Coming Out Atheist, pg 11

Jan 23, 2017

“Atheists have to come out! Coming out is the most powerful political action we can take! It’s how we change people’s perceptions of us! It’s how we counter the myths and bigotry against us! It’s how we find each other! It’s how we create communities and give each other a safe place to land! It’s how we’re forcing ourselves into a political force to be reckoned with!”
People in the atheist movement have been saying all of this for as long as I’ve been an atheist. Probably for longer. And there’s a reason: It’s all true.”

–Greta Christina, Coming Out Atheist, pg 11


Discuss!

9 comments on “Coming Out Atheist, pg 11

  • Absolutely! Not only does it help to get the message out there that Atheists are not devil worshippers (I’m still amazed at how many people think that) but it allows us to answer the inevitable ‘why?’ that follows. This gives us a perfect opportunity to put forward our arguments and maybe even encourage some people to think about it.

    I’ve taken the simple step of remaining outside whenever a family occasion includes a church ceremony. Then when asked, I ask back, ‘why do you support an organisation that protects paedophiles?’. Sometimes I use the variant, ‘why do you believe in a god that allows his priests to use his name to gain the authority they need to abuse children and get away with it?’. Then I follow up with, ‘would you be doing this if you hadn’t been brought up with this nonsense?’. Some people walk away, but others engage in conversation and I get to unleash all the rest of the good reasons for not believing. The fact that I used to believe until I read the bible gives them pause, and there isn’t a single question that they ask about it that I didn’t think of myself when that bronze-age book revealed the truth to me.

    I’m pleased to say that so far I have ‘saved’ three ex-Christians. I’ve even convinced one of them to become active in spreading the good news in the same way. I’m working on the other two. It’s a start.



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  • An atheist can be more powerful by first closing the gap between themselves and a believer by gaining their trust before revealing their position on religion. A believer is far more likely to allow themselves to be lead away from religion by a trusted friend than by a self-confessed atheist with a pre-defined devlish status. Coming out as an atheist can be seen as an aggressive move by the believer brought up to think the worst of “people like that.” The defences go up in expectation of attack before any meaningful discussion has taken place.



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  • I have found that for me, the best way to handle a religiously indoctrinated mind..is to just ask questions ,even if I already know the answer to them. Asking questions makes people think and question their own beliefs.



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  • Not only does it help to get the message out there that Atheists are
    not devil worshippers (I’m still amazed at how many people think
    that)…

    Vincent Bugliosi once wrote that if Xtian’s used logic, they would be much better off praying to the devil. Why, the logic goes, should one need to pray to God, a supposedly all knowing, all good entity to get good outcomes? Shouldn’t that be the default? Wouldn’t it make more sense to pray to the devil in hopes that he curtails his dastardly deeds? The devil, in most Xtian mythology is given nearly the same strength as god, in fact more it seems if the frequency with which bad things occur is any indication. So logically we should be praying to the horned one to be a bit nicer; not to the exalted one to do what he should probably already be doing if the god heads are to be believed. Of course a few pages into the OT (and yes, select pages from the NT) and one could be forgiven for mistaking god for the devil…



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  • 5
    Cairsley says:

    I appreciate that “coming out as atheists” is a good thing to propose to Americans, a majority of whom probably do regard atheists as morally suspect and up to no good. But elsewhere in the Western world such a proposal makes little sense. If I, who live in New Zealand, were to “come out as an atheist”, people would wonder what my point might be, since most people here have no interest in religion, and those who do take a religion seriously do so only with those who share the same interest, much as chessplayers may belong to a club and share that interest among themselves. Here declaring oneself to have no belief or interest in the supernatural would be pretty much like declaring oneself to have no interest in or commitment to chess (or philately or what have you) and would be regarded as odd and probably attention-seeking (tsk tsk) behavior. From time to time in conversation it may be appropriate to say that one has no religious or supernaturalistic beliefs and perhaps (if one’s interlocutor enquires) to explain one’s freedom from such beliefs by pointing out the lack of evidence for them.

    In a country like mine, where religion plays no part in politics and freedom of conscience and belief is guaranteed, the only time it is considered reasonable to challenge the beliefs of a religionist is when one encounters a proselytizer, who, by putting him- or herself out there as a propagator of some outlook, must expect to get as good as he or she gives. In any case it is simply very bad manners here to hold forth about religion anywhere outside a church or religious gathering, as it would be to hold forth about the vacuity of religion anywhere outside a meeting or group of rationalists or humanists or the like. The reason for this is straightforward enough: No-one is interested, and it is boorish to bother people with things of no interest to them. In the United States of America, however, whither the bilgewaters of British religiosity were relocated in the eighteenth century and found fertile ground aplenty, religion has flourished to such an extent that literally millions of citizens there consider themselves entitled (on grounds of a higher truth, otherwise known as superstition) to disregard facts established beyond dispute and even to defy the law of the land and the United States Constitution itself in their efforts to have the norms for the life of society based on their religious beliefs.

