Is it even worth wasting my breath?
Post Reply
 
Thread Rating:
  • 0 Votes - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
01-12-2014, 12:09 PM
Is it even worth wasting my breath?
So, I recently came out as an atheist to my parents. My mom basically said that she already knew, and hasn't said much other than that. She's been acting weird. She doesn't genuinely laugh at my jokes anymore. They are usually off-color, but they've always been. She tends to give the silent treatment when she's mad, so that might be what's going on. She's not a very good communicator.
Me and my dad talked recently and he told me about all the things he's supposedly seen. He told me that he's actually seen a "mist" or a "cloud" appear at church during worship, presumably it was supposed to be the holy spirit. He told me that if I needed proof, he could tell me some stories. I told him that I need to see evidence for myself and that I can't rely on his experience alone. He understood, but I think he was a little offended that I couldn't just take his word for it. He said "I'm not a liar" several times. I just told him that I would need to have "experiences" for myself.

Near the end of the conversation, he asked me if I believed in the big bang. I told him that since I don't believe in the bible I tend to side with science. He make a mocking smirk on his face and tried to point out how silly it seemed...And then tried to point out how if god spoke it would've caused a big bang. Lol ok fine, whatever. I didn't shoot down his ideas. Mostly just listened and answered questions as gently as I could. I don't want to make the man cry!

I'm not interested in trying to deconvert anyone or argue, but part of me feels like I need to clearly explain my position to them. They aren't asking me questions. They're just assuming that I was hurt by church and I hate Christians, so that's why I'm doing this. My intellect is being insulted and I feel the need to set things straight! Is it worth it? I want to write a letter clearly stating what I do and don't believe. I want to do the wisest thing, but I'm not quite sure what that is. Be silent or try to offer understanding? Any advice?

Side note: I'm amazed at how science comes up every single time me or my husband comes out to someone! I love science, but it really didn't have a lot to do with me becoming a nonbeliever.

"Most people are other people.
Their thoughts are someone else's opinions,
their lives a mimicry,
their passions a quotation."
-Oscar Wilde
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
01-12-2014, 12:29 PM
RE: Is it even worth wasting my breath?
I know how you feel. My parents are religious and it took them a bit to accept it. My mom still tiptoes around it and won't let me get far along that vein if it comes up.

The best advice I could give is to allow them time. Allow them to come to grips with your beliefs.

As for the science, I am an engineering student and my parents are liberal arts majors. They don't try that angle with me.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes natachan's post
01-12-2014, 12:31 PM
RE: Is it even worth wasting my breath?
I would suggest explaining your reasoning to them. I'm careful who I engage because some people feel the NEED to believe, and once you learn something, you can't unlearn it, and I don't want to cause anyone to go into depression or anything like that. It sounds as if at least your father is engaging you trying to get you to believe, and that is reason enough for you to respond with your reasons.

In my experience, I've found that believers are very confident in their beliefs, yet they have no logical reasons why they believe (Meaning if they were in Iraq, they'd be a Muslim still not asking any questions.) so when they question us I think it is fair game to educate them a little. Writing them a letter might be a great idea since it will allow you to communicate everything without getting interrupted. I have an email that I sent my sisters mother-in-law when she told me "she wants all of her friends and family with her in heaven" that I could send you over PM if you would like to see how I handled a similar situation.

Best of luck.

Remember, just because you want something to be true, doesn't make it true. Yes, even if you have faith.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 5 users Like microterf's post
01-12-2014, 12:33 PM
RE: Is it even worth wasting my breath?
(01-12-2014 12:09 PM)LadyWallFlower Wrote:  So, I recently came out as an atheist to my parents. My mom basically said that she already knew, and hasn't said much other than that. She's been acting weird. She doesn't genuinely laugh at my jokes anymore. They are usually off-color, but they've always been. She tends to give the silent treatment when she's mad, so that might be what's going on. She's not a very good communicator.
Me and my dad talked recently and he told me about all the things he's supposedly seen. He told me that he's actually seen a "mist" or a "cloud" appear at church during worship, presumably it was supposed to be the holy spirit. He told me that if I needed proof, he could tell me some stories. I told him that I need to see evidence for myself and that I can't rely on his experience alone. He understood, but I think he was a little offended that I couldn't just take his word for it. He said "I'm not a liar" several times. I just told him that I would need to have "experiences" for myself.

