Out Campaign support thread
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23-04-2012, 07:00 AM
Out Campaign support thread
I figured that there needed to be a support group thread for closet atheists (myself included) to receive advice and moral support during their social transitions. I personally have pretty much come out to all of my social acquaintances. I plan on breaking the news to my family next....slowly...one member at a time. If you are a formerly religious person who had similar struggles with friends and family accepting your beliefs, please share your experiences as well!

publius2k4

"Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known." Carl Sagan
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23-04-2012, 09:28 AM
RE: Out Campaign support thread
I must say, this thread is a great thing. I'm experiencing a similar situation as the original poster, and while I prefer to make final decisions on my own, it's always a great thing to have some extra morale.

The way I've been going about it is at first, I just responded honestly when my religious beliefs were questioned, and told the other party that I have none. This was pretty much involving acquaintances. At the same time, I gradually led my closer friends on to believe that my religious views were shrinking; this was not hard, because most of my friends were losing sight of their views at the same time. So far, none of them have confessed to being an atheist, or even agnostic, but I can tell that after I said I was they are not as afraid to talk about their beliefs, and how the evidence I used makes a lot of sense to them.

As for family, though, this is a subject that needs to be approached with extreme caution. I still have not outright told them, only dropped very obscure hints here and there. I hypothesize that the best way to do it is to subliminally make them think of religion more often, and begin discussions themselves. Once the spotlight goes to you in the middle of one of these discussions, just tell your honest opinion. They'll probably disagree, assuming they're Christian, but if it's just one individual issue (one's stance on homosexuality for instance), they probably won't react too explosively. If they immediately start asking about very big issues in their religion, such as "the evils of atheism," I highly suggest you just say something along the lines of "I don't really know what to say about that. I need to have more experience with the issue." This way, you're showing signs of doubt, but also establishing that you can't voice a full opinion on the issue, which will please them in that they'll think you're at least on the fence about it. But remember, all of these are just hypothesized suggestions; I'm currently working on this path, and it seems to be going well.

Of course, there are other situations you might be in, such as in a staunchly religious family, or in a weak family that fights often, or any number of things, really. If this is the case, you may just want to wait a while and see if they come to any other conclusions. If they start doubting on their own, then maybe you can say something. But for the most part, don't say anything until you are no longer dependent on them. Once you've moved away, they can't do much. Sometimes there is no easy way out, and you may just have to deal with the inevitable fallout that will come with outright declaration of atheistic views.

Please remember that I haven't actually completed most of these things, and there are plenty of ways for things to go wrong, so use discretion before choosing any of these tactics. But hopefully, it will at least give you some ideas on the best way to go about it; and really, that's the only way to do it, to think of your own way to tell them. That's not to say you can't have any help, of course, which I hope I gave to anyone in a similar situation. Wink
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23-04-2012, 09:29 AM
RE: Out Campaign support thread
I plan to keep quiet, and serve to correct misunderstandings with regards the science. It's a subtle way of nudging people towards the truth Smile Ultimately, it all depends whether others are willing to let go and accept.

Welcome to science. You're gonna like it here - Phil Plait

Have you ever tried taking a comfort blanket away from a small child? - DLJ
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23-04-2012, 11:07 AM
RE: Out Campaign support thread
I haven't told all of my family yet- my mother, for example. For the most part it's not really relevant to them so I don't bother them with it.

I told my brother about being an atheist, and he had some questions about it but is otherwise not really bothered by it.

My father asked me directly- otherwise I wouldn't have felt the need to talk to him about it either. He was down visiting and one evening when I was getting ready to head home from where we met up he asked me about my faith. So I told him about what I had been thinking. He took it about as well as I can expect- he pretty much already knew. He is worried about my eternal soul, and it saddens me that he has to deal with such heavy thoughts when he thinks of me. But, I also appreciate that he loves me. It has led to several long talks, including that evening, which was about an hour of discussion. After that I've talked on the phone with him for several hours, and in this most recent visit we had two different discussions- one four longs long and another for about an hour. He doesn't get angry, but he gets sad and emotional. He doesn't understand that I feel happier than ever, and he feels sad for me that I feel happier than ever. Huh

In any case- when you feel the need to talk to family and friends about your beliefs, just make sure it's relevant. If they ask you, try to be honest whenever possible. If they don't ask, and it's never an issue, then it's irrelevant. If it's irrelevant, then why bother?
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23-04-2012, 07:20 PM
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Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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23-04-2012, 07:38 PM
RE: Out Campaign support thread
You don't have to "declare atheism" unless it's a certain thing you must do.
there is nothing wrong with just going about your life and not participating in religious BS.
Depending on my mood at the time I could say anything from "I'm just not interested in religion", to "I'm an atheists".
If I'm in a formal setting and the discussion requires that I state my position, then I am an atheist.
My suggestion is to always play the social setting at hand and do what you feel comfortable with.
No pressure...be yourself...never deny your true self.

The old gods are dead, let's invent some new ones before something really bad happens.
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12-08-2012, 03:32 PM
RE: Out Campaign support thread
(23-04-2012 07:00 AM)publius2k4 Wrote:  I figured that there needed to be a support group thread for closet atheists (myself included) to receive advice and moral support during their social transitions. I personally have pretty much come out to all of my social acquaintances. I plan on breaking the news to my family next....slowly...one member at a time. If you are a formerly religious person who had similar struggles with friends and family accepting your beliefs, please share your experiences as well!

I'm not a formerly religious person (I was raised Catholic but my parents didn't really practise outside of going to church and/or confession once in a while) and most of my friends and closest family members know or at least have a good idea where I stand on religion, but I find myself afraid to come out as a non-theist/freethinker/anti-religionist. I don't even live in a super religious area, though there are a few communities nearby that are more seemingly overtly Christian than others. The more stories I read about people being discriminated, persecuted, or even attacked for their non-belief, the more I worry. I don't know that I'd be mugged on the street or have my home attacked if I dared to post that red "A" on my blog/website/FB page, but my anxiety and my detail-oriented nature combine to do a number on me in this respect. It wouldn't be difficult to track me by my IP address, and at least on some social networking profiles I have somewhat detailled information about where I went to school etc.. I think religion is a harmful thing that shouldn't be permitted to deny people rights, but I don't think I'm brave enough to step out on that limb just yet. I wish I were.

In the meantime I continue my studies, learning more about the universe nearly every day and enjoying that process, and necessarily trimming out of my life certain people who equate "I don't agree" with "You're an idiot and I hate you". *sigh* We're not the bad guys, really.

"The amazing thing is that every atom in your body came from a star that exploded. ... So, forget Jesus. The stars died so that you could be here today." -- Lawrence Krauss
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