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“God” has never done anything for me. I may go to a catholic school, however that is just for the better education. I just started becoming an atheist last month, and now I am sticking to it. My parents are huge religious people, and they will kill me if I tell them I don’t believe in “God”. I do not know what to do, tell them or keep it a secret.

A: Hello and thanks for your question:

I don’t want to try to convince you of anything, yet am curious: How do you know that God hasn’t done anything for you? I’m just wondering what evidence you have.  That question aside, I understand how you need to find your own answers, and not believing in any god is certainly a route that makes sense to many people. I can honestly see how it makes sense that there is no “being” in charge of anything, that there is no one to blame except ourselves for the messes we encounter. It really does make sense to me.

What I often ask teenagers who are struggling with questions like yours is, what else are you struggling with? Turning away from the family’s religion isn’t usually all that’s going on.  There are often family troubles, relationship problems, school troubles, or other things that are going on that are too hard to deal with. We often feel like we are swimming against the tide and it’s winning.

It is good that you are finding your own path to the hard questions. I doubt that your parents will “kill” you, but sooner or later it will come out. You might be able to keep it a secret for awhile, but sooner or later, there will be some kind of blowup and it will come out in a way that you don’t want.

Here are two suggestions: One, tell your parents that you have something very hard to discuss and try to present your case in the following way. Talk with them in a calm fashion and ask why you should believe in God. Once they tell you why, give them 5 reasons in writing, why you can’t. Do not lose your temper, or you will lose the debate. No matter how you present it, they won’t be happy, but neither will you if it comes out in a big fight. We often have to renounce our parents’ beliefs to find our own. Don’t do it in a big blowup.

The other option is to ask your parents to take you to a therapist who can help you sort these things out and teach you a better way to tell your parents. You might even be able to present your case in a session with the therapist as mediator, and your parents.  Be honest with the therapist and tell him or her why you want to tell your parents about your beliefs. Don’t blindside the therapist, or he won’t be able to help you. You can find one in your area at Find A Therapist. Having a go-between often is very helpful in sensitive issues like this.

I hope this helps,

Dr. Diana Walcutt

 

 

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 11 Sep 2009

APA Reference
Walcutt, D. (2009). I Don’t Believe In God; How Do I Tell My Parents?. Psych Central. Retrieved on April 16, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2009/09/11/i-dont-believe-in-god-how-do-i-tell-my-parents/

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