Atheism: The New Closet

“I don’t know where you are, but in most countries it’s as illegal to discriminate against atheists in practical ways (e.g. in job interviews) as against people of any religion. The worst you’ll get is a lot of attitude.”

Question from Kevin:
I am agnostic-atheist but barely anyone knows and I would like them to know but there is a price to doing such. Only a few of my family [all who dislike my choice] and my friends [which only a majority dislike my views]

So—

Why should I come out as an atheist openly? It would bring me happiness to express my beliefs and i already have done so with friends, some have not taken it well and have left me for such. Others accepted it and I even converted a Christian to my point of view which I also enjoyed. But I understand there are problems with expressing this openly to everyone in real life (on job applications, social networking sites, job/other discrimination? etc.) I know that some people would hate, dislike, avoid or try to convert me and that would be awkward.

Why should I tell everyone I am an atheist and why should I not? Also do you think I should or should not, what is your opinion?

Answer by SmartLX:
Well, the first thing you did there was give us a good reason to come out as an atheist (your own happiness) and a good reason not to come out (possible discrimination), so that’s a start.

Another reason to come out is that it will encourage other atheists around you to do the same. Some of the people you think may react negatively to your atheism might actually be closeted atheists themselves. Even if they don’t come out all the way, they might at least reveal themselves to you.

Discrimination pretty much covers the negatives all by itself. I wouldn’t worry about it too much, though; I don’t know where you are, but in most countries it’s as illegal to discriminate against atheists in practical ways (e.g. in job interviews) as against people of any religion. The worst you’ll get is a lot of attitude.

One thing though, just because you openly declare yourself an atheist doesn’t mean you have to try and deconvert everyone you know. Maybe you actually want to, but people with any kind of one-track mind don’t tend to do well socially. Just come out, and expect to be accepted, and most of the time you will be…unless you’re an Amish or something.

I’m interested in the Christian you deconverted. Care to write a comment and tell us what happened there?

2 thoughts on “Atheism: The New Closet”

  1. I find it pretty interesting how people born into religions propounding a single deity/ prophet fear disclosing their atheism to their religious counterparts. I know a number of christians and muslims who are practically atheists but would never reveal this to their muslim / christian brethren.

    People born into patheistic religions tend to have it easier I think. It’s been pretty easy for me to declare my atheism. Hindus tend to believe in so many gods that there is no single heavy emotional investment in any one of them I guess. The craziness in Hinduism revolves less around gods and more around rituals and acceptable behaviors in the community.

    Moreover, Hinduism has had atheistic philosophical schools in the past – something that the really staunch hindus tend to be aware of and painfully acknowledge when I talk about it. They have no basis for telling me that some god will punish me – since in Hinduism there is no concept of hell.

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