Why I don’t fit in, and why that’s a good thing

I’m blogging over at Patheos today. I was more than a little surprised that my friend Neil at Godless in Dixie would ask me, a Christian, to write a guest post for his blog about being atheist in the South, but I seized the opportunity because interfaith discussions are vital to the future of all faiths (as well as the safety and understanding of those who don’t adhere to any religious faith). It pains me that even mentioning the word “Christian” can conjure up false assumptions and even trigger bad memories for many people. I hope to change some of those assumptions with this post.

***

shutterstock_154944Despite the shiny, new toy appeal of faith when I became a Christian in college, I was reluctant to ever wear a cross around my neck like so many of my friends did. Doing so meant that certain assumptions would be made: that I was probably raised a Christian, that the cultural components of Christianity were as ingrained in my daily life as breathing, and sadly, that my view of the world at large and of those who believed differently than I did was ignorant and narrow.

Most importantly, a cross around my neck would conceal one aspect of my identity that I don’t share with most people I know: that I was raised Jewish.

When I meet atheists today (or non-religious people in general), they often doubt me when I say I understand what it’s like to be a minority. I completely understand their confusion: Christianity in the United States is everywhere from the Pledge of Allegiance, imprints on our currency, sale of alcohol on Sundays in some places, and so much more. I can barely wrap my head around it. From where they sit, it seems like American cultural norms were catered specifically for my ilk, and they are absolutely right.

Read the rest here.

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