Austin Cline has a great roundup of issues dealing with coming out to your family as an atheist.
Some categories he delves into:
- How Should You Reveal Your Atheism to Your Family?
- What if Your Family Says You’re Just Going Through a Phase?
- What if Your Family Wants You to Keep Going to Church?
- Is Revealing Atheism to Family Worth the Risk?
… you should avoid attacking your family’s religion. Even if you have come to conclude that it is evil, saying so will only serve to exacerbate the conflicts being created and the confusion being experienced by your family. It would also be wise not to take this opportunity to try and deconvert others from your family’s religion. They are still dealing with the shock of your atheism — don’t make it worse for them just yet. In taking the high road, you will also be showing that being an atheist doesn’t make you an immoral and rude person.
If you emphasize that your beliefs are not simply a result of your questioning and studying but that you continue to question and study, then even if they keep believing that you are going through a phase, perhaps they won’t believe that you aren’t being serious.
If you are young and living at home, there probably isn’t much you can do no matter what your family’s motivations are. If there is no way you can reasonably get out of going to church, the most you can do is try using the trips as a learning experience. Consider, for example, writing down some of the things said in the sermons and then writing critiques of them — perhaps publishing them on the web.
On the other hand, precisely because telling others about your real beliefs and real feelings can be difficult, it can be an important step towards becoming more self-confident and mature. You could also being doing a lot to encourage better attitudes towards atheists by demonstrating how they can be moral and mature people. Perhaps there are other members of your family who also have doubts or who disbelieve — by speaking up, you will find that you share more in common with them and will also help them come to terms with who they are.
There’s a lot of good stuff in the article. Go check it out.
I’ve been “out” to my family for a few years now, and while they’re more accepting, they still want me to endorse Jainism everywhere I go…
[tags]atheist, atheism, coming out, family, Austin Cline, church, Jainism[/tags]