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Revealing Your Atheism:


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http://atheism.about.com/od/atheistactivism/p/AtheistsCloset.htm?nl=1

Revealing Your Atheism:

 

Should You Come Out of the Closet as an Atheist?

By Austin Cline, About.com

 

 

Why Do Atheists Hide Atheism from Families? Are Atheists Ashamed?:

 

Notall atheists hide their atheism from friends, neighbors, coworkers, andfamily, but it's that many do. This doesn't mean that they arenecessarily ashamed of their atheism; instead, it often means that theyare afraid of the reactions of others if they find out and this isbecause so many religious theists — especially Christians — areintolerant of atheism and atheists. Thus atheists hiding their atheismisn't an indictment of atheism, it's an indictment of religious theism.It would be better if more atheists could and did come out of thecloset, but they need to be prepared. Why Atheists Hide Their Atheism...1

Do Atheists Prevent their Kids from Learning About Religion, Religious Beliefs?:

 

Becausemost atheists are not religious, it is understandable that mostatheists aren't going to make an effort to raise their children in anexplicitly and deliberately religious environment. Atheists are likelyto raise their children to be Christians or Muslims. Does this, then,mean that atheists are also trying to keep religion away from theirchildren? Are they afraid of their kids possibly becoming religious?What are the consequence of hiding religion from someone? Atheists & Teaching Religion to Kids...2

Should You Come Out as an Atheist?:

 

Atheistsare the most distrusted and despised minority in America; it’s nosurprise, then, that so many atheists don’t reveal their atheism tofriends, family, neighbors, or coworkers. Atheists are afraid of howpeople will react and how they will be treated. Bigotry, prejudice, anddiscrimination are not uncommon. Despite the dangers, though, atheistsshould seriously consider coming out of the closet anyway — it’s betterfor them and for atheists generally over the long term. Coming Out as an Atheist...3

Coming Out as an Atheist to Your Parents & Family:

 

Manyatheists struggle with deciding whether they should reveal theiratheism to their family or not. Especially if a family is veryreligious or devout, telling parents and other family members that onenot only doesn’t accept the family’s religion anymore, but in factrejects even belief in a god, can strain familial ties to the breakingpoint. In some cases, the consequences can include physical oremotional abuse and even having all family ties cut off. Revealing Atheism to Your Parents & Family...4

Coming Out as an Atheist to Friends & Neighbors:

 

Notall atheists have revealed their atheism to their friends andneighbors. Religious theism is so widespread, and distrust of atheistsso prevalent, that many people can’t tell the full truth even to thoseclosest to them out of fear of ostracism and discrimination. This is aserious indictment against the alleged morality of religion in Americatoday, but it also points to an opportunity: if more atheists did comeout of the closet, it might lead to a change in attitudes. Revealing Atheism to Friends & Neighbors...5

Coming Out as an Atheist to Coworkers & Employers:

 

Revealingatheism to anyone can lead to problems, but revealing atheism toemployers or coworkers comes with unique problems not associated withrevealing atheism to family or friends. People at work can undermineyour efforts and even your professional reputation. Your superiors,managers, and bosses can deny you promotions, raises, and prevent youfrom getting ahead. In effect, being known as an atheist at work cannegatively affect your ability to earn a living and provide for yourfamily. Revealing Atheism to Coworkers & Employers...6This About.com page has been optimized for print. To view this page in its original form, please visit: http://atheism.about.com/od/atheistactivism/p/AtheistsCloset.htm

 

©2009 About.com, Inc., a part of The New York Times Company. All rights reserved.

 

 

Links in this article:

  1. http://atheism.about.com/od/comingoutasanatheist/a/AtheistsHide.htm
  2. http://atheism.about.com/od/atheismatheistantireligion/a/HideReligion.htm
  3. http://atheism.about.com/od/atheistactivism/p/ComingOut.htm
  4. http://atheism.about.com/od/atheistactivism/p/ComeOutFamily.htm
  5. http://atheism.about.com/od/atheistactivism/p/ComeOutFriends.htm
  6. http://atheism.about.com/od/atheistactivism/p/ComeOutWork.htm

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I don't think that it's appropriate to come out about atheism at work unless you're in a situation where you're harassed by someone- and even then, you should make it about the harassment and the other person's behavior and not about your own beliefs. There's nothing obnoxious like the person who talks about religion at work- and that goes for the person who talks about their lack of religion too. If you're my coworker and you have doubts about whether I want to hear about your personal beliefs... I don't. Don't get me wrong, I definitely think that if it does come out and someone's being treated unfairly, that needs to stop. I just don't think that work is an appropriate place to bring up religious beliefs at all.

