Dear Mom and Dad,
I know you are disappointed that I am an atheist. But you do remember that you never actually exposed me to any religion. In fact you made it a point to not do that. You allowed me to discover the world and universe for what it is, including all the various claims others make about it. Though we have come to differing conclusions about the nature of the universe, you recognize you gave me the freedom to come to a different conclusion rather than indoctrinating me into one particular set of answers.
Words cannot describe how grateful I am that I’ve had that freedom and independence.
Though you are disappointed by this one point of view that I hold, you love and accept me fully for who I am and who I have become. You are proud of my accomplishments and have overlooked most of my faults. You don’t let this one point question whether you were good parents or debate if there was some place along the line where you went wrong or didn’t do enough. Instead you are still there to be mentors for the various paths I will be taking on this road called life.
You could have done better as parents, but you also could’ve done much worse. You could’ve raised me with an indoctrinating hand, and turned me away when I questioned it all. Instead you preferred I think for myself, learning and discovering things along the way. Your love as parents is not conditional on the views I hold, conditional on holding the same views you do, and I am again grateful in ways that words cannot do justice.
As I read around about other atheists who’ve been turned away by their families, or who face unending criticism, shaming, and guilt-tripping, I’m grateful that I am one atheist who does not need to worry about that. I’m grateful that you, my mother and father, accept me for who I am and love me without any condition, expressed or implied.
Your loving son.
[Inspired by a recent blog post by The Thinking Atheist called “Dear Mom and Dad (a letter to a religious family)“]