My Decision regarding Coming Out
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02-11-2013, 01:39 PM
My Decision regarding Coming Out
I just wanted to get this off my chest, and I'm a newbie, but this seemed like the right place to do so.

My parents do not know I'm an atheist. I don't fear that they'd shun me or anything by coming out, but I've been debating if I should come out as an atheist to them or not.

After going through a bit of a militant phase, I'm much more comfortable with my (lack of) beliefs to the point that I'm better at not getting angry or aggressive at the topic of Religion. I've decided that I'm not going to come out to my parents, but I'm not going to lie to them either.

I'm going to just be who I am. I will remain silent if they say a prayer before dinner at a family event, and I will not be going to church with them for Christmas this year (for the first time). If they question me, I'll simply tell them that I chose to remain silent, or that I'd rather spend time with my fiancee on her birthday (which happens to be Christmas) because that's the truth. If they question my beliefs, I'll calmly tell them I'm an atheist and deal with their reactions then. I've decided not to seek it out.

I've already started this process by "liking" certain atheist pages on Facebook and publicly discussing my atheism with my FB friends. My parents do not use Facebook, but some of their church-going friends have added me and could easily see these activities and tell them if they felt compelled to. I am not outright telling them, but I am not lying anymore either.
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02-11-2013, 01:44 PM
RE: My Decision regarding Coming Out
You know them best and are best suited to evaluate their reactions. If you are old enough to have a fiancee then you are certainly old enough to have your own opinions but don't be surprised if they get a little defensive.

No matter how accepting they seem to be the religious always see this to a certain degree as a rejection of them....along with religion.

Good luck.

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02-11-2013, 01:47 PM
RE: My Decision regarding Coming Out
I take the attitude that once you're living on your own with your own life, you can say rationally whatever you wish.

Under their roof, more discretion is appropriate. Just like when working -- it's best to not discuss religion.


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

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05-11-2013, 07:15 PM
RE: My Decision regarding Coming Out
I have come to the similar conclusion not to lie about it. I don't seek to debate anybody except my believing wife, and it usually has to do with indoctrination of our daughter.

My opinion is that lying is seldom a good idea, especially if you want to retain a good relationship with the family.

thou shalt eat it as barley cakes, and thou shalt bake it with dung that cometh out of man, in their sight. And the lord said, Even thus shall the children of Israel eat their defiled bread among the Gentiles (Ezekiel 4:12-13)
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06-11-2013, 01:19 AM
RE: My Decision regarding Coming Out
I have quite a few questions for you, I hope you don't mind.

How old are you, and will this affect the situation?

How does your fiance feel about your Atheism? How does she fit into the picture?

Do you live with your parents? How will this affect things?

What religion do your parents belong to, and how fundamental are they?

(02-11-2013 01:39 PM)TheInsignificantAtheist Wrote:  I don't fear that they'd shun me or anything by coming out, but I've been debating if I should come out as an atheist to them or not.


If you aren't afraid of their reaction at all, why are you struggling with the decision? Is there something you are afraid will happen?

(02-11-2013 01:39 PM)TheInsignificantAtheist Wrote:  I've decided that I'm not going to come out to my parents, but I'm not going to lie to them either.

Why is it important that they do not know this right now? Is there a better time for them to find out?

If you do not feel it right to be dishonest about this, how have you been surviving up to now?

(02-11-2013 01:39 PM)TheInsignificantAtheist Wrote:  I'm going to just be who I am. I will remain silent if they say a prayer before dinner at a family event, and I will not be going to church with them for Christmas this year (for the first time).

How important are these things to your family? Would they even notice your lack of attendance at church, or would it be an obvious statement of change?

(02-11-2013 01:39 PM)TheInsignificantAtheist Wrote:  If they question me, I'll simply tell them that I chose to remain silent, or that I'd rather spend time with my fiancee on her birthday (which happens to be Christmas) because that's the truth.

