Frustrations with family and relief with family
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25-02-2012, 03:10 AM (This post was last modified: 25-02-2012 03:19 AM by Logisch.)
Frustrations with family and relief with family
For a long time I've held back on really breaking it to anyone that I'm an atheist. Of course to close friends and not really any family. My sister is somewhat of an extremist. In the past decade she's become strange. OCD issues, anxiety issues... we're about the same age.

Anyway... over the last probably 2-3 years she's got to the point where she feels horribly guilty if people don't agree with her view and "fears for their salvation" and then if she is unable to cope with it, she will go out of her way to put people on guilt trips, bug them constantly and has even resorted to constant phone calls and texts to some people till they are fed up to the point of just telling her to shut up and never speak to them again. Which is a huge reason I never told her that I'm an atheist.

Not long ago... she was talking about creation theory. Specifically, she believes in a young earth creation. I think even some theist people on here such as kingschosen would say young earth creation is ludicrous (I know he's mentioned he's an evolutionary creationist). So whenever my sis goes off on YEC, it drives me nuts. We finally got into a heated debate about it though... anyway... I talked to her about all the ridiculous amounts of evidence against it. She became extremely pissed off and said - "So where does that put you on creation?" I finally let it slip out - "I think it's a load of crap." and that followed with her asking me how I felt about the bible then, to which my reply was - "I'm an atheist."

I almost felt bad because at that moment she had a look on her face like she had been punched in the stomach and couldn't talk. It took her a moment to respond. Eventually it was followed up with "Worrying about my salvation" and constant posts on her "blog" about "A loved one she feels the need to fix but can't." Since then it's been an uphill battle to draw a clear line with her that I don't believe it, don't feel bad that I don't believe it and just wish she would respect the fact that I have alternative views to her.

Not long ago it was followed up with the:

- How could you do this to your family?
- Our parents will hate this, I don't know if they can accept you for this.

And many other followup arguments and guilt trips. It has been the biggest amount of frustration.

Finally... this last weekend I had a relieving moment. For those who have seen some of my posts on here you may have understood that I come from a background of Christianity. My parents for a VERY long time were extremely religious. My mom I would describe almost as an extremist. But in the past 5 years or so, they've seem ridiculously relaxed.

Well. Last weekend was my dad's birthday. He's an old fart now. So I took him and my m om to lunch, we talked cars and stuff. Somehow we wound up on the discussion of politics and religion. I don't even know how. At one point me and my mom were talking about religious bias in politics and separation of church and state. To my amazement, we saw eye to eye on it. I thought - "Well this is really weird... how can THAT be?"

So I asked her - "I don't understand... where does that put you on the topic of religion? Doesn't that contradict your beliefs a little?"

She looked at my dad and had this "Oh crap" look on her face and calmly said - "Son, I guess I may as well say it. We don't really follow any religious beliefs anymore. Me and your dad are agnostic."

WHAT?

Are you shitting me?

My only response was... "In that case. Mom, dad... I guess I may as well say it. I'm an atheist. I can't tell you how relieved I am to not only hear your response, but to finally tell you where I stand. Have you told *sister*?"

They said they haven't told her because they're afraid she's going to be condemning, extremist and freak out if they tell her and will never hear the end of it - which I told them I accidentally told her I'm an atheist and she did, so I confirmed to them she probably would freak out.

But I can't tell you how insanely relieving it was to be able to see eye to eye with my parents on the topic of faith, religion and lack of belief. I think my mom is still holding on to a lot of the anti-evolution an religious stuff to an extent, she actually sounds as if she's started to look into things and her and my dad have stopped worrying about all the pressure of their friends around religion. I was genuinely relieved.

Unfortunately, now I've got a batshit crazy sister who can't wrap it around her head that I've got different views than her. The guilt trips and ridiculous amount of passive aggression is driving me insane.

2 bridges crossed... many to go. Next bridge to cross and worry about? Catholic extremist mother-in-law who will likely try to push beliefs on our children and flip the fuck out when I tell her no. Not even joking when she reminds me of this sometimes. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bOpva_iit-8 When my wife moved from nevada to here with me, apparently I was a devious evil man trying to lure her away with ungodly temptation and was trying to RUIN HER LIFE! Probably a good thing she doesn't know I'm an atheist. Yeesh.
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25-02-2012, 03:44 AM (This post was last modified: 25-02-2012 03:49 AM by rook2004.)
RE: Frustrations with family and relief with family
(25-02-2012 03:10 AM)Logisch Wrote:  Catholic extremist mother-in-law who will likely try to push beliefs on our children and flip the fuck out when I tell her no. Not even joking when she reminds me of this sometimes. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bOpva_iit-8

