Dealing with family's "pain" caused by your deconversion...
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25-09-2012, 09:08 PM (This post was last modified: 25-09-2012 09:14 PM by Azaraith.)
RE: Dealing with family's "pain" caused by your deconversion...
(24-09-2012 11:09 PM)Birdguy1979 Wrote:  Unfortunately I cannot tell you it is easy to deal with. I do suggest that you tread lightly. I always wanted my parents to see my point of view. It lead to my father seeing the light and becoming an atheist. He was and still is very depressed about it. In my opinion most believers are not like Seth Andrews. Many just can't handle losing their belief. I don't exactly pretend to be a believer around my grandmother, however I don't actively tell her that I don't believe. If she dies thinking that I believe since it is so important to her, I don't have a problem with it. If you really want to pursue de-converting your parents, I suggest leaving reading material around the house for them to read. Don't tell them that you are leaving it for them. Just be reading something you want them to see and forget to bring it with you when you leave. This is especially effective if it has a bible verse on the front of it. Again I have to warn you to be careful. If you don't think they can handle it, don't try. Just let them think what they want to think.

Thanks. I'm not trying to deconvert them, I don't think it would really be worth the effort (if possible), as what they believe doesn't affect or bother me, it's just their attitude toward me and my beliefs, as well as their apparent grief that troubles me (which would be alleviated by deconversion in one sense, but possibly worsened for a while in another...)

(25-09-2012 07:21 AM)devilsadvoc8 Wrote:  Time may be your ally here. Be the bigger person and don't flaunt your beliefs but certainly don't cheapen them by pretending just to make them feel better. IN months maybe years, you may be able to have rational discussions with them, but do it slowly. The main goal is to get them to accept you. Then once that is achieved, helping them down the path to rational thinking can be attempted. Good luck!

It's been months - I didn't actually plan to "come out", it just happened. My brother (also atheist) got into an argument and I got caught in the middle aka "what do you think?" to me when I was happy not participating Dodgy and I agreed with my brother on the issue... Which was regarding evolution, God, etc. What's happened since then has been a series of discussions that at first were interesting and civil, but I grew bored of the debate (after hearing the same arguments and logical fallacies from multiple sources 50 dozen times). They're still convinced they can win me back though, so they keep bringing it up. I can't say "you can't" without appearing closed-minded myself Confused - and while saying "If you have a great argument, supported by strong, valid evidence, I'd be more than willing to consider your position" would be my honest response, that will just cause them to list their arguments and evidence (that don't come close to passing the bar...)

(25-09-2012 08:31 AM)Impulse Wrote:  
(24-09-2012 06:13 PM)Azaraith Wrote:  I'm not really sure how to explain it, but since I left Christianity behind, my parents have expressed hurt from that - my mother said she cries at night about it, etc. They're earnestly worried about me burning in hell - telling them that there is no hell to burn in doesn't help, as they're so far into their delusion that the concept of Christianity being false seems silly to them. They've gone so far as to say my college education was a complete waste of money, because that's when I started drifting away from belief - to them, it's more important that I believe than I get a good education, good job, and succeed (also, I was "smarter when I was 13 [and believed]" and such Dodgy ). They've even questioned whether I really ever believed, since to them it's inconceivable that a Christian could walk away from faith.

I honestly care about their feelings though, and wish I could do something... I know that they'd be thrilled if I converted back to Christianity, but I can't a) force myself to believe something against all evidence and logic or b) fake conversion - I don't like the idea of living a lie or double life to fool them into being happier. I've got as much chance of de-converting them as I do winning the lottery 50x straight, so getting them to join my side is off the table too...

How do you deal with that, for those that are in a similar situation? I know they won't be "getting over it" any time soon, so I don't have that hope... Saying "I don't want to talk about it" just prompts a "that's because you can't defend your faith in atheism, just admit you're wrong" response Rolleyes
My situation is similar. I have family members who are distraught with the whole idea that I will likely go to hell. They regularly pray for me and tell me so. I often hear expressions of grief from them and how much they wish I would reconsider. They keep telling me to learn more about Catholicism (the religion I grew up with) in the hope that it will bring me back despite my repeatedly replying that every time I read more, I find more reason to confirm my atheism.

As a former Catholic, I understand their position and why they grieve. It also tells me there is little I can do to console them. For that reason, I simply try to be as respectful as possible by making sure I am never rude about my atheism or about their religious beliefs. As much as I dislike it, I also allow them to discuss religion and my atheism as much as they want to help them process it all. I do draw the line at rudeness though. If I notice they are becoming rude, I'm not afraid to say so calmly and request that they return to more polite discussion. The bottom line is to respect their feelings and to try to maintain a state of civility between you while also remaining true to your own beliefs. Under no circumstance would I "give in" and pretend to believe, think, or do something just to make them feel better. It is them, not you, that is really causing their grief. It's hard to watch, but you likely can't relieve them of it.

Thanks. I try not to be rude, though I've gotten mad a few times...

The worst scenario I've had with them trying to bring up the God argument was in the middle of my grandma's funeral, while seated at the pews. My dad told me you never know when you might die, you really should rethink your position on God so you can go to heaven [extremely paraphrased - memory = not so good]. I simply replied that it wasn't the time or place for that discussion (quietly) and he said that it was "quite apropos, though" and I simply didn't respond. Not the thing I wanted to be thinking about during a funeral... It was of course a religious funeral, but I had said nothing at all, not a word, about anything of the sort (intentionally)... Ugg.

