Coming out?
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19-12-2010, 11:55 PM
 
Coming out?
My question is: Do you think it is possible to live as a 'closet' atheist? Or at least hide it from certain people in your life?

My family are very devout and strict Coptic Orthodox Christians. And I was too, until a few years ago when I started thinking for myself and started questioning everything. My transition to atheism was gradual over a very long period of time, and I never told my family about it. In fact, I still go to church every Sunday to avoid problems with them. That's a problem...

I respect my family, but they are extremely closed minded when it comes to religion. I've tried to bring up the topic of atheism a few times, and the response I got was shocking to say the least. My point is, if I tell my family, I am confident it will completely destroy my relationship with them.

Has anyone else faced the same problem?
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20-12-2010, 12:01 AM
RE: Coming out?
Many people do. I faced much the same problem with my mother. My Father however surprised me by becoming an Atheist shortly after I did.

Honestly the safest thing you can do is put out some less provocative but thoughtful questions now and then and test the waters a bit to see who does what. It may actually be safest to wait until you are on your own out of the house before coming out.
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20-12-2010, 12:11 AM
RE: Coming out?
I was rather reckless when I became an atheist about telling my parents. I was only 11 when I told them, but they hated me for it... but I was only a kid so they let it go, and then it came up later when I was about 14, and I had learned a lot more about their faith (my father Christian my mother Catholic) they began to completely hate it, my sister pretended to be fine with it. About six months ago I started posting youtube videos which showed how strong of an atheist I am, and they were furious, my dad said that "you HAVE to believe in something." My sister wanted to steal me away for a weekend and have a "talk", thankfully that never happened, my mother begged me to stop making youtube videos. I did stop, but not for them, but because I got too busy. It still bugs them to no end, but I talked to my dad a lot about it, and now, he will call himself God instead of making some reference to the Bible's God, I am not sure if he is an atheist, but he is definitely not the Christian he use to be. My mother never brings up religion around me anymore. I haven't talked to my sister in a while (she's been busy child-birthing), and my uncle has never been closer (he use to be an agnostic atheist and now is very much gnostic towards christianity).

It really comes down to, are you willing to take the risk? I found it was worth the risk, but I never really was all that close to my family.
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20-12-2010, 05:46 PM
 
RE: Coming out?
Thank you for your input guys! It is a very big decision, so hearing other stories and opinions helps a lot Smile
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20-12-2010, 08:02 PM
 
RE: Coming out?
Hi! I was an Orthodox Christian too. I actually now view my Orthodoxy as one step on the road to atheism. The first was my acceptance of evolution, then my loss of fundamentalism. I'm still in the closet after a year, but it's getting harder and harder!

Sorry I don't have any good input, but just wanted to let you know you weren't alone in your ex-Orthodoxy.
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20-12-2010, 09:40 PM
 
RE: Coming out?
That helps more than you know athnostic.. thank you Smile
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20-12-2010, 10:43 PM
RE: Coming out?
In the end, mBear, you must be the final judge since you are the one who knows your family and neighbors. We can only relate our experiences. All the best to you.
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21-12-2010, 12:29 AM
RE: Coming out?
(20-12-2010 10:43 PM)No J. Wrote:  In the end, mBear, you must be the final judge since you are the one who knows your family and neighbors. We can only relate our experiences. All the best to you.

+1

"Owl," said Rabbit shortly, "you and I have brains. The others have fluff. If there is any thinking to be done in this Forest - and when I say thinking I mean thinking - you and I must do it."
- A. A. Milne, The House at Pooh Corner
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21-12-2010, 09:50 AM
RE: Coming out?
(20-12-2010 10:43 PM)No J. Wrote:  In the end, mBear, you must be the final judge since you are the one who knows your family and neighbors. We can only relate our experiences. All the best to you.

+2

I myself have not come out to my entire family, just my wife, and my brother and his wife. My wife is a born-again Christian, my brother is a borderline atheist, and my sister-in-law is an agnostic. Things got very strained between my wife and I, and while we are working on things, some things are still strained. It didn't help that my deconversion to atheism came on the heels of her reconversion/rededication to Christianity.

Most everyone else in my family are strong believers, if not strong practicing Christians. My grandmother is an ordained minister, I have 2 aunts who teach Sunday School and participate in the choir, and my uncle teaches and leads retreats and church trips. My in-laws go and help at the same church my wife goes to (in fact, she got them to start going again). My mom, sister, and other aunt and 2 uncles are also believers. I sort of came out to my Dad who is sort of a borderline everything (not really committed to a religion, but believes in the supernatural... sort of, and that "something" is out there). I could come out to them, but really it's one step at a time, and if I were to do it at this time of the year, it really would be seen as a jerk move on my part (even if it wasn't). Especially considering how much religion is floating around in my family, none of these gatherings get all that religious. Well, maybe my Grandmother's a little, but it's always been that way so I'm kind of used to it.

At some point, you have to live your life, but it's always possible to hide some things from some people. I'm at the point in my life where I would be perfectly fine if everyone in my family found out I was an atheist, but I'm probably not going to do anything to blatantly tell them. Although if they paid any attention to my "likes" on facebook they could probably figure it out. Blush

Good luck to you mBear - Merry Christmas (yeah I still say it - it's mostly secular anyway) and welcome to the world of the rational.

Our brains deceive us on a regular basis, so we have to find ways to fight back.
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21-12-2010, 10:07 AM
RE: Coming out?
God, posts like these make me so thankful I born into an atheist family. I've heard plenty of horror stories of being exiled for your beliefs, but my best recommendation is to try not to flaunt your atheism. If they don't like atheists, show that atheists can still be good people. As far as the after, you might want to be open for still joining them in religious activities. I know that many atheists don't like the idea, but if it seems like it could make the difference, try not to let pride get in your way.

keep us posted.

I don't believe Jesus is the son of God until I see the long form birth certificate!
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