Should I tell my christian parents I'm an atheist?

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Hatsune Candy, Mar 15, 2016.

  1. This is something I have been mulling over for quite some time, ever since I was willing to admit to myself that I am indeed an atheist.

    On one hand, I absolutely hate keeping a secret as big as this from my parents and it's beginning to eat me up inside. But on the other, I dread what their response might be. I very much doubt that they would be ones to disown me or kick me out of the house, yet I am fill with anxiety at the very thought of telling them. I suppose it's because I've always been deeply afraid of disappointing my parents; after all, it's why I started college immediately after high school, even though I clearly wasn't properly prepared for it.

    To them, being an atheist is by far the most disappointing thing I could ever do/be. This fact is the very same reason why I spent so many years in denial of my atheism. Nowadays, I no longer have a problem with admitting I'm an atheist, but I still fear what would happen if my parents were to know. It's not that I don't want to tell them, I just don't know if I can. Or should, for that matter.
  2. I'm of the personal belief that whatever I believe is no one else business but my own, so I keep it to myself. I think it depends on how important religion is to your parents and in the household. My parents are christian, I'm an atheist, and I've never had any problems with my family knowing because they were more concerned with me being raised to become a hard working and respectable adult with good values. Sure, they thought that christian values were important but they also knew that not being religious wasn't going to make me into a bad person. If you think your parents are capable of seeing that, then I think you should tell them if keeping it a secret bothers you that much.

    Now if you think them knowing is going to strain your relationship with them then there really isn't any harm in them not knowing is there? That being said I hope that it all works out with whatever decision you make.
    • Thank Thank x 1
  3. I don't know if I can help very much since I never really gave a damn about my mom's opinion. She raised me Catholic. Sent me to Catholic school, made me go to church every Sunday, and go through every stupid sacrament that I could, all without consulting me. I was never the type of person to have faith in anything that I couldn't see. Hell, I'm not the type of person to have faith in anything if I can see it. But, because I was a kid and at the stage in my life where all I wanted to do was gain my mother's approval I went through it all, up until she threw me out of the house at 16.

    Then, I grew up and realized that my mother's approval wasn't necessary for me to have a happy life. Being forced to go to church and listen to someone preach to you about something you don't believe in is a waste of your time and the priest's time as well. Trying to pretend that you believe for the sake of your parents isn't going to make you happy, it's only going to stress you out in the long run because you're basically lying to them. They might be disappointed for a bit, but they're your parents. Parents love their kids unconditionally no matter what. I'm not saying your relationship with them won't be strained for a bit, but when it's all said and done, they'll forgive and forget (At least I'm hoping so. This is coming from the parent side of me, and like every kid, every parent is different.) It's better to be honest with them and explain your views. If they start to get mad, suggest everyone take a day to gather their thoughts and continue the discussion when you can all be rational.
    • Thank Thank x 1
  4. I can sympathize with your situation. So pmy put, I pretty much agree with @GlassTrinity. My family is strong Baptist. I'm not saying I'm not religious but I don't know if I believe in everything that is taught. I just told my grandmother who I was most afraid of telling that I respect her beliefs, and I would hope she respect mine. And I told her that I keep my beliefs to myself and not to worry for me.thankfully she doesn't press the issue.
    • Love Love x 1
  5. I'll add to the prevailing sentiment: why bother? It's none of their business. If it might cause you a lot of grief without anything positive to gain, then don't do it, plain and simple. It isn't like coming out as gay or bi or so on to religious parents, where it's going to be a major part of your life that you don't want to hide. Faith or lack thereof is (and should be) a personal thing that requires no outward expression. It's not like you're going to be heading to weekly atheist meetings and would need to come up with a cover story if they don't know the truth, and I doubt you're going to have like atheist symbols all over your walls and Richard Dawkins books strewn everywhere. You can be incognito with your atheism without needing to lie or hide anything, so I'd suggest just doing that to make your life easier.
    • Love Love x 1
  6. On some level I can agree with that sentiment, and to a certain degree that's already what I have been doing—but I still feel like I'm deceiving my parents by allowing them to think that I share their beliefs. Atheism is a huge part of who I am and it's something I feel very strongly about; choosing to keep that to myself may not be lying, but it isn't honesty either.

    Frankly, I already know that I want to tell my parents I'm an atheist at some point; it's just a matter of whether that's now, or years down the line. Simply put, I'm gonna regret it if they die without ever knowing.
  7. This is one topic where I really don't want to play the "Personal Opinion/Advice" game cause of the factors and potential fallouts involved.
    So I'll just refer you to an expert opinion on the matter:

    Good luck. :)
    • Thank Thank x 1
  8. I am also under the impression that your beliefs are your beliefs, and they are within you. Therefore I don't find it super necessary to tell people. Unless of course they are bothering you to pray or go to church, and that makes you very uncomfortable. If not I wouldn't worry so much. Does it really matter if they know if you pray at night or not?
    It is sad that we have a fear of being judged because of something so sacred and important as our religious beliefs. I am Catholic, born and raised and still practicing, but sometimes people see the cross necklace I wear and think I am "super religious." In my opinion as long as you aren't hurting anyone with either keeping your beliefs or withholding them from someone, it shouldn't be a big deal.

    If you are set on telling your parents and think they need to know, as someone who suffers from anxiety, it's best to get it over this. With their reaction get better or worse if you wait? Probably not. Chances are you are old enough to make your own belief choices - and as you said, it is unlikely they will kick you out or shun you. Like any parent that wants their child to follow some certain path, they may be sad or angry at first. Eventually they will realize (even deep inside) that you are your own person with your own ideas and thoughts. I know it is easier said then done to come out with something like that. But as I said, it won't get any better or worse by waiting, so it may be best to alleviate that anxiety and tell them (if you really feel you need to).

    Again, religion and ideologies aren't something you need to share with others.
    • Thank Thank x 1