Hey everyone. I'm new to TA, as I have finally decided to embrace the atheism that I have suppressed for a while now. I know many people have to deal with the issue of coming out as an atheist to their religious friends and family, and although I am not quite comfortable proclaiming my atheism just yet, I hope to do so someday. What I'm really concerned with is the atmosphere I'm in at my college. It is small and has Christian roots, although it is not affiliated with any denomination anymore, and many of the people who attend here are extremely religious, including my roommate. I know a few atheists here, but there aren't many, and I think that it's going to be a struggle to remain strong in my views being surrounded by so many of these people. There is immense pressure to stay within the social norms, but I'm not about that at all. The problem is, I'm also very shy and I don't like to make waves with people, so sometimes I end up selling myself out. Has anyone else dealt with this? How do you get through it?

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Welcome, Tara!

The first thing I would do is to check to see if there are any local atheist groups in the area. Your college may or may not have a branch of the Secular Student Alliance, but even if it doesn't you may find a local group that you could join to help you find a place where you won't be constantly surrounded by theists.

As far as being shy and not wanting to make waves, there is nothing wrong with being non confrontational, as long as you don't let them push you not doing things you do not wish to. If someone brings up going to church or the like, just decline. If they bring up beliefs and persist in the conversation, try asking them why they believe what they believe. Not only does it put the ball back in their court, but it also requires them to actually think about their beliefs.

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