On Coming Out as an Atheist

So last night I was sitting there at my computer looking at facebook, reading over the news feed from the past day, and kept seeing things like “praise the Lord my kids are asleep”, “thank God tomorrow’s Friday”, “So sad Church service was cancelled”, “pray for me”, and so on. It’s not like this was different than any other day, in fact, it might have been a slow day for God references on the part of my facebook friends, but I was suddenly overcome with the urge to proclaim my godlessness.

I clicked on the little box where you enter your status updates and I started typing.

And then I remembered that I just added my grandmother to facebook…and that my best friend’s grandfather had just passed away…and that my religious sister might feel disrespected that I didn’t tell her privately first…and…well, so many reasons popped into my head and I chickened out.

This is a familiar pattern with me. I work up the courage to out myself, and then I bombard myself with objections until the idea of declaring myself an atheist is beaten into submission. I can never find the right time to come out.

Why is it so hard? I’ve been without god-belief for well over a year now, and the only people that know are my non-religious friends and family members. I feel like if I tell a believer that I’m an atheist I’m basically saying “you’re an idiot”, or at least that’s what they’d think I’m saying.

But I’m excited about my skepticism, about everything I’ve learned about nature and the universe since shedding my thought-controlling beliefs. I want to scream it from the rooftops, I want to talk about how happy I am to be a freethinker on facebook, and I want to be honest about who I am to the people I care about. Why can’t I???

Are you an out atheist, and if so, how did you come out? Or, are you a believer, and if so, any suggestions on approaching the topic of atheism with believers?

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22 Responses to “On Coming Out as an Atheist”


  1. 1 Deenie April 9, 2010 at 9:46 am

    I had a similar back-and-forth on facebook last week, during A week. I changed my picture to the A, then remembered my mom had just joined facebook, changed it back, and then changed it back again. I have actually told my mom, but she kind of ignored it in the conversation we were having. It’s hard to talk to her about it and get her to listen. On the other hand, I don’t really care if she ever actually listens, because it hasn’t changed our relationship at all.
    I’ve also blocked a lot of co-workers and family friends on facebook just so that I can enjoy some of the freedom of not worrying about who might draw conclusions about me based on what I post to a silly social networking site. Of course, I preemptively blocked them, so I avoided any of that “why did you take me off you friends list” can of worms. I don’t really want to have a discussion about religion with co-workers anyway, because it should be irrelevant to my job (and I don’t really want to be “friends” with someone because I sit 10 feet away from them every day).

  2. 2 Scott Carnegie April 9, 2010 at 11:03 am

    I have not been shy about being agnostic, up until a few years ago I was a beleiving Christian, so I still have many Christian friends. I went to a talk in Winnipeg by P.Z. Myers where he encouraged us to be more vocal about athiesm, so I went home and posted this as my status update…

    “I went to a talk by a biologist last night who said I should be more bold in my position as an atheist. I prefer to call myself agnostic or a non-theist, but here I am.”

    It got a lot of response, which prompted me to write a note about it since a lot of people were asking questions. I am not shy about it at all.

  3. 3 wolfshowl April 9, 2010 at 11:06 am

    I think it helps if they find out somebody else they already know and like is an atheist before they find out about you. When I told my brother that someone close to me, who he had already told me he thinks is a good person, is an atheist there was a pause of disbelief then an “oh,” and that’s all that’s ever been said about that. I’ve also seen friends do a stepping type thing, where first they’re less religious, then spiritual, then agnostic, then atheist. The slower, smaller steps can be less scary to the family.

