A Group for Young Atheists in New York Helps Them Come Out

Katie J.M. Baker has an excellent article in the latest Newsweek about young New Yorkers who left their faith.

Like Jacob Link, who spent much of his youth in the grasp of his evangelical Christian megachurch… until he began to change his mind:

In middle school, Link met “real gay people” for the first time through a secular theater. “I went into that audition clasping my gold cross,” he recalls. “It was like meeting aliens.” He quickly realized his church had misconstrued homosexuality and started asking innocent questions in Bible study. After his teacher complained, Link found himself blacklisted by the community. His parents made him shave his head and do manual labor to repent, and he eventually switched schools.

Link says he “zombied through” high school and landed a full scholarship to college, where he met his current girlfriend, whom he credits with helping him leave the church behind. But even she can’t understand his past as well as the people he has met through Beyond Faith, an ex-Christian support group for New Yorkers under 30 eager to leave Christianity behind.

Unlike a lot of other local atheist groups, most of the members of Beyond Faith rely on their (often-religious) families for shelter, food, and money, so coming out isn’t always a viable option. But discussing their situations with the other members has help some of them open up — slowly — to their families.

The group’s next meeting will be on December 2nd.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • Croquet_Player

    I’m always shocked by the brutal experiences some atheist young people have with their religious families and friends and the painful and lonely road they travel in coming out.

  • Trickster Goddess

    Funny how you never see Joe Klein writing positive articles about atheists in Newsweek.

  • Andrew L

    That’s because Klein is off feeding the homeless and visiting the sick and in prison.

  • Robster

    The NY meeting looked quite depressing, all dark ‘n grey. The godbots’ll look at that image and gloat about how superior they feel because they embrace a dead jew who may have possibly existed and waste a pile of cash at church, while the non-believers meet in dour surroundings with no music or fun. Next time, some colour and joy please.

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/chidy/ chicago dyke, TOWAN

    atheist is the new gay. i won’t speak of previous decades in this country, but right now it’s pretty clear that now that the religious can’t turn on gays with the same force they used to, they will choose atheists as the next target in their political games. reading stories about young atheists who face homelessness for coming out is so familiar to me.

  • islandbrewer

    I really don’t like that add. Not at all inviting. Maybe it’s a New York thing – black and minimal is cool.