We’re in the Woodwork….

…but we’re coming out.

I’m talking about those people who do not necessarily hold onto god or onto faith. Secularists. Atheists. Agnostics. Those who doubt or have become disillusioned.

I’m currently located in the Bible Belt of the US, where religious catchphrases permeate the everyday speech of those around you. There are some days that I feel that simply attending a meeting somewhere or walking through Wal-Mart could qualify as a Sunday church service. It’s not an area that you normally find the outspoken non-believers.

For this area, I’m a relatively outspoken Atheist. Most of those around me know that I’m not religious and that I find no shame in that fact. This is a relatively new thing for me, as I’m a recent deconvert from Christianity, and I’m not exactly known for “going against the flow” of those I’m closely associated with.

Since I’ve become a little more outspoken about it (read: since I’m daring enough to even admit it in an area like this one) I have discovered something surprising: I’m in good company. Most non-believers seem pretty timid to say it or admit it, and no wonder! Atheists are viewed with such mistrust by the devoutly religious! There’s no telling how a believer will react! Depending on a particular Christian’s denomination and level of zeal, the Atheist might get anything from “you’re just mad at God” to “Come OUT of her, Satan! Glory to God!” It’s no mystery that non-Christians wouldn’t want to potentially subject themselves to that sort of debacle. Like I said, though, I’m in good company. Even here in the Bible Belt the number of unbelievers is surprising, and it seems to be growing.

Being the slightly more bold among the unbelievers here, I get to hear from those who are a little more shy. They admit to me what they’re not yet willing to say to those around them. I get to meet the unbelievers who are still in the woodwork, still in the closet as it were. I really think they would be surprised and relieved if they all came out at once. They would see that they’re not alone, not by a long shot. I’d jokingly say “we are legion,” but I think that might trigger someone into mailing me a bunch of wooden crosses soaked in holy water.

We’re easing out though. We’re slowly learning that there’s nothing to be ashamed about. We simply don’t believe in a god, that’s all.

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