Undercover atheists and wishing god were real


Over on Claire Wolfe’s blog, which you should be reading regularly anyway, is a link to an article about the lives of Hasidic Jews who are “Undercover atheists“.

Wow, can I ever relate.

But, after years of secret atheism, I “came out” (“blurted out”) to my family in the midst of a very unfortunate incident where my life completely and permanently fell apart, and instead of my family being even slightly helpful, I was being dogpiled by religious suggestions which only made it worse.

I often wonder what would have happened had I kept my mouth shut- or if I had avoided that fateful incident. I have no doubt I would still be an atheist, but would I still be pretending for the sake of community and family harmony? I don’t know. It was hard, but sometimes I think honesty is harder- in the locale and society where I live, anyway.

I do know I often wish god were real. I am amused by those Christians who love to cry about persecution- having been on both sides I know atheists are persecuted more (in America) than Christians here can even imagine. But, that’s OK. I’d rather be right than comfortable.

And, in general, I was “comfortable” pretending. I rolled my eyes in private and smiled sweetly and nodded in public. I did occasionally bring up an impolite question or point, but those were explained away and quickly forgotten, never to trouble the holy mind again.

Most of my pain and agony over my atheism happened before I “came out”. I hated that my faith was gone, and I wanted it back. I wish I could turn limestone into gold, too.

By “coming out” I became the antagonist to my family’s faith. But it is a quiet antagonism. They pretend I still believe, yet don’t often rub my face in their godpoop. If they slip and start shoving it in my face, I say my piece and they back away; bothered by the reminder of something they wish to ignore.

The exception is prayers at large family gatherings.  I will stand in the circle and hold hands, but I won’t bow my head. As long as they are doing as they are “supposed to”, they won’t see me. It grates on me to even go along with this, but I do it for harmony.

I still wish god were real, even knowing that I know that I know there is no such thing.

But, that’s why this blog exists- so that I (and my co-blogger) can vent a little when remaining silent in “real life” gets too painful to bear. When I post something, you know something poked me recently- this time, for a change, it poked in a good way.

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