A couple of months ago I posted here that I had decided to come out to my family (specifically my parents) as an atheist in a very indirect way - by inviting them to Facebook. They never joined, which means it's on to plan B - the direct approach.

This urge to finally get this over with stemmed from my father lashing out at me this past week because of my political views on the health care reform bill, and berating me to some extent for being a "liberal". I think the time has come to lay all my cards out on the table.

I've written a letter. A letter I intend to read to my parents and mail to the rest of family. This letter covers all the things I've not been up front or vocal about as I evolved into the person I am.

If I can muster the courage, the following letter will be presented to my parents and family within the next couple of weeks.


Dear Family,

I’m writing to get some things off my chest that I’ve been mulling over for awhile.

I'm not a very social person. I spend maybe 25% more time with "friends" than I do "family", and that's only because they are within throwing distance from my house.

I'm not as connected to all of you as I would like to be, but I am working on that. Mostly, I am working on being more open about myself and my life to those I care about. In my daily struggle to avoid conflict and my consistent tendency to be non-confrontational, I withhold a lot of information about myself and my day to day life that I feel might make others uncomfortable. However, I am trying to resolve that first with this letter; then with an attempt to be more involved with everyone in my life, and truly try to reconnect.

It's my thought that in order to do this, I need to be up front about both the ways I have changed in the last few years, as well as the ways I have stayed the same.

I'm still me. I'm still a bookworm. I still love music. I still try to find the best in people, even when the best tries to hide. I still have a really, really goofy sense of humor. I still try my best to treat everyone as equals, and try to root for the underdog - just like Mom taught me. I do my darnest to stand on my own two feet and not depend on others for my livelihood - just like Dad taught me.

I still hate small talk and unexpected visits. I still hate math. I still love cheese.

Now, for the ways I have changed. I'm a little more talkative than I used to be - but only to people I know well.

I LOVE scary movies. I never watched them as a child, since they gave me nightmares, but now I have a shelf full of them.

I think both men and women are beautiful, attractive beings.

I tend to fall on the liberal side of politics. My views are a mish-mash of ideas gleaned from those who I respect, and my own research. I make an attempt to not base my opinions on pundits or the media's opinion, but to form my own based on the facts.

I think government assistance programs should be structured in a way to prevent abuse. I do not think there should be monopolies and exorbitant prices on essential items such as utilities, telecommunications, information technology and health care.

I think that what we do with our own bodies, with each other and in our own homes should not be the government's business at all - as long as we aren't harming others - that includes what we read, watch, drink, smoke, and love.

I believe that marriage should not be a government recognized institution; I think that any two consenting adults should be to obtain and civil union license and that "marriage" should be defined within their own relationship and religion. I don't think "married" people should get tax breaks for being married, or any other special privileges.

I feel that we should switch to the Fair Tax system and eliminate income tax altogether.

I believe marijuana should be legal, regulated and taxed - even though I don't smoke it.

I assert that the government has no business telling us how to worship, when to worship or even if to worship at all.

I stopped considering myself to be a religious person about four years ago, after many questions about religion, god, faith and the universe as a whole. While I'm sure this will cause a lot of confusion and even pain to my family, please rest assured that I am not struggling in darkness or fighting any demons. It was no one's fault; I didn't become angry at god, the church or anyone at all. I was fine as a believer, now I am fine as an atheist. I just stopped believing in god; I stopped having faith. It's as simple as that.

I am somewhat of an online activist. I write, petition and blog a lot about my opinions and ideas, especially about human rights, politics, skepticism and the supernatural.

I do love you all, and I invite anyone to call, write or connect to me on the internet if you have any questions or concerns about my Big Revelation. :)

Much Love,
Me

Views: 10

Tags: atheist, christian, coming, family, out

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Comment by Jim DePaulo on August 6, 2010 at 11:27am
My father was a closet Atheist and my mother looked at church as a social event. As such my Atheism was never an issue and I honestly can't remember when they realize I was one. However, after reading a number of posts on A/N about coming out to the family, I can see how it can be a traumatic event in one's life.
I think your letter is an appropriate way to clear the air with your family - I hope it works out well for you.
Comment by deletedsoul on August 6, 2010 at 9:18am
@Free Thinker: I actually plan on reading the letter to my parents, as a way to have a script and not get derailed. I'll be mailing it to my family members who do not live nearby.
Comment by Secular Sue on August 6, 2010 at 4:22am
Nicely done. Sometimes a letter is better because it keeps you out of the heat of the moment. Things have a way of going off course in conversation. I think it's a good introduction and may generate some conversations later.
Comment by Atheist Exile on August 6, 2010 at 3:38am
The letter is nice but can't you just talk with them? Ask them to let you have your say, then have your say.
Comment by Louis on August 6, 2010 at 3:08am
Best of luck, friend. My family found out by looking through my small library. I don't know how I would have wanted them to figure it out, but I wouldn't have wanted it the way it happened.

Hopefully they'll be more understanding than my family was.

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