I've been struggling, for several weeks now, with coming out publicly.  Today, I did...kinda.  I posted a picture someone made with a picture of Adam Savage with the last bit of his RR speech this weekend and changed my profile picture to one of our noodly creator.  I didn't come out and say it 'cause I'm a total wuss like that (#disappointment).  I think I'm trying to test the waters because that's not the forum where I want to debate the existence of god.  I've had social network profiles go boom on me before and it felt horrible.  That wasn't even something I cared very much about, but it still sucked.  Then again, maybe this is something I just can't be brave about...

  I'm not at all worried about my immediate family.  My dad (he came out as gay when I was 15.  only fair I get to do it back, right? lol)  and sister both have known for a long time and my mom probably already knows, but I haven't come out and said it to her.  I know she wouldn't care.  She'll probably have a "Okay...and?" kind of response.  Anyone beyond that little bubble is a complete question mark with the exception of one friend of my alter ego, who came out publicly several months ago, two or three other people who I'm sure won't care either way, and probably my brother-in-law.  He's a nuclear engineer and a highly intelligent individual.  However, he comes from a Catholic background.  

  

  The people I'm pseudo-concerned about are the other 165 or so people on my friends list that includes almost all of my extended relatives, friends from high school, and a couple of important contacts I was lucky enough to make.  *Penn Jillette voice* And then there are these assholes:  Some of these people are fundamentalists or creationists or both.  You know, the kind that capitalize every letter in god and jesus on their Facebook statuses?  At Christmas and Easter, they're the ones posting pictures of praying hands and crosses proclaiming "Jesus is the reason for the season!" and "Here's the real story of the candy cane!"  They got that totally wrong and I had to correct them, but it was still about jesus so that wasn't really a victory for Atheism there.  It was a victory for truth, though, so that works too.  The best I can hope for is that they just delete me and it's over with and I won't have to talk to them, but, I'm afraid, it won't happen that way.  My mom's sister, in particular, will be problematic.  After observing the evidence, I've concluded that there is a high probability that she will start a "debate" with me. Her status updates and comments annoy the hell out of me.  I posted something about Abraham Lincoln once and she commented with scripture.  I deleted the post.  This "coming out" feels like I'm just doing it to show her and I don't really care what anyone else thinks.  I don't really "care" what my aunt thinks, but only in a superficial way.  Does that make sense?

  I refuse to let my alter's Facebook page become a bomb.  She has posted things about Atheists wanting to live immorally and that's why we don't believe in gods.  She is a god/jesus capitalizer.  She has publicly said "How can people NOT see the intelligent design in nature?"  As I said, that is not the forum I want trashed with a bunch of literal garbage about how god made everything.  I can defend myself, no problem.  That's not what I'm worried about.  I have reached the point in my very short Atheist life where I'm not willing to waste time talking about something with someone who knows nothing about what their arguing for.  The lack of understanding of basic scientific principals makes it difficult for me to be motivated to "debate the issue".  My usual response when the "debate" turns to the "there are missing fossils" or "why aren't apes still evolving into humans?" section, I usually say, "I'm not doing your thinking for you." and end the conversation.  Just imagine the most annoying person you've had "the debate" with out in the world or online.  Now pretend that person is a close relative.  That' how I anticipate this going with her...and maybe a couple others.

  Second problem with my aunt:  She lives in a different state, just down the street from my mom and is the type of person who would probably bug my mother about it if I refuse to respond in that forum. What should I do?  How do I approach it?  How do I keep my mother from getting entangled in something she could probably care less about?  Why can't I just smack some sense into my aunt?  GRRRRR!!!

  I'm obviously getting agitated and that's when I do my worst writing, so I'll close it up for now.  Thanks for listening and I appreciate any advice!

Noodles be with you!  R'Amen!

T.R.

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Comment by Nontheist Central on March 28, 2012 at 9:05am

@Jason - Not really worried about the losing friends part.  I just don't want it to be messy.

@Jude - It's funny that I didn't really consider that it might not blow up.  Fear makes your brain act stupid.  You think I'd know that by now. *facepalm*

@Anne - Thanks.  I figured that would get the point across without slapping everyone in the face, as it were.

@John - I've noticed when I seem to get someone on something in a debate, they like to change the subject or react by getting angry.  I think it's funny personally.  I'm starting to get to the point where I just find humor in their woefully misinformed debate material.

Comment by John Aultman on March 28, 2012 at 7:43am

NC you never to HAVE to debate your beliefs with anyone and saying "I don't know" is not surrendering your non-belief it's being intellectually honest and demonstrates your integrity which many self proclaimed christian's are void of.  I have debated Christian's and rarely was there a AH-Ha moment when reason trumped their religious dogma.  AnneT is right "you are no wimp"

Comment by annet on March 28, 2012 at 1:22am

Noodly appendage fb avatar?  You my dear are no whimp.  

Comment by Jude Johnson on March 27, 2012 at 11:40pm

PS: Good luck with whatever you decide. You'll always have support here at AN.

Comment by Jude Johnson on March 27, 2012 at 11:39pm

You may be pleasantly surprised. I've been out with my family/friends/coworkers for quite awhile now but was a little nervous about what my boyfriend's parents would think when we told them our purpose for going to DC last weekend. They're in their 70s so I was expecting a more "traditional" response. As it turned out, his dad was just fine with it and his mom kept joking that she'd "pray for us to have a safe flight".

There's no way to predict the response you may get. If you don't want to debate on FB, maybe you'd prefer to just not declare a religion at all there (or whatever similar choice they offer). That way you'd be true to yourself without specifically inviting debate.

Another point to consider: My mom's siblings are Super-Religious. One of my cousins is a babtist minister. After coming out I found that I typically receive some very entertaining literature each christmas. You just can't make that shit up! (But they can.)

Comment by Jason Fleming on March 27, 2012 at 10:50pm

I've only recently come out on facebook. It was the rally that emboldened me to do it, so I checked in when I got there at 7:30am. This of course started a conversation which led to a declaration.

I was initially afraid that if I did, It would rock the boat and I would lose friends. I can't presume what will happen in your case, but in mine, the following happened:

I have lost no friends from my list. Even after posting photos from the rally publicly. In fact, I've gained two new atheist friends.

Other than a single "I'm disappointed" comment, no one else said a single word. Some of my friends are Santorum supporters, and even they have been quiet. In fact, I have far less nebulous religious affirmations showing up in my feed now. I assume because they know now and don't want to offend me. I think most people do go out of their way to avoid confrontation.

As for people like your aunt, you can't be responsible for her behavior, only your own.

You have to do whats right by you. But you have to wonder how many of those 165 are also closeted atheist. The last statistics I heard suggest 16 of them could be (I know, its an oversimplification of a small sampling, but I'm trying to make a point). And imaging if you could be an example to one of them that they are not alone either and could come out as well. Its just a thought.

And if you do lose friends over this, find others who are more like minded

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