Are you open about being an atheist or are you in the closet?

I am semi in the closet. I do have to admit that I am not comfortable discussing my views with just anyone. I am the type that wants everyone to like me (such a fault I have!) and I am nervous someone will think I am a bad person. Even when I find someone who is passionate about science, I still try not to venture down that avenue. So lucky to have you guys!

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That is why I like listening or reading Lawrence Krauss, Neil deGrasse Tyson, David Suzuki, Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein, Galileo, Copernicus, and other scientists.

They discuss natural forces: gravity, magnetism, electricity, strong force and weak force, time and matter, chemistry, astronomy, physics, quantum physics, biology, geology, DNA, natural selection, evolution, etc.

They make more sense than god created earth in seven days, or whatever; that the universe is 6 thousand years old, or whatever; that Jesus walked on water, or whatever; that there is a heaven and hell and someone lets us pass through the gates, or whatever; that we are doomed to burn for eternity in hell if we don't obey, or whatever; that we must be born again, or whatever; that we will meet our loved ones in paradise, or whatever. 

I'm an asshole about it. I'll get in a fistfight if I have to. I have no respect for the religious and they can kiss my ass. 

Kevin, please don't. It will just give them ammo to label us as amoral, violent anarchists. Find quotes in the bible which make their positions look silly. Keep your anger, but direct it in a logical way. Force them to kiss your ass! ;)

William, I like that idea. 

Kevin, No need! Fighting verbally or physically with someone who believes god exists, that one is to obey god, that there are consequences if we don't accept Jesus as savior, is like fighting a cloud, or puff of smoke. There is nothing of substance to fight about. Save your energy for enjoying life and all that implies. 

My family has yet to discuss and fully accept my position as an atheist, although I've been one for over thirteen years! Everytime the subject comes up, my mother makes it about herself and questions why I spit on her parenting; so in as much as I don't hide it to my family, it's a no go zone in terms of discourse. 

In my neighborhood, all my mates know me to be one. It is those people who don't know me who label me a devil worshiper and some have physically attacked me all in the name of defending something they hardly put enough time to adore.

Always a delight, being in the company of rational people!

Ojay, Ouch! It really hurts when religion comes between parent and child. Even as we want to hold on to a relationship, it is difficult, at least for me, to listen to the rhetoric of religion when I know it to be babble. Yes, healthy and fulfilling conversation can occur here.

I am new to athiesm and just recently came out about it. My entire family including my wife are religious. As soon as I came out they began to get angry with me, condemning me to hell, and have ignored any communications with me. It is a tough situation but I choose to not take importance in other peoples ignorance and I've dealt with it perfectly fine.
Here in the northeast there is less of a hostile reaction, although I am in a neighborhood which doesn't embrace atheism. However, I lived in Virginia for four years, and I often felt admitting my atheism would endager my family's and my own life. A neighbor, whom I liked, actually admitted to me that she would stab me in the throat if she knew I was an athiest. (She wholeheartedly assumed I wasn't and admited to her tolerance toward catholics.) It was scary. As a teacher I saw students being indocrinated and even spoke out against a prayer being said before a staff meeting. The result of the latter was that the prayers ceased while I was there, but it was clear my complaint wasn't kept confidential. Luckily, I left that year, and I found out the prayers continued the following year.
I'm in the closet IRL, but pretty out and open on the Internet and on paper. I wish I could be open about it all the time, but there are reasons I choose to keep it confidential. The most important reason is denial of a career,  which I cant compromise at any cost because I'm still in the process of obtaining my degree. I can't lose over 10 grand over something that doesnt really matter if they know or not. Second it just makes my life easier while I am in such a vunerable point in my life--working(poor?) and student. 3rd people I care about don't need to worry about me going to hell. This is mostly very close and dear friends and older relatives and in-laws. Most will argue that "Well, if they REALLY loved you they'd except you for who you are." You have to get inside their head to understand this and the consequences which for me isn't worth it. It's BECAUSE they love you they want to convert you.  I love my grandparents so much that I will go to church for them. I don't want to see them worry about me when they are in the twilight of their years and I don't want my precious time with them tainted with conversations on god and the bible. It doesn't bother me at all their church is pretty normal a bunch of sweet old people socializing and no political connotations. I will sing hymns because I love to sing, and words are just words (especially when there's no one listening anyway) I can zone out with a pretty interested look on my face, and I'll now my head in respect (for my grandparents) but I'll think of a joke or song I've got stuck in my head when they are praying or make up satirical version of the one the minister made up. As for friends the same reasons apply, I like spending time with them, not talking about god--we wouldn't be such close friends we ever did. They dont promote politics that would invade on others lives and educations, they dont bad mouth others  race , sexuality ,or  beliefs  so no harm there. For strangers I don't know I'm a little less  accommodating. As long as they dont offend me I keep my mouth shut and talk about something else. I am really hard to offend but I have no tolerance for things I feel mislabel me and non-theists in a negative way, and/or intrude on my constitutional rights and personal life, block government funding for research involving life saving medicine, making me promote any identy with any religion by saying or displaying anything on my body, property, and interfering with teaching religious opinions in a public school setting. Everyone is entitled to their personal beliefs , the most "evil" thing you or ,worse an establishment,  can do to a person  is try to Big Brother their mind. Go if it makes you happy believe what you want , just keep it the hell away from any thing involving the government, public and non-theist specific private education, and my life and private affairs. Depending on the severity of the nature of whatever was said I will say something , and if I have say I'm an atheist and it won't effect my salary ( I've heard you have legal protection) I'll even say that I am an atheist, if I can't get around it with "that's none of your business." one day when I am established I say what's on my mind wether its polite or not. But for now it is best to stay where I am, you only get one shot at life ..:.im not going to let them ruin it for me. 

Stephen, powerfully stated, a reframing the dilemma into the long view. As children, we learn how to not challenge authority and to obey adults ... perhaps children who are able to challenge parents and authority have more to offer than adults can even imagine. 
My mother smoked from the time she was 12 years old, she too smoked with windows rolled up while I was in the car, she died an excruciating death at 66 of emphysema.  

Teaching children to obey is not my highest priority, teaching them to think, reason, consider consequences, make decisions from their own reasoning power makes far more sense to me. 

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