Facebook tells me it is "National Coming Out Day" and a friend of mine points out how similar coming out as an atheist can be to coming out as gay, so I am curious: how many of you are out, and how did people react?
EDIT: I never meant to imply that one was as hard as the other-- a gay friend of mine was listening to the atheist experience with me and made the comment about how occasionally a 'new' atheist would call, and they reminded him of gays that were just coming out. That's all.
Totally out and have been for over 30 years. Most of my friends are bright enough to
'get it'. The others have moved on. Family is a littel weird about it but so what.
I usually don't say anything unless the other person brings up religion first, except when I'm feeling snarky, and then I put on my FFRF t-shirt.
There's one couple that I've known since high school, I was a bridesmaid at their wedding, who I've never quite told. The husband did some kind of turnaround a few years after the wedding, went back to school and became a Baptist minister. Did very well at it; not quite mega-churh, but close. They socialize with people like Tim and Beverly LeHaye. (Gack!)
I haven't come right out and said anything specific to them, but I think I gave them a few clues when I laughed, said, "Eww. Worse hack-work than old ElRon!" when they asked me if I'd read the "Left Behind" books. (They know I love classic SF, for one thing.)
They embarrass me when we meet at reunions (they have lived in the PNW and Idaho for 20+ years, so we don't meet often anymore) and the Rev. insists on saying a long sermon-y blessing over the burgers and fries when we revisit the drive-in that was the place to go after football games back in the 1950s.
The one openly gay person in my village, was "outed" in a rather funny way. Munro grew up in our little village, to parents who were very active in the Full Gospel Church, and by all accounts, conformed to the church, then went to chef school, and became a chef, and moved to Vancouver. In 1976 (I think), Munro opened a restaurant in Vancouver, and, several months later, a couple from the church happened to be in Vancouver, so decided to go visit him. Munro's restaurant turned out to be a gay bar! From what I'm told, it was quite a shock to the FGC, to say the least, but over the years, they seem to have accepted him (kind of, sort of. This is a very red neck village, after all.
As a comparison, when I moved here in 2002, the back of my cay had "Fundamentalists are Fundamentally Fascist" painted on the back. Several members of the FGC called me the devil for it. Over the years, only one of the FGC members have tried to convert me (I choked with laughter, as a reply), but most of them are just civil to me. I don't think there's anyone in the area who doesn't know I'm atheist, and none will discuss religion with me (chickens!).
LOL. I'm from New Jersey...and people usually say..."Oh yeah? So what? How 'bout that Turnpike traffic this morning?"
A film in the planning stages, "Coming Out in America."
While taking leave of Catholicism and other Xianities 55 years ago, I visited the college atheist club. A math major, I wanted something I could call evidence but heard only unsupported claims. Agnosticism seemed a better choice.
In a philosophy course I read of a man (Lin Yutang?) who'd left Xianity in his youth and on his deathbed returned. I set out to learn enough about world religions that I would not return. I found work I liked that paid me well and, happy, concluded that only unhappy people need religion. In the years that followed I countered occasional attempts to convert me with a simple "I don't know and will never know." No one gave me a bad time.Ten years ago I told an atheist (also anarchist and communist) friend I was agnostic and he said I was a fence-sitter. Intending satire, I told him that remaining on a fence requires an exquisite sense of balance and a good deal of energy. He too quit trying to convert me.
A few years later, upon realizing that in decades I hadn't seen a shred of evidence for a god, or even for a so-called spiritual worldview, I jumped off the fence. On the atheist side, of course.
Then, in a Toastmasters club (the tabletopics portion) members spoke of various religions and the "Topicsmaster" asked if anyone would speak for atheism. I did, and came out. I said I'm okay with cremation and knowing that where my cremains are there will be a few more chemicals in the ground.
People know I am an assertive, even aggressive, First Amendment supporter and only unwitting Xians try to convert me. To those who are polite I say that if I hadn't spent 12 years in Catholic schools I might still believe in a god. To those who are not polite I say religion is the biggest fraud ever perpetrated on humankind.
BTW, I'm a Navy veteran and may opt for burial at sea.