Ways To Come Out as an Atheist

Atheist writer Nica Lalli has an article at the On Faith blog titled “How to Say You Don’t Believe.” She discusses different ways to come out as an atheist. While some are serious, others are much more entertaining…

Here are just a couple examples:

The Door Knob Declaration

… As you leave the family home, gathering or reunion you can make your statement of newly found life philosophy the very last thing you say. “Bye everyone, and there is no god!” might work, or “see you next year, I’m a non-believer!” is another good line to use. Added benefit: you don’t have to see their reactions. That can wait till next time…if there is a next time.

The Drop-In

… If you can work the truth in to a casual conversation, you might be able to say it and have it go right over your relative’s heads, at least momentarily. “Pass the beans to the humanist over here.” Or “Hey Mom I love your new couch, I don’t believe in God.” Real smooth, like frosting on the cake…

Would you add anything to the list?

  • Microbiologychick

    Ways not to come out as Atheist:

    Post pictures online of yourself with Matt Dillahunty at the Godless pub crawl.

  • Doron

    “Hey mom, hey dad…
    I think I’m an atheist. I just don’t believe in the Flying Spaghetti Monster anymore…”

  • Larry Huffman

    Not a suggestion for the list…but a comment about avoiding the ‘A’ word. I disagree, personally. I think using the A word is perfect. “mom, I’m an atheist.” After all…if it is what we are, and we have decided to express it…why be timid or shy. Well…of course I know why…it is a hard step. But best to make your first step a determined and committed one.

    I use the term atheist when it comes up to someone in converssation…which is not too often in my day to day…I do not broadcast it but tend to not get into religious discussions at all (if you can believe that…hehe). But when it comes up, I just state it. Why? Well, I find that I can kill two birds with one stone.

    So many people balk at the term, and I use that to my advantage. I will say, “What? Don’t you know what an atheist is?” or something like that. They may say yes, but I will then state the definition. “I am merely someone who lacks a belief in a god or gods…that is all.” The definition sounds milder than what they conjured in their mind, and now, if they really want to get in my business and take me to task…well, we have a place to start. And it is on my terms, defining. Defining what an atheist is and what a god is is paramount to any discussion about atheism and god anyway, since both parties could be miles apart in understanding (thanks George Smith for this one…he opens his ‘Atheism:A Case Against God’ making this very point and it has stuck with me.).

    It is not meant to be confrontational…it is just stating it matter of factly and honestly. I am an atheist. Humanist yes…but there are some spiritual and even theistic humanists in a round about sort of way. Just better to lay the cards on the table.

  • Steve

    Wait until the conversation turns to religious matter and someone says something really stupid (you know that will only be a matter of time), then say;
    “You know, it is outrageous, ill-reasoned statements like that which convinced me that there is no god and religion is not for me. From now on, please refer to me as your new critical-thinker friend (brother/husband/etc).”

  • Somero

    I find both of those suggestions in the OP to be hilarious.

  • rahman

    No, definetely not. Never. It will cause heart attack to my parent. Big big problem. I could be killed.

  • jemand

    I avoided the “atheist” term to a couple people… instead used “agnostic.” When I became more comfortable saying what I actually was, I got some horrified “WHAT? Why did you go that way? Why couldn’t you have stuck with agnostic?” etc. I kinda wish I’d just bit the bullet right away. While I said I was “agnostic” they did not hear me- silly kid looking about who’ll certainly come home at the end of the day. Ignore it. “Atheist”? Now THAT they took seriously. That’s when what I was thinking was actually heard— and being heard is prerequisite to being respected I think.

  • nomadz

    Is it so terrible to be an atheist in the US ? This whole notion of “coming out”… It’s just unthinkable in Europe. I knew religion was powerful in the US, but never thought it was THAT terrible. I guess I should be happy to realize that what I always took for granted (the fact that being an atheist is not only normal but common, or even the norm) is in fact a something really really great compared to other places in the world.

  • AnonyMouse

    rahman – I know how you feel. I’m still trying to decide whether I should tell my mother after I leave home, wait for her to figure it out, spring it on her at the wedding (when/if I get married), or keep it under wraps until she dies. But telling her while I live with my parents is not an option – I wouldn’t be killed, but I may be kicked out of the house, with no job, formal education or driver’s license.

    nomadz – It’s not always this terrible to be an atheist in the States, but there are some of us on the fringe who do have to deal with this kind of thing. I’m just glad that my parents are less fundamentalist than Fred Phelps; I can look forward to escaping Christianity with my life and skin intact.

  • http://cranialhyperossification.blogspot.com GDad

    I once read a book about Andrew the Gay Vampire. He had come out to his parents as gay some time ago. When he came out as a vampire, the parents said something to the effect of, “The gay thing we can understand, but this…”

    Interestingly (or not), I have three brothers, and all of us are atheists, as is my mom. My parents are divorced, though, and we have all just decided to let Dad be the crazy right-wing Christian homeopathy consumer that he is until he tries to influence any of the grandkids, of which there are only two right now.

  • Chad

    I was in a band for a while, we released a CD and my Mom read the lyrics and came to me with weepy eyes asking; “raised to bow down, but they are the clowns..? you don’t believe in god? do you think I’m a clown? do you think I’m stupid!? You were baptized! Don’t say that!”

    Twas definitely NOT a subtle way of getting the job done.. but.. job done nonetheless

  • Aaryk

    I use a little method called, “The Nietsche Cough:”

    *cough* mumble…God is dead…*cough*

  • http://agersomnia.blogspot.com Agersomnia

    Intresting.

    Not even me in Mexico had so much problems.

    The only folks I keep in the dark right now are my parents-in-law, and mainly because I feel no need to tell them otherwise.

    Usually people have the tendency to get to know what kind of person I am first, and only then they get to know I’m a non-believer. That way they can’t say I have a lack of morals or anything else.

  • http://www.twitter.com/ShadedSpriter Shaded Spriter

    Witnesses is how I outed myself out as an atheist.

    They came knocking on the door one Saturday morning and since I was the only one dressed my mum asked me to answer it.

    It did get a “no you not.” “yes I am.” argument happening…which was slightly stupid.


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