See, this is what I've been saying. Religion is a cult. It's just a very popular cult, and your family may be part of the cult, and you may be the only person you know that the cult hasn't brainwashed. Valerie Tarico writes on the Huffington Post:
Most religions implant psychological safeguards against apostasy, little emotional bombs of fear, guilt, shame and self-loathing that get triggered by the mere act of questioning. In religious orthodoxy, doubt is the domain of fools. It is the consequence of having hardened your heart like Pharaoh or resenting God's power like Lucifer. Oh ye of little faith!
I know that fear of their reaction is at least a part of my reluctance to identify myself as an atheist to my family. Accountant by Day had a post recently about this very issue, and it turns out that the initial aftermath wasn't as bad as she expected. Anyway, the only way to find out what the fallout will be is to go forward with it. It's the brave thing to do, but it's one of those things where the timing never really seems right. I'm sure that's my psychological reluctance to do so subtly expressing itself, but it doesn't make it any easier.
Even among my professional peers, psychologists, far too few understand the depth of harm that can be done to the psyche by fundamentalist religion -- religion that subsumes the individual self to a cult self. The irony is that few mental health professionals are sympathetic to the claims of moral dogma. The practicing therapist is exposed daily to life's caprice: biochemical malfunctions, developmental vagaries, and rotten life circumstances. In contrast to a religious perspective, psychology seeks to understand material and historical roots of symptoms rather than making moral judgments. So the problem is not that the professional world view aligns with a dogmatic world view. It is just that, in the absence of dramatic evidence to the contrary, we are all taught to think of religion as harmless.
It's time to give up the illusion.