Published August 22, 2010 by ABadKitten

After reading a particular post, I confessed to the fact that I’ve never told anyone in my family of my Atheist beliefs. I’ve written about my family and religion before, but I never thought all that much into it before now. I was raised a Christian. I attended church with my grandmother and grandfather every weekend when I was old enough to walk by myself. I think I believed in God then but, then again, I pretty much believed everything that my grandmother told me.

My family is pretty heavy into religion. Especially my family from down south–surprise surprise. Every time we have a family gathering where we sit down for dinner together, we take each others’ hands and thank God for the food we’re about to eat, heads bowed and eyes closed with a final “Amen” at the end. I usually just mutter random nonsense to make it seem like I’m praying along with them. Of course, you all know by now that I don’t believe in God. My family, however, has no idea.

I think I brought my non-belief up to my father once while we were having an argument and he froze up and stared at me, mouth agape. Then, of course, he went into lecture mode. He was in the navy, so he had to bring up the fact that “When I almost got blown off the deck at sea, I prayed to God to save me! After almost being sucked into the airplane I was fixing on the U.S.S Kitty Hawk, I grabbed the cross around my neck and kissed it! If I had gone to war, I would have prayed to God every day. Amber, if you ever were sent to war, GOD FORBID!, you would find your faith immediately. I never knew one soldier, one sailor, one Sergent, or anyone else in the military that didn’t!” It wasn’t exactly like that, but you get the picture. I never brought up my disbelief again. He didn’t talk to me for a good three days after that, either.

Since I was…15?…at the time, he didn’t take me seriously. I think if he had taken me seriously…actually, I have no idea what he would have done. I don’t know what my family would do or say if I ever confessed my disbelief to any of them. Not that I plan to, but the idea scares me a little. Okay, a lot. I’m pretty sure I’ve disappointed them enough, so I’m not sure what that extra tidbit would do to my suffering relationship with my family.

Would you tell your family if you no longer believed in God? What do you think they would do?


46 comments on “Confessing.

  • My family knows that I lean more toward Wiccan beliefs than Christian ones. They don’t really care either way. They are rather curious about it all and, to be honest, it sometimes shocks me because we’re from the South! It’s rather amazing, in the best possible way, to know my family accepts it.

  • @betterdesigned – If I was going to choose an actual religion to follow, Wicca would be it. Any beliefs or views I have are heavily influenced by Wicca and Paganism. If my family knew that, though, they’d probably call up their priests and demand an exorcism. (Ok, so that’s a little extreme, but you never know. o.o) 

  • If you ever do decide to tell your family about your beliefs, I hope they will accept it. I don’t believe children should be expected to follow the religious beliefs of their parents.  If I had had children, I would have let them decide when they grew up what relgious path they wanted to follow. 

  • My family seems pretty ‘alright’ with the idea that you don’t need a religion/ god. My mom is a buddhist, and my dad used to goto a christian school, but none of it reflects on me at all.My parents know i don’t goto church, and they aren’t pressing any beliefs on me, so i guess it gives me free will to think what i want to believe.

  • @betterdesigned – They are. I also like the fact that there is more worship of the planet itself rather than just “Those-who-are-above-us” or whatnot. If you catch my drift, lol.@Heartsarefreee – Thank you, and I agree with you. I don’t think I could ever force my beliefs (or lack there of) on my children. I’d like to think that somewhere down the road I’ll be able to work up the courage to tell them. @Phenom66 – My family knows that my father and I don’t attend church. They do, but my father rarely did so they pretty much expect that of my household. That they don’t mind as you don’t necessarily have to attend church (or a mosque, or what have you ) to be faithful. Plus, they know my dad’s religious so they assume I am as well. Grr. Lucky you, though! I can only hope that, if I finally do tell them, they’ll be as accepting.

  • I just keep an open heart/open mind with faith. Over half of the world is buddhist.. I have only been exposed to christianity and that religion doesn’t satisfy me. I think the bible has good moral lessons but I wouldn’t want to identify them as my faith.. And I certainly don’t believe the stories like David and goliath to be true. something beyond my perception though is incredible for allowing the circumstances of this universe to exist. i just feel lucky to be a part of it all.

