Coming out to family
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30-01-2013, 03:24 AM
RE: Coming out to family
I fear telling my family I atheist I fear I will lose them. My father alone has threatened to disown me for less and his side of the family is heavily christian. Then my mother i would believe would be some what accepting but the rest of the family would hate me I think. Plus added to all that I live right in the fucking lowest pits of ignorance town in Texas so I fear to be judge and a social level. I just don't know what to do if any one has advise please share it thank you.
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30-01-2013, 06:54 AM
RE: Coming out to family
(30-01-2013 03:24 AM)neo heru Wrote:  I fear telling my family I atheist I fear I will lose them. My father alone has threatened to disown me for less and his side of the family is heavily christian. Then my mother i would believe would be some what accepting but the rest of the family would hate me I think. Plus added to all that I live right in the fucking lowest pits of ignorance town in Texas so I fear to be judge and a social level. I just don't know what to do if any one has advise please share it thank you.


Start planning your escape. Do as well in and out of school as possible so that you can go to university, or get a good trade, or join the military.

Fly under the radar for now; just suck it up and prepare for your future elsewhere.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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04-02-2013, 10:44 AM
RE: Coming out to family
(20-01-2013 06:29 PM)kitkerri Wrote:  I see so many people talking about how horrible they are treated by family when they come out as an atheist. I can't imagine what that is like, to have your mother or father say horrible things about you and then turn their back on you. I was fortunate enough(I guess) that my mother did not respond that way. I broke her heart. She cried and tried to give a good reason why I was wrong. She could not argue with my responses and said her pastor could explain it better. I looked in her eyes and realized that if I convinced her I was right that there is no God I would ruin any reason she had to live or be happy. I love her and couldn't do it. I still think she prays for me and worries constantly that I will go to hell. Not what I want for her by any means. I think now maybe I should have left it alone. Any thoughts? Anybody?
When I came out to my family, I remember it as clear as day. I sat my father and my brother down at the kitchen table and told them that I was an atheist. There's really no way to know how someone will react, and I got two separate responses. My brother has always been cool about it. My dad, however, told me he would have rather been told I was gay. I guess to him, there's a chance of saving a gay person? I don't know what compelled him to say that. The following months were full of him placing articles from christian "scientists" who discredited radiometric and carbon dating, evolution, etc.

Eventually, we came to an agreement. I told him that basically, I still want to have a relationship with my family. I have lost 2 members of my family (one brother and my mother died) in the past 7 years, and I don't want to lose anyone else. I still love him and I wanted to still be close to him, so I said I wouldn't come around the house talking about atheism or doing what I felt compelled to do elsewhere at the time, which was to de-convert people. In return, he doesn't try to bring me back into the fold.

Ever since then, things have been okay between us. Every once in a while, he drops in that he's praying for me. It doesn't bother me anymore.

I think that, in some cases, time heals all wounds, but I have dealt with a lot of people who were once very close to me who don't speak to me anymore, who see me and turn around, and who just did a complete 180 from how we once were.

I would say that, in any case, do what you feel will make you happy. I know the weight that you carry when you stay in the closet about this, and despite the pain it caused me for a couple years, I feel so much better being true to myself and who I am, as opposed to lying to those closest to me in order to keep them around.

This is just one man's opinion, though.
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10-02-2013, 10:22 PM
RE: Coming out to family
When I met my future wife 5 years ago I was a believer. I'm afraid to tell her how I have changed because I'm worried about her thinking she failed in some way. I feel like I'm keeping a secret but she has to know, I'm always ripping on the Christian tv channels and reading atheist authors. Why is it so hard to get it out there in the open?
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13-02-2013, 11:17 AM
RE: Coming out to family
(10-02-2013 10:22 PM)Jared Wrote:  When I met my future wife 5 years ago I was a believer. I'm afraid to tell her how I have changed because I'm worried about her thinking she failed in some way. I feel like I'm keeping a secret but she has to know, I'm always ripping on the Christian tv channels and reading atheist authors. Why is it so hard to get it out there in the open?
That's interesting- I was still practicing Catholicism two years ago when I met my lover. I was afraid to come out to him (an athiest!) because I was afraid he'd think HE failed. When we started dating, he promised to always respect whatever beliefs I held dear, and I think he firmly believed he was going into a relationship with a practicing Catholic and that was something that wouldn't change. He used to keep any and all comments on religion to himself, even when we'd go to Mass together, simply because he didn't want to cause me to lose something that he thought was so important to me.

Now that I've come out to him, he DOES feel a little guilty, but I've assured him that he's never said anything that made me question or wonder. A part of him is a little worried he might be wrong and he didn't want to take anyone to hell with him if he'd screwed it up. The truth of the matter is, though, that all of my seeking came from within. No amount of preaching, from either direction, can force someone to change. I came to my conclusions on my own, and he knows I've put more thought into it than either of us.

