I just told my family

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Supersarahp's picture
I just told my family

Hi,

I was raised Catholic and fully believed it for most of my life. Gradually over the past few years I have looked into it all more and more and now I am an atheist.

My problem is that my family are all Christians to varying degrees.

Yesterday at a family meal the conversation got around to religion as it always does and for the first time ever I properly stated that I was an atheist. To be fair they did try to understand but they just couldn’t. These are normally intelligent people who I agree with most things about. Every other topic that I discuss rationally and logically they can always see my side.

With this they can’t. They say I’m on a journey and I just need a revelation from god and it will come and then I will know. They say it’s about a personal experience and relationship with god and every question I have they just say they can’t give me answers and it’s down to god and I have to open my heart and he will reveal himself to me and then I will know.

I used to talk this way too. I told them the truth would set them free and that I felt completely liberated. I feel almost evangelical in my atheism - I want to show them that there is another way. But I do not want to be THAT person.

It’s so hard - they told me I am not atheist , I am agnostic. I tried to explain that atheist is not anti theist - but they didn’t get it. My mother gasped “you’re not an atheist” as if I had said “satanist”.

It’s so hard. I love my family so much but I feel like I have outgrown them somewhat. I feel like I can’t be 100% true to myself with them because religion permeates everything they do - from saying grace at mealtimes to saying god bless on the phone, or “trust in god” when you have an issue etc etc.

I have come to the conclusion that I will have to stop discussing it with them and stay on “safer” topics but it’s really hard. I feel very alone right now.

Has anyone experienced anything similar or does anyone have any advice? Thanks loads

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Old man shouts at clouds's picture
Supersarahp

Supersarahp

Although I have never had that experience with a religious family, in my dim distant past I was befriended by a young woman who was going through very much that which you have experienced.
It is not pleasant to be forced to be that which you are not, especially in the bosom of an otherwise loving and tolerant family. Alice and I shared many conversations about a variety of subjects until she finally travelled to the other end of the country to attend University.
I was her outlet and surrogate "bad" uncle. We remained friends for many years.
I suggest you stay on these pages and find the members that will correspond with you or even if you are lucky someone trustworthy who lives near to you that you can chat with openly about the things that concern you.

Best Luck. Welcome to the pages.

Cognostic's picture
@Supersarahp: "But I do not

@Supersarahp: "But I do not want to be THAT person."
Good for you. There is no reason at all to be "that person." You demonstrate the fallacy of their belief system by simply living your life and being a good person.

You could have told them that they were agnostics. "Agnostic" having no knowledge of god. "If you think you have some knowledge that can be demonstrated, lets see it." I have always asserted that Christians are in fact Agnostic, and just don't know it. Nothing they know about god, qualifies as actual KNOWLEDGE.

You feel alone. Welcome to "INDIVIDUATION." Feeling alone would eventually happen anyway, with or without Atheism, if you ever became your own independent person. That's what happens when you grow up and begin asserting yourself as a distinct and separate human being. Welcome to Adulthood, as well as Atheism. You don;t need a Jesus daddy figure in your life any more or a mommy Church figure telling you to "just wait till your daddy gets home, cuz he will deal with you." Welcome to Reality!

Pirate Jack's picture
That was a very thoughtful,

That was a very thoughtful, well written response there Cog. To bad Norma didn’t read that one!

Cognostic's picture
@Pirate Jack: Ha ha ha ha

@Pirate Jack: Ha ha ha ha ha ha .... *Hands cupped around mouth* NORRRRMAAA! Nope, no response, ,,,,, just this stick she left behind.

Rohan M.'s picture
@Jack What I think Norma

@Jack What I think Norma would have said: "All I can say is WOW! It is crass to disrespect people's beliefs by suggesting that they don't know for sure that what they believe is true because they can't prove it! I'm leaving this unintelligent, antitheistic (which is bad for some reason by the way) site and finding some more accommodationist site!"

Supersarahp's picture
Thank you for the responses,

Thank you for the responses, they make total sense.

It’s nice to be among those who understand

Tin-Man's picture
Howdy, Supersara! Welcome to

Howdy, Supersara! Welcome to the merry mystical land of AR. Great having you with us... *grin*...

