Why is it so difficult to “come out” as an atheist?

I’ve been wondering for the past few weeks, given a bunch of blogospherics that’s happened recently, why it is that it’s so hard for people who have come to grips with their lack of belief, to actually tell people about it?

Continue reading “Why is it so difficult to “come out” as an atheist?”

Why is it so difficult to “come out” as an atheist?


I’m a bit late to pointing people to this thread, but Minnesota Atheists put up a top-ten list of their favorite anti-hymns — songs that can be best described as the orthogonal opposites of the more popular God-praising ones like “Jesus Take the Wheel”. The comments have a number of fantastic suggestions, and one of the commenters put together a bunch of them into an “Atheist Manifesto” playlist at playlist.com. This is going to be my soundtrack for the workday in all likelihood.

The comments on this post at Greg’s, which I’ve linked to on the Two boats post I put up a few days ago, has spiraled well out of control and evolved into a perfect example of back-biting and in-fighting where an eloquent writer but poor debater who purports to be an atheist, questions our “faith” in science being capable of comprehending everything in the universe. The worst part about this thread is that Nathan Myers (no relation to PZ) fundamentally misunderstands everyone’s arguments repeatedly, assigns greater import to their application to our belief systems than we do ourselves, then follows it up with the insinuation that he’d had sex with DuWayne‘s girlfriend, the lovely and intelligent Juniper Shoemaker, exposing utterly his inability to argue a point effectively without resorting to a modification of “yo’ mama”. This backlash ought to convince anyone interested in debating that “oh yeah, well I screwed your girlfriend” isn’t exactly going to win you any friends. It also, sadly, had to come on a thread where the main thrust of the original post is that incivility toward religious folks is sometimes merited where their religion directly hinders scientific progress or education of children.

Mike Haubrich has also written a fantastic post deserving of much attention right now, explaining exactly how he came to educate himself in science in order to counter creationist nonsense. He hits the nail right on the head — the so-called “New Atheists” aren’t the problem when it comes to science education and adoption in the US, the problem is people being kept from the real answers, being fed caricatures of science as being “the devil’s work”. You might have to skip through the Kent Hovind stuff, but I won’t blame you.

And over at How Good Is That, Jim Gardner posted an insightful article about the disingenuousness of people who claim to be “former atheists”, who abandon their understanding of non-belief (which is not founded in rationality to begin with) to instead fall to their knees and worship the warrior god of the Bronze-age middle-eastern tribes. The comment thread is especially illustrative of how hateful and bigoted certain creationists can be, with Zdenny claiming that atheists are incapable of loving their children.

Oh, and to round things out so we’re not only linking stuff to do with religion, here.
As a cyclist (well, a lapsed cyclist I guess), I know full well the importance of wearing your helmet. Greg Laden illustrates what can happen if you are not properly equipped and something unexpected happens.

Also, Toaster Sunshine (AKA Mad Scientist Jr.), and DuWayne at Traumatized by Truth, prepare for the first wave in their plan to subjugate Canada to finally obtain universal health care, gay marriage and sex in canoes The American Way: through military conquest. The first wave mostly involves mind control of moose, for some reason. To arms, fellow Canucks! Don your polar fleece plaid shirts and fire up your chainsaws, we’re at war!