Coming out help
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28-04-2014, 09:51 PM
Coming out help
Having only very recently put the label of atheist on myself, I am not out as an atheist to anyone other than fellow atheists/agnostics and a small group of colleagues in a secret facebook group. Most people know me as 'not religious'. I have created a 'coming out letter' to present to family and friends, and once they know, I will come out on facebook to everyone except clients and a few very religious acquaintances. My hope is that I can help some people who may be closeted or at least show my religious friends that atheists are normal people! I'm sure I'll lose from 'friends', but I'm fine with that.

Anyway, my question is this. How do you start the "I'm an atheist" speech with a religious family? I'd rather talk one on one with my sister and my mother, then tell everyone else at once to prevent them from hearing it from each other. Problem is, our family is rarely together in the same place. This generally happens only around holidays and other events. The next big family event is a baby shower for a cousin, and after that, probably Thanksgiving. Somehow, it doesn't seem appropriate to congratulate my cousin on a baby, eat cake, play stupid shower games, and then say "Hey guess what, I don't believe in God any more". Do you think a mass e-mail with the letter attached would be appropriate? It seems impersonal, but perhaps more appropriate than doing it at a baby shower or after the Thanksgiving prayer.Laugh out load

How do deal with the stress this causes to religious families? My poor mother is going to feel as if she did something wrong, failed me in some way. She's going to cry. My religious sister is going to be burdened with the thought of having to pray for my soul every day. I don't believe anyone will reject me, but they are all going to worry about me. They are all going to try to bring me back to god. My letter states that this was a decision I came to after very careful consideration, that it wasn't anyone's 'fault', that I'm not apologetic for it, and I'm not interested in trying to be led back to religion.

My dad is the one person I will not tell. He is terminally ill (probably has a year or two to live), and he talks about god all the time. He would NOT understand, and would not be able to accept it. I am fine continuing to smile and nod for the rest of his life when he talks about god talking to him, and about going to heaven one day.

Any help would be appreciated! This is really stressful, as many of you know. Sadcryface
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28-04-2014, 10:24 PM
RE: Coming out help
My advice is to perfect your "coming out letter". Work on it for a while. Make corrections and rewrite it as many times as you need to in order for it to say everything you need to say exactly as it needs to be said. Really put some concentrated effort into it.

I did the same thing, and it helped immensely. Of course despite my intentions when I began writing it, I never actually sent it to anyone. Once I had it exactly the way I wanted it I realized that it was only ever meant for me.

Give your new self-applied label a few runs around the block before you light up your facebook page with it. You need to be absolutely comfortable in your new worldview. Not just right, but comfortable. Then if you still feel like you need to come out in a grand fashion, go for it.

I'm still in the closet as it is, but I know the day is coming when the truth will no longer be something I can avoid talking about. But for me I want it to happen naturally, I think it will be better that way.

I know it's big for you, as it was for me. But give it some time to really sink in before you surprise everyone else in your life with it.

Good luck to you though. Welcome to the forum.

But now I have come to believe that the whole world is an enigma, a harmless enigma that is made terrible by our own mad attempt to interpret it as though it had an underlying truth.

~ Umberto Eco
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28-04-2014, 10:32 PM
RE: Coming out help
The prepared letters and family announcements never seem to do anything but cause division and serve no benefit to them or yourself:

Just avoid the G, J and A bomb topics in conversation, state you don't find the evidence convincing if cornered on your faith and you are researching the bible to ascertain what your beliefs are.
(it is a unwritten rule of Atheism, learn to bible to be able to intellectually justify rejecting it).

Theism is to believe what other people claim, Atheism is to ask "why should I".
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[+] 1 user Likes sporehux's post
28-04-2014, 10:51 PM
RE: Coming out help
I'm am not a fan of major announcements, whether in person or written form. It never ends well, IMO. I think more understanding takes place when this type of information is revealed in a more organic fashion. When you are talking and the conversation naturally flows to it.

Just be you.


"Life is a daring adventure or it is nothing"--Helen Keller
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29-04-2014, 11:43 AM
RE: Coming out help
I like bows and arrows approach and it is the one I am taking personally. I got comfortable calling myself an athiest about a year ago. Before that I had major issues with religon, but just came across as a disgruntled catholic. As far as comming out, I have no plans on making an announcement unless pressed. When moral issues come up I take the position I see as right regardless of how the religious members of my family side.

I used to attend church every Sunday and played bass in the choir. When we move in 2012 I dropped out the choir and stopped going to church about 6 months ago. When asked why I answer that I do not have any interest in going and leave it at that. My wife knows I have major issues with religion, not sure if she knows the full extent.
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