My Parents Tell Me to Keep My Atheism to Myself.
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06-09-2012, 01:58 PM
RE: My Parents Tell Me to Keep My Atheism to Myself.
(05-09-2012 05:55 PM)Miranda Paige Wrote:  I never truly believed in god, but I did not identify as an atheist until I was 15. Now, my parents, brothers, and close friends know I am an atheist. However, my parents tell me not to tell others. I know they trying to protect me, but at the same time I feel like they do not understand me or my choices. I just started college last week and I am wondering how, if I should, bring it up to the friends I am making here.

Also, my parents and brothers(one of which is an atheist while the other is an agnostic) are the only family members who know that I am an atheist. My parents do not want my grandparents to know at all. And I, personally, hate the secrecy.

Any suggestions? Thoughts? Comments?

Are your parents Christian? If they are, call em' on their hypocrisy.

If not, where do you live?

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06-09-2012, 02:12 PM
RE: My Parents Tell Me to Keep My Atheism to Myself.
Be careful if you tell your grandparents. They may threaten to take away your presents for Christmas if you do(Although, I thought Santa brought them Smile)





Jokes aside, you need to do what you feel is best. Don't hide who you are though, no one should live a lie. If a friend judges you because of a lack of belief, sexual orientation, skin color, gender or just because you have an abnormally large head. These people aren't truly your friends. Accept other people's differences because it would be awfully dull world if we were all the same.

Although I would enjoy a world where the majority of people would think, question, observe and ponder the mysteries of the world rather than fill in the blank with a certain deity.

Hopefully things go well for you! Hope for the best!

"Mankind must put an end to war, or war will put an end to mankind." -John F Kennedy

The way to see by Faith is to shut the eye of Reason.” -Benjamin Franklin

It has been a long time. How have you been?
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06-09-2012, 03:26 PM
RE: My Parents Tell Me to Keep My Atheism to Myself.
Wow, this is a lot to think about.

Perhaps my grandparents should never find out. They are very religious and the only time I have ever went to church was when they took me and I would go only to be respectful. My parents certainly are not the religious part and my dad does not like religion, but they never discuss their beleifs, so I don't know where they actually stand on the issue.

Certainly I know I can tell friends I meet here at my college, but up here in northern New York religion is the norm.

I suppose I will just take it as it comes and deal with it as the need arises.
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06-09-2012, 03:42 PM
RE: My Parents Tell Me to Keep My Atheism to Myself.
(06-09-2012 03:26 PM)Miranda Paige Wrote:  Wow, this is a lot to think about.

Perhaps my grandparents should never find out. They are very religious and the only time I have ever went to church was when they took me and I would go only to be respectful. My parents certainly are not the religious part and my dad does not like religion, but they never discuss their beleifs, so I don't know where they actually stand on the issue.

Certainly I know I can tell friends I meet here at my college, but up here in northern New York religion is the norm.

I suppose I will just take it as it comes and deal with it as the need arises.

No need to announce it and stir shit up. Only when your beliefs are challenged or you are abused because of it should you let it be known.

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06-09-2012, 03:56 PM
RE: My Parents Tell Me to Keep My Atheism to Myself.
I told my 81 year old mother I was a atheist and we had a heart to heart. She started to see things my way. I cant say she is all the way free from them bonds that have been brain washed into her, but she was open enough to learn. Some older people who love science will be receptive. You must be very careful not to make her feel stupid or foolish. You must respect her beliefs even if it is in contrast to what you know to be true. It is all about the person you are talking to. If your Grand parent is a fundamentalist you will be talking to a wall. It would be best to keep your thoughts to yourself in order to keep the peace of the family. Just because someone is old don't make them stupid and full of mythology.

History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a
free civil government. This marks the lowest grade of ignorance, of which their
political as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their
own purpose. ~ Thomas Jefferson
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07-09-2012, 02:34 AM
RE: My Parents Tell Me to Keep My Atheism to Myself.
I realize this is going to sound cold and unsymmpathizing, for which I apologize, but I can't agree with the "as long as it doesn't hurt anyone close to you, it's ok" mindset. Parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, spouses, friends, whoever; they should accept you for who and what you are. They don't have to agree. Not by any means. But they need to get the hell over it. Loud and proud is the only way to go on this one. Don't repress who and what you are simply because someone else might not agree, or because you're afraid of losing their company.

Additionally, if it so happens that your family (or some members of it) are free and open about their Theism, you should be equally open about your Atheism around them. Expose their double-standard if and when they reveal one by telling you to keep it to yourself.

However, these are my sentiments. You are the one in charge of your own situation and are ultimately the one who will make your choices. If my advice held any sway, though, I'd say that being open and honest about yourself - especially with family and friends - is not only the best course of action to take; it's also your right as a human being.

