Came out to my parents... help?
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18-03-2013, 02:21 PM
Came out to my parents... help?
Sans their religious beliefs, my parents are very rational people. I was prepared for an onslaught of arguments before telling them I was an atheist, I was ready for just about any apologist explanation. But, what happened was much much much more disheartening. They simply wept. While I tried desperately to explain that I had logically come to this position, and that they could as well, they just kept repeating to have faith. My mother is now convinced I'm going to hell, and that when she dies she's going to come back and tell me heaven is real... I've never felt more awful in my life... I didn't like living a lie, pretending to be a Christian, but I don't know if it's worse to make my mom and dad stressed and worried for the rest of their lives. I feel so horrible, so awful. Did I do the wrong thing/is there any way to help them see rationality and logic?
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18-03-2013, 05:49 PM
RE: Came out to my parents... help?
Wow. Welcome.

Time is the best healer and your parents will probably need lots of it. You sound young, I sidestepped telling my parents until I was in my 40's!

The fact that you feel horrible and awful tells me you love your parents and didn't do this to hurt them, this is good. That you are mature enough to know that you don't want to live a lie is also good. That your parents are hurt not good but expected; the cat is out of the bag now and you guys need to work it out.

I can tell you that this won't heal overnight, much depends on your folks - but if they love you like you love them I think that you'll all be fine. I sincerely wish you patience and strength Matthew.

Throughout history conversions happen at the point of a sword, deconversions at the point of a pen - FC

I am quite sure now that often, very often, in matters concerning religion and politics a man's reasoning powers are not above the monkey's. - Mark Twain in Eruption
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18-03-2013, 05:50 PM
RE: Came out to my parents... help?
Ask their opinion on Benamuki. If they inquire closer, tell them that he is innumerably old, he made the world, the sun and the stars. The priests often talk to him and then tell his will to the folk. Tell your parents about his prophet who witnessed about Benamuki to a great lost sinner from a wicked nation. The prophet then died, killed by his own people.

If you remember Robinson Crusoe and his friend Friday the tribesman... They later have a religious discussion. Friday believes in Benamuki, but Crusoe wants to convert him to Christianity. In the version of the Defoe's book I had, Friday later dies when he and Crusoe sail away on a ship taken away from pirates. The Caraib tribes of the Caribbean confront the ship. Friday tries to talk to them, but they shoot him. Then the cannons destroy the Caraibs. Robinson lives.

Verily I say unto you, though this is translation of a Polish translation by an unknown author, it dates back to the original of Daniel Defoe himself and it is the only true account of the story!

Let them realize what they feel towards Benamuki. Because this is the same thing you feel towards Yahweh.

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18-03-2013, 07:11 PM
RE: Came out to my parents... help?
I would not mention the subject to them again unless they address it.
Maybe they will be at peace with it eventually, maybe they will try to get input from fellow religious people as to how to deal with this. You need to give them time now - I am quite sure they will come back to the conversation on their own.

[Image: dobie.png]

Science is the process we've designed to be responsible for generating our best guess as to what the fuck is going on. Girly Man
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19-03-2013, 04:04 PM
RE: Came out to my parents... help?
In the same boat, more or less. My dad has Alzheimer's. so he's out of the loop, but my mom and older brother give me a hard time about it. Ironically they've never been particularly religious, even though for many years I was a committed evangelical Xian (age 17 to age 40; I'm 46 now). However, it seems that they hold some sort of belief in God and therefore feel that I'm in danger of damnation.

The trouble is that now that the cat's out of the bag you'll never know what will set the loved ones off on a recrimination binge. Today I mentioned my upcoming trip to the AA convention in Austin next week, and my mom replied, "well, maybe you'll find out how wrong you are." The lack of support bugs me and makes me feel bad, especially since I consider responsible for their well-being.

In the end, I suppose atheists in our familial situation have to steel ourselves for inevitable conflicts. Each time hurts, though...wish I could say otherwise, but wishing doesn't make it so. Hopefully you have a support network of like-minded friends to rely on. In my case, I lean on forums like this one along with atheist media such as books and podcasts, although I hope the Austin shindig (my first atheist event) leads to more group activities down the road!
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19-03-2013, 07:34 PM
RE: Came out to my parents... help?
To expand on Dom's input:

You won't be able to start a conversation and convince them that you have taken a rational, reasonable step. There will be too much emotional baggage on the floor. Your job over the next few years will be to show them that you haven't changed, you're still their child, you still love them, etc.

Only once they accept you as being still the child they knew, still worthy of love and respect... only then can you really seriously communicate faith concepts with them.

Don't make this the defining topic in your relationship with your parents. Focus on day to day, normal things. Keep things normal with them. If they ask about your position, if they challenge you on it, then try to be the one asking questions. Don't tell them you have the answers. Ask them the questions that you asked yourself to get here. Ask them what they believe about the topics that most disturb you about their faith. Ask them how they figure out what is true and false in this world. Ask them why they believe what they believe, and why they think you should believe it - preferably why you should believe it based on the evidence of the natural world. Give them the opportunity to try and convince you and focus in the holes in their arguments. Let them try and fill those holes in.

Give me your argument in the form of a published paper, and then we can start to talk.
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20-03-2013, 01:58 PM
RE: Came out to my parents... help?
Just be nice guy same like always. Also explain that one does not choose one's beliefs, one is either convinced or not, and pretending is horseshit 'cos God would see through that if he was real, so better to not pretend. My Mama asked me 'but what stops you murdering people?' or words to that effect (I can't remember exactly), but now that she has accepted the premise that one can have morals sans God, and now that I have assured her that because I was brought up Christian my morals are firmly based on teh Christian ones I was taught, she's finally accepted that a. Dog is an atheist and there's not much I can do about it b. Dog is a nice guy. c. God is too a nice guy, ergo God won't send Dog to hell. ergo whatever those other clowns or the book says, everything is OK.
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