Episode 134: Coming Out Atheist (with guest Greta Christina)

 greta christina coming out 150

Many non-theists keep their doubts hidden for fear of losing friends and love ones. But remaining in the closet also has drawbacks: stress, hypocrisy, the oppression of silence and fear of being found out. Despite the risks, those who’ve made the decision to be open about their atheism almost never regret it. Luckily, doubters do not need to make this important decision on their own. Greta Christina (FTB blogger and author of Why Are You Atheists So Angry) conducted over 400 interviews with non-theists about their experiences of leaving the closet. Along the way she discovered that differing circumstances call for different coming-out strategies. Her latest book Coming Out Atheist: How to Do It, How to Help, and Why?–distills this wisdom into clear and compassionate strategies for preserving important relationships while being open about your doubts.

Order “Coming Out Atheist”
Greta Christina’s Blog

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Polyatheism: The Heroic Adventures of Cú Chulainn

This polyatheism is the second in a three part series on the zany adventures of the Irish mythological hero Cu Chulainn.

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Religion in the Headlines:

14 year old kid gets jiggy with Jesus Statue, punished under blasphemy law

Scalia on favoring religion over secularism

White Evangelicals Think They’re Discriminated Against More than Others

Stranger Than Fiction: Christian Swingers

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  1. Ed Benson says

    After listening to the beginning of this podcast, I went ahead and unsubscribed.
    As background, I’ve been an atheist my entire adult life and a longtime listener of your podcast.
    And I do not think religion should be held above criticism and/or ridicule, and I support Blasphemy Day.
    All that said, I think comments at the beginning of the podcast crossed a line of vulgarity. I can handle it, but don’t care to have stuff like that on my device, knowing how it would make others feel if they stumbled across it.
    Anyway, its been fun, and I will miss the other aspects of the show.

    Fast Eddie B.
    Mineral Bluff, GA

  2. f33rNapalm says

    Hey guys, just a quick comment about funding the show. I can’t seem to access your paypal to make a donation, but that’s okay, as I’d much rather help fund the show long term, on a monthly basis. Thus, I’d like to suggest you check out http://www.patreon.com, and consider setting up an account where listeners such as myself can help to support the show through monthly donations, rather than lump sum donations.

    I’m funding other podcasts through Patreon, one of which just set up a page on Monday, and is now receiving close to $3000 a month in support, from just under 600 donors. It’s a show with close to 10,000 listeners, similar in size to yours.

    Anyways, just a suggestion. Give it some thought,

    Thanks for all the work you put into the show.

  3. says

    I’m enjoying the recounting of the Cu Chulainn legend. Admittedly it’s been a while since I covered this in school but I’m pretty sure the correct pronunciation of the name is “Coo-Kullen”. “Ch” is often pronounced like a “k” in Irish.

    Anyway, sorry for the nitpicky comment (and, you know, I could be wrong).

  4. Latverian Diplomat says

    @4: According to Wikipedia, it’s a hard ch, like doch in German or Chanukah in Hebrew.

    For Americans, k is not a bad approximation, and it wouldn’t surprise me if it was an Irish variant as well.

  5. OverlappingMagisteria says

    Great show as always!

    Regarding the Christian Swingers: wouldn’t swinging be breaking the adultery commandment? I’m pretty sure the Bible’s sees adultery as sex outside of marriage or sex with someone else’s wife. Swinging would definately break that rule. I’m curious what their take on that would be.

  6. Seán Caomhanach says

    @5: The best pronunciation for an English speaker would be coo hullin, with a slightly guttural h. K is a really bad approximation. Think of the ch in school. It really grated with me the way it was pronounced in the show. Cú is coo (the fada (ú)) indicates a long vowel. Once I got over that, it was a great episode, I love the Cú Chullain story, I’m from the area where the Táin is set, I was brought up on that shit.

  7. Lori says

    This episode was incredibly helpful for me. As a lifelong committed Christian, recently deconverted, I am plagued by silence. I am constantly weighing the needs and feelings of friends and family around me over my own. I am thankful for a handful of safe people, including my husband, but grow weary of the feeling that I need to protect them all from the pain of finding out. I guess I’m still on the fence… I appreciate the advice that was given and it all makes perfect sense in my head, how to translate that to real life scenarios feels impossible. How can I, in good conscience, tell them I don’t believe when my “eternal soul” is a stake? That feels like a greater pain to inflict on them than for me to remain silent. Any thoughts?….
    On a side note, I thouroly enjoyed the vulgarity!

  8. destry says

    Great episode but I was a bit disappointed that Luke wasn’t there to add to the hysterical first few minutes. I donated $50 in honor of Fast Eddie’s departure.

  9. Me Again says

    Lori, please read Freaky Truths about God & Evolution (Origin of the Cosmos) it is on Ibooks.

  10. Ron Crossland says

    I’m relatively near Fast Eddie’s sentiments. The sophomoric metaphors piled a bit too high and deep for my sensibilities. I appreciate other aspects of the show, but for myself I’m reluctant to recommend this show to other listeners who would want the information but wouldn’t tolerate the humor. Having Greta Christina upfront would have allowed me to recommend.

    In terms of coming out, I’ve often felt that using comparisons like “losing my faith” when talking about becoming skeptical or inquisitive indicates that the transition has parity. In other words, a loss of faith means losing something of value.

    That would mean that losing adolescence when maturing means losing something of greater value. It isn’t. Losing ignorance to education is a gain, not a loss. Losing dogma to liberty isn’t a loss, it’s a gain. So lose the “losing faith” phrase and replace it with “gaining meaningful inquiry” or “gaining reason.” Losing adherence to supernaturalism is not a loss, it’s a gain in liberty, the willingness to inquire, and better tools for understanding.

  11. Fletch says

    I appreciate the comments on CuChulainn and the pronunciation thereof. Honestly, I don’t know the correct way to say it so I looked up a Celtic pronunciation guide and went with what it said (cu HOO lin). I’ve heard it said (and spelled) several different ways so my goal was, if not to be accurate, at least to me consistent. Admittedly, pronunciation of languages other than and including English is not my strong suit.

    Glad you’re enjoying it, though!

  12. cddb says

    To those who left comments about the “vulgar humor” which makes them “reluctant to recommend the show”:

    I’ve found Reasonable Doubts to be *consistently* the best, most intelligent, informative, thoughtful and considered of all the (now numerous) atheist podcasts/radio shows. You’ll be fine recommending these to any interested parties; just point them to any one of the other 100+ episodes, the vast majority of which do not mention “blow jobs”, etc… and if you can’t handle some light-hearted sexual humor once every two or three dozen episodes, you may have some personal issues/hang-ups you might want to look into moving past…. ;)

  13. says

    this unfortunately is my last episode too.

    a little background. I started listening to the show about 3 months ago, I am now all caught up and have to wait, like the majority of you, and listen to a new episode when it is aired.

    it was an awesome 3 months and I eagerly await the next, sometimes vulgar, often hilarious, and always informative show.

  14. says

    I do not know how you did it, but you succeeded in making this grown man giggle. The giggling turned into outright belly laughing while I listened to your discussion about the teenage boy and the Jesus statue. You guys crack me up! I am currently working on developing my basement on weekdays after work and on weekends, and the first thing I put on my iPod is your podcasts. I am fairly new to the podcast, so I look forward to listening to all of them. I live in a very, and I mean VERY, religious community where I have been running a critical thinking group that challenges the norms of our community. It is not very easy to do but it is rewarding when others come up to me thanking me for being a voice for the “unbelievers”. All that to say, I wanted to thank you guys for being a voice for, what can sometimes seem to be, the voiceless. Thanks for the giggles and all the entertainment. Keep it up!

  15. JVWest says

    Loved it! Vulgarities and all. In fact, compared to other podcasts, the “sophomoric” humor was quite tame. And funny! Baby Jesus approves.

    Oh and I heartily second the suggestion about using Patreon. You can have people sign up to automatically donate each time you release an episode. They can, of course, change this when they like. It’s great for absent-minded people like me.


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