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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » A social question to the other Hatrack atheists (Page 1)

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Author Topic: A social question to the other Hatrack atheists
AchillesHeel
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Last week I made my first foray into the atheist community, after a good long while of looking into local groups and events (some severely outdated, some frighteningly vague) I finally attended a casual meeting.

There was close to thirty people, everyone was very polite and seemed to appreciate that I really had no particular experience interacting with other non-believers. A lot of discussions about science, local histories, some jokes about eating babies and there was even a "red heathen piggybank" signed by Richard Dawkins. All in all I had a nice time and plan to attend more get togethers, the organizer has even inspired me to get a membership to the Arizona Science Center. The only uncomfortable part for me were certain disparities between me and everyone else, there was only one other person under thirty and quite possibly the only one who could be called lower-class. It didn't surprise me and no one seemed unsettled by the twenty-three year old gas station clerk but I certainly felt like a fish out of water at times.

Like I said, this was my first time socializing in the Atheist community, a thing I hardly thought possible at all. What have your experiences been like?

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TomDavidson
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I don't socialize in the atheist community. I'm not a member of an atheist community; I actually find the idea sort of ridiculous. I'm an atheist who belongs to many communities, some of which have more atheists than others.
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AchillesHeel
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I wouldn't say that there is anything ridiculous about using a certain common trait or interest as a basis of interaction. It isn't as if we all just sat around bad mouthing believers, it was simply comfortable to speak to like-minded people with who I didn't have to censor myself. Arizona is very christian state and I have had some very strange reactions to stating my beliefs before, knowing that no one there will consider me to be an amoral less than American heathen was a rare comfort.

[ March 19, 2012, 05:17 PM: Message edited by: AchillesHeel ]

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Strider
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I was in a humanist group for some years before I moved out of the area. I really loved being involved in it. We had a monthly book club, movie night, social gathering and general meeting with a speaker. We also did various other social activities and community service events. I miss it!

We were short on young people, but not quite at the level you describe. Young people just tend not to get involved in community organizations...of any kind...at the same level that older people do. I don't think it's particularly the atheist community. Though as our group grew and we started having more events, younger folks started getting involved more.

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BBegley
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There are probably a lot of people who would like a church type social interaction, but who don't happen to believe in god. As a misanthropic atheist, I have little interest in any type of meeting, but I know people who don't believe who stay involved in churches for the people.
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Raymond Arnold
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The rationality community in NYC has the opposite problem, where almost everyone is under 30 and it feels a little weird when an older person shows up.

Then there's the Ethical Culture society, where median age is like 55. I wanted us to integrate with them as some kind of affiliated group but it felt really awkward.

For the past year I'd been dismissive of "atheist" groups. Atheism is the beginning of a worldview, not the end, and I thought groups should be "about" something rather than about a lack of something. But recently I've been speaking with atheists from the deep south, where the battlelines are being drawn around their right to exist and the notion that science is *real*, and genuine oppression is happening. In those places, atheist groups make more sense to me.

I'm fortunate in NYC to have a variety of groups nearby, each with different purposes.

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Strider
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Good point Raymond, a lot probably depends on geographic location.

Are you involved with the NYC Skeptics?

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Raymond Arnold
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No. So far I've been involved with two Rationality groups (one officially affiliated with Less Wrong, one not, but heavily inspired by), Ethical Culture (basically for older atheists who like the feel of Catholic mass), and two branches of the Center for Inquiry.

One of the CFI branches was in Harlem and focuses on African American issues (such as the stereotype in some black communities that being an atheist is "acting white" and is defecting from the community). The other one was more white dominated. Both of them skewed a little older than the Rationality groups (25-40 rather than 20-30).

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Dan_Frank
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
I don't socialize in the atheist community. I'm not a member of an atheist community; I actually find the idea sort of ridiculous. I'm an atheist who belongs to many communities, some of which have more atheists than others.

This.

My somewhat limited experience with atheists who too heavily defined themselves around being atheists has actually been quite negative. I think because it meant they were still essentially defining themselves around God.

That is, they're actively rejecting god instead of simply accepting that he doesn't exist and then moving on. This went hand in hand with wholesale rejection of Judeo-Christian values in general (to stick it to God, I guess?), which I think is a terrible idea.

