Hypocrite
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29-11-2013, 02:58 AM
Hypocrite
After nearly 2 years of a horrible inner struggle between belief and disbelief, I have finally embraced my atheism. And I now realise how stupid I was to pursue a life and career in organised religion. I am enjoying a mental freedom and open mindedness that I've never experienced before. I crave knowledge that I once shunned as anti-biblical and I want to help make this world a better place, as it is all we can do in this short, glorious flash of life of ours. I want to travel the world and find beauty or at least put it where there is none.

But there is a problem. You see, I am in highschool, still living with my parents in a small Christian community in the middle of the Bible-Belt. My entire family, which accounts for over half the church I go to, is super religious. They are all zealous Jehovah's Witnesses. And up until recently, I was too. For all my life up until now, I have made it seem that I want to grow up and be a minister, to take a leading role in the congregation. I was to turn my back on the world and proclaim its impending doom. I was to reject college. I was to have no friends outside the congregation, no "worldly" people allowed. I was to come home after school, no extracurricular activities. They might corrupt me and make me stray from the right path. I was to dedicate every free hour to preaching, that humiliating and annoying activity JWs love to do so much. I was to only be interested in biblical knowledge and publications because all other knowledge gets in the way and is ultimately bad for me. And you know what? I was so naive as to go along with this! And in the meantime I have built for myself a reputation for rigid piety, for super religiousness. But I am atheist now. And if my parents knew it would crush them. Crush them. I am their pride and joy, their investment into the future of this church. I know this and I realise this. So I play along. I still preach, I still attend all the meetings,and I still comment some, just to please my parents. But I am still an exemplary Jehovah's Witness to everyone's eyes and I hate myself for it. Even worse, I am coming of age to be appointed a ministerial servant, which is like the right hand man of an elder, the highest rank in the congregation. If I am appointed, there is no turning back without massive amounts of collateral damage. If I am offered the appointment and I turn it down, there will be questions and my facade will be torn away, again, with massive amounts of collateral damage. And I don't know what to do.

My parents have made comments that reveals how much it would hurt them if I ever left this religion and how much they love me for all that I do in the church. I have many times contemplated the idea of just going along with it. To grow up to be a minister, to continue preaching, to ascend the hierarchy in the JW organisation. This path would guarantee me prestige, familiarity, and my family's love. But it would cost me my inner peace, my hunger for knowledge, my own happiness. And I have lived far too long making other people happy, carrying out their own plan at my own expense. I've had enough. I will go to college, I will learn, I will become a part of this world, I will strive for my own betterment and for those around me. I will appreciate life and live it to its fullest potential. But at what cost? I doubt in my own strength to bear my family's disappointment and I fear that their displeasure will taint my own happiness. I fear being forced into hypocrisy for the rest of my life.

So what do I do? I certainly don't want to be a minister but I want my parents to love me, to accept me, to be proud of me. There is only one or the other and no middle ground. My happiness or theirs?
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29-11-2013, 03:38 AM
RE: Hypocrite
I'm sure there is a path that will allow you to be who you want, while minimizing collateral damage... Not sure what that path might be, but if you need something like this solved, you've come to the right place!

Welcome to the forum, and I hope to hear more from you.
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29-11-2013, 03:59 AM
RE: Hypocrite
Find a reason to explain the need to travel.
Even if a hypocritical bible study college.
Get out of dodge.

Theism is to believe what other people claim, Atheism is to ask "why should I".
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29-11-2013, 04:54 AM
RE: Hypocrite
Honestly, there's nothing wrong with studying religion or the Bible. There are more and more secular scholars in the field, but the field is also shifting. I honestly think higher education is your way out, the next question would be what path to take. You could go to seminary, and so long as it was a respected non-fundamentalist one, you could get a degree while maintaining a respectable and intellectually honest agnosticism (to the faculty, pretend you're a fundamentalist to your family). The problem there is that if trends continue in the United States, jobs for people with divinity degrees could dry up (with the rising lack of religiosity). The forum member to ask about this would be Bucky Ball, he's currently in seminary and I'm sure he'd have far better insight into this than I.

Of course another option might be to go to a more 'traditional' (read: secular) college while getting a degree in something like history, archaeology, or anthropology; all under the guise of wanting to better understand the context of the scripture. You could legitimately do this, but the less specialized you are, it may be easier to get a job after graduation. Such as being a history major and having that dovetail with a minor in education and end up being a history teacher. I think once you're out of the house and on a campus, you'll find the level of freedom refreshing indeed.

Anyways, welcome to the forums and don't be afraid to ask other questions regardless of how stupid you may think they are. The true measure of a person's intelligence is the extent to which they understand their own ignorance.

[Image: GrumpyCat_01.gif]
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29-11-2013, 08:01 AM
RE: Hypocrite
From what I understand, you will be shunned by everyone connected to the JW's . But wouldnt life be much better not living a lie ? I dont know how old you are, but if your of legal age, my advice is to put it all behind you asap. It will be very hard on you to begin with, but in the future you'll be much happier, IMHO. Theres so much more to life and the world than a servatude to a religious cause that makes some members rich and you a slave, not to mention believing in make believe deities.
Understand that this is just my take on the matter and that only you can decide whats right for you... just make a desicion that you wont later look back on that you'll regret. Life is short make the best of it.
Good luck on whatever you decide.
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30-11-2013, 04:39 PM
RE: Hypocrite
It seems religion is the last vestige of control your parents have over you.
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01-12-2013, 12:47 PM
RE: Hypocrite
I know what you're going through, man. I'm still a closet atheist myself, and I'm going to a pentecostal church. Right now I'm 18 and the oldest kid who hasn't gotten his baptism yet (in our cases it only takes place when we come of age) and people are starting to ask questions. I've got to hide my liberal way of thinking and my appreciation for science in fear of how the others would react.

I decided I was going to go away for college, like really far away, so that I can live my life in piece and not have to worry about religion at all, excepting for holidays. That's a bit tricky for you though. I'd tell your parents you're interested in a field of study. Tell them you don't want to leave the congregation, it's just something you really want to do. After that you can ease them into your ignorance towards religion (I wouldn't say the A word, it really freaks people out).

What can I say man, good luck, and welcome to the real world.
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01-12-2013, 12:59 PM
RE: Hypocrite
I echo the advice of the others, while you are under their roof and dependent on them, I wouldn't rock the boat.

Now is the time to plan your next couple of years. You will need money for an apartment, education, transportation, food, medical. Do you have a job? Get one-start saving your money. Don't buy things that will not help you in survival mode. Do you have a friend that would let you move in with them if shit hits the fan at your house? Hopefully, you won't need it-but its nice to have a emergency plan figured out.

Hope for the best, plan for the worst.


"Life is a daring adventure or it is nothing"--Helen Keller
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01-12-2013, 01:15 PM (This post was last modified: 01-12-2013 01:23 PM by Bows and Arrows.)
RE: Hypocrite
After re-reading your first post, I think you need to come to terms with hurting those you love. They will NOT be happy with your choices. They WILL be disappointed. There will be fallout over it. And that is the price of honesty with yourself, and being true to yourself. Hopefully after some time you can come to a peaceful spot with them, but that may not happen.

I just get the feeling from reading that you want this happen without any hurt feelings, disappointment or turmoil. You have to be ok with the potential fallout.

Also, you mention there is no turning back. You can ALWAYS step away, no matter how far down the JW path you go. At this point in time it might be safer to 'play along' until you can support yourself. Yes-its not honest or truthful but right now it is putting food in your tummy and a roof over your head. There are many pastors at the Clergy Project who do this until they find other means to support themselves and their families. They usually try to find ways to approach the topic with a humanist slant.

Just use this time to think and plan a way out. College far from home is a great choice….even ones near those family members that no one ever talks to. BTW- those family members would know the stress you are under and would be a good choice for seeking help.


"Life is a daring adventure or it is nothing"--Helen Keller
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01-12-2013, 01:33 PM
Smile RE: Hypocrite
First welcome to the forum.
I like to make a distinction between religion and spirituality.
The great bulk of religions like to dogmatize their beliefs.
They are quite egocentric, in that they hold that they are virtually sole bearers of the true Christian method.

My friend, who is Secretary of The Atheist Society, Vic Australia was once a Jehovah's Witness, and at least they don't spout Calvinism, and eternal torture for the non elect. At the last count there were about 1500 Christian denominations and cults.

You could keep sweet with your parents by suggesting that you are researching comparative religions (you don't really have to) and may have to be a little more open minded. A non locked in enquiring spirituality may be the way for you to go.
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