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Coming Out as an Atheist

atheist photo: atheist 333b66826e470a613bbbda23515cacb218a.jpg

So it’s true, I have come out as an atheist to my close family and friends.

BUT, there are extended family members, co-workers and some friends who do not know about this huge change I have made in my world view. There are people who were in my conservative Christian college group who still send me letters requesting financial support for their ministry (I don’t even take the time to read these letters anymore because they make me angry). There are a whole lot of people I know who think I’m a good Christian girl. They don’t know that I now find myself a more compassionate, moral, mindful, truthful and confident person then I have ever been before in my life. All that, plus I’m an atheist, and I am proud of it!proud atheist photo: Proud Atheist proudatheistfig.gif

A few thoughts:

  • Coming out seems challenging because I used to be a hard core Christian – I thought it was my responsibility to evangelize and bring the inerrant, inspired Word of God to the ends of the earth and many know that about me.
  • Being a conservative believer sold out for Jesus is what people expect me to be and that is part of why I feel the need to proclaim “No, I think that God, Jesus and Christianity are harmful, wrong, immoral and false at best”.
  • I really don’t want people assuming that I agree with their world view when I don’t.
  • I fear the affects this could have on my immediate family, my husband Matt and I’s work environments, my extended family dynamics, etc.
  • With Matt’s family in particular, an emotional chasm has formed between them and us. I fear that coming out as an atheist will only fuel their anger.

    After almost two years, it's time to come out

    After almost two years, it’s time to come out

In the end, I think that being brave and being who I am is the right thing to do. When I’m ready, I plan to take the opportunity to come out as an atheist as needed, every chance I get!

Follow-Up: Check out my follow-up post “Team Jesus Forever, Right” where I share a story about coming out to a colleague.

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15 thoughts on “Coming Out as an Atheist

  1. Yeah, it was a big deal for me to come out as an atheist to my close family, I had been an atheist for about two years. My brother was an atheist, so I had that support. I later learned that my dad was also an atheist, which was a bit of a surprise, but a nice one. But it was all hush, hush. I built up the courage to tell my mom and sister, which in turn gave my dad the courage to do the same. My brother hasn’t doesn’t talk to my mom about it, but it is all out in the open. Now we address the elephant in the room and make progress.

    I am fortunate that I live now in a country (UK) where being an atheist is no big deal, so there is no consequences of not hiding my position. I did blog and write under a pseudonym, but I have recently changed over to using my own name. I have also stopped hiding on Facebook. I post my blog stuff, share links etc etc. And so far, I’ve not had any negative response.

    Well done on overcoming your indoctrination. It’s not easy, I had to do the same. All the best with coming out to other people. I hope it has a positive effect on your life, as it has in mine.

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    • I was looking back on this post and realised I never responded to your comment. Thanks for sharing a bit of your journey! I still haven’t come out of hiding on Facebook…part of me wants to and another, quite stubborn part of me doesn’t. I sort of think its just a matter of time.

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    • Well, I would call it more of a realization. I came to this realization gradually over time. I think one trigger was how my particular Christian circles viewed homosexuality. I don’t think there is any justification for discrimination and that caused me to question the holy book that I believed was inerrant. Another thing is I allowed myself to finally ask questions in a different way. I am hoping to continue blogging about all these things. Thanks so much for asking, I am an open book so ask away!

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      • I am interested in hearing more about your realization. I imagine your worldview is very different today than what it was. Does this ever get confusing? Where did you go to college? What denomination church did you used to attend?

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      • I don’t feel confused about my worldview, I feel liberated and like a weight has been lifted from my shoulders. I went to Colorado State University. I grew up going to a non-denominational church that is now a mega church. I was a part of the Navigators ministry in college

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      • Wow! You really went through a major paradigm shift. I have a friend who was raised Christian and now claims he is an atheist. I think no faith is better than blind faith. I am fascinated in understanding the influences and motivations that bring a person from one extreme to the other. Any additional thoughts you could share would be appreciated.

        BTW – did you check out my blog? If not, it may surprise you.

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      • Yes, I did check out your blog when you commented initially. In regards to my additional thoughts, I encourage you to subscribe to my blog as I plan to let my thoughts unfold through my blog 🙂

        As for faith and blind faith, I am not sure how blind faith can be a good thing. One could choose to have blind faith in anything from the God of Islam to the Flying Spaghetti Monster but I wouldn’t advise it.

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    • Hi Joe,

      You said, “I am fascinated in understanding the influences and motivations that bring a person from one extreme to the other.”

      You’re welcome to read my journey, in three parts, which might add to your insight:
      http://amrestorative.wordpress.com/2012/11/04/part-i-on-how-i-became-a-christian/
      http://amrestorative.wordpress.com/2013/04/07/part-ii-on-how-i-became-an-atheist/
      http://amrestorative.wordpress.com/2013/07/02/part-iii-on-why-i-remain-an-atheist-2/

      PS, I feel a small correction is necessary to your statement. Christianity is an extreme, but atheism is not necessarily so. It is a mistake to assume that all atheists make the opposite claim to your extreme claim.

      Regards,
      Jaco

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