(25-09-2012 12:54 PM)Chas Wrote:  The correct term is "apostasy". You'd have to convert first to be able to deconvert.

Tomatoes...

(25-09-2012 08:29 PM)NotSoVacuous Wrote:  I don't argue with anyone--knowingly--over the age of 30. I don't tell anyone about my athiesm--if I'm not provoked--over the age of 30. Thus, every member of my family does not know of my lack of belief.

If they are that old and still clinging to their religion, then they are too far gone. Telling them at that point would be simply stupid if you would lose peace of mind of any sorts.

Considering the fact that Seth Andrews was a Christian for 30+ years and even a Christian radio DJ... [FYI - he's the founder of this site] I think there's plenty of evidence besides the anecdotal that people can change their beliefs after age 30... But yes, it's rarely worth the effort to try to convince them. Most people only make such huge changes in their worldview on their own and of their own accord. Very few are ever won over in a debate...

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25-09-2012, 09:20 PM
RE: Dealing with family's "pain" caused by your deconversion...
(25-09-2012 09:08 PM)Azaraith Wrote:  
(25-09-2012 12:54 PM)Chas Wrote:  The correct term is "apostasy". You'd have to convert first to be able to deconvert.

Tomatoes...

Philistines.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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25-09-2012, 09:27 PM
RE: Dealing with family's "pain" caused by your deconversion...
(24-09-2012 06:13 PM)Azaraith Wrote:  I'm not really sure how to explain it, but since I left Christianity behind, my parents have expressed hurt from that - my mother said she cries at night about it, etc. They're earnestly worried about me burning in hell - telling them that there is no hell to burn in doesn't help, as they're so far into their delusion that the concept of Christianity being false seems silly to them. They've gone so far as to say my college education was a complete waste of money, because that's when I started drifting away from belief - to them, it's more important that I believe than I get a good education, good job, and succeed (also, I was "smarter when I was 13 [and believed]" and such Dodgy ). They've even questioned whether I really ever believed, since to them it's inconceivable that a Christian could walk away from faith.

I honestly care about their feelings though, and wish I could do something... I know that they'd be thrilled if I converted back to Christianity, but I can't a) force myself to believe something against all evidence and logic or b) fake conversion - I don't like the idea of living a lie or double life to fool them into being happier. I've got as much chance of de-converting them as I do winning the lottery 50x straight, so getting them to join my side is off the table too...

How do you deal with that, for those that are in a similar situation? I know they won't be "getting over it" any time soon, so I don't have that hope... Saying "I don't want to talk about it" just prompts a "that's because you can't defend your faith in atheism, just admit you're wrong" response Rolleyes

See the use of guilt there? What are you guilty of? Not believing in exactly the same thing as your mother/parents. It's kind of passive-aggressive to be laying that on you. Looks like they would be happier if you were a liar...wait, I think that's against the rules. Your parents aren't supposed to have mind control over you. Talk about something else with them.

See here they are, the bruises, some were self-inflicted and some showed up along the way. - JF
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25-09-2012, 09:28 PM
RE: Dealing with family's "pain" caused by your deconversion...
You could perhaps try what I would call the 'Matt Dillahunty: Nobody goes to heaven' approach. Go to 1:46:45 on the video to hear Matt explain it.

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25-09-2012, 10:00 PM
RE: Dealing with family's "pain" caused by your deconversion...
(25-09-2012 09:27 PM)Anjele Wrote:  See the use of guilt there? What are you guilty of? Not believing in exactly the same thing as your mother/parents. It's kind of passive-aggressive to be laying that on you. Looks like they would be happier if you were a liar...wait, I think that's against the rules. Your parents aren't supposed to have mind control over you. Talk about something else with them.

I agree with all of this. I think using guilt in that way is a very mean and dirty tactic, and there is no way that guilt would make someone truthfully switch teams on the matter.

Likewise, it's usually pointless to debate with them, because an atheist is likely to try to reason with them, and people tend to be overly emotional about religion, so reason doesn't really reach them and they will reject anything you say on this matter.
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25-09-2012, 11:00 PM
RE: Dealing with family's "pain" caused by your deconversion...
Tell em' your gay, that'll get their minds off you being an atheist.

I don't talk gay, I don't walk gay, it's like people don't even know I'm gay unless I'm blowing them.
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25-09-2012, 11:03 PM
RE: Dealing with family's "pain" caused by your deconversion...
Dodgy that one already came up - because I'm a supporter of gay rights, my mom asked if I was saying I was gay. lol. (I'm not, simply not attracted to men) That card's already been taken out of the deck Shy

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25-09-2012, 11:09 PM
RE: Dealing with family's "pain" caused by your deconversion...
What, gay people never lie about their sexuality?

I'm just sayin', shouldn't be so quick to toss the card out of the deck.

I don't talk gay, I don't walk gay, it's like people don't even know I'm gay unless I'm blowing them.
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25-09-2012, 11:11 PM
RE: Dealing with family's "pain" caused by your deconversion...
Well, if I were comfortable living a lie, I think I'd rather go with the "I'm a Christian again, yay!" route - gay would just double down on the arguments No Hobo lol

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25-09-2012, 11:12 PM
RE: Dealing with family's "pain" caused by your deconversion...
Again with the vital flaws to my otherwise impervious plans.

I don't talk gay, I don't walk gay, it's like people don't even know I'm gay unless I'm blowing them.
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