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!

Tags: agnostic, atheist

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Welcome home, Beyonder.

Welcome aboard. 

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. 

I've tried not to be too hard on the music. Some of its really good, inspired you might say. I can appreciate religious inspired art without accepting message. For example regardless of its symbolizes the Salt Lake Tabernacle is pretty impressive architecture.

Neal Morse, majorly influenced by his faith, so much so that back when I was putting on music shows actually told us that he had to talk to Jesus about whether he could agree to the money we were offering him and the get back to us, makes some really good music. The voice is an instrument.

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.

I don't disagree at all. What I meant was I do not specifically avoid music because I have a pre-awareness that the content is religious or the artist is publically religious. In fact a Neal Morse show I went to devolved quite quickly into the tone of a revival meeting. Complete with his outstretched arms implying the crucifixion, audience members with their arms skyward, and others with there hands clasped their faces in the classic 'really bad headache' or 'overwhelmed with faith' I can't tell the difference look. It was quite a spectacle, with some kick-ass music IMO.

I agree that it is a demonstration of the capability of a capable focused human.

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. :(

My younger brother is an Episcopalian. It seems very casual to me. Just last week we were talking that if you shopped around for a religion until you found one that your sensibilities matched up with, doesn't that say a lot about the flawed idea of absolute truth, and the projection of human qualities onto god instead of the other way around?

He didn't disagree. In fact I think its more of a social group with a common interest, they could be stamp collectors and he would get the same out of it. Such is the lure of religion. We have long since stopped talking about the bible's inherent flaws, he is down to the last clinging hedge of the heaven bet, but its one that at least for now he will hold onto. He married a women with a small child and the requirement to inflict god onto this kid is strong, because that's what your supposed to do if you're a mom....took the kid to church, CHECK... < sigh >. And he is the music minister for the church. Been there done that.

To me that is like justifying your alcoholism by becoming a ridiculously knowledgeable and conversant on wine, beer and spirits.

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.

It's not an easy situation to be a non-believer and to be married to a believer. My wife knows I "Don't believe in God." As she says it. We can't discuss belief because she "just believes" and doesn't want that belief questioned. She would rather have "blind belief" than to even open her mind to the possibility that I could be on to something, for lack of a better way to say it.

I'm a lot more assured of my my non-belief than my wife is in her belief. I don't know how sure your wife is about her belief but it sounds like she wouldn't be very open to having her "Faith" questioned. I think the best approach is to question the belief and not the believer. I think it is best not to come off as a know it all, but more as a person that questions the "Faith". Maybe just plant the seeds of doubt and see if they will grow. In my experience, arguing will get you no where.

Remember the "Devil" is very cunning as far as the believer is concerned and that any thing or evidence that leads them away from their belief is the work of said devil.

I probably haven't said anything you don't know already. Being an open atheist in an outwardly religious country is not easy, but it is great to find people that share your non-belief!

Hallelujah. :)

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.

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