I'm thinking it might be time to open up to some of my friends but I'm feeling nervous about it.
Well, I had gotten outed to part of the family as bisexual by a neice who showed an Instagram photo of me with an ex gf, so while I was officially coming out as bisexual, I came out as agnostic too. Some were fine with both; had known/suspected. The more evangelical family, it was funny watching them struggle over which thing they should disapprove of the most. My brother said he didn’t believe in LGBT, that it was a ‘chosen lifestyle’. I told HIM that I didn’t believe in god or religion, because THAT is a ‘chosen lifestyle’.
I hope it goes well. People who truly love you won’t stop loving you.
"Mom, I decided I'm an atheist," I said at age 13. "I don't want to go to church anymore."
"That fine, honey," Mom replied. "What do you want for dinner?"
In my 30s, Mom explained she became an atheist in nursing school after being raised Catholic. "I realized a woman cannot be turned into salt," she said dryly and laughed.
My parents didn't have a leg to stand on. After playing jazz trumpet on Saturday nights, Dad never went to church. He slept in. Mom dropped off us kids at Sunday school. She went home and picked us up later.
On dating sites, I select "atheist" for religion. Two Christian men met me to try to convert me. "Martin Luther said there are no atheists," one man said triumphantly, as if that settled the matter.
"I don't care what a Catholic monk said over 400 years ago," I replied, rolling my eyes. I stood up. "I don't want to argue with you. I'm leaving. Thanks for lunch."
My own personal friends - no problem what so ever. If I lost some friends it wasn't an abrupt thing, just a distancing naturally due to different interests.
I think nowadays, coming out atheist is not such a big thing, with the advent of the internet, diverse communities, and better awareness about respect for all faiths, but decades ago, it was a little traumatic for me and my family, when my kids were young. (I married an atheist man, even though we were both raised Catholic, and raised our kids without god/s.)
I was never in a closet about it - but felt pushed to speak up decades ago when my neighbors (with children who played with mine) kept trying to involve me in religious activities. The news that I was "agnostic" shocked the parents of those kids who enjoyed playing with mine, they couldn't understand how my kids could be so well mannered, fair minded, and likable, without going to church! After being told they couldn't play with my kids anymore, the neighbor kids would stand on the property edge taunting mine, watching for them to "drink blood" so obviously they had some misconceptions about agnostics.
It was many years of that religious feud before the parents of the kids came around and realized we were good people, and they had no reason to fear us. A tearful apology came from one of the mothers, and one of the fathers is now a FB friend of mine, haha!
Also kid-related, some of my daughter's fellow students tried to impeach her (she was student body president) after they learned she didn't go to church, but was "home churched" as my daughter described to one parent, who asked what church we attended, since the kids were so well behaved. (#!&?!)
So many years ago, it was a little rough being the one agnostic family in the neighborhood and school. Teachers taunted my kids, had them go out in the hall for the Pledge of Allegiance, or during the study of holiday stories. (They had made it clear they wished to remain in class for the pledge and for learning about religious holidays, but some of the teachers got a sadistic thrill out of banishing them to the hall any chance they got.)
Now family is another thing - only one of my siblings had a problem with me being agnostic - and would scold her beautiful young children when they would say anything complimentary about me - sneering, "You don't want to grow up to be like Aunt Julie - She doesn't even believe in God!" I think there was some underlying jealousy playing into some of her reactions, no big loss there since we weren't all that close.
It was the in-laws that were the worst! I related that I was agnostic a few months before the wedding (on Christmas Day, a few hours after my dad died, and everyone kept saying religious stuff to me) so that started things off on the wrong foot. -- My wedding (to their atheist son) was performed by a judge in my brother's back yard, not in a church, which was another step into hell in their eyes. -- Then babies were born, and not baptized, and that caused more rifts. Then once the kids were old enough to enjoy the holidays, they were welcomed by the in-laws, but I was to stay home, since I didn't believe... Believe in what I'd ask, in the solstice? In trees, food, gift giving, singing, family games? Anyway, that religious rift never mended, and I divorced myself out of that family a long time ago.
