Jazz Bassist Ben Allison Outs Himself As an Atheist

Ben Allison is a jazz bassist whose ninth album, Think Free, will be released in a couple weeks.

What’s the deal with the album’s name? Allison explains:

This is my “coming out” album. I’ve been living with a secret for quite a while. It’s something that most of my friends know about me but I’ve never divulged it in public. Although at least 10 percent of the U.S. population openly admits to being part of this group, there is tremendous pressure not to be vocal about it. And it’s a political third rail. You will almost never hear a politician admit to being one. But I’m tired of dodging the issue and feel I do a disservice to all of those who are not afraid to be outspoken about who they are. It’s time to stand and be counted. The truth is that I’m an … atheist. There, I said it. I guess I’ve known that I was one since I was a little kid. I experimented with theism in high school. Who didn’t? But I’d have to get drunk and kind of force myself. And I’d always feel “wrong” afterwards. And then I’d feel guilty for feeling “wrong.” It was a dysfunctional way to live. Then I moved to Greenwich Village. And all around me were these other atheists. Just doing their thing. It all felt very natural. And I’ve never looked back. Wait, what was the question again?

It’s always nice to hear someone — anyone — come out publicly as an atheist. It makes it all the more acceptable for the next person to do it, too, as Allison himself experienced in Greenwich Village.

Congratulations to him for doing it in such a public way.

(Thanks to Ben for the link!)

  • Reginald Selkirk
  • Claudia

    C’mon, I can’t be the only one seeing the obvious way he writes it to parallel being gay?

    I experimented with theism in high school. Who didn’t? But I’d have to get drunk and kind of force myself. And I’d always feel “wrong” afterwards. And then I’d feel guilty for feeling “wrong.” It was a dysfunctional way to live. Then I moved to Greenwich Village. And all around me were these other atheists. Just doing their thing. It all felt very natural. And I’ve never looked back. Wait, what was the question again?

    Tongue, meet cheek . Well done lol

  • valdemar

    This almost looks like a spoof, to me. But I’m just a Brit, living in a country where atheism is totally commonplace and most people think our state church is absurd.

    American Christians constantly complain that they’re being oppressed, yet a not-very-famous musician has to actually gather his courage to simply say he’s an atheist? Somebody is being thoroughly dishonest, methinks.

  • muggle

    Give this man a standing ovation! And, yeah, the tongue in cheek way he did it was great.

  • benjdm

    Duran Duran’s “New Religion” was always one of their best songs.

  • http://thesciencepundit.blogspot.com/ The Science Pundit

    That was an extremely well written and entertaining self-outing!


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