Grieving for Lack of Family
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09-05-2017, 08:23 PM
Grieving for Lack of Family
Let me preface this by saying: I love being a critical thinker. I love all things science. I love logical, fact-based reasoning. All reasons I love being free of the confines of religion. AKA, I like living in reality, not a fairy tale. I'm quite content with my "beliefs". In fact, I'm very content with most aspects of my life. The only area that I lack in is family life.

Some of you can probably relate to this. In fact, this is the reason I joined this forum so that I could vent about this very issue. My family is a very religious southern baptist family. I grew up being taught the world is 6000 years old. Yeah, they believe in creationism. Bleck. Anyways, I transitioned into atheism during my early adult years when I began attending college, and really started to think outside of the box I had been placed in since birth (I would say I was agnostic beforehand, but only because I was so brainwashed). This is something I have obviously never told my family. I feel as though I'm hiding this massive chunk of myself and I can never totally be myself. Normally, I let it slide off my back, but on rare occasions I let it get to me. Mostly the relationship I have with my mother is what concerns me. My siblings are an afterthought, since they have their own lives to live.

I will never have a close relationship with my mother because of religion. And I really hate that. She's a wonderful person despite being very naive. I love her for what she is and I accept that religion helps her get through life happily to an extent. But I can never have an open conversation with her because everything relates to "God" in some sense or another, and I know she worries about my "soul". We've had conversations that could lead her to believe that I was no longer religious, but I would never tell her straight out that I wasn't. Honestly, I don't want to break her heart. She would literally think I would burn in hell for eternity and I could never let my mother go through that. But it sucks ass for me.

For example. She and I went on a cross country road trip last summer. We saw some incredible stuff. Like we went to the petrified forest in Arizona. It was so incredible, and of course they tell you how the petrified wood is made which obviously points to the world being more than 6000 years old. So of course she comments on how "they don't REALLY know that's how it was made" and how "God is amazing" for making something like this. And yadda yadda yadda. It was painful. So I kept my mouth shut and gritted my teeth.

I guess I don't have a real point other than to vent and say IT SUCKS. Religion has created a wall that I can never get through. I will never have a close relationship with anyone in my family. It just sucks. Luckily I have other good people I can talk to in my life. But sometimes I take a moment and mourn the loss of my family. (I know it could also be worse. Some people have shitty families. Just had to vent about my situation.)

Thanks for reading. Not really looking for advice per se. Just needed a good vent to folks that might get it.
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09-05-2017, 08:27 PM
RE: Grieving for Lack of Family
It appears that you accept the fact that your mother is the way she is and spending time with her will mean you have to listen to the god is great talks.

You say you have good people in your life...there's your family!

Biology isn't the only way to form a family.

See here they are the bruises some were self-inflicted and some showed up along the way. - JF

We're all mad here. The Cheshire Cat
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09-05-2017, 08:32 PM
RE: Grieving for Lack of Family
You are most definitely correct. Unfortunately, I am human though, and her disapproval hurts from time to time. BUT, I guess that's just life.
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09-05-2017, 08:38 PM
RE: Grieving for Lack of Family
Sad That has to be hard. It's never easy to have to hide part of yourself or to hide your true feelings from the people you love most.
I am glad you have other people in your life who know the truth, at least you can turn to them when you need to.

"If you don't have a seat at the table, you're probably on the menu."

[Image: parodia-michal-aniol-flying-spaghetti-monster.jpg]
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09-05-2017, 08:40 PM
RE: Grieving for Lack of Family
That is how it was with my aunt. I loved her (she has since passed), but she was a devout catholic. We never really talked about religion, but she mentioned god off and on as it related to her life. She did know that I did not go to church, but assumed that nature was my "church", that I communicated with god there.

I let her believe all that, she was elderly, her priest was the one who would check on her if she missed church and would bring her things. The church helped make her life better.

Now that she's gone, I am doubly glad I was able to show her love despite these things. She was a good person, and in the end, that is what matters. Her faith gave her peace and happiness, and who was I to begrudge her that.

I think one should leave older folks alone, the important thing is to enlighten young people. Old people don't have much time left, and it can take many years for some people to slowly realize the truth about religion. No point pulling out the rug from under their feet.

So, yes, I was a bit uncomfortable at times, but it was a small thing compared to the love we had for each other. Having someone alive who really loves you is priceless.