    So, yes, Americans, if you are free from religious beliefs and value freedom of thought and expression and so on, it is very important that you make your freedom of mind known, so that it becomes clear to the religionists that they cannot take themselves to be the norm for society. When Donald Trump ended his uninspiring inaugural speech with an invocation of divinity, it struck me as quite uncharacteristic of him (as indeed it was), but of course such religious expressions are, sad to say, expected of prominent politicians in that sorry nation of yours, and even Mr Trump felt required to oblige at least that once. Hasten the day when your politicians will no longer feel such a need.



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  • How can an atheist ‘come out’? I’ve been told many times that atheism is an absence of belief in something that others believe in. So you can’t ‘come out’ because you have nothing to declare. Should I ‘come out’ as a non-believer in pink unicorns or the flying spaghetti monster? How absurd. You should declare yourselves (or ‘come out’) as ANTI-theists, but it’s an absurdity to come out as a-theists. Indeed I think a better description would be ‘religiophobes’.



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  • CumbriaSmithy #6
    Jan 28, 2017 at 5:27 pm

    How can an atheist ‘come out’? I’ve been told many times that atheism is an absence of belief in something that others believe in.

    It’s quite simple really! In parts of the USA and some parts of the world, particular religions, denominations or cults, dominate in the population, often with discrimination against minorities.

    So you can’t ‘come out’ because you have nothing to declare.

    You can simply declare that you are not a member of some majority religious group which assumes that everyone shares their views.
    If lots of people are “in-the-closet” minorities, due to discrimination against them, that isolates them as individuals from other like thinkers and gives the impression to politicians and other members of the communities, that there are far fewer of them than there actually are.

    Should I ‘come out’ as a non-believer in pink unicorns or the flying spaghetti monster?

    You would only need to if you had been hiding your dissent in a population which most people believed in these.

    You should declare yourselves (or ‘come out’) as ANTI-theists,

    Some atheists are anti theists, but that is usually where they have to defend themselves from attempts by theists to dominate them.

    but it’s an absurdity to come out as a-theists.

    It is quite possible to be openly atheist in more tolerant societies, which do not indulge in hate preaching against atheists and atheist views. In other the hate preaching has to be countered with factual challenges.

    Indeed I think a better description would be ‘religiophobes’.

    A phobia is an irrational fear.
    There is nothing irrational in fearing the actions of some religious activities and some religions.
    If you doubt this, try coming out as an atheist, or a Christian preaching Christian views, or come out as a follower of Yazidi Islam, in Iran, Saudi Arabia, or Egypt!
    http://www.releaseinternational.org/egypt-christians-devastated-by-mob-attack/



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  • 8
    Cairsley says:

    CumbriaSmithy #6
    . . . You should declare yourselves (or ‘come out’) as ANTI-theists, but it’s an absurdity to come out as a-theists. . . .

    The point of the extract is that there is a need to make religionists in the United States aware of the numbers of people whose minds are free of the trammels of religious beliefs, so that it becomes more plainly apparent that religion is not the appropriate basis for social, legal and moral norms. It is not a matter of being antireligious or antitheistic, but a matter of seeing to it that religion is kept within its proper bounds in a democratic and secular, law-abiding society. The term ‘atheist’ (no-god-ist) is just a convenient way of referring to that state of mind not bound by beliefs in imaginary, unevidenced, supernatural entities and their supposed arrangements for the human race.

    Where the prefix ‘anti-‘ may be used to summarize the point of the extract is in a word like ‘antiatheist’, for it is a fact that atheists in the United States encounter an entrenched antiatheism that is not encountered in other parts of the Western world and in many cases gives rise to violations of constitutional and legal rights of people not associated with any religion. The religious in the United States have had it their own way for too long. It is high time for them to be apprised of the fact that their superstitions are unacceptable and out of place in a modern, well-educated and enlightened society, but of course the law of the land safeguards their right to adhere to those superstitions in their private lives if they wish.



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  • An atheist can be more powerful by first closing the gap between themselves and a believer by gaining their trust before revealing their position on religion. A believer is far more likely to allow themselves to be lead away from religion by a trusted friend than by a self-confessed atheist with a pre-defined devlish status. Coming out as an atheist can be seen as an aggressive move by the believer brought up to think the worst of “people like that.” The defences go up in expectation of attack before any meaningful discussion has taken place.

    1 That only works a couple of times before you are ‘out’ from your eventual revelations

    2 You are removing yourself from the visible support that helps other atheists know that there are others around

    3 Its a form of manipulation, known as grooming. You are concealing your nature to insinuate yourself with a target and bring them to the place you want while their defenses are down. Pedophiles use that technique but I wont as it is unethical.



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