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Are You Upfront When It Comes To Atheism? Or In The Closet Still?


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I'm still rather in the closet about my Atheism, but I'm being driven up the wall so much that I'm ready to start slowly coming out. How did you go about coming out of your shell?

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I am rather blunt about it except to my grandparents. If religion comes up I just say I am an atheist and don't have a comment. I don't challenge people on their beliefs but if they ask me a question I give an honest answer. Family is different though that's up to you and how you feel about your relationships

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I'm still rather in the closet about my Atheism, but I'm being driven up the wall so much that I'm ready to start slowly coming out. How did you go about coming out of your shell?

 

Yeah. I guess I never really thought about it til last week when I was on the phone with my Mom and at the end of the conversation, she was all like, "So any prayers for this week? What do you want me and your dad to pray for you about?"  And I fell like completely silent and almost said, "Don't bother."  Then remembered who my mom was and was like, "My job. Pray about my workplace."   

 

 I felt really weird and odd when I hung up the phone because there has been almost no religion in any of my conversations for almost a year. But they live 3000 miles from me and I haven't seen them in two years, so I figure whatever. If praying makes her happy. Sometimes, I do just wanna be like, "I don't believe in your god anymore!! GO ME!!!!"   But I don't wanna be spiteful or disrespectful, either. At the end of the day, they are still my parents no matter how much I vehemently disagree with them. 

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Most of my family and friends know I'm an atheist, but in other social settings I have with other members in the community they don't know. Being an atheist is a bit like being a Christian, only far better. We like to share how wonderful it is to be free! Eventually, that excitement is bound to get out, even though we might be afraid of the consequences of letting people know that we think.

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I'm half and half. There are certain family members with whom I can't and won't bring up the subject, and will change it if they do. Luckily, my close friends who are Christians are incredibly kind, supportive, and progressive; they support same-sex marriage and are pro-choice, and have no problems with me saying "I'm agnostic, possibly atheist. I'm still sorting things out" any more than I have problems with them saying "My church is taking part in the pro-choice rally in ____" or "I feel like God is testing me." Talking with some of them helped me sort my feelings about the Jesus stuff, too. 

 

That said, I don't know exactly what certain members of my family know, especially the very religious ones. They would probably dismiss whatever I am and believe now as a product of my non-religious environment, or my desire to just be "rebellious" or something anyway. 

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 Luckily, my close friends who are Christians are incredibly kind, supportive, and progressive; they support same-sex marriage and are pro-choice, and have no problems with me saying "I'm agnostic, possibly atheist.

As time marches on fewer and fewer Christians are actually believing and following Bible. Take homosexuality, biblically speaking, it's taboo and sinners who practice it are destined for hell. Yet many believers today are using common sense, and following what their heart believes to be true. In this case, that homosexuality is acceptable.

It's great that you have Christain friends like this.

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I've stayed largely in the closet. Things with my family have been really bad for years now, just starting to get better, and i dont want to damage the little good that is there. Friends from high school i dont see or talk to enough to let them in on it. Only those really clise to me know

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I base my closet-status on what I want out of the interaction, and on what I think can be accomplished. I'm 'out' to all my friends. IMO friends are optional relationships and they come and go. If they can't handle my lack of faith, then it's best to just nip that whole thing in the bud.

 

For less optional relationships like family, I base my forthrightness on what I think they can handle. For my more fragile family members, I just don't discuss the subject - though I'd tell the truth if they had the courage to directly ask me about it. But with family members who I think can handle it, I don't hesitate to say what I think.

 

With coworkers, I just don't bring up the subject. If THEY bring it up, I'll make a judgement call based on how much I like them and how reasonable I think they are. With most I'll tell them how I see things - but with a few I just won't discuss the subject. My boss is one of those. He seems to be a smart and decent guy - but he doesn't cuss and he has six kids. That's enough for me to avoid the subject altogether with him.

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Everybody knows but my mama. I don't wear atheist t-shirts but I don't dodge questions either.

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Everyone in my life knows, except for some family members and grandparents. Generally, the only time I bring it up is if I am asked or if there is a religious/philosophical discussion going on. 

