5 Reasons to NOT come out as atheist.

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Published on Nov 11, 2017
5 Reasons to NOT come out as atheist.

Hemant Mehta (http://www.friendlyatheist.com, http://www.patreon.com/Hemant , https://www.facebook.com/friendlyatheist)

You always hear atheists talk about the importance of coming out of the closet, and telling people you're an atheist.

I agree. It's a lot harder for people to demonize atheists if they know someone who doesn't believe in a god. That's basically why LGBT issues and marriage equality are becoming less controversial these days -- when you know a gay person, it becomes personal.

But there are times when I would advise people not to come out. Times when you're better off keeping your atheism under wraps.

1) If you're still living with your parents.

Speaking from personal experience, I told my parents I didn't believe in God in college. At that point, I wasn't living at home. And I also knew they weren't going to completely flip out.

But if you think your parents might kick you out of the house -- or cut you off financially before you're ready -- don't do it. You don't win any prizes for coming out early. Why make your home life a disaster when you have to deal with the ramifications for years to come?

2) If it's going to make your life worse in any way.

If you have to work with someone (or for someone) who might hold your atheism against you, why bother?

If you're a pastor and you're not ready to enter a different line of work, don't do it.

If you're married and your atheism could create a rift in the relationship, find a way to ease your partner into the news. If you're dependent on your spouse's income, you should definitely think twice.

I know atheism can sometimes be a secret that you don't want to keep bottled up inside, but you also don't want to create any more problems for yourself. This isn't about principle. It's about being practical.

It's a courageous thing for people to come out, I know. But it's hard enough as it is. Don't make it worse if you don't have to.

3) If it's going to sever ties with people you may not want to lose

4) If it would make things super-awkward for other people

5) If you live in the Middle East

Rule of thumb: If you'd be annoyed by people saying they're Christians in the same situation, then don't say you're an atheist. Find a better time.

What do you think? When should you keep quiet about your atheism? And did you come out during any of these situations I'm describing? Let us know!

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