General Question

Arp's avatar

How can I break it to my highly religious parents that I am atheist?

Asked by Arp (3516points) April 3rd, 2010

No, it isn’t a “rebel” kind of thing, it is really what I believe. But I can’t take holding it in any longer, how can I let them know? Thanks in advance.

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

27 Answers

FutureMemory's avatar

Tell them you’re gay. After you’ve picked them up off the floor from passing out, tell them you were just kidding, that you’re really only an atheist. They’ll be relieved.

This is assuming they’re not in favor of homosexuality. I of course support any form of love between human beings.

Trillian's avatar

Well, brace yourself. Somebody is going to get their feelings hurt. I don’t think that there’s really any way to soften that particular blow.
Try gentle but direct. “Mom, dad. I know how much your religious life means to you, but please understand that I have my own feelings and conclusions that I need to live by. My beliefs are widely different from yours. I ask that you please respect how I feel, as I will respect your beliefs.”
Stay calm and centered. Then remind them that you love them and give them time to come to terms with this. It may take a while.

ducky_dnl's avatar

Arp, have you ever heard the statement: “What your parents don’t know, won’t kill them”? or something like that, lol. Anyway, if you want to tell them… do it calmly. :P

If they are Christians, they’ll accept your beliefs. I’m one and I still love you. ;) Boytoy number 7!!

jazmina88's avatar

Religious beliefs are personal… family hasnt liked all my choices in that arena…...
Do you really have to tell them?? cant you endure that prayer at Christmas dinner??

If you are a man of peace, avoid the drama.

zophu's avatar

My parents disowned me when I refused to be catholic in my teen years.

Keeping me at an arms length, trying to “save” me.

rahm_sahriv's avatar

Simply be who you are. No need for grand announcements that would most likely upset everyone involved. If you are still living under their roof, depending on their support, then sorry, you have do as they dictate if they tell you that you have to join in religious activities despite making it clear you do not wish to.

There is also the matter of respect. My aunt is a holy roller, when I enter her house and sit at her table, I will bow my head while they pray. I won’t pray, or at least I won’t pray to the God they wish me too, but I will still show them the respect I expect them to show me, even though they don’t and try to belittle my ideas on the matter of faith.

@ducky_dni made a good point. If they are xtians and true ones (although I find them exceedingly rare), they may not like your choice, but they will still love you. Something about loving the supposed sinner and but hating the sin.

jazmina88's avatar

you can come out on fluther…...:):)

Much love!!!!

CyanoticWasp's avatar

Why do you need to tell them?

I presume that they take you to church with them regularly, and since you live with them (and you’re a minor, I believe?) they can pretty much do that. Even if they accept that you’re an atheist, they may take you to church more often in hopes of ‘curing’ you of that ‘affliction’.

If you feel a need to discuss this with someone, then talk to your minister or priest in confidence. He may debate the issue with you or assign some reading—which you can choose to do or not—but you don’t have to tell your parents now, do you? Not only will it upset them (presumably; you know them better than we do), but you’ll then be at an impasse with them.

I’d let this sleeping dog lie for now, if I were you.

semblance's avatar

This is one of those areas where you don’t need to tell and they don’t need to ask. Not all personal issues have to be aired. Not all personal relationships require absolute, unveiled and brutal honesty. If going to church is a particular issue it would be a lot easier for them if you just passed it off that formal religion is not working for you right now and for you spirtuality and your relation to a deity is a personal issue you are dealing with in your own way.

anartist's avatar

Don’t go to Easter services with them tomorrow. Offer to make them a welcome back brunch instead.

Seek's avatar

If you’re a minor living at home, you may just want to keep it in the closet for a while. “Breaking the news”, no matter how carefully you word it, is going to sound like you’re being a rebellious youngster in direct violation of the Fifth Commandment and in dire need of counseling by the Youth Leader. We’ve all been there.

It would be a good idea to cease all “extracurricular” church activities (teaching Sunday School, midweek prayer meetings, your responsibility as offering-plate holder…) so as to avoid being a hypocrite in your own eyes.

When you’re living on your own, you’ll be free to sleep in on Sunday as much as you like, and your parents can do nothing more than be the overbearing parents they’d be no matter what religion they followed.

