Would you live your life as a fake believer?

If expressing your true thoughts, beliefs and values as an atheist would result in your family kicking you out on the streets, would you pretend to believe in the faith you were raised in? Assuming you come from an orthodox family that practiced all the rules of the faith and required you to do the same.

Posted: January 17th 2011

Steve Zara www

Yes, I would, but only for a while. Life is too short to deny who you are.

In this situation, be selfish. Belief is not something you are born with, and it’s not something that should be imposed on you. If your family gives any sign that they would be hurt or upset if you were an atheist, you should understand that this is their problem, not yours.

If this is your actual situation, make a plan for a future free of belief. This may be a plan that takes time, but don’t make it take too long. Test the water in various ways to see if the beliefs of your family change. For example, mention famous atheists that are generally admired people and see what the reaction is.

Never forget you are far from alone.

Good luck.

Posted: January 19th 2011

See all questions answered by Steve Zara

Paula Kirby www

For reasons completely unrelated to religion, my home life as a child and then as a teenager was pretty unbearable. But I realised at about the age of 13 that there was nothing I could do about it for the time being, and that I just had to put up with it until I’d be able to leave home and go to university at the age of 17, when I would be free to live life as I wanted. So, as much as possible, I directed my energies away from raging about my home situation and towards doing as well as I could at school so that I’d get that all-important university place.

If I were to find myself now in the situation in which I spent my teenage years, I would leave at once – because I can. Back then I couldn’t. Sometimes we can change the situation we’re in for the better (or leave it); sometimes we can’t. The reason most of us become atheist is because we’re realistic: and if we’re consistent, we’ll apply that realism to other aspects of our lives too.

If for whatever reason it literally is a choice between putting up with an undesirable situation and being on the streets, then it’s a no-brainer: you put up with it. But you also do everything in your power to identify how you’re going to become independent – even if you have to accept that it may be several years before you can actually do it.

I don’t know whether you have asked your question hypothetically or whether you find yourself in the situation you describe – if the latter, then I can only wish you well and hope you find your route to independence as soon as possible.

Posted: January 19th 2011

See all questions answered by Paula Kirby


Depends entirely on the situation.

If I was a minor and I was waiting to graduate and/or go off to college, I’d certainly do it. If I my presence in the house was a major factor in keeping things going (say, if I were caring for very religious parents and my salary was critical), I’d consider it. In other cases I would probably take my lumps to be on my own.

However, it depends upon how much imposition. If I have to go to church once a week and pretend for an hour or two, that’s pretty easy. If the whole family life is around religion and I can’t read what I want, that’s harder. If I were expected to go on a mission, that would be a deal-breaker for me.

Don’t feel bad about making a pragmatic choice here.

Posted: January 18th 2011

See all questions answered by Eric_PK

Reed Braden www

If your family loves their religion more than they love their children, that’s a good sign that your parents’ priorities are skewed and you should get out of there as soon as legally and feasibly possible.

If your family loves their children more than their religion, you might expect a few awkward moments after coming out but you shouldn’t worry about suddenly becoming homeless.

To answer your question more literally; Would I, personally, live my life as a fake believer? No.

Would I live a few years of my young life as a fake believer if I had to choose between being thrown out on the street by fundamentalist parents or free room/board, free food, and free laundry services until I move out? You bet your ass I’ll take the option with several years of free meals. After I move out (and maybe after college, if they’re paying my way through it), I’ll come out of the closet.

Posted: January 17th 2011

See all questions answered by Reed Braden


That is what I did for the first eighteen years of my life. I saw an older sister disowned because she married an atheist Jew. When I left my strict Catholic family, I was able to come out of the atheist closet.

Nowadays, an closet atheist can meet other atheists on the net, so it is less isolating. Eventually you can come out when it is safe for you to do so.

Posted: January 17th 2011

See all questions answered by logicel


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