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Updated on Monday, October 27

#19996

OMG: Do a lot of people find it hard to "come out" as atheists?

And atheist or not, do people know who Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris and/or Christopher Hitchens are?

17 comments

  1. I mean it's not something I really talk about but if someone asks me I have no problem answering.

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  2. why is that even a thing? 'coming out' as atheist. The only reason you have to 'come out' is to assert your beliefs, and in many cases that just causes drama and controversy.

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    1. I feel like people finding out you're an atheist has a much different, negative effect than people finding out you're a christian. Coming out to parents might be especially stressful. Also, why should expressing one's beliefs cause controversy? That seems silly to me.

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    2. ^ The fact you have to think about 'coming out' means that you perceive it as controversial. If you didn't perceive it that way there would be no such that as 'coming out.' That's like saying I have to 'come out' because I like pizza... no controversy in liking pizza; therefore I don't have to 'come out' that I like it.

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    3. ^ The fact that I would have to think about coming out means that I think *others* perceive it as controversial. That's what irks me; #2 makes it sound like I shouldn't state my beliefs because others will be offended. Btw, I personally don't have a problem coming out (I don't even think of it that way), but again, others may have a much more negative experience worthy of saying they have to 'come out'. I've heard horror stories akin to those experienced by LGBT coming out to their religious parents.

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    4. ^ Yea. But how do you *know* everyone other than yourself perceives it as controversial? If you believe others think it's controversial, you yourself believe it's controversial.

      Why would you assume I meant that you shouldn't say it because others think it might be offensive? Stop assuming. To clarify, I meant that there is no reason to say it because if your comfortable in your beliefs, there is no reason to assert them.

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    5. this is probably a much bigger deal with family. same reason you might come out as anything else. coming from a traditional and religious family, if that sort of stuff comes up a lot, you might have to be blunt that you are living a different lifestyle. my family is not *crazy* religious but I did sort of have to "come out" as atheist to them growing up, because they wanted to go to church every weekend and for pre-christmas masses and shit like that. besides the fact that church is boring as fuck, I put up with it for years while being a nonbeliever and just didn't want to anymore.

      but my family isn't super jesus-crazy or anything. my mom said she wasn't very happy about it and she clearly got really uncomfortable every time I mentioned it, and complains (still) that everyone else brings their family to church. but it's not like they hate me or are disgusted by me for it. some more extremely religious families might be a lot more insufferable about it (particularly those from middle-eastern countries, it seems - though not ALL people from there of course).

      anyway TL;DR at 2D, asserting your beliefs can become an issue when the people you're closest with are treating you in a way that isn't compatible with your beliefs. i.e. constantly discussing the bible or wanting you to come to church but you think it's all crap.

      it doesn't come up with most people, but, like most people said, I'm frank about it if the topic does arise. I just treat it casually and other people are polite enough to follow suit.

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  3. Yeah, like 1 said, I'm not gonna force it into the convo, but if topics of a religious nature come up I'm not going to sugarcoat my opinions and pretend I'm not an atheist. Coming out to a religious family is something I don't have experience with, since my parents are pretty progressive when it comes to that stuff.

    If you're feeling alone in your lack of faith, or just wish you had like-minded people to talk to, you may want to consider joining AAFW, the atheist club on campus.

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  4. If I'm asked about my spirituality then I'll freely admit I'm an atheist. I don't consider it a defining characteristic of myself as it is just the absence of religion. It doesn't make me feel any better or worse.

    The only name I recognize from that list is Richard Dawkins. I recognize that he is a smart man but I think his militant atheism is a bit counter productive. I feel the more money/energy is put into education, gradually ignorant opinions will fade away.

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  5. "In this moment I am euphoric. Not because of any phony god's blessing, but because I am enlightened by my own intelligence."

    - aalewis

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  6. I don't normally talk about it, because most of the time I'm unsure myself. For ex: I don't believe in God, but I believe in the spiritual realm because of personal experiences. I also believe in reincarnation, so where does that leave me? Lol

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  7. Personally, I think it's easiest just not to tell anyone, not even your parents, your religious beliefs if you don't have to.

    It's much easier to just suck it up and go to church/temple/mosque with them from time to time than it is to have to deal with them trying to convert you. If you're having a religious discussion, just run with it and let them know that you "have doubts sometimes" (to put it lightly).

    Unless your family is really intensely religious, they should be fine with that.

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  8. All of my family except my parents are very religious, even my sister (she found god later). Only my parents know I'm atheist because I denied confirmation. I'd probably be shunned from family reunions if they realized I didn't believe. To note my parents are Roman Catholics, they just believe in god and that's where it ends, they see no need to go to church. My grandfather loves scripture though and wouldn't talk to my Dad when my mother first moved in with him.

    OP to answer, no it wasn't difficult to tell my parents, we will never tell the rest of the family though. It will cause a shit storm when I don't get married in a Catholic church though, but I couldn't give a shit about my families ridiculous beliefs.

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  9. Hi everyone, sorry for the bad wording of the post. I really just wanted to know if people feel they get a lot of backlash from their friends or colleagues.
    Personally, it was something that I just kind of realized that I was, not that I felt that I had to express my atheism to anyone in particular. Coming from a family that is hardly religious, I was curious as to what other peoples' experiences were.

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    1. I had backlash from my mom as a teenager but it wasn't intense. She told me she was unhappy and disappointed about it and she kept trying to get me to go to church, and complained that everyone else brought their families to church. It never comes up anymore in large part because I don't live at home anymore and I'm an adult.

      I've never had backlash from friends/colleagues, although I am pretty hush about "controversial" stuff in a workplace situation. I'm very open about it with friends/acquaintances. I've also had very little backlash for being a lesbian. I think most of the time, even if people have bigoted thoughts, they are polite enough or socially conscious enough not to say it aloud, particularly in our age group and this university demographic.

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  10. Had a friend who lived with a very religious family, it was a large family too. When they found out he was atheist, it was a bit similar to coming out as gay. There was an uproar, he stayed at a friends house for a bit. His mom cried and prayed for him, etc.

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  11. Science bless you all

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