Exhausted's avatar

I agree with @Seek_Kolinahr, that if you are still living in their house, telling them would cause a reaction that may be worse than just not saying anything at all. Religion is a personal choice and when you are living on your own, you can practice whatever beliefs you want without anyones input.

loser's avatar

I haven’t told mine. I don’t want to break their little hearts.

Qingu's avatar

I agree with posters that it probably depends to what extent you are effectively under their rule.

That said, the idea that you should “keep your beliefs to yourself” to avoid “making waves” is, I think, pretty appalling. Let’s be clear: the reason you wouldn’t be honest with your parents in this situation is if you believe your parents are sufficiently childish and pigheaded to punish you for your honest and entirely rational beliefs.

It’s not about “respecting” them. It’s about avoiding unjust punishment. Religious zealots who seek to control their children’s thoughts deserve absolutely no respect in that regard.

davidbetterman's avatar

It is even worse telling parents who are atheists that you believe in god.

Since you say that Johnpowell is your dad, just tell him. I’m sure he is open-minded enough to handle it.

DocteurAville's avatar

Easy. Respect their views and tell them yours. The family can talk about it and every side can maintain their views with mutual respect.

Harold's avatar

I am a Christian parent whose son has announced that he is an atheist. If your parents’ Christianity is real, they will love you anyway, and respect your choice, as hard as it will be for them. They may well have seen it coming, if they have any type of relationship with you at all. Please allow them to have their feelings of failure- that is inevitable. Please, never be antagonistic to thir beliefs, even if they are to yours initially. For you it has been a progression. For them, they have probably tried to pretend it wasn’t happening, like I did.

Good luck, I hope it works out for you, and you can continue a good relationship with your parents.

YARNLADY's avatar

I was 25 when I came to that realization, and I never found it necessary to disclose it to my parents.

rahm_sahriv's avatar

I disagree with @Qingu . I won’t say there isn’t a bit of avoiding punishment, after all one of the possible reactions of the parents is to involve the minor in more religious activities which might be viewed as a punishment. Then again, is that really punishment? Not necessarily, your views may scare your religious parents and they are doing the best they know how to deal with the situation (I don’t think we are taking about the kind of idiotic parents who would lock their child up and starve them until they gave in- that would be child abuse). But once you mature and/or if there is no abuse, it is a case of respect.

As far as the ‘zealot’ trying to control the child’s thoughts- sorry, as long as the parents are supporting the child, providing food and shelter, the child has to live by their rules and if that means attending mass or what have you on Sunday, being involved in the church youth group, etc, then tough. I don’t see it being a case of zealotry (like I said as no harm is being done to the child as far as beatings, starving, what DHS would consider abuse) but as the parent trying to give the child a background in the faith they have.

zophu's avatar

Yeah, just keep it a secret unless you can deal with whatever you think the consequences might be. If you do want to tell them, do it within a conversation, don’t confront them all at once unless you think they can handle that.

Fenris's avatar

@DocteurAville : What a horribly naive and idealistic viewpoint, thinking that the greater chance is their being mature.

If and when you decide to tell you parents you don’t agree with how they want you to think, bring friends over. That way there’s witnesses. If your parents flip their lids, get out. I’ve seen friends buried over this thing.

mattbrowne's avatar

If they are fundamentalists it’s very difficult. Keeping it a secret might be the better option.

DocteurAville's avatar

I must say you do have a point. But, sometimes “burning down the house” is beneficial to all parties involved. Friction creates growth after all. Condescending and playing along isn’t the way forward.

Tell your parents what you think and tell them you understand their views; and tell them “this is my point of view”.

crazy_twilight_chick's avatar

Just tell them the truth. Like the quote “The truth shall set you free” well that quote is really true it does set you free. Sure it might be hard at first but they will get over it…...eventually.

Luna's avatar

my mom’s a christian and even though she doesn’t go to church and stuff all that much, when i told her that i was just considering being atheist she all but blew my face off!

Luna's avatar

but if you really have to tell them, just be honest and tell them how you feel.

zophu's avatar

Maybe showing them this pathetic video might help? Maybe. . . Probably not, but it’s relevant.

Answer this question




to answer.

This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther