Openly declaring skepticism has ever been – and still is – a painful issue for me, especially when it comes to family events like Christmas, New Year’s Eve, birthday parties and so on. It’s hard to find yourself alone when surrounded by people you’ve learned to respect and love since you were born. Many years passed after my deconversion while I kept the habit of showing contradictions in the Bible, arguing on the logical flawed biblical concept of god, hell and so on. Eventually, time showed how this approach was meaningless and counterproductive, at least in the context of a more radical fundamentalist environment like mine. Fundamentalists won’t try and see something differently from what they’ve ever seen because they just don’t want to. Therefore, I personally don’t see honesty (in this sense of the word) as the best choice to all occasions. That said, I avoid talking on this subject (atheism) as much as it’s possible for me among relatives. That brings such an amount of isolation of course. Just as I use to say to myself, ‘I’ve lost my family to religion’.
There’s another point to it: asserting different points of view, be it political, personal, or religious, can sometimes change a pleasant meeting into something not so enjoyable. As we know, most human beings would rather hear something they want than someone speaking the truth – Unfortunately. On the other hand, we all have the need of being part of a group. Depending on the people you are talking to, saying you are an atheist means breaking links between you and everybody else. I mean, of course people who really know me are aware that I’m no longer a theist, it’s just that they feel uncomfortable with my openly declaring that. So now I see no reason for that anymore. I think it’s the same case as to political views, when I used to be very opinionated at defending my personal convictions on politics, and after some years acting like this, noticed there weren’t much profit from it.
Let’s picture a situation in which you are surrounded by Christian relatives in a family meeting, and the subject of God, Jesus and the Bible is brought up – as usual. Now I see if I just keep silent about my personal view of reality, that doesn’t mean I lack honesty towards what I believe/disbelieve or my way of seeing reality. Of course, if someone comes to ask me directly if I believe the God depicted in the Bible exists, he’s going to hear a sound “No, I don’t”.
Like many other issues in life, I don’t find necessary to expose my opposing opinion every time other people say things I disagree with. That’s what went wrong with me in the past, I used to think that ‘intelectual honesty’ implied pointing out my opinion whenever the opposite opinion showed up. But as I said before, it’s necessary for us to feel part of people who see important matters in a way similar to ours. That said, I see the internet as a sound alternative for us to be connected with each other, and so share a few pieces of thought with the rest of the world.