Image via WikipediaDisclosing one's atheism to one's family is often one of the most dreaded experiences many atheists will face. While it is certainly safer to reveal one's atheism as an adult, it is not necessarily any easier. In fact, it is quite normal to be fearful of making such a disclosure even as a young adult. The way in which many faith communities shield members from outsiders in order to prevent exposure to contrary ideas, one escaping from such a community often risks more than the disapproval of the immediate family.
As Richard Collins writes at End Hereditary Religion,
Depending upon how insular their faith community was, leaving can be a wrenching, depressing experience that they face alone. The church and the people they have known all their lives are often the newly converted apostate’s only friends. Since leaving is seen as disloyal and a betrayal, their friends often abandon them. Millions of people leave a faith community every year and the pain they suffer is one of the dark shameful secrets that goes unrevealed in the major media and that is systematically covered up by the churches.For more on this important subject, see the following:
- Coming to Terms With One's Atheism
- Coming Out as an Atheist to Your Christian Family
- Coming Out Godless