...to one person. A close friend who I can trust to understand and to not tell anybody. Being several states away helps.
This is an old high school friend(I'm 31, so, long time) who has other atheist friends and I knew he was at least skeptical of the Bible and people's interpretations of it, likely closer to atheism. As expected, he was very accepting of the fact that I'm a closet atheist and we had a nice conversation about it. He feels his beliefs are closest to deism
, which is atheist enough for me, heh. He grew up as a Christian, like me, but he decided that he just couldn't give himself a label that implies so many beliefs that he completely disagrees with.
I've been wanting to tell him for a while, but I couldn't find the right moment. And then The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe interviewed James Marsters
(Spike, from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel). I have 2 friends who are huge Buffy and Angel fans, this guy being one of them. I considered telling both, but the other one lives close, has friends who are closer, and isn't always sober/tight-lipped. I also don't have any secrets he has confided in me, unlike the first friend, who has an identity similar to the identity I'm speaking as right now. When speaking about his other identity, I told him a little about this identity without saying the name, since there are things I share that NOBODY I am associated with(via my real name) should know. I may one day reveal this name to him, though, with a few notes on things.
And then today I watched the "Leap Of Faith" episode of My Little Pony(I swear this is related, keep reading!). I never thought I would like an Applejack episode as much as this. This ep teaches skepticism, specifically against non-evidence-based medicine. Wow! And... Applejack was the skeptic??? My opinion of her is suddenly in the positive range(no longer tied with Rarity).
I realized tonight that if any Element of Harmony applied to me, it would be honesty. I suddenly feel a bit of kinship to Applejack. In this episode, Applejack's lack of honesty helped support a lie which kept moving in a very realistic way until finally... Applejack had to swallow her pride and her acceptance of the miracle tonic, revealing that the town shouldn't have trusted her approval of it.
This speaks to me on another level. I've been keeping my atheism a secret for 7 years now(Ittmi's 7th birthday is April 25th), meanwhile being a church staff member that helps spread the gospel, all the while not agreeing with the message(Like Silver Shill in that episode). I enjoy what I do there and it has improved my abilities tremendously, but I feel like my outward support of something that only works on the same level as Flim & Flam's miracle tonic might have similar effects. I help promote the idea that faith in God can do amazing things. Our church thanks God for everything, including the work on remodeling our church building from the trash heap it was before. Truth is, it was the church members that did all that. Thank God/tonic for keeping you safe in that car crash? According to the Bible, he could have prevented it altogether. It was the car manufacturer that made the car safe in the first place. Believing that a non-existent force will protect you is a dangerous thing. Protect yourself and the people you love.
Since it took 7 years to gradually lose my faith in God(2000-2007), then another 7 years before I told my closest friend(2014), I mused to him that it might be another 7 years before I tell the world. My what a shitstorm that would cause, though, being a church staff member and having 3 preachers in the family(plus a super-conservative brother-in-law who trusts me around his daughters). My mom is one of those preachers and I still live with her. I wouldn't hear the end of it. I've been over-churched already. I do convey skepticism to my mom sometimes, like when a televangelist was ranting about how evolution is JUST A THEORY, JUST A GUESS(oy, my blood was boiling at the stupidity), but I don't think I could get her to accept an atheist in the house. Even if I wait until both of my preacher parents are dead, I still have everybody else to deal with if I came out.
I feel like I'm in Applejack's place right before she let her real opinion out, consequences be damned.