I have been an atheist for about a year and a half now, and it is starting to get hard for me to pretend i'm a Christian. I am 15, and I am in a conservative Christian family with Amish background. I am afraid that if I continue putting of coming put as an atheist I will eventually snap. If that happens relationships with my parents will probably be hurt more than they need top be. Religion does mean a lot to my family which makes it hats for me to come out to them. I have considered conning put to one of my older brothers. They are both a lot more open minded than most conservative people. My main question is who I should come out to. My father is also fairly open minded, but I don't commonly discuss religion with him making it hard to find a good time to tell him about it. My brother talks quite a bit about it and seems to be far more liberal than the rest of my family. With that in mind who should I tell first? Any suggestions are greatly appreciated as I am having a hard time coping recently.

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This is a topic which comes up over and over and over again here on A|N, and no great surprise, either.  Young people like yourself who come to the realization that irrational belief is just that - irrational - and yet are stuck in a social environment which is at minimum opposed to such a stance and at maximum actively hostile to it have a damned difficult road ahead of them.

I know that you WANT to come out; it's self-evident in your entry here.  You want to TELL SOMEONE what you have discovered, share with them this deduction you have made.  The obvious problem is that you want to do it in a mine field.  One very saving grace is that You KNOW It's A Mine Field!  It sounds as though you have some sense of those around you, who your audience is.  About all I can advise you here is to continue to sound those out who may be sympathetic.  Work around the topic peripherally, talking about problems you see with the bible or things that don't make sense to you and so on.  No, there's probably no way of being 100% sure that your revelation will meet with approving ears if and when you do make it.  Thing is, here's one glimmer of good news you may be able to consider: You May NOT Be the ONLY ATHEIST There!!!

Honestly, I'm not sure what else to tell you ... other than that if you need a hand with this, a friendly ear or some further advice to help you along, I and a lot of others here will be more than glad to do what we can.  Meantime, for what it's worth, best wishes to you.

That is a good sign, that people in your church seem to respect people with different "mental toolboxes" who, like themselves, seek to do right and make the world a better place.

(Which reminds me... here in Philadelphia, a few years ago, a coalition of secular groups put up a billboard, "Don't believe in God? You are not alone." When its run was over, the next billboard at that location was a Catholic message, "Say one Hail Mary." I read later that the atheist/humanist/freethinker groups worked together with Catholics on a hunger relief project.)

Don't ask me. I'm from a grossly dysfunctional family.

I'm sorry you're in this situation. I would say this--being the age that you are, unfortunately you are kind of stuck with your family at this time. (Not saying they are all bad, just that if you "come out" it's likely you could have a difficult time in your own home). I know it is very frustrating, but if you don't
1:wish to be proselytized to constantly or
2:wish to be looked down upon in your community, possibly it's best to wait until you are more free to be yourself.
I would say that out of the options you have, if you desperately need to get it off your chest (which I totally understand), one of your brothers may be the best route to take. Perhaps they would agree to keeping it to themselves? So at least you would have one person to talk to. Maybe this will open a door to feel more understood by your family members.
I had a similar situation myself at your age actually, and I simply kept it to myself. I wasn't willing to pay the price at the time. However, I did have some friends at school I could share this with who were not under the same thinking. Now living on my own I can feel free to be exactly who I am.


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