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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Sounds like a well thought out decision, and for very rational reasons. We don't need to give believers the weapon with which to harm us. 

I am puzzled why people who believe in the Abrahamic god see only the principle of "love" in both old and new testament. Even Je-sus is reported to have killed a tree because it was not the season to give him a nice fresh snack; seems pretty sophomoric to me. Or killing someone else's pigs; that is downright brash. When you get to the walking on water stuff and turning water into wine, and feeding a crowd with just a little bit of food simply makes no sense. Except, they call it "miracles"; Balderdash! Just pure, unadulterated gibberish. 

Want to see real miracles? just find any science documentary, or the DNA Mysteries - Search For Adam - National Geographic,  Cosmos,  FIRST LIFE - Arrival - Full Documentary . These are actual miracles, no delusions here. 

i only tell things like that to people i can trust. which right now is a small amount of people

I am partially to mostly in the closet.  My wife knows and most of our closest friends know.  I certainly don't shy away from criticizing religion in most circumstances.  Even some coworkers know.  I have always been a man of science, and I dropped most of the religious charade over the last few years.

Most of the family does not know. (If they do, they say nothing... but my family is sort of known for denial so I doubt they'll put two and two together). My grandparents are getting up there in age, it is important to them, and they will not change.  It's important to my parents as well, and I have avoided telling them because it is easier.  I don't want to be the target of conversion attempts from my family.  Part of me fears that they'll be more pushy to my little boy and I don't want that for him.  Then again, my wife made the point this afternoon that if I am not open with them, our boy will start talking soon anyway and that we should be firm now about not indoctrinating him.

Beyond my family, I fear losing political power and economic opportunities.  Most of my friends either don't care or agree with me already so I guess that's fairly moot. I just don't want to deal with the general branding associated with atheism in the MidWest.

It's not a matter of if, but when everything comes out.  I'm not a big fan of lying, and I feel resentful that the way many religious people act strongly encourages that here. I think that there are more of us than we realize, but even so I am terrified to be completely open with everyone in my family about it.  Which, I recognize, is yet more religious tyranny.

I definitely hear you. It's a big thing for me to talk about. Reading the forums here and talking to my wife really help. She is very supportive of my views. She is more agnostic than atheist, but we're pretty close to the same page.

I sometimes envy the courage others have when talking about their views. I have become more bold politically in the last few years, and now I am working on the religious side. I don't care to be in-your-face or start arguments (I'm a product of the Midwest) but I resent the feeling of oppression just stating what I really think outside of closed doors.

Its a personal choice,and not really any reason to be fanatical about ones beliefs I think. Iwas about 5 yrs old when I had serious doubts and at about age 8 couldn't help asking "really believe there is a god?" To which to my shock horror people would run hide sustain nervous reaction as though there actually WAS someone in the room listening to this. I was a little bolder in my teens and younger days though not actually trying to sway judgement my way but feeling a deep seeded need (hey that's three words in a row with double ee,s) Let me try that again, "But feeling three reeling deep seeded needs (that's six ,I can do better but getting on with my point.....) to express my right to believe and speak freely. I occasionally felt some discriminatory predjudice but not ever really threatened in any way, which was funny because when differing religious groups start to collide it gets as we see in the world tragically brutal. Anyhow now in my 60s I meld quite well amongst all groups of theists and they seem to tolerate me well and accept for who I am. However Deep believers usually cut themselves off and find ways not to have anything to do with me. Long winded opinion reply but..........

So I'm coming out atheist to my parents tomorrow. We've invited then to come to a meeting at our local ethical society, where we have recently started to attend. I don't expect to be disowned or anything like that, but I do expect that it'll get emotional.

The biggest concern I have is that the relationship will change or that they'll go behind my back with my son. I guess we will know soon enough.

I wish you well with your parents and your revealing your atheism to them; and with your son.  

You should never pay for a woman on a date. You want things to be completely equal and she has to make half the effort and if a woman has no problem with your non-belief and her religion is the only thing wrong with her, and if she is not mind your non-belief/ non participation in her religion, then there is no reason in the universe not to keep the woman as a girlfriend. Otherwise you may be more prejudiced than your girlfriend and you will make atheists look bad and don't risk having a poor me syndrome or an inferiority complex and don't look for excuses for what is wrong with a woman if the only thing actually wrong with her is her religion.

I would argue that perhaps a girlfriend is OK but don't even think about marrying a religious fanatic.  Religion is a memeplex that changes the very purpose of life, and you'd wind up pulling is opposite directions.  You for success and happiness in this life; she for propagation of the meme in this life and happiness in the next.

I am open about being an atheist in the sense that when random strange people try to give me religious literature or suck me into their religion, I say... " er, uh... I am actually an atheist", or "I am actually an atheist and I choose not to participate in religion", but I try to say it in a neutral, frank, non-hostile, non- threatening, way, I try not to say anything about being an atheist or religion, in an arrogant, antagonistic, holier- than-thou and/or bombastic manner.

I realized that there is no god when I was 15 but I was afraid to admit it until I was 26, then I "came out as an atheist" to my mom and then my dad and then my brother, on the phone, at different times in separate phone conversations. I came out to my aunt who does Orthodox Judaism, in a Jewish New Years card I wrote, in a manner I now feel was too asinine or embarrrassingly bombastic or retarded or flippantly insensitive or offensive to my aunts given that she is ultra polite company. But not I keep quite about religion most of the time around my family... They quit trying to convince me to participate in Judaism....
Fortunately, I live in the UK, so nobody really gives a damn what you believe! This is the advantage of having an established religion, so that everyone can ignore it. Anyway, we had 200 years of religiously based wars, before tolerance was established. It has only been since 1950's that the more and more diverse society has forced the general acceptance of the wider society. It is fascinating to read novels of the 20's and 30's to see the total change in the zeitgeist.

You make a good point, having one established religion prevents all the others from growing. Same thing with a squirrels disturbing your feeder. Trapping and releasing the squirrel is pointless, as a new squirrel will always come in. Same thing also for organised crime. Better to have one mafia which only kills "that" type or person, rather than have a bunch of gangs vying for territory and killing innocent bystanders in the process.
It's kinda like antibiotics. If you start the job but don't finish it, the bugs just get stronger. The only efficient remedy is the one that puts an end to the invader.

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