Atheism and my family...
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19-05-2015, 09:58 AM
Atheism and my family...
Well, it looks like my thoughts are slowly, but surely, becoming known in my family. Brief background, I've been an atheist for a few years now. To put it simply, it started a little before the birth of my daughter, and I finally jumped over the line to disbelief after she was born.

Now my family is pretty religious on both sides. On my father's side, they are more "liberal", but on my mother's they are far far right.

The other day some family came passing through our great state of Tennessee, and it was more the religious side. I haven't seen them in years. My uncle is a pastor at a small church in Maryland, and also does not know that I am an atheist. Since they only had a couple of hours, we decided to go out to dinner and catch up a bit. Since he is a pastor, it makes me nervous considering my kids (Ages 5 and almost 4) know NOTHING at this point of god and/or jesus. I've chosen to shield them from this, but it's increasingly difficult as they get older.

At the dinner they began, to my disdain, to pray. At this point everyone began holding hands and bowed their heads. My children were pretty much clueless as to what was happening, but followed suite. Me, being polite, didn't think this was the time nor place to bring up such things. We all held hands, but I did not pray. I did not bow my head, nor did I close my eyes. I simply just remained quiet, while making sure my kids did so.

The rest of the evening consisted of them coming to see our new home and then complaining about the politics of Maryland, stating that it has become to "liberal" but it appears the population is "waking up". I thought about inquiring as to what that exactly meant, but remained quiet. My wife knows my feelings on the topic, so she gave me a few stares wondering if I would explode at the chance to express my thoughts. She was probably surprised I remained quiet, as normally, I do not.

It did get me thinking though. Eventually I'm going to have to come out. I come from a family that started the breeding process at a young age. Even in a worst case scenario, most of the members I deal with won't even die out for another 30 years or so.

Just felt like getting a few things off my chest.
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19-05-2015, 10:17 AM
RE: Atheism and my family...
(19-05-2015 09:58 AM)Dusky Wrote:  Well, it looks like my thoughts are slowly, but surely, becoming known in my family. Brief background, I've been an atheist for a few years now. To put it simply, it started a little before the birth of my daughter, and I finally jumped over the line to disbelief after she was born.

Now my family is pretty religious on both sides. On my father's side, they are more "liberal", but on my mother's they are far far right.

The other day some family came passing through our great state of Tennessee, and it was more the religious side. I haven't seen them in years. My uncle is a pastor at a small church in Maryland, and also does not know that I am an atheist. Since they only had a couple of hours, we decided to go out to dinner and catch up a bit. Since he is a pastor, it makes me nervous considering my kids (Ages 5 and almost 4) know NOTHING at this point of god and/or jesus. I've chosen to shield them from this, but it's increasingly difficult as they get older.

At the dinner they began, to my disdain, to pray. At this point everyone began holding hands and bowed their heads. My children were pretty much clueless as to what was happening, but followed suite. Me, being polite, didn't think this was the time nor place to bring up such things. We all held hands, but I did not pray. I did not bow my head, nor did I close my eyes. I simply just remained quiet, while making sure my kids did so.

The rest of the evening consisted of them coming to see our new home and then complaining about the politics of Maryland, stating that it has become to "liberal" but it appears the population is "waking up". I thought about inquiring as to what that exactly meant, but remained quiet. My wife knows my feelings on the topic, so she gave me a few stares wondering if I would explode at the chance to express my thoughts. She was probably surprised I remained quiet, as normally, I do not.

It did get me thinking though. Eventually I'm going to have to come out. I come from a family that started the breeding process at a young age. Even in a worst case scenario, most of the members I deal with won't even die out for another 30 years or so.

Just felt like getting a few things off my chest.

