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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Well I tried to reply to you twice but my I-phone went bezerk on me so here I go again. I really appreciate your input , I do know I probably should be more open than I am in RL, but for now I'm satisfied. Besides the pen (or keyboard) IS mightier than the sword, after all. I think one of the reason I'm so open minded towards theists is that to me religion is just an obsolete vestige of the continuing development of civilization. Most people aren't ready to accept that and that's fine with me. However, the creation business has to stop. If people want to personally believe all modern science that are accepted by the scientific community are just the way their god or whatever they believe in made the universe, I don't promote that, but there's nothing wrong with it either. Besides some of them become atheists anyway (I know I was one) I don't agree that religion hasn't shaped our civilization. In the middle ages, convents and monestaries were the only place common people could get a decent education, the catholic church also funded many universities that taught a helluva lot more than religion as well. Also many Christians, Jews, and Muslims made many proto-scientific discoveries and scientific discoveries that are the backbone of modern science. Religion has many symbolism, art, and mythologies that are valuable in the feild of anthropology as well. (I for one , am interested in the origin of holidays, and love catholic art) But I'll stress it again the really crazy ones need to keep their bible-thumping paws off of decisions of the government, education in general, and bioethics ( especially ones deprive other citizens of personal decidisions, and certain life giving research). Thats when I tell them they are wrong. Btw sorry about your mom, I lost my father when I was 5 to heart disease. He was 44. He really didn't like doctors for some crazy reason.

I haven't told my family but I suspect they pretty much know, I haven't been to church in years and there have been the odd comment here and there but I am non confrontational by nature and I won't convince them and they won't convince me so there we have it.

I was raised secular (being kin to Alfred Russell Wallace this is not so shocking.) I sort of morphed from someone ignorant about religion in general into a full on atheist during my four years of junior high. By high school I was pretty vocal about my atheism, and always in trouble. I had to change high schools because the teasing got so bad. Eventually I left my home state altogether. I'm from West (by god) Virginia, but I've lived in Philadelphia PA for something like 8 years. I find it easier to be an atheist in a multi-religious city. (It was nothing but Christians in WV.) Philly has many religions and nonreligious people living side by side, also it's the birth place of "secular freedom." I put that in air quotes cos well... We all know how "free" we really are.

Hi Allison, I am glad you joined A/N. There are so many lively conversations and great friendships form. If you have interest in politics, economics and religion and their interrelationships, please join us at Politics, Economics, and Religion.

I'm "in the closet" for now except for the internet and to known atheists. I'm planning on telling my friends and family when I am 18. Then they can't force me to go to church every day trying to convert me. Also when I tell my friends I won't face isolation if they don't take it well, and I can see who my real friends are.

I wish I would've realized that when I was under 18. Though I havent believed in god since I was 9 (I'm 30 now) I was still involved in some pretty derp "magical thinking" that was pretty unhealthy for me psychologically. When I made the jump to atheism/skepticism I found my mental illness (nothing too serious) are much easier to control. Religion is actually bad for my health ha! I'm way too idiosyncratic. When you go to college it might be easier especially if your going for science or art. Good luck!

I'm somewhat open with people about my atheism. I have a co-worker who is atheist and we have some pretty good discussions about science and religion. I've told considerably more people that I'm not a believer than straight-up said the word "atheist". I'm a horrible liar and do not like to equivocate, so if someone asks I'm going to tell them.

 

My husband is fine with it. He's more or less agnostic. He wouldn't label himmself an atheist. Other than him I haven't been direct with our immediate family, who are all very religious. I really would like to bring it up with my parents and sister, but they live far away and we don't see a lot of each other. I'd rather they not find out over the Internet, but if they did I suspect they wouldn't be too surprised. I don't try to hide the fact that I'm scientistic and have no interest in church-going. We have very good relationships and I really don't think they would treat me any differently, but I am a little nervous about it. It's the whole, I don't want them worrying about my soul burning in hell, thing.

 

I'm more worried about the kids and how our lack of religion is going to affect them. My mother-in-law asked recently if we were planning on sending the kids to Sunday School. Even though I had a pretty positive religious up-bringing, I'd be pretty pissed if someone (adult) told my kids they were going to hell. I know one of these days we'll have to have a conversation about it. I'm not really sure how to prepare them.

 

Fortunately, although I live in Texas there are at least a few different skeptic/atheist/humanist groups I can meet up with relatively close by. There is a humanist group I have been meeting with once a month, which always contains some lively conversations and is good for my "soul".   :)

Totally out of the closet, but I was fortunate enough to have a non-religious upbringing and live in an area in Canada where people are much more willing to accept non-theists and atheists.

Still in the closet, but that is about to change. So far, my husband is the only person who definitely knows - and he is not happy at all. Most other people still think that I am just going through a time of doubts. So far, I have not had the courage to tell anyone that I have left my doubts behind and reached a point where I know that I am no longer a Christian. 

I haven't been in church for more than a year but officially I am still a member. Last week, I finally emailed my pastor and told him what was going on. I guess by now the whole church knows and they are busy praying for me... I will have to face them personally some time soon because to officially leave, a personal conversation with the church leaders is required. I am really not looking forward to that :-(

At work, faith or the lack thereof isn't really an issue. People may not understand my point of view, but they respect me anyway. 

My biggest challenge will be to tell my parents. I don't know how to do that yet. We live a few hundred kilometers apart and this is not really a conversation I want to have over the phone. But my mum constantly brings up religious topics so I guess sooner or later we will reach a point at which I would have to lie in order to keep my secret - and that is something I will not do. I really feel bad about this because I know they will be extremely disappointed (and worried about my eternal salvation). 

I have not yet made any contacts with atheists in my area (only checked it out online, there are a few organisations, but I am rather shy and don't feel too comfortable about showing up in a meeting with total strangers).

I have no suggestions other than to have confidence in your decision. My favorite confidence building strategy is to watch what others have to say about their beliefs. These give me ideas to ponder and reject or consider. I am aware I am breaking the rules of thinking by referring to authority, however, to refute stories told by theists, I need to know what other people think about theist and atheist ideas, not to blindly adopt them, but to critically think about them. 

Scientists Stephen Hawking There is no God. There is no Fate.

Astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson - Greatest Sermon Ever

Biologist Richard Dawkins on Pascal's Wager

Magician James Randi Speaks: Questioning the Bible

Geology Noah's Flood Debunked

Physicist Education Breeds Atheism - Physicists DO NOT Believe in God

Aronra The Foundational Falsehoods of Creationism -- Complete Series the 1st video is the entire series, the rest are by each fallacies. 

Philosophers 

Good Reasons for "Believing" in God - Dan Dennett, AAI 2007

It helps to lighten up a bit and to do that, I watch funny atheists,

George Carlin George Carlin on Religion and God

There are also cartoons out that ridicule beliefs in ways that make me laugh.

Noah's Ark (part 1 of 2)

I also really like Dan Barker's books, especially Godless - good for one leaving the faith in need of 'back-up'.

@Steffi - that strong arm tactic the church is using with you is just inexcusable, you have to speak with the church leaders as if they own you, as if you 'owe' them anything. It's just that, a strong-arm tactic. As my husband said, I think I'd let them speak to my attorney if they refused to take my name off their rolls as requested without their little 'face to face' attempt to maintain their fold.

wow, that's tough, glad you find some solace online, and hopefully you'll find like-minded people in real life in a not too distant future.

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