Why does turning atheist have to be an 'event'? A 'coming out'? Why the drama?
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16-11-2012, 08:14 PM
Why does turning atheist have to be an 'event'? A 'coming out'? Why the drama?
Until early puberty I didn't really understand religion. Then I did and saw it was bullshit. I never hid that opinion. Just lived by it. But I never made it a public spectacle among believers either. It simply never was a point. I didn't make it a point. They didn't make it a point. No problems, no hardships, nothing.

So that's why I don't understand many 'new' atheïsts' apparent need to do a kind of 'coming out'. Write letters to their religious brethren. Make a public speech, announcement about it at some point. It all seems completely unnecessarily apologetic and dramatical to me. In fact inviting obstacles! Doesn't look like a wise way to handle it, imo. Rather masochistic, actually.

So why?
I don't understand.
Why not simply go your atheist way and live your atheist life? And let them lead theirs? Free choice!
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16-11-2012, 08:18 PM
Why does turning atheist have to be an 'event'? A 'coming out'? Why the drama?
You're right. You don't understand.

It was just a fucking apple man, we're sorry okay? Please stop the madness Laugh out load
~Izel
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16-11-2012, 08:20 PM
RE: Why does turning atheist have to be an 'event'? A 'coming out'? Why the drama?
(16-11-2012 08:14 PM)Janus Wrote:  ...
They didn't make it a point.
...


Empathy is always difficult if you have not seen it / felt it yourself.

Try to imagine what life for you would have been like if "they" did make it a point, repeatedly, often and in yer face.

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16-11-2012, 08:20 PM
RE: Why does turning atheist have to be an 'event'? A 'coming out'? Why the drama?
Shame you can't explain it either.
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16-11-2012, 08:23 PM (This post was last modified: 16-11-2012 08:30 PM by Janus.)
RE: Why does turning atheist have to be an 'event'? A 'coming out'? Why the drama?
(16-11-2012 08:20 PM)DLJ Wrote:  
(16-11-2012 08:14 PM)Janus Wrote:  ...
They didn't make it a point.
...


Empathy is always difficult if you have not seen it / felt it yourself.

Try to imagine what life for you would have been like if "they" did make it a point, repeatedly, often and in yer face.

So how does that situation improve from making a coming out drama?

I'd move away.
I would ostracize them long before they could ostracize me.
But I would not make a spectacle!
Especially as it's counterproductive.
I have no time for bullshit.
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16-11-2012, 08:24 PM
RE: Why does turning atheist have to be an 'event'? A 'coming out'? Why the drama?
I would say because atheism is a minority, and minorities can be suppressed. Coming out is a way of shaking the shackles so to speak. In many family units, the dynamics are governed by the religion and when one announces publicly that they are free of the doctrine than they can, in some respect, be free to live outside the doctrine rules. Some examples for today are things like the way women are treated, sexual orientation, submissiveness, slavery, oppression, etc. Real issues that deserve a stand. People are sick of the influence and coming out is a way to set a boundary for these things.
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16-11-2012, 08:36 PM
RE: Why does turning atheist have to be an 'event'? A 'coming out'? Why the drama?
(16-11-2012 08:23 PM)Janus Wrote:  
(16-11-2012 08:20 PM)DLJ Wrote:  Empathy is always difficult if you have not seen it / felt it yourself.

Try to imagine what life for you would have been like if "they" did make it a point, repeatedly, often and in yer face.

So how does that situation improve from making a coming out drama?

I'd move away.
I would ostracize them long before they could ostracize me.
But I would not make a spectacle!
Especially as it's counterproductive.
I have no time for bullshit.


Good point, well made.

Indeed, so would I... but then, I'm a single guy with no ties or responsibilities.

Again, empathy... a number of the recent "outees" I have read about here are mothers with children. Children who they love and want to protect.

What would you do in that situation?

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16-11-2012, 08:36 PM
RE: Why does turning atheist have to be an 'event'? A 'coming out'? Why the drama?
Well, first of all, it's part of most human cultures (and possibly human psychology in general) to make a great ceremony to mark major transitions or milestones in one's life. In your case, finding the label of atheist wasn't a major transition. But for someone who switches from hardcore belief to hardcore not, it is.

Second, there's often an element of integrity in it. They have been part of a community, part of the same covenant, with their brethren faithful until their transition. Some people feel its dishonest to let the assumption of status quo continue, when status is very much not quo.

Third, there's the simple imperatives of communication within a social species. Or the psychological need for acceptance as-is. Or if you want that in one word, OPENNESS. Being "in the closet" to the world at large, on any issue, can have profound psychological impact on the person in the closet. Depression and alienation are common symptoms, for example, and the suicide rate goes up. Some people can just say "I won't advertise it but I won't hide it." But for some people, not advertising it IS hiding it, because of their own predilections. It's all too easy for someone afraid of confrontation to take this attitude as a fig leaf out of ever letting anyone know, and they go into a closet as a result. This varies by individual, but it's common enough to be a concern.

Fourth, writing a single, carefully-considered announcement can be preferable to having dozens of ad-hoc conversations. ESPECIALLY if 90 of those conversations come fast, furious, hectic, and angry after conversant #8 gossips.

And finally, there are those who do it for reasons of tactics in a larger culture war. There's a particularly vocal branch of the atheist community who think that much of the persecution and distrust of atheists stems from lack of visibility. It's much easier to be bigoted against "Those Atheists We Never Met" than "My Brother, the Atheist", and easier to attack a small minority than the large one. In this line of thinking, the more people who are visibly atheists, the better.

A lot of this depends on environment. In the small town where everyone and their dog attends the same church, being an atheist is a very hard thing, secrecy is something to seriously consider, and confrontation by the religious is the norm. But in, say, a cosmopolitan city like Seattle, the culture is very different.

"If I ignore the alternatives, the only option is God; I ignore them; therefore God." -- The Syllogism of Fail
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16-11-2012, 08:39 PM
RE: Why does turning atheist have to be an 'event'? A 'coming out'? Why the drama?
(16-11-2012 08:24 PM)LadyJane Wrote:  I would say because atheism is a minority, and minorities can be suppressed. Coming out is a way of shaking the shackles so to speak. In many family units, the dynamics are governed by the religion and when one announces publicly that they are free of the doctrine than they can, in some respect, be free to live outside the doctrine rules. Some examples for today are things like the way women are treated, sexual orientation, submissiveness, slavery, oppression, etc. Real issues that deserve a stand. People are sick of the influence and coming out is a way to set a boundary for these things.


Achieving what exactly besides setting yourself up as a target for nastiness?
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16-11-2012, 08:40 PM
RE: Why does turning atheist have to be an 'event'? A 'coming out'? Why the drama?
What LadyJane said.

Since religion is a large part of many people's lives, it's a major issue when they become an atheist or begin telling people they're already an atheist. It depends on the people around the person more than the people themselves, probably. If you come from a super religious family, or have many super religious friends, it could easily be a pretty big deal. And it tends to influence a lot of a person's other views on things (the "role" of women, homosexuality, abortion, etc.) and atheists may make decisions on these issues taking other things into consideration rather than basing their views on religious authority/scripture.

Personally, my family was only mildly religious (and my dad was an atheist), so it was never a big deal at all,except to distant relatives who didn't understand why I don't talk about praising Jesus all the time.
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