My Atheist Story and Our First Kiss (Blogathon 24/49)

adamcollins asks: What’s your atheist story? Did you used to be religious?

I wasn’t raised religious. The only time I attended church as a kid was when we visited my grandmother or if I just went along with a friend from school. As a child I went back and forth, never really sure what to think. I would go through brief periods where I would pray to a vague all-knowing god, but never really subscribed to a particular religion.

That is until my sophomore year in high school. I began to attend a youth group with my boyfriend at the time. I started to attend church with him (a Methodist church) and I loved it. Everyone was so kind and accepted me right away. I joined Brothers and Sisters In Christ at my high school for 2 years. Everything was great at first until I started really thinking about what I was being told. The more I read in the Bible, the more I started to doubt that it could actually be the word of an all-knowing god. There was no definite moment when it happened, I gradually stopped attending church and youth group meetings; I stopped praying and eventually I just declared myself as an agnostic because I felt that I wasn’t educated enough to make a decision about my beliefs. I was also afraid of the “atheist” word until I reached college. Then I joined that Society of Open-Minded Atheists and Agnostics and now I’m happily atheist.

researchtobedone says: Surprised no one has asked about the first kiss yet. I’ll bet that story is adorable. Totally my question.

Alright. Well, I’ll give you a little bit of a back story to start. I was at the SSA conference last July with a couple friends: Amanda and Conrad. Amanda and I had plane tickets for the same flight home, but neither of us realized that we needed to stay in Columbus an extra night after the conference was over. We rushed to the airport to try to fix it and get a flight home the same day the conference ended, but they said it would cost an extra $200 each to leave that day, so we were stuck in Ohio. I texted JT (he was the only person whose number I had who lived in Columbus) and told him Amanda and I were stuck in Columbus and that we were in need of a place to crash.

JT replied that we were welcome to crash at his place on one condition: I had to agree to be his date to karaoke that evening. I thought it was cute and I was grateful that we now had somewhere to go, so I agreed. So that evening at karaoke we flirted back and forth, and at one point we went outside to take a walk and that’s when we kissed. If you’re wondering, he kissed me. :]

Ed Brayton asks: Does JT really think he’s going to beat me at poker, or is he just putting on a brave face or living in utter self-delusion?

Baha, yes. Yes, he does. If he has any doubt, it is well-hidden under his determination (that or his self-delusion).

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This is post 24 of 49 for Blogathon.

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  • beatricebenson

    Whoa, wait.

    Two female college students accidentally end up with nowhere to stay for a night in a city after a conference for college students. They contact one of the conference staff, a 30-year-old male student organizer, for help.

    He agrees to let them stay at his place on one condition: one of them agrees to be his date at karaoke that night.

    Uhhhh…it’s good that it worked out in this case and was thought to be cute, but some could see that as inappropriate, or even as an abuse of power.

    (And what would have happened if she said no?)

    • michaelyn

      It was a joke, and I could have very easily said no. You’re thinking too hard.

  • beatricebenson

    “It was a joke.”

    An organization’s representative expressed a romantic interest in someone and made his desires part of a (potential) condition of her and her friend sleeping in his house that evening.

    You can think it’s funny and cute. It’s still inappropriate for conference staff to do. Isn’t that what so many bloggers were just discussing here at FtB?

    “You’re thinking too hard.”

    This isn’t a venue for thinking hard about things? My bad.

    • michaelyn

      First off, I was contacting JT as a friend, not as a staffer. We both (JT and myself) knew he was saying it as a joke, and had I said, “No, I don’t want to go to karaoke tonight,” I know it would have been fine for Amanda and me to stay at his place anyway. There was nothing forceful going on.

      • beatricebenson

        Hey michaelyn, it’s good to know that! Sincerely. In all the discussion about safe spaces and proper behavior at conferences by speakers and staff, and JT’s own admitted inability to pick up on social cues well, those actions seemed a little bizarre. I can easily imagine situations with other movement leaders where such behavior would seem coercive, like an abuse of power.

        Glad it worked out for you in this case.

        • michaelyn

          I do understand where you were coming from, but it wasn’t fair to generalize the situation. JT and I already knew each other and didn’t have a merely professional relationship. Had it been a different student who didn’t know JT on a personal level, then that’s a different story and it wouldn’t have happened.

  • beatricebenson

    I disagree strongly that it wasn’t fair. I voiced an opinion on a story based on the information you gave. I can’t read your mind. I wasn’t there.

    It is weird and seems inappropriate for a professional student organizer to try to coerce a student that he doesn’t know well or have a close relationship with, without a place to stay, into a dating situation. It seemed like that was what you described. You have since clarified that there was a closer relationship and mutual interest expressed earlier. I agreed that the situation was different and JT’s actions weren’t as creepy or as inappropriate as they first seemed in the brief scenario you laid out.

    You said I was mistaken and clarified, and I amended my conclusion. I thought I was being reasonable.


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