25 7

Coming out to family

How did you come out to your family as atheist? How did they react?

By AnnaMD
Options Favorite Like

Enjoy being online again!

Welcome to the community of good people who base their values on evidence, and appreciate civil discourse - the social network you will enjoy

Create your free account

25 comments

7

I kept quiet about it until mom passed. When she was dying and drs offered to get me someone to talk to, my friend felt the need to tell everyone that I am atheist. He told more people in one night that I was atheist than I had told in my entire life.

angelashupe Level 4 Dec 29, 2018
Reply

Is he an atheist also?

@Richardbayo Yes. He was like a dog with a bone about it too.

6

I never really said anything just refused to go to church anymore

Jolanta Level 7 Dec 29, 2018
Reply
6

At age 13, I became an atheist when I realized the Bible is just a book of stories written by men. My parents were fine with it. They didn't have a leg to stand on.

On Sunday, my mother dropped off us kids at First United Methodist Church, shoving us into the arms of the Lord. Mom went back to bed.

"In nursing school, I became an atheist when I realized a woman cannot be turned into salt," Mom said dryly. She was hilarious. Raised Catholic, Mom attended Catholic schools through college. When I stopped going to church, Mom said it was understandable.

Dad never went to church after attending First United Methodist Church as a child. He didn't care, either.

LiterateHiker Level 8 Dec 29, 2018
Reply

I wish it could that easy for me.

5

I want to tell them that but the thought of my decapitated head upsets me so i decided not to do it

Nabil123 Level 3 Dec 31, 2018
Reply
4

My mother was always an atheist, I explored religions with her encouragement, but it was a relief her when I told her they were all full of shit and were tools manifested in order to control people.

SailorFrank Level 3 Dec 29, 2018
Reply
3

I have been playing "Chess" games with my family for about a year now. Haven't actual said outloud the word "ATHEIST" ... But they all know by the way I talk or what I post on social media. I have been slowly working with them into accepting Atheism. By showing that not believing in god, doesn't necessarily make you a BAD person.

BUT... just few things my Fundamental Methodist Christian Mother has said during multiple conversations...
"I feel sorry for you."
"You are going to burn in hell!'
"One of these days, god is going to slap you in the face!"

WeaZ Level 7 Dec 29, 2018
Reply
3

I left the church in my early teens and kept it too myself. I mentioned it to my mother a few years ago she kinda laughed and never brought it up again. She is not a church goer though. My father died about six years ago and looking back now I kinda wonder if he was hiding something. He was a ChemE, didn’t want a funeral but a celebration and insisted on being cremated. Was a prolific reader of atheist literature. Just gets me thinking??

Green_eyes Level 7 Dec 29, 2018
Reply

Our stories are almost identical. I think a lot of men went to church when l was young for reasons of business. My mother never went, and my father quit going when l was fourteen, so my brother and l quit going also. It was never mentioned again.

Edited

Interesting about your father and your questioning whether he was an atheist, assuming that was what you were doing. I wondered about my father being an atheist too. My mother was, and is, devoutly religious, but my father wasn't, and he always seemed to mock religion, and read about evolution and science. So, when I was told that he had a stomach aneurysm and could die any minute, I visited him and one of the questions I asked him was if he was an atheist. He said no, that he was against religion, but did believe in a god and he prayed. The way he described his beliefs was more like Deism. He didn't die until a few years later, though.

@sfvpool I’ve thought about it many times. I really wish I would’ve had those conversations. I know he wouldn’t have talked to my mother. I guess I’ll never know.

@Green_eyes I understand. There were many things about my father I wish I would have asked him, but didn't. Throughout my childhood, I don't think I ever had a conversation with him. But, as an adult, I finally did ask him some things, like about religion and his time in the Navy during WWII. He seemed happy to honestly answer any question I had. Times were different during his lifetime. He was born in the south just before the great depression, ran away from home at twelve and never went back. He falsified his ID to join the Navy at sixteen and spent his time in the Navy making whiskey for his shipmates. He was a tough man, became an alcoholic, but later quit drinking cold turkey and never had another drink. Not a good father, but he didn't know how to be until much later in life.

