1. Were you raised religious? What religion?
Yes, I was indoctrinated to be Christian, just like most atheists! I was raised in the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. They have typical Lutheran beliefs, doctrine-wise (biblical inerrancy, creationism, baptism is the greatest thing ever), but with a super conservative set of rules (no sex before marriage, persecute the gays, that sort of thing).
2. What made you start to doubt your faith?
I just had too many questions for them. I wondered how Noah was able to fit all those animals on that ark. I wondered how the story of Adam and Eve was passed down. Then in an elementary school science class, we learned about the big bang and the formation of planets. That was when I realized that people don’t just talk about the big bang and evolution to be evil and anti-Christian, as I had been told. They talk about them because that’s what the evidence points to.
3. When did you become an atheist?
I didn’t start using the word atheist until I was in college. In addition to doing some research myself, I took a class on different worldviews and decided that my beliefs aligned with naturalism. At the end of the class, I wrote a paper on naturalism and nihilism which sparked a passion in me for atheism—and for writing.
4. When and why did you start your blog?
I was a junior at a super conservative Christian college (with even more rules than my parents’ household—so much for growing up, moving out, and having your freedom). My fiancé (at the time, my boyfriend) was the only source of support I had, but as I learned about atheism, I started to have too much to say to just ramble to one person all the time. I had started watching a lot of The Friendly Atheist and JaclynGlenn videos on YouTube. This one in particular prompted me to be a silent activist through anonymous blogging. So one day I thought to myself, “I can start a blog, name it The Closet Atheist, and post every Sunday. I’ll use WordPress and get one of those cool .blog domains.” That’s what I did, with my first post in November of 2016, and since then I haven’t missed a Sunday.
5. Why the name The Closet Atheist?
All that the name signifies is that I’m in the closet about being an atheist. The confusing part is that I’m not in the closet anymore, save for a few friends and acquaintances, but I was when I started this blog. At this point, I find The Closet Atheist to be a part of my identity, so even though I don’t fall under the “closet atheist” category technically, The Closet Atheist is who I am. When and if I feel ready to share my face or name, then that’s what I’ll go by. I still keep it anonymous because although I gladly share my blog with my friends, I hope that my family never finds it.
6. Have you come out yet?
It was a few weeks after I started my blog that I started coming out to people other than my fiancé. First my college roommates, then later on another college friend, then my mother and sisters. I hadn’t planned to come out to my family, but it was a long, complicated story.
Coming Out (best read in chronological order)
7. Why did you attend a Christian college if you were an atheist? Where did you go to college?
Grove City College advertises its three pillars as its main selling points: affordable cost, rigorous academics, and Christ-centered community. I was attracted to it because it was relatively small, it was in a good location, and it had a marching band. Sure, it required each student to attend 128 chapel services, but I figured it would balance out with all of the school’s good qualities, and it would be nothing compared to all of the church services I attended every single week since I was born. Plus, I’d seen what an amazing time that my oldest sister had had at her Christian college, and how much my other older sister was struggling to meet quality Christian friends at her secular university.
8. What are your resources for learning about atheism?
Books. Blogs. YouTube. Twitter.
9. What type of atheist are you?
I’m an agnostic, negative, broad, friendly, mostly open, passive/active, sometimes religious atheist.
What Type of Atheist Am I? (this post is somewhat outdated but is accurate for the most part; my answer above is more current)
10. When and how did you come out to your fiancé? Is he an atheist?
I came out to him during a long, long phone conversation one night when we first started dating five years ago. When you meet someone who loves you unconditionally and accepts you completely, there’s something in you that’s able to tell them things you’ve never told anyone before, even your own family.
He’s an atheist, and he’s perfect.
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