Hey everyone. I go by "Beyonder" for now as I'm still figuring out my place in the world as a "closeted" agnostic atheist. The reason is that I'm married to a conservative Christian whom I have not told about my loss of belief in the supernatural or its associated dogma. I'm not sure how she'll take it. My parents are also pretty conservative Christians as well. Let's just say most of the people I've associated with in life are believers.
I've been blogging about my thoughts and experiences at http://beyondbelief.blog.com and would love for you to read and/or subscribe if you can.
If you have any advice on "coming out" as an agnostic atheist, that'd be great. Thanks!
I "came out" to family and friends gradually. I was much younger than you are at the time. I started by no longer hiding my interests in certain reading materials, games, music, and other subjects. I supplemented that by lack of participation in religious ceremonies and traditions. Then I stopped going to church. Once my family and friends noticed they started asking questions. I expressed my thoughts as delicately as I could.
This wasn't ever part of a conscious plan. But it worked well because I never had to issue some kind of statement or proclamation. Then, when they resisted, it was less like I was trying to impose upon them, and more like they were imposing upon me.
Mark, there's no doubt that religious music, art and architecture has awed millions throughout the past two millennia, but these are HUMAN endeavors, tributes to HUMAN talent and imagination, and only attributed to religion.
In fact, if religion were carried on today as it was in the time in which Yeshua (Jesus) allegedly lived, in small, unadorned, stucco buildings, or open fields, or hilltops, rather than in ornate, high-ceilinged, stain-glass-windowed, heavily carpeted cathedrals, Cristianity wouldn't be nearly as awe-inspiring as it currently is.
It's the gilded-cage effect.
It would really be hard to come from such a stringent background. I grew up as the daughter of an Episcopal Priest and a school teacher, but I was always encouraged to think freely. There is a big difference between fundamentalist Christians and Episcopalians. I guess my case is just different. I am sorry I don't know what to say to you on this subject. :(
maybe get a really good divorce lawyer on retainer before you tell your wife. Just sayin.
Tell her you found yahweh on thinkatheist.
You should just tell her though. No sugarcoating. just the whole truth.
I told everyone in my family with a 10,000 word mini-auto-biography explaining how I had gotten to where I was in life. It turned out pretty well. I've had some long, individual talks with my family members (I recommend this) about being an atheist where I was surprised to learn that even my most devout family members had expressed a high degree of doubt at some point in their lives. There have been some points of contention between my father and my brother who are the most zealous of the bunch, but over all my family has been very accepting and since that time, my mother has started teetering on the edge of deconversion.
At the same time, my family tends to be more understanding, and I'm also not married.
Praise anyone whom you think deserves it.
But be careful Beyonder, whilst being an agnostic atheist is a valid stance, many people will go so far as to completely ruin relationships with those who do not believe in the same things as them. You are the only person that can make the choice to "come out", and the destruction of relationships versus the need to be yourself around those you love must be assessed.
I am a gnostic atheist, catholic until I was 20 when I found freedom from religion in a combination of reading the bible, reading the works of and watching debates with Christoper Hitchens and Matt Dillahunty versus numerous apologists.
Without taking into account their reaction I shared this fantastic discovery with my parents, my mother being a devout catholic and my father believing in the christian god but disagreeing with a lot of the horrors in the bible. If not for my father to help keep communications open from their end I would to this day not be allowed in their house.
So once again I say be careful. Don't drop it like a bomb.