I am out and have been for some time. I am 63 years old, and I don't give a damn what anyone thinks about my atheism. Most of my family is well aware of it. No one tries to "bring me back into the fold", as it were. I have learned vastly more about different religions, Christianity in particular, than I ever knew when I was still Roman Catholic. (subject for it's own thread that). Being out has not cost me any friends or family so far.
I have actually read the entire Bible since de-converting. Something I had never done as a Catholic. The RCC didn't encourage Bible reading when I was a child in Catholic School. They were probably afraid of all the questions they wouldn't be able to answer without resorting to brute authority.
Here in England, Atheism seems to be so prevalent that the 'coming out' thing doesn't seem to be an issue, or even a requirement. If you announce to someone here that you are an atheist, it is not viewed as unusual at all, and often the response is a shrug of the shoulders, or indifference. At secondary school, quite a lot of my friends, like me, just sort of agreed that religion was made up, and the ones I am still in contact with appear to have maintained their stance. Where I work, I would say that at least a third of us are atheists, from what discussions we have had over the years. I do realise that I am incredibly lucky to live where I do, and sympathise greatly with Atheists in the U.S. 'bible belt' and Middle Eastern countries, where a 'coming out' thing is probably a very daunting neccessity.
lucky! home of Dawkins. I'd be stoked.
To be fair, there are a lot of Catholics in England, many of Irish ancestry. Some of them have told me that the rejection of a faith which was forced on them did involve a sort of coming out process, which provoked the disapproval of their parents. But also, I have encountered several Irish people who state very openly their distaste for their erstwhile religion, and state quite clearly that they are glad to be free from it.
I am told that their are some areas of the US, for instance Seattle or New York, where a statement of atheism would meet with similar acceptance as it does in the UK.
depends on your surrounding psychotic level fundamentalists..
do they even exist? ; )
basically car insurance.. yeah yeah.. sad right? I'm more worried about my car getting damaged by terrorist kids (girl) believe it or not.. once you put sticker on car saying anything 'god' or greydonsquare etc..
they freak! like you're in some xtians only country or some lie... ha..
never forget that day she said '..burn your car' really? wow such loving parents you have..
all i had to come back w/was "..you realize the xtians that enslaved black people were white right?"
dead silence. that's how you come out folks. fck a book burning torch them with lyrics!
all local meetups ususally on meetup.com
or just get w/American Ahtheists... ?
FFRF!? ~ righwingwatch.org.. cya
I'm like you. I'm semi in the closet. I'm open about my atheism on the internet and even have a Google blog on atheism under my own name, but I live in TN (Republican and Christian Central in other words), which is kind of intimidating. Everyone I interact with here in TN is either a Christian or Christian minded. I just learned that Knoxville TN (I only live like 40 miles from there) is the number 1 bible minded city in America.
You may find this hard to believe, but I assure you it is the truth. Two Septembers ago I was out at the lake camping by myself (a friend had driven me there and dropped me off because I don't have a car). After it got dark I built a huge fire. About an hour after I had built the fire this guy comes out of the woods all camoed out (he even had his face smudged with dark face paint). He had a bow and arrows, with an arrow already strung, though he had the bow facing toward the ground. He stood on the other side of the fire about 10 feet away from me. All I had was a machete and a hatchet, but like I said he was 10 feet away on the other side of the fire, and there was no one else at the lake. It was dark, and no witnesses. We talked for about 5 minutes, and then suddenly, out of the blue, he asked me if I believed that Jesus was Lord.
According to law you're not supposed to be in the woods deer hunting after nightfall, and strangely, he happened to be acquainted with a fellow I know who has cerebral palsy who believes in God and Jesus. But I'm sure you can maybe guess what my reply was when he asked if I believed Jesus was Lord since he was 10 feet away on the other side of the fire with a weapon that can shoot arrows at 70 or 80 miles per hour.
So, yeah, here in TN it is sometimes prudent not to tell anyone you're an atheist.
Interesting scenario, Anthony. Of course it would be reckless to irritate this guy. Did he seem a little psycho when you were talking? Did he ever mention violence? Your point is well taken.
Suppose you were in a Muslim country. Then the danger would be worse. (At least at the present time, not so as we move back toward the Middle Ages and the Crusades.)
The threat of violence is some sort of defense mechanism for the belief system. Makes it a lot harder to confront it head on.
Being a chicken myself, I would have not only told him “Christ is Lord” but soldiers of Christ should be given medals like they do in the U.S. Army.
Let's put it this way. Would you think someone who comes out of the woods with a deadly weapon past the legal time of day for deer hunting and asks you if you believe Jesus is Lord was a psycho ? And when it comes to being out of reach of such a person I'm a chicken too, lol. And, as a matter of fact, about two years before that I got an anonymous letter printed in marker post marked from Knoxville but with no return address, saying I had the wrong friends, and that my judgment day was coming.
Are you familiar with Pat Condell on Youtube? He’s an atheist orator, you might say. He once displayed his hate mail and it was very scary indeed. Scores of it, the idiocy of it!. Brave guy. Check him out on Youtube if you’re unfamiliar. He gets millions of hits.
The point is the vitriol is all bluster and mindless ire. But I admit it only takes one jihadist to make it real. That’s what makes the threats so effective.
One thing's for sure, you did right to realize your situation.
I love Pat Condell and agree he's a very brave guy. I'm not near that brave.
Sometimes, I think it's not a matter of bravery, it's just not being stupid. Like in Anthony's night encounter, I would have been very careful what I said, and lying would not have been out of the question.
Anthony's story bears an uncanny resemblance to an exerpt from Mirror Reversal, the Atheist Novel at the right. There are certain times in our lives when reality changes to a more primitive level.
Homer’s heart raced; he still didn’t know what to do. He hated that situation when consciousness is raised above the mundane, when the parties involved realized exactly what they were—jungle animals threatening one another for territory and breeding rights.