Never thought I'd be here...
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10-07-2014, 12:25 PM
Never thought I'd be here...
After a long, confusing journey...I have recently abandoned my faith.

That sounds like the easy part compared to what I am facing now.

My wife is a Christian. So are my kids. And my parents. And my wife's parents. And 99% of our friends. And my co-workers (I live in Birmingham, Alabama).

If I "come out" as a non-believer, I am worried that it will damage, or even destroy, all of those relationships. I have a wonderful marriage, but my wife's faith plays a major role in her life (her father is a pastor).

I could really use some advice about how to approach these people, especially from people who have been in a similar situation.

How did you break the news?
How did people react?
How did you deal with the hurt, or anger, that you faced?
Did those relationships ever get back to "normal"?

I appreciate any help or advice I can get from this community.

Sincerely,
JS
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10-07-2014, 12:39 PM
RE: Never thought I'd be here...
(10-07-2014 12:25 PM)ShelbySeeker77 Wrote:  After a long, confusing journey...I have recently abandoned my faith.

That sounds like the easy part compared to what I am facing now.

My wife is a Christian. So are my kids. And my parents. And my wife's parents. And 99% of our friends. And my co-workers (I live in Birmingham, Alabama).

If I "come out" as a non-believer, I am worried that it will damage, or even destroy, all of those relationships. I have a wonderful marriage, but my wife's faith plays a major role in her life (her father is a pastor).

I could really use some advice about how to approach these people, especially from people who have been in a similar situation.

How did you break the news?
How did people react?
How did you deal with the hurt, or anger, that you faced?
Did those relationships ever get back to "normal"?

I appreciate any help or advice I can get from this community.

Sincerely,
JS

Welcome to our community.

Only you know your family/friends/area that you live in. When I was more or less bullied into defending my atheism it came at a huge price in the terms of extended family who simply declared I was a bitch.

I always advise people to use great caution when deciding if they should come out as atheist. I've heard too many stories from people who have lost everything...or nearly so.

It's hard because living a lie can seem unbearable and many will say that you go through the motions to preserve family peace is disingenuous -- but honestly there is to me a world of difference between someone who goes knocking on doors pretending to be religious and the person who simply doesn't want to discuss religion with anyone and removes themselves politely when the topic comes up.

I think the best thing, honestly to just be a good person -- don't rush to come out or beg acceptance. But maybe do it slowly.

Only you can decide if the reward is worth the risk.


But as if to knock me down, reality came around
And without so much as a mere touch, cut me into little pieces

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10-07-2014, 12:40 PM
RE: Never thought I'd be here...
Good luck with all that.

I can't help you much. My wife thinks religion is bullshit about as much as I do. She just doesn't waste her time in internet forums!

Jumping up and screaming "God is bullshit" at a family barbeque will certainly get the message across.....but the reaction won't be pretty. People who are that wrapped up in fairy tales will treat your rejection of jesusism as a rejection of them, regardless of what you intend. That will not end well.

Likewise, continuing to play the jesus game seems like it will put too much stress on you emotionally. In effect you'd be living a lie. At some point you might snap and end up back at #1 anyway.

If you can stand it, move away slowly. Find excuses not to attend church ( back aches are always good for that.) Read some decent books on the subject to help you. One, The Bible Unearthed, is an archaeological discussion of why the OT is full of shit. But it has a very unthreatening cover and someone would have to pick it up and read a good bit of it to see where it is going.

Further, come here and talk to fellow atheists for a reality check.

Atheism is NOT a Religion. It's A Personal Relationship With Reality!
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10-07-2014, 12:54 PM
RE: Never thought I'd be here...
http://www.meetup.com/atheists-132/

A quick google throws this up - it may be worth getting in touch with the group first before thinking about coming out...One assumes this group is still active - the last review on the page is April this year but the details are for registered people only so I can't be of much more help on this particular group...

Good luck! Big Grin
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10-07-2014, 01:58 PM
RE: Never thought I'd be here...
Thanks for the feedback.

I joined that Meetup group. Looks like it's active again. There's a meeting next week.
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10-07-2014, 02:39 PM (This post was last modified: 10-07-2014 04:57 PM by goodwithoutgod.)
RE: Never thought I'd be here...
(10-07-2014 12:39 PM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  
(10-07-2014 12:25 PM)ShelbySeeker77 Wrote:  After a long, confusing journey...I have recently abandoned my faith.

That sounds like the easy part compared to what I am facing now.

My wife is a Christian. So are my kids. And my parents. And my wife's parents. And 99% of our friends. And my co-workers (I live in Birmingham, Alabama).

If I "come out" as a non-believer, I am worried that it will damage, or even destroy, all of those relationships. I have a wonderful marriage, but my wife's faith plays a major role in her life (her father is a pastor).

I could really use some advice about how to approach these people, especially from people who have been in a similar situation.

How did you break the news?
How did people react?
How did you deal with the hurt, or anger, that you faced?
Did those relationships ever get back to "normal"?

I appreciate any help or advice I can get from this community.

Sincerely,
JS

Welcome to our community.