I know you may feel alienated and "alone" at the moment, but rest assured that feeling will gradually pass/change. This I know from personal experience. You mentioned in your OP how liberated you now feel. As if you have finally laid down a heavy burden you have been carrying all your life. I know exactly how that feels. A fantastic and slightly exhilarating sensation, isn't it? Moreover for me, it was as if I had stepped out of a hazy obscuring fog into crisp clear air, and had the blinders removed from my eyes. (...*cringing*.... Damn, that's a lot of analogy and metaphor.) Uh, anyway, basically, it is a wonderful experience to finally escape the insidious bonds of religious indoctrination. That being said, it can also be a wee bit scary...

Whether you realize it right now or not, your overall perspective on life in general has just undergone a tremendous shift. And believe me (I know) it can be quite disorienting. Therefore, it will take a little time for you to regain your balance. Totally normal and natural. Don't stress over it. Over time you will become far more balanced and steady than you ever were before. At the moment you are still in something of a "transition phase". Naturally, there is some amount of turmoil involved in that. It will pass. Eventually you will reach a point where you will look back, laugh, and think, "Wow! That was interesting." Chances are, you will likely not even notice the the exact moment that happens. You will simply wake up one morning with clarity of thought and a calm and comfortable peace of mind, and you will realize you have felt that way for many days/weeks. And you will wonder, "Hmmmm.... When did that happen?"

As for your family, I know how tempting it is to want to try to make them see past the "religious veil" covering their eyes. To be blunt, DO NOT MAKE THAT ATTEMPT. Resist the urge. Avoid any and all discussions about religion with them whenever possible. It sounds like you have a very close and caring family. Keep it that way. To repeat what others have said already, simply live your life being a good and happy person without the shackles of religion. Enjoy your new-found freedom. In other words, lead by example. Religion is no longer YOUR problem. It is no longer YOUR burden. You are now AWAKE. You are now FREE. Let that show to your family. You have already told them you no longer believe, and they have not totally shunned you. That is far better than many other folks get. So accept that. No need to push it any further. No need for further discussions about it with them. Again, just be happy your mind is now clear of the religious fog, and let that happiness show to them. Doesn't necessarily mean they will ever change their minds. Very likely they will forever cling tenaciously to their chosen faith. But, again, that is THEIR problem, not yours. Doesn't (shouldn't) change your love for them.

Okay, I've rambled enough. Hope some of what I said helps/makes sense. If you have any specific questions, please feel free to PM me. Always happy to assist folks with their transitions... *chuckle*... Bottom line, though, things will get better.

Rohan M.'s picture
OK, as I haven't already done

OK, as I haven't already done this before (where are my manners?!), time for my usual greeting: *clears throat*

Welcome to ARep, Supersarahp! Feel free to join our little family. Goatspeed!

Cognostic's picture
@Supersarahp: Friends,,,,,,

@Supersarahp: Friends,,,,,,, YEAAAA! But no one around here is going to spot you $40,000 USD to get a house that costs a bit more than the one you can afford.
(Just a heads up on that one...) :-)
;

Tin-Man's picture
@Cog Re: "But no one around

@Cog Re: "But no one around here is going to spot you $40,000 USD to get a house that costs a bit more than the one you can afford."

Yeah, I know, right? Some folks around here are really selfish like that. Not naming any names, of course... *coughlogiccough*... *snicker*...

LogicFTW's picture
@Cog & Tin-Man

@Cog & Tin-Man

Oh man I broke my own rule on the internet mentioning money. Now I am paying for it ;)

I just assumed you all would not really believe me, (assuming makes an "ass" out of "me"?) I have zero evidence backing my claim of having any money at all.

I am not very rich, I consider myself well off, I am not even really close to in the top 1% in income in the US, I probably just make top 10%. I have a solidly decent income, and a fair amount of money saved up for a rainy day. I don't have the incredible expense of children and I am debt free, (other than debts used to finance assets that grow in value like a house.)

I am a cheap ass on most things, I drive around a nearly 2 decade old basic (cheap but safe,) car, where its highest technological feature it has is a cd player that I never have used and is all wheel drive. I take good care of it and it has still been reliable and problem free for me. I do my own yard-work/housework. Only thing I am not cheap on is travel, food, and any sort of helpful/preventive health related stuff for me and my wife.

#Supersarahp
I unfortunately do not have much advice beyond what others have stated here. But welcome to the boards and feel free to discuss here and be among people that think like you do, at least on the subject of atheist/theist.

