I always said to myself that if someone honestly asks me about my religion I will genuinely tell them. But that has happened, and it’s not exactly happened that way, in fact it’s only happened that way once, when I mentioned a thing commonly said by atheists that prompted my friend to ask the question.
What I’ve found is of course support, and more people have found out since then due to that, mostly because they were right next to me when they found out. But even then, the only friends who do know are not Christians, or at the least very unsure Christians.
My family and people who genuinely believe still don’t know about it. Though I’ve not made any effort to hide it beyond never admitting to my views. What I mean is that I won’t go further to lie, like pretending I go to church, or the christian union or pray. For example I left my bible at home when I went to university (although I do have a much better study bible here)
So why haven’t I told anyone yet?
The first issue is that I don’t think it’s a massively important issue. I don’t think it’s something that is a big deal, or should be made a big deal out of. So by giving it so much importance, and treating it like it’s a big deal is only going to make it more problematic than it needs to be.
I also don’t want to deal with the fallout. I can always tell when my parents are doing it, they already ask me testing questions occasionally. Stuff like “when you see all this nature and beauty exists in the world, don’t you think there must be a God?” which is pretty blunt and kind of disgusting to me. Their whole voice and tone changes as well as their expression, as if they’re seeking confirmation.
I don’t want any more of that than I need to. I had absolutely none of this when before going to uni, and I honestly don’t want it to get worse. The evangelism gets pretty bad and toxic, and genuinely any religious conversation to explain my views fills me with utter dread. I would rather leave us to have our own thoughts and opinions.
When talking about Christianity to Christians, my arguments tend to lead towards the moral problems I find with Christianity, and generally anyone I talk about this with specifically is someone I quickly turn to dislike. Simply because I cannot help but see them as seriously immoral, and it’s painful to see them justify what I see to be completely unjustifiable of a higher all loving deity. I don’t want to see my family in that way.
But why haven’t I told my friends who are serious Christians? I told my friend that my birthday at uni was the most drunk I have ever been, and that got back to his parents, and his parents told that to me.
Essentially they would tell people, and if I told them I would expect that they would tell people. That’s because they believe I’ll be going to hell, and obviously they don’t want that. So, getting many people praying people would from their perspective help.
And to be honest I’d understand that perspective. I understand completely why they may want to do that.
The issue is that I don’t want a tonne of people to know about me, yet still not be able to tell me, just knowing themselves and having to keep it a secret to me. It’s just a horrible position.
Of course everyone knowing is an exaggeration, that of course would not happen. It would just feel strange.
Like when I was a Christian I would see other people who were atheists as either bad people or just someone to feel sorry for. I would hate that feeling.
Christianity fosters a feeling of unworthiness. You are born sick and commanded to be well, told that you’re always a sinner. The idea of people treating me as someone who needs saving makes me feel sick inside.
Essentially, despite all this I do plan to come out one day. Being honest about myself will likely feel better for me in the long run, and all the negative side effects as a consequence will only reflect badly on the people who treat me differently, and not on myself.
So what am I waiting for? Maybe the right question at the same time as the right feeling of bravery. Which comes at exceedingly rare times, most often in religious situations, when I am actually already quite tense and nervous, not to mention the whole surrounded by Christians thing.
It will probably have to be to my parents first, as they are who I consider the most important, since their faith is probably the strongest, and it would really suck if they were to find out through other means first.
It would then have to be in response to a question that didn’t really feel pointed or contrived, or just scummy, as most questions do. Even then it wouldn’t exactly be coming out as atheist, I would just say something along the lines of “I don’t really believe that stuff” – I would not use the A word – and then when prompted, as to not avoid the conversation I would say “Because I don’t really believe he’s real”, and close the conversation down if prompted further.
If they are persistent with continuing, I would try to make a rule where we can’t talk about it unless we plan a time and place beforehand. Then during those times we could talk about it, but I don’t want it to infect my daily life. Essentially having it brought up all the time would be quite a horrible thing.
Anyway I’m sure you can see that I have thought a lot about this, and this decision is not made lightly. If you have any thoughts please let me know as I might find it useful! Thanks for reading!