While this is not perhaps the most thought provoking, nor indeed original post, I thought I would share my happiness with the wonderful folks here who gave me some advice over the past month or two.
I recently posted about my decision regarding coming out as a very devout Atheist. My family is deeply religious - father an international evangelical preacher, mother a quaint pastor's wife, brother a mega-church music/youth worker. I work at a separate evangelical church and a Christian bookstore in my area. I preach and I teach bible studies. I was worried about being shunned for coming out.
I came out as an Atheist to my mother! As it turns out, she is a Deist and has been labouring under oppressive religious rule for decades. I was both saddened and relieved. She now knows - the only one who knows - what I truly believe. It was due by in large to her influence as a child to keep my mind open - however slightly because of our situation - to science.
I quit seminary a year ago, stopped preaching and teaching, though I still have to work at the Christian bookstore for money. Money to pursue my new degree in Astrophysics! Science saved my life. I have never felt better even though my family has already started the shunning. My future is secure because of my tolerant mother.
Thank you everyone here for the insightful advice - you really make a difference in people's lives.