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Dating for Atheists - Atheism and Finding Someone who is a Non Believer
Atheism is a much more widely accepted viewpoint today than it was in past decades. People no longer look at you as a lost soul doomed to one day pay the price for your lack of faith (most people anyway). That said, religion and God are still a big part of many peoples' lives and dating for the lonely atheist can sometimes present unique issues that don't come up for Christians, even if those Christians never go to church and live almost the exact same lifestyle as you do. Atheists can jump these hurdles in most cases though. You just have to know how.
For whatever reason, the music scene (particularly rock and indie stuff) offers up a lot of atheistic and nonreligious individuals. You don't have to spend a fortune and make a road trip; just do a little research on local venues and find one that you think seems interesting. Going to shows is a fun and unique way to meet intriguing people, as well as a way to just enjoy yourself and experience some first hand art. Dress for the scene you're attending; you don't have to be a walking cliché, but you're more likely to draw the right kind of attention, at a metal show, as an attractive person in a black tee shirt, as opposed to an attractive person in a pink polo and rainbow sandals.
Coffee shops also tend to bring in an atheist crowd, so if you're a fan of caffeine, it might be worth it to pay the extra dollar and pep yourself up in public rather than in your kitchen, where there are likely no mates to be found. College campuses, especially at colleges with a largely liberal crowd, often have many atheists around as well. Science, philosophy and psychology are majors and classes to look for, while many campuses have atheist group meetings as well. Comic book stores, used book stores, animation stores and sci-fi conventions attract atheists as well, so get to know your inner nerd.
The Flying Spaghetti Monster is sort of an inside thing known about and appreciated by a lot of atheists, and you should definitely be aware of it. The Church of The Flying Spaghetti Monster (aka Pastafarianism) is basically a mock religion which parodies Christianity and creationism (with a flying spaghetti and meatball monster playing the role of God). It was started initially as a response to a movement to encourage the teaching of creationism alongside evolution in high school science classes. The church has a nifty little spider symbol (not so accidentally reminiscent of Chritianity's Ichthys fish symbol) that goes great on tee shirts and bumper stickers and can catch the eye of fellow atheists. Pastafarianism is adored by most atheists who know of it, so it's in your best interest to know about it as well (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flying_Spaghetti_Monster).
When you're in a relaxed environment with people who you know (or presume) to be atheists, it's not really a foregone conclusion that everyone wants to talk philosophy. Some people are atheists because it seems most logical to them that there probably isn't a God, but beyond that, they really don't care. Treat people like people; not all atheists are overly caught up on their atheism. In fact, atheism is a mindset that can go hand in hand with astrological apathy pretty easily. You'll also start to make yourself seem elitist, judgmental and mean if you go overboard with condemning religion. Many atheists like to talk atheism, while some don't; get to know the person and let the conversation flow from there. As in any situation where you're trying to carry a conversation with someone you don't yet know, it's best to be up to date on music, movies, books, events, sports, politics and, in the presence of atheists at least, science. If you have an extensive knowledge on all of these subjects, then chances are you can stumble on something that whoever you're talking to is interested in.
Revealing your beliefs (or lack thereof) upon first meeting or dating someone who is probably not an atheist is just not necessary. You can be up front about your atheism, but you should feel no obligation to be. There are many important things to learn about your partner before delving into the ever-subjective realms of religion and politics, on which hardly anybody has exactly the same views anyway. It is also true that many (perhaps most) people take on the religion of their parents (same with political views) and may define themselves as a Christian (or another religion) when asked about it, but don't practice their religion in any way and don't really incorporate it into their lives or relationships. That is to say that a large portion of the new generation puts more emphasis on interpersonal communication and interactions than on personal spirituality. And is believing in a God and a creation but never thinking about it really that different than not believing? Get to know your partner and who they are on a human level.
There are still those out there who view atheism as evil in some way, but considering the rapid overall growth of atheism and agnosticism of late, this notion isn't very prevalent any more. So long as you present yourself as a decent individual with empathy and compassion, then most people will view you as such.
When all is said and done, religion and spirituality begin and end with the individual. The way one views reality and chooses to live will always fall on one's own shoulders. So what does this mean for the atheist in the dating world? Put simply, it means that you are as lost and found as everyone else and there is no need to dissect anyone's beliefs in order to date them. Be who you are, and let others be who they are, and things will come together so beautifully it will seem almost as if God made it so.