Through profound pain comes profound knowledge.
Ridi, Pagliaccio, sul tuo amore infranto! Ridi del duol, che t'avvelena il cor!
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07-09-2012, 07:18 AM
RE: My Parents Tell Me to Keep My Atheism to Myself.
I still think that speaking with an open homosexual is a good way to get a handle on what this decision might entail. If one does come out, there will be consequences, positvie, negative or both. One must be prepared for that.

At the end of the day though, for two reasons, I think it's important to come out fo the closet. As a student of equality movements I know that hiding doesn't lead to change. And secondly, because I try to live by one man's wise words:

Quote:Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.
-Dr. Seuss

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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07-09-2012, 08:45 AM
RE: My Parents Tell Me to Keep My Atheism to Myself.
My point was that you shouldn't force it into a conversation but just let it come out naturally. Walking up to your family members without provocation and saying "I am an atheist" doesn't do any good and shouldn't do any harm, but that may not be the case. If they ask, tell them. If they don't and they do not ask you to do religious oriented things, why bring it up?

“Science is simply common sense at its best, that is, rigidly accurate in observation, and merciless to fallacy in logic.”
—Thomas Henry Huxley
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07-09-2012, 07:16 PM (This post was last modified: 07-09-2012 07:19 PM by cufflink.)
RE: My Parents Tell Me to Keep My Atheism to Myself.
(07-09-2012 07:18 AM)Ghost Wrote:  I still think that speaking with an open homosexual is a good way to get a handle on what this decision might entail. If one does come out, there will be consequences, positvie, negative or both. One must be prepared for that.

At the end of the day though, for two reasons, I think it's important to come out fo the closet. As a student of equality movements I know that hiding doesn't lead to change. And secondly, because I try to live by one man's wise words:

Quote:Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.
-Dr. Seuss

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt

Step right up, folks! Open homosexual right here! Ask away! Big Grin

But seriously . . .

Matt makes a good point. There are striking parallels between what atheists and gay people go through. Even the terminology is the same--"closeted," "coming out," . . .

No two families are the same, and experiences in these situations can be vastly different. If it helps at all, Miranda, here's what I discovered:

I came out to my parents as gay (well, actually I was outed, but that's another story) back in the '70s. Some of the consequences I could have predicted; some surprised me.

1. They weren't happy. That I could have predicted. Their world fell apart--or more accurately, the fantasy world they had been living in for so long. They had had expectations for me and my brother (he's gay too) that now would never come to pass: no daughters-in-law, no marriages, no grandchildren, no proudly talking about their kids' families in their Orthodox Jewish community. Being gay was totally outside their realm of experience. They must have thought they had raised a couple of Martians.

Mom internalized; Dad's thoughts and emotions were right there on the surface. I remember once saying to him, "Dad, it's not as if I'm a rapist or an ax murderer!" His response was, "That, at least, people could understand."

2. There were many conversations. It was hardly a one-shot deal. My parents weren't the "we will never speak of this again" type. The agony and recriminations went on for a long time. "What did we do wrong?" "Can't you get help?" "I read about this treatment . . . " You get the idea.

3. I was told to keep it to myself. This sounds like what you experienced too, Miranda. But I realized that the motivation for their saying that was not to benefit me; it was to benefit themselves. It wasn't a question of protecting me from negative reactions. They didn't want the embarrassment and loss of face that would result if their peers found out their sons were gay.

4. They were a lot more resilient than I gave them credit for. I never intended to tell them, thinking it would destroy them--that they would just curl up and die if they found out. But you know what? They didn't. It was very hard for them, but they kept going. And we eventually wound up having a good relationship--not exactly like it was before, but this time based on honesty, which was a lot better.

5. They never stopped loving me. In that I count myself very lucky; I heard stories of other religious Jewish families where a son had come out: the parents said Kaddish (the prayer for the dead) and had no further contact with their child, forever.

The bottom line is that it wasn't easy, but I'm glad it happened. Because if you want a deep, rich relationship with the people you love rather than a superficial "Hi, how are you doing?" every so often, it's got to be based on honesty.

Religious disputes are like arguments in a madhouse over which inmate really is Napoleon.
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07-09-2012, 11:57 PM
RE: My Parents Tell Me to Keep My Atheism to Myself.
(06-09-2012 03:26 PM)Miranda Paige Wrote:  Wow, this is a lot to think about.

Perhaps my grandparents should never find out. They are very religious and the only time I have ever went to church was when they took me and I would go only to be respectful. My parents certainly are not the religious part and my dad does not like religion, but they never discuss their beleifs, so I don't know where they actually stand on the issue.

Certainly I know I can tell friends I meet here at my college, but up here in northern New York religion is the norm.

I suppose I will just take it as it comes and deal with it as the need arises.

If you think this is difficult you may all the more appreciate the pressures on gay people trying to come out of the closet!
Think about it.
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