Hello everyone! I'm pretty new to this site, but I love it by far.
Okay, so I'm a 15 year old and I belong to an extremely religious family. I hate it when my family talk so badly about disbelievers. It's pretty obvious why I wouldn't want to tell them I don't believe in god/jesus/holy spirit. I'm not telling them anytime soon, but can you guys give me advice on how I will tell them in the future? The last thing I want is to disappoint my family and be crossed out of our family tree for being an atheist. I really don't know what to do anymore.

Anyone have any advice on how I'll tell them in the future?

Thanks in advanced. :)

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I think this is a good approach since many religious parents consider it a failing on their part if their child "goes astray."

LV
I took about 6-9 months before realizing it myself and telling family. And I started by talking about critical thinking, about science, about rationality, etc. and how much comfort and morality I received from these sources. But I also have the huge advantage of 1) being 26 and outta the house and 2) my mom knowing I'm a much better parent than she was. I steered the conversation away from CS Lewis and church and prayer for months during our phone calls and then one day just said, "I've been waiting for the right time to say this to you - I'm an atheist." She cried a bit but I told her "I know it makes you sad. It doesn't make me sad. It makes me feel calm and peaceful and like I don't have to hate myself for being evil anymore. You can pray for me on your own time, but please don't preach."

Last week I emailed her a youtube link of a video from Theoretical BS (love this guy) that pretty much summed up why I don't believe. I wrote in the email that she could watch it if she wanted to understand me better, or she could not watch it and I wouldn't be offended. She chose not to watch it, which is fine. Really we just keep away from those topics, and this year my son and I stayed home for xmas and ate chinese food.
sorry to say there probably isnt anyway to not disapoint them if you tell them..however I dont think people can go very long after they come to the realization gods dont exist without coming out. I was raised in a very religous family myself, and I was down-graded at first when I came out, told I wasnt really an atheist it was just for attention etc but theyve slowly gotten used to the idea of me being a non-beleiver and have realised it doesnt make me a bad person
I'd try and introduce them to it very gradually. Saying little things, hinting at it once and a while, but nothing so extreme as cutting church one day to say you defy Jesus. And waiting until you're older is probably a good idea.
How religious are we talkin about here Gabbie? Will they seriously disown you? Well it be a pain they cant get beyond? I know these are hard questions to answer, but you have to consider weather you ever tell them, and I know thats a very painful prospect, but you must weigh the consequences.
Only you can answer those questions, as well as the question of your own needs. You will get love ,support, and plenty of folks to talk with about it here but only you can figure out the answer. My opinion from the little I know of your situation is to wait till your old enough to be on your own. Like Jezzy said dont do anything extreme.
Read up and watch everything! Watch Dawkins, Hitchen or anything you can get your hands on. The more ya know, the more ull be able to hold your ground when you do decide to tell them.
wow, this discussion has been going on for over 6 months. I'd like to hear from Gabrielle on how things are going.

I'm 39, and I haven't told my mom. Not sure how she'd react. If my dad were alive, I'm sure he'd admit that he was an atheist as well.

All I can say is that when I was 15, I thought I knew way more than my parents. I was wrong. I'm not saying you don't know your own beleifs, just that you are still learning, growing, developing, maturing. Give yourself time, and try NOT to let the differences between you and your parents consume you.
I'm 16 and I think that. :D
Hi Gabrielle.

A lot of people holds views against atheist. That atheist do not have morals or values. The most important task for you is to show that this is not the case for you. Assure your loved ones that you, will do your part to become a responsible adult.

If you do so they will eventuallly accept that you do not share their faith.

Don't make a point og your atheism but be honest about it. There is no reson to tell them unless they ask. Since you are in a very religious family they may do so quite soon, so break it to them a little at the time.

Good luck

René
Many comments about "ethics" and "morality", and I think this is often the best route to take with theists who are afraid of atheists.

Basically, I tell people that I can fully explain my ethics and morality because I've had to think very carefully, hard and seriously about the subject(s). My ethical and moral code was not blindly handed to me nor quoted from a dusty old tome. This is a facet of my life I have to work at understanding and -- this is very important -- actually practice in my daily life. Being an atheist has made me more compassionate and humane toward everything because it requires active thought. As is oft quoted: "The unexamined life is not worth living."

If your folks or anyone worry about your ethical or moral grounding, explain that your atheism forces active thought and worry about theirs if they cannot explain the reasons for what they do or why they do it.

Be well!

- Roy
If I were you, I'd consider never telling them at all.

It's very possible that telling them you're an atheist will have the effect thet they'll more often talk badly about disbelievers and they'll direct it at you.

If you must tell them, wait until a point in your life when you wouldn't need to remain in contact with them. That is, when you're living elsewhere, financially independent, and have other people to whom you can turn than them.
New to the site, late to the party. But my $0.02...

First, words can not describe how awesome it is to know that someone can be raised so tightly in religion and still, at your age, have the courage and integrity to stand up for what you believe in, even knowing it could alienate you from your family. Fear of alienation on way smaller levels than you are facing is, imho, a prime subconscious reason so many people stay in/turn to religion

Secondly, I don't envy you your dilemma. I 'came out' to my family as an adult. And we were a very low-church family, parents taking extra steps to advocate my independence and freedom of thought and life-direction. And yet it was still very, very difficult and caused some rifts between my parents and I. Their very painful passive-aggressive protests went on until the day they died. I can not begin to imagine what it would have been like if they were so much more religious and openly anti-atheist.

And so ... I'm not sure of the best route but reading through the responses I'd agree with waiting until you are able to be on your own (since you might find yourself there) and letting your family know gradually. I like the idea of starting with the family member most likely to support you.

Good luck.

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