Update (Jan. 20, 2013). I deleted a sentence of this post that referred to my fundamentalist friends. Apparently, I meant what I said when I wrote that (otherwise I wouldn’t have written it), but it did not convey what I currently feel about my fundamentalist friends. I love my friends and I greatly enjoy their company–even the ones that I’m not convinced would remain my friends if they knew what I believed.
Thus far, I’ve truly “come out” about my atheistic beliefs to only one person – my very Christian girlfriend of four years. We’ve discussed our differing beliefs at length and both agreed that we want and can make our relationship work for the long term.
We’ve agreed that the practical course of action would be for me to eventually join a Mennonite church so that she could remain close to her Amish family. I don’t see much of my Amish family so I don’t care that much what they think of me anymore.
If not for her, there is a good chance that I would eventually work up the courage to tell everyone I that I am an atheist.
Several of my friends probably wonder about my beliefs since I am completely silent when they’re discussing religion. The closest I’ve come to actually telling any of them is when I asked one of my friends if he could be friends with a person of another religion. He replied that yes, he thought he could. Then I asked him if he could be friends with an atheist – someone with no religion whatsoever. After considering the question he replied that yes he could given that the atheist doesn’t try to force his belief system onto him. I told him that his sounds like a reasonable position to take.
So maybe there’s hope after all. Maybe I can eventually come out about my beliefs without losing all of my friends. I will not do it for the time being, however, because I could completely lose my family as would my girlfriend lose hers.
It’s extremely lonely, however, to have no friends that share your beliefs. I think I understand, to an extent, what it’s like to be gay in our society. Sometimes I get the urge to run around giddily, screaming, “I’m an atheist! I’m an atheist!” but I don’t dare, I just keep it bottled away on the inside.