I was the Mayor of Fargo for 16 years. This was while being a professor of economics and NDSU. Later I became active in the Red River Freethinkers. While I no longer live in Fargo-Moorhead the focus of my blog remains there.


What to Tell Your Parents if You No Longer Believe


Once in a while at gatherings of atheists the question of parents and grandparents comes up. If the older generation still worships is it always wise to tell them you are unable to believe in supernatural beings? Of course, the same problem comes up when parents/grandparents are atheists and children become believers.
When I first started hearing about such dilemmas was during years working with gay people and parents of gay children. There were both tragic and beautiful stories--perhaps more of the tragic.
Things become even more complicated when one suspects half of the parents/grandparents don't agree with each other.
Reading columnists on this topic does not give us a clear cut answer applicable in all situations. Sometimes being truthful will cause a parent/grandparent to be so distraught it may not be wise to do so. When one has a preoccupation with the afterlife and worries to the extreme about a loved one's fate after death perhaps misleading an older generation is the better route.
The myth of an afterlife seems to me a most devious and underhanded way to play with people's emotions. Maybe it can be justified by saying, "Hey, it works. What's your problem?" The sin highest up on the Worst Sins List at any particular period of time causes great pain to people who do not understand it is all about marketing the faith.
As more people reveal their atheism the more acceptable is becomes for others. But, in individual cases the child of believers needs to think over if and when to reveal that religion has left the building.

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