  4. 4 Chelsea April 9, 2010 at 11:12 am

    I am lucky enough to have a largely secular family, so I haven’t had these problems with them. I did, however, observe Christianity for several years while my family did not, and I thought it would be quite shocking for them when I suddenly started considering myself an atheist. So, rather than coming right out and saying “I’m an atheist,” I simply started criticizing the easily-criticizable things about religion in everyday conversation. I would talk about the sexism, slavery, homophobia, and other atrocities that the Bible contains. Another tool I used was bringing up topics that I read about on atheist blogs, particularly the news stories (“Did you hear about what Pat Robertson said about Haiti?” “Did you hear about that high school in that Christian town that cancelled the prom because a lesbian wanted to bring her girlfriend and wear a tux?”). If we got Jehovah’s Witnesses at our door, I would take their literature and then show my mom and criticize what it said. Ultimately, the only member of my family who I’ve explicitly shared my atheism with is my brother, but I’ pretty sure the rest of them have figured it out, and we often discuss religion together.
    In regards to Facebook, I have several members of my old church on my friends list, including the friend who brought me into the church and who gave me a ride every sunday. While I did not partake in “A” week, I flipped back and forth when I wanted to add the “OUT” application, which displays the scarlet A on my profile. I finally decided to do it, and then I started posting links to the news stories I was discussing with my family, and putting up comments criticizing religion. Ultimately, it hasn’t really caused a stir; I’m not sure if my former church members have seen it and put two and two together but my one friend HAS stopped asking me if I’ve found a new church yet (I don’t know if that’s a coincidence or not).
    So, I guess my advice to you is just, be yourself. Share your skeptical thoughts in conversation, post some links, and they might just figure it out. They might come right out and ask, like my brother did, or they might not. If you’re unsure abut jumping right in and criticizing Christianity, talk about New Age philosophies or alternative medicine and mention how silly it is to accept all this stuff without evidence, then you can slowly build up. This method will also be better for them; they can gradually adapt to your skepticism and it won’t be so blow-them-out-of-the-water shocking if and when they do figure it out. Plus, it might nurture some critical thinking in their own minds. (I’ve found that many believers don’t believe everything the Bible says and are sometimes willing to handle a little criticism of some of the verses and doctrines.)
    Anyway, sorry for talking so long. Hope that helps, and good luck (if “luck” does indeed exist! ;)).

  5. 5 kevinbbg April 9, 2010 at 3:56 pm

    I have always been an atheist, I rarely talk about it but everyone seems to automatically know, I don’t know why. I’m not at all worried about talking about it but discussing religion can be very stressful. Years ago I got into a big religious argument with my best friend’s wife and I got carried away and tore apart all her arguments like they were nothing until she got to the point where she wailed (and she really did wail) “If I don’t have Jesus I have nothing to live for!” I was shocked into silence. I think what shocked me the most was she said that right in front of her husband and son. They, obviously, weren’t worth living for. Because of that I rarely discuss religion, I tend to think of religious people as fragile and I don’t really want to upset them.

    As far as your position, do what you want, there are no rules. You owe nothing to anyone but yourself in this matter. But think of this, it’s really only a matter of time until they all know.

  6. 6 soothsaber April 9, 2010 at 4:00 pm

    This post of yours sounds just like me on facebook. I sometimes say what a nice day it is outside and when good things happen I give all the credit to the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Even my christian friends have fun with that. Other times I chime in on posts about women’s rights, Women’s abuse, homosexual hate crimes, and things like that that most rational Christians can agree with that is wrong. I then go on quoting bible scriptures that encourage these terrible things and usually open the eyes of the ones who didn’t know about the religions that they follow. The next thing that usually comes out is, “oh, thats the Old Testament”, just like this post (as an example)…

    Post by my friend:
    My friends here is a bit of food for thought.. I want you to look at your mate and truely imagine how you would feel if the laws and society told you your relationship was unlawful and a sin. Interracial marriage in the United States has been fully legal in all U.S. states since the 1967. Food for thought.

    Me:
    150 years ago: The abolition of slavery
    100 years ago: The emancipation of women
    50 years ago: Inter-racial marriage
    Today: Same sex relationships.
    Why is it that the church has to be dragged kicking and screaming (by secular outrage) towards the tolerance and compassion that, ironically, it claims to hold a monopoly on? Food for thought.

    Her:
    yes exactly! like i just heard on tv and i agree.. I think there is a special place in hell/afterlife for people who use the Man Jesus’ life to spread hate. I think those people of “the church” are actually doing more evil than good. I cannot fathom their reasoning to spread so much evil and hate while hiding behind a peaceful and loving being such as the Man Jesus.
    Tue at 11:44am

    Me:
    I don’t know why anyone would follow the Old Testament anyway with all the genocide, murder, rape, oppression of women, gays, children, and the promotion of slavery. Anyone with half a brain can see these things are wrong. Anyone who uses it as a platform to manage their life is wrong for it. I do agree with you Lisa, no one should use their God as an excuse or crutch to spread hate. Life is too precious to hate so much, how will any of this help mankind?