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In a situation where you can be fired for anything, to me it is foolhardy to reveal that you are an atheist when you know your boss is a staunch Christian. There are way too many stereotypes of atheists out there and chances are they will look for an excuse to fire you. That is just the way things are. If you want to step out and be a martyr, fine, if you are willing to take the consequences.

 

To me, religion is a private matter and it should not be discussed in the workplace. Too bad it often is, and people are compelled to either say nothing, or hide in the closet.

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  • Super Moderator

Gays had to come out and raise some hell to make any political and social progress. Blacks were automatically "out" but didn't start to make any progress until they organized protests and refused to be treated as second class citizens. Respect, understanding and equality isn't just handed to minorities without a show of numbers and solidarity.

 

Just saying.

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Gays had to come out and raise some hell to make any political and social progress. Blacks were automatically "out" but didn't start to make any progress until they organized protests and refused to be treated as second class citizens. Respect, understanding and equality isn't just handed to minorities without a show of numbers and solidarity.

 

Just saying.

 

While I agree with this, it doesn't change the fact I need to put food on the table and pay my bills. It's not just me, I have a child to support.

 

The best lesson I learned from my mother concerning work. The less your co-workers know about your personal life and info, the more respect you get.

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Although my current boss is aware of my religious standing, and although I'm open to discussion if someone asks, I don't feel that religion - or any personal choices are workplace appropriate conversation. I have always tried to generally keep work and personal life seperate, and this has generally served me very well. It prevents my job from using my personal life against me (which I have seen happen - not to me, but to other people) and also keeps it more professional. Plus, that way, work stays out of home, the two are seperate and I can actually relax at home.

 

Now my current boss loves a good debate and if someone can defend their stance, she's willing to agree to disagree - therefore, on occasion we've discussed things such as the origin of morals, religion, but her favorite is politics (my least favorite). Then again, she's in it more for the debate and discussion, although when someone is ignorant about a topic but still opinionated she has been known on numerous occasions to use that as gossip about said person. Again, why I keep my personal life out of it - not my views, but my life.

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Guest ephymeris

When I worked in small town Louisiana, I kept my atheism very closeted. People knew I wasn't particularly religious but I would never have "come out." Now I live in St. Louis and while there are lots of catholics here, there is a lot of room for diversity. I do not bring up my atheism at work because I agree that religion and work don't mix. However, many people I work with are personal friends outside of work and if religion comes up, I don't volunteer information but I don't lie. If someone in the workplace starts putting religion in my face (like around christmas) I let them know I am not interested and they can figure it out.

 

In my department, we have coworkers and patients of many varying faiths so there is a strong push for tolerance even though we actually work in a catholic hospital. Last christmas, someone went crazy putting up 4 nativity scenes around our department. My boss came in one morning and said in a huff "Enough with the nativity scenes! This is ridiculous, someone's going to get offended!" It was music to my ears to hear someone else respect that there are OTHER beliefs right here in midwest America. They took down 3 of the nativity scenes that day!

 

I'm still working on coming out to my parents. My dad won't care but my mom has become a fundy christian since my brother's accident and I know it's because of her own emotional and psychological difficulties. I, in good conscience, can't tell her that I'm going to hell (as she would believe) at this point.

 

Edit: PS When a Pakistani friend of mine brought up religion at work, it was great to find out that she's an exMuslim and that she "tried" catholicism only to find it just as boring and not relevant as Islam. :) Another deconvert at work, yay!

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Respect, understanding and equality isn't just handed to minorities without a show of numbers and solidarity.

 

Just saying.

While I agree completely, the reality is that coming out would be social and economic suicide for most of us.

As a business owner in a town that just started a "We still pray!" campaign (billboards, t-shirts, the works), revealing my convictions could quite possibly get me stoned!

I'm one of those few people who, during the prayers at Chamber of Commerce and various civic meetings, is glancing around to see if anybody else is as annoyed as I am.

 

Haven't seen one yet.

