"coming out" as atheist bad experiences?

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mhorton95's picture
"coming out" as atheist bad experiences?

First off, I would like to say this is my first post on Atheist Republic! I'm still new at this, but I'm learning. I have heard a couple people say they don't like the phrase "coming out as an atheist", but I was having trouble manipulating my phraseology, so if you didn't like the title of this post, please excuse me.
Coming out as an atheist was not something I feared or had to keep hidden. I am from a mildly religious (christian) family just outside of San Francisco, California. Aside from a concerned aunt, my family pretty much could care less that I have no faith. My mother and I actually have a lot of deep theological conversations, and as long as I remember to moderately sensor myself, I can express myself freely.
I know this is absolutely not the case for others; Many people would be thrown out of their house, disowned by family, or even killed for apostasy. I have read stories of this kind, but for those who are open to share, I am incredibly curious as to what problems you have faced for freeing yourself of religion. Was your family the biggest problem, or was it the location in which you lived?

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AGCryan's picture
Unfortunately I think "coming

Unfortunately I think "coming out" is the only appropriate phrase when it comes to telling one's family that they are an atheist. I hope that doesn't trivialize the experience of those in the LGBT community but I think it works with the general feelings of apprehension and anticipated social stigma.

I've only come out to parts of my family after being in the military. Quite an awkward experience when everyone is at the table on Thanksgiving and starts off with saying that they're thankful for, "Their faith in God." If you stay honest with what you believe and approach ideas from a humanist perspective things usually work out. I should clarify that my family is very religious (Roman Catholic) and we often enjoy arguing about ethical or even political ideas at the table. It never hurts to read up on what you may be critical of, too!

SomeRandom's picture
I think trivializing the

I think trivializing the experiences of the LGBT community is not entirely bad. Of course we have to acknowledge that it can be hard but if we make it seem like something that is just a normal and casual thing for most people it might make it less frightening for LGBT people

Anser's picture
I don't label myself as an

I don't label myself as an atheist. When the subject has come up I just tell people I'm not superstitious.

SomeRandom's picture
I don't think there is

I don't think there is anything wrong with the phrase coming out. Luckily for me I am from an atheist family so I haven't had to 'come out'. I am also lucky to live in Australia. Theists here don't get annoyed about atheists nearly as much as theists in almost any other country

Nyarlathotep's picture
I think the phrase "coming

I think the phrase "coming out as an atheist" works well. It seems we all know exactly what it means, so it servers its purpose to convey an idea in a concise manner.

mykcob4's picture
I am a proud atheist that

I am a proud atheist that happens to live in the Dallas area. It is sometimes dangerous but most just irritating.

ZeffD's picture
I agree with Anser. I don't

I agree with Anser. I describe myself as a non-believer. Atheism and secularism relate to religion. Humanist, skeptic or freethinker (HSF) are useful and non-religious terms.

There are a number of threads on this forum (and elsewhere) where people describe terrible experiences and problems with "coming out", e.g. ...

Theology is just a mythology taken too seriously.

NameRemovedByMod's picture
I see nothing wrong with the

I see nothing wrong with the term, "coming out". I am the same as my family was not strict in their religion, but identified as christian. My coming out and telling other's I am an atheist has been meet with shock, disbelief, horror and the worst pity, as I have been told I am going to hell because of my lack of belief.

Why should christians be allowed to wear it on their sleeve or better yet those T-shirts proclaiming how proud they are for being a believer?

Pitar's picture
I never "came out", so to

I never "came out", so to speak. I did experience some expected rejection but having been atheist from a preteen age I'd become callous to the reactions. I remember a friend's mom kicking me out of her house. My parents were live and let live people but I still had to complete religious training on my mom's insistence. No big deal. I faked it for her and that was all she could hope for. Not sure my pop cared. He was more devout than he let on but as a warrior with a sizable body count to his credit he had his own demons to deal with. Anyway, my psyche was way past any caring of what people thought of me but I have to thank the society I lived in, and still do, for that freedom.

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