That being said, it sounds like you had fun, so presumably the folks at your group were more mellow. I hope you continue to have fun, and don't run into too many bitter, amoral/relativistic atheists. [Smile]

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AchillesHeel
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There was one, and he stuck out like a sore thumb of hatred and malaise. When I arrived there was one long table full of people and three feet away one guy playing some neurotic form of tictactoe with playing cards, I sat quietly at the other end of his table and was very happy when more attendees filled in the surrounding seats. No one was very interested in his presence, including himself it seemed.
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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank:
[QB] This went hand in hand with wholesale rejection of Judeo-Christian values in general (to stick it to God, I guess?), which I think is a terrible idea.

Mmmm. I've never been a member of an atheist organization of any kind, but the vast majority of Anglophones where I live are atheists, as are most natives.

I quite enjoy people who are unapologetically non-religious. However, I have known a number of atheists, usually coming from more conservative backgrounds or religious families, who are not so much atheists, as, well, "haters." The "dead baby" meme mentioned in the OP is a perfect example. These types of people are so insecure about themselves and their place in the universe that, having rejected God (different from simply not having ever been enticed by religion), they must be overtly provocative in their rejections of social mores. To be "conformist," not swearing, not insulting, not impinging upon the comfort of others, is too much for some of these people to handle. They're essentially the same as the evangelists who go from "Homosexuality is a Sin," to "God Hates Fags." It's weak. It's the sign of a narrow mind and a level of insecurity I don't comprehend.

And, sadly, as some Christians would love to sell you the notion that they, and only they, understand and can do family, love, kindess, charity, and moral living, the reaction of some is to be disgusted by the facade of any of these images.

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Strider
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quote:
Originally posted by Raymond Arnold:
For the past year I'd been dismissive of "atheist" groups. Atheism is the beginning of a worldview, not the end, and I thought groups should be "about" something rather than about a lack of something. But recently I've been speaking with atheists from the deep south, where the battlelines are being drawn around their right to exist and the notion that science is *real*, and genuine oppression is happening. In those places, atheist groups make more sense to me.

As a younger person my extended social network has always been mostly made up of areligious people and non-believers. My reasons for joining a Humanist group were very much, "okay, we don't believe in god. great. let's move on and talk about ethics and social issues and current events with like minded people. let's promote science education and help out in our community." But I was amazed at how many older people came to the group who had never been able to talk about their atheism with other non-believers before. Who were ostracized by their families and their communities and who felt a lot of resentment towards the religion. These people needed a support network and an outlet to vent their anger and frustration. It was nice that we had a large enough organization that everyone was able to get out of the group what they needed.
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AchillesHeel
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quote:
But I was amazed at how many older people came to the group who had never been able to talk about their atheism with other non-believers before. Who were ostracized by their families and their communities
I can only imagine living quietly for another forty years. Just yesterday my grandmother was in town so we went to lunch, when she asked what I've been up to lately I told her that I had gone to a casual meeting for atheists and she said nothing and was extremely uncomfortable, she couldn't help but laugh when I mentioned that there was talk of baby eating. Despite the fact that no one in my extended family has been actively christian for the last forty years I am still seen as wrong and no one besides my mother is willing to even broach the subject with me. Even then she has said that she would rather I were gay than atheist, a very silent and confusing prejudice indeed.
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Dan_Frank
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That's really sad, AH. I'm sorry. [Frown]

My parents would've rather I been a gay atheist than a conservative/libertarian type. Parents often don't get what they want, especially if what they want is for their kid to think a certain thing.

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AchillesHeel
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The really discouraging part is that I was talking to her about a testimonial of sorts I had read from a gay/black/atheist (poor s.o.b.) who had been openly gay to his baptist family for years when he told them about his disbelief, his mother took it far worse than his homosexuality. To my shock my own mother found that to be the most obvious thing in the world.

Have you ever googled "best state in America for atheists?" I sure have, and it is not very reassuring.

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Dan_Frank
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I live in the SF Bay Area, which, at a guess (just based on my gut and the people around me), is probably near the top in terms of nice places in the country for atheists. The biggest problem I find here is the number of atheists fitting the description I laid out above (bitter, amoral, still spend an awful lot of time thinking about god considering they don't think he's real. Less atheist, more antitheist, essentially.)