  • I agree with Heartsarefreee…children should not be expected to “join” or “believe” in the religion their parents believe in…I was raised Catholic (the whole, get dressed up every Sunday and attend church with the entire family thing)….but as I entered my teens, I realized, that’s not what I wanted to be (a Catholic), too strict, too “if you don’t do as the church says, you’re going to hell”…so I stopped attending, which my mom didn’t like…and when I had children, I didn’t force them to attend any church..when they became teenagers, I told them it was up to them to decide what if any religious path they wanted to follow (needless to say, my mom lectured me constantly about this, but she still loved me)….I’m sure that while you’re family will most likely be upset (if you do tell them), and even if they don’t accept your decision (they may always try to get you to change your mind)…they’ll still love you….**hugs** .  

  • I haven’t told my parents. And it is hard since I like live with them. But whatever. I tolerate and they tolerate. But I still think they think I believe in what they believe. Especially my Dad. ugh. It can be annoying, because he’ll start talking about god this and god that and expect me to agree and I am like uhhh…. I don’t think they’d flip, but they’d be disappointed. And I rather they flip than be disappointed…ya know what I mean?

  • I became an atheist at 15 publicly because I didn’t find peace in Christianity. I would have, of course, if my family had been loving towards eachother. My parents preached at me but hated eachother. Still do. What’s that verse? They’ll know God is real if you have love for one another. So, yea, no one believes a fake.

  • My mother would probably cry, for about two weeks. Then lecture me, for about two more weeks. I can’t imagine many things more difficult to confess than telling your family something that, in their eyes, means you’ll never see them again after you die. I hope it works out for you in the long run. Regardless of the fact that I believe in God, my motto has always been to live your life how you want, and not how anyone else deems you should.

  • My parents are kinda Buddhist but not really. I mean, they eat meat, so how Buddhist can they be?I think they’re agnostic to some extent; however we’ve never discussed religion seriously. I’m definitely an Atheist. If I told my parents, they’d say “okay”. lol

  • It’s nice to feel that your family knows things about you like this. Unfortunately, not all families are so accepting.They aren’t accepting that their children are homosexual. Your parents will always think they know best for you, even in the religion department. Just keep your chin up. If knowing that they know will make you happy, tell them, but be prepared for a few months of heartbreak. Here’s hoping it’s not as hard as you think it might be for them to accept your beliefs. 

  • I’m glad you don’t have comments poo pooing your post. I can imagine sharing your thoughts would shock and disapoint your family, but it is who you are. I hope if you find the courage, that they are supportive. I strongly feel that people have the right to their own beliefs. I have friends of so many different religions, most I don’t agree with, but I do respect their choices. The only thing that drives me nuts is when people push their beliefs on you or tell you that you are a sinner because you aren’t a part of their church/organization.

  • Wow. That sucks.My parents are more of the liberal agnostic theist variety… And I still didn’t tell them I was an atheist until I had been one for about a year.I actually don’t think they know what an atheist is… They treat me as if I have some foreign beliefs, telling me things like “go pray to whatever god you believe in”…Kinda funny.

  • I told my parents when I was 16 I think… my dad said I was a retarded teenager. We don’t talk about it much and I don’t think my extended family knows because I’m not sure how they’d react.And your dad is wrong, I knew a marine who was overseas and all that and was still a staunch atheist. They do exist.

  • Well, I think I told my mom I didn’t believe in God when I was, uh, 14? yeah. The funny part was, I studied every religion and well did all sorts of wierd things, then got disillusioned, and was like, “screw religion, screw God, screw this scene”.And the wierdest thing? It took going to prison for me to believe. Amazingly(and I’m in florida, prison here sucks) I made it through. I’m not here for testimony. And when I told my parents I do believe, well they don’t believe me! and they don’t believe in God now. Now, that’s funny, meh!

