Hello. I guess you could say that I am a recovering protestant. I spent most of my childhood going to church and not really believing any of it. Now that I’m off to college, I feel more free to think about my religious doubt, and to research information on both sides of the table, so to speak.
This is all well and good, but I still haven’t told my parents. I think that my father will be okay with my decision to forgo any kind of faith, but my mother will no doubt be horribly upset. I love both my parents and I don’t want to bring any kind of heartbreak on them, but I simply won’t feel comfortable living a lie around them. Our family policy (other than santa and the easter bunny) has always been to value honesty.
So my problem is this: how can I “break it to them” as easily as possible? Also, since my mother will no doubt reject any kind of rational argument and instead suggest I go read my bible, how can I… well, not force her to have a discussion with me, but sort of coerce her to speak rationally with me?
Thank you for any response you can give me.
This is a very difficult question, and there is no one right answer. I’d guess that, in your situation, something gradual might be better than “let’s sit down and talk about religion for a minute.”
What would you think of sharing some of your philosophical journey with your parents? Bring up your religious doubts, see what kind of response they give. If they can see more of the path you have been walking, they may feel better about where you arrived than they would if you just told them how the story ends. You don’t want your parents thinking you made a sudden change, because that may lead them to think that some single thing happened that made you change your mind (like a bad experience or an anti-religion influence at college).
Whatever you do, it’s important that your parents know that you have not turned your back on them or on any friends you have from Church, and that you are still the moral, caring boy they raised.
Just FYI, what I have described here is much the tact I took with my parents. They’re both atheists now. Obviously, that isn’t going to happen in every family, but even before my parents gave up religion, they were comfortable with my philosophical choice because they understood that it was carefully considered.
I hope this has been of some help.