So I'm still living with my parents, who are fundamentalist Protestants. I'm 21, but I still depend on them financially since I'm still at university. I haven't come out as a non-believer to them yet, but I planned to tell them when I've started my Master's degree (this October, November).

However, because I'm still in the closet, I am in an international christian youth choir, in which all the young people of our church participate. If you aren't in the choir, then something is wrong with your spiritual life. Anyway, they recently announced they would do a tour of two weeks in South Africa in October, which is pretty exceptional. So I have to go. Of course it would be nice to go to SA, but I just already feel so bad about singing in the choir about how God loves you and always takes care of you and blah blah. And now I would go on their costs to SA, to "evangelize" to people, lying to them and to the choir leaders, who think I'm genuinely converted.

I don't want to go on the trip, but I also don't want to out myself yet. If I out myself right before the trip, the plane ticket will already have been bought, if I out myself right after the trip, they will feel used, because they paid my ticket "for God" when I actually wasn't there "for God." Does that make any sense?

Does anyone have any advice or ideas on how I could handle this situation? It would be much appreciated.

Okay, thanks everyone for replying!

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Hey Lizzy. If I understand you correctly, you do want to "come out" to your family but you don't want to be pressurized into coming out as a direct result of this trip.

Unfortunately, the more lies you tell, the worse the situation is going to get. For a delaying tactic, you're looking for an excuse to get out of this trip.

Is it possible you're able to do the trip, experience South Africa, sing along in the choir and keep to the back when proselytizing becomes an issue? To be honest, I doubt your choirs trip is going to make Christians out of atheists - or actively convert other religions to the cause. It's far more likely to simply enable those people who are already Christians to congratulate themselves that their religion is correct and to celebrate it.

You seem to be indicating that your parents might not want to fund your education if they knew you had lost your religion. Ethically, how do you justify continuing to accept it?

It sounds like you are simply avoiding making a painful decision.

My thoughts exactly.

If you are stalling to make sure they pay your educational costs, if correct that they'd cut you off if you "came out"...I see your dilemma.  

It would be dishonest TO "trick them" into paying if you actually know that to be true.

It would also be dishonest to go  evangelizing when you don't believe.

So, a lot comes down to what doing the right thing is worth to YOU.

You could, for example, simply state that you want to finish the degree before going on any trips, and that your heart would not be in it, as far as this trip, as you do not believe in god.

If your parents are close minded nut cases (Yeah, a lot are, its a real problem), and are ok wasting all the tuition they paid to get you this far, to disown you/cut you off/keep you from finishing school...well, you might have to work and earn the money needed, and, yes, it would typically delay things.

I could not get student loans because my parents had enough money, even though I showed I was supporting myself and it didn't matter if they had money, its just how the US system was hard wired.

Just accept that sometimes you had to make hard decisions with consequences that worsen the state of affairs, etc....when they are the right thing to do.

Now, if the above doesn't actually apply, and your education is not at risk...you are being a baby worrying about it frankly.  :)

IE: If its just about not making mommy/daddy mad at you...man up (or whatever applies).

You should be at an age where you need to stand up, and take a stand, and all that stuff about standing.

You don't need to be a dick about about it to them of course, but, you don't have to be a wuss either.

Talk like adults, and, see what happens.



I just read Greta Christina's book about "coming out atheist" and she says she collected hundreds of peoples' stories.  She claims only ONE person said that in the end, they regretted it...even though many did go through horrific consequences.  Being able to be honest with one's self and others is of extremely high value.

Counterbalancing this, she's the first to tell you to wait if you really, really need to, but the longer you delay the higher the chances are that you will be outed at a time not of your own choosing, and that can suck.

(Full disclosure, I personally never really had to deal with this issue, I was essentially raised atheist.)

"...Greta Christina..."

Every time I hear her name I throw up a little.

Bite your tongue and close your eyes before you roll them. You are still young, soon you will be free and clear. Taking part of activities you reeeeaaally don't want to is part of adulthood.

Whenever I'm pulled into shit I hate, which encompasses quite a few things, I treat it as an anthropological expedition. Treat it as an experience, observe the people around you and their behavior, and generally just try to learn whatever you can. I narrate internally in the voice of David Attenbourough, which actually makes it kinda funny.  


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