That being said, I've also lived in a very religious, rural part of Arizona, and in general, I'm not sure how much it matters how many atheists there are in your state.

I mean, I get it when you're talking about your family. It sucks to feel alienated from the people closest to you.

But unlike your family, you can choose your friends. Even in very religious Arizona, it wasn't hard to make friends who were, if not atheist themselves, then at the very least not so rabidly religious that my atheism was a problem.

So I guess what I'm saying is, don't worry too much about those google results. There are decent people everywhere, you just have to find the ones that synch with you. Don't be discouraged!

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I Used to Be a Drummer
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quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank:
The biggest problem I find here is the number of atheists fitting the description I laid out above (bitter, amoral, still spend an awful lot of time thinking about god considering they don't think he's real. Less atheist, more antitheist, essentially.)


Yeah, there are a lot of sub-types and motivations for atheism that don't easily fit under the same tent. I have almost no knowledge at all of Communist atheism under the Soviet Union, but I imagine that the staunch hardline Communists atheists there are/were a very different breed altogether.

I get the feeling (and I may be wrong) that THEIR type of atheism is a more "hating-the-church" issue, than a true non-belief in God/gods. I get the feeling that they think the church is partially blameworthy in the horrific treatment of the Russian people by the czars.

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Amanecer
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quote:
My somewhat limited experience with atheists who too heavily defined themselves around being atheists has actually been quite negative. I think because it meant they were still essentially defining themselves around God.

That is, they're actively rejecting god instead of simply accepting that he doesn't exist and then moving on.

I so thoroughly agree with this. I called myself atheist for a while, but now I prefer "not religious". It seems like the majority of people who proudly wear the atheist sign are so full of bitterness, self-righteous outrage, and condescension that I don't feel that I identify with them.
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Chris Bridges
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I still prefer apatheist.

Not a socializer, me.

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Aris Katsaris
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quote:
"It seems like the majority of people who proudly wear the atheist sign are so full of bitterness, self-righteous outrage, and condescension that I don't feel that I identify with them. "
Well, you seem a bit condescending and self-righteous towards them.

I'm an atheist too. This isn't an "identity" (my identity is 'Aris Katsaris'), it just describes my lack of belief in theism. So I don't need to fit in with other atheists before I can call myself one. How well I like other atheists is just irrelevant.

If you believe theism to be false, then you're an atheist too, regardless of whether you call yourself one or not. That's just what the word means.

"Non-religious" describes something significantly less precise.

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TomDavidson
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*nod* I really hate the term "apatheist," or attempts to say, "Hey, I'm not really an atheist because I'm not full of hate and anger." It makes it harder for the rest of us.
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Samprimary
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Most atheists I know are scared away from organized atheism as an identity — or lean on the use of terms like "apatheist" to separate themselves from atheist associations — because the Atheist Identity types in groups often end up coming off as insufferable as their evangelical counterparts.

see: r/atheism, the greatest reminder to log in to reddit since ever

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Tuukka
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Non-believers who don't feel comfortable as being called atheists or apatheists usually can find a home in agnosticism, or in one of the sub-categories of agnosticism. I'm an agnostic, veering towards agnostic atheism. It's an intellectual and philosophical choice for me.

Here in Finland it's hard to find fanatic theists, as the great majority of christians are pro-science, pro-religious freedom, pro-choice, and so on. The organized atheism is mostly very fanatic, with people defining themselves as strong opponents of anything religious. In practice they come off as very similar to fanatic religious people.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
I'm an agnostic, veering towards agnostic atheism. It's an intellectual and philosophical choice for me.
I find this baffling, as agnosticism seems like an almost indefensible philosophical choice. Are you defining it differently?
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AchillesHeel
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I think it would be fair to mention that part of why I enjoyed myself beyond the simple fact of consorting other atheists, is the fact that I am and have always been sober and do not like being around inebriated people. Socializing is not very easy when you take out churches and bars, I like going to hockey games and live music but those aren't really comfortable places to meet new people, and if you do they are usually drunk.
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ambyr
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I can empathize with the lack of interest in bars, but there really are a lot of other ways to meet new people that don't involve alcohol. Have you looked into meetup.com for your area? Personally I've had success with book clubs, hiking groups, crafting circles, and board game nights, but I'm sure you can find activities more tailored for your own interests. Look for things that meet in coffee shops.
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AchillesHeel
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The atheist group is on meetup actually, but I hadn't considered investigating the rest of the site.
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ambyr
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Oh, cool. I'm sorry if I'm pointing out the obvious, here. Learning how to get dropped somewhere and build a social group from scratch was a huge uphill battle for me, and now that I've more or less got it down I can be a bit overenthused.
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AchillesHeel
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I could use some enthusiasm, my life for the past few years has been just shy of agoraphobic and I know it needs to change.
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ambyr
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All right, well, here's ambyr's tips on building a social group out of existing group activities(sans church, alcohol, or old school friends) for introverts, which may or may not be at all applicable to you. I think this is common-sense stuff for most people, but alas, not for me.

