For those of you who have fully come out, have you encountered any significant persecution?

Has being an open atheist had a negative impact on your job or limited your career in any way?

If you have a bumper sticker or other emblem on your car that makes it clear that you are an atheist, have you ever had your car vandalized?

Have you ever had any creepy, scary, or threatening encounters with people you have encountered on the street, on the Internet, or in daily life?

In general, what kind of impact has it had on relations with casual friends, acquaintances, people at work, and people with whom you do day to day business if it happens to come to their attention that you are an atheist?

Or, have you experienced more subtle persecution that merely led to unpleasantness, inconvenience, or maybe some hassle?

Have you had kids or family that were negatively impacted because you are open?

Or, have these sorts of things not really turned out to be issues for you?

Since it's surely relevant to this particular question, what region do you live in?

Whatever your answer, do you think it was worth coming out?  Do you think that by showing that your are not a theist and you are not a monster, or standing up for yourself if need be, that you have contributed to making the world a better place and improved conditions for non-believers?

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I was never "in", so I didn't really come out.  My daughter, who is bi-sexual and Atheist doesn't know how she feels about using the term "coming out" to describe telling people you are Atheist.  I think it applies though.  She doesn't hide either from anyone, and I don't either, but I guess I don't advertise I'm Atheist.  Too many crazies out there.  That's why I won't put any Atheist bumper-stickers on my car.  I'm afraid of morons.  My daughter has a quote by Voltaire on her car that says something like "People who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit attrocities", but I actually think that's not so dangerous because I don't believe most fundies would even get what that means.

I love that Voltaire quote!

Hi:

 

No persecution or negative impact job or career as far as I know. I don't put 'atheist' on my CV or applications (unless they ask in the monitoring forms) but I do state my interests, which include secular humanism as well as science, philosophy and skepticism... I think that's cryptic enough that it will go under the radar undetected by most, unless they are inquisitive enough to look it up, in which case good for them, or it'll be not so in your face beacon to the well informed and likeminded comrade.

When I'm touring on my motorbike I have a Darwin fish on my left pannier, an FSM on my right pannier and a pirate fish on my spare fuel can, which is attached to the back of one of my panniers... I also have an FSM patch on my motorcycle jacket, and sometimes I wear the red scarlet A. When I'm camping I have a red FSM flag too, it helps me find my tent when I'm inebriated and it's usually a good signpost to meet-up with friends. So you could say I'm an out atheist - My blog: TheAtheistBiker, clears up any final uncertainties, LOL. So far so good, never been vandalized. The FSM paraphernalia, flag especially, is a great conversation starter because people don't know what it is or what it means.

Never had anything overtly threatening happen. I find most faitheads are a bit creepy to be honest... but I find that most people, especially work colleagues, are generally very surprised and actually quite interested as they usually have never met an out atheist let alone a vocal one. I do have friends of faith but I have also lost friends and acquaintances, of faith and none, from Facebook. Although, if I'm honest I didn't notice they were gone until I went to find them in my friend list. So no big loss.

 

Anyway, I have lost one friend on facebook who was a best bud in real life, (not 100% sure yet how it's impacted in our real life friendship as we haven't spoke in a while but that's reasonably normal). The weird thing is that unless he was a secret friend of Jesus, he was largely a non-believer as far as I knew... and he was either too stubborn, or apparently too stupid, to just hide my FB posts and links if he was fed up with seeing them on my own wall. Indeed, he was the only person whose friendship I would consider a loss, but if friends can't accept you for what you are, especially when you accept them for what they are, then they're not really worth it in my book.

 

Conversely, I have made some excellent friendships with other wonderful atheists and Skeptics that I would never have made if I wasn't an out atheist and as vocal as I am.  The family, largely accept my atheism as part of my personality, some love to get into debates, so being out and vocal just adds an extra level of enjoyment for all concerned. Some of my family are likeminded, but most just can't seem to grasp the most basic rudiments of logical or rational discourse and tend to make the usual logical fallacies and cognitive biases. My journey of self discovery and what I think about coming out.

