There is not a right way to come out as an atheist. It looks different for everyone who does it, and it is a personal decision about if, when, and how best to do it. That said, a recent post by Coal Miner's Granddaughter called Coming Out of the Closet put a smile on my face. After identifying herself as an atheist and explaining why she believes that religion has "caused more harm than good" in the world, she delivers a message to the religious people in her life:
I know that once I hit publish on this blog post, some of you who read this will think I'm a Godless, immoral, horrible person. That's fine. Think of me what you will. Cut me out of your life because of this. But know this. I'm the same person whom you've always known. I just kept my questioning of religion, of God, secret from all of you and it is just now, at this stage of my life, that I feel comfortable enough in my own skin to "come out" finally, and announce who I am.Isn't it sad that someone would even have to entertain the possibility of social rejection for expressing their lack of god-belief in this day and age? We see someone here who has had doubts for some time but felt compelled to conceal them from her friends and family. So sad and yet perfectly understandable given the widespread bigotry with which many religious believers approach atheists.
Here's the best part:
Please realize that I won't cut you out of my life. I won't try to convince you that everyone should be atheists. I won't make your religion, or my lack thereof, the main topic of any of our future conversations. I am still the same Heather I've always been and will be the same until I die. I will always question, always wonder, always explore. I just want to love, be loved, celebrate, be celebrated, and experience everything life has to offer, and that includes fellowship with family and friends.I know there is no one right way to come out as an atheist, but I can't help feeling some real admiration for the author of these words. I'd say she nailed it, and I hope the experience is liberating. I also hope that the religious people in her life are able to see past the culturally-sanctioned bigotry and recognize that she is still the same person.
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