Inside some of us, there's an extra "dab" of critical thinking. We recognize a little earlier than other that all those prayers are falling on deaf ears, that the little wafer is really just bread, and that our deceased loved ones aren't watching over us from above. We begin to see that there's no plan at all, just a series of events, good and bad.

Not everyone figures this out and becomes an atheist. People like my mom who see this and find themselves frightened cling. They cling to reported miracles and visions and saints. Mom devours miracles stories, especially Eucharistic miracles. She convinces herself that near death experience stories are true. She's hanging on to the very last thread of faith and all she sees if she were to let go is a cesspool of immorality and terror.

These are the people who react most violently to loved ones "coming out". That's why I'm personally so scared to come out to my mom. She's used the faiths of others as a crutch for a very long time. She used to be able to look to me, a bright young woman with an apparent incredible faith, and see that if I believed, she could believe too. If I pull the rug out from under her, I see only two endings. Either she'll fall into a pit of despair, or she'll stop clinging to religion and realize I'm right. The former is far more likely, because it's a whole lot harder for a woman in her mid 50s to give up the faith of her childhood that it is for a 20-something who never really felt it that strongly anyway.

I think that's why coming out can be so scary. Many of us have no intent to shake anyone else's faith- we all know how incredibly painful it can be to let go and we wouldn't wish it on anyone. I can't tell you all how many times I have wished I could unthink some of the thoughts I've had over my deconversion. I didn't want to end up here, but now I have.

We also don't want to inject turbulence into an otherwise peaceful existence of a parent or grandparent. We completely understand why they're upset- someone they love is dooming themselves to eternal torment! We also don't want to hear how we're just lazy and sinful. No one becomes and atheist just because they want to sleep in on Sundays and have pre-marital sex. Lots of good Christians do both of those things without ever entertaining the thought of atheism.

I think the key in coming out is to somehow help religious family members realize that it's not about the freedom to do whatever we please, it's about feeling the weight of responsibility for the world that THEY place on the shoulders of a silent God. Atheists get that there's only one chance at life. We understand that we make our own meaning in life, and that our choices affect everyone- not just the salvation of our own souls. Those of us who were lucky enough to be born into families with the means to educate, clothe, and feed us have a special responsibility to pass those resources on to others. A lot of those sentiments aren't too terribly different from what a cleaned-up version of Christianity might teach.
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13-02-2013, 11:44 AM (This post was last modified: 13-02-2013 11:50 AM by CateBee.)
RE: Coming out to family
"I see so many people talking about how horrible they are treated by family when they come out as an atheist. I can't imagine what that is like, to have your mother or father say horrible things about you and then turn their back on you. I was fortunate enough(I guess) that my mother did not respond that way. I broke her heart. She cried and tried to give a good reason why I was wrong. She could not argue with my responses and said her pastor could explain it better. I looked in her eyes and realized that if I convinced her I was right that there is no God I would ruin any reason she had to live or be happy. I love her and couldn't do it. I still think she prays for me and worries constantly that I will go to hell. Not what I want for her by any means. I think now maybe I should have left it alone. Any thoughts? Anybody?"

When you say you broke her heart, I have a good idea about how you must have been feeling...

Even now, conversations with my own Mother leave me with that kind of feeling. I can tell she is heartbroken and her blind faith in a God is really conflicting with her love for me. Our relationship has become strained. Even when my own family tiptoes around me to avoid any kind of situation they deem awkward or inappropriate, I'm still happy to know that I am free of religion. I will not put that kind of limit on myself.

I definitely don't want to ever be my 28 y.o. sister, who will damn near ear-muff herself and scream "lalala, I'm not listening!" when I even mention Christianity.

It may not be the same for you, but I do hope you find peace somewhere in this situation. Good luck.
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13-02-2013, 05:00 PM
RE: Coming ou to family
(20-01-2013 10:30 PM)earmuffs Wrote:  
(20-01-2013 10:19 PM)bbeljefe Wrote:  "The reason I don't come out to people is because I know the drama it would cause and I can't be bothered dealing with it."

So you chose the latter. Nothing wrong with that if that's what you think is best for you.

Yes I aware there is nothing wrong with it.
I do not need your approval.
It good that you aware of it. ;D

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21-02-2013, 12:04 PM
RE: Coming out to family
I told my mom I was an Atheist this year and the news was hard to take at first, but she later came to accept it. My mom still loves me even though I'm an Atheist. My advice would be to not lie and say you're a Christian to look good, but try to keep your views to yourself to avoid conflict.
I think it takes a little time for your family to understand you, but it can get better.
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