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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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. 



PC is one of the stupidest racist sexist atheists in the limelight. I no longer watch any of his vapid videos. He's the kind of atheist that makes us all look bad.

I hate to tell you this, Anthony, but your experience sounds perfectly usual to me here in the south.  This was your typical redneck not a psychopath at all.  And you responded in the only way you could have to avoid any kind of unpleasantness.  You are talking here about people who handle rattlesnakes at church.

Same here Anthony. I am becoming more out of the closet gradually. Hope to be all the way out of the closet one of these days.

Try this:  These are people who love to reinforce each other’s crazy belief system.  So play that game; they’ll love it.  Start with learning some buzz words like, Amen, Jesus is Lord, and try to sneak a couple "begottens" in there. 


Hit ‘em with, “you know, the Holy Paraclete sure loves the blood of the lamb.”  You could say “Holy Ghost” but “Paraclete” sounds more devout and mystical.


Try, “The Garden of Gethsemane doesn’t have weeds.”  They’ll love it. 


You’re walking past a church while the congregation is coming out.  Notice, “it’s a beautiful day today, but it stormed like heck on Mount Cavalry when Christ was crucified.” 


Keep on spouting this stuff and they’ll make you an elder in no time.  Religion is a game.



Good points Richard.

I'm open, but I think it's because my environment allows me to be. There are times when I have to check myself or not respond in the manner I wish to, but I have a couple of real life friends that I can openly discuss things with. I want people to like me as well, so I often do the cost/benefit thing. Fortunately there are communities like this where we can talk openly.

In my country it's not a matter of being a believer or a non-believer, but being anything else instead of christian orthodox. So the reaction an atheist will have coming out will be the same as a christian catholic will have. As you can understand, my society is not "shocked" for not believing in any deity, but for not believing in their specific one.

I prefer not to talk about religion with any believer, because the few times I did it I made the other persons feeling depressed and unhappy(as we all know, atheism is not an optimistic belief). So, whenever I'm asked why I don't put my cross after a prayer or why I don't go to church, I just say "because I'm agnostic" refusing to elaborate.

"atheism is not an optimistic belief"? Your statement struck me as odd. I don't feel that way at all about atheism. To believe that some process started all this diversity, and with time and space expanding from some source, the Big Bang, perhaps, and has evolved into all these diverse forms and functions that just astounds me. I feel so lucky to be a conscious person, sharing a very small spark of time on the Earth, and will return to atoms and molecules when my time is completed. There is no end, only change. Some spark started the process, some spark started you and me, and we followed the DNA blueprint to become who we are created to be. It is our job to give a definition of who you and I are. No one has the right to define us or mold us into some creature of their desire. We are perfectly imperfect just as we develop.

We have the responsibility to be all that we are capable of becoming ... nothing more, nothing less. A moral code resides within us and we don't have to go searching for a guru or pope or potentate to define us. We are created Homo sapiens sapiens, meaning we are social creatures, finding safety and comfort in bonding with other Homo sapiens sapiens. If you or I are unhappy, our jobs are to find fulfillment, self-respect, work that comes from our native interests, a loving, healthy community. If, by chance, we get into dysfunctional relationships, it is our responsibility to either make the relationships healthy or build new ones.  

The silliness of religion deserves only contempt. The history of religion, I don't care which one you look at, is the root of violence. 

"A moment’s reflection attests that religion and violence are often woven together in history’s tapestries. Any number of religions have justified violence under certain circumstances, and others have become caught up in its processes. In the ancient world, Zoroastrianism transformed earlier combat myths into a theology of eternal apocalyptic struggle between good and evil (Cohn 1993: 114), and ancient Judaism forged a confederacy under conditions of war (Schluchter 1989: 185, 200). Early Christianity had its martyrs, and the medieval Roman church, its crusades and Inquisition. As for Islam, the close association between rulership and religion -- together with the principle of jihad (or holy war) as a vessel of reformation -- infuse politics with enduring potential for violence. 

~ John R. Hall, Religion and Violence: Social Processes in Comparative Perspective

"Religion kills. Throughout human history, people have killed in the name of their gods. Emile Durkheim rightly stressed that religion serves to strengthen the bonds of solidarity among those who worship the same god, in the same way. But the flip side of this solidarity is enmity towards those who worship other gods or worship the same god differently. Religious boundaries separate the pure and virtuous ‘us’ from the impure and evil ‘them’. We who worship our god our way are truly human. The Other, who worships other gods, or the same god differently, is less than human and thus killable. Yet while the hostility towards the Other found in most sacred scriptures has often had lethal consequences, one cannot assume that these texts dictate the actual behaviour of believers for all time. Scriptures are constantly being reinterpreted as historical circumstances change. And some conflicts in which sacred texts get invoked may infact have secular causes." 

Henry Munson, Religion and violence

Hector Avalos: Religion and Violence, A New Theory for an Old Problem



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