I Think I’m An Atheist December 7, 2008

I Think I’m An Atheist

Jean is 18 but she just discovered she’s an atheist.

It’s heartbreaking and exciting at the same time to watch her say this.

It might be because we know it’s one of the first times she’s ever said, “I’m an atheist.” It’s almost as if you can see her trying to comprehend it herself as she’s making the video:

That was a couple days ago. Now, the tougher question: Should she tell the parental units?

I don’t think she needs to tell them right now. Go to college, move out, make sure you’re not dependent on them before dropping the potential bombshell.

It’s hard enough to become an atheist when you come from a church-going family. I imagine it must be even harder when you’re African-American and church is such a big part of the black community.

She’ll be ok… but it takes a while to realize what you’ve been told about God all your life is really just superstition. The process of discovering atheism for yourself is powerful, though, and if Jean can do that for herself, I’m sure she’s capable of handling the aftermath of her realization.

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  • Richard Wade

    I’m wondering about the chances of someone recognizing Jean and word spreading until it eventually reaches her parents. Her honest and straight forward statement is compelling to watch, and I think that it will be viewed many times. If she wants to spare her parents for the time being, this is not the way to do that.

  • I agree with Richard. She’ll likely be outed in less than a year’s time (conservative estimate).

    She’s got a great life ahead of her. Wish I’d figured it out for myself when I was 18.

  • Eh, don’t be so sure. I’m the president of an atheist student organization at a Big Ten campus, the website comes up if you search my name, I’ve been interviewed for newspaper articles, I comment on sites like this with my known email…and my family has yet to find out (told my parents, not worried about them). Granted it would be easy if they were looking for it, but thankfully they’re not.

    If I’ve made it 2 years, she’ll probably be ok for a while =P

  • HP

    hugs (((Jean)))

  • Rat Bastard

    That’s tough for any religious parent to take, I’m sure. But, good for her! The reason in her brain overrode teh stupid and brainwashing! It took a lot longer than 18 for me. Is there any way people can send words of encouragement to her? I can just imagine the quantity of religidiots responding, telling her…”gawd works in mysterious ways”, (though she’s got that one knocked out of the park) and some other happy horseshit until she caves in.

  • Now, the tougher question: Should she tell the parental units?

    She won’t need to if they watch YouTube.

  • Qrazyqat

    Yeah, I have to let folks know, and shouldn’t really have to tell them, that if you want to keep a secret or think you might want to keep a secret, maybe you shouldn’t do a public video and put it online.

  • Becky

    I agree… if she’s uncomfortable telling them right now, she shouldn’t. I’ve held agnostic views since age 17, and when I was 23, and identified as atheist is when I told my parents. I admire her for being so open about her religious doubts.

  • Sandra

    Rat Bastard, The link at the top of this article “Jean is 18” takes you to her youtube channel. I left a few words of encouragement for her, some of the comments on the second video are from Christians but there are several atheists who are lending her support.

  • Beijingrrl

    If she hasn’t been going to church for 6 months, I think her parents aren’t going to be shocked if they find out.

  • Josh

    If she hasn’t been going to church for 6 months, I think her parents aren’t going to be shocked if they find out.

    This honestly made me laugh out loud. You know, though… that’s a serious point. Recall the guy that Hemant mentioned a few days ago who just came out to his wife. She wasn’t particularly surprised, and he said it was a great idea. I wonder if that would be the case with Jean?

    It’s really hard for me to say, because I’ve grown up in a very secular household, and my dad gets a sort of… sadistic pleasure out of the fact that I’m an outspoken atheist, his own beliefs notwithstanding.

  • Can I just say that the comments on those video’s made me all warm and fuzzy and I’m not sick anymore! 😉 )
    Atheism is becoming a great community and current technology is letting us reach out to everyone, this is indeed a great time to be alive!
    Also the atheists are supportive but still insist she finds out the details herself (people are not sleeping forever when they die 😉 ) while theists are either negative (granted only one) or fall back on “praying for you” and here’s an authority that says you gotta believe MY dogma!

  • llewelly

    If she hasn’t been going to church for 6 months, I think her parents aren’t going to be shocked if they find out.

    You’re assuming her parents are logical. I hadn’t been going to church for a year when I told my mother. She was horrified, and caused no end of trouble for me until I moved out some years later.

    Most people are not logical.

  • Polly

    I’m careful to censor myself around my mother, but I let comments slip when visiting my father (parents are divorced).

    Yesterday, at a kind of outdoor mall/shopping area he noted that there were plenty of people out shopping rather than in church. My response, surprisingly out loud: “Yeah, at least they’re getting something for their money, here.” 🙂

  • Mriana

    I’m 42 and the thought of telling my mother makes me feel sick, because I know exactly how she will react. Basically it would be on the level of the Inquisition, for I’ve had a small taste of it even when I just hint at it. She is a brutal Evangelical Fundie, esp when it comes to belief in her god. That and right now I need her help. If she knew, she would not only stop helping my sons and me, but basically disown us, while she and her friends continue to pound their religious views into us.