Coming Out Atheist

Thanks to oldancestor for this blog idea from this comment.

Coming out atheist and a lesbian.

Life is a process of coming out and defining yourself whenever your identity doesn’t include whatever your family or culture’s assumed norms are.

Coming out is a process by which you acknowledge your difference to yourself, then to the people who matter to you so they can share your life and ultimately to society itself.

Sometimes the coming out is small – a person who chooses a different religion or different way to live than their family – i.e. – not marry and have a child or marry and not have a child – heck, even being a vegetarian would require outing yourself in order to be accommodated by other people.

Which is what the essence of coming out is –  it’s just something you do when you require accommodation and inclusion by others or under the law.

It is the people who cannot be honest with themselves about themselves who tend to turn their self loathing onto others – which explains gay bashers –  as they tend to be deep closet or latent gay and why so many rethuglicans who advocate anti-gay laws get caught cheating on their wives with younger men.

They turn their self loathing onto others by enacting laws that they think will enforce conformity – they follow the rules because they think following rules will save them from themselves, but when you make up rules to enforce your compliance – as the line in Jurassic Park says, “nature finds a way” – and so they arrogantly march to their doom and exposure – which serves the purpose of being the point at which you can now demonstrate your dedication to the impossible religious rules and be submissive, since you are further internalizing the abusive relationship that is religion.

Which is largely why AA is a waste of time and is illegally supported by taxpayers, since it is religion in the same way that Intelligent Design is religion tarted up in science language, so AA is a  religion tarted up in psychological treatment terms, which, because it started in the 1930s and has been around for a long time, has become an accepted conventional treatment – but, it works no better than a person determined to stop their addiction with no support and is at best, a change of addiction from substance to meetings – and it largely doesn’t work, because there is no accepting personal responsibility for actions when you assert you are not what’s in control. Giving away your power for self control to vague higher powers is the essence of religion – and to truly end addictions, you must take back the control and responsibility for same – because addiction is the removal of control to something else and by going to AA, you are just giving your control to something else and that doesn’t fix addiction, it is addiction.

It strikes that the religious mindset is the opposite of sado-masochism/bondage and discipline (SMBD).

In SMBD there’s a top and a bottom and the top can do anything within an agreed scene to the bottom until the bottom says the safe word – so the top appears to have all the control – save the most important one – the power to end the scene.

Whereas, the psychological version of SMBD is religion –  and how it works is that you are abused under the rules until you say the safeword – atheism.

And the abuse of religion is  everything that is natural to you is deemed sinful, just to ensure that you maintain low enough self esteem to not use the safeword to escape. The group thinks that in order  to keep you from using the  safeword they must  characterized athiests  in society as  immoral, deviant, perverts – the same way that all groups whom religions don’t like are characterized – because shunning is how religion keeps people in the fold.

When you are shunned, you are excluded from the social defaults – this is why rethuglicans have to pass laws against their personal natures to ensure that they will be punished when they get caught – so it keeps them in fear of being caught – but they become overwhelmed with knowing they are frauds and so essentially orchestrate being caught so they can either have a self-fulfilling prophesy and make their worst fear come to pass or they are re-affirming their place in the religious group by admitting their sin and being submissive or contrite – and this is the masochist pay off for not using the safe word.

The fundie believers have to use a lot of energy to maintain their beliefs, both as apologists for their beliefs and self torture to justify their beliefs.

Which is no wonder then, why they are so angry and hate-filled towards athiests, gays and lesbians and everyone else who is living opening and honestly within themselves, their families and the larger society.

But, that they are hate-driven is not consistent with their preferred self image and so they come up with ridiculous things like love the sinner and hate the sin – as if anything that defines  identity is at all separate from the person.

But, that is just how disconnected from themselves they are – and in some ways, I could feel pity for them, if they weren’t so hellbent on making me illegal and a target of hate crimes.

Which, if they were really sure that there was a hell, they would not feel the compulsion to make sure that people who are different than their preferred conformity suffered in life now.

I guess it is true that misery loves company, they are suffering extremely and so think everyone else should. But, suffering is optional when you have a safeword.

Which is what makes the line between physical pain and pleasure so delicious and at a certain intensity, have no difference to the central nervous system.

In a way, I guess an orgasm is little more than a psychological epiphany, but, the orgasm is a lot funner when it’s shared and why blogging can be considered intellectual masturbation – it’s sharing the epiphanies.

So, it’s not that confirmation bias is a bad thing, we’re all addicted to that A-ha! moment of release – stroking ourselves is stroking our ego.So there is a certain amount of truth that masturbating will make you go blind, because we literally stop seeing information that is contrary to our beliefs.

I started telling people I was an atheist at 12, so yes it would have been a coming out, but but since people put very little  wieght on what kids say about their future selves, it didn’t feel like coming out – I had initiated going to church sort of – a few years earlier – a southern baptist church opened up near my school and they sent a guy to get the kids to come with offers of prizes to those who brought the most other kids.

I only went because it was southern and I wanted to experience the type of church Elvis would have when he was a lad – and boy was I not disappointed – the preacher used a microphone and he jumped and hollered and wiggled very dramatically all over the place – I was in thrall of the energy – I don’t even remember what was said – but when I showed my mom the little comic book they had given us of the Adam and Eve story, she got upset since it showed them turning into black people after they sinned.

So, she went to all the churches for a few weeks and finally took me and my sister to the Knox Presbyterian church since she thought I was interested.  It was certainly different, quiet, calm, staid – and we went for a while largely because we liked the people and this was the religion that my Mom had been raised in, but there was no holy roller stuff, there was no theatrics, even in performance.

