Letter to my family (Feedback welcomed)
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02-03-2016, 02:00 PM
Letter to my family (Feedback welcomed)
Hello! This is my first post since I'm a new de-convert and new to TTA forums. I hope I have the right sub-thread to post this but in any case I am wondering if any of you could provide some feedback on a letter that I will be reading to part of my family in the upcoming weeks. I am not the best writer and am open to ideas/suggestions even though I know its subjective to my situation. I am simply looking to see if I missed anything obvious and to the point yet affirming to the relationship. I am here because I feel that this is a community that can relate to my experience through empathy and encouragement. This is a very big deal for me. Thanks!


I often think of how you’ve helped me become a successful, loving and caring
person. You are my heroes, role models, councilors and most importantly my
friends. I am happy that at 33 years of age I can go skiing with my dad, go climbing
with my brother and to my surprise show Zoey with mom. I don’t give you enough
credit and am so thankful for how much love and sacrifice you have put into my
life. Simply put, I love my family and I feel it to my bones.
As I have gotten older I have transformed and I would like to share with you some
of my changes. My whole life I have been a thinker about how things work, and
that probably stemmed from the many family discussions and debates. I have
applied this tool to things like politics, philosophy, relationships and the curiosity
of the unknown. In my pursuit to the solution or truth, some of my viewpoints
have remained the same and some have shifted on the basis of evidence and
reason. One of the views that have shifted is my belief in Christianity. I’ve thought
a lot about what it means to be a Christian and have faith. Through this, my
conclusion is that I no longer believe in Christianity. This was a decision that was
neither hasty nor easy and was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. My
attachment to Christianity was so genuine and deeply rooted in my life you might
imagine how scary that decision was for me. There are many reasons why I am no
longer a Christian, and I’m excited to talk with you about those if you want, but
know my intent here is to invite you to hear my story because you’ve been with
me from the beginning. This is about where I am now and wanting you to know
where I stand because you are my family whom I love dearly. I am not here to
argue my point of view or to convince you to think differently but to offer you a
window into the process by which I have reached the conclusion I have. Becoming
an Atheist is something I came to reluctantly but it is a conclusion I have reached
by searching for the truth. I am agnostic to the existence of god as I am agnostic
to the tooth fairy. I can’t prove it doesn’t exist but I don’t see any evidence that
convinces me it does exist. This is a statement on how I view the world, not how I
expect you to view it.
I know this may not be easy but I want to assure you that I am so proud to have
you in my life. I also don’t want you to feel responsible because this is a result I
have come to through time, study, research and critical thinking. I love you very
much and want you a part of my life and continue our open friendship, hence the
reason why I have written this letter. I want to cherish and value the
opportunities we have in the future together while putting aside the obligation to
convert me. Please understand I am so thankful for such wonderful and loving parents and consider myself lucky to have you as mom and dad.

Love,

Garrett
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02-03-2016, 03:43 PM (This post was last modified: 03-03-2016 06:49 AM by Full Circle.)
RE: Letter to my family (Feedback welcomed)
Welcome and great letter.

Not knowing your parents I really can't say if this is the best approach, only you can decide that. Often here we counsel people not to bring it up unless someone else puts you on the spot. I'm sure you feel the need to let them know how your thinking has changed but just because you feel you want to, should you? I don't know.

We'll talk later.

FC

“I am quite sure now that often, very often, in matters concerning religion and politics a man’s reasoning powers are not above the monkey’s.”~Mark Twain
“Ocean: A body of water occupying about two-thirds of a world made for man - who has no gills.”~ Ambrose Bierce
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02-03-2016, 05:36 PM
RE: Letter to my family (Feedback welcomed)
A very loving and kind letter. The only advice I would have is to be aware that because your parents are religious ( I assume) and their religion is so important to them, they may feel that you are in sin and in danger because of it. That fear may make them act in ways that are cruel...out of fear for you. So, if/when you share this letter, please have some emotional support from friends and understand that their reactions may be much worse than you imagine...or not...depending upon their fear for you..and what ther religion teaches them. If they do react badly, and you see their reaction as coming from fear and pain instead of anger, it may be easier for you. I have been with very loving and kind people who, when their belief in god was questioned, became quite cruel...more than I would have ever imagined they would be. It always shocks me...

I wish you the very best and hope that your family will be kind and loving...they raised a lovely man.
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02-03-2016, 07:47 PM
RE: Letter to my family (Feedback welcomed)
I have no experience to equate with yours. I will say the letter is one huge paragraph and should be broken down into parts. Making it easier to read.

Good luck. Smile

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I will call him a liar and a dog here and now.
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02-03-2016, 08:00 PM (This post was last modified: 02-03-2016 08:39 PM by cactus.)
RE: Letter to my family (Feedback welcomed)
Welcome to the forum.

About halfway through the letter, you say that you've concluded that you're no longer a Christian, but then the next sentence makes it sound like the conclusion was a choice. I think it's very important to stress that the real choice was in seeking out evidence-based information from multiple sources. You want to believe things that are true (just as pretty much everyone does, I'm sure), and your conclusion was the involuntary result of that search for accurate knowledge. Your conclusion just happened to be atheism. You did not choose atheism. You merely discovered that "theist" was not an accurate word you could use to describe any of your conclusions about reality.

You did go on to clarify this later in the letter, but I'm trying to put myself in the shoes of a Christian here, or more specifically, the shoes of my former self. I think I'd hear the word "decision" and just latch onto it. Treating a belief as a decision is one of the most crucial, but also the most fundamentally damaging, aspects of the Christian redemption narrative, IMO. The concept of a faith-based belief that's not only encouraged, but actually required, for salvation was a pretty huge red flag for me when I was first starting to think critically about my faith.

Coming out to your family, especially in such a direct way, really takes a lot of courage, a lot more courage than I have at the moment, that's for sure.
Whatever you choose to do, please keep us updated.
I wish you the best of luck. Smile

If we came from dust, then why is there still dust?
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05-03-2016, 05:47 PM
RE: Letter to my family (Feedback welcomed)
Thank you all for the feedback. Cactus, that is a great point and observation about choice. I will be making some adjustments. I will be telling my brother this coming friday on a guys annual get away trip. My brother and I are very close so it'll be a good start before I explain my current understanding to my parents. I will let you all know how it ends. Thanks again for taking the time to read my story.

G.
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05-03-2016, 06:31 PM
RE: Letter to my family (Feedback welcomed)
It's a fine letter. Read it slowly again to yourself and you might find some missing words or thoughts. I saw a few but I think if you read it again you'll see it.

Don't capitalize atheist. It's not a proper noun and may come off to them as a cult or religion (my parents thought I was indoctrinated when I told them and had answers for all of their weak arguments).

And I wouldn't mention the tooth fairy line. While you are comfortable with that analogy or comparison, it could come off as trivial or insulting to them.

Best of luck to you. I did it, it wasn't fun, but it was important.

Check out my now-defunct atheism blog. It's just a blog, no ads, no revenue, no gods.
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Atheism promotes critical thinking; theism promotes hypocritical thinking. -- Me
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16-03-2016, 05:53 PM
RE: Letter to my family (Feedback welcomed)
I wanted to give you guys a heads up on my recent talk with my brother. I had a guys weekend getaway that has been an annual thing for the past 10 years and had a great opportunity to talk to my brother who is very close to me about my de-conversion. I have to say that It went better than I had anticipated. It even provoked a response from him that said the he struggles with the concept of faith and the idea of raising a child to believe in Christianity without choosing it. It was a heartfelt conversation and felt a weight come off my shoulders. I want to thank you all for your encouragement and means more than you may know.
I will be having my first child this June and is a big part of why I am telling my family. I was raised Pentecostal and my folks will be pushing it hard on my family. As of the last number of years my father probably senses my separation from the church but has no idea I'm an athiest. He is constantly reinforcing how I need to raise our upcoming child on christian principles because "it is a life and death thing". He is a firm believer in hell and will believe I will go there as an atheist. I sense he will feel immensely responsible for my atheism. The conversation with my brother was the first step and my parents are the next. I don't know exactly when that conversation will be but it will be sometime in the next month or two. This one will be much heavier and more difficult. Anyways, I just wanted to give you some insight into my life and where I'm headed. Thanks again for your encouragement!

Garrett
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16-03-2016, 10:36 PM
RE: Letter to my family (Feedback welcomed)
(16-03-2016 05:53 PM)TreeBrother Wrote:  I wanted to give you guys a heads up on my recent talk with my brother. I had a guys weekend getaway that has been an annual thing for the past 10 years and had a great opportunity to talk to my brother who is very close to me about my de-conversion. I have to say that It went better than I had anticipated. It even provoked a response from him that said the he struggles with the concept of faith and the idea of raising a child to believe in Christianity without choosing it. It was a heartfelt conversation and felt a weight come off my shoulders. I want to thank you all for your encouragement and means more than you may know.
I will be having my first child this June and is a big part of why I am telling my family. I was raised Pentecostal and my folks will be pushing it hard on my family. As of the last number of years my father probably senses my separation from the church but has no idea I'm an athiest. He is constantly reinforcing how I need to raise our upcoming child on christian principles because "it is a life and death thing". He is a firm believer in hell and will believe I will go there as an atheist. I sense he will feel immensely responsible for my atheism. The conversation with my brother was the first step and my parents are the next. I don't know exactly when that conversation will be but it will be sometime in the next month or two. This one will be much heavier and more difficult. Anyways, I just wanted to give you some insight into my life and where I'm headed. Thanks again for your encouragement!

Garrett

Good that you found acceptance with your brother, at least. Stick around. The people here are great and can likely answer any question in any number of informative ways. Just watch out for the religitards, who will come up with a lot of BS. Some of it is pretty flowery, but if you have already dropped the blinders, you will probably see it for what it is. Also, if you are that new to it, watch the Atheist/Theist thread. I don't generally participate there, after already having run that gauntlet, but the atheists who post responses there are razor sharp and right on it with pointing out the logical fallacies that the religious post.
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08-07-2016, 12:06 PM (This post was last modified: 08-07-2016 12:10 PM by TreeBrother.)
RE: Letter to my family (Feedback welcomed)
I wanted to update you with my current status after informing my parents and in-laws of my atheism. I have received letters from my parents and in-laws in response to my letter I have shared with you and overall I think its positive. My parents don't resent me, or shutting me out in any way and have stated they will continue to love me. The response from my in-laws was about the same. I think that's a net positive compared to others who have it worse. To remind you all of why I did this it was because I am 34 years old, married and have a 3 week newborn boy. My family has been very intrusive with religious questioning that I felt that it was time. I also wanted to tell them now because eventually I will have to communicate some expectations with my son. Now, my wife is still a christian and the conclusion I have arrived at has not been easy for her. We are talking and slowly working out things. She is insistent that she loves me and doesnt want me to leave the marriage which was my fear that she would have those thoughts. Anyway, the letter was a little bible-thumping and emotionally manipulative and overall felt sad. I have all this pressure that time is short and that this "decision" of mine is consequentially eternal. It leaves me stressed out, sad, frustrated, not respected and even abused. This was no easy conclusion I came to but I don't think they comprehend that nor how I could possibly arrive where I am. I am reminded by a close cousin who is an athiest that my parents are loving and doing what they think is best. That helps and I get that but emotionally I feel surrounded, sometimes lonely and I cant reason with them to understand my journey to atheism it which is probably the hardest part. So, a little rant beacuse I'm still in the process of dealing with the situation and hasn't been easy. In the end I am sooo glad I can be free and be honest about my atheism and that my parents haven't put up a divide as severely as others have experienced. Thanks for your support !
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