    Her:
    also when the Man Jesus chose to die for the people he did it to wipe away all of the old laws against sin. That includes a man laying with a man as he would a woman. I’ve yet to find a Jewish bible say the same for women so i guess it was okay back then or women were not seen as sexual beings eons ago.

    Hate won’t help man, woman or any other animal kind. Compassion is hard to come by nowadays.

    Me:
    I still dont think it was right for those innocent people (before Jesus died) to be oppressed in God’s name even if the New Testament says its all ok now. There was still a terrible suffering inflicted on these innocent people. The bible would have to be completely re-written for me to trust it. It would have to condone the past ways, not say … See Moreforget about the past, it is done different now. Christians still serve the very same God who kills 371,186 people directly and orders another 1,862,265 people murdered. I call this being an evil tyrant.

    I follow a different path, how can I help make the world a better place than I found it? Very simple concept. Love, compassion, and humanity is the way to make this work. If you know of another way, let me know!

    Good luck!

  7. 7 Chelsea April 9, 2010 at 6:21 pm

    soothsaber-

    Good thing Lisa has friends to point out the flaws in her doctrines, but she sure has a lot of misunderstandings about her own faith. The only laws that the New Covenant with Jesus “wiped away” were the sacrificial ones- Jesus was the last sacrifice, so Jews/Christians no longer had to kill a goat or give a burnt offering every time they sinned. However, all the rules on what is and isn’t moral remained effective. Also, the New Testament condemns homosexuality in many places (1 Corinthians 6:9 for one). And while there is nothing in the Old Testament condemning lesbianism (that I know of), Paul does mention it in his writings and condemn it equally. Also, the most sexist verses of the Bible can indeed be found in the New Testament. (I would cite more Bible verses, but I can’t find my N.T. right now, damn it. But if you want to know what verses they are I’ll track it down and find them :)).
    Just a few things to mention to Lisa if you get the chance. 😉 I’ve been where she is, making the exact same arguments. What she is doing is trying to reconcile the so-called “Good Book” with her own upright sense of fairness and morality. If her god does indeed exist, she is more moral than he is.

  8. 8 EnlightningLinZ April 9, 2010 at 7:42 pm

    Deenie – I considered changing my profile picture to the A, but then I didn’t lol…maybe next year! I’ve also thought about blocking my wall from people who would object to atheism, but I feel like my problem now is that I’m censoring myself around certain people, so I’d rather just put it out there to everyone at once…ugh it’s hard!

    Scott – I was at that PZ Myers talk too! I wish I had thought of putting that status up after the talk…that’s a good way to do it. It’s cool that people asked you questions too, that’s what I would hope for. I’m probably making too much out of it haha I would probably put it up there and people would just go “oh that’s nice” and then go harvest their crops on farmville lol

    wolfshowl – I kind of wish I had documented my entire progress from Christian to atheist on facebook…gradual status updates as I found things out.

    Chelsea – I think that is a good approach and I have been doing some of that, I’ve been posting things that are critical of religion on my wall and joining groups like the Richard Dawkins one on Facebook, and I’ve also had a few letters to the editor published that were critical of religion so I think it would be easy for people to guess. Unfortunately it doesn’t seem like the religious people I know pay attention to those things because I haven’t been questioned about those things by anyone that disagrees with me.

    kevinbbg – Wow, I can’t believe someone would say that in front of their family. I wonder if she might have already been having doubts if she was so sensitive to your arguments. It bugs me when people put their god before everything else – like when people say things like “in my life it’s God then country then family” What???

    soothsaber – I agree with your humanistic path in life! …but unfortunately like Chelsea said Jesus said in the NT not to do away with the old laws…SO NO SHELLFISH!!! A good resource is the Skeptic’s Annotated Bible if you’re ever looking for examples of the sexism in the NT or Jesus’s questionable morality, etc.

