I work at a little department store not too far away from my house and forgot to scan something that a lady was buying. Lucky for me, she caught my mistake and was really nice about correcting me. After I apologized, she waved it away and said "Don't worry about it.....God wouldn't have liked it"

I felt a rather large pang as I scanned and bagged her new purse. Then it hit me. When I bought "The Portable Atheist" I remembered that I hid it in its bag and covered the bag with my sweater. I remembered how I had to nod my head when my boss said a few days earlier that miracles can happen in regards to cleanning the store (whether or not it wouldn't matter, our store will never be clean). And now I had to laugh along with the lady when my other boss said "He knows everything".

Now, I'm not trying to say that I was discrimnated aganist or woe is me or whatever. But I knew that nearly everyone around me was some kind of believer and I knew how they would feel if they knew that I wasn't. I've met only a handful of Jesus people in my life who are actually tolerant of people who disagree with them on those "big" questions. Nearly all of them think you're shaking your fist at God, or your navie, or begging for attention and then they say"I feel sorry for you." or "I pray for you". The bad ones say you need to be "saved". If anything, it becomes an issue. So I kept my mouth shut. After, its not a big deal.

Still, I hate having to hide from most people that I'm an atheist. My family would disown me and the only member who knows is my dad who doesn't support it. I hate feeling guilty when people talk about God around me. I hate people not voting for us, not trusting us, not liking us, for what we think.

Hopefully they'll come around. Till then I keep my mouth shut and let them assume that I'm something I'm not. ;)

If anything, one of these days they'll catch me reading one of my books and then I'll have to deal with it.

Anyway, don't think that I'm whining but still, its hard hiding something this big.

(sorry for the spelling errors, too lazy to spellcheck)

Views: 6

Tags: atheism, closet, guilt, hide

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Comment by Drew on August 29, 2008 at 12:51pm
Hi Faithless. Can't tell you what to do, but as long as people hide and apologise, nothing will ever change. If people bring up their superstitious beliefs, it is they who have initiated that line of discussion. There's a difference between looking for an argument, and standing up for yourself. Sounds like you're in a tough family and geographical location; but imagine the difference you will make for future atheists these people come into contact with if they find out you're an atheist. You may the first person they already like and respect that they find is non-religious. You may singlehandedly reduce bigotry among several people! I'm not saying it will be easy for you, but somebody has to pave the way for you, just as you have to pave the way for others.

Valles: since those people were strangers, this was the perfect time to let them see what you were reading. If atheist strangers did that for your family members, it would make life easier for you, and vice-versa. We're all in this together, and letting strangers know about your atheism is the easy part. It's family and friends that people have trouble with. But, and I'll say it again, nothing will change until we make it change.
Comment by Valles Marineris on August 29, 2008 at 9:46am
I know how you feel. I'm also in the closet. I haven't told a single person I know yet.

Last December, we had to take our son out of town to a hospital for heart surgery. (He's doing fine now thankfully!) We stayed overnight at the Ronald McDonald house. At the time I was reading The End of Faith, and of course I brought the book along with me. They had a gazebo outside for the smokers, and once while I was out there enjoying my cigarette and book, two other women came out. So I sat down my book in an attempt to be sociable. Then they started talking about how they just knew god was watching over their children, how god had answered their prayers, etc, etc. I just remember thinking, I sure hope they don't see what kind of book I'm reading. I just didn't want to have to deal with that kind of discussion on top of everything else I was dealing with. So I made small talk with them, finished my smoke, and went back in thinking, Whew!

I don't like feeling that I have to hide part of myself away from people, but sometimes it's much easier than not to.

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