Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are December 22, 2008

Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are

Kate has a few helpful suggestions for anyone who is thinking about coming out as an atheist:

Step Six: Remember that you’re not alone. Participating in meet-up groups and forums will help you feel like you’re a part of something, especially if you live in an area of the world where being an atheist is particularly bad for your social status. And if all else fails, come out to me. I’ll accept you.

Her advice is helpful.

Not that Kate says otherwise, but I would actually suggest not telling your family (if you think they’d have a problem with it) until you’re out of the house. Wait till college if needed. No need for the extra drama.

Whatever you do, don’t keep it to yourself forever. By coming out as an atheist to people you know and trust, you’ll give them an opening to come out, too.

No doubt there are people around you right now who are afraid to say they, too, are atheists.

By letting them know you’ve gotten over religion, you’ll be doing them a favor as well.

(via Cuddly Atheism)

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  • N

    I have come out as an atheist to very few people; only to those who I know either share or easily accept my atheism. I have decided that I will not come out openly until after my mother has passed. She is getting old, her health is declining, and I just don’t see anything positive that would come of me announcing something that would cause her so much grief (she is very much a believer).

    I would do anything in this world right now to make her more comfortable and happy. Keeping my lack of belief to myself for a few (or, hopefully, several) more years is a small price to pay, in my eyes.

    But yes, I do see how it will be an important step in my life when I am able to be open about my lack of god belief.

  • Rat Bastard

    I’ve “come out” to a couple of coworkers upon direct questioning. Other than that, I’d hesitate to do it. Too many xtians with an agenda. My two oldest sons and I have an understanding that my xtian wife isn’t to be hammered with reality about a lack of a deity.

  • Thanks for linking to Kate. Cuddly Atheism is a great blog that deserves wider readership.

  • Vincent

    I don’t hide it to the people around me, and I’m a member of a local atheist group.
    I have told my sister but I have not told the rest of my family – though my brothers might guess.
    I won’t tell my mom. I fear it would hurt her. I also fear that if I told her she might give up her religion due to the solidarity of having a beloved family member support her, and by not telling her I leave her in fear of death and divine retribution.

    However, since that seems to me the far less likely outcome I won’t tell her. She’s probably only got a few years left so I won’t make them any more stressed.

  • Thanks for posting this! When I came out as an atheist I knew precisely zero other atheists and knew nothing about the JREF or RDF and only knew about Richard Dawkins through his work in evolutionary biology. Some of my friends were cool with it and others looked at me as though I had just announced I was an alien sent to destroy earth. I thought writing a guide for others who want to come out would be helpful.

    Anyhow, I’d like to urge everyone now that it’s Festivus to enter my Feats of Strength Contest with the chance to win a t-shirt:

    And thanks, vjack! Everyone should be an avid reader of Atheist Revolution as well!

  • Julie

    My boyfriend came out to his born-again evangelical family just a few days ago. I thought they were surprisingly accepting of his decision. Now his parents want to debate with him about it all the time, but they do accept his right to believe what he likes. I wish coming out could go so well for all atheists.

  • jill

    I have been an atheist for all of my 40+ years and have raised my children with this belief. I didn’t know you had to ‘come out’.

  • Funkshun

    I live in the mid-south and have no issue stating what I am, of course that limits the dating pool to -4. Bah! Me and my rational thinking.

  • Zoo

    @jill: you’re quite lucky then. It’s really quite different when the people you spend the most time with are very committed Christians (Southern Baptist, no less) and have been since before your birth.

    I volunteer/work at a zoo, and zoo people are quite varied in their beliefs, but usually very accepting of what others believe. It’s easy to be fully yourself in that sort of environment. It makes for interesting discussions at times too. And like anywhere else you learn who to say less to if it’s necessary (there’s always one). At home. . . it’s a different story, as I already hinted. I don’t know if I’ll ever “come out” to my family. My mental state (due to family/social and bio-/neuro- chemical factors, and only now beginning to correct them) does not suit this sort of conflict right now, and I can guarantee it would be a BIG deal.

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