More and more atheists today are out of the closet and public about their atheism. At the same time, though, there continues to be significant bigotry and discrimination against atheists. Many of those who come out of the closet suffer for it. It's no wonder that many others remain trapped in the closet.
Exiting the Closet
Photo: Dan Burn-Forti/Getty
Being in the closet about your atheism is not a good situation because you have to be dishonest about yourself -- both to yourself and to others. As bad as this situation can be, though, it can be even worse if friends, family, and colleagues aren't accepting of your atheism. The stories of people facing this sort of choice are never very pleasant.
I can sadly say that I've not been able to walk out the closet. All my life was around religion: my family, my friends, my schedule. The thing I will miss most is the special connection I have with my wife.
It's a very difficult position, because she will not understand my new beliefs (or quitting old ones). My confession may strike her badly emotionally. Moreover, I feel hypocrite because am lying to her and to myself. Am not honest any longer: I continue to go to church and "pray" (AKA talking to oneself) just for my wife and my family. I just can't go with the hassle.
I don't know if she may leave me. Is she worth the effort if she doesn't accept me with my beliefs, just the way I am? What if she finally understands, after years, many disappointments, discussions and ostracism? This ain't easy, since my beloved family is all I got in this brief life.
This is not the sort of problem faced by very many people in America today. Christians like to complain that they are persecuted, but they don't face the choice of hiding their Christianity or risk losing their family.
No, the only people facing this sort of problem are those who are the victims of persecution by Christians -- like gays and atheists.