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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Congratulations sir!  Most people don't have to worry about being an atheist, except for personal and social repercussions.

You are a brave person!

Out and proud! Brand spanking new AN member, here. I just moved from New Mexico to rural Missouri, and it's been both more and less of culture shock than I expected, in different ways. New Mexico is definitely more religious than Missouri (statistically, speaking) and heavily Catholic, while Missouri is primarily Protestant of some sort or another, from what I can tell.

But in NM, I used to wear my "Christianity Is Stupid" T-shirt openly, whenever I felt like it (y'know, from the NegativeLand song of the same name). Even wore it to class a couple times, without incident (it was clean :). I'd get the occasional dirty look or comment, but usually just surprise that I had the huevos in such a heavily Catholic community. Most folks that commented on it thought it was funny.

Here in Missouri, I wouldn't even wear it around the farm. The sense of self-righteous piety is palpable. There might be fewer true believers, here, but too many of the ones we have are willful and confrontational. God talk is everywhere - on half the t-shirts people wear, 1/4 of the billboards along the road, throw a rock and bust out a church window. In general, they are more zealous and easily offended than NM.

So I might not wear my favorite t-shirt, now, but I'm sure as hell not going back in the closet. It's stuffy in there. My GF's Grandpa died and her aging, almost blind Grandma was facing the end of her years in a home, so we pulled up stakes to come take care of her - she's also an out of the closet atheist. Not any of the true believers in her family - we the heathens did, and I think it's been something of an eye-opener for the moralizers in the community who thought all us atheists were amoral bastiches.

Should be interesting! I joined AN to try to find other atheists/agnostics/humanists/skeptics in MO - never felt like I needed support group in NM. Here? Oh yeah. We're definitely going to need to find some like minds who use their minds. Looking forward to blogging about my experience in the coming months/years!

Lovin' Atheist Nexus!!

I'm open but it's easy for me all of my friends are open atheist. I didn't select my friends on grounds of believe, it just happened, seams i like non believers more.  

I'm more in the middle. I'm not hiding it, but to be honest I'm not the type to say out loud that I'm atheist unless someone asks me what my beliefs are...it could be partly because I'm really shy.

They were removed because someone thought they were off topic. I thought they were relative, because we throw these terms around as though everyone has a grasp on what they mean, so discussion on defining these terms a bit further, I think, is highly relative to this topic.

Half in the closet.  I've been agnostic for some time, but have been part of a couple of pagan communities.  Most people know me as an agnostic pagan, but I haven't come completely out about being an atheist.  I haven't worshipped any gods since my 20's (I'm 41) and I doubt that when I do finally tell my family that it will come as a surprise.  One of my closest friends, who happens to be borderline Evangelical Christian, already knows.  She didn't have a problem with it (she's not the type to try to convert people).  I don't see this affecting anyone any more than when I told them I had joined a Pagan group.

 

When it comes to discussion about religion, I'm all in. 

Well I'm not in the closet. If anyone asks me I won't hide what my beliefs are. Same thing with family, although they are more in denial (The younger ones know and accept it; they don't give me any problems at all). I used to be in the closet for a long time then realized it makes no sense worrying about offending people when it means you can't even be true to yourself. Where I live, you will get scorned for it but its not as bad as say, a Muslim dominant country... If they aren't afraid to go door to door waking people up 6 in the morning than I sure as hell won't be afraid to voice my own opinion when the situation arises...

I like your enthusiasm and confidence and know you have the strength to stand up to opposition. You can be proud. 

im semi too. there are certain people in my life who have known me for a long time. they at some point figured out i was an athiest. either i told them or they did the math. i dont broadcast my lack of faith. though there are people mostly from my work who have known me for a while and dont know. it seems as though a lot of people at my work are very religious and outspoken about it. im not sure i would like for these people to find this about me. i however think that im a ticking bomb sometimes. i think in the right circumstance i would probaly exspose myself.

I hope when religious people discuss their beliefs at work you will be able to calmly and rationally state your beliefs, with the knowledge that you have the ability to reason for yourself, think through the evidence and arrive at your conclusion, without feeling defensive. 
I like discussing my thoughts with people of faith who are able to stay rational. If they don't like what I say, or try to bully me into submission, I know I deal with factors deep within their minds that cause them to protect themselves, even as they can't produce evidence that makes sense. 

This video offers an example of Richard Dawkins' debating style with John Lennox. He debates on debate points and stays calm as Lennox debates on issues of faith. Oxford Museum of Natural History hosts this fascinating and controversial debate on the existence of God.

Has Science Buried God (John Lennox vs Richard Dawkins) FULL DEBATE

From my perspective, to believe in god gives meaning to some people's lives. I don't think existence works that way. Life is, has evolved from simpler forms, and we exist as part of all that is, made of the basic elements of the universe. Our time as "being" is very short and each moment is precious. The purpose of life is not to please god or anyone, it is to be. That is what life is, being. The simple fact of being is my meaning and purpose and opportunity. My senses experience life by seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, feeling with my skin and feeling with my heart. 
Think through the different issues that come up with those who believe god exists, who answers prayers and keeps track of our sex lives. Figure out what you think and then stand proudly, firmly, confidently and competently on your values. 
I am 76 years old and have an 86 year old relative who is convinced he will bring about my conversion before one of us dies. His wife tells him not to discuss religion around me, but I seem to be like a flame to his miller. He gives the nice hug and greeting and then starts asking me if I have met my lord, or if I have come to reason. I respond as clearly as I possibly can to each of his comment, exhortations, and frustrations. Generally, he turns in exasperation and walks away. The next time I see him he has a beautiful or whimsical birdhouse for me. The next time we are together, we have the loving greetings and usual starting conversations, and then he starts in all over again, with the same questions, the same imperatives, the same frustrations, and next visit I get a birdhouse. 

I'm becoming more open now.

Steph, how do you feel when you do reveal your status? Are you OK? 

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