Your rant was not about "coming out", it was about being an a**hole about one's atheism and how that's a bad thing. You characterized the whole "coming out" thing in terms of atheists going around badgering people about their beliefs.
Well, no, I didn't. I characterized a very small *piece* of the *whole* "coming out" thing. "Coming out" is great. I said that. I also said I encourage it whenever it's appropriate and/or can actually produce some sort of positive result.
But, I said, and this is where the small minority *piece* of the *whole* comes in, there are times and situations where it's probably not always a great idea. Such as if it would irreversably damage an otherwise healthy personal relationship for no substantial purpose, or if the person you're talking to simply never asked for your opinion on the subject and isn't interested in what you have to say, or if the time and place isn't suitable to such a discussion (such as a "God Bless You" sneeze blessing that somebody gives in passing)
As far as being an a**hole... Christ man, who are you talking to? I obviously have no problem being an a**hole about MY atheism if I think the situation calls for it. But, and this was my point about assholes in my earlier post, I don't think it's a good thing to ineffectively be *PERCEIVED* as nothing more than a preachy a**hole by somebody who, for whatever reason, just isn't going to listen to what you're saying.
Tons of people simply don't care about religion, or about anybody's differing opinions on it. Just like tons of people simply don't care about politics, or saving the whales, or how bad red meat is for you, or American Idol, or your differing opinions about them. And when you go on unsolicited tirades about things people don't care to hear about, didn't ask for your opinion on, and have no interest in discussing with you, they're usually going to walk away thinking you're a preachy d-bag, no matter how good your case is. And you accomplished nothing positive in those situations.
This is what I sad was "bad". Or at least, not good. Hence, "pick your battles".
It's the difference between talking AT somebody, and talking WITH somebody.
Since this was clarified not to be the case at several points in the thread, I can only take your attempt to demonize the "coming out" movement in those terms as deliberate.
You're reading what you want to read, apparently. At no point, anywhere, ever, did I demonize the "coming out" movement. I demonized ineffectually ejaculating atheist rhetoric to people who, for whatever reason, are flat-out not going to be in any way receptive to it, for the sake of feeling good about yourself or the idealism of "being counted".
"Being counted" is great, wonderful, super swell... And I think it's an important endeavor. EXCEPT when the person you're talking *at* doesn't keep count of whatever it is that you're proclaiming. In that case, it is a useless expendature of energies that could be focused elsewhere, and in fact, being indiscriminate about where you point your mouth is potentially harmfull to whatever cause it is you're inclined to be a voice of.
Yes, this has put me on the defensive. You basically told Jeff7, pre-emptively, not to listen to those of us who are for a broad "coming out" because we advocate the sort of crap you outlined in your post. What can anyone reasonably say to that, other than to point out the misrepresentation?
No, what I told Jeff is, "Don't martyr your personal life for a cause that can make do just fine without your martyrdom, as there are plenty of people capable of fighting the good fight WITHOUT jeapordizing their finances, family life, or love life."
Because he clearly stated his concern that those people would NOT be receptive to such a thing.
I then went on to say, you can still do good for "the cause", if that's your thing, by "coming out" to the other 99% of the population who is NOT an intrinsic and valued part of your personal life, and do almost exactly as much good for rationality and critical thought. From where I'm sitting, 99% of the population is pretty fuckin' "broad".
I'm pretty sure I know what I said. I'm the guy who typed it. I think you're connecting dots that simply aren't there man. For what purpose, I have no idea. But again, I apologize. It was not my intention to get yer hackles up, and I'm sorry you've misinterpreted what I was saying as some sort of spray-and-pray attack on the "whole" "coming out movement".
<shrug> Because I did no such thing. And them's the facts, Jack.