William, I like that idea.
Kevin, No need! Fighting verbally or physically with someone who believes god exists, that one is to obey god, that there are consequences if we don't accept Jesus as savior, is like fighting a cloud, or puff of smoke. There is nothing of substance to fight about. Save your energy for enjoying life and all that implies.
My family has yet to discuss and fully accept my position as an atheist, although I've been one for over thirteen years! Everytime the subject comes up, my mother makes it about herself and questions why I spit on her parenting; so in as much as I don't hide it to my family, it's a no go zone in terms of discourse.
In my neighborhood, all my mates know me to be one. It is those people who don't know me who label me a devil worshiper and some have physically attacked me all in the name of defending something they hardly put enough time to adore.
Always a delight, being in the company of rational people!
Ojay, Ouch! It really hurts when religion comes between parent and child. Even as we want to hold on to a relationship, it is difficult, at least for me, to listen to the rhetoric of religion when I know it to be babble. Yes, healthy and fulfilling conversation can occur here.
Stephen, powerfully stated, a reframing the dilemma into the long view. As children, we learn how to not challenge authority and to obey adults ... perhaps children who are able to challenge parents and authority have more to offer than adults can even imagine.
My mother smoked from the time she was 12 years old, she too smoked with windows rolled up while I was in the car, she died an excruciating death at 66 of emphysema.
Teaching children to obey is not my highest priority, teaching them to think, reason, consider consequences, make decisions from their own reasoning power makes far more sense to me.
I haven't told my family but I suspect they pretty much know, I haven't been to church in years and there have been the odd comment here and there but I am non confrontational by nature and I won't convince them and they won't convince me so there we have it.
I was raised secular (being kin to Alfred Russell Wallace this is not so shocking.) I sort of morphed from someone ignorant about religion in general into a full on atheist during my four years of junior high. By high school I was pretty vocal about my atheism, and always in trouble. I had to change high schools because the teasing got so bad. Eventually I left my home state altogether. I'm from West (by god) Virginia, but I've lived in Philadelphia PA for something like 8 years. I find it easier to be an atheist in a multi-religious city. (It was nothing but Christians in WV.) Philly has many religions and nonreligious people living side by side, also it's the birth place of "secular freedom." I put that in air quotes cos well... We all know how "free" we really are.