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10 years ago  ::  Feb 12, 2008 - 12:05AM #11
5ive
Posts: 1
[QUOTE=LeprechaunEater;162514]I am an atheist but I come from a very religous family. I can't tell anyone, including my frineds, that I am an atheist. If I said anything, my family would be in a crisis. Beliefnet is all I have to express myself.

Is their anyone else out there who is an atheist but can't tell someone else? I know I can't be alone. If you can tell other people, then why do you think your fellow atheists feel like they have to be in the closet?[/QUOTE]
Well, here is how it happened with my in-laws... My 9 year old son said he did not believe in god an my mother in law told him that his dad DID. When my son replied that he was pretty sure his dad (my husband) didn't believe in god, she freaked out. Somehow she has been going happily along for the last 20 years thinking her son was a believer. It really broke her heart. It was just awful. She just cried and cried. SHe figured that we were missing out on something insanely wonderful and then there is the fact that we will be going to her god's hell. It was really sad and only worked to reinforce my disbelief in god. I had to explain to her that we were not missing out on anything. We have beauty, love, incredible family (her very much included), we have awe and intellect, we have joy, sorrow, empathy, in short we have everything she feels one needs god to get. I couldn't help her with the hell part, tho. Not without rewriting the bible. The mormons have a nice failsafe checked into their afterlife tho.. when you die and go to mormon heaven and see god right t here, you have a chance to say, "Dang! I got it wrong, sorry" and still get into heaven.
If you do ever tell them. write it out and make sure you help them to see that you are not missing anything and that any god who would throw the good son of such a devout woman into hell is missing the point.
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10 years ago  ::  Feb 20, 2008 - 3:01AM #12
labratcat
Posts: 248
[QUOTE=LeprechaunEater;162514]I am an atheist but I come from a very religous family. I can't tell anyone, including my frineds, that I am an atheist. If I said anything, my family would be in a crisis. Beliefnet is all I have to express myself.

Is their anyone else out there who is an atheist but can't tell someone else? I know I can't be alone. If you can tell other people, then why do you think your fellow atheists feel like they have to be in the closet?[/QUOTE]

I'm sorry that you can't even tell your friends.  Talking to two of my friends (who are also fairly closeted atheists) is what preserved my sanity.

I can't tell my parents, either.  I think they might still be under the impression that I am going to up and announce an intention to become a nun!  My mom calls herself a "cafeteria Catholic," but she just had to decide to take the "Catholicism is the one true church" dish...  I briefly considered "coming out" to her and my dad over winter break this year, but my sister expressed an interest in joining a non-denominational church with lots of teenage activities.  My mom pulled me aside afterwards to ask if I thought it would be okay.  She was worried that my sister is not involved enough in church, but the Catholic church is the one true church, so she didn't know if it would be okay to send my sister to a different one.  I think Mom decided that my sister can go to the other church once a month and hopes that she (my sister) will become interested in religion again and come back into the Catholic fold.  I figured saying, "What's the problem?  None of it is true, anyway" or something to that effect would go over badly...
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10 years ago  ::  Apr 01, 2008 - 12:54AM #13
BillThinks4Himself
Posts: 3,242
As a freshman at Brigham Young University, I was outted by my fiancee, a guileless but blunt woman who would say whatever popped into her head.  We were in the kitchen of a home she was renting, along with six others. 

I had learned to keep my issues to myself.  I didn't want well-wishers to poke their head into my private world, especially when it made for good gossip.  At BYU, you have to get interviewed each Spring, to make sure you're allowed to come back the following Fall.

We were getting serious and I didn't want to keep from her this little caveat about myself.  I felt I owed it to her to be honest about my reservations.  I didn't feel it was right to let her get involved with me without knowing what she was getting into.

As I laid down a predicate for a kind of quiet disclosure, she burst out, like she had noticed a fire, "YOU DON'T BELIEVE IN CHRIST????????????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Oh.  My.  God.

If there had been any question about what was behind my vacant smile, the cat was now out of the bag.  Ironically, nothing happened.  The disclosure - particularly when yelled across a house full of students who all went to church together - should have done me in.

Nobody cared.

I always wondered why it didn't.  I've since come to the conclusion that lots of people are having the same crisis.  They're all engaged in what Thoreau referred to as "quiet desperation."  They just don't talk about it because they think they're the only ones going through it.

Far from it.
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10 years ago  ::  Apr 06, 2008 - 8:48PM #14
Agnosticspirit
Posts: 9,244
How outspoken I am about my beliefs [or lack] really depends upon who I'm with or the place I'm in. If I happen to be attending a catholic funeral, it's not the time to discuss my dissent with their faith. If I'm with a small group of friends and family, they all know and respect my views.

I learned the hard way what it can be like to experience ostracism as a result of my agnostic tendencies. About 10 years ago I lived in a very religious area. Everyone around me was either a lutheran or a catholic; even mormons and baptists were looked upon with suspicion. My good friends knew my lack of belief. A couple that I THOUGHT were my friends basically shunned me once I shared that I was not a christian with them. I think they were more frightened by the concept of an atheist than if I had come out as a wiccan or a satanist.

I've had 2 relationships [still in the early stages obviously] come to an end when my views became known.

I don't discuss religion at work, no way no how.

Thank the gods I have friends, families and internet forums to discuss my ideas with. :)
Tribalism, ethnocentricism, racism, nationalism, and FEAR is the Mind Killer... >:(

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10 years ago  ::  Apr 13, 2008 - 12:34PM #15
Kemay
Posts: 185
Like AgnosticSpirit, I let the time, place and context dictate how much I discuss my own (non)religious beliefs. There are times and places where it is simply not appropriate or respectful.

I've never "come out" to my devoutly Christian, conservative parents, though. They're smart people and I think they probably can figure out that I'm not a believer, inasmuch as I never go to church, and so forth. And they will love me just as much no matter what beliefs I profess, for which I am very grateful.

Even so, I don't discuss my beliefs or lack of beliefs with them at all. I'm happy to listen to them talk about theirs, but I remain silent and neutral about my own. It just seems easier and better that way.

I do discuss such issues with my friends, however, and feel quite comfortable doing so. Then again, most of my friends are atheist/agnostic/humanist, along with a handful of Pagans, laid-back Christians, a Hindu, a Jew, a Buddhist, and a Satanist, among others. All are wonderful people and very tolerant, and I enjoy learning from people of different backgrounds and beliefs.
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