I have friends and family who don't think there is a god but refuse the label of atheist because of the negative impact it will have at home and possibly at work.
It's 2018 and religion is still holding onto the dark ages with fear and intimidation.
Being labeled an atheist is seen as an extreme in comparison to someone who holds the same caliber of belief in something else religious. People will always be quick to judge with lamentation and disapproval all because it doesn't align with what they believe in. Walk down the path you think is right, despite all of the outside commentary and criticisms. That's the only mutually acceptable right answer that should be used, but sadly that's not going to happen anytime soon.
I know a number of non-believers but not one who says he is an atheist. They don’t want to pointedly identity with a negative “ism”. For most people, opinions about religion are not of much interest. After all, no one really knows or understands the deep questions of existence IMO.
I accept that label in places like this and don't go to any length to hide it In Real Life (IRL) except professionally where in fact it's unprofessional TMI anyway.
In everyday interactions in the past couple of decades it just hasn't come up to speak of. Literally only twice, and in special circumstances, and with zero negative consequences both times.
It is not possible for me to reckon the disturbance Atheism might make to a work situation, local society situation and similar things.
There have always been a lot of these folks about, they fill the pews but are not the type to buck traditions, and the base questions are not foremost in their minds, rather the social impacts are.
I think in the Agnostic/Atheist community who are OUT and OPEN, we have many more people whose lives are ruled by straight forward reasoning. Amongst believers I find that many or most people do not use logic and reason, but rather social reasoning. They do not think "I need to change a flat tire, step A, B, C" Instead to a large extent they think "I have a Flat. What would so and so (Dad, Mom, Coach Jesus) do?---Step A, B, C . . ."
This latter type of reasoning allows people to fervently believe in things they know very little about, they believe because Mom or Dad did, and NEVER thought about the pesky details.
But to a mind like mine THAT is unthinkable. How do you not think about the details?
For a Social Reasoner breaking social contracts upon which the rationales of their life and world view are built can be very challenging or even impossible.
YOUR SIMPLE EXISTENCE gives social reasoners another model, outside the margins of Religious Culture.
Now they can think when presented with a Religious claim "What would YOU think?"
Do not be surprised if they ask you this over the years . . .
This is especially true in Idaho. There are more Mormons (whom I refer to as "Mormonoids" ) per square mile here than there are in SLC. Then there are other denominations and faiths as well. You can't throw a rock up here without hitting a church of some kind. Most of my friends attend some kind of church. So I tend to keep my beliefs to myself around other people, but it does get old feeling like I'm the only non-religious type around. I haven't been dating long, but I've found that on most of the dating sites I've joined, the women list their religion as "Christian" more often than not. This tends to be somewhat depressing, as it means that other than going out for coffee, we most likely won't hit it off because of religion. Assuming that they're serious about being a Christian. It tends to be a bit lonesome being a nonbeliever in Idaho, but I knew that when I moved here. But I had my wife then, who was also a nonbeliever, and she's gone now. So at this point I'm alone and feeling it.
I have a few friends with similar feelings about it and I have met a few women on dating apps that had their religion listed in the vaguest possible terms but then in person after knowing I'm "safe" said they were atheist.
I get it and don't exactly blame them BUT I have implored them to be more open about it. I am honest with everyone about it immediately. I think It's important to be a good example for the cause. If I'm the only atheist someone knows I want them to remember that I'm a kind, hard working, tax paying, loving parent and overall good person. The more of us around that are just normal members of society the less stigma will be attached to us.
That's where labeling oneself as "agnostic" comes in handy. At least that infers some thought has been put into the stance, while remaining open, peaceful and friendly.
Yes, it's surprising that religion still has a hold on so many. It will take a few generations to flush that old mythology out.