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This is a topic which comes up over and over and over again here on A|N, and no great surprise, either. Young people like yourself who come to the realization that irrational belief is just that - irrational - and yet are stuck in a social environment which is at minimum opposed to such a stance and at maximum actively hostile to it have a damned difficult road ahead of them.
I know that you WANT to come out; it's self-evident in your entry here. You want to TELL SOMEONE what you have discovered, share with them this deduction you have made. The obvious problem is that you want to do it in a mine field. One very saving grace is that You KNOW It's A Mine Field! It sounds as though you have some sense of those around you, who your audience is. About all I can advise you here is to continue to sound those out who may be sympathetic. Work around the topic peripherally, talking about problems you see with the bible or things that don't make sense to you and so on. No, there's probably no way of being 100% sure that your revelation will meet with approving ears if and when you do make it. Thing is, here's one glimmer of good news you may be able to consider: You May NOT Be the ONLY ATHEIST There!!!
Honestly, I'm not sure what else to tell you ... other than that if you need a hand with this, a friendly ear or some further advice to help you along, I and a lot of others here will be more than glad to do what we can. Meantime, for what it's worth, best wishes to you.
Thanks for the reply, Loren, Ever since I became an atheist I have been thinking about it that if I have come to this conclusion then someone else probably has too. I have honestly never heard of someone from our church becoming an atheist or converting to any other religion, yet I still doubt that I am the only one. I also have a brother who I have noticed seems to avoid religious conversations, and when he does say anything it is generally skeptical. I have considered coming out to him, but I do not talk to him much. We get along, but he generally keeps to himself when he is at home.
Also, just a bit more info about where i come from. The church I attend gets a lot of visitors from other religions/nonreligions: Muslims, Jews, and sometimes Atheists and other various religions. I consider this to be a good thing, because people in our church know what these types of people actually think, and that we are not here to hurt people. They are welcoming of these people which puts me a lot more at ease about how people will react if I tell them the truth about myself.
That is a good sign, that people in your church seem to respect people with different "mental toolboxes" who, like themselves, seek to do right and make the world a better place.
(Which reminds me... here in Philadelphia, a few years ago, a coalition of secular groups put up a billboard, "Don't believe in God? You are not alone." When its run was over, the next billboard at that location was a Catholic message, "Say one Hail Mary." I read later that the atheist/humanist/freethinker groups worked together with Catholics on a hunger relief project.)
I've always liked seeing different religious and non religious groups working together on things like that :) Even as a Christian I could never figure out why this wasn't a more common thing.
I think I might try to take a more gradual approach to telling my parents that I am an atheist. The church I attend will be having baptism soon, and I will probably be expected to be baptized (Everyone my age was baptized 1 or 2 years ago by now.) I think I will wait until they ask me if I plan to be baptized, and then I will tell them that i do not, and I will tell them my reasons. I think this will help to make it easier for them and me. It probably won't be a big deal right away if I tell them this way, and over time I can reveal more without it being too big of a surprise.
Don't ask me. I'm from a grossly dysfunctional family.
I'm sorry you're in this situation. I would say this--being the age that you are, unfortunately you are kind of stuck with your family at this time. (Not saying they are all bad, just that if you "come out" it's likely you could have a difficult time in your own home). I know it is very frustrating, but if you don't
1:wish to be proselytized to constantly or
2:wish to be looked down upon in your community, possibly it's best to wait until you are more free to be yourself.
I would say that out of the options you have, if you desperately need to get it off your chest (which I totally understand), one of your brothers may be the best route to take. Perhaps they would agree to keeping it to themselves? So at least you would have one person to talk to. Maybe this will open a door to feel more understood by your family members.
I had a similar situation myself at your age actually, and I simply kept it to myself. I wasn't willing to pay the price at the time. However, I did have some friends at school I could share this with who were not under the same thinking. Now living on my own I can feel free to be exactly who I am.
For a while after I became an atheist I thought I would just keep it to myself, but it is really hard for me to just sit back and not say anything. Sometimes I accidentally say something that is obviously anti-christianity. I have always been able to come up with something to say to counter that, but I'm afraid that if I don't come out it will just slip out and possibly at a bad time as well.
I understand why people say to keep it to yourself if you still live at home, but I am tired of making excuses for why I don't want to do certain religious activities, why I don't want to go to a private christian school, why I don't want to get baptized like everyone else is, etc.