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Will 2012 Be the Year of the Atheist?

"Coming out" now may be a clich├ęd term, but as the "We Are Atheism" project has shown, it hasn't entirely lost its currency. The new organization encourages others to be open about their atheism, an act that is more than a confession; it holds the real risk of losing family and friends.

By affirming "it's OK to be an atheist" and encouraging video testimony from those who have already made the journey out into the open, "We Are Atheism" hopes to help others do the same. There are, however, serious hurdles for the no-longer-closeted to overcome.

According to the recent Public Religion Research Institute's "2011 American Values Survey," 67 percent of Americans are "somewhat uncomfortable" with the idea of an atheist as president, with 48 percent being "very uncomfortable." Muslims fare better here than atheists, and in the current political climate, that's saying something.

Even more shocking, a recent study by the University of British Columbia showed that when it comes to trust and atheism, "only rapists were distrusted to a comparable degree."

Being an open atheist, then, is a path toward marginalization.

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TAGGED: ATHEISM, RELIGION


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