“Advice experts” rarely say positive things about atheists. Pat Robertson is no exception.
But I was pleasantly surprised to see Amy Dickinson writing exactly the right thing for a teenage atheist who wants to come out to her friends:
Dear Amy: I am 16 and an atheist. I’m sure of it.
All of my friends are serious, hard-core Episcopalians. We’re all really honest with each other; I know their secrets and they know mine, except that I’m an atheist! I want to be completely honest with them, but I don’t want them to feel weird or disown me because I don’t believe in their God.
So what do I do: not tell them and hope their suspicions don’t grow? Or tell them and hope for the best?
The advice is spot-on:
Amy says: Thank you for introducing me to the concept of “hard-core Episcopalians.”
Your friends have a right to their beliefs. And you have a right to your nonbelief. This should not be a secret, and your friends should not “disown” you for your stance.
I see this as an opportunity for lively, spirited discussions among you and your friends.
Faith is an extremely important topic, and this is exactly the sort of conversation that people your age should be having, as you figure out who you are and what you stand for.
There is nothing shameful about being a nonbeliever, and you should be willing to disclose this and engage in this vital conversation with your friends.
I love to see that in a mainstream syndicated column: “There is nothing shameful about being a nonbeliever.”
Finally, advice worth taking.