Saturday, August 22, 2009

Coming Out as an Atheist

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.


  1. I think the journey into atheism is a bit like the journey into paganism. One realizes that there is so much more to the spiritual journey than some divine "other" and that is the sheer awesomeness of life that is "with us". I agree, I think it is frightening for many to let go of doctrinal beliefs whether they are Christian or those of another faith. Therefore to invite such conversation, to find a safe place to dialogue, is a significantly important first step.

  2. Good on you!
    I try to explain to people that I am more confident and less afraid of life as a non-believer than I ever was as a believer. I would love to discuss with you sometime the distinction you feel between atheism and agnosticism and where you feel like you fall along those lines. I am trying to define that for myself, not because I believe that there "may" be a god, but that I find so little evidence one way or the other that I really think the question of asking if there is a god to be irrelevant. How could we ever truly know?
    I do love asking believers that can't comprehend why I don't believe in their creator story if they believe in Vishnu, Allah, Thor or Buddha. Of course they say no, to which I can reply, the only difference between me and you is that I am one more atheist than you are, for all of the same reasons. :0

  3. Thanks for the positive statements! I struggled for a long time with the same semantics you are. I plan on posting an article contrasting atheism and agnosticism, which will offer my own point of view. Please keep posting comments. I greatly value them and look forward to learning from you.