    http://www.skepticsannotatedbible.com/

  9. 9 Chelsea April 9, 2010 at 10:34 pm

    Is it important to you that they ask? It’s possible that they HAVE figured it out, but just don’t want to discuss it with you, either because they don’t think it’s important, or they don’t want to be criticized. Either way, if they’ve been acting the same way toward you, it clearly isn’t something that is going to monumentally change your relationships with them. So you could just keep doing what you’re doing, act like yourself and basically assume they know and await the day when one of them might finally ask you.
    However, judging by your use of “unfortunately” in your last sentence, it seems like you really do want them to know, and you want to KNOW that they know, perhaps so that you can feel comfortable being yourself without worrying about how they might react (that’s just me speculating).
    On one hand, I think you’re being too hard on yourself. “Well over a year” still isn’t that long compared to most new atheists that come from religious backgrounds. I didn’t even HAVE a religious family or childhood and I was still playing the part of the wishy-washy agnostic, “liberal” Christian for probably two years after I started questioning (I think I was mostly just embarrassed to share that I’d changed positions and come to their way of thinking). So if it doesn’t feel right yet, it doesn’t feel right. Don’t push yourself. As Richard Wade recently posted in his segment on the Friendly Atheist, “The right timing turns out to be much more important than the right words”.
    On the other hand, putting it all out there at once would probably be quite liberating. Also, I think most atheists who have outed themselves would tell you that their religious friends and family react with concern and not by acting all insulted that you’ve implied that they’re idiots. So I wouldn’t worry about hurting their feelings in that way, just look forward to a lot of, “Why are you angry at God?” and “You must be hurting” and “I’ll pray for you” and “What if you’re wrong?” and all that. Oh, the joy. Cuz we just LOVE responding to those sentences over and over again…

  10. 10 asp April 10, 2010 at 8:21 am

    I was an atheist for several years before I told my parents. And I chose a very bad time to reveal it: Christmas. 😀 But I couldn’t avoid it, at one moment my father was talking about how we need to do this or that because we are Catholics, and I just blurted out “Actually, I’m an atheist.” My family still refuses to accept it. My dad is not reluctant to say that godless people are without morals, and that one day when I start contemplating death I will regain my faith in God, and similar stupid things. So it occasionally produces some tensions, but I’ve learned not to react to these things, because it never leads to a productive debate. But I’m glad I told them, because now at least I can excuse myself from certain religious practices. It always seemed hypocritical to pretend I engage in these things because I share their beliefs, when actually I don’t.