Funny, all these years later, the siblings-in-law comment on what a good job I did as their mother, to bring them up to be such good kids and now adults. (Some of those Christian relatives ended up in a world of trouble.)
I found out who my real friends are.
Don't miss any of the ones that weren't.
Don't interact with a lot of family members anymore either.
Life is much quieter and much less expensive.
Just as an addendum:
I was never really "in the closet" with my non-belief. Indoctrination didn't take, and they TRIED. As soon as I figured out how to make it look like I'd gone to mass every Sunday, without actually going, I stopped going.
Breakfast at Dunkin' Donuts with the collection money was delicious.
I'm pretty lucky. When mom handed me my Bible at first communion, my dad handed me The Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit and whispered, "Read these first."
Turns out mom was just indoctrinating me because she was, also. So I didn't get in too much trouble when I got kicked out of Catholic school in 5th grade.
My stepfather told me I was "going to split hell wide open" but otherwise we remained friends. My 2 daughters claimed they saw my viewpoint once I explained it to them but they each claimed they "still believe in their own way." That same belief they share is what made Christianity the muddled mess it is today.
Why do people make such a big deal out of this? I was never "in the closet." When I became atheist I just told people if religion came up. My grandmother was pretty upset by it so I never mentioned it to her again but everyone else just accepted it because that was the new reality.
You can always couch it by just saying you're non-religious.
What does one gain by opening up to ones friends .I do not know why people have to tell others what their belief or lack of belief is .I certainly could care less what my friends religious affiliation is .Its the same thing .How does this information change the dynamic of a relationship other than test their reaction and jeopardize your friendship.But maybe you want to use this as a way to edit your relationships
I've never really been in the closet. I came out when I was in the 8th grade. I wasn't very religious in my youth. My parents took me to church when I was a kid, but it was never made to be a big deal. Then we moved to the Bible Belt when I was in the 5th grade. I was constantly being pressured by my peers to go to church. Everyone one told me I was going to hell. I had never heard that until I moved to the South. Eventually I started going to a church near my house and was scared out of my mind by the hellfire and brimstone preaching. I talked my parents, who were reluctant to join, but they eventually caved. Looking back it was a big mistake. When I started to question it, it was to the point that my parents started to make me go, even after I told them that I was no longer a believer. When I was in High School I was very open with everyone about what my beliefs where. They called me a witch and a Satanist because they simply couldn't understand that I didn't believe. I'm still very open about it, though I don't really offer the information unless someone asks me. I still get a lot of questions and I am constantly told that I am going to hell. It can be hard to deal with at first, but in the long run, everyone I know that has come out, has been happier for it. However if it's going to cause severe damage to your lively-hood, I would start by getting to a place where your more comfortable coming out, before you actually do it. Hope this helps you! Wish you the best!
My junior year of high school I realized I was an atheist. Sometimes my family would go to church if there was something special happening at my grandfather's church or the church of one of my dad's friends. My dad would always give us money to put in the offering plate. Well, I didn't put the money in the plate at my grandfather's small church because "fuck that, I'm not giving these idiots money" type of thinking. I gave the money back to my dad after the service was over. He questioned me about it when we got home. I told him I really didn't believe the stories in the Bible. He kind of agreed with me saying he had a hard time believing some of the stories too. In my mind, he understood what I was saying and accepted it. I asked him not to tell my mom because she would immediately come to me and start asking questions that I just didn't want to answer at that time. He said he wouldn't say anything but I figured over time he would.
Fast forward maybe 2 years later, I'm home from college talking with my mom; my dad is a few feet away. I don't remember exactly what we were talking about but it ended with me saying, "You know I'm an atheist." Her eyes got wide and she said she didn't know that. I looked at my dad thinking "You didn't tell her?" My mom saw this and turned to my dad and said, "You knew?!" He responded saying he knew my belief wasn't strong but didn't know it had come to this. He then said I was one step away from being a Satanist. Shocked, I exclaimed, "WHAT?!"
Good times. haha