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The Relationship Between Homosexuality And Atheism


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"...Atheists are a lot more numerous, especially among the educated elite,

than many realize...The reason so many people don't notice atheists is

that many of us are reluctant to 'come out'. My dream is that this

book may help people to come out. Exactly as in the case of the gay

movement, the more people come out, the easier it will be for others

to join them. There may be a critical mass for the initiation of a

chain reaction."

From The God Delusion

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I've heard people say it's harder to come out of the Atheist closet than the Gay one. I've been open about my Atheism since I was a small child. But then I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area which would be a bit more liberal than, say, Texas.

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I must be truly obtuse as I can't see why it's a big deal to come out as an atheist. It's never been an issue for me. If anything, I've done it at times just to see how others would react. I don't care what they think.

 

I keep reading that there is a social stigma similar to what homosexuals endure, but frankly I think that undermines the truly awful social stigma that gays have actually had to endure. Truly, I've never seen or felt a similar stigma in regards to homosexuality. I can't imagine that an Atheist would be made to feel like he/she were wearing a scarlet letter.

 

The only people I haven't been truly up front about it with are my parents. I haven't hidden it from them, but I don't bring up the subject either. I don't need to rub their face in something that would only cause them pain. They don't deserve that. There's a different dynamic with them than with others. I doubt too many others would feel pain for what I believe.

 

My best friend's wife was reduced to tears when I rejected her pleas to return to xianity though. It just seemed so silly to me, but I did my best not to be condescending in my responses to her.

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As a gay person I was brought up with a sense of inferiority which was instilled by Christianity, so "coming out" was never an option for me. Once I left Christianity I just sort of ended up an atheist by default. I don't feel inferior as an atheist, in fact if anything I feel like i've evolved. I have no problem disclosing my atheism to anyone.

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I must be truly obtuse as I can't see why it's a big deal to come out as an atheist. It's never been an issue for me. If anything, I've done it at times just to see how others would react. I don't care what they think.

Geography makes a difference. In the southern USA it would not be healthy to come out of either closet. I haven't been in that area of the USA since the early 1970's and it was bad then. I hear it's gotten worse.

 

I keep reading that there is a social stigma similar to what homosexuals endure, but frankly I think that undermines the truly awful social stigma that gays have actually had to endure. Truly, I've never seen or felt a similar stigma in regards to homosexuality. I can't imagine that an Atheist would be made to feel like he/she were wearing a scarlet letter.

Being straight I cannot empathize with what homosexuals have had to endure. I can understand it has not been pleasant.

 

The only people I haven't been truly up front about it with are my parents. I haven't hidden it from them, but I don't bring up the subject either. I don't need to rub their face in something that would only cause them pain. They don't deserve that. There's a different dynamic with them than with others. I doubt too many others would feel pain for what I believe.

They wouldn't feel pain, but revulsion. They would hate you just because you don't believe in their god.

 

My best friend's wife was reduced to tears when I rejected her pleas to return to xianity though. It just seemed so silly to me, but I did my best not to be condescending in my responses to her.

Some people do react strangely. One actually told me that there are no Atheists but just people that believe they are Atheists. I replied that there are no christians but just people that believe they are.

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As a gay person I was brought up with a sense of inferiority which was instilled by Christianity, so "coming out" was never an option for me. Once I left Christianity I just sort of ended up an atheist by default. I don't feel inferior as an atheist, in fact if anything I feel like i've evolved. I have no problem disclosing my atheism to anyone.

What geographic region are you from? Do you think that makes a difference?

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As a gay person I was brought up with a sense of inferiority which was instilled by Christianity, so "coming out" was never an option for me. Once I left Christianity I just sort of ended up an atheist by default. I don't feel inferior as an atheist, in fact if anything I feel like i've evolved. I have no problem disclosing my atheism to anyone.

 

Yeah Mike, your experience is exactly what I was talking about. I can't imagine that an atheist would ever be made to feel the way homosexuals are made to feel by the public. Especially when they are in jr high or high school. There is no way that the stigma is even close to the same thing. If an atheist feels a similar stigma then it's in their own head.

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They wouldn't feel pain, but revulsion. They would hate you just because you don't believe in their god.

 

And I in turn would feel a sense of having evolved, as Mike said. It's an honor to be reviled among the fools is it not?

 

As for region, yes, I might feel fearful to divulge I was an atheist in Alabama. But I would never feel ashamed. And that's the difference between what homosexuals have been forced to endure and what atheists have. Shame is a much more painful emotion than fear.

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yeah, it makes a huge difference where you live...I currently reside in Arkanasas, and while I've never felt in any physcial danger for being an atheist, I have gotten some pretty nasty lectures from people. I once got witnessed to for 30 minutes by a customer where I worked, because I didn't agree with some statement she made about god,

 

I didn't even vocally disagree with her, I just tried to ignore what she said and go on with my job, but she stared pressing me when I didn't answer the way she liked it turned into a big hairy deal.

