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"Coming out" as an atheist

I've always been the type of person who avoids "stepping on toes" or causing any sort if issue, but lately I've started to resent that. I'm having a hard time stomaching all of the uber religious posts or comments from friends and family members on Facebook. I hate that they can be all sunshine and dandelions about their "I love Jesus" stuff and no one ever takes issue with it (out loud) while I keep my thoughts to myself for fear of having to defend or argue with people. It isn't that I want to push my thoughts on others or shove anything in their faces, I just want to be able to be as honest as they can be. I understand that they are not telling me to remain silent so it isn't their fault, but I can't help but be increasingly annoyed by all of it.
So my question is, is there a need to "come out" publicly as an atheist or should I just keep my thoughts to myself so as to avoid being like the people I complain about? My main issue is my aunt (who is on my Facebook) and my in laws who I'm sure would be made aware of my "shocking" revelation. I'm not afraid of them or anything, I just don't want to argue with them or have to defend my views, especially since I refrain from saying things to their "share this if you love Jesus, ignore if you want to rot in hell" posts...
Maybe I'm making too big of a deal of all of this but it really has been eating at me for a while now and I don't want it to turn into a situation where I just blow up and speak my mind without being tactful/respectful.
by on Nov. 11, 2012 at 2:14 PM
Replies (21-26):
by on Jul. 3, 2013 at 7:47 PM
2 moms liked this

I've found the best way to "come out" is to challenge people, to question their posts and positions. In other words, just be outspokenly rational!


by on Jul. 14, 2013 at 8:38 AM

This is a question I've asked myself. Am I ethically responsible to come out as an atheist and represent my fellow atheists to show that we are just humans like everyone else? That atheists can be good people- respected people- your best friends? To normalise it in American culture?

I lean more towards yes. But, I don't think that means you need to make anything official about "coming out".

The way I came out was that I liked and shared photos on facebook from atheist groups. Then, when my friends or family requested me, I accepted their friend request. Then they scrolled through  my pics and saw it.

Here is my basic philosophy regarding atheism and facebook- I don't post anything that would invite them to discuss theology with me. In other words, when I post or like things about atheism, it's more about atheism than anti-theism. And if I ever DO post something that incites a discussion, I politely reply that I won't debate with them on facebook.

I am not at the point where I'm comfortable doing that. I also never, ever, comment on their religious garbage or requests for prayers. So, I'm pretty consistent.

I would really rather NOT ever debate religion in person OR on the web. I'm a writer, I prefer to write about it in a more academic setting.

Now all of this said, yes, you're probably going to have to stand up for yourself at some point. Someone will say something. I really think it's better to clearly state that this was not an easy decision to come to and that you are 100% comfortable with your beliefs but that you do not want to argue, anger, or fight with loved ones.

by on Jul. 26, 2013 at 5:38 PM

I told dh grandma that I don't believe in god (I honestly had no idea she was a Christian) and she gave me a look like I killed her dog. Since then I pretty much keep it to myself. I do "like" atheist pages and posts on facebook but rarely share pics. Other than my dh and dd, I do not personally know any other atheists.

by on Jul. 26, 2013 at 9:33 PM

 I know exactly what you mean. I have been dealing with the same thing. My relatives will be so shocked to know my views. I recently "liked" a page on fb called atheists and rational thinkers. I'ev been gradually "liking" their posts so that it slowly leaks out what my views are. My close friends know how I feel but my family avoids the topic. It will come out eventually as my kids get older ad start asking why we don't pray at home and the family always prays at meals with grandparents and my sister's house. If you aren't ready to let it out , then stay quiet. The time will come when you know it's time to speak your mind. It has for me.

by on Aug. 4, 2013 at 5:13 PM

Most of the people that I know are quite religious, so I thought that there was going to be this big backlash. The first person I told was a complete stranger, he said "ummm ok...", he was quite confused. Lol I just felt like I needed to tell someone, it did make me feel better. After that I just told a few people I knew and they didn't mind much. I didn't feel the need to come out to everyone. From there on out, if a person asked I just told them. The only real backlash that I had was from my cousin. They are VERY religious and will try to convert anyone! She tends to get her panties in a wad over anything that doesn't agree with her ideology. I tried to have a decent conversation with her but she just couldn't get past the same calling and such, so I gave up on explaining anything to her.

It really just depends on what you feel you need to do. If you need to come out and tell everyone, then do it. Just know that some people will not like it and may be rude, disrespectful, etc... Be prepared.

by on Aug. 5, 2013 at 5:52 PM

 As far as facebook memes go, I hide the posts from friends who post them more often, and I, myself, am not big on posting meme. I do have it on my profile that I am an Atheist under religious views, but I doubt anyone reads it.

I don't feel like I specifically "came out' to my family or friends. Some of them simply know, and some don't. I don't try to hide it, but I also don't bring it up without reason. That being said, someone pushing their Christian beliefs on me is reason enough for me to mention that I am an Atheist in hopes that they will cease their efforts.

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