Its hard sometimes dealing with family members/friends who are religious. I am the only atheist in my catholic family and most of my friends are still heavily involved christians (I made switch later on to christianity). I got to the point where I just pick and choose my battles. I know they are not going to change their views and I am not going to change mine. It just ends in arguments. Unless someone says something completely offensive, I usually just stay off the topic of religion. My christian friends do pray before meals and I just do what you do--which is not to pray. I just think of other things--like a new pair of shoes I want to buy Tongue

"Let the waters settle and you will see the moon and stars mirrored in your own being." -Rumi
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19-05-2015, 10:51 AM
RE: Atheism and my family...
It seems to me the thing that is going to "force" you out is most likely your kids (assuming your wife is fine with raising your kids secularly, which from your post sounds sounds like she is). They are getting to the age when you will need to address some of these issues, or they will come home asking you about hell and sin and jebus. However you address this with your kids, odds are that they will out you (obviously in an innocent way).
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19-05-2015, 01:02 PM
RE: Atheism and my family...
(19-05-2015 10:51 AM)Iñigo Wrote:  It seems to me the thing that is going to "force" you out is most likely your kids (assuming your wife is fine with raising your kids secularly, which from your post sounds sounds like she is). They are getting to the age when you will need to address some of these issues, or they will come home asking you about hell and sin and jebus. However you address this with your kids, odds are that they will out you (obviously in an innocent way).

Yeah she's fine with the secular route. She isn't particularly religious, but she isn't as well versed in atheism. Which isn't her fault, she just has other priorities and cares more about other things than this.

You're right though, they are getting to that age. My daughter started kindergarten here this fall. Thankfully, I'm already outed to most others. The only people who don't know is my family, apart from my parents (who do know).

I'll be happy when it doesn't matter anymore.
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19-05-2015, 01:04 PM
RE: Atheism and my family...
(19-05-2015 10:17 AM)jennybee Wrote:  
(19-05-2015 09:58 AM)Dusky Wrote:  Well, it looks like my thoughts are slowly, but surely, becoming known in my family. Brief background, I've been an atheist for a few years now. To put it simply, it started a little before the birth of my daughter, and I finally jumped over the line to disbelief after she was born.

Now my family is pretty religious on both sides. On my father's side, they are more "liberal", but on my mother's they are far far right.

The other day some family came passing through our great state of Tennessee, and it was more the religious side. I haven't seen them in years. My uncle is a pastor at a small church in Maryland, and also does not know that I am an atheist. Since they only had a couple of hours, we decided to go out to dinner and catch up a bit. Since he is a pastor, it makes me nervous considering my kids (Ages 5 and almost 4) know NOTHING at this point of god and/or jesus. I've chosen to shield them from this, but it's increasingly difficult as they get older.

At the dinner they began, to my disdain, to pray. At this point everyone began holding hands and bowed their heads. My children were pretty much clueless as to what was happening, but followed suite. Me, being polite, didn't think this was the time nor place to bring up such things. We all held hands, but I did not pray. I did not bow my head, nor did I close my eyes. I simply just remained quiet, while making sure my kids did so.

The rest of the evening consisted of them coming to see our new home and then complaining about the politics of Maryland, stating that it has become to "liberal" but it appears the population is "waking up". I thought about inquiring as to what that exactly meant, but remained quiet. My wife knows my feelings on the topic, so she gave me a few stares wondering if I would explode at the chance to express my thoughts. She was probably surprised I remained quiet, as normally, I do not.

It did get me thinking though. Eventually I'm going to have to come out. I come from a family that started the breeding process at a young age. Even in a worst case scenario, most of the members I deal with won't even die out for another 30 years or so.

Just felt like getting a few things off my chest.

Its hard sometimes dealing with family members/friends who are religious. I am the only atheist in my catholic family and most of my friends are still heavily involved christians (I made switch later on to christianity). I got to the point where I just pick and choose my battles. I know they are not going to change their views and I am not going to change mine. It just ends in arguments. Unless someone says something completely offensive, I usually just stay off the topic of religion. My christian friends do pray before meals and I just do what you do--which is not to pray. I just think of other things--like a new pair of shoes I want to buy Tongue

