Coming out of the secular closet.
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10-12-2014, 01:30 PM
RE: Coming out of the secular closet.
Mr. Boston,
My mother brought my daughter into it saying, "I'm worried about your child. She will have no morals!". I told her how no religion owns morality, and that rather then teaching her "thou shalt not...", I will simply raise her to be a good person. Also, my father is also the Pascal's Wager type. I explained to him that Pascal's Wager pre-supposes that no harm can come from religion, however, I feel that suppressing free thought and curiosity (not to mention the countless hate crimes, wars, and bigotry), IS in fact harmful. That is the point at which we said let's agree to disagree. My dad is not necessarily religious though. I suppose he'd be more of a Pascal's Wager-ish agnostic (forgive my use of -ish lol.)
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10-12-2014, 02:35 PM
RE: Coming out of the secular closet.
(10-12-2014 11:38 AM)EppurSiMuove Wrote:  So, my wife and I went to my parents for dinner last week, and they confronted me about some Facebook posts I made that we're critical of religion. My parents have never been church-going pious people, but they have always held on, at the very least, to their belief in god. I told them that I have been questioning my whole life, despite my best efforts at believing, and that I have come to terms with the fact that I am an atheist recently. My mom's jaw dropped and she walked off. My dad and I went out back to talk. He said, "You're my son, and I'll love and respect you no matter what, but...", and then began to try and debate me. I told myself that I wouldn't ever get into a debate with family over the issue, but there I was, my father taking the offensive, so what was I to do? Have him chalk up my current disposition as nothing more than being a young fool? I had to explain myself so that he knew, at least, that I have done the math and taken in all the information I could from both sides, and have formed my conclusion based on unbiased logic and reason, and not simply some fad. That conversation actually went well, and at the end he said, "well, I obviously can't change what you believe or don't, so it'll just be an issue we disagree about that won't be a topic of conversation." That was perfect... Until my mother walked in. Backstory on my mother; she was raised by a former preacher and grew up in New Mexico on a bible college campus. She has never, from what I have observed in my 20 years on this Earth, had an original thought. Because of how she was raised, the bible was right, god is great, and that's it. No questioning, no stirring in her pot of thoughts. Despite that, my mother has always been like my best friend. I've always had complete transparency with my parents (except for my skepticism, obviously), and I have always been "her baby", as my older brother was always difficult and ambitious. Back to our story; she walked in and immediately interrupted me, and said something along the lines of, "so what, are you going to be sacrificing virgins to some pagan god now?". I said, "Mom, atheism is defined as not having a belief in god. That's it. There are no gods to worship, no covenants to make. Only what is here and now, and has tangible evidence." She then began to tell me how angry she is, and how she can't believe that I am doing this, and so on and so forth. So, again, I try to explain that this isn't some rash decision I've made or some fad that I'm joining into. I explain that I used to spend nights crying and pulling my hair trying to understand why my mind works the way it does, and why I can't just go along like a good little Christian like everyone else. I then ask her (as I was getting frustrated that I was being attacked by my own mother), "If there was a all-loving, benevolent being that wanted all of creation to know him, why would he not help me? Why would he let me, one who genuinely wanted and tried to believe and know him, hate myself and contemplate suicide because I couldn't handle the emotional damage the dilemma caused?"
She had no answer, and would resort back to, "you just have to believe. You just have to believe", almost as if it was some mantra. This is how the rest of tht night went. She would make an ignorant claim, I would rebut, and she would have nothing.
Fast forward to last night.
I text her and ask if we can come over. She says, "yes, but I will not be cooking". We arrive, and notice that she has had a couple drinks. That's all fine and well, and we're hanging out and talking about everyday things, and then she brings it up. I knew it was bound to happen since she was drinking, but I figured my dad and I could change the direction of our conversation. I was wrong. She just kept on talking about it, in a drunken stupor, and I just kept either pretending not to hear, or just trying to put comedic relief into the air. She then tells me that she isn't putting up my Christmas ornaments from my childhood, and that she talked to my dad about cutting me off (even though I'm completely independent, and have my own family and home), but he said he would divorce her. This is the point that I couldn't take it anymore. I said, "Mom, dad and I told you not to go there and you did. I made light of it, and tried to act unphased all night, but I'm done. I'm not going to debate with you. If you need time away from me, that's just fine. But if you don't drop it and agree to disagree, you are going to cause damage to this family, and potentially ruin our relationship." About this time, my dad walks in again, and says "Damn it Carolyn, I told you to leave him alone. I told you not to even bring it up, and now you're going to end up chasing off your own son." My dad and I went to the kitchen, and I cooled off enough to try and do damage control. "Dad, I'm fine. Don't fight with her about it. I know she loves me, and she knows I love her, and despite her best efforts, I'm not going to let it push me away." He said, "Kyle, I love you and I completely respect you, regardless of all this." That was it, we loaded up our baby, and my wife and I won't home. I'll admit, while driving home, I shed some tears. Never in a million years would I think my mother would disown me, or not want to be around me. Like I said, I have always been her baby, and we always had a great relationship. I finally fell asleep around 1:30, and got up this morning and went to work. She called me and said she was so sorry, and that she really does love me unconditionally. She said that we should come over this weekend, and she'll cook dinner, and we can get thins back to normal. I hope that will be the case, but we'll see...
Has anyone else had similar experiences?

Thanks for sharing! I think you handled it well. You are lucky to have your dad on your side during this.

Your mom will go through a long, difficult process and drag you and your family through it, expect it. Since this is a relationship you both treasure Keep Calm and Show Her Love. Shower her with it, it is your best counter to all the fears and confusion she is now feeling.

“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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10-12-2014, 02:41 PM (This post was last modified: 10-12-2014 03:10 PM by Clockwork.)
Re: Coming out of the secular closet.
I haven't even told my family, except for my brother who's also an atheist. My family has pretty much turned away from Catholicism, so I just keep saying I haven't found a church I like.
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