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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Keep it to yourself.  Try this as an experiment.  Tell her a very extreme far left idea that you are in favor for and see how she reacts.  Then multiply that by 1000 and thats still a very vague, unscientific peek at how she might take it.  Come to this site for an outlet.  I think in your heart of hearts you know it just would'nt be recieved well at all, as much as you might wish it to be. 

One thing to think about- when they do eventually find out they are going to be curious as to when you made your atheist transition. I personally would not like living in deceit in order to keep the "financial peace of mind" you presently have. It's a tough situation at best. One on one and when the karma in the air is especially tranquil you may have a good moment to reveal yourself. I wish you well.

I don't think speaking to the pastor should be ruled out. If he convinces you that there is a God, problem solved. But, if he doesn't, and the conversation is polite, rational, and reasonable, chances are that the pastor will end up reporting back to the parents that you've made up your mind, that he can't convince you otherwise, and that they should love you anyway.

The same thing happened to me, but I'm quite a bit older. My cousin is a Jesuit. His family are very religious and surprisingly wonderful people. Our families know I'm an atheist but wanted me to have a chat with my cousin - one last-ditch effort for salvation. We had a very amicable conversation and he realized by the end of it that I was not about to "choose" to believe in Santa Claus. Problem solved. We are all as close as a family can be (aside from the subject of a parallel thread).

Thanks but I am pretty convinced there isn't a god and talking to my pastor won't change my mind.

Sorry. I should have been more obvious. My second sentence was tongue-in-cheek. I was not seriously suggesting that you might be converted. The idea was that, after talking to your pastor, he would undoubtedly be convinced of your sincerity (although he would probably continue to maintain that you are wrong - that's his job). If your parents heard from your pastor that you are sincere and unwaivering, his authority might be enough to get your parents to at least accept your decision and let it drop.

Yeah, I'm kinda afraid to go that far though.

You should at least wait until you have your own place if you suspect they'll take it badly. I'm a senior in college and my parents know I'm no longer a Christian, but I got an apartment my sophomore year in college and have been largely self sufficient throughout college. If you want a free place to stay, I would recommend waiting. If you simply can't hold it in any longer, maybe you could just say you're agnostic or that you "no longer agree with religion." It's less scary to Christian parents than "atheist" and mine took that with more stride. My boyfriend and I have already gone through the same thing. Good luck! Good parents will love you anyway and eventually get over it.

It's not really their business.  Wait till you are ready.  I was very much in your shoes... I waited until I was in my 30s before I told my parents.

Ironically, I waited, and about the time I was going to tell them, my little bro told me he was an atheist. He said he'd know I was for years, but ha it had taken him time to come to that realization..We told our folks at the same time.

It was sad in that my Mom didn't even try to dissuade us.  I think she'd suspected for a while, too..  She just said taht she felt like she'd failed as a parent somehow...

I don't know how to tell ya to be ready, but if you aren't, no need to rush...

Good luck, whatever you decide..

There is no problem so intractable as to be unresponsive to the judicious  application of high explosives.

You're an adult, Anna - why should you feel your parents need to know your innermost thoughts and everything that's going on in your life? Look at life through your window and let them do the same.

I'm not suggesting you deceive them, but there's no real reason to mention it if they don't.

I'm tired of pretending that I'm a christian to please them.

Don't pretend.  Just don't have to throw it in their face.

Unless you want to..

But, that's your choice..


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