I’ve always had the feeling that scorn is one thing assured to secularists, humanists, agnostics, atheists, etc., in our society. It’s a predominantly Christian society that seems to have a decidedly un-Christian attitude toward non-Christians and especially toward non-believers. I’ve even seen statements that atheists are “the most despised minority in America.”
I grew up in a rather strict Presbyterian family in the middle of the U.S. Bible Belt, specifically, Oklahoma, the so-called “Buckle on the Bible Belt.” We went to church every Sunday and I got the full indoctrination: Sunday School, Vacation Bible School, youth choir, confirmation at age 12. There were a lot of very “animated discussions” as I got older and tried unsuccessfully to get out of going. Not till I went to college was I free to stop attending church. And I did stop, immediately. Since then I’ve only gone back for an occasional wedding or funeral.
I was an avid science student in school, and the more science I learned, the more unbelievable church doctrine sounded. I was steeped in both schools of thought, and the science won hands down. Nobody ever mentioned metaphors or allegories, but it wouldn’t have mattered.
Now, all these years later, I’m retired and have nothing but time. And I’ve begun thinking about it all again, and doing some reading, and it seems pretty clear that I’m somewhere in the freethinking, agnostic, atheist, humanist, secularist sphere. That may not be as small a minority as I think it is, but it’s not a topic I discuss with anyone; I grew up believing that, generally, one’s religion should remain a private matter, lest some bystander be offended. Or worse, try to engage you in a conversation you don’t want to have.