1. Activity-based gatherings are better than interest-based gatherings. They give you something besides conversation to focus on when you're feeling flustered or intimidated while at the same time providing an instant topic of discussion.

2. At any given event, pick one or two people you'd like to get to know better. That doesn't mean don't talk to anyone else, but focus on them. Group meetings are great, but the goal is to meet people you can socialize with outside of a public event. Besides, if you're like me you only really retain a couple new people's names and relevant personal details (spouses, jobs, kids, whatever) at a time.

3. Ask people questions to elicit those personal details. Slowly, not all at once (and be aware that if they're not asking any back they're probably not interested), but don't just focus on the topic of the gathering at hand. That builds acquaintances, not friends.

4. If someone invites you to do something outside the group, say yes--and follow up. Get their e-mail, ask them for directions, propose dates if they haven't already. Obviously this doesn't apply if they make you deeply uncomfortable--trust those instincts--but don't overthink whether they really meant it and, if it's a multi-person activity they're inviting you to, go even if you think they're a little dull or don't quite share your interests. Who knows, you might like some of the other people you meet there.

5. Invite other people to do things. Semi-public things; inviting people to your apartment works better once you're semi-well known in the group. But if people are talking about a new movie, start organizing a group trip to see it; a new restaurant, work out a time when several people can go to dinner. I have yet to meet a social circle that isn't direly in need of more event planners. Most people operate on inertia; they're happy to be invited places but rarely initiate. Don't be those people.

6. Figure out how you can be helpful to the group and do it. Be the one bringing the board game or the hiking map; offer to pick up ice or plastic silverware; stick around and clean up. Do one thing and do it consistently so it becomes what you're known for.

7. Conversely, let other people help you. It is a weirdness of human nature that people tend to feel kindly towards those they've done favors for--and resentful of those who've helped them, if it doesn't balance out. Give and take. Ask for rides if you need them, ask for help understanding how to do something, ask for advice on pretty much everything. People love giving advice. (Exhibit A right here.)

8. Mix your social groups. Meet someone at chess club and someone else at atheist group and think they'd get along? Introduce them. The benefit is that if they get along, they're liable to start inviting each other to things, and now there's two people you know at an event where you might have only known one. But, conversely, don't push too hard and fall into geek social fallacy 4. Some people don't mix. Try once or twice and move on.

9. Don't rule anyone out on the basis of age, sex, class, or any other surface trait. If you're meeting at an activity- or interest-based gathering, you already know you have something in common. Conversely, yeah, it can be lonely to be the only one to share certain experiences. Ask around: has the group ever had attendees who meet the traits you're looking for? A lot of times a group will coalesce around a certain trait--being over 50, being male, whatever--and individuals who don't share that trait will drop in for a week or two, feel lonely, and drop out. If the group has a history of attracting but not keeping people who match the traits you want, see if you can stick around and be a nucleus. Having one other person like them there can be the thing that gets them to stay in the future. If the group never attracts people outside of its core demographic...well, odds are good there's another local group focused around the same interest but with a very different demographic that you might want to look for. Sometimes things factionalize.

10. If there are core aspects of your identity you don't want to have to hide, be open about them from the get go (but casually so; no need for an in-your-face "I'm X! What do you think about that?"). Better to find out at the first event or two that you won't fit in; there's no scarcity of groups to try (really! there's not! I have to tell myself this a lot), so why waste time trying to make friends with people with whom it ultimately isn't going to work? For me, this means dropping a mention of my girlfriend early on and seeing how people react. For you, it might mean, I don't know, having a copy of Dawkins's latest book sticking out of your bag.

