How to Tell Someone You're an Atheist

Thứ bảy - 27/04/2024 01:14
A growing number of people are identifying as atheist in our society. Unfortunately, some of them are met with hate and intolerance from people of religious faiths. Telling anyone that you are an atheist can be intimidating at first. Some...
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A growing number of people are identifying as atheist in our society. Unfortunately, some of them are met with hate and intolerance from people of religious faiths. Telling anyone that you are an atheist can be intimidating at first. Some people especially fear losing religious friends and family. Though this sometimes happens, it is your right to choose how you live and to be open and honest about it.

Method 1
Method 1 of 3:

Telling Close Friends and Family First

  1. Step 1 Know what you want to say.
    Having your talking points planned out can be a huge help. This will allow you to focus on the important parts of the conversation and get your message across to the other person. If you need to, practice in front of a mirror or write out your main points before the conversation.[1]
    • An example of something you might say would be “I know that the rest of the family is religious, but I simply do not believe the same things.”
  2. Step 2 Practice with an open minded person.
    Some friends or family members will be more open and accepting than others. These people make a good place to start when coming out as an atheist. They are likely to have a positive and compassionate reaction. This will build your confidence to approach your less open-minded loved ones.
    • For example, you might start by asking your uncle “Why is that you never go to church with everyone else?” Keep in mind that it may not mean he is atheist at all, but you can now steer the conversation in that direction by saying something like “Church is awkward for me because I am atheist.”
    • If you have a friend or family member that is openly atheist, it might be a good idea to have a conversation with them about how they came out.
  3. Step 3 Communicate directly with loved ones first.
    Posting the information to Facebook, or telling a friend of a friend will almost surely lead to your loved ones finding out secondhand. Word travels fast, and your closest connections will likely be upset by the fact that you didn't tell them yourself. You should make time to talk to parents, best friends, siblings, etc. before coming out publicly. [2]
    • Saying something like “I need to talk to you about something, and I wanted you to hear it from me,” is a good way to start this conversation with a loved one. Naturally, they will ask what it is, and you can continue with “I am an atheist.”
    • Failing to tell those closest to you may alienate them. The task of telling them you are atheist can be challenging enough without added tension.
  4. Step 4 Choose a good time and place to talk.
    You want your loved ones to be in the right frame of mind to hear you out, instead of just lashing out at you. If you plan to tell your religious friends or family about your lack of belief, you should do it in private, with plenty of time to discuss the matter, and at a time that they are in a good mood.[3]
    • A good time and place to discuss this might be at a family dinner. On the contrary, it may be a bad idea to bring it up at your parent's workplace, or even worse, in their church.
  5. Step 5 Use “I” statements.
    Coming out as an atheist can seem like a way to rebel, or can come across as confrontational to the religious establishment in which you were raised (or formerly identified). Make sure that you frame the conversation around your lack of religion and not the fact that you find the other person's belief to be “wrong.”[4]
    • Try saying things like “I personally do not believe that God is real,” in place of things like “Believing in God is absolutely absurd. There is no proof!”
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Method 2
Method 2 of 3:

Communicating Your Convictions

  1. Step 1 Be prepared to answer questions.
    People often ask about each other's beliefs and invite one another to religious gatherings. You can either choose to dodge the questions, or answer them. There is no need to wear an “Atheist” T-shirt everywhere you go, but if you are going to identify publicly as an atheist, you have to come right out and say “I am an atheist,” and be prepared for the conversation that follows.[5]
    • Saying something such as “I am not religious and prefer not to discuss religion,” is a good way to end the conversation most of the time. Keep in mind that some people will still continue to ask you questions, and you can still insist that you would prefer to talk about something else.
  2. Step 2 Choose what you will share.
    You may be asked a lot of questions. Sometimes, this is out of genuine curiosity, and others times, it is an attempt to shame or convert you. It is up to you what you disclose and to whom you disclose it.[6]
    • If you are asked what religion you observe during a job interview, you can easily redirect the question with something like “I do not feel like my spirituality is relevant to this interview.”
  3. Step 3 Decide how to approach social media.
    Some people choose to post their religious beliefs, or lack thereof, on their profile. Others simply do not share the information. Still, others post very deliberately about their atheism. Consider your standing in your profession and community and the degree to which you are willing to create controversy to post on social media. That said, it is a personal choice and there is no right or wrong decision.[7]
    • Remember that employers (and future employers) will have access to the information you share. If you fear that being openly atheist will damage your career, be careful about social media.
  4. Step 4 Discuss the topic at work.
    Do this only if you feel comfortable. There is no need to discuss the topic, but it is also illegal to for anyone to discriminate against you for doing so. The culture of your workplace will heavily affect how you approach this topic with co-workers.[8]
    • If the conversation does come up in an uncomfortable way, it is usually best not to argue or debate with religious co-workers. Instead, say something like “If you'd like to discuss atheism more, we can have coffee sometime, but I am pretty busy right now.”
  5. Step 5 Try to keep an open mind and be respectful of others.
    While you will experience some degree of intolerance, or at least confusion, for your atheist beliefs at times, do not fuel the discrimination. You do not have to partake or agree with someone else's point of view, but it is no more your right to change their mind than it is their right to change yours. Be as open-minded as you hope others will be and show respect.
    • For example, if someone says “Bless you,” after you sneeze, this is no reason to go on a rant about how you are an atheist and do not believe that there is a God to bless anyone. A simple “Thank you,” will do.
    • If an acquaintance is genuinely interested in your views, it is okay to discuss them. Just make sure to keep the conversation respectful on both ends.
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Method 3
Method 3 of 3:

Choosing Positive Behaviors

  1. Step 1 End negative relationships.
    Most people will be able to come out as atheist with little more than a few tense conversations. In some cases, however, your job may depend on your religion. Other times, certain religions will excommunicate anyone who is a non-believer. You need to remove yourself from these situations by finding a new job and putting in a support system before coming out as atheist.[9]
    • Once you are ready to end judgemental relationships, simply say something like “I have a right to live my life as I see fit, and I will no longer allow other people to decide what I believe or how I portray myself.” Keep calm and do not fight or argue with the person. Say what you need to say and don't go back into that relationship.
  2. Step 2 Build a support system.
    Having a support system is crucial to being happy. In the case of being atheist, it helps to have other atheists that can relate to your experiences as a non-believer. Look for local atheist groups, or join internet communities of atheists if you don't know any atheists personally.[10]
    • It is nice to have a support system of other atheists, but you can also rely on the support of your open minded friends and family.
  3. Step 3 Anticipate some uncomfortable situations.
    Opening up as an atheist can do wonders for your happiness, but you also have to respect the religions of others. Co-workers, family members, and friends will not instantly convert when you come out, and sometimes they will even be downright annoying in the interest of “saving your soul.” Be prepared to turn down invitations to church and other religious events, and to be asked to explain your belief and reasons often (though you do not have to oblige).[11]
    • You can respectfully leave any conversation that makes you uncomfortable by saying something like “Excuse me, I think I should be going now.” If someone is not respecting you, it is best to get out of the situation rather than engage in an argument about spirituality.
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  • If you are still dependent on your parents and they are very religious, it may be best not to tell them until you can be self-sufficient.
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  • Make sure that you are not in a situation where intolerance will lead to you being harmed.
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  • Do not provoke arguments with believers, especially online. You will not change their minds, they will not change yours, and everyone will leave angry.
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