I don't wear my atheism on my sleeve but I'm ready to proclaim my stance should the need arise, Like when Jehovah's Witnesses come to my door. :-)
I'm "out of the closet." I'm a very outspoken atheist, more of a militant atheist, really. I lived a lot of my life in the Bible belt and my atheism was infamous.
I came out of the closet by changing my religion on MySpace. My mum noticed, went and changed it back to Catholic. I noticed and changed it to Atheist again. This went on for quite sometime until I eventually had to sit down and talk to my mum about my beliefs, or lack thereof. She isn't happy with my decision but she recognizes my decision.
If you come out of the closet, you lead a happier life. There's no reason to live a lie and you'll find that there are actually a lot of other atheists out there that are just scared to come out because they don't have anyone. Be that person for someone.
Very recently (in the past few months) I have fully "come out" as an atheist. Prior, I was always afraid of what the response might be (particularly from my family). However, I am now in a position where I am not dependent on anyone but myself for support, so I finally felt comfortable with being honest about my atheism. There were some serious repercussions (most of family will not talk to me, currently), but for me personally, it was an enormous relief.
I mostly hide it but I'm planning on being more open with it. I just hate when these things fall on deaf ears. People don't want to understand your perspective they just want you to understand them. It's a bit annoying really but I've come to terms with it. I'm thinking about creating a secular club at my school and meeting other like minded people.
Don't know if it's in the closet, but I don't advertise it. If someone asks I will tell them if it is pertinent to the discussion that we are having. I will say that most of the time, people don't believe me. They will tell me they know I believe in God (always the xtian god) since I seem to know the scriptures better than they do, and I just don't know what church to go to. It never comes up, but I also know some of the Koran, the Rig Vedas (Hindu), Avesta (Zorasterian, but a complete version has not survived) etc. I think since religion is an invention of mankind, reading about them can shed a light on our common humanity, as I percieve religion as a failed science. They will not believe me. I'm totally dumbfounded by this. I say what I mean, they believe other things I say, why not this? Sorry, got a little off topic, just venting some of my frustration. Peace and long life.
Let's see. My girlfriend knows. She's an atheist as well (or she has told me so). People who have me on their friends list on FB know. (I was actually surprised to see that I didnt end up friendless..LOL) I don't know if my physical family has any idea ( one aunt is on my FB but never see her check it). I have one brother whom I am estranged from and that doesnt matter. My parents are dead. I dont walk around wearing a sign at work but if someone asked me point blank I would tell them I don't believe in God or The Bible,etc.
I tend to keep it to myself.I will tell some people if I think I can trust them but that isn't very often.I like this site alot because I can be honest and others agree with me too.
Open - But I live in Canada and no one gives a shit.
Be careful, Canadians are just more polite and won't come out and say what they think. :)
You'd be surprised how much people really do care... it's what I've come to realise.
On second thought maybe its me that doesn't give a shit :)
I'm a bit polarized in this issue. I'm very open on most of the internet world (no surprise). But in person with most of my friends, the topic typically doesn't even come up. I'm sure most of my closest friends are aware that I'm an atheist but don't realize that I'm, I suppose you could say, an active atheist.
I think most of my family, who is largely religious, is unaware though, and this is one of the most difficult things for me. My grandmother has no idea - so much so to the point that she actually thinks I'm still a devout believer in jesus christ and I just can't get myself to tell her that I'm not. It pains me to know she deludes herself about this yet I hate to imagine the heart break she will feel when I tell her that I'm not only an atheist, but I utterly detest everything about the religion she believes. All in all, I still struggle to make it clear to everyone.
Andrea, whether you stay in the closet or come out depends on how thick your skin is. It doesn't matter which side of the fence you are on, there is always someone who will judge you negatively, and will do so loudly so that others will hear.
As for myself, remaining silent about something as important as beliefs does nothing to solve the challenge facing me. It is only when I think as clearly as I can, without denying or pretending there is no problem, that I either change my belief or get a thicker skin. Talking with others is the most helpful for me. Especially, if I have to face some serious problems that are taken as normal in society, I have to be as confident, competent, and comfortable as I can be to stand up for my beliefs.
I hold a value that says be absolutely confident of my position and absolutely flexible at the same time. There is no shame in being wrong and changing my mind; there is no shame in standing up for what I believe.
Life isn't about making everybody love you; you have to make too many compromises to do that. Respect is a different matter ... people may disagree with you and respect you at the same time.
I like being an atheist; it fits me. I like the discussion that come from the atheist community in that there are no scripture, no dogma, no litany, no commandments, no make-believe, no fables, no judgment ... it is simply NOT BELIEVING IN GODS OR SPIRITS.
Our wisdom, strength, perseverance, loyalty, kindness, care, compassion, commitment, honesty, decency comes from inside us.
Are you holding your daughter? Do you have a special feeling when you think about her and her future? That comes from inside and so do the other virtues. When we expand our expression of compassion to others so do our feelings expand.