My story
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17-12-2011, 07:12 AM
My story
I started writing my story as an answer to a question about how to deal as an atheist with a religious family. However, it got too long and I decided to make a thread of my own.

I have studied for 10 years at my family's expense to become a priest in Eastern Orthodox Christianity. Understandably, when all that was finished and my change started happening, they were very unhappy to hear that, whatever happens, I *will not* become a priest because I can't any more.

They asked why. I explained that I will have to preach things that I can no longer believe and I will lie to myself and others by speaking against my honest opinions and hating myself for it every day of my life. My other choice was to become a priest and start preaching what I truly think about it all - which may happen at some point even if I made the first choice. How long can one be expected to keep hating himself before he decides to change? In the second case, however, they would kick me out so fast that everybody's head will be spinning and that will bring shame and disgrace to my family.

They tried to address my doubts and they failed because, after 10 years, I was the true Christian authority in that house. They simply had to admit that they didn't have any good answer to my questions and arguments.

From that point on, a few things started happening.

For one thing they avoided talking to me about it any more. We focused on being a family. I never shied away from discussions. In fact I welcomed them because they were clearing my mind, I had no atheistic contacts whatsoever and I wanted to understand what's going on with me too. For at least 3 years I was not aware that I am an atheist. I just thought that I have weird obsessive opinions that won't leave me the fuck alone.

I refused to go to church any more. I still went for a while, but I felt the need to smirk, grin or roll my eyes at everything and, while I was still desperately looking for some sort of god figure to get my life to make sense again, I felt that the entire church experience only hurts and annoys me.

For all those 10 years, I had educated and shaped myself into a kind, mild, understanding man with a deep desire to help others because that's what I thought a priest should be like. (None of the altar-boy raping shit. Before becoming a priest, I was expected to get married and become a good and responsible family man OR to take a vow of chastity for the rest of my life, but the latter was strongly discouraged for non-monks). That general attitude did not change along with my de-conversion. I did not start drinking, I never did drugs, I didn't start chasing random skirt and, in general, I tried really hard not to embarrass my family who did all they could to raise me properly.

My character and training made many people to come to me for confessions or advice on various matters not only related to religion even if I made it very clear that, as a non-priest, I cannot and will not provide forgiveness for anything. That went on after my de-conversion. The only change was my question: "Do you want my answer or the Christian answer to that?". Generally they asked for both and that helped everybody, me included.

Whenever my parents complained to people about my change and my strange ideas, they got the same answer from everybody: "There is no way that this man can go to hell. If there is a just and loving god, he MUST understand what's going on. He (me) is not doing this on a whim and he is honestly and seriously looking for answers and it's simply unfair for anybody, god included, to punish him for that".

I emigrated to Ireland due to personal reasons, but I keep a close and warm relationship with my family thanks to technology. However, we no longer talk religion. The word "atheist" was never mentioned, even if, in the mean time, I accepted the label. However they do know that I no longer consider myself as Christian, that I do not have any religion, that I am a skeptic and if I still have an opinion about god, it's nothing like any religion describes. And they seem to accept that. They still go to church every Sunday and they still pray for me, but not for god to change my opinions, just for me to live a good and fulfilling life. And I'm fine with that too.

Oh, no Hallucinations 4:11 says the 'gilded sheep should be stewed in rat blood' but Morons 5:16 contradicts it. (Chas)

I would never shake a baby unless the recipe requires it.
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17-12-2011, 08:17 AM
RE: My story
That was great reading. You are a fine man in my estimation... admittedly based on your own description of yourself. Welcome to hell Wink
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17-12-2011, 08:21 AM
RE: My story
Thanks for sharing with us. It's obvious you've been through much and you are already of such a service to others who are at different stages of struggling with many of the things you did.

It was just a fucking apple man, we're sorry okay? Please stop the madness Laugh out load
~Izel
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17-12-2011, 08:24 AM
RE: My story
And I am a reliable source too. Big Grin And if this is "hell" it's really enjoyable Smile

Oh, no Hallucinations 4:11 says the 'gilded sheep should be stewed in rat blood' but Morons 5:16 contradicts it. (Chas)

I would never shake a baby unless the recipe requires it.
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17-12-2011, 09:01 AM
RE: My story
(17-12-2011 08:24 AM)Malleus Wrote:  And I am a reliable source too. Big Grin And if this is "hell" it's really enjoyable Smile

The PR department did a really shitty job back in the day Tongue
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17-12-2011, 09:16 AM
RE: My story
My screenname was "given" to me by an Orthodox priest, so I feel a bit of a familial kinship with you. Ok, so maybe a bit over the top really, but it's still a cool connection! Big Grin

It was just a fucking apple man, we're sorry okay? Please stop the madness Laugh out load
~Izel
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17-12-2011, 12:09 PM
RE: My story
When I was a catholic I dated a jewish guy whose family had me attend a few of their sabbath suppers. Although I could not understand much, they translated some of the prayers for me and I was shocked to realize that they were the same ones that my church used - minus the reference to Jesus.

I have heard that many jewish families consider their religion as only one part of these rituals - part of it is history, tradition, stories, culture, etc. perhaps if you told them that you will still hold on to your culture and history they might be less inclined to convert you each week. or maybe they just don't know how to act around you now.

My parents are still catholic while my husband, kids and I are all recent atheists. We wrote them a letter and tried to spell out what would be allowed (can say you are praying for us since it is the same as making a wish - not much good but not very harmful) and what would no longer be acceptable (trying to convert the kids any time they see them). And so far it has been ok - my mom has asked if she could get the kids an angel ornament for their tree and I said that a star or snowflake would be preferable. She wanted to get them a craft to do and decided on some felt penguins skating. So i can see she is really trying to get along.

Hugs to you and hope you can reach an agreement with your family on how to behave around one another Smile
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17-12-2011, 12:28 PM (This post was last modified: 17-12-2011 12:49 PM by Malleus.)
RE: My story
@Niqi

I believe you answered to somebody else, but it's ok. The thread started as an answer to that guy too.
Thank you all for reading and for the kind words

Oh, no Hallucinations 4:11 says the 'gilded sheep should be stewed in rat blood' but Morons 5:16 contradicts it. (Chas)

I would never shake a baby unless the recipe requires it.
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21-12-2011, 09:37 PM
RE: My story
Apply the philosophical law of the fractal to identity, and a scale emerges. I-clan-tribe-region-state-country-bloc-terra-humanity-I am.

Snarky bastards, the lot of 'em. Wink

[Image: klingon_zps7e68578a.jpg]
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22-12-2011, 06:59 AM
RE: My story
(21-12-2011 09:37 PM)houseofcantor Wrote:  Apply the philosophical law of the fractal to identity, and a scale emerges. I-clan-tribe-region-state-country-bloc-terra-humanity-I am.

Snarky bastards, the lot of 'em. Wink

Yes... Waait... umm... huh?

Oh, no Hallucinations 4:11 says the 'gilded sheep should be stewed in rat blood' but Morons 5:16 contradicts it. (Chas)

I would never shake a baby unless the recipe requires it.
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