I need some advice as to what I should do. I am open about my atheism with my family and don't really worry about what they think since my dad is agnostic and is fine with my atheism, and I don't really care what the rest of my family thinks since I don't know them as more than acquaintances. My problem is I do not know if I should tell my best friend. I have been friends with her for about seven years. My best friend is a christian with a christian family, she goes to church every Sunday, is in a church group, goes to bible study, and goes on some summer vacations with her church.
We don't really talk about religion and she is not the type it seem to preach, but I'm worried how she will react. I think she will remain as my friend and not dislike me just because I'm an atheist, but I'm not really sure since I have heard a lot of horror stories from other atheist about what happened when they came out as an atheist.
My biggest worry is what her parent will say. They don't seem like super hardcore Christians but I'm worried they won't like their daughter associating with an atheist.
My dad advised that I wait to tell her until she is out of her house and not depending on her parents to tell her so her parents won't have a say as to who she is friends with, but I want to know what you guys say as well.
Your dads advice was good. Especially if your priority is to remain friends. It would be considerate of you even though she might not see it that way. Way i see it, she would do good being your friend, it would open her mind a little to associate with people with very different beliefs or lack of them. If her parents make a big fuss about this now, there's a possibility she will detach herself a bit from you. If your main priority is to remain friends id say tell her when she's moved out. reality is, you two have very different beliefs, its not like its something you have in common there so even if you bring it up there's not a lot to say about it between the two of you unless you plan to de-convert her which seems pretty difficult now hearing about how committed and involved she is in the christian community.Maybe that'll change when shes in College/Working?!
If you enjoy her company and being friend with her inspite of difference in way of thinking then why to risk spoiling a healthy relationship? Difference in openion is not a big deal. We all differ on many other things and still go on nicely with each other.
I think it would depend on how your friend and her parents feel about your dad being an agnostic. If they're fine with it, then they'll probably be more excepting of you being an atheist. But your dad definitely has a point, wait til she's out of her parents house.
How old are you? I think if you're an older teen it might be okay to tell her, but sometimes younger teens and kids are harsh and get made fun of if they are uncomfortable with something. Like would she tell anyone else, like at school, that you wouldn't want to know. If it comes up, I would just say it casually, bu t I wouldn't make a big deal about it, because she shouldn't think it's something shameful, like she's right and you're wrong. I hope it turns out well for you!
That's a good friend then, and you're older so it is, of course, up to you. You have a good head on your shoulders! Glad to 'meet' you Shyanne.~ Melinda
This is quite a conundrum - I sympathize with your struggle and hope everything works out for the best. The most eloquent advice put to closeted atheists I've heard went something like this:
"Think of the worst thing that could possibly happen when you come out. If you can't live with that happening, then don't come out yet".
Everyone has their own personal timing and way of announcing their newfound belief to their loved ones, but you must remember one thing above all else: religion has a systematic method of protecting itself by rewarding faith and segregation of its followers. I myself have no problem believing that her parents may well heavily influence the way your friend views you, if not denying her the privilege of seeing you outright. In light of this, I personally agree with the advice your dad gave you, for the time being.
Booklover raises a very good point and it may not seem like it now, but your age (in my opinion as well) will play a very vital role in the outcome of the situation. For example, the younger you and your friend are, the greater the likelihood that she will be much more impressionable to the whim of her parents, whereas young people develop tremendously in the arenas of critical thought later in their teen years.
If it's likely your friend will be off to college in the next year or to, and you can handle leaving it for a while longer, my feeling is that you can't go wrong doing so. If not, then I'd think it through very carefully first. I'm not sure there is a right or wrong answer - do what's best for YOU and YOUR relationships. :)
If you and she are as close as your post implies, then I would wager that she already knows your stance on religion. She may choose to look away from that one aspect of your self. By spelling it out to her, you are forcing her hand. Are you sure that's what you want? I would suggest putting off this decision for at least 6 weeks (I think 6 months would be better). And during that time, evaluate what you expect her response to be to such a revelation. Make your evaluation based on what you observe in her behavior and what she talks about. Don't let your feelings affect your judgement. Then decide. If you still don't know what to do, you can always put off making any announcements. Just remember, you can't unsay anything.
All of you give good solid advice and I don't disagree with anyone. I know this about myself and about people, many spend their lives trying to live others' expectations, wanting to fit in, willing to deny their own thoughts and needs and sacrifice themselves for others. Is that flourishing? Perhaps, I can't say one way or the other.
If one is confident in one's opinions, can stand on principle even when everyone else disagrees, then that can imply competence and careful reasoning, or it can imply bullheadedness. Again, I can't say.
Having a friend with whom you have to self-monitor your opinions says something you need to think about. Do you want to self-monitor your opinions? Do you flourish when you do self-monitor? Will you have to self-monitor with your other dear friends or boyfriend or husband or parent or children? Are you proud and have self-respect when you have to present a false-face?
I do wish you well in your decision and that all comes out in a way that empowers you to be who you are.
I would tell her if there was reason to. I have friends that are "religious", but don't really talk al ot about it. If it comes up, I'd listen to them and nod knowingly. I don't tell everyone that I am an atheist, because most don't understand and assume you are a satan worshiper or seomthing. As if you could worship another non-existent being. I have told 2 close friends, they don't care and already knew without me saying it. I said it just so I could say it out loud. Neither of them is super religious but both claim to believe in god. My wife and kids all know..they are christians. I used to go to church with my wife most sundays, just because she wanted me to go. I have recently stopped going. I told her that I dont think it is right for me to go. That it almost seems like I am making fun of her religion, which I don't want to do. She married me knowing I was an atheist..probably thought she could change me, but that has long since been proven untrue.
I guess I consider myself a "non-militant" atheist. I don't make a big deal about it. I don't see it as my duty to make sure others agree with me, and I don't try to enact political change etc.
Long story short, does your friend NEED to know? If she invites you to church or asks your opinion on religion then I'd certainly be honest..otherwise it is not worth the grief..IMHO.
I would wait until she's moved out if you think her parents could affect your relationship. I would try not to make a big deal out of it and try not to let it affect your friendship. Maybe mention it in passing or if she brings it up. You could also just not tell her. If you and your friend don't actively discuss religion it may be easiest to just let her assume what she wants.
Ivanthecur, your point of view is a familiar one, and I know you have a right to your opinion. However, think long range. Do you want friends with whom you have to wear a mask, be careful about what you say, or deny what you really think?
To be proud of being a non-believer in superstitions and delusions is a mark of critical thinking. It is not something to hide. If you are a thief, you probably want to hide that from others, but being an atheist is an honorable thing, worthy of self-respect.
I respect the fact that you could empathize with her and want to protect her. My hunch, she is strong, caring, compassionate, and able to stand up for what she believes.