One year, we had a junior choir, the minister’s 2 grandsons and me and my sister – and we’d sing and then onto the next agenda item – only one evening Christmas mass, after we sang, did a visitor start to clap, hesitate and begin to stop clapping, when other regular folks hesitatingly started to clap did it then build to actual applause.

Hmmm, that makes sense why then I have this ethic that there’s no need to comment or compliment on a job well done when it’s expected and routine.

In fact, I tend to mistrust that response as being overly solicitous – which, I suppose is a lot better than the hang-ups people usually get from church.

But while I enjoyed going – because of the people, the sense of community and ritual appealed to me –  the stories  always felt remote and not relevant and once I started learning history, the stories made no sense.

Fortunately for me, the lessons that I learned 5 days a week in school carried more authority, reality and relevance to my mind than the ones I heard once a week in church – and when I asked the Sunday school teacher to reconcile the world history with the bible stories – and she was unable to understand why that should be done never mind begin to do it, made me start to feel that there was less and less truth in what church was telling us.

The final connection was broken after my Dad’s mom died and I remember spending a lot of time pleading with god to not take her away, I even stayed up all night and at 6:10 am the phone rang  – I knew  she was gone and that all my pleading was for nothing and what good was a god who didn’t answer your most heartfelt prayers?

At 12, I was already intellectually done with god and now the emotional connection was damaged, although, it was anger at first, until I realized that you can’t be angry at a thing that doesn’t exist, since things that don’t exist have no power to affect and effect anything.

Death is a part of life, life can’t occur without death and whatever happens to us is entirely natural – which is why if there is anything after death, then it too will be entirely natural and not at all impacted by what we did or didn’t do with our genitals or beliefs or our lives.

And, if there is something after this life, then let’s deal with it then – and not act as if life now is a dress rehearsal, because it’s not – we can either do things in this life or we can prepare for the next, which is only meaningful if there is a next life.

So, enjoy now, have meaning now, be good in the here and now, when we know it can matter. It’s important to choose life, but choose your own life, and leave others to manage their lives.

I let go of god in my early teens and despite all the efforts to be dragged and pulled back into that closet, I never did.

I came out in my early twenties as a lesbian – and sadly after university, which, looking back, really would have been the place to come out, since university was pretty much a veritable buffet of women.

So, no wonder then that religious fundies want to keep women from being educated and limit what and how that education is done.

8 thoughts on “Coming Out Atheist

  1. Pingback: Blind Patriotism and Religionism | Random Ntrygg

  2. You’re welcome.

    The nice thing is that it’s not that difficult to function as an atheist in the world and be closeted. You simply refrain from religious discussion and activities and very few people will even notice.

    But, it’s not possible to be truthful and gay without telling – after a while, you get to be “of a certain age” beyond which roommate is not a white lie that people will continue to accept.

    Especially if you have the same one a long time or a whole dramatic series of them when you never seem to date anyone….

    When I was first out as a lesbian, it seemed vital to tell everyone either directly or through appearance – and it was vital then – we know that homophobia is reduced when people know that they know a gay person.

    But, we’re beyond that stage now – now in so many countries, the message needs to be that gay people have the same needs and desires as anyone else – to be loved, to have security of home and hearth, which necessarily means equal rights.

    To me, the way to know if telling someone now is more about do I need to change the way this person acts around me.

    I have stopped being friends with people who were racist, even though my ex friend and I were the same visual race but I value everyone and she didn’t – and I didn’t need that non-sense around me and she was unwilling to understand why her racist attitudes weren’t acceptable.

    I accept that there’s a limit that you can raise someone up when they are unwilling to be able to get over their prejudices, they need to work things out on their own if that enlightenment is going to last or mean anything.

    That was one of the hardest lessons that I have had to learn, you can’t help everyone and you can’t be of service to anyone by short changing yourself.

    So, I balance being an ambassador of gayness when I meet a person who doesn’t know that they know a gay person, and I don’t act as that when it means putting myself in danger anymore.

    Live to enlighten another day; because the problem with martyrs is that they are never around to pick up the pieces afterward. That’s when the really hard work starts.

    So, if not telling your parents keeps the peace and it’s not difficult for you for them to make an assumption, then keep that peace.

    They probably know but don’t want to – and this is where lies are better than truth and serve a positive purpose – lies can be comforting, and truth rarely is.

    • It’s certainly easier being an atheist than living as a gay person. I can simply not go to church, and I’m good. I live in a very liberal area of the US anyway, and nobody cares around here. I think half the church goers are secretly agnostic anyway.

      On the other hand, I don’t think twice about mentioning my wife to people around me or appearing as a couple at family functions and events. It’s pretty tragic that gays and lesbians aren’t able to feel comfortable doing the same. What’s more important than family and being with the person you love and care about?

      I have a gay friend who is a priest and left his partner rather than be kicked out of the church. It never ceases to amaze me the pull that religion has on people’s choices.

      • well, I guess it’s about choices and his chose his career over his partner

        people do that all the time – and yes, it is difficult to be in a work setting and not be able to talk about your weekend and your life like everyone else.

        The closet language is to simply avoid pronouns and shockingly, most straight people don’t pick up on it. We did this or we went there, my better half and I …..and so forth

  3. Fascinating post, and I’m not just saying that because you posted a link to my blog at the top.

    I’m not “out” as an atheist to the people who would be hurt by it – my parents – though I’m pretty most people I’m close to suspect it to be the case. It doesn’t cause me emotional distress that my parents don’t know, so I’d rather they just remain ignorant to it.

    Thanks for telling your story.

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