How do I handle being an atheist, and pretending I haven't lost faith, around family?
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11-11-2015, 04:20 PM
How do I handle being an atheist, and pretending I haven't lost faith, around family?
So a few months back I realized that I no longer believed in god, and that I was using it as a security blanket so I decided to rip it off. Fast forward I'm now here, and I do consider myself to be an atheist. My grandparents however, are strong Christians. They don't doubt their faith one bit, and they can be pretty old fashioned sometimes. I'm very close to them, and they have done so many great things for me. But I refuse to tell them that I'm an atheist. I'm pretty sure that would break their heart, I just can't do that to them. But I can't help but feel awkward when they say they're praying for me, or when they ask if I still believe in god. If I'm still leading a Christian lifestyle. Sometimes I get tongue tied and I don't know how to respond. I hate lying to them, but I know that sometimes the truth is a lot worse. Has anyone else gone through this? Any advice?HuhHuh
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11-11-2015, 04:28 PM
RE: How do I handle being an atheist, and pretending I haven't lost faith, around family?
(11-11-2015 04:20 PM)xastrogasmx Wrote:  So a few months back I realized that I no longer believed in god, and that I was using it as a security blanket so I decided to rip it off. Fast forward I'm now here, and I do consider myself to be an atheist. My grandparents however, are strong Christians. They don't doubt their faith one bit, and they can be pretty old fashioned sometimes. I'm very close to them, and they have done so many great things for me. But I refuse to tell them that I'm an atheist. I'm pretty sure that would break their heart, I just can't do that to them. But I can't help but feel awkward when they say they're praying for me, or when they ask if I still believe in god. If I'm still leading a Christian lifestyle. Sometimes I get tongue tied and I don't know how to respond. I hate lying to them, but I know that sometimes the truth is a lot worse. Has anyone else gone through this? Any advice?HuhHuh

You must figure out what is more important to you, maintaining a positive relationship with your family, or "taking a stand". My parents are both ministers, the one subject we don't talk about is religion. Now, they can't help themselves, so when 3 out of 4 things out of their mouth are in relation to church/faith/god I just plaster a small smile on my face, and change the subject...they finally got the hint. They realize I am "not religious" but I am sure they have no idea how hard core of an atheist I am. For me, "taking a stand" was not the right thing to do in relation to my family. What would I have to gain? I look at it as a situation of unnecessary hurt upon loved ones. Even though EVERYONE I work with knows I am an atheist, I don't bring that up with family. Now, I also don't live with or even near my family which makes that easier. perhaps for you it is constantly in your face and is becoming an overwhelming irritant. than you need to decide what is right for you ultimately. I wish you the best in this unfortunate and complex intra-familial stressor.

"Belief is so often the death of reason" - Qyburn, Game of Thrones

"The Christian community continues to exist because the conclusions of the critical study of the Bible are largely withheld from them." -Hans Conzelmann (1915-1989)
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11-11-2015, 04:36 PM
RE: How do I handle being an atheist, and pretending I haven't lost faith, around family?
You must figure out what is more important to you, maintaining a positive relationship with your family, or "taking a stand". My parents are both ministers, the one subject we don't talk about is religion. Now, they can't help themselves, so when 3 out of 4 things out of their mouth are in relation to church/faith/god I just plaster a small smile on my face, and change the subject...they finally got the hint. They realize I am "not religious" but I am sure they have no idea how hard core of an atheist I am. For me, "taking a stand" was not the right thing to do in relation to my family. What would I have to gain? I look at it as a situation of unnecessary hurt upon loved ones. Even though EVERYONE I work with knows I am an atheist, I don't bring that up with family. Now, I also don't live with or even near my family which makes that easier. perhaps for you it is constantly in your face and is becoming an overwhelming irritant. than you need to decide what is right for you ultimately. I wish you the best in this unfortunate and complex intra-familial stressor.
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They do live near me, but I don't see them too often but I do talk to them on the phone a lot, and religion tends to come up and I just get really nervous. I don't want to bring on any unnecessary hurt upon my family. I don't believe "taking a stand" would do any good.
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11-11-2015, 04:46 PM
RE: How do I handle being an atheist, and pretending I haven't lost faith, around family?
I lied to my grandmother about my atheism for the same reasons you've listed.
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11-11-2015, 04:52 PM
RE: How do I handle being an atheist, and pretending I haven't lost faith, around family?
(11-11-2015 04:36 PM)xastrogasmx Wrote:  You must figure out what is more important to you, maintaining a positive relationship with your family, or "taking a stand". My parents are both ministers, the one subject we don't talk about is religion. Now, they can't help themselves, so when 3 out of 4 things out of their mouth are in relation to church/faith/god I just plaster a small smile on my face, and change the subject...they finally got the hint. They realize I am "not religious" but I am sure they have no idea how hard core of an atheist I am. For me, "taking a stand" was not the right thing to do in relation to my family. What would I have to gain? I look at it as a situation of unnecessary hurt upon loved ones. Even though EVERYONE I work with knows I am an atheist, I don't bring that up with family. Now, I also don't live with or even near my family which makes that easier. perhaps for you it is constantly in your face and is becoming an overwhelming irritant. than you need to decide what is right for you ultimately. I wish you the best in this unfortunate and complex intra-familial stressor.