  • @cryingdevil999 – LOL. Did you tell them you’re not religious? Otherwise, they have no idea.@crazy2love – “Don’t talk about it again” is sort of what I would hope for. @JoyousMemoriesPhoto – I agree. It’s like that with anyone, those close to you included. Unless you’re super close to them and super open, I suppose. :/@KC47 – Parts of my family are a little old-fashioned when it comes to the children following the religion of the parents and what not. At least, that’s how they come off. I know there are some of them who would be accepting (the younger people) while others, I’m not too sure about. But, we shall see. Thanks :]@imasilentheart – Yeah, I know what you mean. I would prefer that as well. :/@com_pose – @ixcrisxi – Thank you. @cerebralmom – Lol, I’m glad as well. I have friends who belong to a variety of faiths as well. I don’t have anything against people who follow a religion (unless, of course they push it on people, commit acts of violence, etc etc–but that’s not the religion I have a problem with, it’s those people), I just don’t believe in them myself. Maybe my family will understand that, maybe they won’t. I won’t know until I tell them, though. @Blind_Paraplegic – Lol, that is a tad funny. It doesn’t sound like they know what Atheism is, considering there is no belief in a god there xD @carolinavenger – They probably viewed it as “teenaged rebellion” like I’m assuming my father did. He never said that every person in the military believes in God, just that he never knew any.@scenefaith – I find that ironic in a way, haha. My disbelief came from other places, but I can understand where yours came from since I did a lot of studying of a large variety of religions as well. I’ve heard stories from more than a few people who “found faith” or whatever you’d like to call it after not believing for so long. People who find their faith again sometimes find it in the oddest places or after the strangest events.

  • @Pandiie_Bear –  Hahaha, yeah. My Dad and I are a lot alike in so many ways, it made sense. @At_Sixes_And_Sevens – This is a difficult situation. My nephew is only 8, and although he spends more time with me than anyone, his parents bring him up to believe in God and religion. However, he knows I don’t believe in God. Yet, he’s young so he’s always asking me, and it’s like… “Do I just tell him not to ask this question?” I don’t make fun of him however. πŸ˜› 

  • Funny, I’m the only person I know with the opposite problem…my family freaked out when they found out I’m a Christian…but my family is Jewish, so “coming out” as a Christian is more scandalous to them than belonging to any other religion. My dad even said he’d rather I be hooked on drugs, pregnant, or a lesbian than a Christian. Wanna trade families?

  • I would tell them if I no longer depended on them/had to live with them. Because I don’t know how my father would react.But I do know that my mother would worry every single day and night and not be able to rest peacefully with concern for my soul =/But, I actually do still believe in Jesus, for the record. Just answering the question =)

  • Most of my family doesn’t know that I’m Agnostic now, I don’t think. I told my estranged husband I was but I don’t think he’s ever taken me seriously. He seems to think I’m just pouting because God didn’t make my life go the way I wanted and I’ll come around again someday or something. Maybe I will, maybe I won’t, but it’s frustrating not to be taken seriously. However, compared to being disowned and/or shunned, not being taken seriously is cake. I do know he told his brother last week that I don’t believe in God anymore. So now one of my brother in laws knows. Not sure if he told my mother in law – if he didn’t, the knowledge stops with him. But if he did I am sure she told my OTHER brother in law and so on and such. I don’t really care as long as they don’t get in my face or disown me or treat me like a heathen or something, lol. 

  • @BohemianLotus – I’ve always hated that. “Oh, she’ll come around” is a crappy attitude and it seems (in certain situations) so utterly ignorant and insensitive to me. But yes, I would much rather be thought of in that way than be disowned and completely shunned by those I love. Not being taken seriously, though, drives me mad.

  • @deathtothenewworldorder – Lol, thank you. It made me smile so I had to put it on here somewhere. I haven’t played Fable 2 yet. I don’t think Fable 3 is out yet. Or if it is, I missed it lol. My boyfriend has had this game for quite some time and he’s tried to get me to play for a long time. Finally, I caved and now I’m super addicted. I really want Fable 2 (and an Xbox 360 so I can play Fable 3 )

  • I would like to believe that I would, but if i were being honest with myself I probably wouldn’t.Like you i’d be scared as hell, to tell my family, and they’re not even that religious! Not my immediate family anyways.If anything, they’d saying I was just going through a “phase” and would snap out of it eventually. Unfortunately, that’s their excuse for anything they don’t understand about me, or anyone else for that matter. Quite annoying, if you ask me.

  • I do believe so it’s a little hard to picture that conversation. However if I were to stop believing my parents would disapprove but love me no differently then they do now. It’s nice to have level headed parents.

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