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I don't bring it up in conversation, but if it comes up.. I am honest about it. HOW I approach it also depends on whom I am speaking with. This is a new thing for me though... and it takes practice, being honest about something that seems to be a very touchy subject for a lot of people. I'm lucky that my family doesn't judge me for it, except one aunt and she's cool, just tends to lend me 'christian' themed books from time to time. Her son is a Buddhist.. also one of my best friends and she kind of hints around at him too. She went to Europe recently and bought him a crucifix necklace!  LOL  expected him to wear it. We both laugh about it.. she isn't fundy or anything, so we just take her with a grain of salt.

 

There are places I won't discuss religion at all.. like work. Nobody's business.

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Two of my five siblings know, but my parents don't.  Dad  may suspect after a ... warm... conversation we had over his wanting this country to become a Theocracy.  We leave it alone now.  I don't live near any of them.

 

This region is over-the-top fundy, so god shows up in normal conversations everywhere.  I usually try to ignore it but I don't join in with group prayers at functions.  Lately, though, I've been a lot more outspoken about my lack of superstition.  Of any kind.

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I'm still rather in the closet about my Atheism, but I'm being driven up the wall so much that I'm ready to start slowly coming out. How did you go about coming out of your shell?

 

Trust yourself.

 

Do that before you trust others or any idea of god or supernatural. If you can trust yourself even when you are wrong you will be willing to say so in order to determine what is correct. You will want to know about what is correct far more than you do about wanting to hide your ideas.

 

If you are afraid of losing friends or family simply becuase you choose to believe something then I would challenge they were not your friends and your family are a bunch of self centered assholes that need to "save" you from yourself more than they need to accept you as you are. I know it can hurt. I know you can feel alone but believe me there are hundreds of millions of people in the world that do see through the lie of religion. We may currently be the minority but I promise it will not always be like that and if it is I promise the human race will extinct itself over it eventually and then none of this matters anyway.

 

Personally I feel we (the race) can overcome our childlike ways and grow as we progress into the future. The day religion dies on this planet is the day mankind truly starts to live.

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I'm lucky to live in a fairly secularised country, so religion is considered people's private business and outspoken fundamentalist Christianity is  generally frowned upon. My family and friends all know I'm no longer a Christian, and thankfully nobody seems to mind. Actually, the only one close to me who I know to be a practising (sort of) Christian is my fiancé but he isn't a fundy and isn't trying to reconvert me. I had deconverted when we got together (we'd first met when I was still a fundy) and I told him this but I later realised that he hadn't quite understood that I really didn't believe in Christianity at all any longer. He did seem a bit shaken when this fact hit home but now he seems okay with it and we even joke about my atheism. I'm secretly hoping that he'll deconvert too at some point but there's no hurry.

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I've told people many times over the years I am not a believer, the same people, over and over and over. They act like they are incapable to understand nonbelief. Wilfull ignorance goes really deep.

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I'm more of a deist than an atheist, but I don't talk about my non-belief much except to my friends. With my family, I try to avoid it. I would hate to upset my grandmother. My mother gets visibly emotional, while Dad acts like my different views are a personal insult to him. I'll come out more when I go off to my somewhat liberal college next month.

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I'm out with all my closest friends and family.

 

All my peripheral friends and contacts - those who I don't see regularly but still make the cut of being included on my Facebook friends - don't know about my deconversion.  Indeed some may never have known I was a Christian.

 

Today I was thinking about just doing a simple facebook post.  "There is no God."  See what happens.

 

What do you all think?

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I don't really discuss it. I've been an Atheist for a very long time, and it loses it's appeal more and more as time goes on. I've reached the point where it doesn't really impact my daily existence anymore outside of dealing with the occasional obnoxious fundy or recruitment squad. Even then I have a short attention span now.

 

It's not exactly a hobby. I'm not a professional Atheist and I don't have to take any tests.

 

I'm not shy about saying I am though. Mostly when people bother me about their own religion.

 

The great thing about Atheism is that you really don't have to invest time in it. It's a non belief. There's no special book, rules, place you have to go, or thing you need to believe in.

 

I pretty much just ignore religion as much as I can. I don't sit around thinking about not liking God or Jesus.

 

It's kind of like Santa. Unless you're dealing with the holiday directly and it's right in your face, how much though do you give the jolly old elf in everyday life as an Adult?

 

I'm pretty much like that with God. I don't think about him, I don't talk about him, I just do other shit and don't worry about it.

 

Not believing in something really doesn't take any effort. It's kind of nice and I like it that way.

