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Leaving Religion Behind


“If you're an atheist, you know, you believe, this is the only life you're going to get. It's a precious life. It's a beautiful life. It's something we should live to the full, to the end of our days. Where if you're religious and you believe in another life somehow, that means you don't live this life to the full because you think you're going to get another one. That's an awfully negative way to live a life. Being an atheist frees you up to live this life properly, happily and fully”


- Richard Dawkins, Ethologist, Evolutionary Biologist and Author

 

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Leaving Religion Behind


“If you're an atheist, you know, you believe, this is the only life you're going to get. It's a precious life. It's a beautiful life. It's something we should live to the full, to the end of our days. Where if you're religious and you believe in another life somehow, that means you don't live this life to the full because you think you're going to get another one. That's an awfully negative way to live a life. Being an atheist frees you up to live this life properly, happily and fully”


- Richard Dawkins, Ethologist, Evolutionary Biologist and Author

 

 

PLAY IT COOL, PLAY IT SAFE

If you are about to leave your religious faith and "come out" as an atheist in a religious community it is likely that you're facing a very challenging time ahead. Leaving religion behind can be a very emotional challenge - even dangerous - if you live in a country, community or family where religious faith has been expected or forced upon you ever since early childhood. This is why it's so important that you plan your steps carefully and find a reliable support to minimize the pain and risk it may cause you and the people who care about you.

Each and everyone's struggle with "coming out" as an atheist is unique because it's very dependent on how your family and the people close to you will deal with the news. Feeling guilt because of not being honest to your loved ones can be a struggle on its own but it's important to understand that you have all the right to keep your non-belief to yourself until you feel safe and independent enough to break the news. It's not about deceit. It's about privacy. Below is a letter written to "Ask Richard" at the Friendly Atheist blog. Richard Wade is a Family Therapist who answers readers questions related to family and atheism. Read the full letter and Richard's answer here


COMING OUT AS AN ATHEIST

Know this: There is a growing world-wide atheist community composed of various organizations, campaigns and inspiring people that want to help you on your challenging journey. And besides from very helpful hands-on websites you will find strength, support and guidance through the massive amount of personal stories out there when you start exploring the great diversity of the atheist community.

The organizations Faith to Faithless, and Openly Secular have some really helpful guides and checklists that can help you through your process. The organizations Atheist Republic is supporting atheists from all over the world and Recovering From Religion is also offering lots of guidance, therapist counseling and has in addition started the Hot Line Project if you want to talk on the phone with someone who's experienced what you are going through. And there are many more organizations around the world that can give you support. Let them help you!

Below is a great interview from the RfR podcast with author David G McAfee about coming out as an atheist and what risks, challenges and strategies you might have to prepare for.


GOOD READS!

There are several great books on the subject of leaving faith and coming out as an atheist:


HEAR THEIR STORIES, FIND YOUR STRENGTH

Millions of people in the world don't voice their non-belief simply because they think they are alone with their doubts and/or cannot speak up without risking social rejection or even their own safety in their community or family. But thanks to internet and YouTube there are already hundreds of personal film clips about leaving religion availible for anyone to watch and learn from. Together with many independent, ongoing atheist- and secular projects and campaigns these clips are not only raising the awareness of atheism and secularism, but they also inspire and empower anonymous atheists to get out of isolation and dispair. Below are some more really brave people sharing their experience with the world. Listen to their stories, learn and get inspired!


LEAVING CHRISTIANITY


LEAVING ISLAM


LEAVING JUDAISM


LEAVING HINDUISM


TELL YOUR STORY TO THE WORLD

If you already have made the transition from religion to atheism and are publicly comfortable and safe to voice your atheism, your story is very important to the atheist community and the world. Your unique experience is helping others to take the leap, showing that the "impossible" is possible. Please tell your story if you can, and publish it on YouTube. We'd love hear about it and are looking forward to link your story here*!

 

*atheism.online is currently only linking relevant and accessible YouTube material that is allowed to share. 

 
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Numbers Matter


World nonreligious population by percentage, Dentsu Institute (2006) and Zuckerman (2005)

Numbers Matter


World nonreligious population by percentage, Dentsu Institute (2006) and Zuckerman (2005)

 

BE COUNTED - RAISE THE NUMBERS!

By voicing your non-belief you are increasing the awareness and are helping others in the "hide" to see that being atheist and non-religious should be totally OK and undramatic and a human right no matter where you live in the world. Especially if you live in a secular country where religion is not currently imposing on your freedom it's really important to show solidarity with those who still have a long struggle ahead. In order to make a change it's important that non-belivers - as long as we are in minority - get a stronger voice in societies around the world.

Officially start your support today by participating - anonymously - in the worldwide survey Atheist Census which aims to build a picture of the world’s atheists* - where they are, their genders and ages, their education and religious (if any) background. The information will be used to demonstrate the presence and importance of atheists in societies around the world. Register now: www.atheistcensus.com

 

*The survey includes: atheists, freethinkers, humanists, rationalists, secularists, agnostics, non religious or other.