Atheist college student dealing with Christian parents!

I'm 21 years old and am a junior in college. I have been struggling with my faith since middle school and finally came out as Atheist early this school year to my boyfriend (who has been with me since high school and was going through the same thing surprisingly) and a select few friends. However, I still live at home when I'm not at the dorms. My parents are some of the most conservative Christian people I know. They already know I'm a liberal and they are upset and saddened by the fact that my political views differ so much from theirs. How do I tell them that I'm an atheist? Should I? I'm afraid if I did that my mom would want me to speak to her pastor or something. I'd say no of course, I'm an adult. But I don't want that kind of tension at home. I'm so conflicted...

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I wouldn't tell them until you're well out of college and living completely on your own.  I was fortunate that when my mom found out, I was in my 30s, married, and most definitely not living with her.  Good thing too, since she freaked out on me.  It doesn't get easier just because you're an adult, but it IS easier not having to live with it!  Don't drop that bombshell while you're under their roof.

That's what I'm thinking too. I'm just tired of lying and wish it didn't have to be this way. I wish they were more accepting.

Just keep in mind that they'll one day die and then you'll realize it's just two tears in a bucket. Let them live in their little miasma of ignorance and don't feel bad about withholding information. It's your life, do whatever it takes to live it the way you want.

Hey, you K0rsan you!  I missed you - great to see you back :)

You noticed :)

I don't want to change them. I have no intent on converting them. I just with they didn't feel the need to change me... I think I'll just let them figure it out on their own. If they want to believe I'm a Christian, if it puts their minds at ease, then let them. But I'm not going to put on an act for them either. If one day they notice I'm not going to church and they come to the conclusion on their own, good for them.

Then YOU should be more tolerant with them. Until some months ago, my mother-in-law, a very conservative catholic lived with us. For years I respected her views, sometimes kidding with her believes but we lived in harmony. I think that with time she learned to accept my atheism as I accepted her theism. Now that she is dead, my wife and I are left in a home where although she is no as conservative as her mother, she still goes on believing in god and  tolerates my atheism as I do the same with her thinking. I can assure you that we are a happy couple...

I am very tolerant of them. I don't see why people think I'm not. They can't see past the way they've been raised to be tolerant of ME.

Glad to hear that. You are in the good path. Best wishes.

Hi Anna, I'm so sorry to hear what you are facing. I look at this whole concept of "coming out" like this: Do what YOU are comfortable with. If your parents do not make you feel safe in telling them, then don't. It's not something that absolutely needs to be brought up. I still haven't come out as an Atheist to anyone of importance in my life and it's because I'm not emotionally ready to. I'm OK with that. It sounds like you are on much more solid ground than I am when it comes to you accepting this part of yourself and you simply want to be free to be who you are without feeling attacked or hassled. This is of course what all Atheists want. This is the ideal outcome. It sounds like your parents however may not have such a response. So you have to decide what is right for you: Hide it, or say it. Which consequence are you more prepared to live with? You will come out to them some day. Do you think they would appreciate knowing the truth even if they do try to convert you? Would you begin to be even more stressed out for keeping the truth from them? Ask yourself honestly what you want. If they knew the truth would they still love you? Of course they would. If they didn't would they still love you? Absolutely! You will never have to deal with losing their love. Only with facing their reaction. It sounds to me like you want to keep it from them because you still depend on them financially. Would they still help you out if they knew you were an Atheist? Only you can answer that, but I would venture to guess probably yes. Helping you through school is not usually something that a parent would threaten to take away based on what your beliefs are, (I don't know your parents though.) All things to consider. I wish you the best!!!! Hugs

What you said really helped. And the truth is, I do still rely on them financially and do not want to find out if they would keep paying or not. My mom complains already about how she's paying for a school that is introducing me to liberal ideas and although I do not think she is cruel enough to cut me off, it still scares me. I will perhaps wait till I'm graduated or wait for them to find out on their own. I haven't decided yet. Thanks again for your advice!

Welcome, If you a very, very lucky and engage into all your potential, perhaps one day they will grow also and come around to accept you. To me, family is more important that politics or religious belief or unbelief, so I love them for who they are and avoid conflict. You have to work with all sorts of people. Tolerance is the key. In a couple hundred years, because there are more and more like you, perhaps this problem will go away!


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