It's cowardly I know, then again most people are cowards about most things. I will never come out as an Athiest. My two sons are scouts, my daughters best friend is a fundamentalist, and my boss is an Evangelical. Scouts have to believe in god as well as be heterosexual. My daughters friend would not be allowed to play with her if it was known that we are athiest. My boss would hound me mercilessly if he found out I didn't believe, first in an attempt to save me, and later in anger when I did not conform. I have seen this happen. Most difficult of all- my husband is religious.
My four children began to question god early on. The furious reaction that they encountered shut them up quickly. I came to them and told them that people were easily frightened when others questioned gods existence. They were young when they decided this, 9, 11, 12, and 7 yo when they started questioning. Im proud of them, but I also fear for them. Our society finds it easy to discriminate against athiest. The devil fearing, and effectively devil worshipping, public has amost no tolerance for the non-believer. I felt my children need to know what they are up against and that they need to pick their battles. One believes he is a homosexual (13 yo), and another is a staunch advocate for rationality and science. I know it's not good to hide the truth of oneself from the world, but we can't pretend that such honesty has no cost. We talk all the time about these things. My main message is- come out as an atheist when you are ready but be willing to face the consequences and pay the price. It's very difficult to live in such a narrow minded families. You can love them all you want but it is never enough to dispel their fear of your 'thought crime." The pain inflicted on both sides, the believers and the rationalist, would be immense and strain relationships. I have relatives who would worry incessantly about my children going to hell as much as I worry about their children not receiving modern medical care because of their belief systems. The crazy never ends. Im certainly glad it's more theirs than mine.
I know I will get a lot of flack for this blog. I accept your opinions. I also beieve that there is no one right answer to any common problem and that even the most rational of people make irrational decisions all the time. There is no area of my life that is not impacted by extreme christians. I went out of my way to allow my children another view of the world. I told them I would accept whatever they decided as their choice. How could I do otherwise with everyone else insisting that there was only one truth? I will not become an ass in response to asinine people. They know theirs is a bright and broad future for them with many many people who believe as they do although there doesn't seem to be many of them out there at the moment. For myself- I do not see a day where the benefits ever even remotely approach the cost of coming out as an Atheist.