Living Openly Secular – Coming Out

I’ve decided that the time is right for me to be openly secular.  The inspiration for the timing of this “coming out” is a video I saw on Facebook today. (link to video)

 Transcript from the video:

Hi! This is Bill Maher, and when I found out that there was a campaign going on with the name “Openly Secular,” I said, “Hey, sign me up! That’s for me! I’m Openly Secular!”

Now, it seems to me the most obvious decision a person could make in their life: Do I want to make real world policy decided on the basis of proven facts and the outer reaches of where humans have gotten to do [sic] in science, or do I want real world decisions made based on ancient myths, written by men who didn’t know what a germ or atom was, or where the sun went at night?

I pick choice A. Science and facts. I want to do the smartest thing possible. Smart choices, I feel, have a greatest chance of resulting in me being happy. I like happy. That is my goal. [Audience laughs]

But not everybody feels this way. And that’s okay, too. But for the people who do see it that way, it’s really important that you say so.

So it’s important if you are a secular person to stand up and say, “It’s not okay to make decisions based on myths!”

Don’t let it look like, in America, that the most reasonable — not to mention correct — fact-based argument is really the weird one, the one held by a tiny minority of misguided eggheads.

No! Secularists are bigger than that! Way bigger! But you gotta show yourself. You might find you have more friends than you think.

This video has inspired me to finally stop hiding my non-belief in Christianity (or any other organized religion, for that matter).  I’ve felt conflicted about not being openly secular for some time now.  I think my mind was eased by the fact that I am not alone – that there is actually a campaign and a group of people who are similar to me in thought on this matter.  I’ve felt very alone.  It seems like almost everyone I know is Christian.  My parents and my brother are all Christian.  I fear scorn and the judgment of others.  As much as I try to not let the opinions of others affect me, I’m just not that enlightened yet.

Here are some bullet points explaining what living “Openly Secular” will and will not be for me:

  • I don’t intend to try to convince anyone that believing in a religion/god is wrong. I’m pretty certain that that would be about as welcome as it is to me when people try to argue that there “must be a god.”  I would, however, like my Christian friends to not always assume that everyone else has these same beliefs.
  • I don’t intend to be disrespectful.  Bill Maher is a good example of how a secular person can be a tad disrespectful to god-fearing folks.  And while I agree with him that it is delusional, superstitious and strange to dedicate your life and swear your allegiance to mythical gods and prophets whose stories were created by humans years before they were aware the Earth was round, I won’t tell you this to your face.  In addition, I also believe it is arrogant to personify – not everything in the universe is about or like humans.  But most people I know are Christians, and they are basically good people.  And besides this one issue, they are typical rational people.
  • I don’t intend on pretending or portraying that I am superior to anyone else, or that I secretly have more insight or wisdom about how this crazy human existence works and why.  I can confidently say that I do not have all, or even a sizable percentage, of the answers to the questions that religion proposes to answer.
  • I do intend to live a life based on love.  I intend to demonstrate that a person can be loving, compassionate and moral without believing in god.  I intend to demonstrate that living a happy, fufilling and grateful life is not dependent on religious dogma.
  • I do intend to continue to live a magical life full of wonder and awe.  My mind is wide open to limitless possibilities.
  • I do intend to openly and bravely live in my truth.  I want to live my life with integrity.  If I can’t express who I am, how am I to live a fully authentic life?
  • I do intend to help change the standards of acceptability by not remaining silent – by concealing or downplaying my secular beliefs.  I want to be a humble role model for other secular people.

I think my approach with my family will be to state my position on religion the next time it comes up instead of avoiding and dodging the topic as I usually do.  I think it would be too weird to sit down and have a discussion for the sole purpose of discussing this topic.  I’m not dying or anything like that.

The person I think will have the hardest time understanding my position on religion and god will be my father.  He frequently posts memes on Facebook about “being one nation under God” and he’s adamant about his right to say “Merry Christmas” during the holiday season.  (Yes, he’s that guy.)  I’m not looking forward to the time when he realizes that I am a non-believer.  I’ll let you know how it goes.

I’m going to spend the remainder of my evening watching one of my favorite and beloved movies, Contact.  It is so very appropriate and comforting to me as I face the fear of potential confrontations.

Note:  For the most part, I have intentionally referred to god in this post with a lower-case “g.”  It just felt more correct, considering the content, even though the typical convention is to capitalize the word.  Just trying to keep it real!

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