3

I started questioning my Sunday School teachers at 8 or 9 years old. Since the only answer they could come up with was 'you must have faith', I began rejecting it. So belief in superstition was not something I cared for. Started reading other religious tomes in my teen years and realized they are all basically the same -- it also gave me a lot of ammo for cussing / discussing religion. My friends don't discuss religion with me as I am effective in tearing down their myths.

xyz123 Level 6 Dec 29, 2018
Reply
3

My mother was always an atheist and my father always an agnostic, so there were no surprises.

I knew Dad was proud of my 2000s atheist activism. It touched me to see a few clippings and printouts in his files after he died.

But my mother was upset that I refused to also identify as Jewish, though, even though her only devotion was depressedly wallowing in Holocaust books. She and Dad held Hanukkah as a present-giving alternative to Christmas, including menorah lighting, but that ended by our high-school years, when we kids were happy to accept gifts without the nuisance of ritual.

My brother still claims Jewish "heritage" and throws a little Hanukkah into his family's Unitarian/pantheist/New Age-ish Christmas. I'm happy he's happy. The church he volunteers at is a down-on-its-luck remnant of a century-old UU congregation. Invented diversity is the best it can hope for.

josh_karpf Level 7 Dec 29, 2018
Reply
3

I was fairly young (about 13) when I came out as a nonbeliever. My Dad & I were on the same page. Mom kind of shrugged it off at the time, but she accepted it more or less eventually. Only an uncle, long since passed, took it as an affront & we had words. It could have been worse.

SonofMax Level 7 Dec 29, 2018
Reply
3

Sunday dinner after church. Someone said "thank God"! I said "Hail Satan" and then shit hit the fan and a fork was thrown at my head which knicked my ear. So I came clean. I was 12. I assume you are going through that. Good luck.

Mokvon Level 7 Dec 29, 2018
Reply
3

I've only come out my cousin as not being religious. having grown up in a traditional filipino family, the majority of them were very catholic and often brought down my cousins for not being so. i didn't even know they were atheists until the youngest on my dad's side told me she was. i laughed and came out to her as well, and she was so surprised because of how my parents were. it was a nice cousin bonding moment

angelheart Level 1 Dec 29, 2018
Reply
2

I came out as an atheist to my family at 18. I was pretty nervous because my family were strong Catholics and the faith was a huge part of our lives. I had heard many testimonies how this could lead to the breaking of families so that just added to the stress.
I just told them, straight up, that I faith wasn’t enough for me. If some deity was going to dictate how I live my life I need to have evidence that it exists. I consider myself very lucky that my family accepted me. I’ll never forget what my dad said to me immediately after. “I don’t care about what you are. I care about WHO you are.”
While my and sister made it known that they loved me just the same, it took some time for them to come to terms with it. I used to be a very devout Catholic so I understand that they had to get used to my new outlook on life.
They eventually came to terms with me leaving the faith and we moved on. I still get the playful tease and joke about being a heathen, demon, etc., but I laugh at it because they mean no ill will. I know I’m lucky to have this outcome because there are many who have been outcast by those they love because of this. Stay strong, y’all. If y’all need someone to talk to I’m all ears.

Luis_A Level 4 Dec 29, 2018
Reply
2

I told my (now ex)-wife that I no longer needed a god in my life. And she replied, "Well then, we have a problem." To save us both (and her family) a lot of difficulty, I moved out of state, and our divorce was quick and tidy. We miss the "good old days" when we were together, but we continue to grow further and further apart. It was a very sane decision, apparently for me, as she and her whole family are now trumpsters. Funny how that works.

WalterIdema Level 3 Dec 29, 2018
Reply
2

I grew up in a South Baptist household and when I told them I was an atheist as a teenager, they were devastated. They didn't exactly shun me, but they don't go out of their way to contact me.

JoeVZ Level 3 Dec 29, 2018
Reply
2

By the time I left the church my parents had died and my siblings and I were in different parts of the country. Slowly I found out that 5 out of 7 were also atheists. The sixth brother we weren't sure of because he was married to a flaming Christian. Last year all the brothers got together at my home and we asked him. He said he had been atheist a long time but kept a low profile because of his wife. He also said her family was upset because she was marrying a non-Christian.
How's Frederick? My uncle lived there (Mt. Airy) and I spent a lot of happy time there with him. His son lives in Walkersville and I keep in touch.

