Either way he was out, so my general points still stand. I suspect he wishes his family didn't find out, but obviously I can't speak on his behalf.
I'm not so sure it does, Seppuku. What personal decision of his does he regret? It stands to reason that he regrets being found out, but that was:
1. Not something that was his decision.
2. Not better than coming out deliberately.
But anyway, I support
his decision not to come out to his dad. Clearly he was attempting to be a public theist out of self-defence against a serious physical threat, and that was a reasonable decision on his part, even if it ultimately failed. He was not in a position to be an atheist in anything but his own mind; his family situation prevented him from being a part of what DD calls an "atheist community".
I think this forum was probably one of the only places he could turn to for support, but thanks to his family, he hasn't even got that. I still don't see reason why people who find themselves in a dilemma choosing to not come out fully are cowards, I can see why a portion of them may be cowards, but not all of them.
Seppuku, Goodkat is the reason why more people need
to come out! He was alone. Now, why
was he alone? If he'd been in trouble because he was a Muslim, then there'd likely have been some mosque in the region that he could have gone to for help, and they'd have no doubt been sympathetic to the situation of being persecuted by a Christian. But no. He's an atheist
, and as I said in my last post, we atheists 'gotta look out for ourselves...sad, that.
The forum was a source of moral support, certainly, but what else could it do? Ultimately it was his presence on this forum that got him found out - a high price for what little we had to offer. He came here because he was alone and needed help. Well, we could give him conversation. But wouldn't it have been a whole lot better if we'd been able to refer him to a local secular-support organization? If one had even existed
there that we knew about? Maybe then we'd still be able to talk to him now. Maybe, if the other local atheists in his area who weren't in as oppressive situations as his was, had come out
- maybe then they'd have been able to form a community of some sort. Maybe they would have been able to help him. That's how it works for other groups. Why, apart from prevalent
cowardice, can't it work for us?
DD has been a little over-the-top in his advocacy of universal
coming-out. As Goodkat's situation shows, there are
some situations that warrant greater discretion. But what I don't think you understand here, is that it is for people like Goodkat
that the rest of us need to out ourselves as atheists. It's for people like him, that we need to form communities and support each other. Because it's atheists like him who suffer the most when the rest of us keep to ourselves.
Some choose not to out of respect, as you can find in examples in this thread (like respect for an ill parent in her late years), and in other cases it can be about well-being, whether that's a person incapable of supporting themselves or somebody who's likely to face abuse. I'd much prefer it if people felt more inclined to help or advise people out of those situations rather than judge them as poor atheists who are too cowardly to come forth and defend their disbelief. Those who don't come out fully because of respect, well, ignorant folk are capable of earning a person's respect even if they're ignorant of what makes you different, you can't say they're not members of atheist community if there's a select few who they refuse to tell they're atheist. So I object to any generalisations on the subject.
I've given the "closeted from a select few" thing some thought, and I am inclined to agree with you that there are some cases where it's justified. But what makes it dicey is if those select few have contact with others to whom you might want to come out. If you want to keep your frail, elderly grandmother in the dark re: your atheism because it's just not worth it, then that makes sense - on its own. But who else
do you have to keep it from, then? Siblings? Probably. Parents? Probably. What about people who know
your siblings and/or parents? It doesn't take much for this "closeted from a select few" policy to turn into full secrecy, if you're really serious about preserving poor old grandma's feelings. And then it becomes a situation where your atheism is kept entirely secret from the world, for the sake of grandma's feelings.