They do live near me, but I don't see them too often but I do talk to them on the phone a lot, and religion tends to come up and I just get really nervous. I don't want to bring on any unnecessary hurt upon my family. I don't believe "taking a stand" would do any good.
[/quote]

I agree, just quietly, politely change the subject when it comes up. That has worked for me.

"Belief is so often the death of reason" - Qyburn, Game of Thrones

"The Christian community continues to exist because the conclusions of the critical study of the Bible are largely withheld from them." -Hans Conzelmann (1915-1989)
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11-11-2015, 08:05 PM
RE: How do I handle being an atheist, and pretending I haven't lost faith, around family?
When people pray or that kind of thing, I bow my head and think about something pleasant...like puppies or kittens.

Seriously it works.

If they ask me to church, I just politely beg off -- I have a list of excuses.

When my extended family brought religion up, I just excused myself. I'd rather help clean a kitchen than listen to that.


But as if to knock me down, reality came around
And without so much as a mere touch, cut me into little pieces

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11-11-2015, 08:19 PM
RE: How do I handle being an atheist, and pretending I haven't lost faith, around family?
I am in a very same situation. My family doesn't know that I have completely parted my ways with god. They do see that I do not use words as Inshallah or Amin as I did before, and few times god subject has come and I just don't talk about it. they think I'm going through a phase. My mom even suggested that we go to a mullah or Hoca to read Yasin for me Laugh out load (Yasin is considered the heart of quran) I don't come out as full atheist because I know for a fact my family will be worried about me. So, spare them the pain and keep it to your self if you can.

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12-11-2015, 02:54 PM
RE: How do I handle being an atheist, and pretending I haven't lost faith, around family?
And if you ever need a place to vent, remember:

We will always be here for you.

"Newton's third law: The only way humans have ever figured out of getting somewhere is to leave something behind." - TARS, Interstellar
"Newtons drittes Gesetz: Der einzige Weg wie Menschen irgendwo hin kommen, ist der dass sie etwas zurücklassen." - TARS, Interstellar
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12-11-2015, 03:28 PM
RE: How do I handle being an atheist, and pretending I haven't lost faith, around family?
Living near extended family is highly overrated.

Shakespeare's Comedy of Errors.... on Donald J. Trump:

He is deformed, crooked, old, and sere,
Ill-fac’d, worse bodied, shapeless every where;
Vicious, ungentle, foolish, blunt, unkind,
Stigmatical in making, worse in mind.
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12-11-2015, 04:55 PM
RE: How do I handle being an atheist, and pretending I haven't lost faith, around family?
The only person I worry about finding out I am an atheist is my grandma. I know she is religious, and I don't want to argue with her as she has always been a strong authoritative figure in my life. My other family should know I'm an atheist, but it's not like I have a reason to talk about it, so maybe they don't. Except my little bro who is also atheist.

I can't give good advice as wasn't raised religious, but I will say... First and foremost if you aren't independent think strongly before you do it. Secondly consider these three things:
-How much will it hurt them if they know?
-How differently will they treat you if they know?
-If they do treat you differently or negatively...how worth it is it to have them in your life if they are the type of people who would treat you negatively because you aren't in their club?

That last point is important to me..because personally I can handle it if somebody chooses to basically be a bad friend/sibling/cousin...I can just say "bye felicia." Cuz I don't need that crap in my life. Blood isn't a free pass to be a bad person towards me. And if I have to lie just to keep you from being a bad person towards me then I don't know if you are a person worth keeping around.

I prefer fantasy, but I have to live in reality.
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