Ask Sam letter


To Sam

How should i tell my very religious parents i am an atheist

I am 12 years old but i have be an atheist all my life even though my parents and grand parent are really catholic. Like we have a jesus shrine in my parent bedroom. i have never really seen proof of this "God" so i just believe that there is no god.

i have just been hiding it ever since as i am afraid that if i do tell my parents that i am an atheist that they wil be disappointed, mad, confused etc.

one time during christmas, we were around the table saying a prayer then at the the end of the prayer i just said "how do we actually know that there is a god" and my parents we're absolutely mad. they kept on yelling at me, send me to my room without any food and made me go to this "religious camp" to make me learn more about god.

a few reasons why i am atheist is that i was circumcised for religious reasons but i didn't want it so they forced me to do it anyway. another reason is that i don't like religion is that god isn't seen as this "almighty" "lord" "king" which just reminds me of a dictator as people are just serving this thing in the sky which they think is real. religion is just a way to give people hope about nothing.

how can i just tell my parents that i am an atheist because i am so tired of hiding, please tell me what to do

thank you

Ask Sam


Hi there,

Having different religious views to your parents can be stressful because it may mean choosing between keeping things to yourself or causing conflict. Some parents are happy for their children to make up their own minds about their faith but that's not always the case. You have to make the decision about how important it is to be open about your beliefs versus the problems it might cause.

People don't actually choose what they believe in. It might sound strange to say that but deep down you’re either convinced that something is true or you're not - and that's not a choice. Many people say they believe in things when they actually don't and this might be because there’s a lot of pressure from their family and culture to have the same religious views.

Having a part of yourself that you feel your parents or carers will not like can be stressful and upsetting. It often causes people to keep that side of them hidden and secret - which can make people unhappy. Sometimes people in very religious households describe talking about being atheist as "coming out", in a similar way to how people come out about their sexuality or gender identity. Our tips for coming out might be helpful for you. Your views and beliefs are just as much a part of who you are as anything else and they do matter.

It's not wrong to have your own beliefs and it's important to keep reminding yourself of this. Some cultures can be very strict about religious views and could even lead to violence in extreme cases. You’re the best judge of whether it's better for you to tell your parents exactly how you feel or whether you can be happy keeping your views to yourself for a while. Your safety is the most important thing.

Before deciding anything, you might want to read our tips on making a decision, which can help you to think through some of the steps. This will help you feel more prepared and confident.

If you do choose to be open about your beliefs, try to show respect for the fact that they still have religious views. There may be things that they do which seem odd to you but being respectful of those things can help them to respect your beliefs as well. You may be told things, like you’ll be punished in an afterlife or that you’re a bad person - so you'll need to feel strong in your own views and remember that you don't believe in that.

If it's safer, or it's just less stressful, for you to keep your views to yourself then it can help to find other people who think the same way you do. Your school might have a club or society for atheism - and if it doesn't, you could ask to start one. You might have friends already who are atheist as well, so talking to them could be a good way to cope.

I hope all of this has helped, if you need to talk more then our counsellors are available to you. Thanks for sending me this letter, take care.


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