How do tell a close Christian friend I am now an atheist?

I can just see your response, "just tell her." I know that. But this is a person that I converted to evangelical Christianity! She is very involved in Emmaus, a cult-y sort of Christian group, which I recommended to her years ago. Now, I have been a sure atheist for about a year and have never told her. I am sure she notices that I don't suggest praying for our meals, or go to church, but she has no idea it has gone this far. I know it could hurt our relationship, depending on her response, and that it is best to be honest with her, but I am terrified of hurting her deeply, or confusing her faith that she holds dear! Yikes! Any success stories on coming out of the closet, or warnings of what not to do? Thanks!

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This is a tough one Kim. I guess it depends how much time you spend with her. Also I would suggest let things take their natural course. Why do you need to tell her? If she asked for sure, and be honest, but I would ask, why you would want her to make aware of it. I mean don't hide it by any means. If it comes out in conversation for sure. Another way to go is to be subtle about it. Put out books you might be reading. Tweet something about it, if she's a follower. Don't hide who you are but also if she means a lot to you, don't be too quick to shove it in her face if she's not ready.

Hi Kim... I know this is a really tough one. I was very involved in my So. Baptist youth ministry when I was young, and I "brought many souls to the Lord". However I was fortunate that these people weren't close friends, although I still felt weird about it.

Anyway, I always think that honesty is the best answer in these situations. My mom always taught me, "I'd rather hear the awful truth than a beautiful lie.", and I've tried to live by that. When it comes to your friend I think this is a time for a quiet talk, away from anyone else, in private. Sit her down, and remind her of how you brought her into that group because you wanted her to share in what you've found. You spent time in there, and "as you always do" (not to put words in your mouth, but atheists tend to be "always thinking") you began to think about what they teach, their tenets, etc. and doing some research on your own. After a long time of an honest, thoughtful, reflective search you've realized that you made a mistake - you're not a christian. You were going through the motions to try to fit in, to try to feel better, whatever - use your own reasons - but now you're wiser and stronger, and you just can't be a hypocrite anymore. Tell her that you still love her to death, and you want her to be happy; and that if she wants to talk to you about this, ask questions, explore with you, etc. that would be great. Likewise, if she is happy there and feels satisfied, then that's fine too. You just didn't want t continue living a lie with her since she's a close friend.

This way it makes her feel like you're confiding in her, and you're not being aggressive. Talks like this are never easy, but an approach like this will make it as minimally painful as possible.

Let us know how it goes, and best of luck.

You should tell her. If she doesn't want to be friends, then she was not even a friend to begin with. That's like saying she wouldn't be friends with you if one day you got overweight, or got really skinny.  That would be a really terrible friend in my opinion. Besides you can make new friends.

Thanks. I still haven't told her, but we have been seeing less of each other--she is so busy with church and Emmaus! Thanks for the advice. I think you are right.

if she was already a believer, you shouldn't feel
guilty. i think it's hard to convert an atheist to christianity, 
so you probably had just shown her another version of
 the same story.
was she an atheist? probably not as conviced as atheism requires, 
so it's not your fault again. a mature adult
should know that people may change their
ideas in their lives. ;)


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