“Mom, Dad, There is No God.” Coming Out as a Non-Believer

The increasingly common experience of ‘coming out’ as an atheist carries its own challenges.

As we approach adulthood, there are a number of hard talks people must have with their parents—about sexual orientation, about living your own dreams (and not those of Mom and Dad), about what we really believe. Those moments of truth help transition many of us from being the person our parents thought we’d be, to accepting ourselves for who we really are. But coming out, and opening up, always comes with the risk of rejection.

Christy Meyer was home-schooled with a religiously-based curriculum that taught reading, writing, morality, and that the Earth is 6,000 years old. At age 12, Meyer made her first non-home-schooled friends, and when a new pal, from a mixed Buddhist and Muslim family asked, “Do you think that I’m going to hell?” Meyer had to answer, “Yes.” She soon realized other good people around the world, who by the accident of circumstance were not Christian, would also be damned according to her belief system. “That was so jarring for me. And I really look back at that as a pivotal moment.”

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