Coming out as an Atheist!

19


Discussion by: Jogre
While this is not perhaps the most thought provoking, nor indeed original post, I thought I would share my happiness with the wonderful folks here who gave me some advice over the past month or two. 

I recently posted about my decision regarding coming out as a very devout Atheist. My family is deeply religious – father an international evangelical preacher, mother a quaint pastor’s wife, brother a mega-church music/youth worker. I work at a separate evangelical church and a Christian bookstore in my area. I preach and I teach bible studies. I was worried about being shunned for coming out.
I came out as an Atheist to my mother! As it turns out, she is a Deist and has been labouring under oppressive religious rule for decades. I was both saddened and relieved. She now knows – the only one who knows – what I truly believe. It was due by in large to her influence as a child to keep my mind open – however slightly because of our situation – to science.
I quit seminary a year ago, stopped preaching and teaching, though I still have to work at the Christian bookstore for money. Money to pursue my new degree in Astrophysics! Science saved my life. I have never felt better even though my family has already started the shunning. My future is secure because of my tolerant mother. 
Thank you everyone here for the insightful advice – you really make a difference in people’s lives.
– J

19 COMMENTS

  1. Welcome to the club, and good luck with your Astrophysics degree. Much more interesting and productive than being a God Botherer! Hope your family isn’t gonna be too harsh on you.

    BTW, ‘devout atheist’? 😀

  2. Well done on your big decision. It’s also great to see that your mother has being understanding. I myself have not come out because my mother too is a Godly woman , she is a theist though. The other day I had a fantasy that I had to go for brain surgery and I communicated my wishes to my mother. I told her that I was an atheist and should I not make it that I wanted a humanist funeral service. I know how my mother could be so I asked her not to ignore my wishes and bring me to a church. I thought this is actually something she would do. As I felt the emotions of the imagined situation , one thing came to mind and I said it to her ‘know this , I made my decision not out of bitterness’. This is how I actually felt and once I’d said it I know that my mother could accept my decision and everything was alright.

    I don’t know why I say his to you , I suppose I myself have not come out yet and time to time I imagine ways I can do it.

    Best of Luck

    P.s Why brain surgery can be classed as a fantasy , I don’t know. :) It’s I suppose, I just want her to know

  3. Looking at this I went way off topic and indulged my own experiences. Who knows next time we cross paths I could be firmly in the Atheist camp ,out and proud. Good Luck with your degree.

    In reply to #8 by Pauly01:

    Well done on your big decision. It’s also great to see that your mother has being understanding. I myself have not come out because my mother too is a Godly woman , she is a theist though. The other day I had a fantasy that I had to go for brain surgery and I communicated my wishes to my mother. I told her that I was an atheist and should I not make it that I wanted a humanist funeral service. I know how my mother could be so I asked her not to ignore my wishes and bring me to a church. I thought this is actually something she would do. As I felt the emotions of the imagined situation , one thing came to mind and I said it to her ‘know this , I made my decision not out of bitterness’. This is how I actually felt and once I’d said it I know that my mother could accept my decision and everything was alright.

    I don’t know why I say his to you , I suppose I myself have not come out yet and time to time I imagine ways I can do it.

    Best of Luck

    P.s Why brain surgery can be classed as a fantasy , I don’t know. :) It’s I suppose, I just want her to know

  4. Terrific news. Growing up basically an atheist all my life (I never had any religion in the house) I never knew it was such a big deal to come out. I guess I’m lucky to come from a family that wouldn’t shun me for anything; although, my smart ass mouth has gotten me pretty damn close. Best of skill with your studies.

  5. Take a lesson from the religiously oppressed and stand firm for what you believe in. You won’t have to die for your beliefs and unlike those poor misguided religious souls you will be standing up for what is logical and right. If people react badly all you can do is calmly and intelligently explain your position and hope that they can understand. If they are worth having in your life they will accept you as you are. It’s pretty sad to think of people cutting family ties in the name of religion, although I’m sure it happens all the time. Anyways I’m rootin’ for you Pauly, whenever you’re ready :)

  6. In reply to #6 by papa lazaru:

    BTW, ‘devout atheist’? 😀

    Absolutely :D. I suppose technically ‘devout atheist’ is incorrect, but when you are breathlessly euphoric at removing the mental shackles of nonsense, pontificating (irony aside) can be left for later. When you are thoroughly competent at choosing to be ignorant about reality, and when you find out the blatant magic of it (hat tip to Richard Dawkins), you cannot help but be fervently grounded in truth. Which is much more exciting and fulfilling than being grounded in the ideas of iron-age middle eastern pastoralists.

    In reply to #5 by bluebird:

    In reply to #3 by TSM:

    We’re all going to hell in a handcart together.

    I’ll bring marshmallows :p

    I’ll bring the gin :). To paraphrase Jean Rostand, I don’t want to go to a heaven where I’m not allowed to prefer hell.

    What wonderful comments from everyone. Thank you all for the encouragement. I know this will be of no surprise, but the company here is much greater, and exquisitely more sincere, than any church I have been to.

    • J

    As a small post-script, I am attending my first free-thinking event in March! I am driving 365 KM to see Dan Barker debate on the afterlife. Never felt freer in my life.

  7. “During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.” — George Orwell.
    Stay strong. Be at peace, for the truth is strength. And remember, you have friends out here. Many friends.

  8. I’ve been having several disputes (arguments) with another student on my Coursera Astrobiology course. I haven’t got to the bottom to exactly what he believes yet, but he is openly sceptical of atheists (he accused me of spreading ‘atheist propaganda’!).

    He has recently labelled himself as an ‘agnostic theist’, which seems to me to be a tautology (like round circle), if it is defined as not claiming to know of the existence of a deity, but having belief.

    I can’t see how this is different from theism, given that is not possible to ‘know’ (i.e. prove) that any god exists.

  9. I am happy for you,but it reminds me of all the people I have spoken to ,a lot of them teenagers who are so afraid to come out ,or have come out and been shunned by their so called friends and family. What happens to their “Christian Values” when one of their own “comes out” . I have always told my children if one of them were to find religion it would be ok,but I reserve the right to question their beliefs.I wouldn`t dream of rejecting them though.

  10. Do you feel obligated to hide your attraction to the opposite sex? This ‘coming out’ may be an exercise in asserting self worth by someone who has been marginalized or made to feel ashamed of who they are. Don’t be so quick to pass judgment against those who you don’t relate to or understand. I think you know as well as anyone how that can make someone feel.

    In reply to #17 by bumphilosopher:

    I would rather know someone supports rational atheist thoughts than hear someone “come out” about their private sexual choices.

Leave a Reply