As a 19 year old (well 19 on April 17th =) ) who has been an Atheist for approximately eight years, it never occurred to me to tell my family. At 11 I didn't really know any better, and I was slightly afraid  that if I ever told anyone, I'd get in trouble. I was petrified that everyone in my family would disown me. My mom was never really a religious nut, but she does have her beliefs, that there is a god. She never pushed religion on me, because she wanted me to be able to make my own decisions, unlike her, who when a child was forced into Christianity by my grandmother --her mother. Yet still I didn't tell a soul --except for a few friends who I knew wouldn't reject me.

After a few months I had forgotten that no one knew, I went about my beliefs, by not believing, and no one was the wiser. I think I figured that everyone eventually would realize that I was Atheist after I stopped going to church. Until this past year, I hadn't realized, that no one picked up on my non-belief system.

So when my step-mom, my dad, and I were talking one day in the kitchen and the topic of religion came up --My step my was asking about my, at the time, new boyfriend (side note: still with him and happeh!!) and if he had a belief system. I had told her that thankfully he was sort of Atheist, I expanded on that and said that it was good for me because he doesn't yell at me for being a full blown Atheist. The room fell into silence and my father and step-mom just stared at me for a moment. They weren't expecting it. 

"Since when are you Atheist?" She had asked me. She was utterly confuse, which in turn confused me. I thought everyone new. Then I remembered, I never told. 

I was nervous when I told her that it's been about 8 years since I decided on my secular belief system. She laughed at me and said that I wasn't I got mad and I'm pretty sure I did the child argue and said, "yeah-huh!" My dad didn't really say anything, I don't think he cared, honestly, I don't even think he has a belief system. 

After that conversation, that was pretty much the end of any discussion there would ever be of my lack of religion. The only problem, I don't think my mom knows, nor does my grandmother. I'm still petrified to tell them. I don't even know if I'd ever tell my grandma, I think it would break her little heart to know that her eldest granddaughter (biologically at least) is an Atheist. 

I used to go to church with my grandma a lot. Up until 11 that is. I just couldn't take it anymore. I had to stop going, I couldn't pretend to believe anymore, come to think of it, I don't think I ever really believed in a god. I may have speculated on the subject, nut I can't remember a time that I ever actually thought that there was a real god. So maybe i've been Atheist longer than I thought. Go figure. 

Well at least there's two down and only two more to go. Wish me luck. I think I may tell my mom sometime this week. 


Views: 71

Comment by Walter Maki on April 11, 2011 at 11:12pm
I hope that it goes well for you without too many issues.
Comment by James on April 11, 2011 at 11:18pm
Thanks for sharing, Amber! Letting the cat out of the bag can sometimes be difficult. But it sounds like you handled it well. For me, my mother cares more about my Atheism (doesn't really like it, but deals with it), but my dad is pretty much fine with it. He considers himself Christian still, even though I'd probably rank him as a deist based on his beliefs... I never really told people for a while either. I remember when a good friend found out and she asked my why, and what had suddenly changed. I then had to explain that I had been an Atheist since before we ever met. She simply assumed that we shared beliefs because of how I carry myself. *shrugs* I feel that is something that we need to focus on, that we are good regular people and we are everywhere! Good luck with letting everyone in on you 'secret'. :)
Comment by Thomas Pepe on April 12, 2011 at 12:14am
Good luck, I'm in the same boat, except the only person in my family that knows is my sister.
Comment by Scarlette Blues on April 12, 2011 at 12:59am
This is kind of where I'm at. I'm officially "out" on FB. Most of the people, I assume know by now but my grandmother [and a few others not into technology] do not know. I dread that conversation.
Comment by Robert on April 12, 2011 at 4:58am
Good for you... I realized my non-belief when I was very young also, and wasted many of my older years searching and thinking something was seriously wrong with myself. You are a very strong young lady! Stay strong.
Comment by Big Fella on April 12, 2011 at 5:31am

Keep up the good work!

Just remember that you cannot choose what you belief, you can only choose to be faithful to who you are. Kudos to you!

Comment by Tom Margolis on April 12, 2011 at 5:34am

Your family members may feel threatened by your atheism, and/or may be concerned about your welfare, in their own way.  Are you revealing your atheism for yourself, or for them?  You could always say - with perfect honesty and integrity - that your [non]-spiritual beliefs are private and you'd rather not share.  There will be many things in your life that you won't share with your family - details about your sex life, for instance.   

Comment by Ian Luke on April 12, 2011 at 7:42am

You've done well there, good work! I'm looking forward to hearing what your Mum has to say, good luck with that, I'm lucky enough to have all my friends and family as outspoken atheists. Living in Australia though, in fact, if one of them were to come out and tell us they were religious, they'd have the same feelings as U.S atheists do, trying to come out. Owning up to being religious over here is instant crazy status.

Looking forward to this years census, hoping to take the lead!!

Comment by Amber Cantrell on April 12, 2011 at 9:56am
Thank you all so much, for the supportive comments. Having a support system for this is something that's very new to me, so It is very greatly appreciated.
Comment by Richard Raymond on April 12, 2011 at 5:55pm
The more you educate yourself about science, nature, philosophy and religion,  the more you will realize that religion has been a crutch for mankind from the time he evolved with a thinking brain. Man is naturally inquisitive and the more you realize what makes up mankind and the universe the more you realize there is no magic man in the sky.  You come to a point where it just seemed utterly silly to believe in these fairy tales from the bible.  You can never learn enough.  Too bad we don't live long enough to know everything.  Goodness, then we'd be a god!


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