Looking for Advice
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05-03-2013, 07:36 PM
Looking for Advice
Hello every, first time poster here. Came here looking for support and a sense of community. Anyways, here's my story, excuse me if it's a little long.

I grew up in a Christian home. My mom is the type of Christian who believes that everyone needs a relationship with god to be happy. As long as I can remember, I have been skeptical about religion. I can specifically remember when I was very very young, and would ask questions about where god came from and how we know that god is real. However, I accepted Christianity as an answer because that was all I knew. As I grew older, I grew further and further away from religion. Around the time I got to high school, I considered myself agnostic. I just didn't know how anyone could ever know for sure. My parents would often make me go to church, and to a Christian summer camp, and I didn't really think much of it, just went along with it. There were many times I tried so hard to believe, even told myself that I did, mostly because of peer pressure, and exposure. My best friend my freshman year in High School was a homosexual guy (I am a guy too, but I am straight), who was an atheist. I remember one day we went to Books-a-Million and placed a Bible in the fiction section, and I got a kick out of it, although at the time, I still did not consider myself an atheist. We talked on the subject a few time. We are both very very intelligent, and he always told me that as I got older, and learned more about evolution and the scientific theories on the origin of the world, I would stop believing, but I shrugged it off, and forgot about it until after I began identifying myself as an atheist. Fast forward 3 years. It's summer, I'm relaxing after the long experience of high school. I was staying with a friend, and had wanted to do LSD for a long time. All of a sudden one day, he found some out of the blue. To make a long story short, I had the most frightening, life-changing experience of my life. It shattered any belief I had left (little to none) in religious faith. However, the thing was, before I didn't care. The trip had escalated to the point where I actually thought I was dying, it was very frightening, and at this point I realized I was going to die one day. I was never going to heaven, I wouldn't be reincarnated, I wouldn't be able to think, I wouldn't be able to feel, I wouldn't be able to taste, or smell, or see, or hear. I would experience true death. Don't get me wrong, these were things I had come to the conclusion of before, I had only never really realized the magnitude of this. To be honest, I don't think I ever really realized what I believed until this point. This was truly the turning point of my religious views. This was the point from which I would consider myself an atheist.

Here we today, over a year later. Science has become my love, it has become my "religion". I immerse myself in it. I love learning about human evolution, and how the world works, and how the body works. I have always been particularly interest in science. My goal for my entire life has been to become a medical doctor. But since I separated myself entirely from religion, I see things with a new light. The universe is truly the most amazing, mind-blowing, phenomenon I could ever imagine, and I am so so very lucky to be alive. I would consider myself a very devout atheist. I am firmly confident that no god exists. This is what I truly believe. But I'm sure as most of you know, what we want to believe and what we do believe are two different things. Part of me is glad I don't believe anymore. I'm so glad I can think for myself, and in a way I feel kind of free. I look at religion now, and it's a ridiculous joke to me. Science provides all of these answers to me, and it's something that really makes sense. The more and more I learn, the more strongly I believe, and the more I have come to accept it.

However, the problem is emotional struggle. I am scared that I am going to die one day. I am scared that I will never see my family again when they die. Above all, I feel guilty. Mostly the guilt is related to my mom. I am only finally getting to the point where I can accept my beliefs. I have started coming out to my family about my beliefs, but the barrier is my mother. I am so so scared to tell her, because I know it will crush her. She believes so strongly, and always pesters me about finding god and having this relationship with him and all of that, and it kills me. It makes me want to cry. Not only that I don't believe, but that she DOES. It hurts me that she clings to this religion so hard, and it hurts me that I know I am going to have to tell her that I don't. And I do have to tell her. I've kept it bottled up too long, and I need to let it out. She is basically the last person left to tell.
Although it has been getting better very slowly, it's a very slow process, and it pains me every day.

