I think most people that are faced with a huge number of theists in their social circles know this one.

Let's hypothesize that you are with your friends. Worst case, they are all strong believers. In that case you try to avoid talking about your non-beliefs because that would cause them to ignore you and marginalize you. 

I have a strong fundamentalist friend that I know him since 1'st grade. We were best friends ever since. His parents are the aggressive and strict type ( they do not even have internet, or TV ). One day I told him about my belief and his sister called me an idiot and retracted like I was suffering from a contagious disease. My best friend was noticeably disappointed. It all happened when I was at his home, without his parents ( which, by the way, are good persons just deluded; shame ). In the end we had a constructive conversation, I trying to express my opinion, he trying to 'lead me to the right path'. 

I wasn't as informed as today, but I managed to support my views and in the end I saw that specific doubt in his eyes, but that was just a glitter. In his case, leaving his belief would have devastating consequences. I didn't want to proselytize. We talked and then we parted.

Over a longer period of time, we saw each other increasingly rarer. When I was returning home from somewhere I stumbled upon his parents. I have greeted them. They greeted me. Then we parted. They were very lively persons, and talkative. Those were clearly other eyes with which they looked at me. My friend adopted a variation of that cautious look, the look USA would give to Russia or China. We were rivals. I am sure the new of my atheism propagated inside their "box", scaring everybody on the way: "Look, even Johnny embraced this demonic occidental view of the world. The end is coming. Be strong, my brothers!". I was mostly excluded in time from their social circle gradually. I do not meet the given requirements. I am a minority, and bigotry is strong.

This is one story, but I have numerous encounters with every person I talk to about this matters.

Social punishment is a consequence that every minority faces. When you add ignorance, fear, bigotry and, mostly, superstition, you get a unstable and explosive mixture. All this is not necessary. I hope our children are going to live in a better world, not dominated by unjustified and superstitious beliefs.

I lost a friend.

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I don't think I have lost a single friend over my atheism. Either I haven't noticed it or a vast majority of my friends just don't put a big emphasis on god belief when choosing friends. I tend to lose friends simply by slow drift when you no longer live by them, work with them, or share certain activities with them anymore.

So, you lost a friend. But you gained reality. More than a fair trade, I'd say.
I don't think I've lost any real friends, but I have definitely lost the respect that I once had. I attended Christian schools, and all of the teachers and students there thought I was 'the best child ever'. Now that I am 'out' as an atheist, I get emails and comments that they are 'praying for me', and when I see them in person my opinions are always ignored as not worth anything.

I can't say they're all like that, however. Only the most righteous. They'd probably be proud of themselves for that description. It's elitism. It's stupid.
I finally told my mom about being Atheist. She was "disapointed" but she is still here for me and loves me. And knows that I am who I am because of me and not because of the bible or god:) I don't think you really lost a TRUE friend, I think you lost a sorta friend. My sorta friends find out I'm atheist and they will be gone in a years, My TRUE friends, with whom I've already told, either start looking for their own answers or we respectfully agree not to discuss it any further (but they do ask what made me change my mind, so I get a lil bit of a seed growing in their minds lol). Don't sweat it to much, I know, easier said than done. Stay strong :)
I think that most people my age are more open minded when it comes to religion, or lack their of. I think that most of my friends are smart enough to see both sides of the story. Lucky, most people my age that I know are not so closed minded that they will stop speaking to me.

Yes, there are people that I dont talk about my beliefs around, but if I did, I dont think it would be the end of our friendship. I think that, if you're friends know you well enough, they will figure out you're beliefs before you even have to bring them up. It's all in you're personality. It's people who are getting to know you that will most likely judge you the most.

The people that have judged me the most is family members, and usually older people that I come in contact with.

I think people are starting to understand a little more these days, but we definitely have a long way to go. We are certainly a minority and are looked down on, but if the people that look down on you were once close to you, it should surprise you if they treat you like a leper because they would have most likely saw it coming, not to mention they know you well enough to understand that you're beliefs are only a certain part of you...there is more to a person then their religious beliefs.

I think that there is no worse prejudice then the prejudice that an atheist would face for openly admitting their lack of belief while applying for an important role in the community.
I've lost my family over religion.
I've lost friends.
But I wouldn't go back and lie about it.
If we have to lie to keep their loyalty, we never had it to begin with.

"be who you are and say what you mean, for those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind"


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