Atheists are coming out of the closet in greater numbers.

Reading the news every day and seeing the United States sink further into the grip of irrational beliefs and religious dogma it can be easy for an atheist to get discouraged, but there is some good news to be found including the fact that it’s spurring our fellow non-believers into action:

WALNUT CREEK, Calif. – When Richard Golden put the word out that he was starting a group for atheists in Walnut Creek, Calif., about a dozen people showed up.

Two years later, 80 are dues-paying members and several more drop in on twice-monthly meetings to chew on everything from particle physics to court cases.

Horrified by escalating religious violence and alarmed by the Bush administration’s “faith-based initiatives,” which make government money available to religious organizations, atheists are coming out of the closet – and organizing.

“Local groups are springing up all over the place,” said Ellen Johnson, president of American Atheists. Active groups have grown by about 90 percent over the past six years, she said.

Sometimes the most effective thing you can do is speak up and let your opinions be heard. It shows the rest still in the closet that they are not alone and it helps to put the lie to the many myths and stereotypes the True Believers™ spread about us. Keep up the good work.

Link via Atheist Revolution.

14 thoughts on “Atheists are coming out of the closet in greater numbers.

  1. Something about organized athiesm really tickles my funny bone. Its a rather inspiring intitiative actually; the only weapon to fight radical religious nuts is with some radical athiesm right? One can only hope that Bush doesn’t see it as a declaration of civil war… wouldn’t be anything past mr. nutjob at the moment.

  2. I live right next to Walnut Creek and had never heard of this group. I will have to check it out too.

  3. i am a closet atheist, i don’t tell people my beleifs. my mom asked me “your not an atheist are you?”, i said no. why should i be afraid to say what i beleive? religious people are not afraid to voice their opinions. the only people i have told is my boyfriend and my bestfriend. i have never met another atheist, or maybe i have and not known it. i never thought to much about this untill i read this.

  4. Jory7777: I am a closet atheist

    Bummer.  downer
    In today’s AmerikA I’m lead to believe atheists are more deeply despised than gays.
    What you could do is tell your mother you’re gay and after a few days tell her you were only joking – you’re really an atheist.  wink
    I’ve never been in your situation so you’d be crazy taking notice of anything I said.
    It must be pretty hard doing it (being you) alone.
    Have a look at this and this.
    Here are some quotes I’ve dragged from my archives:
    ET: My mind is not for sale or rent to any god or government.
    Robert Ingersoll: Eternal punishment is eternal revenge, and can be inflicted only by an eternal monster.
    Christian forums: If you find that faith trumps evidence, it has ceased to be faith. It has become delusion.
    Richard Dawkins – The God Delusion: The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pesilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.
    Richard Dawkins: We are all atheists about most of the gods that societies have ever believed in; some of us just go one god further.
    Net: Have you forgotten about Jesus? Isn’t it about time you did?
    Net: People who don’t like their beliefs being laughed at shouldn’t have such funny beliefs.
    AND just for some comedic relief …
    Douglas Adams: There is a theory which states that if ever anybody discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable. There is another theory which states that this has already happened.  wink

    Oh, by the way, there’s nothing wrong with lying to your mother to keep the peace.
    Most of us have done it more than once.  smile

  5. There are plenty of reasons to be afraid, Jory, starting with the fact that a lot of people will be hostile toward you for no other reason than your not buying into their delusion. It can cause wide and varied conflict and animosity among believing family members. It could cost you your job in some places. It some ways it also forces you to be more responsible for the simple reason that any failings you show will be blamed on your lack of faith.

    Of course coming out as an atheist is not without its benefits. For starters it’s very liberating to not have to hide who you really are. If you find that you can handle the slings and arrows thrown at you from others for your lack of belief you’ll probably gain a new confidence in yourself.

  6. Jory, I didn’t let my parents know I was atheist until I was 21 (which means I let them know last Christmas at the dinner table). Ever since, they started with the “I’ll pray for you” and my mother tries to slide it in every time I talk to her.

    That’s because I’m out of the house, where I don’t have to rely on them for anything (they were never really reliable anyway). I have the support of a loving woman, who is also atheist, and her family, whose beliefs, in general, are simple and well grounded.

    Best way to express yourself if you’re worried about being attacked and whatnot (Christians prefer the term ‘persecuted’) is to write. Fiction, a diary, whatever floats your boat. It’ll let you say what you want to say, and the paper never gets offended.

  7. So what we have is organized believers against organized non – believers ,trying to recruit from each others team.  Why does this remind me of a game?

  8. it would really suck to live in those times where you had no choice in your beliefs, at least i have the choice. Religious people did not want us to know about science and knowledge because they were afraid we would see the truth. i fantasize that one day the bible will be seen as a myth by everyone, and no one will believe in a god. Then we could get on to the real questions of the universe, instead of thinking of some story that was weaved 2000 years ago that is suppose to explain everything. i have read some of the bible, and it all sounds so riduculous, i don’t see how anyone can believe it. My 12 year old son has not been brainwashed with religiuos beliefs, and he came home from school one day asking me what noah’s ark was, because he said his teacher said something about it. He has a very literal mind, being mildly autistic, i read him the story out of the bible because he wanted to know about it. He said it was ridiculous and it made no sense. He pointed out several reasons why it made no sense to. A few days later, his friend was talking about noah’s ark,saying it was true, my son laughed at him. i have never told him what to believe, i tell him to believe what he wants.                                don i like what you said-You can write a book on atheism in a closet. I will smuggle out the pages for you and nail them on the church door. i saw richard dawkins on comedy central the other night. i will be buying his book.

  9. Say, who WROTE that interesting article you cited at the top of the page? Where could one get ahold of the entire thing?

    Thanks a million.

    R.J.

  10. May I inquire as to what you have said, Don? If children are to be allowed to believe what they want to, then is’nt teaching them anything; atheism, christianity, islam, or buddism, forcing a belief on them? What if one of your children said they wanted to become a buddist, or one said they wanted to become a christian, how would you react to them? Or is teaching a child just informing them and giving them choices? If so then should not all chioces be treated in the same way? I am wondering what you think.

  11. Curious – Don’t expect Don to answer back, he nolonger has a profile, I will answer some of your questions

    If children are to be allowed to believe what they want to, then is’nt teaching them anything; atheism, christianity, islam, or buddism, forcing a belief on them?

    You can teach without forcing something on someone – inform them of each idea, say that there is more out there and that they can make their own, and that they are free to choose what they want, you were correct with:

    Or is teaching a child just informing them and giving them choices?

    As long as something is a valid possibility then any is an acceptable choice, though you would have no reason for overiding direction if you cannot dismiss all other options. Whether all choices in general should be treated the same – each is a matter of consequence, as long as all partys involved are ok with the consequences, or you are ok with the consequences the other partys not being ok with it, then the choice is acceptable in my view

    Ps to all in general, I will be away for a week after today

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