I love God Warrior. DORK SAHDED!!!!
Oh man, God Warrior is fuckin' metal.
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25-02-2012, 04:57 AM
RE: Frustrations with family and relief with family
I'm so glad that your parents and you can see eye to eye. I am sorry that your sister is putting you in a tough spot. The only advice is to keep talking to her and let her know why you believe what you believe. I am going through rough spot of coming out as a atheist to my parents and it sucks. But I'm keeping my cool and explaining to them why I am. I just wish more people could understand that even if we have different beliefs we can still get along and love each other. Best of luck with your sister.
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25-02-2012, 07:28 AM
RE: Frustrations with family and relief with family
I would tarket the sister as being the outsider holding on to unfounded superstitious beliefs. It may be a rough time at the beginning, but you may do her a great favor.

My wife is under the delusion that I will come to my senses and return to faith. Just last night the mother-in-law was at my home and the subject of my atheism was on the table “again”.
“Well, what do you believe in?” “You have to believe in something”
My response is always the same. “Nothing and No I don’t”.
My wife made the comment about praying for me to secure a new teaching position and the mother-in-law says, “why, he’s an atheist”. My response, “You’re correct, don’t bother. There is no god to pray to. Nothing will happen because of you praying to Zeus, Apollo or Horus”.
Others in my family call themselves “humanist”,” secular”, “not really that religious”, etc. I highly encourage them to embrace the title of atheist. These other titles seems less threatening to the Christian for some reason. It may be just the sound of the word itself, ATHEIST. If I said that I was a-religious they may be ok with that because at least I may believe in a god of some sort. No, I’ll stick with atheist.

What I'm trying to say is, your sister should be the one on the defense, not you or the parents. Her beliefs are unfounded, not yours.

The old gods are dead, let's invent some new ones before something really bad happens.
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25-02-2012, 09:57 AM
RE: Frustrations with family and relief with family
That is a good story Logisch.
Keep on truckin'. You have the tools.
Sis may one day figure it out with some loving nudges.

It's all in your head, because there is no other place it could be.
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26-02-2012, 09:57 AM
RE: Frustrations with family and relief with family
(25-02-2012 09:57 AM)TalladegaTom Wrote:  That is a good story Logisch.
Keep on truckin'. You have the tools.
Sis may one day figure it out with some loving nudges.

Ditto. What an encouraging story...the part about your parents, I mean. I wonder if my mom would say something like that? No, I don't wonder. I know she would never admit to any doubts. Undecided

It was just a fucking apple man, we're sorry okay? Please stop the madness Laugh out load
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02-03-2012, 07:39 AM
RE: Frustrations with family and relief with family
Thanks for the support everyone. Woke up this morning to a book full of text messages from her (here's part of one):

Quote:Will you give me one more chance to share a book to help us understand our beliefs better? letters from a skeptic has a lot of dialogue i want to share with you but don't have the eloquence to present on the spot myself.


(I get this all the time from her. She'll decide she wants to debate, but her answers always end with "Please go read this book because I can't explain this." if I put her on the spot)

Quote:... (continued) I assure you this is very intelligent literature and answers the hard questions.

Thing is that I've read it. I get really tired of the same arguments over and over. Vicious circles. It just straight up gets old. Funny thing is that I did read some of the book and I simply couldn't get through the entire thing because a lot of it is....

- I feel like
- In my opinion
- People have been saying
- It's sort of like this

My answer to her is that it doesn't answer the hard questions, it's apologetics, it gets old and it isn't anything I haven't heard before. But I received no response from her. Perhaps I sound like a bit of an ass in responding that way, but lately it's been over and over and over with the same stuff and I feel like a broken record.
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02-03-2012, 08:17 AM
RE: Frustrations with family and relief with family
(02-03-2012 07:39 AM)Logisch Wrote:  I get really tired of the same arguments over and over. .... Perhaps I sound like a bit of an ass ... "

Yes. They have brought nothing new to the table for hundreds of years. It DOES get old.
It is usually at this point where I bring up the "What method are you using to confirm or base your understanding of the theology?". If all they are using is faith well then....
It takes it in a diffrent direction and makes them thnk about HOW they get to thier conclusions. I have found it helpful. Got a ton of flame for using it here oddly enough though. Undecided

"Perhaps I sound like a bit of an ass ... ". Hee hee. Nah. You are doing the right thing. Keep it up. Folks just don't like it when they are told or proved wrong and the guilt THEY dump on you for that is what may make you feel awkward.
Know that you are in the right and that you should feel good about it.
Rock on!

It's all in your head, because there is no other place it could be.
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