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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by AchillesHeel:
I think it would be fair to mention that part of why I enjoyed myself beyond the simple fact of consorting other atheists, is the fact that I am and have always been sober and do not like being around inebriated people. Socializing is not very easy when you take out churches and bars, I like going to hockey games and live music but those aren't really comfortable places to meet new people, and if you do they are usually drunk.

:sigh: man, if you think the way that people who aren't going to church are meeting is in bars, I'm sorry, that's very sad, because it means you think you're actually missing something.

I'll share this with you, because youre not the type for bars and you don't drink: people you meet in bars are either: a) alcoholics who have fun hanging out in bars, b) normal people who are at a bar for a special occasion at the same time you are, or c) people in their very early 20s who are trying to nerve themselves to attempt to do sex to each other. Not a typo. You get a little of d) which is people in late twenties, or 30s who are on dates, and e) guy/girl friends who get together at a specific establishment by habit, likely because none owns a big enough flat, or it's close to work.

"bar hopping" is a specific type of activity which has more to do with distinguishing one's place in society in relation to one's friends, in larger cities. Admittedly, bar hopping is just usually the preferred activity for alcoholics who are better looking, wealthier, younger, and in better shape than most. It's an activity that probably traces influences well back to early civilization- a public display of wealth and finery and leisure.

The idea that people in their adult years go to bars to extend their social circles, and even more, meet people of the opposite sex, is virtually all Hollywood fantasy. You *do* meet people, but the bar is a venue for doing what you would do anyway, which is see your friends. Almost no one goes it alone. It's just not something 95% of people are comfortable doing. You meet friends of your own friends, and you can do that anywhere. If you have no friends, have no fear, you can make friends by doing things with people who don't know they're your friends yet.

If you're over 23 and your idea of meeting new people is to go to a bar, you're not doing it right. Unless the friends you want are drunks.

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shadowland
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quote:
The idea that people in their adult years go to bars to extend their social circles, and even more, meet people of the opposite sex, is virtually all Hollywood fantasy. You *do* meet people, but the bar is a venue for doing what you would do anyway, which is see your friends. Almost no one goes it alone.
There's a not insignificant number of people that do exactly that. Where a person lives makes a large difference, but I know quite a few people that go to a local, neighborhood bar after work for happy hour. They get dinner at the bar and casually chat with the bartender and anyone else sitting near them, many of which are not drunk/alcoholics/looking for hookups/on a date/with a group of friends. After doing this for a while, you get to know the locals and the regulars and conversing with them becomes easier and easier. And it's not like you have to drink alcohol. There's been a number of times that I've just drank coffee and read a book.

I readily admit that this is not something for everyone, but I do think it can be an enjoyable way of casually socializing.

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AchillesHeel
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In response to Ambyr.
I honestly copied that and saved it to be examined quite possible several times over in the days to follow. I don't need to be around atheists perse but I genuinely can't stand drugs and booze any better than I can someone trying to talk me into going to church all the time. I know it sounds like a cop out, but Arizona is not known for its intellectual community or its sobriety not too mention my generations loving relationship with heavy drug use.

In response to Orincoro.
That is exactly my problem, I can't stand inebriated people. I work alone and lost my last good friend to sheer uncouthly betrayal years ago, since then I've been content to spend my free time by myself and now I'm trying to be social again. I even go to concerts and the like alone with a book to read between bands, at one show some drunk girls decided that the big blonde guy should be the new addition to their group, I really did try but they were all drunk and couldn't understand why I would read a book if I don't go to school and how I could wear a Flogging Molly t-shirt and never drink. Right now I'm happy to have found a place where my atheism and bibliophilia do not mark me as an outsider.

Now if someone could point me in the direction of a place where I could meet women my age who have manners, are readers, don't do use any drugs or alcohol without that place being a church or an Ivy League school that I can only enter as janitor... I would sing your praises until the day I die. I understand that there are and will always be pockets of all different types of people, but I have had no luck finding the group where I belong and the only ones trying to recruit me are of the despot kind.

quote:
If you have no friends, have no fear, you can make friends by doing things with people who don't know they're your friends yet.
It may just be me, but that sounds pretty creepy.


