Ask an Atheist: Ever hesitant to announce your atheism?

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By Jim Downard

Is there ever a time or place where you’re hesitant to say you’re an atheist?

Only in the sense that I wasn’t prone to proselytizing the matter, not bringing it up just as confrontational thing.  But thinking through my memory, I was never shy about expressing my views on whether particular gods existed. 

Now to be fair, I was raised in a functionally secular household, where the issue didn’t arise from my family–no obligatory attendance even at holiday religious services. And my attitude towards education was the same one my parents had, which was that public school was not a place where that needed to be discussed. In fact my mother pulled me out of a grade school Bible hour class that she had not approved and considered not the responsibility of the school to do in the first place. Those sorts of things aren’t a feature of public schools these days. I don’t recall any backlash or social outcasting on that account at the time, by the way. But then I was only 6 so maybe just didn’t notice.

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