What sort of questions do you anticipate from them? Are they likely to question your motives based on how you prioritize your activities, or are they likely to go straight to "you don't believe anymore do you." What are you expecting?

(02-11-2013 01:39 PM)TheInsignificantAtheist Wrote:  If they question my beliefs, I'll calmly tell them I'm an atheist and deal with their reactions then. I've decided not to seek it out.

What does the term "Atheist" mean to your family? Do they understand its meaning accurately? Have atheists been demonized or preached against openly in their church? Have they ever discussed Atheism with you before?

(02-11-2013 01:39 PM)TheInsignificantAtheist Wrote:  My parents do not use Facebook, but some of their church-going friends have added me and could easily see these activities and tell them if they felt compelled to.

Would you be concerned if this is how you were discovered? Would you prefer to tell your parents yourself before this happens, even if that isn't right now?

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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11-11-2013, 03:02 PM
RE: My Decision regarding Coming Out
(06-11-2013 01:19 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  How old are you, and will this affect the situation?
22
(06-11-2013 01:19 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  How does your fiance feel about your Atheism? How does she fit into the picture?
She's agnostic. She doesn't like it when I used to seek out debates with people, and her opinion is partially the reason I've come to my decision.
(06-11-2013 01:19 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  Do you live with your parents? How will this affect things?
Nope.
(06-11-2013 01:19 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  What religion do your parents belong to, and how fundamental are they?
Catholic, and I'd say they're moderate, but it's hard to tell how extreme they are on each issue, because there are things they believe that I thought for sure they knew better of.

(06-11-2013 01:19 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  If you aren't afraid of their reaction at all, why are you struggling with the decision? Is there something you are afraid will happen?
I don't get along with them very well to begin with (we just don't show a lot of affection) for other reasons, but I am still a bit worried of how they'd react and how they might treat me differently.
(06-11-2013 01:19 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  Why is it important that they do not know this right now? Is there a better time for them to find out?
I'm getting married soon, and it's not going to be in a church, which makes me feel somewhat obligated to explain why.

(06-11-2013 01:19 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  If you do not feel it right to be dishonest about this, how have you been surviving up to now?
I've been a good liar in the past, and have become desensitized to it (though I'm now working on being an honest person)
(06-11-2013 01:19 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  How important are these things to your family? Would they even notice your lack of attendance at church, or would it be an obvious statement of change?
They've gotten used to me only going to church for the "important holidays," so I think it's going to take some getting used to for them to realize I won't be going to those either.
(06-11-2013 01:19 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  What sort of questions do you anticipate from them? Are they likely to question your motives based on how you prioritize your activities, or are they likely to go straight to "you don't believe anymore do you." What are you expecting?
I don't know what to expect, but I'm pretty sure my mom thinks I'll go straight to hell.
(06-11-2013 01:19 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  What does the term "Atheist" mean to your family? Do they understand its meaning accurately? Have atheists been demonized or preached against openly in their church? Have they ever discussed Atheism with you before?
I didn't even really know atheism was a thing until high school. I have no idea how they feel about it (aside from my inkling that my mother thinks atheists will go to hell)
(06-11-2013 01:19 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  Would you be concerned if this is how you were discovered? Would you prefer to tell your parents yourself before this happens, even if that isn't right now?
If they discovered through facebook and asked me about it, I'd simply tell them that they never cared enough to ask. Communication is a big issue in my family, in that my parents have no idea how to talk to me. I don't find out about things until I'm face-to-face with them for an unrelated event because they never care to call and talk to me, and they rarely ask about my life.
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17-11-2013, 01:49 PM
RE: My Decision regarding Coming Out
Its a shame there's this "don't ask, don't tell" culture... But I think your approach is a fairly decent one.

As you say, by remaining silent on the issue, you're not lying to anyone... If someone asks you outright, just be honest. Don't be apologetic or ashamed... You are who you are.

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