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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Tommy, yes, I very much like it when on of my kids teaches me something or convinces me that I need to rethink an issue. They have developed good debating skills that requires careful thought to hold or reject an idea. Some relatives enrich my life; others don't. The good news is there are 7,000,000,000 human beings on this planet; finding ones that stretch my imagination and deepen my understanding does not require close blood ties. 

I would love to be open about my beliefs, but I am genuinely afraid that these Christians, with all their Christian "love", would hurt or even kill my family.  I cannot wait for my husband to retire so we can move somewhere civilized.  Oklahoma is no place to be if you don't goose-step to the Southern Baptist-Republican party line.

I must confess... while living in Florida, I was astounded that atheists plastered their car with atheist stickers! I felt surely these crazy xtians would vandalise the car... but somehow, it never did happen. As the saying goes... sometimes the biggest fear is fear itself.

I'm just about completely out of the closet now. I understand the reservation among friends and family but if they can walk around and talk about their foolish beliefs or praise their silly god then I have every right to speak my views as well. That's the point of a free country. And if they want their freedom they need to allow others theirs as well. Hopefully they are adult and mature enough to realize that, but it's not always the case. Too bad. I'm beyond caring at this point. The more I watch Christopher Hitchens the more I realize we DO need to be just as vocal as they are if not more. Religion is seeping into the U.S. govt and back into laws and they're trying to get their bullshit back in schools as well. It's time to stop it now. One woman on her own was responsible for taking religion out of school so what can be done if all the atheists stand up for our rights. A much better world in my opinion.

Isn't Hitchens fun to read and realize he has such great responses, especially in the case of hearing, "god will guide you," "put your trust in god," "let go, let god," etc.

The one that gets my blood boiling and I need to find a smart a.. response, "my husband had heart surgery, was on the surgery table for 7 hours, and is now able to do everything he wants to do. Thanks be to god." Not a word of thanks to the surgeon.

I make it a point to respond to any god-talk with a response coming from no-evidence-god-exists talk. 

I know we are all proud to be atheists but is it necessary to announce it to the world?  No I don't think so. Let this happen naturally. Then  pretend to reluctantly admit it. I feel this will carry more weight and you may gain the respect you deserve. Since we live in the light of these realizations ( which I say is the most accurate explanation for the existence of everything) I would say that those who have not seen the LIGHT yet will admire us for our calm, cool and positive ways compared to their hidden depressive ways and outward pretentiousness. When they learn that these smart people are atheist, they may even feel ashamed of themselves. Ofcourse  what I'm saying does not apply to all atheists and religionists.

I think I didn't realize I was an atheist until a few years ago. I never saw the point in church and thought prayer and other things ridiculous. Nowadays, I'm in the middle of the bible belt and I am out of the closet. Personally, I love the reactions I get from the conservative, mostly Christian community we have here in Kansas. Most hate me, some accept me, but all have questions. I have yet to find more atheists here. I work with a guy who shares my ideals, but everybody else seems to rely on religion for everything. Matt Dillahunty made a very good point at the 2011 Oklahome Freethought Convention regarding "God". He basically stated that no matter the outcome of a situation, people will always factor god into it. It seems to be the case here. It gets rather tiresome sometimes though, because religion seems to bleed the rationality out of people. I say be comfortable with what you are, Andrea. Be proud that you have rational thought, and know that you're not alone.

Thank you, Andy R, and everyone else who has responded to this question.  :-)

Ostly in the cloet. My immediate family knows, but no one else. It doesnt come up and I don't make it come up. I work with people that all graduated from a christian college. They don't generally ask, and I avoid any direct questions. It is not that I am ashamed, I just want people to know the real me, and make a decision on whether they like me or not based on facts and not assumptions. I have older kids and they are mostly religious..I allowed them to make their own decision with that. My wife is religious, but she knows I am an is her major burden to bear. Knowing that I am an atheist, and knowing that she betrayed her religion marrying a non-believer..she knew it from the start..I guess she thought she could "enlighten" me. I don't discuss religion with anyone because I know they would all get pissed off because I will not back down from an argument. I can present my case in a way that would probably make most of them question their religion. That I guarantee..but, it is not my job to recruit atheists eventhough they think it is their job to recruit believers. The most "out" I have been is that my daughter, who is a christian has told many of her fellow church-goers. She cries to them that she is scared that I will not be in heaven with her..that scares her. My children and I are very close..and I believe that they would suffer" hell" if it meant they would spend eternity with me.

I guess the reason I stay in the closet is to protect them. I don't want them to all be embarrassed of me...or ridiculed because of me. I personally could care less if I have friends, but I do care about how my children and wife are treated..I'd rather deny myself for their is my "cross" to bear.


A. Noni Moose- you really have it tough with this situation. You have shown great patience biting that tongue of yours. Feel bad for you.  :-(

Well, I just came out to a couple of friends last week. It was more of a synonimous (sp) victory than anything..As I am almost positive they both knew anyway. They are good friends though and said that it does not matter to them. Neither are really that religious int he first place. One is a "Lint" Catholic that goes to church about 3 times a year, and the other goes whenever his wife makes him, but is not a bible-thumper by any stretch.

I am glad that my daughter has told people..even though it is her religious friends and she confided in them out of her "fear for my soul"..either way, it puts the fact out there. Many of these people I know myself from having gone to their church many times. So, at least they know me as a person before knowing me as an atheist. that is the part that I want anyway. I want to be judged on my merits and not as a "boogie man" they heard about growing up..

A. Noni Moose, I read a lot of pain in your post and wonder if there is a way to reframe your experience so that you enjoy and value your belief that there is no evidence of god or gods. If you are happy in your own understanding, perhaps your loved ones will feel less conflict.

Things that caused me fear when I left my religion was that a bolt of lightning would come down and smite me, that I would be burned for eternity, and that I would be alone on Earth. Leaving religion, I find great satisfaction in just seeing natural order of things. What appears to be chaos is really natural order. Nature didn't have a "planner" but there are forces of nature that impact every part of our lives: gravity, electricity, magnetism, for just a start. Look up in the sky at night and see the stars and if you look at them over a year's time, you will see there is a pattern to the constellations. There are patterns to the movement of the planets. The stuff that makes up stars makes up all living things. No planner, no designer, no architect, no builder ... just natural laws of nature at work. 

Here are two snips of videos that may bring you not only joy but enthusiasm about not seeing evidence of god. The shear wonder of all the universe and you have everything you need to experience it: you have sight, sound, smell, taste, touch, feelings of your skin and feelings of your heart. They all exist in you, not because of a creator but because of natural processes. You fathered your children for the same reason. 

Neil DeGrasse Tyson - Greatest Sermon Ever

The Erosion of Progress by Religions



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