I do keep my mouth shut for the most part with family/friends that are religious. Just like how there is no way they could convince you their religion/god is real, it is pretty much the same for you convincing them, so really not much point creating waves talking about it. Hopefully your family can also think of it that way, and respect you, (or at least be civil!) even despite differences.

 
 

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I am an atheist that always likes a good debate
Please include @LogicFTW for responses to me
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Cognostic's picture
@TIN: So not only is he rich

@TIN: So not only is he rich but he is a penny pinching Scrooge! DAMN!

Tin-Man's picture
@Cog Re: "So not only is he

@Cog Re: "So not only is he rich but he is a penny pinching Scrooge!"

Yep. Probably even has an old coal-burning heater, but burns only one lump of coal at a time. You know how those money hoarders are... *rolling eyes*... *snicker-snicker*...

LogicFTW's picture
@Tin-Man and Cog.

@Tin-Man and Cog.

Nah I am too much of a hippy, (and/or too lazy,) to burn coal at my own residence. I do have solar on my roof so I don't have to pay the power companies much in power. They sometimes pay ME.. buwahaha! the ultimate cheapskate/scrooge win!

I even got a bit more than half of the solar installation cost paid for by fed and state and the local power company. I am definitely a money hoarder though, I want enough to make sure to cover any emergency to me and my immediate family especially medical ones.

It would be fairly elementary for me at this point to make millions, (by far the easiest way to get very rich is to already have money available to invest and leverage,) but I feel I have more than enough as is, I would rather retire early then keep working just to get stupid rich.

Plus I don't ever want to be a filthy 1 percenter in the US. I really don't care that I have to fly commercial instead of having my own private jet, kind of like I drive around a cheap nearly 20 year old car, I do not need to get from point a to b in the lap of luxury, I only want it to be safe and reliable.

Cognostic's picture
@LogicFTW: I really want to

@LogicFTW: I really want to help you achieve your goal and never be a part of that "Filthy 1%" I will be more than happy to accept any overflow you may run into. I am only thinking of you. I only want your life to be meaningful and all your dreams to come true. As a fellow Atheist, I never want you to feel the burden of having to lug around extra cash or valuables. Any time you feel the pain and weight of having too much money, property or valuables, you just remember me. I am here to help you out. I am here to help you achieve your goals. You will never be a filthy one-percenter with friends like me around. Never!

Rohan M.'s picture
Since they refuse to believe

Since they refuse to believe that you are an atheist and are "instead" (scare quotes b/c they aren't mutually exclusive) an agnostic, tell them about how, on the contrary, one of the problems I'm guessing you see with complete agnosticism is that if you don't believe other unfalsifiable claims like the existence of Santa Claus/The Easterbunny/The Tooth Fairy/unicorns, then there's no point in giving God the benefit of the doubt just because his existence is- well, unfalsifiable and unprovable.

Another thing you could tell them that you are this otherworldly thing called an "agnostic atheist" (assuming that that's the type of atheist you identify as)- meaning that you don't believe in God, but don't claim to know for sure. But don't say that in the snarky, sarcastic tone that I said it; they're your parents and they love you, so be respectful. And remember: while they probably think otherwise, it's entirely possible to respect someone and their right to believe what they want to without having to respect their beliefs themselves- especially if you already think said beliefs are a load of dog shit, which would already in itself be "disrespectful" of the beliefs.

Account Inactive's picture
@Supersarahp

@Supersarahp

Hello there :)

I personally haven't had the experience of having to 'come out' as an atheist, but here is my two penny's worth.

There is no need to get into heated discussion with them on the subject.. They are saying that you're on a journey and a revelation from God will come. My advice is to just agree that you will wait for the said revelation before investing any more of your time into the matter and that you are open to God whenever he's ready to communicate.

You say they can't give answers to you, that's par for the course...If they insist on bringing up the subject, ask specific questions about their relationship with this God, what it entails, how it communicates etc... This might even make them think about whether they're actually having a relationship with God themselves. Stay calm and listen to them but stand firm.

It's probably a shock to them all, but if there is love there they'll get used to the idea and hopefully accept your position. Good luck..

Pirate Jack's picture
There is really no need to

There is really no need to confront people with your beliefs. Especially if you know it’s likely to put you in an undesirable position. Just be thankful you are free from the mind fucking that they are still tormented by. When I am at a christian house, when they pray, I bow and think of family and friends who are deceased, or think of nothing for a minute. Don’t use your atheism as a weapon. You will be fine.

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