I’m fairly active on Twitter…and this blog of course. I used to write articles on News Vine until they changed their setup and made the platform hard to interact with. In all that time, I’ve never once been called a ‘public atheist’.
I was cruising through my twitter feed when I noticed someone sending me a private message. They were asking me a question about my Twitter account, my atheist activity on Twitter and they referred to me as a ‘public atheist’.
I guess I am. If asked in real life (happens rarely) I’m not squeamish about telling people I’m an atheist. I don’t mind telling people why. I love a good religious debate in person as much as I do online, and while I don’t go out of my way to find them ‘in real life’, sometimes they find me.
I’m okay with that.
I’m not embarrassed to be an atheist. I’m lucky enough to live in a society that won’t kill me for not believing in a deity. I’m fortunate enough that the laws of the country I live in protect people like me, although it’s still possible that non-belief could impact your career or other parts of your life. I understand when people don’t want to tell people they’re atheists. To each their own.
I on the other hand, choose to label myself an atheist and I don’t want to hide it. I don’t take labels on lightly either. I usually abhore them, since most labels don’t entirely explain or describe my stance.
I identify as an atheist because I think the word ‘atheist’ has loads of stigma attached to it and I want to lessen that stigma. I want people to realize that being an atheist doesn’t mean I’m a bad guy. I’m not depressed. I’m not out to harm people or call demons down on their head.
I’m just a guy.
I’m a real person with hopes, dreams and fears like any other person, including religious people. I want religious people to engage me and this blog (or my Twitter account) and feel safe doing it. Sure, I might get a little heated sometimes, but for all intents and purposes, no matter our religious or non-religious background, we’re all human beings who have far more in common than we do differences.
I have clear reasons for what I do.
I’m a public atheist. But I’m also much like you.
Come, let’s talk about it.