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Yeah Mike, your experience is exactly what I was talking about. I can't imagine that an atheist would ever be made to feel the way homosexuals are made to feel by the public. Especially when they are in jr high or high school. There is no way that the stigma is even close to the same thing. If an atheist feels a similar stigma then it's in their own head.

 

My sister would be a good person to have reply to this thread since she is both bisexual and atheist, but she can't be on here much because of parental controls and what not....I'll ask her what she thinks and get back to you guys on this, but from what she has said she gets flack for both pretty equally, Going to a small town school in the south either one is viewed as pretty bad.

 

I do happen to remember when I was in high school before I became a Fundy and being blasted by some people because I said I believed in evolution. I'm not sure If I was say it as bad as being gay, but there is a stigma there

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As a gay person I was brought up with a sense of inferiority which was instilled by Christianity, so "coming out" was never an option for me. Once I left Christianity I just sort of ended up an atheist by default. I don't feel inferior as an atheist, in fact if anything I feel like i've evolved. I have no problem disclosing my atheism to anyone.

What geographic region are you from? Do you think that makes a difference?

I grew up in Cali too. You would think it would have been easier being open about being gay in Cali, but I came from a very Christian family and was around bible thumpers 24/7. So living there didn't help, because I was still taught gays were evil and jesus reserved the deepest hottest corner of hell for them to fry in. As an atheist I just laugh at all that now. In fact being open about my atheism has helped me be more open about being gay, now that I think about it.....

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I must be truly obtuse as I can't see why it's a big deal to come out as an atheist. It's never been an issue for me. If anything, I've done it at times just to see how others would react. I don't care what they think.

 

I keep reading that there is a social stigma similar to what homosexuals endure, but frankly I think that undermines the truly awful social stigma that gays have actually had to endure. Truly, I've never seen or felt a similar stigma in regards to homosexuality. I can't imagine that an Atheist would be made to feel like he/she were wearing a scarlet letter.

 

The only people I haven't been truly up front about it with are my parents. I haven't hidden it from them, but I don't bring up the subject either. I don't need to rub their face in something that would only cause them pain. They don't deserve that. There's a different dynamic with them than with others. I doubt too many others would feel pain for what I believe.

 

My best friend's wife was reduced to tears when I rejected her pleas to return to xianity though. It just seemed so silly to me, but I did my best not to be condescending in my responses to her.

You have written exactly how I feel about this. Somehow, when I ousted my atheism not too long ago, no one was really surprised which didn't really surprise me at all. I have been a devils advocate on all superstitious claims ever since I could remember. My mom was a bit pissed at me for telling her the Blair Witch Project movie (when it came out and she totally bought its story) was all crap. The film was proof for her while my disbelief was unsubstantiated.

 

I even have a best friend's wife to boot.

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In the UK (at least my bit of it) the Atheist tag isn't a big deal at all... I venture to church when my old pal Richard gets installed at a new church (Episcopalisan... so we have some fun) otherwise... no big deal.

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I think it makes a huge difference what part of the world you're in. Being in the UK, it always amazes me just how difficult it seems to be to be an atheist in most parts of the US. The vast majority of people I know are not practising Christians, and most wouldn't even consider themselves to be Christians at all.

 

Admittedly, when I have mentioned to friends from my old parish church that I'm not Catholic anymore, they've been a bit shocked sometimes...but that's not because they have a huge passion for, or knowledge of, the Church and it's teachings. They're just shocked firstly because I used to be incredibly religious and was thinking of joining the priesthood eventually, and secondly because saying "I'm not Catholic anymore" makes about as much sense to them as saying "I'm not caucasian anymore", because they see the religion as merely a cultural community whose main relationship with its official beliefs , it seems, is rejecting, ignoring and contravening them (except occasionally at Christmas and Easter).

 

I never really felt I was 'coming out' as an atheist...I just became less and less religious, and when asked would tell people about it. Or else, in the course of a conversation, it would become apparent that my beliefs were radically different from before.

 

Coming out as gay was definitely much harder and more worrying. Although even that wasn't really bad in the end.

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Coming out as Gay is probably easier here, than in the US... but still no walk in the park, based on what I've seen. Being straight I only have vicarious experience. I did convince my mum (who is nearing 80) that being gay is no more a choice than me being straight... and she also agreed that Cardinal Cormac-O'Connor should have his moutrh stitched shut over his comments... ;)

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And I in turn would feel a sense of having evolved, as Mike said. It's an honor to be reviled among the fools is it not?

Yes, but then I'd be guilty of what we accuse them of doing; feeling superior. However, I do feel a great pity them.

 

As for region, yes, I might feel fearful to divulge I was an atheist in Alabama. But I would never feel ashamed. And that's the difference between what homosexuals have been forced to endure and what atheists have. Shame is a much more painful emotion than fear.

I have never been ashamed of my Atheism. When I was stationed in Pensacola, I was not quiet about my Atheism, but then I was also winning most, OK.... a few, of the smokers (formal boxing matches) on base.