Only you know your family/friends/area that you live in. When I was more or less bullied into defending my atheism it came at a huge price in the terms of extended family who simply declared I was a bitch.

I always advise people to use great caution when deciding if they should come out as atheist. I've heard too many stories from people who have lost everything...or nearly so.

It's hard because living a lie can seem unbearable and many will say that you go through the motions to preserve family peace is disingenuous -- but honestly there is to me a world of difference between someone who goes knocking on doors pretending to be religious and the person who simply doesn't want to discuss religion with anyone and removes themselves politely when the topic comes up.

I think the best thing, honestly to just be a good person -- don't rush to come out or beg acceptance. But maybe do it slowly.

Only you can decide if the reward is worth the risk.

I feel for you, I really do...I have long held the belief that a significant portion of "believers" have lost faith long ago, but continue to go through the motions because they don't want to "come out" and literally instantly change their relationship status with family, loved ones, friends and the community...very sad situation. My mother is a Pentecostal minister, and my father (they divorced and remarried long ago) is a mormon. They don't bring up religion, they know I don't "believe" but I don't think they are aware of how militant an atheist I am. I wish you the best...tread slowly, carefully...there are resources available for moving on after faith.

"Belief is so often the death of reason" - Qyburn, Game of Thrones

"The Christian community continues to exist because the conclusions of the critical study of the Bible are largely withheld from them." -Hans Conzelmann (1915-1989)
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10-07-2014, 03:07 PM
RE: Never thought I'd be here...
(10-07-2014 12:25 PM)ShelbySeeker77 Wrote:  After a long, confusing journey...I have recently abandoned my faith.

That sounds like the easy part compared to what I am facing now.

My wife is a Christian. So are my kids. And my parents. And my wife's parents. And 99% of our friends. And my co-workers (I live in Birmingham, Alabama).

If I "come out" as a non-believer, I am worried that it will damage, or even destroy, all of those relationships. I have a wonderful marriage, but my wife's faith plays a major role in her life (her father is a pastor).

I could really use some advice about how to approach these people, especially from people who have been in a similar situation.

How did you break the news?
How did people react?
How did you deal with the hurt, or anger, that you faced?
Did those relationships ever get back to "normal"?

I appreciate any help or advice I can get from this community.

Sincerely,
JS

You don't "break the news". It's not something they would understand, or need to know as "breaking news". At various right times, you can drop little hints like "I think I have a different understanding of some things now...not everything is *black and white*". AT the right (quiet) times, on a one-to-one basis, you can say you think you have some serious doubt. They will say "I will pray for you", and you can say, "Thanks for your concern". Not everyone needs to know everything about everything. Or you can say "You know I think my faith has matured, and there are many ways to understand many things .. I think my understanding has grown a lot as I get older".

Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein God has a plan for us. Please stop screwing it up with your prayers.
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10-07-2014, 03:21 PM
RE: Never thought I'd be here...
There are a few of us here that are married to believers. It can be done but it requires both of you being ok with your spouse being different than you. It's approached as a freedom of thought and each person must choose for themselves what path in life to follow. And that. It is ok if your spouse doesn't follow the same one as you.

As for your children, as long as you exist and present an optional path, they will question and doubt. And they too will have to make up their own minds.

How is tolerance of other groups that are different than your family handled? If your family is generally accepting of others that go thru life differently, you will have an easier time than you think, but if they are very narrow minded about other life style choices, this might be harder for you.

I agree with Moms about choosing the right time or keeping it to yourself. Some people slowly show seeds of doubt, question scripture etc, talk about things with more of a human rights perspective, and talk about science and origins, etc. from those topics you can sometimes gauge how going against the flow will go. It also gives slight hints that you don't agree with all that those around you do.

Many come here, just because it's the only place they have to talk freely because they are in the closet.

Welcome to TTA


"Life is a daring adventure or it is nothing"--Helen Keller
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11-07-2014, 10:51 AM
RE: Never thought I'd be here...
First of all, welcome to the elysium of this life.

The only one we are sure to get.

Now the others have already given you solid advice on this. I have just two more ideas to offer:

1. If you decide, and please think long and hard about the ethics of this, to try persuade your wife into becoming a nonbeliever, here is a good source:
"A Manual for Creating Atheists" by Peter Boghossian

2. To get an idea of how those around you think about atheists, you may suggest to the pastor of the church all you attend (under the pretext of trying to understand them better [or trying to find a better way at saving them, if you think the pastor is militant]), to invite an atheist into church for an interview. There is actually an organisation out there that has a pool of atheists, that do this. You can find it here:
http://interviewatheists.wordpress.com/about/

Whatever you do, if wish you good luck.

Jim

"Newton's third law: The only way humans have ever figured out of getting somewhere is to leave something behind." - TARS, Interstellar
"Newtons drittes Gesetz: Der einzige Weg wie Menschen irgendwo hin kommen, ist der dass sie etwas zurücklassen." - TARS, Interstellar
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11-07-2014, 11:02 AM
RE: Never thought I'd be here...
Greta Christina's book, "Coming Out Atheist" may have some fitting answers for you.
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