Father Talk
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05-04-2013, 12:50 AM
Father Talk
Today I had a phone conversation with my father. My Mormon fundamentalist father. The experience was so different than I expected that it led me to examine my outlook on life, and my attitude about my atheism, and his theism.

Like a lot of free thinkers, I started my journey as an unsuspecting child indoctrinated with religious beliefs at a young age, in this case, Mormonism. I began to regularly doubt my faith at the age of 13 and became a full blown Atheist January 1st 2013 at the age of 20.

After coming out to my family, things began to get really rough. My family was deeply hurt, and were unable to be open and loving with me, like they had been when I was devout. After deliberating for several months, they decided to accept me and love me despite my choice, but of course they denounced my decision as a phase, and an immoral one at that. This was about as good as I could have asked, considering how these things usually go, so I was grateful to get any acceptance at all.

They told me that if I wanted to make decisions contrary to their beliefs, I would need to do so on my own, so I took a second job and stopped borrowing money from them.

When it came to my new relationship with my father, things got weird. He could hardly look at me, and often exclaimed that it was so strange to hear Atheist talk out of the mouth of the son who was the most devout. A not so subtle, mutual decision of truce began, and we both stopped bringing it up.

Until last night, when we had a 4 hour talk about it. I had never shared my thoughts and feelings about religion so freely with my father before. We agreed on what I call the three pronged system of determining the validity of beliefs. 1. Evidence of the truth. 2. The Morality of the belief. and 3. The impact of the belief on the believers. We actually agreed for the first time ever on religion. We agreed that we both use this exact same system to make religious decisions. It felt great to have something in common, however simple.

As we continued to discuss our beliefs and our reasons for them, we started to get more emotional, and fiery about it. It wasn't long before we were making bold statements of fact and faith, with little concern for offending one another. It was such a thrill, to go toe to toe about something previously so taboo, and to do so without hurting my dad deeply.

There were a few times when I could tell by his tone of voice, that my point of view horrified him, or even made him feel pity for me, which was very strange. My beliefs about death being final made him almost scream with the horror of accepting his mortality as the end of things. I understand his fears of course, but saying it was such a freeing experience.

By the time it was over, we were closer together, even though we might have ribbed each other's feelings a little bit. We were respectful and thoughtful to a man. I never thought I would be so bold as to speak my mind to the man who taught me all the repression and fear a boy could ever ask for.

Of course, my fears about hurting my family, and offending them all the time were aroused, and even now I wonder if it could have done it differently, but I know I have nothing to worry about. I was honest. What else can I ask of myself? If he has been accepting so far, after all I have said, he is unlikely to start shunning me now.

The lesson I learned and want to share is as follows. Even when you think your beliefs divide you as a family, even when you think things will never be the same, there is hope of something new, something special. I know not all relationships are lucky enough to work out like mine have, but it's possible. When I came out, I thought he would never speak to me again, but look at us now, slugging it out in the ring of mutual respect and ideological rivalry. It gives me such a sense of hope for the years to come, and maybe one day when I have children.

I also learned that even though my arguments were intellectually sound, and filled to the brim with reason, I did not feel better for having the better argument. Even though I knew my evidence was valid, I knew somewhere inside that when my dad loses, I lose. When I win, he wins. We are blood, family forever. I love him, even after all the things that have happened between us over the years. I once held him in contempt for his compulsion of religion, but now I just want to get some ice cream and talk about girls.

Anyways, I wish everyone the very best in their families, especially in families where faith divides people from their loved ones. There is hope my friends! My heart is with you, and you can know I am having a similar experience.

What's your story? You got family issues? Tell me about your journey to Atheism, and the bumps along the way to your happiness.

Religion, rather than acting as a symbol of truth or justice, merely acts as a symbol of human gullibility and stupidity. Surely no race of beings with any real intelligence would concoct such drivel.
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05-04-2013, 03:51 AM
RE: Father Talk
The beginning.

More recently.

Even more recently still.

The most recent.

It's been pretty much like that, but with mom crying a lot in between.

Through profound pain comes profound knowledge.
Ridi, Pagliaccio, sul tuo amore infranto! Ridi del duol, che t'avvelena il cor!
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05-04-2013, 05:41 PM
RE: Father Talk
My journey started when I was probably in 7th grade, I'm a senior now. I didn't really come completely out as an atheist, I just kind of "believed" without going into church or anything. But once my older sister, who was 16 at the time asked me: Who created the creator? It really opened my mind, and after pondering it for a while, looking into different religions and etc, wondering why they differed so much, I came out as an atheist to my friends and family. It wasn't that hard with my family, due to my parents being very laid back, and didn't ever attend church and I had my sister by my side to help me out since I was just a young teenager. Although with my friends, they didn't take it as easily. Sure I lost some friends in the coming out, but that's just how the game is played. I'd rather have 4 quarters than 100 pennies. I still get dirty looks as of today because of my atheism, especially if someone brings up God or religion, ex: "Oh don't say that in front of Garrett, he's an atheist" or teasing me about the pledge of allegiance because it says God in it, I tell them it originally didn't, and they still don't believe me but whatever. I used to be a very aggressive atheist on Facebook, I'd always post stuff to get peoples attention because debating with theists to me is a very easy job. I got some satisfaction out of it, but since I've grown older, I've learned to not care as much. They can beleive what they want, I can believe what I want.

"My nation expects me to be physically harder and mentally stronger than my enemies. If knocked down, I will get back up, every time. I will draw on every remaining ounce of strength to protect my teammates and to accomplish our mission. I am never out of the fight." - Marcus Luttrell
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