[Image: dobie.png]Science is the process we've designed to be responsible for generating our best guess as to what the fuck is going on. Girly Man
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09-05-2017, 08:46 PM
RE: Grieving for Lack of Family
I come from an almost identical background. To give you some idea, we had a TV set and VCR, but no cable or other broadcast television to watch because my folks said (as an evangelist had told them) that broadcast media were, quote, "Satan's way of sneaking The World™ into a Christian home". But I grew up reading, which included both science and the Bible, which made me effectively an atheist at age 17, even though I wouldn't openly admit it until I was 22 and about to graduate with my double degree in biology and chemistry. Ironically, I might have remained a Christian a bit longer if they'd let me watch TV. Laugh out load

You cannot be what your parents expect you to be... it's your life. You also can't expect them to be what you want them to be. The best you can do is to love them for who they are, and decide whether the relationship(s) get(s) too toxic to continue, or if they can be repaired by treaty.

The good news is that many, many of us have been through the same thing. It does get better. Keep up your studies and soon you will see that the real world is infinitely more vast and grand than the mind trap into which your family has been locked.

I often liken religion, especially fundamentalist religion, to a Dawkins-style meme, a mental virus that installs itself on the hardware, damages one's natural skepticism filters, and then alters the programming so that it defends itself against anything that could cause a person to realize it should be deleted-- like facts.

Seriously, bud... it gets better.

"Theology made no provision for evolution. The biblical authors had missed the most important revelation of all! Could it be that they were not really privy to the thoughts of God?" - E. O. Wilson
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09-05-2017, 09:09 PM
RE: Grieving for Lack of Family
I think it helps to surround yourself with like-minded friends (the whole friends as family thing) to try and offset some of the dynamics of family relationships surrounding religion. My family is religious. My mom is very religious. I can't talk to her without God this, God that.

I grew up Irish Catholic and it was not uncommon for us to pray to dead saints (including burying a statue of one of the saints in the garden of our house to "help" sell it). I do my best to separate out the religion bits when we are around each other. Basically, I let her do her thing and then I change the subject.

To me, one of the things I like about being an atheist is living my life the way I want to, and to me, that carries over to other people. In this case, my mom. If she wants to believe in God and that is not impeding her in any way, I just let her be. My dad passed away a few years ago and it gives her peace to think she will see him again and that he is watching over all of us, keeping us safe. I'm fine letting her have that.

I'm sorry your mom's religious beliefs are putting a strain on your rship. Maybe spend time doing activities together so she'll have less time to talk about God Tongue.
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10-05-2017, 03:48 AM
RE: Grieving for Lack of Family
My parents are religious, with my step father being the "more believing" of the two, constantly saying I should pray for things etc, when he know full well I'm an Atheist. My grandmother is also religious, as is most of her family, so I've been around it a fair bit over the years.

For what it's worth, I just take it as it is. It's not something I believe in, but that doesn't mean others can't find some sort of solace in it. Just let them say what ever makes them happy, and go with it. I love my parents/family for who they are, which includes their belief system. I've even attended church services with them, just to be with them for a short time, and it makes them happy also. I've had to stop myself from shouting "BOLLOCKS" at certain things for sure, but it's part of the deal.

Everybody is different, and some can't take the constant religion mentions, but family tends not to change unfortunately.

"I don't do magic, Morty, I do science. One takes brains, the other takes dark eye liner" - Rick
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10-05-2017, 05:47 AM
RE: Grieving for Lack of Family
I'm sorry. It's hard to feel that you have to be so secretive around your family. I grew up in a religious family but my parents aren't nice people, so I don't mourn the relationships getting farther apart. Plus I've made my own family at this point and that works as a substitute.

I have a suggestion, but it would be based on a "yes" answer to the following question: does your mother have any close friends who are nonbelievers? If she does, if she's been able to get past this issue with someone else, then you might pick your time and tell her. Yes, she'll be devastated, and yes, it will change your relationship for a while, but once she's processed it you could pick up where you left off, but with both of you being honest. Not arguing or trying to convert each other, just enjoying each other.

If the answer is "no," then it's probably wise to keep your secret...but many relationships involve some secrets on both sides and can still be considered close. (Just a thought: your mom may even now have a secret or two or a side of herself that she keeps closed off from you.)
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11-05-2017, 09:15 PM
RE: Grieving for Lack of Family
Going through the same thing here, I feel for you, I really do. Sad

"Governments don't want well informed, well educated people capable of critical thinking That is against their interests.
They want obedient workers people who are just smart enough to run the machines and do the paperwork And just dumb enough to passively accept it."

- George Carlin
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