How exactly are they bringing up religion? Are they asking to have prayer before a presentation or something?
I do not bring up my atheism with my religious friends. If they have questions about atheism and how I came to be an atheist I will answer them. I became an atheist through my own thoughts and experiences. Nobody else pushed me towards it. That's why I do not like being preachy with my friends. Me telling them why believing in their god is stupid will not cause them to suddenly renounce their faith. It will just cause tension and resentment, which I do not need nor do I want because my friends, no matter what their religious beliefs, are still good people and still have my back no matter what. However, I have no problem telling associates of mine who spew bigotry and ignorance without thought what's what.
I've been "out" for at least a couple of decades. I, too, am in business. I do the absolute best possible job I can for my clients. I've actually had Christians come and seek out my services, not because of my lack of belief, but rather the quality of my work. Yes, you're going to lose some business. But, assuming your not selling religious artifacts, I think in the long run you'll be better off. Working on the theory that you're good at what you do, that will generate business for you more than tambourine banging and arm waving. When it comes to the pocketbook, people are more interested in getting what they pay for than getting the blessings of magic juju spirits. That's what Sunday morning is for.
Cynthia, I never had to come out, since I was never in, lol, but the older I get (46), the less tolerance I have for stuff like that. I used to be a people pleaser, so I wouldn't say anything. Now I just feel the need to say something. I'm tired of people assuming that what they believe is true, and that I agree with them. So I have fewer friends. I am going to look for a job in the Fall, I have been at home for years, but I don't know how my Atheism will play-out with that. I have an unusual last name, and if you Google my name, it comes up saying I'm the only one with that name in North America, and it also has my name linked to a lot of Atheist sites, discussions, etc. I don't know if they Google you before they hire you, or if that would cause someone to not hire me because of it, etc. We'll see! And good luck!