Monday, June 7, 2010

What advice do you have for an "undeclared" Atheist whose friends and family (minus one other person) are strong Christian (many Catholic) believers?

You've done the smart thing by asking for advice. By formulating a plan you have a better chance of maintaining family/friend relationships.

I don't know how old you are. If you are in high school or in college I advise extreme caution. There are many stories about religious parents cutting off tuition payments because their child is an Atheist. I'm not saying not to "come out" when you're young, but you need to be honest with yourself about what that means financially.

This folds into my next point, you really have to prepare yourself for the worst case scenario. That could mean losing friends and contact with family members along with a mountain of verbal abuse. A buddy of mine de-converted a few years ago and has lost almost all of his friendships from the church he belonged to.

If you are still going to "come out" to family and friends you need to find allies. You stated that you have one other person within your circle who is an Atheist. Does that person know you are an Atheist also? Is that person "out"? That person, as long as they are trustworthy, would be the first person I talk to about being an Atheist. Go online and find if there are any Humanist or Atheist groups in the area. They may be a valuable support as you come out.

The next group of people I would talk to are those who would sympathize with you (particularly friends) . They don't need to be Atheists to support you as a human being. Talk to them one on one. Reassure them you haven't suddenly decided to be a baby killer. Let them know you value your relationship with them. I would only do that with friends who would not talk to your parents. You don't want your folks to hear about this second hand.

I'm now going to talk about dealing with parents. You really have a few options here. Are you closer to one parent than the other? Is one parent a bit less religiousy? If so, go with a divide and concur tactic. After discussing the matter with one parent quickly arrange for you and the two parents to talk together. However, if you feel both parents are going to have real difficulty with Atheism you need to do a full blown "Sit Down".

Sit Downs are never easy. Arrange for a time that the three of you can meet to discuss the matter (don't tell them beforehand about the Atheism). Make sure your folks are seated and try to keep them seated (it is much more difficult for people to lose their temper while sitting down). You need to be prepared. Practice beforehand what you are going to say (this goes for anytime you "come out"). You will want to go over what you are going to say to your parents with your Atheist friend/family member and ask for feedback. During the talk your parents may lose their cool, do not lose yours. When I talk with people and things get heated I go with, "I can't talk to you when you treat me like this." I would also have two letters that you can give to your Mom and Dad (each person gets a letter in an envelope). I suggest adding some pictures of you when you were young and happy. The letter would have something about how much the parent means to you and how important they are in your life. Even if you have to leave the Sit Down because they are out of control you can leave the letters on a table on the way out. They may or may not open them, it's their choice.

After coming out things may be bad, but work hard at building new relationships while leaving the door open for the old friends and family members to come around and support you.

Prepare, prepare, prepare.
Get your supports in place because you are going to need them.
Good luck.


  1. they are incapable of telling the difference between SCIENTIFIC *FACT* AND RELIGIOUS AND PHILOSOPHICAL *TRUTH*... FATAL ERROR!

    for a sample taste of PZ Myers' GARBAGE...




    what happens when you LOSE Pascal's Wager...



    the blood and bodies of the atheist movement...

    you mofos killed MICKEY MOUSE!!!!

    this has more TRUTH then what Dawkins, Randi, Harris, Myers, and Shermer
    combined have said in their entire lives...!v=5R2wE8Sduhs&playnext_from=TL&videos=hht1U_19anc&feature=rec-LGOUT-exp_fresh%2Bdiv-1r-3-HM

    they tried to BULLDOZE the entire METAPHYSICAL DIMENSION...

    they LOST THE WAR......

    you have FORFEIT YOUR SOUL, shermer... you have become an object in the
    material world, as you WISHED...

    we're gonna smash that TV...

    They had become ENEMIES OF THE PEOPLE AND OF GOD...
    you pushed too much and *CROSSED THE LINE*

    degenerates (PZ) or children (HEMANT) - ATHEISTS!

    do you have anything to say, you STUPID LITTLE F*CKER?

    how about I tell you, Mr. Shermer, EVERYTHING YOU THINK ABOUT THE WORLD is


    THE BOOBQUAKE - 911!



  2. Man, is it me or is Dennis Marzuke (aka David Mabus) getting crazier?

  3. I don't think it's you, vjack.

    About coming out to friends and family... I advocate a simple non-formal approach. Refuse all offers for going to church by saying its old hat and to unbelievable.


Google+ Badge

Pageviews last month