Yes I equally think that is important. We must take advantage of every opportunity to talk about it, as it will ease the way for those who are in challenging circumstances. The initial coming out decades were hard for gays too, but now that "everyone knows a gay person", the stigma is nearing its last years. We still have a long way before this can be said of atheists. In addition gays were never really a direct insult to heteros, whereas being atheist is pretty much a direct insult to a faither, so I think it will take much longer.
Well I do not usually bring the topic up in my everyday life and sometimes avoid it. However, if the topic is brought up I will be honest. I also have a lot of online atheist friends. Because of this the topic comes up on my Facebook pretty often and in my info I am labeled as an atheist. So while most people know they do not discuss it with me. I have had a lot of friends (many from high school delete me from their Facebook and make it a point to tell me that they did so because of my atheism. I happily remind them that they are certainly welcome to do so and that if they think less of me because I don't believe as they do then they have no business being called "my friend" anyway :) So yes, I don't go out of my way to proclaim it or hide it.
I too have dealt with this on facebook as well as in person. I have found several "friends" I knew long ago who, back then, were very open minded. Since then, they have found jesus and have "unfriended" me because I have not followed suite. I have been an atheist since I was 12 years old. I never thought about my beliefs until just recently--political BS. I do not push my atheism to any extent. For me, it is just there. My "born again Rambo" friends bring it up and then get upset at the way I have been for so many years. They make me think of it and then fault me for being who I have been for so many years. This pisses me off.
I feel like the friends who'd rather unfriend me never really knew me, so the loss is only superficial... though it still may hurt. I've come to a point in my life where I'd rather be liked for the real me rather than the perceived me. If that means fewer friends then so be it. But I'm past middle age now, and this may simply be a common feeling when one ages...
Atheist Census’ back online after hacker attack
Posted: 17 Dec 2012 05:40 AM PST
“It seems that there are people who do not want atheists to be counted, who do not want to accept that as more people question and think critically about religion atheists are a growing demographic. It is a measure of the project’s success – even at this early stage – that some people wanted to shut it down,” Carlos Diaz, the organization’s president, said in a prepared statement.
The group launched the census on Dec. 7 and it fell to a Denial of Service attack about 17 hours later. At the time that the census site was attacked, about 8,800 people had completed the survey, with another 2,300 pending.
Participation in the Atheist Census is free. Since the return of the site, about 20,000 total people have submitted their information to the effort, which is attempting to collect demographic information about atheists throughout the world, including their education levels, age, gender identity and country.
The Atheist Census can be found at http://www.atheistcensus.com/
DOS. yep.. that's about all they have .. instead of tears of failure. ; P
I grew up in an open-minded family. My parents dragged us to church every Sunday, but did this out of guilt. When I was 12 years old I rebelled and refused to go again. I denied the existence of god and confounded my parents with the MANY flaws in the bible. Yet, they still respected my views. When my brother was in high school he "found" god and became a "born again Rambo." He is now a methodist minister and oh so miserable.
When my brother converted he drove my parents crazy. When my open-minded father found out he had stomach cancer, he too found god and turned on me. He died trying to "bring me to jesus." For me, that was the most painful part of my father's death. It was both amazing and depressing to watch a man like my father go from open mind--willing to see other points of view--to intolerable fundamentalist bullshit. I would love to blame my brother, but I cannot. He is too steeped in the same bullshit and is miserable.
The sad thing about it all is that I have not changed my position since I was 12. I am now 55. Suddenly, I am evil! I never gave my atheism any thought until just recently. The political environment has made atheists a convenient target. Even some of my more liberal friends have advised me not to advertise my atheism. I never did! If someone asked, I would tell them. Now I skirt the issue. I find it easier to tell those who question that I was "born and raised in the methodist church." It is a true statement and usually satisfies them. Am I in the closet? I have never hid my atheism, but now I retreat to the closet at times because suddenly I am not a "good person" and condemned to a fiery place.
Our current political climate has made people like us think about the closet. I am not a big Obama fan, but I voted for him because the republican alternatives were abhorrent. I am hoping that the re-election of "Bronco Bama" will usher in a renewed enthusiasm for science and reason. It seems as though--hopefully--the fundamentalist idiots are digging their own hole in the ground. They have become a joke of themselves.
Coming out is a lot like quitting smoking, alcohol, or other drug abuse. It's uncomfortable for a short while but becomes quite liberating with time. You will very likely kick yourself for not doing it sooner. You are you...not your religion.
We are growing in numbers so fast, especially in the younger generation, that we won't even need these people. I myself do perfectly well socially spending almost all my time with humanists and skeptics.
Why should you have to “come out of the closet”? Religionists should be the ones ashamed of their whacky beliefs like Eve was created from Adam’s rib, or God created you knowing you were going to hell but still loves you.
There're Baptist reform schools that have closets called “The get-straight room,” where they imprison kids for hours for minor infractions like saying something the elder didn’t like. These are the people who should come out of the closet.
I left my church community and religious dogma because the only help they offered was for me to submit and obey, both of which were not only sick but also just plain evil things to say to a family living under violent parenting rule. "Spare the rod..." and "yield to authority" are damaging to spirit and body and mind for growing children. Dobson's imperatives only added rationale for cruel, brutish behaviors.
Running away from such conditions was the only option I could find. My religious community assured me that I would burn in hell and my flesh would be replaced to burn for eternity. I was terrified. I had no idea what I would do to restore sanity to my little family because my parents were violent to each other and to me. I learned from the crib how to be violent to gain compliance. I did not learn care, compassion, or communication skills.
My former employer guided me to a program at Whitworth University that focused on democratic principles in business and empowering all members of a team to work together using skills of problem solving, conflict resolution, thinking in the future tense to create preferable goals. I learned how to identify unmet needs and processes to get basic needs met. They taught me how to look for resources, and to anticipate trouble areas. Great emphasis was learning how to assert oneself and how to active listen; identifying "stinkin' thinkin'" and being aware of self-delusions. We had to develop action plans and then do some project that involved long-standing unresolved problems and develop strategies to overcome differences. Evaluation provided a way to test if we knew whether we were on or off track; if we wanted to change directions or do more or less or continue "off course" because it was a better solution. The project was judged "Passed" if problems and conflicts were resolved for the organization.
My three children and I used these processes from 1979 until they were grown and had families of their own. My daughter and her husband in Spokane and son and his wife in Denver took a similar course and as their children get to about school age, they learn these skills in a children's version.
The net result is that each family unit and our combined families all know and use excellent interpersonal skills. We enjoy life, even as we honor each individual and participate in contributing to the benefit of the entire family. Our family functions as a motivated team.
The program my children and grandchildren are taking and my great-grandchildren will take is through Landmark Education.
Pretty much everyone knows that I am an atheist, including my professors at school. So yeah, I'm pretty "out."
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.