28 6

Speaking to family about religion

I have a question how did you tell your parents and family that an atheist because my Papa is a pastor and owns his own church and my parents don't know either?

Shadow0405 4 June 6

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Welcome to the asylum. Enjoy your stay.

Prepare for the worst, hope for the best.
Be ready to be disowned.
Have a support system in place BEFORE you say anything.
Unless you aren't worried about their reaction, regardless of what
it is. If that's the case, let 'er rip!

This community is here for you.
Good luck to you.

Thank you so much

"Prepare for the worst, hope for the best."

Solid advice there. My grandfather used to say that quite often.


Depends on a lot of things: Are they the type of people who would disown you or kick you out of the house? Do you have the means to survive alone? How do they behave with other atheists?

I'd advise you "test the waters" before anything, simply because you must prioritize your future. Mention atheist friends or something like that. If they seem accepting, slowly start putting forward the possibility that you're an atheist yourself. If they react protectively but not aggressively, you can break the news, otherwise make sure you have the means to survive alone before you do.

Thank you, I will try that

@Shadow0405 Good luck, but do be careful.


I just told my mom that I didn't believe in any gods and any religions because there is one undeniable reality, all gods and all religions are man made, without exception.


When I became an adult, did my research, and discovered that religion was not reality, but mythology, I was honest with everyone about it.

The church excommunicated me.
My wife took the children and disappeared. Later, I got the divorce papers.
My parents were kind and accepting.

But the most important thing was what I thought of myself. I was happy to keep my integrity intact and be honest with everyone. Their reaction is their own business.


"Mom, I decided I'm an atheist," I said at age 13. "I don't want to go to church anymore."

"That's fine, honey," she replied.

That winter, I read about rational philosophers Descartes and Spinoza who bravely defied the Church in the 1600s, when heretics were burned at the stake.

Also, I could not stand the hypocrisy of Christians who removed their Sunday manners with their Sunday girdles.

"I became an atheist in nursing school when I realized a woman cannot be turned into salt," Mom said wryly.

My mother was a strong, intelligent and funny person.


I don't understand your question. My mother was in nursing school in 1944. In 1966, was 13.


Growing up, my father attended First United Methodist Church. Mom was raised Catholic. She attended Catholic schools through college.

Dad never went to church. He was a professional jazz trumpeter who played on Saturday nights.

Mom dropped us kids off at First United Methodist Church for Sunday school, then went home to bed.

I assume my parents wanted us to learn behavioral lessons from Sunday school like "treat others as you would want them to treat you."

I grew up in a family of six, highly-intelligent, hilarious, left-handed musicians and artists. We four kids were a handful. We lived on a lake in Michigan.

When we were teenagers, my parents rowed to the middle of the lake for some peace and quiet. They could hear us laughing and yelling in the house. (Sound carries over water.)

"Let's not go back," they said and laughed.


It was very complicated to speak to my mother, I was almost expelled from her house, but over time she was conforming herself. It is still difficult, but the love of mother is greater than any prejudice. Just talk when you feel safe enough.

ylma Level 5 June 7, 2019

Unless you're still living with your parents, I really don't see why you should have to tell them. Even if you still live with them, I wouldn't tell them unless you need to (like they are forcing you to go to your dad's church).

When you do tell them and they go nuts, remind them that Jesus teaches unconditional love. Unless they are a hypocrite, that should shut them up. But be prepared to be kicked out of the house, so have a place to stay beforehand.

Personally, I wouldn't tell them. It's really none of their business.


@Shadow0405 I forgot to mention, I didn't tell my devout Catholic father until I was around 45, and even then he didn't really care. My mother had already died, but if she was alive, she wouldn't have cared as long as I was happy.


The Faithfools of this world are, beyond a shadow of a doubt, the most judgmental, divisive, discriminatory, etc, of almost all the peoples on this planet.
Stand tall, be proud, never waver and tell them outright and succinctly that you have " marched boldly and willingly across the Threshold dividing Fantasy and Superstition, etc, and into the universe of Logic, Reasoning, Free-thinking, True Individuality,etc, and IF they do NOT like it then it IS their loss and theirs alone."
Hey, hang on there a minute, I thought that ALL Churches belonged to and were the Houses of this Sky Daddy so, How can your Father own his Church when this god is the supposed owner anyway?

Sorry that I confused you I am bad at explaining things sometimes my Papa is just the pastor at the church and he is very biased

@Shadow0405 That's quite okay, But, aren't most, if not all religions biased at best?


Over time I decided for myself that none of it was real. After that, if the subject of religion, or god, or attending church came up I'd simply say that I didn't believe in that shit anymore. Most people were okay with it except my grandmother who told me never to say that again. So, around her, I never did.

But she knew.


i was raised in a secular jewish family (although i understand that until i was three we kept kosher; when the last great-grandparent who could care about that died, my mom turned to my dad and said she wasn't doing that anymore. he balked but a few years later he was happily eating mcdonald's cheeseburgers -- something i don't do, and it has nothing to do with religion!). we celebrated the holidays and had a strong cultural jewish identity but never talked about god. i don't remember a single conversation about that personage. when at age 15 i realized there were no gods, it never occurred to me to share this revelation with my folks. it didn't occur to me they're be interested. i told my best friend and found out she was an atheist too, but this was just like finding out we both liked broccoli, you know? many years later, as an adult, having moved to california, i called my folks (i think they were still in maryland but they might have moved to florida by then; i'm not certain) because someone asked me what they believed and i didn't know. my folks were surprised that i was calling long distance to ask such a weird question as "do you believe in god?" my mom said she wasn't sure but she thought she did. my dad said he wasn't sure but he thought he didn't. and that was the end of that! they didn't even ask me what i believed lol!



