One reason I like to lecture in the South is that I think it helps nonbelievers in that part of the country—atheists who feel alone because they’re basically apostates—realize that there are others like them. So many times I’ve heard the story that a Southern nonbeliever thought he or she was isolated, and then found like-minded folks on the internet. It’s always a great emotional release (I also hear many stories about how heathens can’t say a word, for they’d be fired or shunned.) And so like to declare my nonbelief publicly hoping that others will gain some courage from it. (I also explicitly say what I mean by “atheist”: that I simply have no reasons or evidence to believe in gods.)
Here’s one of those once-isolated atheists, giving her testimony for the Dawkins Foundation’s “Openly Secular” campaign. Her emotions are a moving testimony to how glad she was to find other nonbelievers. The notes:
Abby was an atheist for ten years before she ever met another one. Listen to her describe how it feels to no longer be isolated.
So I urge the readers to wear their nonbelief like a badge of pride. You don’t have to inject atheism into everything, which is tiresome, but if someone asks you what you believe, don’t mutter under your breath. Puff up your chest and say it loud and proud, “I’m an atheist!”
You should come out as an atheist so that people like Abby, who hit upon rationality in isolation, won’t feel so alone. The Openly Secular campaign is described here; be sure to see the latest video by running back Arian Foster, and consider making your own video.