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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If people aren't in my face about religion, I don't go out of my way to confront them.  My whole family knows where I stand.  None of them has given their religion (Judaism lite) any thought at all, and they sure don't want to argue with me.  At a recent family gathering, many speakers thanked God for their good fortune. Yech.  I kept quiet.

I will soon be required to put my views into practice. Mom is 96. When she dies, I will attend her funeral but will not dress up (no skullcap or prayer shawl) or pray or -- and this is required -- say Kaddish, the Jewish prayer for the dead, which endlessly glorifies God.  Even when God takes your loved one, you kiss his ass. Not gonna do that.  They may not want me in their little holy house.

Never let people get away with with the stupid idea that an atheist cannot be a good, moral person.  

I'm not out as an atheist with too many people for a couple reasons. First, I've learned the hard way that religious people have no problem with discriminating and holding their religious views over others if given the chance. Secondly, as someone who is affiliated with and surrounded by many libertarians (with a Congregational background), I've seen these folks have no issue ousting someone for their atheistic viewpoints (despite how accepting libertarians might lead you to believe they are, or how liberal Congregationalists might say they are).

As an example of the former, I've come dangerously close to losing my (successful) business partnership because my partner (a very religious guy) has had no issue with holding my atheism over my head when push came to shove. Unfortunately, being a minority (49%) owner, there isn't much I can do about it. All the same, I was shocked by his willingness to 'go there' without any hesitation.

And as an example of the latter, I've witnessed more than a few families & individuals essentially shunned from my kids' libertarian-philosophy private school because they've gone 'too far' with their atheistic viewpoints. It seems to them that it is perfectly acceptable to be libertarian, but somehow too much once you've taken the (to me) logical jump to anarcho-capitalism & atheism.

In my life to date, it seems that the public still has a lot of misconceptions and fear about atheism. As an example, I'm fairly certain that some of our business clients would not do business with us if they knew that I was an atheist as a partner. I don't think people largely understand the word, and much less so are willing to have challenging philosophical discourse. I'm hopeful, after finding communities like this one, that we're on the right track. But for now, I'll stay closeted about it for the most part.

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.

Hi Dan....I am impressed that  you opened  up to something  so personal....I can  relate  to your story.....It is so true  that  we are  afraid to hurt or  disappoint our  family  with  changes to  our religious or non religious   preferences....By the time  I realized I was in denial  and  did not believe  in all that  miraculous  crap fed to us  over the years, my parents  had  passed away..So with me, my problem was with  telling  my brother , who was married  to a religious  theist, who  took  all the  rituals  seriously....As a result  I  kept  it to myself....I live in a conservative  state  so  the last thing  I want  is to be  ostracized so  I don't mention my Atheism....Finding  forums  like  A/N  makes it easier  to communicate anonymously with  like  minded  people where  we can  discuss Atheism freely...I look forward  to the day  when  it  will  not  matter what  someone  believes  or  doesn't  believe. That  we all are  true Rational  Thinkers who  take  responsibility  for our  own  destiny.....After  reading  so many  responses  here, I feel  I am  gaining  my confidence so that I will be proud  to  tell  anyone  that I am an Atheist....

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.

You are an inspiration  to us all....I wish  you the best...

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.  

@ Nick       Very well said.....You are handling  these  sensitive  topics  with aplomb....My hat  goes off to you ....



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