JackPedigo Level 8 Dec 29, 2018
Reply
2

My mother was a recovering Catholic, and my dad was an Appeasement Anglican. Neither of them ever tried to tell me anything about religion, no opinions, no stories, nothing. At 12, I realized most of it was bullshit, and nothing more was ever said about it. When they passed in 2013 and 2014, neither one said anything about religion or deities or anything as they faced their own deaths. I still do not have any idea what they believed specifically, but they showed zero signs of belief in any of the rituals.

Byrdsfan Level 8 Dec 29, 2018
Reply
2

I'm keeping mum until my mom passes. I don't feel the need to upset her, and it doesn't really matter to me to be "out" or not. It's personal, why do I have to shout it from the rooftops?

Orbit Level 6 Dec 29, 2018
Reply

I will planning to wait until my parents die like you until I come out. Of course that be one of the bomb shells that I would drop.

2

They wanted me go church and talk the preacher

Storiesandsuch Level 2 Dec 28, 2018
Reply

My stupid younger brother made the mistake of inviting me to one of his church parties, with the plan of having his pastor talk to me . . . . the result did not make them very happy, after a rather extended discussion with his pastor, which got into some pretty heavy philosophical questions and church history, his pastor finally got so pissed off that he said to me "You are just a Nimrod!" and stormed off . . . . . I took it as a compliment.

1

There are few things I put 100% of my "faith" into. This include my ignorance on agnosticism and atheism. My family is well aware of my skepticism. I've always questioned things including my time growing up. They know my beliefs are based on what I see in front of me, the facts as they lay right there before me and nothing else. I guess I never really had to come out. I was an altar-boy, too... Ha!

DenSki Level 3 Dec 30, 2018
Reply
1

Great question.

Lots of different stories. For me I really didn't spend any time pretending to believe in religion based fairy tales - - my mother figured my lack of belief was (just a Faze) that I would grow out of. Both parents have now long ago accepted my status of not drinking their Cool-Aid and have learned (the hard way) not to bring up any faith based assertion as my arguments (based on facts and reason) are stronger then any faith (belief without evidence) argument.

NoMagicCookie Level 7 Dec 29, 2018
Reply
1

My coming out as atheist was a part of my coming out as gay. i figured if i came out as atheist at teh saem time, then they would be denied all the religious arguments which woudl deplete all their ammunition against my being gay. It worked. Also, they were much more co9ncerned about my beign gay than my being atheist.

My intentions were rooted in the fact tha there were just some thing that my family nhever talked about, as in "ignorance is bliss", and if they don't know about things they dont' like, then they can't be upset by them. I just was plain tired of editign my life to suit their preferences, and wanted to just be myself and decided if they didn't like me for who I was, then I could do without them and woudl be much happier beign myself with or without them. It was kind of a reverse of what usually happens in religious families where the believers usually give the ultimatum. There are advantages to putting the decisions on them instead of letting them try to put the decisions (or blame) onto you. It shows them that they can't guilt or shame yhou into doing what they want you to. you take their power to manipulate (you) away from them.

If you take the initiative, then the idea of their using a "tough love" or "shunning" approach, in their minds increases the chances they will lose you forever. You then get to deal with them on your own terms.

snytiger6 Level 8 Dec 29, 2018
Reply
0

I started giving clues for a long time before I actually had the courage to tell them. I just said that I didn't believe God exists during a family discussion about some religious topic.

Reaction: this happened around 10 hrs ago. My family is still in denial and thinks that i m going through a phase .

lovin1987 Level 3 Jan 11, 2019
Reply
0

For me the reaction whatever it was, is not the problem .. if what I believe is the truth

belfodil Level 6 Jan 7, 2019
Reply
0

They expected it from me never had a problem

Lordelvis Level 5 Dec 29, 2018
Reply
Write Comment
Agnostic does not evaluate or guarantee the accuracy of any content read full disclaimer
  • Agnostic.com is the largest non-profit community for atheists, agnostics, humanists, freethinkers, skeptics and others happy without religion!