Atheist Life on the Down Low

I’d like to hear from more Atheists who have to hide their disbelief from family and coworkers. If you would like to share your experience, please leave a comment. Feel free to contact me at reasonjunky@gmail.com. I’d prefer a dialog on this site but I understand if you don’t want to put it on the Inkernet.

My story, I married into a Lutheran family 2003. At the time I was an agnostic leaning toward Deism. I thought religion had no idea of what any form of god really could possible be. Religion to me was just control. I felt something that had to be real but thought humans had no way of really explaining.

In 2009 I found myself an atheist after listening to a podcast talking about Neurology. Science has proven that religious experience is created in the brain. Basically it’s all in your head. This is true whether your belief is Christianity, Spiritualism or any other flavor of the week. Don’t take my word for it. Check this out for yourself by doing some research, aka Google it. (Try keywords like FMRI, religious experience, Neurology, Neurotransmitters)

So one day I found myself on the other side of the believing fence from every person I knew. I like to hear about the experiences of other nonbelievers who are feeling trapped or just annoyed by the believers they encounter. Please leave a comment.

Twitter: @BadPressJunky

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3 thoughts on “Atheist Life on the Down Low

  1. Stan Adermann

    I grew up Lutheran in a small town. It was my father’s often stated desire to be reunited with his family in heaven. But by about the 10th grade I considered myself agnostic, and at some later point graduated to agnostic atheist. But my parents are somewhat provincial, especially my father, and so what I tried to do for many years was to just keep him in the dark about what my beliefs were. To tell him outright that I had rejected Christianity would have been agonizing to him. He would have never let it go, and I would have never heard the end of it. I just didn’t want to do that to him or my mother.

    Both of my parents are still alive, but at this point they both suffer from dementia. If I told them I was an atheist they would not remember, so I feel somewhat safe in being more open about it. I think at this point most of my siblings know except for one, and she’ll figure it out if she ever does a Google search on me. But I’ve only been really open about this the last few years, and attempted to maintain this state of plausible deniability for thirty years.

    Reply
    1. reasonjunky Post author

      Thanks for your comment. I need to fix the setting in WordPress to allow comments without approval.

      Your story is similar to mine in that I don’t want to upset my parents. The in-laws would go nuts specifically. The pressure of going to church is starting to get to me though.

      Reply
      1. Stan Adermann

        At least I didn’t have the in-law problem–my wife and her parents are atheists, which made things easier in one way but more difficult in another. My parents kept pressuring me to indoctrinate her. My father always said it was important for a husband and wife to believe the same, and I agree. What he didn’t realize is that we do, just not in the way he would like. You don’t mention your wife’s disposition. Whether she is atheist, agnostic or a faithful Lutheran would have a bearing on whether she is your ally or her parents’.

        For myself I basically stopped attending church while I was still living with my parents. I don’t recall what reason I gave, but I made it about the church and not about faith. I purposely left that as an open question. And to assuage them I would still attend for special occasions. It’s easy enough to stand or sit with the rest of the congregation and otherwise not participate. If you’re not a confirmed Lutheran you would not be expected to take communion, although if your appearance of participation was too good they will sooner or later expect you to ‘become a member’. If you do that you lose the ability to not go along with things. But you’re a grown man, and church attendance is something you can decide to do or not.

        One mistake I made was in agreeing to be the godparent for my niece’s child. I accepted because for us it meant that I would be the responsible one if her parents died which is kind of important. But for the church there’s an expectation that you’ll participate in the child’s religious upbringing. I found myself saying oaths I didn’t intend to keep. When she grew up and was confirmed, I was present but I didn’t take communion with her as this church expected. No one said anything but it was pretty uncomfortable.

        Are you at least Bible literate? It was always helpful for me that I could quote the Bible back at my parents when necessary.

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