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For Non-Christians(primarily atheists), how did you tell family?

This is going to be my second Christmas with DF and his family. They are Christian and I am Atheist. Me and my DF deal just fine with different beliefs. His family doesn't know, even though I think they pick up on it because I don't participate in prayers and talk about anything religious. Well last year they got me gifts like a Christian parenting book, cross jewelry, and a bible storybook for my DS from a previous marriage, among other things. I appreciate gifts, but why have them waste their money on things I won't ever use? We also just had a baby 9 weeks ago and they always bring up stuff trying to get me to go to church to be "saved", having the baby "dedicated", and so on-I am respectful and just say nothing. Me and DF have already agreed to wait till kids are older to teach them about religion and let them decide. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed. So should I just tell them and if so how did some of you? Should I have DF?


Asked by AshleyLynnW at 12:31 AM on Sep. 3, 2009 in Religion & Beliefs

Level 14 (1,403 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (15)
  • I think it would be best if you & DF talked to his family together. I would talk to them simply from the point of view of supporting your parenting decisions. I would say something like "we really appreciate your concern, but we have decided to wait to teach our children about religion until they are older." They will ask why & you can tell them then that you are an atheist. They will probably be shocked or upset, but try to keep the focus on how much you appreciate their concern & how happy you are that you have family that will support & love you, even if they don't agree with you. Letting them know that you respect them & believe that they care that much about you & your children with the expectation that they will support you, will help set the stage for them to reluctantly agree to respect your wishes. Lay some basic ground rules (please don't take my children to church, don't give them Bible story books, etc.).

    Answer by nysa00 at 1:52 PM on Sep. 3, 2009

  • If his family is doing things to make you uncomfortable, he should be the one to say something & put a stop to it.

    If he doesn't, just (nicely) tell them you appreciate their gifts & concerns, but that you are not interested in being a Christian or raising your children to follow a particular religion. If they persist, remind them that you are grown & capable of making your own decisions for yourself and that your children are YOUR children, and you are capable of making the decisions in raising them as well.

    Make sure to tell your fiance ahead of time that you've had enough and are going to say something & that you expect him to be supportive & have your back.

    Answer by Laura1229 at 12:56 AM on Sep. 3, 2009

  • I wouldn't bring it up.

    If they ask directly, I'd mention that you don't bother much about religion rather than stating outright that you don't believe in God.

    The reason being that some will decide you are working for Satan and will then deliberately work to split you up. Better they waste a little money on buying unappreciated gifts than risk a destroyed relationship or him losing all ties to his family.

    Answer by Clairwil at 4:36 AM on Sep. 3, 2009

  • I wish I could help you but my husband and I both come from completely non-religious families so there was no "coming out" for either of us.

    I hope it all works out for you.


    Answer by beeky at 7:32 AM on Sep. 3, 2009

  • IWhen my mom began bugging me about going back to church and she was trying to get me to put my kids in Catholic School I told her, she wasn't thrilled but she doesn't push anymore.

    Answer by sammiesmom2000 at 7:45 AM on Sep. 3, 2009

  • Well, for me, I don't tell my dh's family (except a few members) that I am not a Christian person. I have told his mom, his brother's and his one cousin. The only reason I said something to the one cousin is because HE brought up something that I couldn't leave alone. I'm not atheist, but I'm also not a Christian, either.
    I would just let them know that, while you apreciate their concern and the gifts, you are not really that into putting a label on yourself and you prefer to hold your beliefs to yourself and your df. That may work. If they continue to persist, you may have to come right out and tell them you don't believe they way they do and nothing they do is going to change your mind.

    Answer by spiritguide_23 at 8:05 AM on Sep. 3, 2009

  • It didn't come up with my family until I had my daughter. They asked about a baptism, and that's when my husband and I told them we're atheists and not having her baptized. They surprisingly took it ok, especially since they're Catholics (baptism is, like, uber important to them).

    Answer by SlightlyPerfect at 8:30 AM on Sep. 3, 2009

  • The fact that they presume to give you those kinds of things without even asking what religion you are would lead me to believe you probably don't want to bring it up without first talking to your DF about the possible outcomes. What if they want to cut you off? What if they want to cut him off? What if they decide it's their job to save him from you and your evil influence?

    Talk to him first and be agreed to go in on the same page before you say anything.

    Answer by NotPanicking at 8:49 AM on Sep. 3, 2009

  • By the time I did, my mother had also mentioned that she had found a different path. That's the words i would use too." I'm sorry, but I don't believe the same things you do and I have found a different path." My family did ok with it. You will have to stand firm in case they try to "save" you. Also I don't think you should have to say anything alone. Your DF should be the one to say it and stand by you if they start grilling you about your beliefs or lack of. But the sooner you make your feeling known the sooner they can work to get past it. Good luck!!

    Answer by 2autisticsmom at 8:50 AM on Sep. 3, 2009

  • my husbands family are southern baptists (my hubbys atheist) and im a satanist..things didnt go well when they found that out, i now get christian stuff from then randomly and they shove there beliefs on me. i just avoid them as much as possible, and now that we have a little one, all holidays will be held at my house with my rules lol.


    Answer by necro1134 at 10:17 AM on Sep. 3, 2009