  11. 11 Mom April 10, 2010 at 8:56 am

    Hi Lindsay,
    I’m glad you have asked for other people’s suggestions. I think it is wise to learn from our own and others’ past experiences!
    I appreciate and can relate to how very much you are agonizing over how and who to reveal your true self to. I think some of your distress is related to the empathy that you feel for others which is making you cautious not to offend anyone. I encourage you to continue attending to those empathic feelings… they will not lead you astray! Rather, I believe they will provide you with the answers you are looking for. While this may seem frustrating in the short term, in the long run, your empathy will be one of your most valuable tools to lead a life of authenticity of which, I think you are striving for in wanting to out yourself!
    While I don’t think there is a right way or a wrong way to go about outing yourself, I do think there are more and less sensitive and respectful ways to do it. Personally, I think that putting it on facebook is a less sensitive way. Facebook seems so artificial to me. It’s so one dimensional! You don’t get the feedback a real conversation provides. It lacks the exchanging of facial expressions and body language and emotional cues. Therefore, I’m pretty sure your closest friends and family would prefer to get to know the real you in a more private and intimate way. I think you know that and are uncomfortable with that type of exchange. Trust me though, it’ll be much more meaningful and you will feel much more gratified if you share your new self in person.
    As I have just mentioned, I think it is helpful to use past experiences and build on them. For example, I know you have already been on the receiving end of someone coming out as gay, so you may want to reflect on that occasion to help you with this one. It may remind and inspire you of the courage it must have taken on his behalf and it may remind you of your initial response to what he had to say. Perhaps it can provide some insight into how to prepare for “your own conversation”, by reflecting on how he did it. What did you like about the way he told you, how did you feel at the time, is there anything you would have done differently if you were him, do you remember how you responded and would you have liked to have responded any differently?
    Also, knowing your intentions and being up front about them is crucial as far as I’m concerned. From my own observations, I am guessing that you have three strongly motivated intentions. Let me know if you agree or disagree. Number one is to be authentic and to honour who you are! I whole heartedly agree… you really ought to do that!!! The second is that you have many bones to pick about religion and I think you need to be honest and up front about that too. Your third intention is to respect those close to you who have differing views of religion and God. So in lies the struggle, your second and third intentions seem to clash. But I think if you can share all three intentions, it will be obvious to those you love that you respect them and are considering their feelings as much as possible. Most people appreciate openness and honesty and would hopefully respect and consider you as much as you do them.
    So go ahead Lindsay, pick one person, the person who you would most like to share your truth with. Begin the conversation by stating your intentions and be honest about why it is so important for you to tell them this information about yourself. Likely, your mutual love and respect for each other will be evident in this exchange. Talk to them directly about how you have struggled and arrived at your skeptic stance. Allow your emotions to be visible. They will lend to the authenticity, importance and struggle of it all. Once you have shared your perspective, allow them time to respond and be open to whatever they may say. Keep in mind that their initial reaction is just that. They may have subsequent reactions down the line and so it is advisable to ask if you can discuss this topic again after they have had some time to absorb what you have said.
    One more thing, I think that part of being authentic is relinquishing any expectations about how others are going to respond.
    We need to be sensitive to others feelings and at the same time honour our own. We must have the courage to share our convictions and allow others to hold their own.
    Lindsay, I appreciate how much you have agonized over this. Again, it speaks volumes about how much you care about others and how much you care about what others think of you. I think it’s time to listen to your “self” that is so desperately wanting to speak and be heard. Go for it!! Set yourself free!

  12. 12 Zik April 10, 2010 at 1:14 pm

    I can relate. I’ve been an atheist since I was a teenager. I’m now close to 42. I was raised by intensely fundamentalist Christian parents. As a child all my friends were part of the same fundamentalist Christian sect. Today they comprise probably close to half of my facebook friends list. So I’ve gone through a similar process as you have in my quest to not “offend” them. But that has changed quite a bit over the last year or two.

    It started when I saw Bill Mahers movie Religulous. In it he articulated why “belief” is actually ultimately dangerous to mankind and that it is incumbent on rational thinkers to confront, expose and combat irrational thought processes if we are going to survive as a species. It was a challenge to me to not remain passive and continue to let irrational voices dominate unopposed. It was a challenge to me to let others know that there was another viewpoint, a rational viewpoint that someone they respect and admire holds.

    How did it turn out? Well some of my friends have remained my friends. Some have stopped communicating once they figured out I wasn’t on “the lord’s side”. My parents aren’t on facebook so we haven’t explicitly had that conversation but the fact that they no longer “preach” to me indicates that they’ve gotten the hint.

    The cool part is that a few of my friends have now privately (or semi-privately) confessed to me that they too have been either harboring doubts or are themselves atheists. And what’s really cool is that my little sister-in-law (18 yr old) who knew my wife and I weren’t religious (but didn’t know we were atheists) told us that she too has been harboring doubts about this whole god thing for a while.

    So there are quite a few of us rational beings about. It’s just that we think we’re all alone in this and since no one talks, everyone continues to assume that being atheist is more rare than it actually is. The social animal in us is averse to the potential ostracization that non-belief in the supernatural could bring. So it’s perfectly natural to not speak out if you think your views are diametrically opposite to everyone else’s.

    Don’t be afraid to test the waters of free expression. It may be more pleasent than you suspected. 🙂

    twitter: @zik

  13. 13 Rayray April 10, 2010 at 2:48 pm

    Yes, Chelsea, I would like to know the verses in the New Testament that you are talking about, I would like to have them in my arsenal, I wasn’t aware! Thanks.

