Recap: I Came Out as Atheist and This Happened

This is part of a series of posts called Recap. In it I will share my notes on the content I consumed followed by my response. The content could vary from a podcast, to an article, to a Youtube video, to a book I read. When applicable, I will link to the content.

My response was written 17 August 2018.

I watched Genetically Modified Skeptic‘s video I Came Out as Atheist and This Happened. It was fitting for me, time-wise, because I was planning my post Why I’m Not a Christian. In the video Drew tells his deconversion story along with telling his family and friends that he was an atheist.

Notes:

Drew grew up devout fundamentalist Christian. He was a leader in his church’s youth group and went to a Christian college. His last semester of college he started having doubts. He stopped believing creation and accepted evolution. He changed his mind and accepted that being gay was not a choice, harmful, or wrong. He also admitted to himself the Bible has errors. He spent a long time in which he questioned his beliefs intentionally, avoiding non-Christian sources.

In late 2016 he admitted to himself that he was not a Christian, he was an agnostic atheist. He hinted at his doubts to his wife and soon told her he was an atheist. He thought life was over until she didn’t freak out at the news. He thought he would lose his job at the Christian homeless shelter, get divorced from his wife, move in with his parents, lose his relationship with them and his friends, and end up broke and alone. All because he was no longer a Christian. He came out to his parents about a year later. It went better than he expected but was still difficult. He started his Youtube channel after telling his parents. He got really into making videos, gained small following, and started to see it as a part time job.

A few friends found channel once it got hard to hide. Hiding it was taxing; still had to participate in some Christian/religious activities. Didn’t want to become “pet project” or lose friends, so it was worth it for a while.

Went full time on YT in May. Told in-laws and all friends who didn’t know. Very few people were surprised. A few found channel and waited for GMS to tell them. A lot of close friends had loving responses. Best response that he had permission to share, “I love Drew as Drew, not as Christian or atheist.”

Just didn’t want this issue to come between him and friends/family. Moved shortly after coming out; most friends helped him move and set up his new, larger studio. No one yelled at him or shut him out after he came out. Best thing you can do is assure someone that you still love them and value them. Just wants healthy relationship with people. That’s why he didn’t come out for so long. Some people prioritize religion over relationship.

Specified didn’t want to debate; if they wanted to, he wanted to schedule it and have it be prepared and not sloppy so it wouldn’t come between them and ruin the relationship. Cares more about the truth than holding to current positions. Knows apologetics, especially Christian apologetics, very well. Studied it a lot. Hasn’t seen anything new on apologetics.

Considered sad response a negative; big deal, prevented his coming out for a long time. Can’t control it. Sees that it’s understandable, but it’s their burden not his.

For those in the closet, seek out community, even just online. Recommends the Secular Therapy Project and Recovering From Religion Foundation. Openly secular, normalize atheism, make things better for those still in the closet. Humanize atheists to others.

Response:

 

I just came out as atheist to two of my friends personally. I wrote a blog post that’s going to go up tomorrow explaining why I’m not a Christian and mentioning that I’m an atheist. Otherwise, my parents have some knowledge, and my boyfriend is an atheist too. My grandparents, who live with us, are less supportive than my two friends, but did not want any sort of debate. They simply said they would pray for me until I came back to God. I didn’t want to disappoint them so I haven’t told them I’m pretty sure I don’t believe in God. My parents asked questions, not the first time it came up, or even when I said I was leaning towards atheism. We were sitting at the kitchen table with my younger brothers and they asked for my thoughts on some things. Some of what they mentioned I don’t have a position on yet, because I haven’t done research on it.

I’m at a point where I see Christianity as equal to other religions to a basic degree. I see that, in general, it’s not that different. The only reason Christianity seemed more believable to me was because I was raised in it. I was surrounded by it for my entire life until just about eight months ago.

At that time, I was drifting out of religion and wanted to be honest about my disinterest in church. It happened to coincide with starting to date my boyfriend. I worried it would look like I left church because of him, and in fact, my parents told me once that they weren’t sure if that was the case. I assured them it wasn’t. It was a coincidence. My boyfriend has made clear that he is not concerned with my religion, I can believe as I will for my own reasons and he will still be there, it won’t change anything for him.

Knowing that Drew’s situation was similar to mine helps assure me that my friends and family could also react positively. I agree with him that a sad or disappointed reaction is a negative. That’s a large part of why I kept quiet about my disagreements, disinterest, and disbelief.

I plan to revisit this topic later to give an update on how people reacted, what they think, etc.

Recap: Legends and Losers Ep 181

This is a new series of posts called Recap. In it I will share my notes on the content I consumed followed by my response. The content could vary from a podcast, to an article, to a Youtube video, to a book I read. When applicable, I will link to the content.

I recently listened to episode 181 of Christopher Lochhead’s podcast Legends and Losers, “Digital Body of Work.” Lochhead shares his thoughts on episode 170, where he interviewed Isaac Morehouse, the founder of Praxis. I plan on listening to that episode soon, and will share my thoughts on it when I do.

Notes:

Morehouse really pushes this idea that you should be your own credential; college is buying it, today we should be our own.

What happens when someone googles you? See what happens.

What happens after we get googled is critical. People look online to find out about you.

Being a podcast guest is a good way for authors and thought leaders to get their name out.

Do you blog, post on social networks, podcast, have you written a book? Even if it’s not a best seller, you put in the work to put something valuable out there.

Are you on Quora? What are you doing on other social networks? What are you sharing? Are you contributing content? Do you have a TED or TEDx talk? Are your speeches available online?

Also, what are people saying about you? Are you featured somewhere?

Response:

As someone who is going to go through Praxis, I definitely think that Isaac Morehouse is right about a lot of things concerning the new job market. I also think the Praxis approach is valuable, especially as an aspiring author.

Presence is important. The community and the response to my work is important. It’s easy to think about all the various online communities I could be part of and think, “If only I had more time, I’d work on my presence there.” And in some cases, time can be an issue. If I’m spending too much time on Facebook or Discord or Quora, in excess of doing other things that are more important at the time, then it’s my fault I don’t have enough time. On the flip side, if I don’t have enough time because I’m really actually working, that’s a bit different.

Between my cowriter Justine and I for Over the Invisible Wall, we are not ready to add Twitter to our social media. We already manage the Facebook page on our own and we both have a lot of other responsibilities other that our shared blog. But for just a few extra minutes, I could make a personal Twitter and share my personal blog posts and maybe reach some people who aren’t on Facebook.

A lot of my friends aren’t necessarily taking the same steps I am now to improve their online presence and such. At least in part because of that, I don’t have a lot of social proof. I want to have people respond to my blog, or to guest write on a different blog, etc. to do that better. For now, though, I have a lot I’m working on and I’m adjusting to the workload I set on myself and balancing it with what I do for money.