Yeah, that's why I pretty much steer clear. Problem is, if I come out the discussions will end completely and I'll cease being a family member.
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19-05-2015, 01:21 PM
RE: Atheism and my family...
(19-05-2015 01:04 PM)Dusky Wrote:  
(19-05-2015 10:17 AM)jennybee Wrote:  Its hard sometimes dealing with family members/friends who are religious. I am the only atheist in my catholic family and most of my friends are still heavily involved christians (I made switch later on to christianity). I got to the point where I just pick and choose my battles. I know they are not going to change their views and I am not going to change mine. It just ends in arguments. Unless someone says something completely offensive, I usually just stay off the topic of religion. My christian friends do pray before meals and I just do what you do--which is not to pray. I just think of other things--like a new pair of shoes I want to buy Tongue

Yeah, that's why I pretty much steer clear. Problem is, if I come out the discussions will end completely and I'll cease being a family member.

I have told most family/friends that I am an atheist. However, there are some situations that I don't feel warrant my saying anything. For example, I have a friend who is catholic who went through some pretty rough times and uses religion as a way to get through life. I have not told him I am an atheist--not because I am not happy/proud to be one---but because I feel like the discussion could shatter his world. While there are numerous negatives to religion--some people do find solace in it. I don't want to take that away from the people who use religion as a means of comfort and a way to get through life--particularly if they are not hurting anyone else in the process (not spewing hate against others/standing in way of science or others rights).

"Let the waters settle and you will see the moon and stars mirrored in your own being." -Rumi
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19-05-2015, 01:51 PM
RE: Atheism and my family...
I feel your pain with staying silent. As far as family goes, my wife is the only one that knows my agnostic views. I haven't nor will I ever share them with my Mom and Dad. It wouldn't be worth the trouble, IMO.

I'm the same way with prayer time. We usually have a prayer before Thanksgiving, Christmas, or Easter dinners and I'm waiting for the day that someone looks up and sees me not giving a shit.

I've got a two and a half year old, and I'm still not sure how to approach this one. I don't want to introduce her to the lies and deception that is Christianity, however, kids say the darndest things and I don't want her blabbing to my Mom or Dad "Daddy doesn't believe in religion, etc..."

Good luck to you, sir. Hopefully we'll still be on the forums in the future and you can update us on how things are going. I am interested.
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19-05-2015, 08:51 PM
RE: Atheism and my family...
(19-05-2015 01:51 PM)NutraSteve Wrote:  We usually have a prayer before Thanksgiving, Christmas, or Easter dinners and I'm waiting for the day that someone looks up and sees me not giving a shit.

This is my favorite thing. I love when I am looking around and seeing other extended family quickly looking around and looking down again when we make eye contact.

"If we are honest—and scientists have to be—we must admit that religion is a jumble of false assertions, with no basis in reality.
The very idea of God is a product of the human imagination."
- Paul Dirac
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20-05-2015, 10:02 AM
RE: Atheism and my family...
(19-05-2015 08:51 PM)The Organic Chemist Wrote:  
(19-05-2015 01:51 PM)NutraSteve Wrote:  We usually have a prayer before Thanksgiving, Christmas, or Easter dinners and I'm waiting for the day that someone looks up and sees me not giving a shit.

This is my favorite thing. I love when I am looking around and seeing other extended family quickly looking around and looking down again when we make eye contact.

This dinner prayer scenario seldoms, if ever, happens to me but when it does I look down at my hands and check out my fingernails to see if they need a trim or if my nail polish is chipped. Girl_nails

I've never done the holding hands around the table thingy. If it ever comes up I think I'll just say I have a cold and my hands are germy then continue with my fingernail polish inspection. Thumbsup

Shakespeare's Comedy of Errors.... on Donald J. Trump:

He is deformed, crooked, old, and sere,
Ill-fac’d, worse bodied, shapeless every where;
Vicious, ungentle, foolish, blunt, unkind,
Stigmatical in making, worse in mind.
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23-05-2015, 04:57 PM
RE: Atheism and my family...
Why do Christians pray in restaurants - it's an act of arrogance. My father was a minister and would never have done that as he was considerate of the servers. He told us kids if we wanted to say grace we could do it in the car. None of us ever did.
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