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Anyone have advice on how to come out ofthe atheist closet? I've been skeptical of the religion I was brought up in for a while and abandoned it a couple years ago. My mom has been Christian her whole life and is active in her church. She's open minded and we've talked about how the bible promotes things like genocide and slavery in fun conversation, but she still identifies with this belief system and I've never been totally forthright with what my worldview is. Any advice?

By jlwebster93
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If you are dependent upon Mom for financial support, proceed with caution. And you live in the buybull belt, so mom might be pressured her peers to make an example of how to treat unbelievers. When you're a fully supporting person you can do what you want.


I would just be honest about your lack of belief and go from there. You aren't obligated to explain yourself.

Paracosm Level 8 Aug 28, 2018

Since you have already discussed some of your thoughts about the Bible with your mom, maybe next time you have one of those discussions bring up atheism and ask what your mom thinks about it. If that leads to you telling her that you are an atheist then so be it; if not, you can say atheism has been something you have been considering for awhile.

joeymf86 Level 7 Aug 28, 2018

One, do you need to? Is there a reason to formally tell her? Two, you can let her know your views as conversation arises. If she asks you to go to church you can say not today or church no longer feels right to me.

GreatNani Level 8 Aug 28, 2018

I still haven't come out to certain people even after 9 years of disavowing religion. I've also received a fair bit of backlash which has now led me to close up about what I reveal to other people, not just with regards to lack of faith.

My advice: if this feels high-risk to you and you are worried, I would start by hedging the conversation like you already are. When I test the water I might talk about non-religious people as a group to see what their opinion is, or talk about the freedom to believe or not believe, or I might indicate my attitude with phrases like "just because a bunch of people believe in something, it doesn't make it true", and so on. However, do what feels right for you, I'm sure your mom is lovely and loves you no matter what.


Just do it. It's usually ends up that your anxiety over it is worse than what
actually happens, just like everything else we worry about.

She'll accept it or she won't.

KKGator Level 9 Aug 28, 2018

Have you actually declared yourself to be an atheist or are you still at the doubting stage, but not quite at the full rejection stage yet? Abandoning your religion is not quite the same thing as having a belief that there is no god. If you are still at the doubting stage you are really an agnostic. Only you can decide what you feel your beliefs are....on the evidence presented, using critical thought. It is good that your mother is open to discussing your doubts and she may never see your point of view, but if she loves you as I know she must, then she will allow you to be youself in what you identify as. You must first decide for yourself what that is,


'Mum I don't believe in god because he has to be a boy.' I was 5 and it was my only ever conversation with my Mum about it. She said 'fairy nuff' and carried on polishing. British people just don't worry about these things.

Amisja Level 8 Aug 28, 2018

Sorry..I can't relate.

As soon as I realized I'm agnostic, I put an announcement on Facebook, then blocked and deleted all people who were admitted Trump followers or who posted on religious subjects, including close relatives. I also emailed my siblings, informing them also.

I hadn't attended church in decades because of their insane logic, and had also told my parents and everyone I knew why I didn't.


It is YOUR life so live it the way you want. There is no reason to "come out" as anything just because you feel the need too, there is no reason to explain your life to anyone. When questioned, simply be honest and truthful, go no further than required by the questioner. Give your reasons for why you are what you are and do not engage in a discussion as it will only lead to an argument. If they do not want to accept your reasons, simply turn and walk away as any further talk will be fruitless and a waste of time and energy. There are ALWAYS consequences to your life choices, but again, it is YOUR life to live as YOU see fit and in MY opinion, that is the ONLY way to live YOUR life.

jlynn37 Level 8 Aug 28, 2018

Your research suggests humans have been inventing religions since the dawn of man, and these remaining couple are no different. That position shouldn't be controversial given the factual nature. No need to shit on people's religion if it provides them comfort, but no reason to back away from this position either. That's how I came out with my family and it was pretty well received. Good luck.

