Being nonreligious in the South
Start writing a post

What It's Like Being A Non-Religious Southern Girl, But Explained By Joey Tribbiani

What it's really like when you aren't religious in the Land of God, Family, and Football

joey tribbiani

My brothers and I grew up with a combination of Catholicism, Judaism, and Christianity. As we got older, soccer practices and ballet classes started to conflict with the various services and eventually took precedence. Our parents were less concerned with what we believed in and more concerned with exposing us to the religions that made our family so unique.

I respect religion, and I love learning about it. I love talking to my friends about their beliefs and the discoveries they make about themselves through religion. Religion is capable of amazing things. But it is not something I choose to be a part of my own life. And yes, that is okay. We all make choices in our lives, and this is mine.

Back home, not identifying with a particular religion or any religion at all is perfectly normal. So is Christianity, Catholicism, Judaism, Islam, etc. The South is a different story. After three years in the land of God, Family, and Football I have noticed some distinct differences between myself and those who grew up south of the Mason Dixon. I'll let Joey Tribbiani explain.

There's no good answer to "So where do you go to church?"


You would think "I don't" is a suitable answer. But no matter what variation you use, they always look hurt and offended. It's a little weird apologizing for not going to church when you don't identify with religion at all...

When someone tells you "Bless your soul"


When I told my mom I was going to Alabama, the first thing she told me was that this phrase is not a compliment. No matter how sweet they sound when they're saying it to you.

You accidentally say things you shouldn't


My sense of humor does not always line up with what religion deems acceptable/polite/etc. It doesn't help that I don't know everything that is and isn't okay to say. Sometimes it can get ugly. I'm grateful I have such forgiving friends who elbow me in the ribs before I get the chance to put my foot in my mouth. Most of the time.

You're the odd one out at Sunday brunch


Whenever I roll out of bed and over to brunch, I'm usually the last one there and far from presentable. Do you wear your comfy clothes, or do you pretend you had a reason to look presentable as well? There is no good in between...

Not knowing how to respond to "Pray for me, y'all!"


People say this to me more often than I would expect, even if they know that I don't pray. I will send you lots of good thoughts, but it isn't something I do. It's not out of spite, it's just not an activity that I partake in. You make a choice to do so, I make a choice not to. But that doesn't mean I won't keep you in my thoughts and wish for the best for you. I'm just doing it in my own way.

Sometimes the FOMO is real


Listening to my friends talk about their Bible study or the last service they went to makes me feel out of the loop. You're sitting there and twiddling your thumbs while your friends discuss a book that has had a huge impact on their lives but you don't relate to. I usually make an effort to try and understand on a basic level, because I really want to show my friends I care about them and what they are passionate about. But again, it's just not for me.

Struggling to keep certain thoughts to yourself


If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything. Or, if you don't know what's going on, just hope they change topics soon. Is there really no such thing as a dumb question? We will never know...

"So. What do you celebrate?"


I celebrate my family and the people I care about.

Yes, I celebrate Christmas. No, I don't go to church. Christmas is when I drive hundreds of miles to spend quality time with my family and experience winter.

Yes, I celebrate Hanukkah. No, I don't do it for the extra eight nights of gifts. It's something my grandmother was passionate about, and it's another connection I have with my family.

People assume you have no morals


I don't have a religion or a book guiding my actions, this is true. That doesn't mean I run around doing whatever I feel like. I had to come up with my own set of morals. No, I don't have Jesus, but I have my own beliefs.

At the end of the day, we're all people


Religion is a powerful thing, and at the end of the day I respect it and what it does for the ones I love.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
the beatles
Wikipedia Commons

For as long as I can remember, I have been listening to The Beatles. Every year, my mom would appropriately blast “Birthday” on anyone’s birthday. I knew all of the words to “Back In The U.S.S.R” by the time I was 5 (Even though I had no idea what or where the U.S.S.R was). I grew up with John, Paul, George, and Ringo instead Justin, JC, Joey, Chris and Lance (I had to google N*SYNC to remember their names). The highlight of my short life was Paul McCartney in concert twice. I’m not someone to “fangirl” but those days I fangirled hard. The music of The Beatles has gotten me through everything. Their songs have brought me more joy, peace, and comfort. I can listen to them in any situation and find what I need. Here are the best lyrics from The Beatles for every and any occasion.

Keep Reading...Show less
Being Invisible The Best Super Power

The best superpower ever? Being invisible of course. Imagine just being able to go from seen to unseen on a dime. Who wouldn't want to have the opportunity to be invisible? Superman and Batman have nothing on being invisible with their superhero abilities. Here are some things that you could do while being invisible, because being invisible can benefit your social life too.

Keep Reading...Show less

19 Lessons I'll Never Forget from Growing Up In a Small Town

There have been many lessons learned.

houses under green sky
Photo by Alev Takil on Unsplash

Small towns certainly have their pros and cons. Many people who grow up in small towns find themselves counting the days until they get to escape their roots and plant new ones in bigger, "better" places. And that's fine. I'd be lying if I said I hadn't thought those same thoughts before too. We all have, but they say it's important to remember where you came from. When I think about where I come from, I can't help having an overwhelming feeling of gratitude for my roots. Being from a small town has taught me so many important lessons that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.

Keep Reading...Show less
​a woman sitting at a table having a coffee

I can't say "thank you" enough to express how grateful I am for you coming into my life. You have made such a huge impact on my life. I would not be the person I am today without you and I know that you will keep inspiring me to become an even better version of myself.

Keep Reading...Show less
Student Life

Waitlisted for a College Class? Here's What to Do!

Dealing with the inevitable realities of college life.

college students waiting in a long line in the hallway

Course registration at college can be a big hassle and is almost never talked about. Classes you want to take fill up before you get a chance to register. You might change your mind about a class you want to take and must struggle to find another class to fit in the same time period. You also have to make sure no classes clash by time. Like I said, it's a big hassle.

This semester, I was waitlisted for two classes. Most people in this situation, especially first years, freak out because they don't know what to do. Here is what you should do when this happens.

Keep Reading...Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments