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Have you "come out" to family/friends about your non-believer views?

My mother is a Christian and goes to church every week. She is passionate about her beliefs and keeps praying that I'll come back to God.

My best friend is also religious and I hate the thought of causing a rift, hurting feelings, or just making things uncomfortable.

I'm tolerant of other religions and feel it's none of my business to tell others what to believe. I'm not offended by them sharing their beliefs, but can any of you share experiences about telling the religious people in your life that you are an atheist/agnostic person?

Kaybee01 4 Feb 27

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I came out when I was 12. Both my parents were believers. But my father taught me to think for myself and to question everything. So we talked about religion a lot they were pretty accepting. My grandmother was a different story. I was in my 20’s before I came out to her. It took her a while to accept it. And she blamed my dad for my being a atheist until she died. All my friends know I don’t hide my feelings on religion. If they can’t handle it then they aren’t worth being friends with.


Thank you all so much for your responses! They were all so encouraging and helpful. My mom and I are so close and I hate the thought of this causing a rift. Right now, I just evade the topic and don't go into detail about how I feel. I also don't want her to feel like she failed me somehow.

I have no issues exposing my 12 y/o son to religion for educational purposes. My mom takes him to church sometimes and I explain my beliefs are different. As long as no one is forcing their beliefs on him, then I'm fine. My mom asks me why I don't take him to church and I just say it's not for me, and leave it at that. Thankfully, she hasn't asked me why yet.


Great post. I was pretty young when I decided realized that I didn't believe in God (8 or 9 is that normal?). My parents and I have always been close and I grew up going to church with them and my little sister. One day after church I told them how I felt and my parents were both crushed. We talked about it for hours and they cried a lot (I had no idea what a big deal it was to them). I felt horrible and they told me they were failures as devout Christian parents. I tried my best to make them feel better about it, but nothing I said seemed to help. They told me I still had to go to church because I was too young to be left at home alone and continued to go with them until I was in high school. I think they also hoped it would change my mind somehow. Since then, it has come up a few times (they still seem disappointed but it got easier each time we spoke about it). Today I feel like we have always had a great relationship despite our spiritual differences and I am always respectful of their religion. If I could go back, I would do it again because I am happy that they know the real me. If anyone is on the fence and think it feels right for you to tell people, I would encourage you to do it. It will probably be challenging at first, but I think it can ultimately strengthen your relationship. I hope it goes well.


Definitely understand. In the black community atheism is practically nonexistent. And my sister is the only black female atheist that I know, so you would probably short-circuit a few frontal lobes by coming out. After coming out, I found it extremely hard to continue being around devout people. They kept inviting me to church, having their pastors tell me that I was going to Hell, etc. Telling me that I was possessed by the devil.

Right! Being a black woman, everyone just assumes o.k. Christian. I started a new job and when another black woman office met me, one of her first questions was to ask me what church I went to.


I've posted this before, but I had a party, now most of my friends already know that I'm an atheist, but I had a friend there who was Catholic and we got on the subject of religion and I said I was an atheist. She tells me no you're not. I replied, yes I am! She argues, no you're not, you're a good person. It actually really hurt because I do try to be a good person. I donated blood, I volunteer, and I help my friends and neighbors. But I thought, I can't be an atheist and be a good person because I don't fear some retribution from some unseen god when I die. Ridiculous!

Makes me sad that people assume being an atheist means you're evil. That's why I don't want to tell my mom. She equates it with devil worship.

@Kaybee01 that can't be easy! My mother is also an atheist and my dad and step mother aren't very religious anyway. But I did recently interviewed for a job and they asked if I was an atheist and I told them yes and I didn't get the job. It's a shame it's like that because we aren't bad people!

@geeky1965 ugh...that's none of their business!

I have had people tell me that so many times it not funny. I usually respond With “If you have to have a fear of eternal damnation for you to be a good person then you are not a good person anyway.” They don’t normally know how to respond to that.


I keep my atheism to myself unless someone tries to shove their belief onto me.


I let it be know. Usually my T-shirt says something that indicates that I follow science and reason. My Mormon cousins accept my Atheism far more than I accept their believe in the Supreme Evil-doer. Being open is GREAT - no it is your turn to spread the word!


Some were okay with it, others not so much. At least I know who was being the better person by not disowning a family member simply because of one difference between us.


My son is a very born again christian, following being an alcoholic and major drug user/dealer. He was raised to believe what he liked by his atheist parents. After being told that I (and my ex partner) were going to hell unless we accepted jesus etc, I made him very fucking aware of my stance on god (s), religion and belief, and reminded him that I had actually read the bible, on the grounds that I want to argue my point of view from a position of knowledge. We now get along very well 🙂


A small number will take it personal and make it all about themselves and how they feel. BUT, most don't care, and those that do will only care for a short while. That was my experience with a Roman Catholic family.

Marz Level 7 Feb 27, 2018

Great attitude. I'm very adamant about everyone has a right to believe whatever they want. Nobody should care what another person believes. If someone wants to pray for me knock yourself out whatever works for you. Im very secure in my belief and don't have any problem debating it but I can be a sarcastic asshole about it too if I need to be. Everyone I know knows how I feel about it. I have a couple good friends who are devoted Christians we go fishing and stuff like that but we don't discuss religion. It's hard to find a Christian who is secure enough in their beliefs that they don't feel the need for you to believe it too.


When I told my family about my lack of belief reactions varied. My wife was not too surprised as she viewed the process firsthand. My parents were shocked and did not know what to say but they basically accepted my atheism. My sister on the other hand was very angry with me and it had a negative impact on my relationship with her. Years later that relationship is still a strained one. Still all in all I am glad I told my family.


I told my friends a looong time ago. And my family found out in a big way when I told them there would be no baptism for my kids, and explained why. My friends took it in stride. My family was a bit more upset, but they eventually got over it. I still get anonymous cards from one of my former co-workers around Easter. I was surprised with how many other people share at least some of my views, while others can't process it when they first find out. Listen, if you have to be someone other than yourself for a friendship, or for anything, what you had was not friendship.


When I came out to my maternal relatives, the only one who didn't seem to have a problem with it was my (then) 87 year old, great-uncle (he lived to be 101) . Everyone else was a mixture of scandalized, angry, and incredulous.


A long time ago. I never cared.


I've been "out" since I was 8. If people don't like it? They can take it on the arches, as they say.


You have just as much right to your beliefs as anyone else. "causing a rift, hurting feelings, or just making things uncomfortable" is not your problem but an issue of their own making.

I recognize that. I'm sharing my reasons for keeping quiet. I'm just wanting to know others discuss this sensitive topic with friends and family who may be offended.

@Kaybee01 I do not that issue so any response I would give would be speculative at best. I wish you well.

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