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  • Super Moderator

Maybe if we had public restrooms labeled Men, Women and Atheists. Maybe if the back of the bus was reserved for atheists. Maybe if atheists were prohibited from getting married. Maybe if job sites had signs declaring that atheists need not apply. Maybe if discrimination was more blatant there would be some effort and sacrifice made to stand up and be counted as full-fledged citizens who happen to be non-believers. We don't even know how many atheists there are because so many are in hiding.

 

At least we are starting to get a few atheist role models as television characters, and that's a positive sign of the beginning of social acceptance. There have always been scientists, philosophers and authors who proclaimed their atheism, but it takes regular, people who aren't celebrities to make an impact in awareness. Perhaps one day we will all have more pride than fear.

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Maybe if we had public restrooms labeled Men, Women and Atheists. Maybe if the back of the bus was reserved for atheists. Maybe if atheists were prohibited from getting married. Maybe if job sites had signs declaring that atheists need not apply. Maybe if discrimination was more blatant there would be some effort and sacrifice made to stand up and be counted as full-fledged citizens who happen to be non-believers. We don't even know how many atheists there are because so many are in hiding.

 

At least we are starting to get a few atheist role models as television characters, and that's a positive sign of the beginning of social acceptance. There have always been scientists, philosophers and authors who proclaimed their atheism, but it takes regular, people who aren't celebrities to make an impact in awareness. Perhaps one day we will all have more pride than fear.

Most atheists are aware of the social stigma associated with atheism, and to avoid that stigma and the potential social, emotional and economic consequences of "revealing" our atheism, we stay in the closet (or just don't say much). The only thing that allows someone to openly admit they are atheist is when the consequences are minimal to nonexistent. 12 years ago I took great pains to preserve my anonymity. Now I only take pain to preserve my anonymity.

 

If there was open hostility and outright prejudice and persecution, I think most atheists would just shut up. I'd be the first one to shut up. Very few atheists feel such a strong compulsion to expose their lack of belief that they would risk major consequences to do so.

 

I'm not saying there wouldn't be a few martyrs, but most of us would quietly keep to ourselves.

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I have heard my family said they would kick me out if I was gay... so I wonder if I admitted my new religious views if they would kick me out too. The uncle and aunt I live with, I don't know what you would call them, they believe in God and think Christians are good, but still do things seen as "sinful" But on the other hand, I have an atheist uncle, and my uncle that I live with wrote a "you are going to hell" letter to him one day. As long as I act good I can fool them, cause that is how I raised, to be "good".

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Guest Net Eng

Gays had to come out and raise some hell to make any political and social progress. Blacks were automatically "out" but didn't start to make any progress until they organized protests and refused to be treated as second class citizens. Respect, understanding and equality isn't just handed to minorities without a show of numbers and solidarity.

 

Just saying.

 

While I agree with this, it doesn't change the fact I need to put food on the table and pay my bills. It's not just me, I have a child to support.

 

The best lesson I learned from my mother concerning work. The less your co-workers know about your personal life and info, the more respect you get.

 

I second this. I prefer to keep personal conversations at work limited to "safe" subjects like: What the kids are doing, Where am I going on vacation, I have kitties cats at home do you ??.

 

Makes life a whole lot simpler.

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Maybe if we had public restrooms labeled Men, Women and Atheists. Maybe if the back of the bus was reserved for atheists. Maybe if atheists were prohibited from getting married. Maybe if job sites had signs declaring that atheists need not apply. Maybe if discrimination was more blatant there would be some effort and sacrifice made to stand up and be counted as full-fledged citizens who happen to be non-believers. We don't even know how many atheists there are because so many are in hiding.

 

At least we are starting to get a few atheist role models as television characters, and that's a positive sign of the beginning of social acceptance. There have always been scientists, philosophers and authors who proclaimed their atheism, but it takes regular, people who aren't celebrities to make an impact in awareness. Perhaps one day we will all have more pride than fear.

 

 

 

I'm ashamed to admit that I still "contour" my replies sometimes when Christians that I know ask me a bit about my beliefs. Sometimes I've waffled a bit, and said that I'm still "open-minded" about it all, because I might have needed their good will or their business. I'm pretty tired of living in a world where being Christian is the default position, and somehow I have to undergo a sense of caution to just come out and say that all religion is a delusion.

 

Think I'll start a thread about this.

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