    Struck: I do sometimes get to point out the part where Jesus says “not one jot or tittle will pass” or whatever it says without looking. You all know. I touch on it in my Letter to my Former Christian Self (see my blog). Jesus was actually talking about the Old testament (given that he existed), the Koran to be exact, the New testament didn’t even exist. Christians believe without thinking that he is only about the New Testament. Not so.

  14. 14 soothsaber April 10, 2010 at 2:52 pm

    Sorry, Rayray is Soothsaber.

    Peace.

  15. 15 MattM April 13, 2010 at 3:58 pm

    Hi Lindsay,
    The absence of a belief in god/gods is pretty much the norm here in the UK, so it’s hard for me to comment on your situation. I would suggest the British approach – stop talking about religion completely, perhaps smile politely if anyone asks you what you “believe” and/or say something so abstract that it’s impossible for anyone to disagree, e.g. “we’re all in this together, let’s make the best of it”
    Kind regards

  16. 16 Chelsea April 13, 2010 at 10:04 pm

    soothsaber,

    The only reference to lesbians in the whole Bible is found in Romans 1:26-27:

    “For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:
    1:27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.”

    Notice how this verse describes both lesbianism and gayness as “vile”.

    1 Corinthians 6:9 and 1 Timothy 1:10 both include homosexuality on lists of people that will not enter Heaven.

    As for sexism:
    1 Cor 11:7-9 says women were made in the image of man, for men.
    1 Cor 14:35-35 forbids women from speaking in church. If they don’t understand something, they should ask their husbands at home.
    Ephesians 5:22-24 commands women to submit to their husbands in all things. (Same for Colossians 3:18).
    Paul really gets on a roll in 1 Timothy chapter 2, I recommend reading that whole thing. Later, in 5:5-6, widows are forbidden from having fun.
    Titus 2:4-5 says older women need to teach younger women to obey their husbands.
    And lastly, 1 Peter chapter 3 is a plethora of sexist verses.

  17. 17 Mom April 19, 2010 at 2:00 pm

    I just got an email from CFI about their conference in Washington this summer. One of the topics of the conferenc is “What is the naturalistic replacement for religious life?” I’d be interested to know if you and / or your readers have any thoughts to share about this topic.

  18. 18 EnlightningLinZ April 22, 2010 at 10:14 am

    Sorry I haven’t had a chance to respond to these comments, here we go…

    Chelsea-
    It is important to me that they explicitly know that I’m an atheist. When I was religious I didn’t really care what people thought about what I may or may not believe, but I feel like getting past belief in god has become such an important part of my identity that I’m not being true to myself if I don’t talk about it. I’ve become a different person, I’m more curious, I try to find real answers to questions now, and I’m more in awe of life and I want to share that with people. It’s unfortunate that religion is one of those taboo subjects in conversation, because now that I’m without it I’m very interested in discussing it. I think you’re right that I’m probably misjudging what their reaction will be, if anything they’ll probably think I’m the idiot for “rejecting God.”

    asp-
    It’s too bad your family isn’t accepting it, but at least you’re true to yourself now, and maybe eventually they’ll accept that you’re not just being rebellious or something.

    Mom-
    I’m not sure that I agree that Facebook is a less respectful way of telling people about it. I think it does promote a conversation because people can respond to it and comment on it who may not be emboldened to say anything if it were an in-person conversation, and it gives people more of a chance to gather their thoughts before they comment. I would want people who are close to me like my sister and the people I used to go to Bible study with to know in advance, I would approach that a little differently, but other than that I think that putting it out there on facebook with a little explanation as to why I’m declaring it and how I came to be an atheist would be just fine. People are doing it all the time when they’re excited about their religion, and I don’t think that’s disrespectful to me, why shouldn’t I be able to declare my excitement about my irreligion?

    I remember very clearly when he came out to me as gay, and I appreciated that he approached everyone individually. If there was Facebook back then I probably would have been offended if he had just posted it on his wall! So I see your point there, and that’s where the consistency in my opinion on Facebook falls apart! I just wish the topic of religion wasn’t such a sensitive area. At least gay people have their pride parades…an atheist expressing their pride gets called smug, arrogant, and all kinds of nasty names (ex. Richard Dawkins), so if I could talk about it openly on facebook I could respond to everyone’s concerns and maybe they would start to change any preconceptions about atheists that they may have.

