“fear that I am being judged by christians”
We’re all being judged by christians, and by almost everyone else. It’s what humans do. I’d tell you not to let it bother you, but I know that answer wouldn’t convince me.
If you’re talking about family, or about people who think you’ve betrayed them due to your beliefs, or about some concrete action being taken or threats against you, my answer won’t be of much help. But it sounded like you were speaking more generally. I have not been in your particular situation, but I was raised Christian (it never took), and am gay.
If the judgment is not about atheism, and is more general, you need the confidence to build your own system for evaluating what is right, and what is wrong. Certainly, the golden and silver rules are a good place to start, as they are widely respected across several belief systems, and have some basis in science. I recommend watching Michael Sandel’s Harvard course on Justice, available on YouTube ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kBdfcR-8hEY ). It exposes you to a variety of different ways of thinking about what is right. You might be attracted to a system that makes sense to you, or come up with your own. I think the main thing is to think it out, and to be able to defend your choices. Being judged is less intimidating when you know why you think or do as you do. It’s not easy, when the answers aren’t handed to you. And you may find you have to change your mind on some things.
If the judgment is more specifically about you being gay, I think having mentioned it to us then you’re probably already able to defend yourself on that. There’s support in your corner, if you seek it. I think what’s remarkable about this time is that public opinion is shifting quickly (never quickly enough, of course) in your favor. That’s not to say everything will be great. But there are a lot of people, including many conservatives, who will stand with you, so you can succeed as a gay person. If you don’t have these people in your daily life, I think you should make that a top priority.
If the judgment is specifically about atheism, I recommend counteracting the culture’s impact on you by watching documentaries about the planet and the cosmos (perhaps starting with Cosmos). We’re so awash in anti-scientific ideas in North America that it’s sometimes a shock to rediscover what is actually known about the world. Once you begin to take advantage of scientific knowledge that has been built up by others, you get a beautiful picture for how the world really is, as far as we are able to tell, and you’ll have the confidence to ignore unfair judgment for your unbelief. Brian Cox has done some good series for BBC about the solar system and the universe. And a couple of years ago the BBC had a fantastic series on Darwin. He’s a lot more than a guy on a ship collecting finches. After a while, you notice that religious claims just don’t match up to the evidence. It’s one thing to know this intellectually, but it’s another to have that information stored well in your mind, so that you can explain it to someone who doesn’t. So explore a lot until it becomes familiar. (I’m biased in favor of movies and TV, but there are plenty of books as well).
As you’ve probably discovered, there’s not a uniformity of thought among atheists. Find some you agree with. And some you don’t. There’s increasingly more conversation happening, particularly via blogs and YouTube. In addition to debate and argument (and general shouting each other down) there’s an entertainment component as well. I think some have recognized there is a need for some sense of community, a social aspect, to reduce the isolation that certainly some atheists feel in dominant christian towns and cities. As a parallel, gay pride used to be the only time some gay people (i.e. me) even saw any other openly gay people. Now we’re on TV every night. I think atheism will be like that.