Tomorrow, April 23rd, is Openly Secular Day. This is a day that has been designated for atheists, agnostics, humanists, and other non-religious people to be open about their beliefs, and to tell at least one person about them.
The idea behind this day is that by raising the visibility of those with a secular viewpoint, the discrimination against us will decrease. This is a strategy used by the LGBT community. Once people realized that they they already knew someone who identifies as LGBT, they were more likely to support equal rights and less likely to discriminate against that community. When you tell people that you’re secular (or whichever label you wish to use) you’re letting other non-religious people know that they’re not alone, which helps them feel more comfortable and confident in being open as well. You’re also telling your friends and family about your viewpoint. When people realize that they know someone who identifies as atheist, agnostic, humanist, freethinker, etc., they will be more likely to realize that the secular community is just like everyone else.
I encourage you to join this movement, to tell at least one person tomorrow about your worldview. Tell them that you’re secular, that you’re a freethinker, an atheist, agnostic, or humanist. You don’t have to debate anyone, you don’t need to try to convince or convert someone, you can just keep it simple. There’s no specific way that you have to do this, either. You could share it on Facebook, send a letter or email, have a conversation, or shout it from the rooftops. There’s no right or wrong way to do it. Years ago, I announced my atheism to the world via a Facebook profile picture. I followed that picture up with some conversations, but it was definitely a starting point.
Coming out is so important. It normalizes atheism, it helps people realize that they already know non-theists; we’re their neighbors, friends, and family. We’re people they already know and recognize in the community. It helps others accept that we’re really just like everybody else.
So tell someone what you think, at least one person, but many people if you can. You’re helping change the perception of the non-religious, you’re helping remove the stigma that goes along with the word “atheist.” You’re changing the world, one conversation at a time. Go you!
You can find out more about Openly Secular Day at http://www.openlysecular.org/