    I think you got my intentions bang on, but I disagree that the 2nd and 3rd clash – I think that respecting that other people close to me have different beliefs doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t express my problems with religion. I think that keeping my mouth shut when I don’t agree with someone’s belief is disrespectful. If I respect somebody I shouldn’t treat them with kid gloves and pretend to agree with them, because that’s like saying that if I express my opinion their poor souls will be crushed by my intellect. If I held a strong opinion and someone disagreed with it I would appreciate them being honest and I would jump at the chance to defend it, or change my opinion if need be. Hopefully you see what I mean there, this is all sounding more clear in my head! Also I’m cutting my coffee intake in half, so most of this is likely jibberish.

    Anyways, the person who I most want to tell about my atheism (I think you can guess who), I feel she has so much stress in her life right now as it is, I would feel bad about adding to that! Maybe she already knows though, it’s hard to say.

    As for your other comment about the CFI thing, I’m planning on doing a blog post on that topic so expect it in the next little while.

    Zik-
    That’s so funny that Religulous is where it started for you, that’s what put me on this road too! I’ve been made fun of on Reddit for that haha. I guess I was receptive at the time to criticism of religion, and that movie encouraged me to doubt my beliefs and to look into things more carefully, and here I am now writing a blog about atheism!

    It’s cool that you’ve found out about some of your friends’ doubts, that’s what I would hope for too! Thanks for the encouragement 🙂

    MattM-
    The problem is that I love talking about religion 😉

  19. 19 Mom April 24, 2010 at 8:29 pm

    I appreciate your response to my first comment Lindsay. I agree with what you are saying about the intentions. Please reread without the sentence about the 2nd and 3rd intentions clashing. I think my closing sentence in that paragraph is agreeing with what you are saying.
    I agree that to be able to tell a person face to face what you think and feel shows utmost respect. It tells them that you trust them enough to tell them your truth and that you believe that they are strong enough to hear and bear it! How much deeper can you demonstrate your love and faith in another person than that?
    Additionally, it demonstrates your own courage and convictions. It shows that you value what you have to say enough to say it!
    One more thing…Every challenge I have faced has made me stronger not weaker. Through each experience I have learned, matured, and discovered new ways of thinking about things. The more I have had to bear, the more it seems I am able to bear!
    I understand that you want to protect that person whom you think is so stressed, however, the flip side of protecting her may be keeping you from a closer relationship with each other. I think an honest relationship would be immeasurably better for both of you even if the two of you are at odds with your beliefs.
    Finally, what I have recently realized is that the more I share about myself the less stressed I feel…provided I am clear on my intentions and that they are honouring my value system.
    Lindsay, I am behind you 100% and if you need more encouragement and support let me know. I am so looking forward to hearing about your experience when you finally tell her. There is no easy way to do these things, no perfect way either, you just have to finally say to yourself that you are ready, and feel the fear and do it anyway.

  20. 20 J May 20, 2010 at 6:54 am

    I think the biggest problem you have is not having a voice independent from familial scrutiny. First Facebook and now your blog… what’s next – Mom leaving margin notes in your diary?

  21. 21 EnlightningLinZ May 20, 2010 at 10:47 am

    I don’t see how that’s a problem…I think the problem is that I don’t feel comfortable expressing the opinions I express here openly to my whole family and my friends.

  22. 22 Gary Babbitt June 11, 2010 at 7:39 am

    I’m not sure when I actually began defining myself as an athiest. I usually say it was when I was 15 years old because that was the last time I attended church but I really had never bought in to the whole Genesis idea. I’m 63 now and, for the most part, it never really is a topic for discussion. I have friends whom I think are Christian but none of them attend church and I have other friends who are agnostic or perhaps athiests. Everyone I know knows me as an athiest but,as I say, it really is rarely something we talk about. I have been called by one friend the “most moral athiest” he’s ever known which I find comical because I have never regarded belief in god(s) and morality as inseparable. In fact, I often find the exact opposite to be true. We are bombarded with a host of tv preachers who seem only to want to separate us from our money and I find that not moral at all.


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