The Closet Atheist
Going to work and doing the normal routine comes simple for some people. They socialize, enjoy time with friends and try to live out their normal routine. For other people, life is a little more complex, and for some, live in the shadow of fear.
In the religious world people are free to flaunt their idealism, regardless of how eccentric or unfounded their beliefs are. There is a widely held view of acceptance to those who delve into the realm of beliefs in a higher power. At first glance, it is very soothing to think there is something beyond yourself and that there is more to life then can be explained.
For others though, who can see through this kind of deluded thinking, they face a different set moral issues.
For some atheists, there is a profound sense of fear; a fear of alienation and discrimination towards them.
Sadly, the fear these people have is not completely unfounded. Real discrimination occurs to people who don’t accept the woo of superstition. Talking to people who have had these sorts of problems reveals how hostile people can act towards them.
People who are discovered to be atheists can suffer property damage, bullying, unfair labor practices, blatant discrimination and, in severe cases, threats against the persons safety and their family’s wellbeing. Children are especially vulnerable to this kind of radical fanaticism in schools and daycare. People who have to live under this type of pressure attribute it to living under mob rule and go to great lenghts even to hide their identity sometimes; developing aliases or going by different names even sometimes.
So it’s no surprise that so many atheists stay incognito, blending in and even attending church as to not reveal what they honestly think.
People with the religious mindset, by technicality, are already somewhat radical in their thinking, so it is to no surprise that some of them would act out. We see the atrocities of religion every day on the news, people who are willing to kill you and everyone around them for what they believe is the highest of authority. The atheist that lives in an area that has religion everywhere ‘feels’ they are all alone and if they speak out… they might actually become that way to the literal extent.
So what is one to do? The first thing is make an effort to find other people who are (like minded); it will not only serve as an outlet, but help you not feel as if you are the only rational person left in the world.
Second, speak with conviction and know your facts. People, and even fanatics, tend to listen to those who speak with authority. If the religious can believe primitive nonsense and woo then reality shouldn’t be too much harder to argue for.
Third, be tactful. You can be firm, but show acceptance. The old adage of attracting more flies with sugar than vinegar rings true here. If a missionary comes knocking on your door, let them in and be nice to them. You can tell them you are an atheist and aren’t interested, but they are perfectly welcome to sit on your couch for a bit and rest for a moment.
Don’t you think that would stun them more then if you did some random jerk prank to them at the door? If they are not on the offensive then they will be more likely to listen to you instead of shutting you out or even going on the offensive.
At some point you have to come to terms with yourself and not live a lie. If you or someone you know is a “closet atheist” you must know the first step is to open the door and take that first big step towards freedom.-AAPN