I am openly atheist, but it's easier to be in Europe, the UK in particular. I don't know anyone who would even think they had to 'hide in the closet'. It's such a non-religious society that until I was in my late teens I didn't even know people actually still believed in god/jesus. Religion was thought to be a fringe issue that was only observed by reactionary old people or wackos.
When my friend suddenly became born again, it really made me readdress this issue. Since I was kid, American style Christianity (as opposed to stuffy traditional English CofE or Catholicism) has become more predominant in the UK but it's still very fringe/wacko.
When I lived in America I found it to be mostly oppressive in terms of religion - it's much more predominant in society and there is pressure to be religious and to automatically respect it. Which is something I can't and won't do. I was openly dismissive of the religious, and that ruffled a few feathers. I'm not pointedly aggressive - Indeed, I will try to be compassionate - but I have no problem speaking my mind. It makes for sometimes uncomfortable interactions, but that's ok.
I now live in southern Germany, which is traditionally very Catholic. Again I am openly anti-religion (if indeed the situation arises in which I must make a comment) and it also ruffles feathers. But, in my experience, it's more about the cultural traditions in Germany than actual genuine belief. One guy I recently spoke doesn't believe and he thinks the priests are spouting rubbish, but he still goes to church because it's part of his environment, part of his culture, the same way I celebrate Christmas while equally opposing christianity. It seems many German catholics are like this.
I have openly, at numerous occasions during the past couple of months, expressed my opinion about religion and its atrocious stupidity. I have in the face of creationists said that I'm an atheist and also an anti-theist. I don't give a damn about other peoples opinions where factual matters are concerned. The same goes for every non religious subject there is. I have also spoken very openly about Cannabis and my opinion of it, which is pro. People deserves to know the truth, no matter how insulting they may find it. But I live in Sweden, one of the most secular countries in the world. I will also express my support for objective Scientific thinking, reason and most importantly, the truth, no matter what the situation at hand may be.
I'm usually open about being an atheist if it comes-up, but I'm very tired of the stupidity of religion. Wish I lived where you do Jimmy. If I had the money, I'd visit Sweden and other secular countries, and probably change my citizenship.
I am 100% open about my atheism. I even have atheist dogtags (I'm in the military, so I'm "officially" atheist too). Even so, I tend to be sensitive to context, and seldom look for opportunities to share my views on religion. If the subject comes up (and it does, from time to time), I express myself firmly & fairly, but also try to stay focused on material issues rather than the labels we apply to ourselves.
It can be difficult, though, so I see where you're coming from.For me, it took some time but I finally realized that my fears were unjustified. As the saying goes, if they can't accept you for who you are, they're not really your friends. Of course, it would be harder with family. Plus, I have it easy, living here in the U.S.. There are places in the world where it's downright deadly to confess non-belief.
One thing, though: I never thought of myself as "bad" for not believing, so your statement about not wanting people to think you're a "bad" person strikes me as a little odd. Probably something to do with our different experiences.
I'm open about it- lots of people (family and former friends) don't like me now, but I'm okay with that. I figure if they only liked me because they thought I was a Christian just like them, then I'm better off without them.
Loud and proud......fuck the faith heads!!!:)
I'm not out. A few close friends know and I think anyone with half a brain who follows me on Facebook would get the picture. A lot of family members are Catholic, ranging from liberal to not so much. I dunno. I don't like making people feel uncomfortable, and I'm sure this will do so. At the same time I know that 90% of the folks I know would shrug their shoulders.
I'm about 50/50. I'm not worried or ashamed to tell people, but it's really no one's business. I'm not a sharing kind of girl for the most part.
100% out. Always have been. Born and bred atheist.
I am thankful that I don't associate in circles where religious views are an issue, but if asked I will proudly tell that I am an atheist. My close family are atheists too, or not too religious and in my view, as long as I am not preaching atheism to them, it isn't an issue and if it is, that is their problem, not mine.
I will not debate the bible or any other fantastical religious stories with people as I do not wish to waste my time on such a ridiculous subject, I simply choose to opt out of the conversation or change the subject.
I feel for those that cannot be proud and out atheists. You should not be judged for your stance.
I'm mostly out. I waited until my Dad died, but told my Mother & siblings a year ago in a letter. I told my church a few months before that in my resignation letter. When I do talk about it with religious people, I don't call them names or get pushy about it, but other than that, I do say what I think if they bring the subject up.
I don't advertise it on my car because I can't afford to repair any damage from radical believers. I don't tell people that handle my food, or my doctors & nurses. Just doesn't seem worth the risk. Well, I did let it slip with my Urologist and my main doctor's nurse because they mentioned it first. An old friend & coworker saw me in the store the other day, gave me a hug and asked what I was doing for Xmas. She wasn't asking a religious question, so I saw no reason to let her know.
I'm not a very social person, so I don't talk with many people about it. I'd like to talk to my brothers and sisters more about it, but so far none of them have brought the subject up and I don't want to annoy them by bringing it up again until they do. The exception is one sister that spouted all the religious BS she was indoctrinated with in an email. I replied to each religious argument with logic and evidence, and so far, she hasn't mentioned it again.