My question is, how can I deal with these feelings, and what can I do to make telling my mother a little easier?
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06-03-2013, 05:20 PM
RE: Looking for Advice
Well hey just know you are not alone in what you are dealing with. I was raised from a Christian family and was suprised second semester of my Senior year that I'm an Atheist. I was an Atheist first semester of Sophomore year, then changed second semester. Up untill Junior year till second semester Senior year I was a frequent youth group attender, was commended by my youth pastor for really trying to read scripture since I would ask for commentaries, and was in a relationship with a Christian guy until I realized I'm an Atheist.
I remember walking out of youth group at least 3 or 4 times feelings really stupid, and the reason was I was in denial of my belief of reason over faith. Many of the issues that were prayer requests I thought were common issues everyone faces like one girl asked for a few prayer requests in French, a couple girls asked for prayers that they're second semester of Senior year goes well, and I sat there and thought"There are other non religous kids who deal with this and find solutions for it. What difference does having God in your life have to do with that?"
Also One prayer I heard requested in the service really got me upset because I thought it was a retelling of a story I heard in this bible study I used to go to in
Elementary. So the guy was a Christian radio broadcaster and he was talking about how Disney wanted to buy his radio. He tried to imply that God was more powerful and he's not going to let Disney buy the radio. Eventually Disney bought it. So when the church said we should pray that the school district doesn't buy the church I lost it.
I started to believe that numerous issues are out of our control and have nothing to do with a God guiding them. I have now accepted my belief of reason over faith and find more peace in my life.
I told my parents this year and it took a little time before they accepted it, but I can understand some people like your mother are pretty strict on living a Christian life. I recently had to cut off a former babysitter of mine who I was facebook friends with because when he saw a status update of mine where I posted an Atheist quote he posted Psalm 14:1 to attack me.
I'll just say what really puts pressure on me is when there are situations where if I'm an Atheist and all my family is Christian it might make my parents look like bad parents. I remember when I changing in the bathroom for my Senior portraits and at the time I told mom I was an Agnostic knowing that the photographer was a Christian my mom said "We're not Atheists we're all Christians blah, blah blah."
Or when we were going over to a lady who my father works with for dinner whose husband is a minister mom insisted that I do not tell her about my experience with Wicca when I was 9 years old. Part of the reason mom wanted me not to talk about it was because she was trying to get job in the church's nursery.
Everyone will react differently when you tell them you're not religous but my advice is to always tell the truth if asked about your beliefs. I would also suggest trying not to go every reason why you believe there is no God to avoid conflict.

" If you're brave enough to say goodbye, life will reward you with a new hello" Paulo Coelho
"If you pray for rain it eventually does fall. If you pray for floodwaters to abate, they eventually do. The same happens in the absence of prayers" Steve Allen
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07-04-2013, 06:33 PM
RE: Looking for Advice
Life is a precious thing. And the fact that it ends someday, makes it all that more precious to an atheist. I, myself, live every day with the intention of making myself, and everyone around me a better person, no god needed. I'm a very good student, very good athlete, very good friend, very good family member and etc. Telling your mother will be hard considering your up bringing. Myself luckily enough was born into a family that doesn't care either way what I believe in. Knowing that I will never see my family again after death, makes me love them all much more. I make every second with them a memory, and when it's all said and done, I'll have no regrets. Do not fear death in your life. When it comes your time to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled
with the fear of death. It only happens once, just like life. Life is so beautiful it's ridiculous. I'm only 17 years old, I have a lot of life ahead of me, and I'm going to make every second count. And I hope you, and everyone else does the same. If we live a good life, and do good for our people, if there is a God and he is just, he will let us into Heaven. If there is no God, then at least we lived our lives in a way a God would want us to. Ever need any more advice on anything, don't hesitate to PM me.

"My nation expects me to be physically harder and mentally stronger than my enemies. If knocked down, I will get back up, every time. I will draw on every remaining ounce of strength to protect my teammates and to accomplish our mission. I am never out of the fight." - Marcus Luttrell
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07-04-2013, 07:07 PM
RE: Looking for Advice
(05-03-2013 07:36 PM)Kiester Wrote:  And I do have to tell her. I've kept it bottled up too long, and I need to let it out. She is basically the last person left to tell.

My question is, how can I deal with these feelings, and what can I do to make telling my mother a little easier?

First of all welcome.

I have been in your shoes and I'm still dealing with the fallout. In my personal experience the chronological events went something like this:

1) Kept it to myself
2) Told her when I was cornered with the direct question "Do you believe in God?"
3) Initial response was wailing and screaming, anger and fear.
4) Time has passed, subject has not come up again.
5) Our relationship is mostly back to "normal", each side avoiding the subject.

No telling what your experience will be but most parents love their children enough that the will overlook most anything. In the end they cannot help but love you and you them. Differences are part of life and as adults both sides will have to accomodate the other if they wish to continue with their relationship.

Best wishes.

“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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