Coming out as an Atheist seems very much like the process I took from being a Christian to being an Atheist. In the very beginning of the first process, there was the question of whether this was the right thing to do, but the combination of learning, time, experiences, and encouragement led to the answer that it was the right thing to do. The process, however, was by no means easy.
The central emotion, which apparently has to be overcome in both cases, is fear. "What will God think?" was the initial fear in moving towards Atheism, which really meant, "Will I be punished for this?". I was by no means ready to jump into this new lake, so I tested the waters. With time, I felt my confidence grow in what I believed. The water wasn't freezing and as I inched my way in, I didn't drown. Bad things and good things continued to happen to me with the same frequency and in the very same ways as before. I have now been an Atheist for many years and there is no more fear anymore. Not one little bit. What I could never have expected early on is the way I feel now. To be truly free of this fear and reach a the point where my emotions and thoughts are congruent, is an indescribable, wonderful serenity.
More time passed and recently I discovered myself bound by another fear. The fear is no longer about a god, but about people, such as friends, family, and even those who don't know me. "What will they think?", which really meant, "Will I be punished for this?". As before, I had to test the waters. I began by letting those closest to me know first. Of course, the easy part was telling my friends who are Atheists themselves, but soon I began to tell others. I'm very happy to say that the water is very comfortable, as others have been very accepting. I still have some fear inside, but I have confidence in the outcome of the previous path. It is clear to me that the more people I tell, the more peace I have inside. I look forward to the day when the peace is so overwhelming, that it breaks through into serenity once more.