Sorry everyone, I had no intention of turning this into a pity party, continue on with the discussion of apatheism and the like. The Apatheist's does sound like a good band name though...
Edit to add.
After thinking about it, over a cruddy speaker and microphone The Apatheist's would sound more like The Ape-Thieves, which is still good.

[ March 20, 2012, 02:07 PM: Message edited by: AchillesHeel ]

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ambyr
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quote:
Originally posted by AchillesHeel:
Now if someone could point me in the direction of a place where I could meet women

Unsolicited tip #11: don't be That Guy. In a lot of geek social groups--and I gather in the public atheist community--men heavily outnumber women. The women accordingly tend to develop a really strong sense of when a man is being friendly in hopes of later being more than friendly, versus when someone genuinely wants to just be friends. And the former is really, really common. Unless the event you're at is explicitly dating focused, you want to be careful not to come off as being there to meet women, as opposed to people in general.

The "friend zone" or whatever you want to call it is not a bad place to be. Women talk to each other. If you have a reputation as being a stand-up friend who isn't pushy to women who aren't looking for relationships, they're likely to speak well of you when they encounter women who are.

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rivka
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quote:
Originally posted by ambyr:
quote:
Originally posted by AchillesHeel:
Now if someone could point me in the direction of a place where I could meet women

Unsolicited tip #11: don't be That Guy.
Oh, heck yeah.
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AchillesHeel
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I didn't mean in that way, I was just venting some personal frustration with the fact that I haven't met many women like that at all, let alone in my age group. It tends to get to you after so long, and this thread seems to have a lot of me whining and that little thought dribbled out. And believe me, I did not go to that atheist meetup to hunt for a woman, I am genuinely grateful for any interesting people to talk to and get to know after so many years of working in an environment where if you read a book for fun people assume you must be going to college.
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ambyr
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quote:
Originally posted by AchillesHeel:
I didn't mean in that way

Fair enough :-). It's just a big red flag. There's certainly nothing wrong with hoping that some day you will meet a person of your gender of interest with whom you click. That's biology and all.

As a side note, I have no idea where in Arizona you are but I see that Tempe's having a science fiction convention in a couple weeks. Maybe check that out? Conventions can be kind of awkward places to meet new people because lots of attendees have been coming for years or decades and now show up mainly to hang out with old friends, but if you go in with the limited goal of finding one interesting person (ideally who looks as slightly lost and confused as you probably do), hanging out with them a bit, and maybe grabbing lunch together, you can have surprising success at building something lasting. (Well, assuming you get their e-mail and follow up with an invite to something else.)

If money is an issue, conventions are usually desperate for volunteers to set things up, take things down, and staff info desks. Shoot them an e-mail and see if they have some sort of policy of refunding your membership in exchange for hours of volunteer service; most do. (Some even offer free food and sleeping space if you put in enough time.) And volunteering is usually a great way to meet people.

[ March 20, 2012, 02:31 PM: Message edited by: ambyr ]

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Dan_Frank
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quote:
Originally posted by ambyr:
quote:
Originally posted by AchillesHeel:
Now if someone could point me in the direction of a place where I could meet women

Unsolicited tip #11: don't be That Guy. In a lot of geek social groups--and I gather in the public atheist community--men heavily outnumber women. The women accordingly tend to develop a really strong sense of when a man is being friendly in hopes of later being more than friendly, versus when someone genuinely wants to just be friends. And the former is really, really common. Unless the event you're at is explicitly dating focused, you want to be careful not to come off as being there to meet women, as opposed to people in general.

The "friend zone" or whatever you want to call it is not a bad place to be. Women talk to each other. If you have a reputation as being a stand-up friend who isn't pushy to women who aren't looking for relationships, they're likely to speak well of you when they encounter women who are.

Yeah, this is absolutely right.

Let me just add that, setting aside whether or not "the friend zone" is a good place to be, it is a repugnant concept. Anyone who genuinely believes "the friend zone" exists doesn't actually deserve to be there, because that would mean they were decent enough to be friends with the opposite sex, which is doubtful.

Also in the category of guys who are too stupid and subtly misogynistic to be friends with women: Self-proclaimed nice guys. Anyone who says that girls don't like nice guys because the girl they were nice to didn't have sex with them is not actually very nice at all.

(AH: None of this is directed at you, in case it isn't obvious. Just me ranting at a couple of commonly misogynistic bits of nerd culture that annoy the crap out of me.)

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AchillesHeel
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I live in the goldilocks zone of Phoenix, between the police response time of the upper class area and the housing prices of the hood. That actually looks pretty interesting, thanks Ambyr.
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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by AchillesHeel:
I didn't mean in that way, I was just venting some personal frustration with the fact that I haven't met many women like that at all, let alone in my age group. It tends to get to you after so long, and this thread seems to have a lot of me whining and that little thought dribbled out. And believe me, I did not go to that atheist meetup to hunt for a woman, I am genuinely grateful for any interesting people to talk to and get to know after so many years of working in an environment where if you read a book for fun people assume you must be going to college.

You are working in the wrong place, if this is how you feel. I had a jb like that, a long time ago, and I left.

Also, any way you did mean it, your whining tone is the reason you don't have friends. Its a cycle. You feel marginalized, you take that out on people who you meet. And they sense that you aren't friendly. Do you think I would be bothered by the fact that somebody might find it strange that I read? It bothered me when I was 12.

As I recall, you presented yourself here as a very judgmental and personally very sensitive young man when you first started posting. I think the judgmental stuff seems to be going away a bit. But I'd wager with confidence that you are overly sensitive and probably defensive to the point of prickliness in person. People view this as a sign of weakness, and it is not attractive to most.

I met someone recently, a woman, who had a very similar story to yours. Stayed home all the time, said that people treated her badly, didn't like bars, etc. she had been a year at a new job working with Americans. But she wanted to meet a man and have a social life. I asked her out, and we went on 5-6 dates. It quickly became apparent to me that though she was *shy* she was in fact also unbelievably self-centered. She had no idea. She thought people didn't like her because they didn't ever ask to socialize with her, but she would spend an evening out with a group of people, and not learn anything about anyone, and everyone would know something about her. Perfect example: I had her over for dinner, 4th date. In my living room is a full size piano keyboard and two very nice guitars. She did not even acknowledge their existence (and these kinds of details are *why* you have dinner dates at home). I stopped seeing her a week later. I'm quite sure her narrative Of this is at she didn't like bars, didn't know my friends, and was shy. Not that she made no effort to enjoy any of it, get to know my friends, or get to know me, to feel more comfortable around me. It got to be dreadful by the last time I saw her- she put me on edge after a while.

They say your twenties are a decade of pretending to enjoy the company of people you don't like, in places you would rather not be. There's truth in that, but we do it because we are trying, as hard as we can, to find our legs in life. If you aren't doing this, there may be something wrong.

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Jeff C.
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I'll be honest...I've never understood Atheism, just as I've never fully understood extreme believers (of any faith). I actually find Agnosticism to be the most logical religion out of all of them, even though it's not the one I practice.

With that being said, I suppose it is good to meet new people in communities where you share a common interest, but just because these people are also Atheists doesn't mean that they will share any other interests with you. We're all just people, and there's a lot more to a person than just their beliefs.

If you think you might be open to it, give online dating a try. Your religion will be a determining factor in matching you up, but so will a lot of other things. I'd consider it, at least.

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Dan_Frank
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quote:
Originally posted by Orincoro:
They say your twenties are a decade of pretending to enjoy the company of people you don't like, in places you would rather not be.

They do? That's depressing. When did that happen?
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ambyr
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quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank:
quote:
Originally posted by Orincoro:
They say your twenties are a decade of pretending to enjoy the company of people you don't like, in places you would rather not be.

They do? That's depressing. When did that happen?
I have no idea. I've found my 20s to be a lovely time of enjoying the company of people I like in places I want to be. I mean, that's the benefit of not being a teen any more: I get to pick my social circle. Unlike when I was in school.

Oh, and re: online dating, mentioned above, okcupid is probably the site to try if you want to meet other geeky atheists.

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advice for robots
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quote:
Originally posted by ambyr:
quote:
Originally posted by AchillesHeel:
Now if someone could point me in the direction of a place where I could meet women

Unsolicited tip #11: don't be That Guy. In a lot of geek social groups--and I gather in the public atheist community--men heavily outnumber women. The women accordingly tend to develop a really strong sense of when a man is being friendly in hopes of later being more than friendly, versus when someone genuinely wants to just be friends. And the former is really, really common. Unless the event you're at is explicitly dating focused, you want to be careful not to come off as being there to meet women, as opposed to people in general.

The "friend zone" or whatever you want to call it is not a bad place to be. Women talk to each other. If you have a reputation as being a stand-up friend who isn't pushy to women who aren't looking for relationships, they're likely to speak well of you when they encounter women who are.

I'm trying to think of anything more likely to make a shy guy more awkward and less likely to be comfortable around women than thinking he has to walk that tightrope in addition to just getting up the guts to socialize at all. [Smile] Knowing that the women are judging your every word and gesture, trying to see if you're really just a wolf in sheep's clothing, makes you feel like a wolf in sheep's clothing. Not to say that this isn't a valid point--you'll be much more comfortable if you don't go into every social situation with women merely bent on striking up a romance. You'll be seen as much more relaxed and easy to talk to, and things will progress so much more normally. But that's so counterintuitive for many guys and it's also a hard lesson to swallow.
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Jeff C.
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quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank:
quote:
Originally posted by Orincoro:
They say your twenties are a decade of pretending to enjoy the company of people you don't like, in places you would rather not be.

They do? That's depressing. When did that happen?
When I joined the Air Force [Frown]
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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank:
quote:
Originally posted by Orincoro:
They say your twenties are a decade of pretending to enjoy the company of people you don't like, in places you would rather not be.

They do? That's depressing. When did that happen?
It's a witticism. It just means you put yourself in places you wouldn't pick straight off, and meet people you wouldn't choose to be friends with.
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Dan_Frank
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Ambyr: Yeah that was generally what I thought, too.

Jeff: That deserved a rimshot. I laughed.

Orincoro: I get that, I just don't understand why people would do that to themselves.

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Xavier
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quote:
I'll be honest...I've never understood Atheism, just as I've never fully understood extreme believers (of any faith). I actually find Agnosticism to be the most logical religion out of all of them, even though it's not the one I practice.
If we're being honest, this seems to be a comment rooted in ignorance. Atheism isn't some religion practiced by "extreme believers". It is simply not believing in any deities. This isn't extreme on any level whatsoever.

And if you don't understand it, then I'd suggest an exercise. Do a Google search and look up all the various deities that people have ever believed in throughout history. There are hundreds (thousands?), but you can stop at somewhere around 50.

Make a list of them, and then on the side of each deity put an X next to those that you don't believe exists. If you are a monotheist, you are most likely going to end up with just one diety.

Now if you were an atheist you'd put an X next to that one too. And the reason why atheists think your deity doesn't exist is probably pretty close to why you don't believe the 49 deities you put an X next to don't exist.

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MattP
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quote:
I'll be honest...I've never understood Atheism, just as I've never fully understood extreme believers (of any faith).
As an atheist I struggle with this conception of atheism as an "extreme" of belief. It does not seem extreme to me to reject as unlikely a proposition for which I have been exposed to no compelling positive evidence. My not believing in a god doesn't feel different to me than my not believing in telepathy or time travel or perpetual motion. And I suspect it's not much different than <member of religion A>'s lack of belief in <member of religion B>'s god.
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AchillesHeel
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quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank:


Orincoro: I get that, I just don't understand why people would do that to themselves.

This.

I did do that a bit when I was a teenager, even though I already had many of the same beliefs I have now. Doing so led to more common or "normal" social interactions and relationships, but I found myself dealing with a lot of finks who were trying to amuse themselves by messing with the lives of others or I was driving myself crazy trying to figure out how to impress people who had nothing more than a fleeting interest in me. When things came to a zenith I pretty much gave up on convincing people of anything, let alone that they should like me or think that I am smart and good. It certainly doesn't help that I have spent the last four years working the graveyard shift alone in dangerous parts of Phoenix, but if being personally threatened with a gun isn't enough to make me take a lesser paying job for the sake of comfort/safety I doubt hoping to use my job as a launch pad to a social existence will either.

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