How did your family and friends find out you were atheist?

I was open with my friends about it, but my family was quite catholic so i avoided the topic until the time was right. unfortunately, my mom had snooped through my room while i was out of town and found books on atheism and outed me to my family.

Anyone else have an accidental outing like i did?

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They didn't "find out". I live in a pretty secular country, and my parents were atheist, as were - almost - everyone else in the community.
I didn't become an atheist until after my parents both died, so I never had that situation. I told my brother the first time religion came up in conversation, and he and I have have a couple discussions about it. My sisters are devout Christians--one is Catholic, the other Southern Baptist, and I haven't spoken to them about it at all, but that's mainly because I haven't spoken to them in a couple of years. They're both Tea Party types and we long ago parted ways with civil conversation.
I've always been pretty outspoken. I made many a comment leading up to this, but about a year before my Confirmation (I was raised Catholic), when they started "preparing" us for Confirmation, I had a talk with my ma in which I said I didn't want to do my Confirmation or CCD for that matter because I don't believe in it. She convinced me to do it to appease my grandmother (and the gifts were cool...I bought my first laptop with that money) and then after that, she said, I could believe whatever I wanted. So I did...then I did.

This wasn't my announcement of atheism - I investigated other brands of Christianity - but it was the first step. I didn't really have a 'coming out moment'. I had always had philosophical discussions with my brother growing up - before we knew what philosophy was. In the course of things, my arguments started swaying towards no deity...I passed theism up straight-away. My brother was agitated and wouldn't talk to me for a while out of his newly found Christian (non-Catholic) sensibilities - he ended up a non-supernatural pagan, which to me is a pantheist, but he insists...

My parents never really discussed religion all that much except in the:

Mom - "God works in mysterious ways" "Count your blessings" etc - I guess she's more of a superstitionalist
Dad - "What kind of BS is 'god works in mysterious ways'?" "I don't know what to think about doesn't really matter to me"

So there really wasn't any 'coming out'. My mother has since accepted my criticism of the Bible (this was after the challenge "If you don't want me to bash it, read it through and tell me why I shouldn't."...she still hasn't).

It really came out in the form of conversations and responses to ethical/moral/scientific questions in school and at home.

Now I *DID* have an accidental outing when my dad found a pipe in my room while putting away some laundry...didn't get in much trouble for that, either, though he did smash a very nice 75USD pipe...which is fine cuz I get to call him a hypocrite all his life after that ;-)
Facebook haha.. I foolishly added my parents as friends and, like many who are away at college, they were out of sight and mind. I posted a dumb status while inebriated (Bowling Green right?) involving how wonderful it was to not feel guilt from a sky god anymore. Next time I drove home, I got a stern/laughable talking to. Your story sounds much less based on mindless neglect than mine, i'm slightly jealous.. freaking facebook
Don't blame facebook - blame your parents insistence that you not think for yourself.
If anything i was blaming myself, but you have a great point. One of the best aspects of the rite of passage that is moving out of parental influence into college (or the workforce), is the chance to think for one's self.
I stopped going to church, and eventually my mom started getting curious/ticked off, so I told her I didn't believe it any more, it just didn't make sense to me.
My mom found my copy of god is not Great.
This is sad, I don't really remember. It happened after I moved out of my mother's house and become more concrete after moving out on my own. I would guess it came from my older sister, once she knew there was no chance it would remain a secret. Now it is just part of who I am to the point of assuming everyone knows.
A few of my close friends knew I was an atheist when I came out in early 1982. My family are strict Catholics, however, and I wasn't sure how they'd react, so I stayed quiet about it until 1985. During April of that year I attended my first American Atheist convention in Austin, TX. The cat was "out of the bag" so to speak. Surprisingly, no one in the family seemed to care, with the exception of my mom. She's been saying novenas for me ever since, not that they've had any effect.
My mom didn't go to church but she still believed in god and prayed sometimes I think. I don't remember exactly when I told her and my sisters I was an atheist and I don't remember the details of the conversations. My sisters seemed to accept it as one more eccentricity of their older sister (nursing my babies for a year, using cloth diapers, homeschooling, not spanking, etc.) I could tell my mom was disturbed but she didn't try to change my mind and she hasn't wanted to talk about it since. With all of my important decisions she has mostly kept her opinions to herself--even when I became polyamorous. She seemed to feel either that I knew what I was doing or that she had no right to interfere. However, with my sisters she tends to stick her nose in more. Not sure why that is.

I never told any of my grandparents. I think my mom's parents would have probably been okay with it but it would have broke my paternal grandmother's heart.

The one person who had a strong negative reaction was my first boyfriend. I was 16 and starting to come to the conclusion that the whole god thing was a load of bunk. I told him that I was starting to think there really was no god and he freaked out. He became angry and incredulous. "How could you think that!" This from a guy who never went to church, who had parents who did not go to church. He never mentioned god to me before or acted religious in any way. Yeah, that relationship was doomed.
I've never told my family straight up, but I've stopped going to church with them and I've never hid it from them that I've been reading books like The God Delusion. They just ignore the matter and don't talk about it.




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