My only brother

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Thinker's picture
My only brother

Right around the end of December my brother, and, he is my only brother, there were 4 of us, now two are dead. I tried to be honest with him and I told him that I was an atheist. He stopped communicating with me immediately. From that day forward he has not spoken to me. I guess he thinks that his god will get mad at him if he has anything to do with me. I thought you should be able to be honest with your only brother. We are both most likely in the senectitude of our existence I am mid 60's he is in his mid 70's . I suppose this is the way it is. I thought he would be more open minded, his two closest friends are gay and he speaks fondly of them. I am his only brother and he chooses to not speak to me for how I believe (or not believe) I dont think I have lost much. Thanks for being here.

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David Killens's picture
This is a sad state of

This is a sad state of affairs, and I feel for you Thinker. Unfortunately, religion is divisive, despite all the false claims it is about love and brotherhood.

Just keep this thought, that you did not separate yourself from your brother, he was the one who chose to put up the wall.

Cognostic's picture
Sorry to hear it.

Sorry to hear it. Unfortunately this is a very common story for those atheists who risk coming out. Christian love and Charity knows no bounds. Children are turned out of homes, husbands and wives break up, and nice people have brothers that refuse to talk to the, Take solace in the fact that it was your brother who has destroyed the relationship and not you.

LogicFTW's picture
At 70, people are not likely

At 70, people are not likely to change their minds on something as big and central as religion. Unless something big happens. Even then it is unlikely. People's ability to rationalize things even if there is little to no evidence for it is quite astounding.

Sucks to lose a brother like that, I would even consider lying to him and telling him you are not really atheist and it was just an experiment for you for a while and you embrace and support his religion but you would rather not talk about it too much. Yeah it sucks to lie to your brother, but cool thing about being atheist is your not betraying anything by saying you are not atheist, all you are doing is lying a bit to get your brother back. May be worth a shot. Take the burden of lying a little to get your brother back, at 70, let him have his delusions, it is highly unlikely at this point you will be able to get him to change his mind.

If you think he might question your sudden change, you got plenty of material here from various apologetics to pull from for possible ideas.

Thinker's picture
I did this for years, and, Ii

I did this for years, and, Ii probably made a mistake telling him. But it would seem like if his belief was so positive that he would try to convert me or at least understand where I am coming from.

arakish's picture
Damn Thinker. I feel for you

Damn Thinker. I feel for you brother. My brother is a die-hard Religious Absolutist. We live together because me mom talked me into buying his house so his son would have a home. The very first thing I told him was he was not spew any religion at me. I never said this to his son because he is not old enough to truly comprehend. He asks me why I do not believe in "God" and I tell him the truth. What me nephew chooses to believe is his prerogative. If he chooses to ask me to explain why this or why that, then I shall tell him.

As others have said, there is no ideology more divisive than religion.

Me brother and I do talk. Just never about religion. Additionally, his interests are so way different than mine. He has never had an education beyond 10th Grade except in the School of Life. He is quite intelligent, just not into anything in the sciences. Me, I am a field technician and analytical scientist working for the United States National Park Service and the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory. Thus, I am a volcanologist and geologist. I am also a life long amateur astrophysicist, specializing in Celestial Mechanics and Orbital Mechanics. Thus, most of what I am interested in just flies over his head like a 747. One common ground we do have is in the arts & crafts. He is more of a wood worker and carpenter, where I am a painter, sculptor, and amateur computer graphics artist.

For over a 30 year period, me brother and I never spoke to one another about anything. He still blames me for shattering me mom's heart when I revealed the fact that I was always an atheist and even faked being saved just to keep them from harassing and beating the shit out of me when I was a child. I do have to admit we are on better terms now than ever before. However, that religion/atheist thing is still between us.

Thinker, we are here for you if ever you just need to blow off and rant. Stay frosty.


Thinker's picture
Thank you Arakish, I lived

Thank you Arakish, I lived the lie most of my life, I even stated that I was "Saved" so to avoid the ostracizing of the family. None of us get along now. I am the youngest, and I am in my late 60's it doesn't seem as if it will ever get any better. I moved to another state and have nothing to do with my family anymore.

Fallen's picture
Sorry to hear that, and I

Sorry to hear that, and I hope its just temporary. I know how religion can divide loved ones first hand and it can be painful. But in the end you sometimes have to decide (for your own mental health) if you want to give up who you are to accommodate an imaginary being.

CybXplorer's picture
Sorry to hear that. I lost my

Sorry to hear that. I lost my only brother many years ago when he picked up hitchhikers to witness to them and one of them killed him. We all told him it was dangerous, but he had convinced himself Jesus would protect him. More than one way to lose a brother to religion, I guess.

Thinker's picture
I am truly sorry to hear that

I am truly sorry to hear that. Religion is a poison to the mind. Thank you for sharing that with me.

TheBlindWatchmaker's picture
I too am sorry to hear this,

I too am sorry to hear this, here is to hoping your brother see's sense soon.

