Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘community’

Coming Out

From a friend I learned that someone from formertown posted on facebook about being an atheist. To give a little context, formertown was founded in the 19th century as a religious community, today most of the community are employed by the church or schools. It doesn’t surprise me that there are a few atheists mixed in, but one never knows who they might be. I felt incredibly isolated in formertown because I didn’t know if discussing my true beliefs would result in rejection and possibly also losing my job.  There are/were teachers at the school that weren’t raised in the religion, and I certainly did my best not to disparage it in public, but I felt that at best my work would be subject to additional scrutiny. There are a broad range of religious and political beliefs in the community, but the school has a major part in upholding the status quo, and the more conservative members of the community often have a louder voice, and larger donations. It’s a legitimate concern.

In addition, everyone likes to have an opinion and gossip spreads quickly. Though the opinions of others wouldn’t change my mind, I’m not really wanting to defend my decisions to everyone who asks. It’s one thing to explain my process to a friend, entirely different to have a confrontation at an event (ie. wedding, school, grocery store). While I am curious about how people might react, I also don’t really care about the reactions of random people I barely know, but who know my family tree and think they have the right to give their opinion.

Several of my friends know about the process I’ve gone through to reach my present beliefs, but there are many acquaintances that don’t really know, older friends from high school that have stayed religious and “like” various anti-atheist or pro fox news statements on facebook. I wind up feeling resentful that they feel so confident that I would share their beliefs as a matter of course. Simultaneously I have such admiration for people who make a public stand about who they are and why.

By connecting with the person who posted a public statement about atheism I have also connected with other community members who share my beliefs (I don’t know why seeking an underground network didn’t occur to me while I was in town!) i feel less afraid about making a more public declaration of my stance. One fear of moving away from religion, while thoroughly surrounded by a religious community, is the possibility of losing all community. But I’ve already extricated myself from the community, and live far away from local gossip, so that fear no longer has weight for me.

I’m debating next steps… do I email people I consider friends? Just let it come out in conversation (it hasn’t in past years, soooo). In this age of facebook, it would certainly be expedient to just post a note or a link that outs me, but that also seems pretty passive, though it would get the word out. So that’s where I am for today. Pondering.

Read Full Post »