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. 

 

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Comment by Justine Robinson on April 12, 2011 at 11:06pm
I wish you good luck! I think my mom still thinks my atheism is a "phase" even after almost two years, but hopefully your mother and family will be more accepting.
Comment by Lindsay Molla on April 12, 2011 at 11:30pm
You have a remarkably similar story to myself! Your time-frame is a little earlier, but only by a few years. I think I've been an atheist longer than I've ever really realized, but I finally admitted it to myself within the last few years. My grandparents would take me to church occasionally and I went to a few youth group sessions with friends over the years, but everything always made me really uncomfortable. I listened to the stories, but that's all they ever seemed like to me. Even as a young kid, they were never more than stories. I can't say that I've ever officially told anyone in my family (yet), but I'm much less careful about hiding my disdain for religion in general. I'm not sure my dad believes in anything at all (can't say that he's ever expressed an opinion either way) but my mom will be a little harder. She has no love for any organized religion, but she does believe in what she calls a "higher power." Religion is a lot like politics for me. I try no to talk about it with people I like (and would like to keep liking...)

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