Thinker's picture
Thank you all, we didnt speak

Thank you all, we didnt speak for years after I came home from Vietnam, then it was always something abrasive to me at a reunion. He was positive that I was going to hell for my participation in the "war". Back then the draft was still here and, you either went to the Army or to federal prison. Quite a choice for an 18 year old to make. That in itself and the things I saw in other countries started me down my path to being secular.. I dont think it all has to do with the atheist thing, there was sibling rivalry as we grew up, which, I thought was normal, obviously he never got over it. I'm too old to let it bother me, I love him, he is my brother and, we are very similar in lots of ways. You cant tell us apart from a distance even our wives cant, but thats just the looks inside these heads we differ a lot. Thanks again for your support. I also live right in the middle of the "Bible belt" town is 13 miles from here and there is a church almost every mile, most of them have become vacant buildings now. There is one where they dance with snakes, I think if they charged admission they would get more than they take up in that offering plate. Thanks again for being here, I dare not speak out again about my non-belief, as you see my environment , I easily understand how people feel in the Muslim populated countries.

arakish's picture
Thinker: "I dare not speak

Thinker: "I dare not speak out again about my non-belief"

As I said in my post, at least you have us here to rant to if you ever feel a need to. Trust me. And ask others here. I have gone on some wild rants me self.


Cognostic's picture
Family is as family does.

Family is as family does. You don't get to choose your family. You are simply thrown together at birth and expected to get along. Friends on the other hand are chosen.

Tin-Man's picture


Hey there. Sorry I'm late to this party. Much happening lately.. Waiting here at the hospital for my Uncle's surgery, so I have a bit of time to kill at the moment.

I can totally relate to the brother problem, with the only difference being the lack of animosity between me and my younger bro. Otherwise, he and I are polar opposites in the realm of religion. He is waaaay over-the-top, gung-ho-for-god, preach-to-anybody-who-will-listen, podcast-sermonizing, god-is-great Christian. And as you may have noticed from my various posts on here.... I am definitely NOT... *chuckle*... Despite that, I love my baby brother, and I know he feels the same for me. Unfortunately, we rarely have any contact with each other, even though we live less than fifteen minutes from each other. Oddly enough, we get along quite well on the rare occasions we are together, but that "tension" is always there. The worst part is that he has been fighting severe lung problems the past several years. (Complications caused from his deployment to Iraq.) And he usually spends more time in the hospital ICU than he does at home. And even when home lately, his activity is severely limited. Simple breathing is often a struggle for him. Anyway, his desperate cling to his faith and my total lack of belief has definitely put a wedge between us over the past few years. Annoying and sad, to say the least.

As others have already said, though, you have a place here to vent and get support. It has definitely helped me in many ways.

Thinker's picture
Thank you everyone who has

Thank you everyone who has responded. I live an itinerant life, I travel all over the US following petroleum and natural gas pipelines. The only familiar things I have is calling home to talk to my wife and this forum and one about motorcycles. I had my brother until "Honesty" split that. It wasn't the honesty, but his not being able to accept the truth about me. He cannot fathom someone as close kin as a brother could be secular, I suppose he thinks his god is smiling on him for ostracizing his brother for not believing the same fairy tale as he does. When I want to talk I will come here. Thank you again for the supportive words.

Cognostic's picture
This site is loaded with

This site is loaded with people expressing the same sentiments as yourself. You may want to look through the archives. Abandonment of loving family members is nothing new to the Christian faith or its followers.

arakish's picture
Or having to listen to their

Or having to listen to their constant bullshit rhetorical and logical fallacies I have completely destroyed numerous times. Yet they still abandon a family member because I simply do not believe.


dogalmighty's picture

I understand your situation all too well. My brother has decided not to talk or otherwise contact me again. His decision was not based on my atheism...but nonetheless, it has been two years since his falling out. I have come to the conclusion that, as I have with other people, to respect his decision...despite his poor choice...despite his childish response to adversity...what he thinks and what he does, is his choice, and I have to acknowledge these facts. I have not cut off the lines of communication with him, and leave social media and contact information the same. All I can do, is be there for him, if he ever needs me. I am not hopeful, but will be receptive if he changes his view. I wish you the best Thinker...I understand.

Thinker's picture
I too have left the lines of

I too have left the lines of communication open, but to no avail. We never were really close but thinking there were once 4 brothers and now there are only 2 it would seem as if we would be closer, not further apart.

Sky Pilot's picture


"We are both most likely in the senectitude of our existence I am mid 60's he is in his mid 70's . I suppose this is the way it is."

It has been my observation that most siblings have a very difficult time relating to each as time passes. The main reason is that one wants to be the dominant person in the relationship and the other person does not want to be subservient. That creates some major conflict that will destroy the family relationship. As long as the other person is willing to follow the dominant person's lead they will get along fairly well. The dominant person will never recognize the other person as his equal.

So based upon stories from literature and from real life events it is best if each goes his separate way so that one doesn't kill the other one. People are more likely to kill a family member than a stranger.

Thinker's picture
That makes a lot of sense and

That makes a lot of sense and looking at our relationship thus far throughout our lives he has always wanted to be domineering and I just could not accept that, and, never will. Thank you for stating that, I always "felt" that but never put it into words.

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