Advice Needed
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24-04-2012, 10:18 PM
Advice Needed
First off, I'm a new member to the forums and not sure if I'm posting in the right section or not. If I'm not, sorry. If I am, groovy.

Anyway, I have a bit of a situation that I'd like some advice on. I'm a fairly new atheist (only for the last 2ish years) and the rest of my family are all die-hard Christians. I had been waiting to break the news to the rest of them once I had enough knowledge on my own to intelligently explain all of the "why's" as to what caused me to stop believing. Unfortunately (and unknown to me), my mom likes to pretend she's internet savvy and Googles all of our names regularly to make sure there is no identity theft going on... anyway, she Googled me last week and discovered that I had an account on another atheist forum and, as a result, forced me to jump the gun a bit on informing her about my lack of belief. So far, she's the only one that knows, but what I'm wanting advice on is how to break it to the rest of the family. My plan was to just let my immediate family know and let it spread through the family grapevine afterwards. I don't feel that I have enough intelligent answers to answer their questions yet, but I'm also pretty sure that I will have to do something soon. Thoughts?

Side note, don't use your actual name as a username for ANYTHING.
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24-04-2012, 10:29 PM
RE: Advice Needed
Thanks for sharing your story, and how sad is it that many of us have to even think about these kinds of things simply because of the way we think and because of what we choose to not believe in.

My suggestion is that you simply leave it to your mom to share it as she sees fit. Talk to her and tell her that she's free to share with the family if she wants to. If she decides to do so, then just address your family members as they come to you with questions, feedback, etc.

If she doesn't share or if she does but the family doesn't approach you about it, then just let it be. Atheism is just a part of who you are, it doesn't necessarily define you. You're still the same kid they always knew and loved.

That said, if you get approached or hear things that don't make sense or that anger you, don't be afraid to stand up for yourself. You don't need to be ashamed of your skepticism (I'm assuming you're a skeptic, since more often than not, atheism is a byproduct of this more fundamental critical thinking skill).

Hope this helps in some way...

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24-04-2012, 10:37 PM
RE: Advice Needed
Any advice helps. And yes, I'm a skeptic. I'm not ashamed of it at all; I'm just wanting to make sure that everything goes as smoothly as possible. I did make sure to let her know that I'm still me, I just don't share that belief anymore.
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24-04-2012, 11:16 PM (This post was last modified: 25-04-2012 12:10 AM by Mr Woof.)
RE: Advice Needed
(24-04-2012 10:37 PM)jmiron Wrote:  Any advice helps. And yes, I'm a skeptic. I'm not ashamed of it at all; I'm just wanting to make sure that everything goes as smoothly as possible. I did make sure to let her know that I'm still me, I just don't share that belief anymore.
Tough call!
Maybe you could just say you are having a good look at atheism/agnosticism. scepticism and need some time to come to a final decision. Anyhow, when or whatever you finally choose there doen't have to be a lockin-in clause............ Consider
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25-04-2012, 12:05 AM
RE: Advice Needed
Can't it be okay that you don't have all the answers and you are still exploring and discovering the truth? You don't have to have all the answers. I ask new questions all the time and I don't have all the answers, I don't think I ever will. It's not up to you to prove that something doesn't exist, it's up to whoever has the questions to prove their own answers are the correct ones.
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25-04-2012, 01:01 AM
RE: Advice Needed
Don't make a big deal out of it. Let her tell the people she wishes. If you start worrying about it then being an atheist will seem like some odd belief. It's just scepticism towards something that's been unduly taught of as fact.

What might happen is people trying to convert you again (with the same tired arguments) or make you feel guilty for thinking by saying 'this means a lot to me' or 'what do you live for?' sort of thing.

Eventually she should get used to it and so will the rest of your family. They love you for being you not because of your religion.

You never know, maybe you could encourage them to start thinking more independently about the things they believe. Even if they don't lose their faith, questions are good.

Sapere aude! Have courage to use your own understanding!
Take the risk of thinking for yourself, much more happiness, truth, beauty, and wisdom will come to you that way.


Enlightenment is liberating.
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25-04-2012, 01:24 AM
RE: Advice Needed
When it comes to any particular religion of any family members or friends, I like using this framework of explaining my position.
First look up a fair number of different gods that your family members have probably heard of. Zeus, Hera, Poseidon, Aphrodite, Apollo, Odin, Thor, Loki, etc.
Have in mind as many as you can think of from different religions from either current day or in the past.
Ask them "What are your reasons, for not believing that Zeus exists" ?
Answer "There is no evidence that Zeus is real or ever was real" - That is why you don't believe in Zeus
That is why I don't believe in Zeus. You and I are on the same page. Neither of us believes in Zeus.
Go through every god you can think of and show them that you agree with their reasons for every god that you listed, except one, the one they believe in.
Explain that out of 100 gods, they are 99% Atheist and you are simply 100% Atheist

You might also say (if this is your position) "I'm not opposed to believing in a god when sufficient evidence is presented to show that one exists, but until that time, I will remain skeptical"

Matt Dillahunty also uses the line "The difference between you and I is that I care if my beliefs are true or not. I want to have as many true beliefs and as few false beliefs as possible. If you and I have a fundamental difference in our world views, how do we go about assessing which one of us is right ? If something exists then there should be evidence of that. If I don't have sufficient evidence to believe that something exists, then I'm not going to believe that it exists."

When we have sufficient evidence that a Bigfoot exists or a Lochless Monster exists or that Aliens exist, only then will I believe. Until then, I remain skeptical.

You might also refer to yourself as a skeptic to soften them up, then as time goes on and they get comfortable with that, then you can assert your Atheism.

Insanity - doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results
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25-04-2012, 01:28 AM
RE: Advice Needed
Googling your name on teh fucking netz... and what kinda n00b are you, to use yer fucking name... you're not intelligent enough to be an atheist. Spin 'em; your mom kan stay. Big Grin

You don't need peeps to put words in your mouth; there's no party line here to toe. Everybody looks at this situation differently. I don't have "lack of belief," I'm a fucking prophet; my advice there would be stay away from the hardcore drugs and god'll be less likely to come by and recruit yo' ass. Big Grin

But what the fuck good is the heavy artillery gonna do ya beyond alienate your people? You're young, living under another's roof; take it easy.

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25-04-2012, 06:59 AM
RE: Advice Needed
The advice that people are going to give you is as different as the people that have gone through the same situation. I have always been a confrontational person. Love to argue and love to wear my ideas on my sleeve. My advice is to gather your thoughts and information to be prepared to answer questions, and let her rip! Just get them together and proudly proclaim you learned to think, and maybe they should too. Smile But that's just me.
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25-04-2012, 07:17 AM
RE: Advice Needed
(25-04-2012 06:59 AM)arbmouser Wrote:  The advice that people are going to give you is as different as the people that have gone through the same situation. I have always been a confrontational person.

Well, get fucked is always good advice. Big Grin

That's how my NIV translated remember the Sabbath, and keep it holy. Yeah, there's holes involved. Did you know there's this whole philosophy about holes? What's negative something if not nothing; but it's something... cause we're monkeys. Big Grin

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