I got ordained, I forget the name. Something ministries if I remember. Have a certificate somewhere. Got ordained so I could marry my son and his wife. They wanted a secular wedding that was about them not the church. It was the straw that broke the back of some of my religious friends. They haven't talked to me since. One of the best things to happen to me. I decided to come out about ten years ago after joining a Free Thinker group. Those people who know and respect me accept my belief and those who don't, I'm better of without them. I've also found many of my friends that I've known for years are also Agnostic/Atheist.


Considering where you live I suggest you let it slide until you can move out of the house at 18... Or at least arrange a place to stay with friends who accept you for who you are....


I was always "out" about atheism. Some of my family have tried to convert me, and when they do I try to convert them. That typically ends it for a while.


I am curious about your statement that your papa OWNS his own church... How does an individual own a church?!?

They rent a space and get a licence... Many of them like Pat "The Liquor Officer" Robertson get their ordination either for free online these days or like he did pay a small fee to a diploma mill (he paid $25 for his certificate)...

If the deacons quit and he pays the mortgage he owns the church


I wouldn’t, not yet.
The time to tell them will become obvious.
Give yourself some more time to take on your family.


Although my parents were both agnostic, they allowed my very religious grandparents to take charge of my "immortal soul" and drag me to their church for most of my childhood. I never told my grandparents I was an atheist, once I was an adult. I told my parents, but it didn't upset them, of course.

Deb57 Level 8 June 7, 2019

It never came up, so I never had to tell them. I also think my parents were atheists too, but I never asked.


Just don't text them because that's bad


never had that problem, my family are all heathens.....question : how do you "own a church" ?

They rent a space and get a licence... Many of them like Pat "The Liquor Officer" Robertson get their ordination either for free online these days or like he did pay a small fee to a diploma mill (he paid $25 for his certificate)...

I got ordained, I forget the name. Something ministries if I remember. Have a certificate somewhere. Got ordained so I could marry my son and his wife. They wanted a secular wedding that was about them not the church. It was the straw that broke the back of some of my religious friends. They haven't talked to me since. One of the best things to happen to me.

@rogueflyer I am ordained in 4 different churches.... I just find it funny is all...

@Lizard_of_Ahaz I wonder if we can get some IRS tax benefits? Maybe call my home a parsonage and try to raise money for a new airplane?

@rogueflyer You actually can do that IRS regulations are very lax for 501c3 organizations . The enforcement of those regulations is way underfunded especially when it comes to electioneering violations...


This is worse than if you're a vegan and your dad owns a McDonald's.....refusing to eat his food is a small betrayal compared to refusing wafer&wine or using prEyer time to say Atheists don't prEy because I are an wanting intellectual honesty with Papa is a Yentil story the movie with Barbara Streisand....take a deep breath and keep this matter under your hat....just say no or pass when asked to prEy or confess.....say I prEy in my closet like Jesus ....if you are ready to get married ELOPE....don't ask for an Atheist wedding in Papa building....keep silent in your family until you live far away in your own house have a good job and THEN TELL PAPA I am a Scientist and 93% of all world scientists are Atheists....we find zero evidence of any alleged gawd anywhere....daddy you are 99% Atheist not believing any world religion but your own....I am 100 % Atheist because I cannot tell lies I believe


I would first tell them the Abrahamic story of the visitor. An angel came by and told Abraham that an old friend of god's would be coming by that night, and to treat him well. The man comes and Abraham puts out his finest meals and wines, before they are about to begin, Abraham tells the visitor that they should give thanks to the god that both of them praise. The visitor tells him he worships no god and bends before no man. Infuriated Abraham, throws the visitor into the night.
The next day god comes by to see Abraham, and asks him how the visit was. Abraham relates what happened that night and god admonishes him " I put up with him for 70 years and you can't put up with him one night".
That being said, if it is going to present a problem for you, keep your cards close to your vest, let your actions speak, when your parents are comfortable that they can accept your answer, they will ask.
I told my mother when I was 17, you would think I had told her I was a murderer. I maintained the facade, thru high school, didn't go back to church until I met my future wife, to keep the peace, I went with her faithfully except during football season. Haven't been in a church except for funerals since the divorce.


Well, this is fresh: I finally told my mother yesterday that neither my older brother or myself is a believer. My mother just turned 86, I'm 61, and my brother is 65. I've been going through a pretty tough patch here (break up with a terrific lady while trying to find a job in a tough job market, especially for older people). I was talking to her about my problems, a desperate move as normally I would never do that; that's how bad off I'm feeling. As far as meeting people, at some point she always comes back with: "you could meet someone at church". Now my mother hasn't gone in 46 years, yet tells me that. So I started telling her I don't go to church, but she beat me to it: "I know, you don't go to church". So I finally told her. About all she could say was: "You'll see". I think I already have. Anyway, today she seems to be fine. I don't think this was a huge surprise for her. Outside of my brother, my mother, and myself, there is no other family to speak of.


How can anybody be anything but an agnostic? Who can prove that there is or is not a God???

Oh man
Don’t start this old hat again


Never officially told them but I did mentioned I don’t believe in creationism with dad. Never fully came out but for me there is no need to.


Parents were dead and my kids don't care one is a atheist

Sorry about your parents. I’m sure you have great kids who would never care if you were atheist or not. They love you all the same.

@Tyrantmike yup very fortunate

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