Friday, May 16, 2014

Coming out of My Closet

Today, I watched a video where Ash Beckham discussing coming out of the closet.  To paraphrase, everyone has a closet, something that they don't want to think about or say.  At least everyone has the potential to be in a closet.  It's easier to stay in the dark then come out into the light.  Here's the video if you want to hear how she explains it so well.



I thought about what she said for a long time, and I decided it was time for me to be authentic. To come out of my closet, even though it may not be a shock for everyone. I am an atheist.

No, that's not really the proper term.  You see, atheist means "against theism", which presumes the existence of theism and gods, lending credence to a concept that I don't believe in.  I prefer human secularist or (my favorite) a-pink-unicorn-ist.

To be quite honest, religion just doesn't have a place in my life.  I live, love, and get along quite nicely without attending either Sunday School, church, or Bible studies.  So why do I hide this in a closet?

My extended family.  My parents go to church and have their beliefs, though they still love and support me even though we don't agree.  But my aunts, uncles, and cousins?  My father came from an Amish background - AMISH, as in horse and buggy, don't teach your kids English, and only let the men read the Bible.  Those who left the Amish church are Mennonite, Beechy Amish, or other conservative religions.

I don't know what any of them would do if they knew that I consider god a social phenomenon from a less technologically advanced era as a means to cope with the unknown.  As for the church, all Christian churches descend from the Catholic church, and the Catholic church rose in the power vacuum left behind by the fall of the Roman empire.  From the beginning, the Catholic church consolidated in power and position through clever manipulations, such as adopting local pagan holidays for themselves. (Note: ever wonder why the date for Easter is based on a lunar calendar?)

But I digress. I hide my personal beliefs because I don't want my family to reject me.  I don't want to deal with the ignorance spread about atheists and those who choose not to believe that mythologies are real.  I find myself loathe to discuss religion with others, because I know that most people will answer questions without thought, with answers spun by the church authorities.  And for those who think, they fall back on the answer of faith, believing when there is no proof, no reason to believe.  If someone wants to believe a concept regardless of the facts, then no one can dissuade them of their belief.  That makes discussion with theists a bit like trying to argue someone out of their opinion.  It just does not work.

This was my secret, my closet.  It feels good not to have to hide anymore.


3 comments:

  1. Hooray for your coming out! And this was an excellent little history lesson to boot. :) I like "a-pink-unicorn-ist" (LOL!) but I personally use "non-theist."

    I'm lucky in that my dad is a nontheist and so is my only sibling. My mom was heavily Catholic, but she's dead now, so I don't have to have deal with her reactions. Funny enough, though my dad never objected to her raising me and my sister in Catholicism with all their wacky rituals, later in our adult life, when my sis and I both told her we don't believe in any gods, she accused my dad of corrupting us when we never even knew he wasn't religious until we were adults...and we've never talked to our dad about religion or lack thereof. Okay, not really funny, but it's certainly true that while religion wields all the power, it still has a huge persecution complex.

    Also luckily for me, hubby is a nontheist too, as was his dad, and his sole sibling still is. His mom was a lukewarm Presbytarian (or something; she hadn't gone to church in years by the time I was dating hubby).

    I hope you'll never have to discuss this with your extended family. Like you said, you won't be able to dissuade them of their beliefs and it'll just cause huge rifts.

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    1. I like non-theist. It's a bit less insulting than "a-pink-unicorn-ist", though to be honest I'm not certain if anyone who is religious has gotten it yet.

      Okay, it is funny that your mom blamed your dad for your beliefs. While my mom believes, both my sister and I are non-theists. I think it's because we learned to think for ourselves, and the whole religion thing just doesn't make sense.

      My hubby is also a non-theist, though he leans more and more towards anti-theist as we grow older. I think he sees the damage that religion does and wants it to stop.

      Thank you for your support, Teresa. You are one of the people who make me feel okay about being who I am. :-)

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    2. Glad I can help! :) I see why your husband would feel that way. If I didn't have some really nice friends who are religious, I'd lean that way quickly too.

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