KevinMR Level 6 Aug 28, 2018

I would emphasize that you really don't have to. You have a right to privacy for a reason. People can be cruel. If it's right, the opportunity will present itself and you'll know what to say. But I would suggest not pushing it if you aren't really feeling confident about it. That is probably your gut telling you it's not the right time.


I think if you already talk about the negative parts of the bible your mum might already have a clue as to your true believes. Why not just tell her?

Dietl Level 7 Aug 28, 2018

i've never been in that closet. it sounds as if your mom will be accepting and understanding, so based on what you've said, i'd just say, "mom, i am an atheist." you can proceed from there based on how she responds.


genessa Level 8 Sep 9, 2018

Just tell her. The simplest was is usually the best.

Mom, I'm an atheist.

PhoebeCat Level 7 Aug 30, 2018

Just be honest. I and my brother an sister were lucky, our Dad choose to raise us without religion and my kids were also raised without nay as well !

coming out to your mother is not like telling her you are gay...our Atheism is critical thinking, something she's not used to her whole life....coming out to employers is also not a great idea... risking your income on whether or not your boss is a bigot willing to lie and get rid of you from the workplace telling the truth about all religions is too much to take for most believer bosses....coming out to your bowling or golf buddies is a good idea, you might find other Atheists there and if the believers piss on you, bowling or golfing somewhere else is no big discrete, be patient, save up your money and go to American Atheist National Conventions to be with hundreds of Atheists there for a long week end and join the local MeetUp to meet other Atheists in your community to feel less alone without the church songs and hell threats... as for the heaven bribes, post mortem, don't hold your breath for that bullshit


When I visit my sister, we always talk life and families. Her husband, who became an evangelical minister when he retired from business, and I aren't allowed to discuss religion. She tells her husband if he says something to stifle and she has heard it all before. I'm sure, in private, she prays for me, but chooses family over religion.


Just be honest and concise. Don't apologize or feel ashamed. Just own it.

ThisGuy Level 6 Aug 29, 2018

It's not easy. Don't overexplain or try to justify. Don't get drawn into an argument. This is YOUR current POV and having someone try to harangue you into believing something you have come to no longer believe is a waste of their time, and yours. Tell them you hope they won't see you differently, but if they do, that's on them because you are still the same person you were before you expressed your lack of belief.


My advice. Tell them you are an atheist. Let them figure out the rest. Why is it on you to explain how they should accept that into their view?

Seeker3CO Level 8 Aug 28, 2018

I'm really just thinking of the best way to approach the conversation if it comes up and I have a general idea. I was actually in a relationship with a devout christian for 8 months and I was honest and open when the topic came up a couple months in. She struggled with it and never really got over it, but i have no regrets. I'll tell my mom if the topic arises but just figured I'd make it more palatable and avoid the A word


It's a band aid, rip it off. After that you get to deal with how your family takes it, that's another discussion entirely.


I agree with the other posts. I just say I'm not religious and usually they don't ask why, cause it's all about them. I think people that are more curious like ourselves always want to know more, and that's a good thing. As far as talking to your parents that's hard. I couldn't to mine and then they passed away. I really wish they could have known me, but it's ok.

jpetrie79 Level 4 Aug 28, 2018

It is always dicy with parents. My mom was okay with me not believing but having a black significant other was not okay. Who knew she was such a racist and bigot.?
We have to be true to ourselves and lying never works, seems the less of a believer one is the less lying happens. Just my 2 cents for what's worth. Good luck with however you decide to handle it.


It never works when you hide the truth, either with silence or by lying. Everyone eventually finds out, always. Always. I feel it's better to control the narrative rather than to let it slip out without your direction. Be courageous, it's the right thing to do. Good luck, brother.

zeuser Level 8 Aug 28, 2018

Go with your pride and dignity. it is quite easy

EMC2 Level 8 Aug 28, 2018
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