Near the end of the conversation, he asked me if I believed in the big bang. I told him that since I don't believe in the bible I tend to side with science. He make a mocking smirk on his face and tried to point out how silly it seemed...And then tried to point out how if god spoke it would've caused a big bang. Lol ok fine, whatever. I didn't shoot down his ideas. Mostly just listened and answered questions as gently as I could. I don't want to make the man cry!

I'm not interested in trying to deconvert anyone or argue, but part of me feels like I need to clearly explain my position to them. They aren't asking me questions. They're just assuming that I was hurt by church and I hate Christians, so that's why I'm doing this. My intellect is being insulted and I feel the need to set things straight! Is it worth it? I want to write a letter clearly stating what I do and don't believe. I want to do the wisest thing, but I'm not quite sure what that is. Be silent or try to offer understanding? Any advice?

Side note: I'm amazed at how science comes up every single time me or my husband comes out to someone! I love science, but it really didn't have a lot to do with me becoming a nonbeliever.

Sometimes it's not just a matter of disbelief in gods as being the position of an atheist. Sometimes it's a matter of what you do believe.

I believe in the sanctity of human life.
I believe in knowing the truth as opposed to living in doubt.
I believe in the Ethic of Reciprocity.
I believe in family.
I believe in honesty.
And I believe that someday the human race will be of one mind furthering the interests of mankind as a whole.

So you see, an atheist isn't just someone who disbelieves in gods. Oh no, we are all much more than that. We share many of the very same important beliefs as Christians do.

Perhaps you would find it more fruitful to point out what your common beliefs are instead of anybody focusing on what the differences are?

Just my 2 cents.

How can anyone become an atheist when we are all born with no beliefs in the first place? We are atheists because we were born this way.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 6 users Like Free's post
01-12-2014, 12:37 PM
RE: Is it even worth wasting my breath?
I think you handled this situation well, he had something to get off his chest, and he did, and you politely heard him out. I think when you love someone, you can give the benefit of doubt that they are sayings things out of love and concern for you, atleast the first time.

But that would be the end of it for me. Future conversations I would keep polite but if he is going to put some thing out there then he has to back it up, be honest about it, etc. So he says he saw a cloud, great, maybe there was something there, but that doesnt mean god did it, it could have been a problem with the hvac system, a smoking candle, etc.

I give an opportunity for them to say their piece without an arguement out of love once, but after that, any pushing to convince me otherwise will be met with a discussion/debate, etc.


"Life is a daring adventure or it is nothing"--Helen Keller
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 2 users Like Bows and Arrows's post
01-12-2014, 12:43 PM
RE: Is it even worth wasting my breath?
(01-12-2014 12:09 PM)LadyWallFlower Wrote:  Near the end of the conversation, he asked me if I believed in the big bang.

You can reply by telling him that you believe in the effectiveness of the scientific method.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 2 users Like Mathilda's post
01-12-2014, 12:54 PM
RE: Is it even worth wasting my breath?
(01-12-2014 12:31 PM)microterf Wrote:  I have an email that I sent my sisters mother-in-law when she told me "she wants all of her friends and family with her in heaven" that I could send you over PM if you would like to see how I handled a similar situation.

That would actually be good. Might give me some tools I need to prepare! lol

(01-12-2014 12:33 PM)Free Wrote:  [quote='LadyWallFlower' pid='694153' dateline='1417457397']

Perhaps you would find it more fruitful to point out what your common beliefs are instead of anybody focusing on what the differences are?

