Coming out - When, why, and how?
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27-03-2017, 07:59 AM
Coming out - When, why, and how?
This issue has been weighing heavily on my mind lately and I really need help with this.

I know many of you have had to go through this one way or the other, so I'd appreciate your guidance.

I don't know if I should do it, but I don't want to be a complete hypocrite either. I don't want to live a lie, and for how long could I keep up the charade? Does it get easier lying constantly to everyone?

I'm have been raising my 2 young boys in the Christian faith, and now I am very concerned about continuing that.

I am afraid of ​losing my girlfriend whom I am completely in love with.

I'm afraid it would cause a terrible rift in my relationship with my parents.

I actually have sort of talked about it with one of my sisters, but she is very open-minded and I asked her not to talk to anyone else about what we discussed.

I feel a degree of mental anguish because of this. I'm still going to church and the whole thing feels so strange. I'm not sure how long I can keep this up.

I posted my introduction thread today if you would want to know more about me.

Thank you all.
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27-03-2017, 08:14 AM
RE: Coming out - When, why, and how?
I can't say what you should do, I only can say what I did. I've never hid my atheism, family and friends know and if somebody else will ask then it depends on if I judge said person to be worthy of being truthful. Though I can't remember instance of lying. I don't attend any church ceremonies and if asked I openly state what I think about religion.

That's said I don't have kids nor girlfriend and part of family don't care and about other part I don't care enough to even bother telling them.

The first revolt is against the supreme tyranny of theology, of the phantom of God. As long as we have a master in heaven, we will be slaves on earth.

Mikhail Bakunin.
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27-03-2017, 08:29 AM
RE: Coming out - When, why, and how?
Like Szuchow said it would be presumptuous to give you specific advice but we can certainly share our own experience if you’d like to hear.

“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
“Ocean: A body of water occupying about two-thirds of a world made for man - who has no gills.”~ Ambrose Bierce
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27-03-2017, 08:29 AM
RE: Coming out - When, why, and how?
Perhaps the stories of what happened to others will be of some help: http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/forum/...sion-story

Here you can see how many of us are still closeted:
http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/forum/...the-closet

[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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27-03-2017, 08:30 AM
RE: Coming out - When, why, and how?
I never hid it, I didn't rub it into anyone's face either. Where I live it's a non issue. I have to say, outside of forums I never even had that conversation. To give you an impression, i don't even know if my brother and family are religious. I guess my sister in law is new age, but I really can't say with any certainty.
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27-03-2017, 08:40 AM
RE: Coming out - When, why, and how?
Ok, thanks for the links, I'll go through that. I looked at the poll results, very interesting.

I don't want someone to tell me what to do, but yeah, personal experience is helpful, or thoughts from people that have been in my situation, or techniques for approaching the topic.

For example, my girlfriend wants to get married I know, and I actually would want to, but at this point, I feel that would be unfair to her as I'm sure this is an important issue for her. When she lists some of the things she was looking for in a guy, him being a strong Christian was one on her list. I also don't think it would be fair postponing the conversation very long as she is concerned about her age and she really wants to get married and start back family. I don't want to hold her up from that if she can't get over it.
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27-03-2017, 08:51 AM
RE: Coming out - When, why, and how?
(27-03-2017 08:40 AM)Gerry Wrote:  Ok, thanks for the links, I'll go through that. I looked at the poll results, very interesting.

I don't want someone to tell me what to do, but yeah, personal experience is helpful, or thoughts from people that have been in my situation, or techniques for approaching the topic.

For example, my girlfriend wants to get married I know, and I actually would want to, but at this point, I feel that would be unfair to her as I'm sure this is an important issue for her. When she lists some of the things she was looking for in a guy, him being a strong Christian was one on her list. I also don't think it would be fair postponing the conversation very long as she is concerned about her age and she really wants to get married and start back family. I don't want to hold her up from that if she can't get over it.

I think it is important that you tell her. Chances are you won't be able to live a lie of that proportion until death do you part.

[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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27-03-2017, 09:07 AM
RE: Coming out - When, why, and how?
(27-03-2017 07:59 AM)Gerry Wrote:  I'm have been raising my 2 young boys in the Christian faith, and now I am very concerned about continuing that.

I am afraid of ​losing my girlfriend whom I am completely in love with.

