A lot of you probably share my primary reason: coming out is just too much trouble.

I became an atheist shortly before I left for college, but I had a lot of friends at church, and my parents are serious Christians. I thought I could wait until I got to college to tell them. I had no problem with being open to new friends at school, but I kept putting off telling people in my home town about my deconversion. Now I'm back for the summer after an academic year, and the situation hasn't changed - they all think I'm a committed Christian.

Unfortunately, I never made many close friends in high school, so the only people I'm still regularly in contact with are friends from church. I want to be able to express my honest opinion, but I value their friendship more than my own integrity at the moment - I am not an introvert, so a summer alone would be worse for me than a summer of pretending to believe a lie.

This thread isn't just for me. Share away.

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I understand your situation all too well. I was raised in a Christian bubble. All of my friends growing up were from my church. I even spent a year down at Bob Jones University. Growing up I had thought that maybe God isn't real, but I wasn't sure and I knew if I became an atheist I wouldn't have any friends anymore and my family would probably disown me.

Well, about a year and half ago I met the man that is now my husband. He was at the same point in his life and together we became atheists. We told all of our family and friends about our beliefs or lack thereof and waited to see what would happen. Just as I thought my family and friends turned on me. His family and friends however didn't turn their backs. They were a bit concerned and confused, but they were still willing to talk with him. Throughout the last few months my family has come back around and are actually pretty welcoming now. We have just decided not to talk about religion and just agree to disagree. My friends on the other hand have not reached back out to me and I no longer feel comfortable making the first move. I have decided instead to try and make friends that are rational or at least open minded.

I have never for one moment regretted my decision to come out of the closet. The moment that I told everyone I felt so free. Even though they were upset and I knew that I had lost my friends I knew I had made the right decision. I also came to the conclusion that all my friends were never really true friends if they were going to treat me like this, just because I no longer believed in God.

I hope that my story helps you and others.
I think we all have similar stories. The main thing about the mind set of theism is that it takes a lot of peer pressure to make a normal mind accept the BS. It is naturally threatening for someone to climb out of the rabbit fur, (where it is nice and comfy) and see the world as it really is, or at least several degrees better than it was. They are afraid that maybe you're right, which means they're wrong. Theism isnt based in love, it's based in fear.
I'm in a similar situation. Almost everyone in my family is heavily Catholic, very conservative, and a little racist, at least on my dad's side--which makes things like this really awkward for me. They know I'm not devout, but if they knew I was atheist or had anti-Christian feelings, I'd quickly lose any contact. Why is it that Christian families have to ostracize anyone in the family who dares to have a different opinion? My aunt is an outspoken atheist and they almost refuse to speak to her.
For a while, I felt the same way about coming out. It seemed important. After a few months of being away, and then coming back and having things expected of me, I find that it is much less important to cause a ruckus but be "right."
Yea...I kinda need my parent's support, no pretending I don't, so might as well continuing kissing up ^^
Vinnie, the problem with waiting to tell them until you're in college, is that they will then have a scape goat. College turned you away from Christ! It really won't matter what you tell them after that, they will likely hear what they want to hear anyway. The best thing to do is to be civil and refute calmly all the religious BS they will spew out once they hear what you have to say.
Hello. I too am in the closet. I'm 28 and "became" an atheist about a year or so ago. Though I wasn't raised in a religious family, I had always believed in a god, but I just never gave it much thought. When I did decide to question my beliefs, I realized I didn't believe it anymore.

My husband was raised as a Christian and still firmly believes it all, though he doesn't go to church often. I just can't bring myself to tell him that I no longer believe in god, any god. I've tried talking with him about evolution and the big bang and he refuses to believe either, holding that god created all. We have been together for 11 years now and religion has never been a big part of our life, but I still can't seem to say the "A" word to him. I guess I fear it would lead to our eventual break-up, but maybe not.

I haven't told anyone that I'm an atheist, friends or family. I don't know anyone who is an open atheist either. I've decided not to tell anyone until I get enough courage to tell my husband first. He at least deserves to hear it from me instead of "through the grapevine".

Sometimes I hate myself for not sharing my feelings with him...
Please, don't hate yourself. I'm 53 years old, and I'm just now coming out (sort of). This website, with a picture of my real face, is as far as I've come in five decades. I told my husband about a year ago, which was easy, because he basically agrees with me (it helps that we're still crazy about each other and respect each other no matter what, even after 32 years). The only other person who knows for sure is my younger daughter, but I never really told her outright. It was a more gradual thing, brought about by discussions of readings, movies, and news stories, as well as by casual comments. I'm pleased to say, she also agrees with me. My older daughter, on the other hand, has become very Christian (speaking in tongues, the whole shebang), despite having been raised without religion and despite having been encouraged to value scientific ideas. I'm certain she knows I'm an atheist, but we have tacitly agreed to avoid the subject. I love her and she loves me. We just leave it at that. In one way, having an atheist mother who is loving and moral and compassionate might allow her to convince others at her church that atheists are really nice, ordinary people...not the flaming demons from hell.

Good luck with your husband. I hope it goes well.
Thanks for the encouragement. I don't literally hate myself, just the fact that I can't seem to muster enough courage to tell him I'm an atheist. I'll get there though. Thanks again.
Same here at my school atheists are shunned and pushed aside. I became an atheist when i looked at the bible and "gods" deeds The one person at my school that knew asked me if id rather fly or burn i said id rather burn then follow a god that would kill innocent children.Im actually kind of glad this site was made to share views with like minded people.
I wish I could be as free as you, but I work for a Catholic hospital, and I don't think they'd view me as a lovable crackpot. Truthfully, I think coming out as an atheist would cause me trouble. Got any advice?
I'm not sure how much flak from coworkers you might get, but I know that it's illegal to hinder someone's job or fire them over religious views.

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