There is something I need to get off my chest. So, I’m just going to come right out and say it: I’m an atheist.

There. I’ve said it. I don’t believe in God. I’ve still got one foot in the closet though as I’m not quite ready to put my name on my anti-religious stance in this published piece of writing.  But, I have to say it feels good to type it out, despite this pesky hint of Catholic guilt that’s currently looming within.

It’s a hard habit to shake.

Also, my kids go to a Catholic school. So, I’m an atheist (wee, this is fun!) and a hypocrite. There, I said it before you could. Ha! Now, go ahead, judge me. I don’t mind. Besides, you don’t know who I am, anyway. I would guess, however, that I’m not the only parent at our school who doesn’t believe in God. But, you know what, I’ll never know, and I don’t need to know. I’ve chosen to send our kids to a Catholic school, and it would be distasteful and somewhat unnecessary to discuss my lack of faith with other parents.  It’s nobody’s business what I or anyone else believes or doesn’t believe, really.

That’s how I see it, anyway.

I put a lot of thought into my decision to send our kids to a school that teaches a faith that neither my husband nor I practice. I knew that it was hypocritical, but the pros outweighed the cons, in the end. The choice was mine, with my husband open to whatever I felt was right. I had some good reasons to make the choice that I made. I went to Catholic schools growing up, so there was a sense of familiarity, for me. It was also the better option in our neighbourhood, academically speaking.  I also know, from my own experience as a teacher in both school boards, the sense of community and school spirit seems stronger in the Catholic system.

So, I stand by my decision.  And when my kids choose to partake in the sacraments of the Catholic faith, I support them. By support, I mean I take them where they need to go and help them read what they need to read. And I look for the positive messages that I can find between the hints at guilt and judgement.

And when I attend a mass or a ceremony to support my children, I try to ignore the stabby feelings inside. Because when the priest speaks, there is often something said that stirs up old emotions, for me, and reminds me why I no longer practice (if I ever, really did). I feel, at first, a little pang at the priest’s suggestion that it’s a sin not to attend mass each week.  I let it roll off my back, no sweat. I then fight to ignore the thoughts I have about the priest living as a non-sexual being. It makes me uncomfortable. I can’t help but feel it goes against our nature as humans.  I also try to downplay facts, like how the Catholic Church frowns upon sex out of wedlock, and masturbation, and don’t even get me started on their views about homosexuality.

But I let it slide.

I let it slide because, right now, these topics are not being discussed with my kids, and: “The Bible teaches many important stories and lessons that we can learn from.”  This is my go-to line, when it comes to Catholicism. But I will do my best to help my kids navigate through it and in doing so, I plan to safeguard them from Catholic guilt.  I’m confident I’ll succeed.

I have no intentions of telling anyone, including my kids, that in my opinion, there is no God. In fact, if they want to believe that there is a heaven and that God does exist, I am okay with that. I want my children to decide for themselves what makes sense for them. And in their own time.  I know that one day, my go-to line: “The Bible teaches many important lessons that we can learn from,” will fail to detour my kids.  They’ll eventually need a straight answer, to the question: “Do you believe in God?” And, it is at that point that I’ll have to come clean and say no I don’t. I will be honest when I tell them, “I believe in listening to your instincts and your heart and that I also believe in respecting everyone’s right to follow the path that makes sense for them.” And, most importantly, I’ll tell them to have faith in themselves above absolutely everything else.

And hey, at the end of the day, maybe there really is a God. And the joke is actually on me, the closet-atheist. This is a chance I’m willing to take though, because it’s what feels right for me.

Also, I’ve heard that if you say: “I believe!” right before you die, you can still get through the gates.


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  1. I hate that you feel like you need to be in the closet, but I get it. I have been out of the closet for years. My son is also an atheist and has been endlessly questions and even physically hit and pushed down because he didn’t believe in the “Lord and Savior.” It’s tough to be an atheist in ‘Murica. Hugs.

  2. I’m in the closet too – accept with my husband and a few of my siblings. I just don’t bring up religion or quickly change the subject. I work with people who vote based on how Christen the candidates seem.

  3. It IS a closet. But you’re not the only one. There are just a lot of closets, and a lot of people with reasons for staying there. But your children need YOUR truth more than anything (especially more fairy tales!), and there are worlds out there much better for all of you outside of old familiarity. This is really tough with family…but you walk a fine line with plenty of others who are also closeted.

    All the best to you and yours!

  4. i was raised in the Roman Catholic Church. I went to Catholic school through 7th grade and then to a Catholice boarding school for girls for a year. From the first grade on, I could never understand why I was supposed to be so afraid of God, especially since we were also taught that we are all God’s children and that he loves us! I am 59 so when I went to school, it was really rough. We experienced all the horrors you hear about today but obviously survived. I abandoned the Cathoic religion years ago. I personally think organized religion, for the most part, is a huge money racket and it infuriates me that churches pay no taxes. I didn’t make my kids go to Catholic school or to church. My personal decision. I am now a very spiritual persona and connect to the Divine through nature. I have taught my kids that I believe there is something bigger than ourselves and that some call it God, some call it Buddah, etc., and that people are just trying to find their own way in the way they think is best. The most important thing I have tried to teach them is to never judge what someone believes, even if that means not believing in God. Every parent has to make their own choice on what to teach their children and I admire the fact that you will be honest with them when the time comes and let them make their own choice. I have to believe the Catholic schools have changed their curriculum all these years later. I can say that I got a superb education in those schools. I admire that you can sit though Mass, too!!! Don’t know that I could but I guess for our kids, we can do just about anything. And yeah, what’s up with the, ‘you can do whatever you want and as long as you say you are sorry, it’s all good’!! LOL

  5. Yes. I too was raised Catholic and decided to send my daughter to Catholic school. I could have written this post myself. It’s tough because I wonder if I shouldn’t be supplementing the religious things she learns with my own lessons at home. I wonder if we should at least once and a while discuss God and issues of faith. But honestly it never comes up at home. She is making her first communion this year and part of the preparation involves her having to go to mass every Sunday during her preparation time. Which means I have to take her. And I can’t help but to think as I sit there, “do you all really believe that that cracker is the body of Jesus Christ?” I wonder when the time will come where I have to be honest with her and tell her that I don’t really believe. I’m sure it’s only a matter of time.

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