Monday, October 22, 2012
We do not walk alone
Coming Out: The Other Closet by Dave Silverman
I link to this great article by Dave Silverman on the American Atheists page not because I'm going to summarize it but because I really hope you'll stop here, go read it, and then come back. See, I think that some of the audience reading this blog (thank you!) are nonbelievers who aren't out, but maybe have this fear that someone is going to try to push you out. Let me be the first (or just one of many) to say that no one is trying to do that. At the same time, there is a freedom to being out with your nonbelief, even if it's only to a few safe people. And, that's what a community of nonbelief offers.
There's this great organization called Foundation Beyond Belief. Founded in 2010, it has become a point around which local groups of nonbelievers can rally to bring humanitarian relief to disaster areas around the globe. It's a national organization made up of local people coming together to do good, motivated by a personal sense of compassion and morality. You can be a part of that next month (more on that to come).
What does that have to do with coming out? Just this. You can be out to the people you have this incredibly rewarding experience with on a quasi-regular basis - and no one else, if that's what you want. Odds are, you'll meet people who aren't out to everyone in their lives. But, meeting people is better than not meeting people, yes? And, there are many other ways than Foundation Beyond Belief to meet other nonbelievers. Part of the goal of this blog will be to get those opportunities out in the open for people.
I ran into an old friend of mine a few weeks ago. He is the pastor of a medium-sized Methodist church, the conservative kind, and he knew I had left the ministry and had joined the Army. He did not know I was an atheist. I gave him the Cliff's notes on how that came to be, and he said a few things that didn't surprise me at all, but one thing that did - he said, "Jay, you've traded a community of faith for a solitary path." Now, I'm really glad I didn't meet him a year ago, because a year ago those words may have given me pause. As it was, I was able to draw strength from the memories of the many other nonbelievers I've met, and say to him, "We would rather walk alone by reason than together by myth - but we do not walk alone."
We do not walk alone, my friends.