 

Kind regards

I should probably add that unless people ask I don't usually bring it up... I tend to avoid ham handed segways into the god debate. However, I won't shy away from it, instead I wait until it’s brought up and when I do find myself in discourse I generally have no intention of being gentle. I am intellectually combative, argumentative and critical as well as deliberately provocative. I ask for justification and put forward my own ideas. Likewise, I try to respect the person even if I am trying to destroy their arguments but the level of 'dickishness' usually correlates quite closely with whom I'm speaking and with their level of preachy evangelical proselytisation. xXx
I've been "out" for awhile now. I work for a company owned by a Jewish family. They all know I'm an atheist. I've had some really great conversations about faith and religion with the youngest (30's) member of the family. He has been great and I feel lucky to work for such good people. I used to have a Darwin fish on my car and I got a few stares from older men who were "tough", but nothing significant really. I get all the standard responses when I tell people in conversation (it comes up...a lot) that I'm an atheist. You know like..."but you seem like such a good person" or "so what, do you believe in satan or something?". But those make me smile and laugh more than they creep me out. I did lose a "friend" on Facebook who objected to the atheist/skeptical posts that I made, but it's certainly his right to not read things that he doesn't want to. I did get a few nasty comments on Facebook after my father's heart attack. Basically, "your father's heart attack is god punishing you for being an atheist". These weren't from any of my "real" friends, but instead from people I had added to play Superhero City. This nerd learned a lesson the hard way, and I stopped playing games on FB (I get so much more accomplished now...thanks fundies). All in all, I'm glad that the world (at least the portion of the world that gives a damn) knows that I am an atheist. I tried expressing my lack of belief in a god in elementary school (I didn't know the word atheist at the time) by not saying "under God" in the pledge of allegiance. This caused a lot of attention and controversy from the teacher and the principal. My parents defended me and it passed, but I decided at that point that it was better to keep it to myself. I'm glad I no longer have to hide it. If I can tell my mother (a devout Christian) and she can accept and love me, I don't give a good goddamn what anyone else thinks about it. And I've been fortunate that most people just find it interesting more than anything else. It's kind of like being a novelty act...people have lots of questions and I take the time to answer all of them that I can. Then they realize I'm a human being, just like them. Shocking!
Joe, don't you just love the "But you seem like such a good person" remark?  Seriously, do they not get that being a good person for its own sake is so much better than being a good person because you're afraid if you are not you will go to "hell"?  Of course they don't think that way.  It involves reasoning.
It is a little sad actually. They also don't understand that when you treat someone poorly, it's not enough to ask a "man of the cloth" for forgiveness so that you can earn a spot in the "next life". You have to seek real forgiveness from the one you treated poorly in THIS LIFE. There is no second chance, so we atheists know we have to try hard to treat everyone right the first (only) time around.
Dr. Meaden started a discussion on what happened to Damon when he said he was an Atheist.

http://www.atheistnexus.org/forum/topics/how-can-this-happen-in-21st

Great topic!

 

I am in the Navy, and I work as a military police investigator.  When I made it clear in my office that I did not want to recieve their religious emails because I was atheist and had not time for it, I was instantly ostrisized.  Since my line of work requires you to have a high moral standard, the attack on my character focused directly on my ethics and morals.  Because the more religious people in my office think that "atheists" are the same as "Satanist", I have had an uphill battle trying to get the same fair treatment as my religious counterparts.  I have had sprited debates with christians in the past, but this is the first time in my life that I have been discriminated against.   

This has always been my biggest issue with non-athiest though. Somehow, athiests are "immoral". It scares me that a person would need the threat of some post-life punishment to prevent them from doing immoral things. Personally, I do the right thing because it is right, not because I'm scared of going to hell...
Yes.  It's also ironic, since Satan is as much a construct of their religion as the Christian god.
While I don't live in the "buckle" of the bible belt, I do reside near the hinge.  However, I've never really had any problems with being open about my atheism.  And, never had anyone vandalize my vehicle with my Evolve Fish emblem on the back.  Strangely enough (or maybe I should pleasantly enough) when it came up a few months ago in conversation, quite a number of people I know and work with tended to agree with me.  Not all mind you.  But, many more than I would have thought.  Like Stephen Stallebrass, I don't go out of my way to proselytize, but if it is brought up, I don't back down.  And, I can be quite argumentative and sarcastic about it - OK, a downright smart ass at times.  But, on a day to day basis (other than with certain family members I avoid even at the reunions), I can't say I've ever had any negative impact with my work or personal life.

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