I love my family very much. All my family is catholic or christian. I have been keeping my atheism a secret. I really want to tell them I am atheist, but I feel my family would love me less and never look at me the same. My brother smokes weed and has been caught with it by the police and it made a little effect on my family. However, if I tell them I am an atheist, it would tear my family apart. I tried to tell my brother that I was questioning "God"(just to see what he would say) and he said that i should stop and "don't think as hard. Don't become an atheist, man". He is the only person in my family I can trust with secrets and I can't even tell him this. I HATE RELIGION SO MUCH. This is tearing me apart. I really need some support and advice.
My family has been hard core evangelic christian since as long as I can remember. I knew they would still love me if I told them but thought things would never be the same. That I would be shunned. I told my family individually last year and we ended up having good, yet painful discussions about it. Painful because they (especially my mom) take pretty much everything personally and thought it was a slap in the face. I explained that it had nothing to do with them and I still loved them deeply. I brought them the reasons why I no longer believe in God and while they strongly disagreed and were sorely disappointed our relationship has remained as it was before I leaked the info. It may have even gotten a bit better since we are all being more honest with each other. I obviously don't know your family but I would hope that they would accept you no matter what your thoughts or beliefs are. The response your brother gave you is a typical one, "don't think". Maybe instead of talking to him directly about what you no longer believe, challenge why he believes what he believes. Challenge his thinking. I do this with my sisters and they hate it but it is good to know that I may be making some sort of impact while also letting them know why I think as do. My parents just subtly try to reconvert me. Hope this helps a bit.
Only you can know how your family will react. People in this community have heard the whole spectrum of reactions. Some are good, some are horrible. I usually advise caution for those ready to 'come out'
If you feel like you have to do it, then be sure to pick a time when there isn't a lot of stress or other variables involved. If you have family members that are of advanced age or ill health, you really ought to weigh the pros and cons of even telling them, as for some this is a major upheaval and trauma. (Remember, in their minds you have chosen a fate worse than death.) They will blame themselves, and manifest that guilt and anger onto you.
Even though it's hard to live a lie, you have to ask yourself if it's worth loosing your family over. That is a very real decision you have to come to terms with if you expect their reaction to be a violently negative one.
Either way, you've got a community here to support you and be a good sounding board.
Best of luck!