I wish I had never become an atheist
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03-11-2013, 12:23 AM
I wish I had never become an atheist
I'm in a really frustrated, drained state and I'm really pissed off that my family is taking my atheism the way they are. I wish I could move far away, but I'm still a teen and my education's not done. Last night my mum told me that my sis was sad, so only my mum, dad and I went out for dinner. After coming home, my dad (who I'm the closest to in family) and I went out for ice cream. I asked him whats up and he told me that my sis was crying because of my atheism. I wasn't there to witness it as I was at the gym.

I'm just at the end of my wits. I kind of see my sister as a hypocrite. She makes fun of me often and doesn't seem to give two shits about me, yet my parents profess that she 'cares a lot'. My mum didn't say anything during the whole dinner, acting like a fucking child , so my dad and I also kept silent.

I've never been close to my mum as she doesn't spend much time with us and acts according to emotions, like a child, and uses the defense that she works the hardest. My mum is really pushy and kind of expects me to go to church (though I'm never really forced). She told me that 'since I have a lot of questions, why don't you go to church bible study' and all that crap.

I was close to my sis when we were younger and we were close friends, but now she seems to act really rudely around me. I don't mean to sound like a victim, but I have never done much to offend her as of late. Yet she gets emotional around me and acts as if she cares. I kind of miss her.

I'm still really close to my dad and I spend a lot of time with him. However now comments slip out such as 'I'm really sad that you don't go to church' or something. My dad's the only guy in the family I don't have to restrain what I say, so this is kind of a big blow to me.

So, I kind of wish I had never had any doubts about christianity. I wish I could still be a christian (not like my mum and sis were much better when I was). I don't know when this childish mindset of not accepting those with different views will go away. I want us to be a normal family. Atheism is the only way for me, though I wish it didn't affect anyone. By right it shouldn't, but you know how it is.

I'm thinking of editing this on 'word' and printing it out to leave it for them to see while I go out, but I just really don't know what to do. Thanks for reading.

Music is my religion
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03-11-2013, 12:35 AM
RE: I wish I had never become an atheist
Your Dad sounds like an awesome guy. Have you tried telling him the part about, " My dad's the only guy in the family I don't have to restrain what I say, so this is kind of a big blow to me."? It sounds like it would be important to him as it is to you that you guys have that special connection, and that you care back. You are sad, back at your family. You know what I mean? Your feelings are valid, too. Your thoughts are just as important and noteworthy.

Kudos to you, I avoid any conversations like this with my mom like the plague. I let her say what's on her mind or her thoughts, but I save my thoughts for others who will actually listen (on the subject of non/belief, spirituality, etc- mom's a good listener and advisor for other subjects). I even attend the occasional service to appease her. She does other things in return, like inconveniently watch the kids when I need her to at the drop of a hat or whatever. Relationships are give and take. I've learned that some boundaries in topics are just necessary for the greater good of our relationship.

Can you have a real conversation with your sister? What would you say to her if you could? Even though it sounds like you two have drifted in these last few years, it sounds like you still care deeply for her.
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03-11-2013, 12:39 AM
RE: I wish I had never become an atheist
What Lady Jane said...

Hugs


God is a concept by which we measure our pain -- John Lennon

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03-11-2013, 12:50 AM
RE: I wish I had never become an atheist
(03-11-2013 12:23 AM)guitarist Wrote:  I'm in a really frustrated, drained state and I'm really pissed off that my family is taking my atheism the way they are. I wish I could move far away, but I'm still a teen and my education's not done. Last night my mum told me that my sis was sad, so only my mum, dad and I went out for dinner. After coming home, my dad (who I'm the closest to in family) and I went out for ice cream. I asked him whats up and he told me that my sis was crying because of my atheism. I wasn't there to witness it as I was at the gym.

I'm just at the end of my wits. I kind of see my sister as a hypocrite. She makes fun of me often and doesn't seem to give two shits about me, yet my parents profess that she 'cares a lot'. My mum didn't say anything during the whole dinner, acting like a fucking child , so my dad and I also kept silent.

I've never been close to my mum as she doesn't spend much time with us and acts according to emotions, like a child, and uses the defense that she works the hardest. My mum is really pushy and kind of expects me to go to church (though I'm never really forced). She told me that 'since I have a lot of questions, why don't you go to church bible study' and all that crap.

I was close to my sis when we were younger and we were close friends, but now she seems to act really rudely around me. I don't mean to sound like a victim, but I have never done much to offend her as of late. Yet she gets emotional around me and acts as if she cares. I kind of miss her.

I'm still really close to my dad and I spend a lot of time with him. However now comments slip out such as 'I'm really sad that you don't go to church' or something. My dad's the only guy in the family I don't have to restrain what I say, so this is kind of a big blow to me.

So, I kind of wish I had never had any doubts about christianity. I wish I could still be a christian (not like my mum and sis were much better when I was). I don't know when this childish mindset of not accepting those with different views will go away. I want us to be a normal family. Atheism is the only way for me, though I wish it didn't affect anyone. By right it shouldn't, but you know how it is.

I'm thinking of editing this on 'word' and printing it out to leave it for them to see while I go out, but I just really don't know what to do. Thanks for reading.

It's just a guess, but I wouldn't be surprised if your sister has doubts about her faith. She may be acting like she does because she has her own suspicions that her religion is not true.

Leaving a letter may be a way to break the ice, but I'd say just talk with your parents, first with your father. You may prefer the idea of leaving a letter, but then you might lose control of when and how the conversation happens.

If getting over the hurdle of having this conversation is the hard part, then perhaps you can write out everything you want to say so that when you have that conversation, you've already thought through how you will say the things you want to say. Writing out what you want to say may help give you the confidence of just starting the conversation.
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03-11-2013, 05:50 AM (This post was last modified: 04-11-2013 05:20 AM by Juv.)
RE: I wish I had never become an atheist
Well, your atheist views are not really a choice, it is actually how your brain works. It would be impossible for you to go back to practicing Christianity if you seriously don't believe in it.

Maybe you can "fake" your way through it, for the sake of family peace until you get the opportunity to leave.
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03-11-2013, 08:46 AM
RE: I wish I had never become an atheist
(03-11-2013 12:23 AM)guitarist Wrote:  I'm in a really frustrated, drained state and I'm really pissed off that my family is taking my atheism the way they are. I wish I could move far away, but I'm still a teen and my education's not done. Last night my mum told me that my sis was sad, so only my mum, dad and I went out for dinner. After coming home, my dad (who I'm the closest to in family) and I went out for ice cream. I asked him whats up and he told me that my sis was crying because of my atheism. I wasn't there to witness it as I was at the gym.

I'm just at the end of my wits. I kind of see my sister as a hypocrite. She makes fun of me often and doesn't seem to give two shits about me, yet my parents profess that she 'cares a lot'. My mum didn't say anything during the whole dinner, acting like a fucking child , so my dad and I also kept silent.

I've never been close to my mum as she doesn't spend much time with us and acts according to emotions, like a child, and uses the defense that she works the hardest. My mum is really pushy and kind of expects me to go to church (though I'm never really forced). She told me that 'since I have a lot of questions, why don't you go to church bible study' and all that crap.

I was close to my sis when we were younger and we were close friends, but now she seems to act really rudely around me. I don't mean to sound like a victim, but I have never done much to offend her as of late. Yet she gets emotional around me and acts as if she cares. I kind of miss her.

I'm still really close to my dad and I spend a lot of time with him. However now comments slip out such as 'I'm really sad that you don't go to church' or something. My dad's the only guy in the family I don't have to restrain what I say, so this is kind of a big blow to me.

So, I kind of wish I had never had any doubts about christianity. I wish I could still be a christian (not like my mum and sis were much better when I was). I don't know when this childish mindset of not accepting those with different views will go away. I want us to be a normal family. Atheism is the only way for me, though I wish it didn't affect anyone. By right it shouldn't, but you know how it is.

I'm thinking of editing this on 'word' and printing it out to leave it for them to see while I go out, but I just really don't know what to do. Thanks for reading.
Part of growing up is standing up to your parents, which is what you are doing.
If it was not over religion, it would be over something else. I guess you have
to hang in there until you are able to live on your own.

If your sister is crying about this, then she must be a drama queen. Your mother sounds a bit manipulative, and perhaps they are using the sister's crying
as a way of making you do what they want.
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03-11-2013, 10:59 AM
RE: I wish I had never become an atheist
Don't fight with them, don't argue, they are trying to guilt you into submission.
Passive aggression of your mother and your sister only works if you push.
It's a game of balance, to win, you need to claim the high ground, to reverse the guilt trip.
Tell them you love them every chance you get, buy presents and do nice things for them , whatever you can.

It's ugly that you have to play this games with your own family , might make you feel like a manipulative bastard , but you're not the one who started it.

. . . ................................ ......................................... . [Image: 2dsmnow.gif] Eat at Joe's
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05-11-2013, 03:56 PM
RE: I wish I had never become an atheist
My family experience is not so different from yours, and I learned some important lessons.

1. No religious person is comfortable with a non-believing family member, because faith is so difficult to maintain.

Faith is not a "rest on your laurels" state of affairs, you have to work at it. The faithfully religious accomplish this through an absolute barrage of activities. Church, bible study, youth groups, adult groups. prayer meetings, girl and boy scouts, personal prayer, scripture study time, family religious meetings, etc.... The message of the gospel is a CONSTANT stream into their brains.

Without this overwhelming barrage, faith dies relatively easily, because the world is moving on. Science has totaled fundamentalist religion like an old car getting T-boned. Schools are secular and teach science. Public colleges are secular. Popular culture is so far from fundamental Christian beliefs, you have to entirely cut yourself off from news and entertainment if you expect your beliefs to survive.

Realizing this, helped me understand why my family was so wary of me. I am now a threat to their faith, simply by existing as myself. No amount of love will ever make that not true.

2. Address your family as loved ones. Do not address their faith.

It is easy for me to get drawn in to an argument about religion with anyone, especially my family. I did this often at first, hoping to help them understand who I was through explaining my point of view. This was a profound mistake.

a. They were not interested in my point of view, only in protecting their own.
b. By forging our relationship based entirely on our differences, I was pushing them away, while simultaneously feeling justified in doing so.
c. As long as this continued, neither of us got what we wanted. I wanted them to accept me as I was, and they wanted me to stay away from their religion as a topic. Neither of us was getting what we wanted. Both of us demanded that the other change.

Were I to let this play out, I would surely lose them as friends and one day as family. Their devotion to their faith over me, as well as their perception of me as hostile towards them as individuals, would destroy our relationship.

The hardest part to admit, was that I was responsible for this situation. I was wrong. I was correct in my reasoning, but I was wrong in how I treated them.

My wife came home early the day I figured this out, and found me staring blankly at a wall, crying. I kept saying over and over, "I was wrong...I was so wrong..." I was ashamed to have contributed so much to the pain in my family, when I had the knowledge to make peace.

My solution now is 2. Address them as loved ones. Do NOT address their religion.

Whenever I talk to my family, I leave religion alone. We have a good, secular time. If they want to pray, or read scriptures, etc, I do not participate. I merely observe. If they invite me, I politely decline.

I absolutely refuse to participate in any discussion or argument about faith. If they couch faith based language in with a secular sentence, I respond only to the idea, not the god related words.

For example if my father were to say "Congratulations on your new job son, we prayed so hard for you and God has answered us with your success!"

I would respond to his pride in me, and his willingness to love me and think of me when I am not around. I would not respond to his mention of prayer as working, or of God giving me the job.

" Thank you for believing in me. I feel grateful to be in your thoughts. I am very happy with my new job."

My answer can convey the love and gratitude for their love that I genuinely feel, without even addressing the absurd beliefs also included in his statements.

Hope that helps.

Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of a spiritless situation. The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness.

-Karl Marx
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05-11-2013, 04:03 PM
RE: I wish I had never become an atheist
Sound to me like sis has learned to play you like a violin.
Be above it, tell you're sorry she feels bad, but need to, and will always live your own life for yourself, not for her. If she's not up to hearing that, just say "yes dear, whatever you say", and never discuss important stuff with her.

Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein
Those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music - Friedrich Nietzsche
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07-11-2013, 08:41 PM
RE: I wish I had never become an atheist
Classic emotional manipulation. They are all working you, IMHO. Hang in there buddy, don't take things too seriously, get out from the family, exercise in some way (skate, snow, bike, shoot hoops, something) and let them slow everything down a bit. As soon as you show them you aren't responding to the knee-jerk manipulation they will switch tactics and the pressure will be off.

Stay calm, stay cool, stay your ground for one month and you will see all the pressure release as they start to formulate the "long" game. They will come back again, but the initial phase will let off IMHO. Hang in there, you will be ok. We have done it too, and it sucks, but you will be fine man.

Don't sell yourself short Judge, you're an incredible slouch.

Martin Luther was the "father" of two movements - The Reformation and Nazism.
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