That is great way to look at it. Smile

"Most people are other people.
Their thoughts are someone else's opinions,
their lives a mimicry,
their passions a quotation."
-Oscar Wilde
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
01-12-2014, 01:21 PM
RE: Is it even worth wasting my breath?
Science really has nothing to do with my atheism either. It isn't a question of cosmology or evolution, nor is it a bad view of religion. I just don't believe the world is run and controlled by gods. If pushed on the issue I would tell them I'm not religious and I'm not interested, but it's fine that they are. I think with family and friends it's espessially important to express that they mean the world to you no matter their religion or lack of it.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes TreeSapNest's post
01-12-2014, 01:39 PM
RE: Is it even worth wasting my breath?
As far as I can tell, your parents seem reasonably willing to listen to you, especially your dad. So I think you have nothing to lose by clarifying things with them and potentially a lot to gain.

When I first came out to my parents, I was no longer living at home and I forewarned them that I was coming over to talk with them about something. We then sat down and discussed my atheism. I didn't fully understand the reasons why I had lost my faith at that time so I didn't do a very good job of explaining myself. So they made their own assumptions about what "really" had happened.

Years later, when I had a better handle on exactly what had happened, we had another conversation. That was the one that I think really helped. My mother even remarked "I can see why you're an atheist" which floored me at the time. She also apparently forgot the conversation later because I have since heard her say that she is still mad at me for being an atheist. Rolleyes Nonetheless, I think the conversations and, more importantly, the effort to help them understand, helped my parents to accept that this is how it is now and, even if they don't agree with me, I'm not going back.

As long as you have parents that are willing to discuss things without making it into nothing but a belittle-you session, I think it can help them to know that you care enough to try to explain what happened so they can at least understand. And it helps them to know that you have well-thought reasons and aren't just angry with "God" or even your parents about something.

I am not accountable to any God. I am accountable to myself - and not because I think I am God as some theists would try to assert - but because, no matter what actions I take, thoughts I think, or words I utter, I have to be able to live with myself.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 3 users Like Impulse's post
01-12-2014, 02:18 PM (This post was last modified: 01-12-2014 02:50 PM by Mr. Boston.)
RE: Is it even worth wasting my breath?
It's funny about kids and parents. As a parent you try to raise your kids up to be compassionate, self-confident, happy people. If they get there you have to be proud of them, even if they ultimately ignored lots of your advice or rejected a great deal of what you tried to instill in them - even if their path was very different from yours. From the vantage point of having been a child and now being a parent, I can easily forgive my parents their faults and weaknesses and things they tried to teach me that I eventually rejected. They tried hard, their hearts were in the right place; and even the values of theirs that I ultimately didn't keep for myself were partly responsible for shaping the person I am now. It's the effort that counts, they did it to the best of their abilities and they raised me with values that they earnestly believed to be true. Their attempts to give me religion or God weren't part of some devious conspiracy or an effort to break my will or anything so sinister as that. They passed on the things they found useful from their own upbringings - that's how parenting works. I'm atheist, and I realize that deep down I always was. My parents gave me God and religion, but they also gave me the courage and self-confidence to think for myself. They taught me to always question the official story and anything that didn't make sense to me. As a result I gave up religion, and I can't thank them enough for that. I think my parents are happier that I've rejected religion and am thus true to myself than they would be if I blindly accepted everything and tried to live out a lie in order to make them happy.

My son is not quite 4 years old so we still have a ways to go (I hope) before he realizes I'm full of shit, lol. But if he gets to a point as an adult where he's hard-working, caring, responsible, and happy in his life I'll try to be as free of ego as I can about his journey. I sincerely HOPE he ends up a better man than me, and shows me where he thinks I got things wrong. My father once told me he realized by the time I was about 3 that he and I were teaching each other, that he was learning as much from me as I was from him. I feel the same about my son - he teaches me new things everyday. If he eventually adopts some kind of a faith or spiritual outlook, I don't begrudge him that, as long as he comes to it as his own man and his spirit of inquiry and curiosity remains intact. As of now, at not quite 4, he seems inclined to be Jedi. As worldviews go, the concept of balance certainly isn't the worst idea out there.

I guess I'm saying, engage with your parents. Tell them everything you want to tell them about your values and beliefs. If hurt feelings are inevitable, let them come at least from a place of understanding rather than a place of assumption.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 6 users Like Mr. Boston's post
Post Reply
Forum Jump: