Everyone has secrets and some things are better left private. Sharing your thoughts on taboo topics or standpoints can be damaging to your character and it is understandable that one might be reluctant to open up. However, if you have the courage and opportunity to be honest about your religious beliefs, you can make a huge difference at a major crossroads for mankind. Whether you relate to a specific sect of faith or atheism, here are a few good reasons to “come out”.
It is important to challenge your own beliefs more meticulously than anyone else’s. By being open about where you stand, you give others the opportunity to approach you and question why you think the way you do. This will force you to really think about your reasoning. Spend time arming yourself for those difficult conversations. Make sure you are confident in supporting your stance and comfortable with explaining yourself. If you aren’t, then perhaps you haven’t quite made up your mind. By truly understanding the things you believe (or don’t believe) and why, you will be less likely to go on the defensive when someone questions you aggressively. People will find you more credible and respect your opinions if they can tell you have truly put time and effort into reaching those conclusions. Being certain about your religious stance gives you the confidence to challenge others as well.
Support Those Who Share Your Opinion
More people are open about their faith or atheism than ever before. However, there are many who are still afraid of losing their job, being outcast by their friends and families or even being physically harmed because of the things they believe. Giving someone who is frightened of who they are an excuse to be honest and open can be rewarding for you and extremely comforting for them. Set an example for those around you who lack the courage to be transparent about their beliefs, and you can have a major positive impact on their lives.
Oppose Those With Harmful Religious Views
There are countless issues plaguing the world right now which, at their core, stem from some form of religious motivation. There are individuals and groups who have simply molded their religion to brainwash others into supporting the atrocities they commit (though certainly not all religions behave this way). By using your own experiences as a base for your argument against these tyrannical zealots, you can gain support from like-minded people. A group that is motivated by a common goal and united through having aligning beliefs that each individual has decided upon independently, is much more effective than one founded on fear, propaganda and misinterpreted hokum.
Truly Be You
How can you truly feel like you if such a major part of your life is always kept secret? Liberate yourself by telling the world who you really are. I don’t suggest running around wearing a “god isn’t real” t-shirt. People can’t help but get defensive when they feel as if you are coming at them from an aggressive standpoint. Start by asking others what they believe and show genuine interest. You’ll be surprised by some of the responses you get. Even if a friend or family member disagrees with you, they will likely appreciate your honesty. You may find something in common with some of them that you would not have otherwise known about. Not only could you become closer to your friends, but your romantic relationships will be much stronger if your stances on religion are aligned. Seeing the world in the same fundamental way, makes it easier to respect someone and value their opinions. That type of connection is almost certain to increase your compatibility and attraction to a significant other.
Practice What You Preach
Personally, I identify with secular humanism. I believe that humans are inherently good in their disposition and that religion should not replace logic and reason when solving problems or creating government policy. I think our ethics should evolve based on the needs of our species and should not be derived from religious text. I do not believe in the supernatural or any sort of god, but instead rely on scientific discovery to explain existence and mankind’s role in the universe. I have the utmost respect for those who are religious and truly believe what they say and do. Unfortunately, our world contains a scary amount of hypocrisy and apathy. My hope is that, when it comes to the great unanswered questions of our world, people make up their own minds by researching, debating and discovering things for themselves rather than blindly accepting what they are told is the truth.