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Apostasy is leaving ones Religion. A former believer can leave and convert to another religion or can leave to become an Atheist, Agnostic, Freethinker.

  1. Adherents of the former religion tend to see apostasy as betrayal and in a few Islamic nations apostasy is punishable by death.
  2. The new religious or freethought group the person has joined tend to see conversion or deconversion as a positive experience. The new group tends to welcome a new member.

Youngsters from Christian families who become atheists

Should you tell your parents?

  1. If you're under 16 you should almost certainly wait till you're older. Don't face the firestorm that may follow till you're able to handle it. Please read How stereotyping atheists as immoral can do harm, my experience to see what can happen.
  2. If you're over 18-19 from a Liberal Christian family you probably should get your beliefs into the open and tell your family that you no longer believe in God. Liberal Christians typically accept the beliefs of an atheist son or daughter once they get over the initial shock of finding out. The family relationship is usually better with everything open. Still only you know your own family and you must make the decision yourself.
  3. In the most intolerant Christian Fundamentalist families telling your family at any age will cause serious trouble, even get parents to disown their children. If you fear family might react like that you should certainly wait at least till you're financially independent before you tell your family anything. Only a minority of families are so intolerant their children can never tell them when they stop being Christians.

At any age once you've told your family you stopped believing in God you can't go easily back to the way things were before.

  1. It is always good to gauge the families' opinions on atheism before telling them. For example, ask them about their opinion of atheists, etc.

See also

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