Coming Out As an Atheist Can Mean Stepping into a Bizarro World

The religious are questioning their beliefs more than ever before, and for those who conclude their beliefs have no validity and no longer believe in a god struggle with how to tell their loved ones. Many keep it to themselves until they feel it’s the right time to “come out” because they know it will hurt the ones they love, and some never come out for fear of being discriminated against in the workplace and/or losing relationships.

For me, I was never a closet atheist. As soon as I came to the conclusion that I no longer believed in a god — I told the people who were closest to me. It never occurred to me that I should be ashamed or afraid to tell others that I discovered something new due to my skepticism and research. I naively assumed everyone valued the truth above everything else, but I quickly discovered this was not the case. It felt as if I just stepped into a bizarro world, where evidence and logic was suddenly bad and delusion was good.

I thought people would be curious how I came to my conclusion but instead they became uncomfortable and extremely defensive. So why do believers respond this way?

Atheists get this reaction because when they tell a believer they no longer believe in God, they are also inadvertently telling them they are wrong — this is something they don’t want to hear and the conversation becomes very emotional. Belief in god isn’t based on reason or evidence; it is based on emotion and tradition. This is why believers aren’t interested in having a conversation about the evidence or lack thereof which has brought someone to the conclusion of atheism — because evidence isn’t what brought them to their belief in god in the first place.

Those who constantly try to convert one back to their belief are rarely doing it because they care about the person’s “soul”; we know this because they rarely try to convert those they love if they believe in a different god/religion. For example, from a Christian perspective, there shouldn’t be any difference between an atheist and a Mormon — both are wrong in their view. However, according to the Bible the Mormon would be guilty of worshiping a false god, which is an added sin that atheists aren’t guilty of. Yet, people try to convert atheists back to their belief because if someone doesn’t believe in a god it makes them uncomfortable.

Religious people constantly have doubts about their beliefs whether they admit it or not. Anyone who doesn’t doubt their religion are extremely brainwashed because a reasonable person can’t look at the world and see the 100’s of religions that exist which all claim to be correct and not doubt their own. A reasonable person sees this and asks, “How can so many people be convinced their god is real when everyone can’t be right?”

Sadly, many are satisfied with believing everyone else is just wrong and they are right. But if they take the first question even further they may ask, “If so many people can be convinced their god is real, could I be wrong as well?” Unfortunately, these questions are extremely uncomfortable for believers to ask themselves which is why it is so uncomfortable for them when they hear that someone they love no longer believes as they do.

Even though I understand why coming out as an atheist can be difficult for both atheists and believers, I’m still dumbfounded that those who have the courage to think for themselves and question their beliefs can suddenly be viewed as immoral and hateful simply for no longer believing in a god. Polls have shown that in America atheists are distrusted as much as rapists — this is astonishing! Although, it shouldn’t be a surprise that when people disregard reason and logic and rely solely on their emotions that they can come to such illogical and absurd conclusions about others — it truly is like living in a bizarro world.