I'm afraid it would cause a terrible rift in my relationship with my parents.

I'm still going to church and the whole thing feels so strange. I'm not sure how long I can keep this up.

Generally, I would say "don't think about it".

Atheism, to me at least, isn't really anything major. Like it's not a faith I subscribe too, I just don't "believe" in anything at all. I understand it's harder coming from religion than not, but I don't go round spouting off that I'm and atheist, and if other people are religious, good for them. I've never had to "come out" as I don't feel ashamed about it. If it ever comes up in conversation, I'll happily tell somebody who wants to know.

As for the above quoted stuff:

Don't worry about you kids. My daughter attends a monthly religious group, that my mother helps out at, and they teach her about the faith. She's even told me [she 7] that she "loves Jesus" which is fine. She's not that fussed massively, and when she's older maybe she'll dive head first into religion, maybe she'll take after me and my dad and just not bother hah.

Same with the girlfriend. As harsh as this may sound, if you end up having a discussion that involves you having to pick faith over a relationship, it's not based on a solid foundation. Again, I have nothing against religion but I would never convert, so if I was given an ultimatum about it, it'd be ended there and then. If a person truly loves another person, then faith isn't an issue.

Parents: to be honest you may be Surprised. They may not take it well at first, but at the end of the day, they are your parents and want was is best for you. My Mother and step father are religious and attend church every Sunday, but they are fine with my not doing so as it's my choice. It may be hard to start with, but they'll come around and again if they don't you know what you as a person are worth to them.

And finally in terms of church, this one is up to you. I have attended church, normally not very much if I can help it, but I have been all the same. I do so because my mother and step father go, and the people are very nice on a personal level. Of course I don't believe anything, nor do I sing the hymns, but I'm respectful and stand when people stand, talk to people and am even mildly friendly with some of the guys there. I even attended my parents "re-birth" when the got baptised, which to me means 0 things, but to them it meant a lot that I was there.

With your life now truly just beginning, you can pick and choose why you do these things. I would say still go to church, if it makes people happy, just switch off when they start preaching, because that's what I do lol.

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27-03-2017, 09:17 AM (This post was last modified: 27-03-2017 02:31 PM by Mr. Boston.)
RE: Coming out - When, why, and how?
I don't really consider my lack of faith to be one of my major attributes. In my social circle a person's religious beliefs are very rarely a topic of conversation, and when they are it's only out of curiosity really. When I'm directly asked I don't deny that I'm an atheist but I can easily go weeks or months without mentioning my lack of belief to anybody. I understand other people's circumstances are different and that for many people being a closeted atheist is a day-in day-out job where you are literally putting constant effort into maintaining appearances; and also that the stakes of being out are much higher. I can imagine a life of active closeting of myself would be exhausting after awhile.

I guess the question is whether you want your friends, neighbors, and family to have a GREAT relationship with someone who is a bit less than the real you - or do you present the 100% real you to them and risk the relationships suffering for it?

Only you can really decide how important it is to you that these people know the whole truth. How significant a part of you is your disbelief anyway? You're the only one who knows for sure. I think it's possible to have meaningful relationships with people even if they don't know EVERY detail about you. Certain things are really just nobody's business.

As far as your kids being raised in the Christian faith, I can understand having a problem with that. Maybe the best thing you can do is not deliberately pull them out of all that, but when they ask you what YOU believe (as they inevitably will) be honest but not condescending about it.
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27-03-2017, 09:55 AM
RE: Coming out - When, why, and how?
Many helpful points to consider here, I appreciate it.

With my kids, I wonder how confusing it would be for them to find out that I don't believe it, and yet encouraged them to believe it for however long. I would probably be upset if I found out my parents did that to me.

With my girlfriend, I have thought about the foundation of the relationship, and maybe the relationship isn't worth it if she doesn't love me for me, yet I can understand the trouble she would face, because if you're convinced God doesn't want you to be unequally yoked, then you have to deal with that. It would be a test of the relationship I'm not eager to deal with.

I think I'm less concerned about coming out to my parents, except it would probably be a consequence of talking about it with my kids.

In going over all this again and again, I suppose the most pressing, and probably the only that seems currently necessary to do is having the conversation with my girlfriend.

Have any of you had the conversation with your significant other, and how did you approach it, how did it go? What was the aftermath like?
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