Are you open about being an atheist or are you in the closet?

I am semi in the closet. I do have to admit that I am not comfortable discussing my views with just anyone. I am the type that wants everyone to like me (such a fault I have!) and I am nervous someone will think I am a bad person. Even when I find someone who is passionate about science, I still try not to venture down that avenue. So lucky to have you guys!

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i am reluctant to give that information out but will if pressed. many christians are extremely intolerant and even violent.
muslim persons seem confused if i say that their are no prophets, there is no god and i am an atheist.
it seems the word atheist is a word used as an insult.

they act like fauklner's character Ringo in the Unvanquished who says something like "he look just like a man!". apparently the information given was a bit biased and colored.
so i just don't tell them unless they persist in either religious discussion, attempt at conversion to their religion, or making ignorant statements regarding atheist.

on the other hand, many christians and muslims have been civil, helpful, decent and still are aware but confused by my dissident beliefs, such as not wanting to kill insects or various moral ideals but rejecting a theological foundation for having these beliefs.

some people react intolerantly, dismissively, and even violently when confused.
so, do not deny being an atheist, but do be aware that believers, particularly fundamentalists, can be dangerous.
why wont edit allow me to edit, instead it just jumps me back to the top of the page.
I'm also semi in the closet.  I try to respect other people's beliefs when the subject of religion comes up.  If they really press, I'll get into it with them, but that rarely happens.  Some of my family and friend know, but I don't broadcast it.  I don't discuss it with my kids, however my 16yr old daughter push me too far one day and began criticizing evolution and how she didn't believe in it.  I asked her why she couldn't believe in evolution but she could believe that someone walked on water.  After that incident, I'm probably more out than I think.

"I sound my barbaric YAWP!! over the rooftops of the world" - Walt Whitman

But it wasn't always that way. When I announced to my parents in elementary school I didn't believe in god, they told me it was called atheism. They supported me (it broke my mothers heart at first though), but I learned early on that you paid a price by not following the herd. I kept my mouth shut about it. Then 9/11 happened, and I started getting a little more vocal about it (but even then, I only told some friends and co workers).  Finally, I heard Penn Jillette's radio show. He and Goudeau openly talked about being atheists on the air, and people would call in and say they were atheists also. I was 31 or 32 at the time. This was the first time I had ever heard other people call themselves an atheist (I didn't surf the web much back then). I stop short of introducing myself, "Joe Swam..atheist"...but it's close. With all that being said...I completely understand why some people don't "come out". 

I'd have to admit that when I first "saw the light" I was angry. Mostly due my feelings of being lied to for so long. I've more recently come to the realization that those appointed to guide me spiritually weren't aware they were lying. Even still. . .I find it amazing that such beliefs can be held and taught by supposedly intelligent people. But I digress. . . .I am an open Atheist. Very open in fact, lol. . .I'll talk about my beliefs any time and any where. I'm never afraid to offend someone when it comes to religion, but I don't try to do so intentionally. Heck. . .most people get offended if the subject even comes up. And don't even dare ask then to explain their belief in God, (big can of worms, lol)
So glad to live in a country (the UK) where this simply isn't an issue. Isn't it bizarre that a country with an established church is more open to different religions and lack of them than one that puts an anti-establishment clause into its constitution? Though putting "One Nation under God" in its pledge of allegiance and "In God We Trust" on its currency might tell us something. Maybe it has something to do with self-knowledge as opposed to self-aggrandizement?
I'm open about it but I don't introduce myself as "Daniel the atheist" and never bothered "coming out". It's not a big deal nor should it be made into one if at all possible.

It is only a big deal if people make it a big deal, if the information is presented in a passive / relaxed manner then the reaction (if any) will be anchored down as well.
We're all agnostics. No one is claiming to KNOW there is no god (I should say not many are claiming this...I'm sure some are). But "agnostic" doesn't answer the theological question of whether you believe in god. It answers whether or not we can know there is a god. The question you have to ask yourself is whether you believe in something that you don't know is true. If you don't know, you don't believe. If you don't believe, you're an atheist. There may be better evidence that comes in tomorrow that convinces us otherwise. Atheist just means that we see no evidence that supports the existence of a god. But I completely understand not feeling comfortable telling others. I only believed for a few years as a child before I decided I was an atheist, so I can't appreciate how hard it must be to make a 180 degree turn after so many years. Best of luck to you.

Joe Swam seems sure:

"We're all agnostics. No one is claiming to KNOW there is no god (I should say not many are claiming this...I'm sure some are). But "agnostic" doesn't answer the theological question of whether you believe in god. It answers whether or not we can know there is a god.

Atheist just means that we see no evidence that supports the existence of a god."

This is an atheist site.  I’m tired of agnostic apologists.

God is an object of faith.  No more, no less.

Do you have faith in the existence of god?

No?

Then you are an atheist.

“Knowing” or “not knowing”  is totally irrelevant to faith.

But you do know whether or not you have faith in the existence of god. 

If you know you don’t have faith in the existence of god, then you are an atheist.

Go argue the myth of agnosticism in a different forum.

well put!

The agnosticism vs. atheism thing is one that has many misconception surrounding it. Neil Tyson had a take on it, and I'll post the link:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CzSMC5rWvos

I used to take the same position as Tyson, which is "empirical agnosticism." And you're right, faith is irrelevant to empirical agnosticism, because the empirical agnostic does not adhere to faith nor a lack thereof faith. Faith is, as you said, entirely irrelevant. Empirical agnosticism ultimately says, "We do not know if there is a God, but perhaps one day we can know." So, if you don't know, you don't go around saying "I believe" or "I disbelieve," likewise, you wouldn't say, "I have faith," nor would you say "I don't have faith." If you do not believe or if you do not have faith, then you'd be an atheist.

So, as Tyson points out in that YouTube clip, he wouldn't categorize himself as "atheist," as he takes the stand-alone position of "empirical agnosticism."

Matt, faith as the foundation for there being a god is not enough for me. Furthermore, the Christian right wing fundamentalists have a great deal of influence over a great many people politically and economically. I vehemently speak up to  disagree with their stand and attempt to match volume and intensity by firmly  proclaiming I see no evidence to believe in the "young earth," creation as described by those who have faith in the bible and teachings, tradition and dogma. The virgin birth, resurrection and transcendence make no sense. When I watch debates between atheists and christian apologeticists, I perceive nothing more than "faith," "belief," "feel good," "the bible says so," "god is the author of the bible," and such nonsense defenses. 

When Intelligent Design or Creationism tries to put it's head in the school science department, I will be there to block them. If they want to have comparative religion, I am able and willing to teach it. 

I was a let-every-person-think-for-him-or-her-self person, but no longer. In my opinion, yahweh, god, allah, and any other mystical character are creation from human imagination and served a purpose that no long needs such tales.

When tribal wars defending one or another religion and they had rocks and bows and arrows it was one thing. Today we have the capacity to destroy all that is good and beautiful and delicious and inspiring. We, homo sapiens, need to grow up, look at reality, put beliefs to a test for validity and figure out a way to get along.
Drones? high powered rifles? bombs? bullets? poisons? They are the stuff that requires wise and honorable people. We have not reached that level of development, yet. We continue to think as a cave person. 

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