Watched this clip by The Thinking Atheist:
Always felt bad for folks who experienced extreme shit there. Know a lot more who toe the line to avoid that sort of fallout. I comprehend how hard it can be through my own limited experiences but more so through people I’ve met or heard from.
Personally got lucky there. My Grandma still tries to direct me back occasionally toward Christianity, but I utilize that language to explain to her what I see now, and some of it seems to make sense to her. My parents didn’t care either way. Extended family opinions aren’t my major concern. Probably makes it easier to already feel like an outcast.
But I remember losing my religion when I was about 14, 9th grade during which I attended a private Christian school for most of the year, in Mississippi. And I’ve always been known for being vocal, so yeah. Was called a “devil-worshiper,” a “whore,” a “heathen,” a “lesbian” (however that relates), and an “enemy” more than a teen really ought to be exposed to. But such is life. Even got bitch-slapped on one occasion when I was 17 by accidentally pissing off a young Navy guy by marveling up at the stars and pondering aloud about the universe, which he interpreted as a disrespect to his god. Knocked me to the asphalt even. Probably already told that story on here somewhere, but it’s worth repeating. Sucked. Made my face swell up and got my Papa involved, which then drug the police into it, and I was too nervous at that point to agree to press charges. Depressed me to where for 2 months I rarely left my grandparents’ home after that episode.
Mississippi people, man — they can be a trip. Me personally, I chose to relocate up North again for economic reasons, but I remain here, in part, for the religious freedom that just isn’t afforded to small-town folks down South. That’s some bullshit to have to contend with.
My 9th grade teacher of Biology, a football coach with no biology background whatsoever, at that private school I attended for that year, actually stated in front of the class on the first day that he was required to teach us that crap but that we all know it goes against Christian teachings. Really? Photosynthesis is somehow anti-Christian? Well, I donned my earphones and read the book on my own, ignoring his uninspiring lectures on the subject. Still have that notebook and am glad I managed to get something out of the class despite that guy treating it dismissively. Not too cool.
I remember back to hanging out with friends whose parents would outright ask me which church I attended, and I wound up eventually figuring out it was easier to just divert attention by simply stating “my family attends at the First Methodist.” They do. I don’t. So half-truth. When I had admitted that my beliefs were in flux, it resulted in some friends being discouraged from spending time with me. Not cool either.
I’m a Southerner in spirit, just no longer in practice. Can’t take that shit. Too confining. Shouldn’t matter that I see things differently — no need to harass a person. It can be cruel, it really can. Especially when they add in the sexual components to boost the shaming. Was totally unnecessary and unproductive.