It's been a long process. Nine years, in fact, which, is huge for someone who is only 22! But I'm ready to come out as an atheist, and am on the cusp of doing so. I set myself an absolute deadline of 12/31/2011 back in April, but may do it a tad before then if a good opportunity arises.
But this isn't a coming out thread. It's about planting seeds. I'm the leader of the young adult "ministry" at a fairly large fundamentalist xian church, and well-known and well-connected within the organization. I never was really looking for that position. I just got tired of hearing people talk hate and judgement all the time so I dug up all the Bible verses I could find on love and tolerance and started spreading those instead. Apparently, they have enough appeal even in fundamentalist circles that people started asking me to lead things.
I admit, it's been awkward at times promoting things I don't really believe in. But it's allowed me to share things that I *do* believe in with people who otherwise wouldn't have listened. Among the accomplishments that I'm particularly proud of are helping a young man whose grandparents had convinced him he was hell-bound for being gay, helping a young woman get out of a relationship with an abusive husband, and turning public opinion in the church away from an older gentlemen who was condemning young women to hell for wearing make-up. I've also tried to help people think more critically about scripture (we're talking biblical literalists, here) as a document written by humans and influenced by their myths, traditions, and prejudices, and about the fact that non-xians can also be good, moral people.
So, that's what I've spent the last five or six years on. I've got a little more than 2 months left. Are there any seeds that I should plant that I haven't planted yet? Are there any ideas that I've already brought up that should be reinforced? This is probably my last chance to influence most of these people. I want to make the most of it. Thanks.
PS - If you think that I'm terrible and immoral for masquerading like this, well, you're welcome to say so. You may even convince me to stop, though I doubt it. But please keep in mind that it was never possible for me to come out as an atheist before this (it's going to be very hard even now!), and I was just trying to make the best of a bad situation. I was going to be at that church every week pretending to "love Jesus" anyhow. I figured I might as well do some good while I was there.
PPS - Mods, if there is a better place for this thread, I would be grateful if you moved it. I'm new here, and didn't know where the best spot was.