10 Tips On How To Tell Your Family You’re An Atheist


When you live in a stronghold of religion surrounded by faithful churchgoers, faith healers or loyal Bar mitzvah party throwers, it may be difficult?to come up with effective ways to let people know you side with reason.?Unfortunately, there have been cases of teenagers who were shunned, made to leave the household, lost education support, or had their family ties completely severed by intransigent religious parents. So before going any further, please consider your family profile and your financial status. If you are still young and financially dependent of a family who will punish you for not sharing their beliefs, you might want to weigh the pros and cons of telling your family before it’s convenient to you.

Here are a few pointers that should make your announcement less shocking ? to you and to them.

1. Don’t be confrontational

One of the main characteristics of Atheists is to show respect for other people’s beliefs. Remember where your family is coming from. Don’t try to convert them or put yourself in a position of winning or losing the argument. Remember that the focus is that you are exercising your right to choose reason and state it as a fact.

2. Don’t demand immediate acknowledgment

For some folks, especially the ones who take their religious lifestyle as the only possible way, the news may take a little longer to sink in. These family members tend to address their ?shock? with remarks like ?I am sure it’s just a phase? or ?I knew that letting you watch TV past 8 would end up in something like this.?

The best way to address the denial stage it to walk away from it.

3. Disregard the Guilt Trips

Your beliefs are your choice even if you were raised in a way that made you feel you had no choice.
No, no one is going to die because you’re an Atheist. Nope, no one is going to hell because, really, there is no such a thing.
The neighbors will definitely get over the news and will not keep up with the imaginary dirty looks for long.

4.?Tell it over dinner

If your family is anything like mine, talking about anything over dinner is the way to keep everyone in the same room. A lot of families that can’t handle conflict tend to physically walk away from conversations they consider difficult to have or subjects they would rather not discuss.
Also, talking between bites and sips gives you the time to process whatever comes your way and to summon the self control you might need to keep your cool.

5. Understand Christian Apologetics

This is important. You don’t need to be a proficient debater, but you need to get familiar with the arguments that will invariably come your way. The seven most popular arguments are listed here. If you have a tougher audience, a quick Google search will get you the support you need, and you can post any question to the We Are Atheism Facebook group and similar ones.

6. Don’t use other people’s experiences as arguments

You are talking about YOU. Beliefs are a very personal choice ? other people’s atheism is their own. The same way, don’t let your family use other people’s negative experiences on you: the cousin’s drug addiction, the friend’s child abuse trauma. None of their ?excuses to be mad at god? matter.?Remember to stick with reason and, more specifically, your reason.

7. No True Scotsman Fallacy trap – ?Oh, you don’t believe in god now? Then you were never a true believer.?

This is a common fallacy trick. Don’t fall for it. We have all been there. You will hear things like, ?That’s ok, you’re just confused because you didn’t understand what god wanted from you,? or ?Oh, so all the time you were there in church you were faking it? How dare you???There are millions of former believers who were once priests, nuns, pastors, rabbis, shamans, ?and the fact they no longer believe doesn’t make the time they believe a fake.

8.?Be ready to accept they may never believe you

My grandmother died thinking my Atheism was just a phase. That’s the way she coped with my departure of her belief system, and that’s OK.?Here’s something to remember, not only for addressing Atheism, but when dealing with any conflict. You can only control how you handle a situation, not how others do it.

9. Ease their fears

If you have a chance, make sure your folks understand that you will be at cousin Marty’s wedding. Becoming an Atheist doesn’t mean you will burst in flames entering a church or a synagogue.

When people only understand what Atheism is from religious media or very biased sources, they have no idea what it means.
No, being an Atheist is not being a Commie. Sigh.

10. Connect with others

Depending on your circumstances, you may feel alone and thinking you are the only one going through this crucible. You aren’t alone. You are in very good company.

There are several Facebook groups where you can get support as well as organizations like the American Humanist Association, Meet Groups,?American Atheists, The Out Campaign, ?amongst others. Make sure to exercise good judgement if meeting someone in person!

May The Force Be With You