What’s it like to be an atheist in Mississippi? Jesse Robinson rode along with members of the Freethinkers, Agnostics and Atheists club of Mississippi State University as they drove down to my talk in Alabama over the weekend and discovered what made them so active:
For Chris Ramos, MSU physics graduate student, atheism came as a consequence of science and moving to Mississippi.
“It wasn’t until I came to Mississippi that I started thinking about questioning religion and thinking about the arguments against it,” he said. “I was forced because I had placed myself in a culture where everyone took the religious standpoint for granted because that’s what they were born into, and I was forced to defend my non-religious standpoint.”
Even the Reason Rally saw a wide variety of atheists, some angry at the growing perception of religion in government affairs, others happy with simply being able to freely admit to their non-belief. In fact, on the Reason Rally’s website, one of the stated goals of the rally was “to encourage attendees (and those who can’t make it) to come out of the closet as secular Americans, or supporters of secular equality.”
“There are some people who have to keep their atheism from their families,” Dees said. “They’re afraid of losing their friends or destroying relationships with their families, and that is a possibility for some.”
If you’re looking for an atheist group in the South, there’s a nice list of groups at sauceforall.com.