If my sons and daughter, grandchildren and great-grandchildren were christian, muslim, or any other believer in a personal god I would especially want them to know I can find no evidence of god, or life after death, or answered prayers, or redemption for my sins, or the power of prayer.
Every one else, family and friend, will either accept my decision or not and it really doesn't matter to me. I have no interest in converting anyone else, but if they impose on me I make sure I respond so powerfully with reasons I do not believe, they usually don't bring up the subject again. Except for my cousin's husband, who is determined he will convince me before he dies. He is in his 80s and believes I shall burn in eternal damnation. That belief is one of the reasons I hold my ground with him, he is afraid of the big burn and he doesn't need to be.
I dunno ... how personal can the relationship be without something like that out in the open? Coming out several years ago definitely showed me who my real friends were, and it wasn't always the ones I would have bet on. The family member who gives me the LEAST trouble for it is my Southern Baptist granny. She's ultra-religious but knows that family is an exception and she's never let her religious opinions affect how she treats her kids/grandkids.
My experience includes realizing the beliefs held by family members contributed to the challenges I faced as an adult. If I need to change my beliefs, I also need to change my relationship with my family members. That done, I also need to build a strong support system as new and different values form in my life. I discovered finding friends with shared values of wanting to flourish was relatively easy and far more beneficial. It is kind of like those who grow up in alcoholic homes often have to make a break from their families in order to live a sober life.
Also from my experience, once I made the break, and once I established a healthy, happy, productive life, some of my family re-looked at their belief systems and found them lacking. They wanted to know why and how I made my changes.
Scott I think you would find great enjoyment and release if you found a local group of atheists to hang with once a week. Good luck.
It is different for each person. I can only give you my perspective. If I am to be a genuine person, I have to be honest with myself and with others. I can think of no occasion where I would not want a family member or friends to know how and what I think. As to others, it is none of their business.
I follow the cues I receive from others. If they do not accept me as I am and make it their life's purpose to convert me to their delusions, I don't want anything to do with them. I leave them, realizing this is the price for thinking for myself. I am willing and able to make that sacrifice.
If they do not proselytize, or badger me, even if they avoid the topic of religion all together I can be a grownup and behave decently with them. If they ask me questions I answer as honestly as I can.
There is no reason to respect an unreasonable belief based on faith. My obligation is to use my full capacity to the fullest of my abilities.
90% it would hurt family members if I said it right out that religion is a fairy tale , I just say that I'm a total evolutionist and leave it at that . Once I had a extremely elated moment and could not stop my face from beaming when one of my work mates said we being made in the image of god " did I then think that god also looked like a monkey at one time " and I replied did he think god had a nose and a chin ? and he said yes "wow I was beaming " that means he had a mouth , did he then eat and I am sure there must have been waste ? and what about a penis ? was there then goddess or did he do it with mortals ? It made my week.
Greg, Don't know where the sticker was bought. It was sent to me by a friend who lives in Santa Cruz,CA. It's been on my car so long it's almost invisble it's self. If you google Russell's teapot sticker, you can get one from CafePress. Its different from mine, but still gets the idea across.
i don't hide it at all...... i agree with james cromb...... why bow to ppl who don't respect OUR ways of thinking ( yeah, we actually think) . if xians want to wear a cross around their neck to show their faith, then we can wear our own symbols for our lack of belief......... i don't understand why atheists are afraid of xians and what they think of us; maybe it is they who are afraid of US, and that's why they try so hard to (pretend) to believe in a non existent being.
there's no reason to lie, pretend or be afraid of xians...... what can they possibly do to you? if they're the xians they claim to be, they will love you no matter what religion you are...... or are not!
for those of you still in the closet, get out!! breathe the fresh air of freedom, be brave, courageous, have confidence in yourself and what you know is true. knowledge, truth, logic, reason, facts. stop living a lie and get out!!!