Facebook tells me it is "National Coming Out Day" and a friend of mine points out how similar coming out as an atheist can be to coming out as gay, so I am curious: how many of you are out, and how did people react?

 

EDIT: I never meant to imply that one was as hard as the other-- a gay friend of mine was listening to the atheist experience with me and made the comment about how occasionally a 'new' atheist would call, and they reminded him of gays that were just coming out. That's all. 

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I didn't know there was an "official" day!  Cool.  I've been "out" for 40+ years, but I'll wear my stained glass design "Imagine No Religion" T-shirt tomorrow anyway. 

I've wanted to buy FFRF's "Friendly Neighborhood Atheist" and "Godless Goddess" shirts for a long time, but as I've said before, I'm always strapped for money (my only income is Social InSecurity), and food and cat care items come first. And I can't resist buying the occasional Cheezburger LOLcat shirt.  They're the same type of American-made, soft cotton shirt, cost less, and shipping is free.

Did I mention that I live with my Jehovah's Witless sister?  LOL!  She knows what I think, and has never, ever tried to convert me.  Srsly.  Actually, JWs are more on "our side" regarding separation of church and state than average believers.  Their beliefs are 180 degrees opposed to Revisionist/Dominionist goals.

Now, if they'd only give up the doorbell-ringing habit.  *sigh*  It's embarrassing when one of my classmates or other friends in town tells me they saw my sister "out in service,"  (That's what the JWs call it.)

Those t-shirts sound cool Sk8eycat. 

I wore a Darwin Fish shirt once when I was an undergrad to my anatomy class.  Anyway, I thought that the students would not mind it since they were taking a science class.  Boy was I wrong! Anyway I suffered a major fallout from that.  I had students tell me they no longer wanted to be in a group with me during lab and I was picked on for the rest of the semester.  So now I am more careful about who knows about my atheism.  So far only one other person knows -- my hubby.  He is OK with it even though he is a liberal nonpracticing theist. (Paula T. later in the thread has a similar relationship to her boyfriend). 

"thankfully, religion is a non-issue for us.  He knows my feelings and is respectful of them."

That's the way it is for us.

 

I definitely think it is harder to be openly queer than atheist too. My most recent big scary "coming out" conversation was over two years ago...I didn't break a sweat telling her I was atheist.

 

And yet I keep hearing statistics that atheists are more hated than gays. How would you interpret it? Maybe it's more like religious types think gays are misguided and homosexuality should be legally curtailed "for their own good", but someone doesn't make a hostile statement against religion just by saying "I'm gay." Saying you don't believe in what they think is the most wonderful thing in the world is interpreted as a hostile statement.

 

Meanwhile there are homophobes who either aren't religious. Or people who only remember one thing about the bible: it says homosexuality is a sin a few times. Homophobes that are not so religious are probably the ones who don't care so much about atheists.

I can't celebrate "National Coming Out Day" cuz I already came out years ago.

I will admit that I am cautious about who I reveal my true feelings to. There are certainly people who just wouldn't understand, and I'd rather be able to be comfortable with them on a more superficial level, than tell them something that would offend them and cause them to be less than civil to me. My best friends and family aren't religious themselves, so we can all be comfortable with each other. Sort of a happy medium, I guess!

 

I'm like that about most things. Outside of my friends it's a need-to-know basis. Come to think of it, it also might be better if I don't know my neighbor is a rightwing conspiracy theorist or something, because they might be a nice person other than that. And I would rather not hate people based on abstract ideas.
I'm out to my sister as atheist, bisexual, and polyamorous but not to any of my neighbors. She took it all with equanimity. I'm more concerned with prejudice from the ever-changing neighbors. Once you're out, you're out. You never know who'll move in next door, and you're stuck with them. Nasty neighbors can make life hell. As far as I'm concerned I have everything to lose and nothing to gain.
I wonder if my neighbors caught on after a few different guys have come over and hung out with me...in my old neighborhood I think my longtime neighbor was a little surprised by a boyfriend who insisted on holding hands with me outside...

I never came out by making any formal announcement, but after I finally realized the buybull was fiction/crap, I developed a tendency to do things like giggle when somebody said, "Gawd bless you," when I sneezed.

There was a time when I worked for JCPenney Advertising in the California Mart, the center of the Los Angeles Garment District (heavily Catholic and Jewish), that Good Friday happened to coincide with Passover.  I didn't realize that until I dashed downstairs on a break to buy cigarettes, and all the shops in the (enormous) lobby were closed, and so were most of the shops and restaurants all around the building. I stormed back upstairs, walked into our office and snorted, "Where the *bleep!* can an atheist buy some cigarettes around here today?!?!!"  The (Catholic) receptionist's jaw bounced off her desk, and the "boys" in my department (they already knew about my non-belief) fell about laughing. I enjoyed myself immensely.

I also have done things like wearing my "Imagine No Religion" t-shirt when checking in to the local (Catholic) hospital, or when I go to the local (federal/county) food bank at the Starvation Army, which IS a church. 

That last location business I do not understand; there are plenty of government-owned places in town, like a couple of large parks with parking lots and meeting rooms, etc., where they could distribute the (mostly useless) food packages.  I gave up going to the Food Bank even though I need assistance because I'm diabetic, and the groceries they handed out were loaded with carbs. Like I really want two big boxes of sugar-frosted flakes.

Anyroad, my fundie mother didn't have a big problem with my lack of belief in, or respect for, gods.  She always accepted me the way I was/am, and read almost as many popular science articles and books as I did.  I think she had her own doubts.  I know she was fascinated with the Apollo program, and the discoveries the Leakeys were making in Olduvai Gorge in Africa.  She just wasn't ready to say anything out loud. Or maybe she was playing the Pascal's Wager game.  It's way too late to ask her.

It's always amazed me that when I do tell people I think Paul/Saul made up the whole Jesus story himself...most of them nod and say, "Yeah. I've always thought it was unbelievable." Or something like that.

I've reached the point where I don't care what people think of me any more.  If my lack of "faith" makes them uncomfortable, that's their problem.

I can't come out because I was never in.  In high school I was looked at like I had two heads.  One patron tried to convert me.  All in all most people didn't care.
I never actually 'came out' but I don't keep my newish-found feelings a secret.  If I know or find out that someone shares the same beliefs about religion, I am more apt to discuss it with them.  One lady I work with for 2 hours a week on the reference desk is religious, so that topic is off limits.  It's not worth making waves over and I don't want to offend (although when reading other responses, I thought "So what??"  lol).  I do agree with sk8eycat - if someone has a problem with my lack of faith, it's just that - their problem.  My boyfriend is religious, but it's more the convenience deal.  He doesn't go to church or read the bible and says he's a "proud Irish Catholic and always will be!"  I said, yeah, I thought I would be, too...thankfully, religion is a non-issue for us.  He knows my feelings and is respectful of them.

Paula T -- my hubby and I have a similar relationship. Like you said here:

"thankfully, religion is a non-issue for us.  He knows my feelings and is respectful of them."

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