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and she also agreed that Cardinal Cormac-O'Connor should have his moutrh stitched shut over his comments... ;)

 

Quite right...although perhaps a bit lenient for someone who has admitted to aiding and abetting child molestation.

 

And I've not come out as gay to most of my extended family because I'm not entirely sure my 87-yr old Catholic grandmother would know what I'm talking about. As Victoria Wood says in Dinnerladies, on discussing sex with older people..."I mean, they didn't really do it in her day, did they?" :HaHa:

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Most of my family sighed a collective sigh of relief when I announced I was joining a church a couple years ago...because they think church=christian. So I have the shield of the Unitarian Universalism to hide under as I explore my beliefs and work on different philosophical systems, as well as whether I am agnostic, atheist, or some sort of Deist. The freedom from family scrutiny has helped me really explore my beliefs in a way I never have before.

 

So, am I out? Am I in? I don't know, but I still stay away from relgious discussions within my family.

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Over here in the Netherlands the majority of people are

 

- Atheists

- People who there is some sort of higher power or God, but that that 'God' has nothing to do with any religions whatsoever, nor with any 'holy text'.

 

That goes for the most of the rest of Europe as well, I think.

 

Of course there are still Church going Christians. But the majority of them is quite liberal and don't take the entire Bible as Gods inspired word.

Also, there are still fundies around. But they are a small minority and I'm glad for that.

 

From an investigation by the Free University in Amsterdam in religiousness in the Netherlands, came the following result:

 

Of the more than 16 million Dutch citizens, about 16 % is roman catholic, 14 % goes to the Protestant Church In Holland, and 61 % is non churchgoer.

The number of Dutch that regularly goes to church has decreased from 50% in 1966 to 16 % now. The number of people that never go to church has increased from 35 to 47 %.

 

About 5 % of dutch people go to 'heavy' reformed churches, and among them the percentage of die hard churchgoers is of course much higher, about 90 %.

 

The number of people believing in a 'personal' god has decreased from 47 to 22 % since 1966. The number of people that think there is some higher power has increased from 31 to 36 % in the last 40 year. The agnostics were 16 % and they are now 26 %. And the number of atheists went fro 8 to 16 %.

 

As you see, no one will attack you for coming out as an agnostic, somethingist or atheist over here! :P

Myself, I think there is a higher power, you can call it 'The Force' or you can call it God, but most definately not the Judeo, christian or islam god nor any of the thousands of gods worshiped today and in the past by people all over the world. And all their so called blood ridden holy texts.

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The average Nederlander is a pretty amiable beast. They welcomed this mad Engleseman into their country for nearly two years with nary a muttered 'klootzak' ;)

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Over here in the Netherlands the majority of people are

 

- Atheists

- People who there is some sort of higher power or God, but that that 'God' has nothing to do with any religions whatsoever, nor with any 'holy text'.

How can I move to the Netherlands?

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Over here in the Netherlands the majority of people are

 

- Atheists

- People who there is some sort of higher power or God, but that that 'God' has nothing to do with any religions whatsoever, nor with any 'holy text'.

How can I move to the Netherlands?

 

By boat or by airplane!

By the way, this counts for a most western european countries nowadays.

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The comparison between atheists and homosexuals is interesting because I was thinking the other day how these two group are natural allies. Christians have abused and cast out homosexuals by the thousands with their hateful dogma. Obviously said homosexuals are going to be hostile to the Church. As for the homosexuals who are still in Christianity, efforts should be made to make them realize that their religion is a religion that will never fully accept them as human beings. I'm not talking about forcing these people to come to our point of view (that is their decision to make) but I have a feeling that a lot of Christian homosexuals (closeted and open) are in denial about the essentially homophobic bent of the Church. If they can be given support, then I believe that a great number of homosexuals will leave Christianity. That will serve to weaken x-tianity.

 

I am not gay, and so I may be incredibly wrong about this idea. I can only speculate how many xtian homosexuals there are, and how willing they are to accept the hostility of the Church towards them.

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I only had to really come-out as gay once, and that was to my parents; it was difficult but necessary, and they both eventually came around and accepted me for who I was. I don't really ever have to come-out as gay anymore, I just live my life so openly that everyone who has any significant contact with me will pick up on it through my conversations with them.

 

I never had an official coming out regarding my atheism. I suppose it is because no one in my life would give a damn anyway. My mother was a nominal Christian and best and my father was an unbeliever. The only religious person on my family is my brother and he has never tried to discuss his faith with me; we just agree to disagree and maintain a good friendly relationship.

 

Location I suppose does have a great deal to do with it. Within six months of coming out as gay I moved to San Francisco where it is a total non-issue. I lived in San Francisco for 21 years before moving to New Hampshire in 2001. Most New Englanders are like what I believe Western Europeans to be when it comes to Christianity; most will tell you they are Christian, but they never discuss their faith, never attend church and when pressed will admit they believe the Bible to be a buch of "ancient stories" I love living here! :woohoo:

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