Religion in Society

The Social Cost of Coming Out as an Atheist

| by American Atheists

The results of an online survey published in the latest issue of Skeptic Magazine show that atheists in America fear paying a high social price in coming out as a non-believer. “The Stigma of Being an Atheist: An Empirical Study on the New Atheist Movement and its Consequences,” written by Tom Arcaro, was based on the results of 8,200 people who identify as atheists or non-believers in God.

By a wide margin, atheists in the U.S. were more likely to feel a sense of stigma, highest among those living in the south. For instance, 57 percent of U.S. respondents said they felt they would suffer at least minor social repercussions in the workplace if they came out as an atheist, compared to only 35 percent of respondents in Canada, 24 percent of Australians, 15 percent of residents of United Kingdom, and 12 percent of Western Europeans.

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Wahhh. 57% thought they would suffer “at least minor social repercussions”. Folks, this is not a problem, it’s a cause for celebration. We have come so far, and our stigma is evaporating as we watch. Yes, there will be growing pains, but they must be recognized as just that. Did you think going from the most hated group in the country to full mainstream would be like flipping a switch?

Outed atheists will suffer socially, but only slightly compared to older generations, because former outed atheists softened the blow. Similarly, today’s outed atheists will make tomorrow’s atheists’ lives easier still. This is evolution, and articles like this, which seem to imply that atheists should stay in the closet, hurt the cause.

Hide not, lest ye be hidden.