 

Occasionally a topic here will catch my interest and I'll get involved for a bit, but that's rare and most of my postings here recently have involved entertainment, politics, and news. We don't have the influx of Christians we used to get back in the 'good old days'. Mostly it's just us unbelievers and a few Christians we know how to deal with who have been here for a while. [Mostly ignore them.]

 

I don't have the energy or attention span to deal with religion anymore. It's not important enough to waste time on most of the time.

 

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I've discussed off-hand with my parents that I hate God; that I think he's an idiot or an incompent or malevolent, that I for some reason do believe he exists, but I find it impossible to regard him as remotely good.  Both my parents are not religious, but spiritual, as the saying goes.  They're not trying to persuade me to opt in to any kind of religion, but they haven't tried to talk me out of my hatred or contempt.  I have no idea if they just humor me because they think I'm crazy and might have a psychotic episode.  My brother and I have a tentative agreement that if we discover it's all true, we'll give a go at a tag team smack down on God, given half the chance (this was an irreverent exchange, mind).

 

I've come to the conclusion that I don't want people to intrude on my "spiritual space."  I argued back and forth with one Christian friend, wondering if he would provide any compelling reason to turn back, but point for point any answer he thought would help came with different sources of cognitive dissonance.  I don't argue with him about it anymore, we just talk about other stuff that we both find fun.  Another friend, I told him up front that I didn't want to talk about God and Christianity; this friend made the assumption that I'm still a believer, just a very angry one.

 

A stranger who I was talking to, who was a friend of a friend (she was present for this conversation) was preoccupied with pinning me down on my thoughts about Jesus, and I said something to the effect that "I'm familiar with the Nicene Creed

" and was inwardly bemused to see that he jumped to the conclusion I was a Christian, albeit a somewhat traumatized one.  I didn't bother to correct him, and I was left with the sense that this was a situation that wasn't worth feeling guilty for not being truthful.

 

Another friend/mentor/co-worker who I have a great deal of respect for, I will occasional converse with on topics regarding what I consider to be useful ethics and morals.  It is intriguing to conversationally explore the darker sides of the Bible and God's character, but I'm always careful to avoid explicit statements that are critical of either.  I think he assumes I'm a Christian, and I think plenty of other people will tend to make that assumption, too.  At the very least, the fact that I am non-hostile to religion puts people at ease, so even if people might know some of the particulars of where I'm at or coming from or going to, they are not going to try and persuade me or dissuade me because I'm not operating on a war-footing.  Maybe they think I'll find my way, the right way, because they think I have the right attitude.

 

I think I might be flailing a bit with describing staying closeted or not, but I would say that I'm taking it on a case by case basis.  People I don't know who try and pin me down I will say, "It's between me and God" or I don't want to talk about it, or I'll point out the passage in the Bible that warns against questioning another person's faith.  For me it's about respecting other people's right to walk their own spiritual path, whether I disagree with it or not, and I expect the same courtesy accorded to me (the respect I accord upfront in a preemptive measure, mind, and I am using the word "respect" in a mechanical way; I might not actually respect the belief, but I will act as if I respect it in the spirit of being well-mannered).  I think if I have to, if I think a person is gossipy or has dangerously dehumanizing perpectives about non-Christians, I will willingly lie to them without feeling remotely guilt.  I will go the quiet path, without drawing attention, so that I can preserve my right to my own beliefs without being challenged to justify them.  There are many other real, serious problems that have to be dealt with in the world, so I don't want to deal with spirituality in confrontational ways.

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My brother and some friends know. I haven't talked to my parents about it but I rarely see them since we live on opposite sides of the country. We'll see if it pops up in conversation when I go home for the holidays...

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Not really atheist, more like there is something out there but I discovered xianity is not it and yes, I am quiet about it to a few.

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When it was happening (the process of deconverting) I was upfront about it with other Christians from church and family because I honestly wanted to know if there was an answer to my question as to how God could be said to be loving, given that .......I won't go into it all again here, but hell, pain and suffering etc...I  was at first still hopeful that someone could explain it to me in such a way that  I could accept God. Most people I discussed it with could understand my point and it had crossed their minds too. The difference between them and me was that they were willing to have faith that God had his good reasons for seeming cruel. Only a couple of people were indignant with me for questioning  or 'judging' God. The others couldn't really condemn me because they couldn't give me any answer that made sense. I would have liked to be convinced to stay but there was nothing.

These days I don't like to discuss it with any of them as it's still too upsetting (to me) and also it's pointless to upset them (and they are people I like).

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