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Posting for the first time because I feel I could maybe use some help. [And yes, I know of the Welcome Thread, but I think the Open Thread gets more attention so I'm posting first here. Maybe later I'll post in the Welcome Thread.]

I come from a very religious family and community, but I'm a closet atheist. (More accurately, I'd label myself agnostic leaning atheist with regard to the existence of one or more intelligent world-designer(s), but I give almost no credence to any religious claims beyond that. In any case, for simplicity I'm just going to refer to myself here as an atheist.)

I have only a single very close friend who knows of my atheism. 5 or 6 other people know I disagree with all the standard religious arguments, but they think that I've opted for "blind faith" and I'm still religious. Most of my family and friends, however, although they know that I'm unusually open-minded and intellectual for my close-minded religious community (and they look at me a bit strangely for that), still think that I'm fully religious.

A bit of background: I started doubting in high school, but it didn't turn into a full-fledged crisis of faith until I was about 18 or 19. Eventually a religious mentor pointed me to Pascal's Wager, and I leaned on that for many years. I got married to a wonderful religious girl and went on to study advanced religious studies. Shortly before the birth of my third child, however, I finally took another critical look at Pascal's Wager. I read numerous scholarly works and articles, went through a bunch of articles on the internet (including several from LessWrong), and did a lot of heavy thinking. In the end I decided that I can't rely any longer on the Wager. For the next few months I forced myself to nonetheless believe by pure force of will (whether this was Belief in Belief or real belief is a different question), but eventually the cognitive dissonance grew too great and I gave up.

The problem is that I can't tell anyone. My wife would probably decide to follow me - but there's a chance she might not, and I love her way too much to risk losing her. Even if she did follow me it would cause her a tremendous amount of mental anguish which I really don't want to impose on her. She'd also likely not be able to keep that kind of secret from her friends and family for too long, and the pain of trying to keeping it secret would likely be even worse for her than it is for me. And if it did get out, then we'd risk losing virtually all of our (close-knit, wonderful, highly supportive) families and friends. And that's besides the terrible emotional effects that a revelation of this sort would have on my parents, kids, siblings, and friends.

I do have a few vague tentative plans for eventually being able to maneuver myself into a position where I can reveal my beliefs without too much of a risk, but that's only for the long term. For the short term I'm stuck with only a single friend who knows my true position.

The problem is that it's so hard! I hate keeping secrets from my wife. I hate having to bottle up my intellectual arguments (particularly because I'm the type whose favorite activity is a good intellectual discussion with friends). I hate having to fake prayers and fake interest in my friends' and family's religious discussions. But what am I to do? I'm stuck with no alternatives.

So what do I want from you, fellow readers of LessWrong? I don't know. Emotional support? Advice? Maybe a link to an organization I could contact (secretly, of course) or to some relevant online resources? Whatever you can think of, I guess. Or maybe I'm just venting my emotions.

ETA: Maybe I should be a bit more specific. My situation closely parallels this. I do not want to end up like that!