Sharing my atheism with my younger sister?
Post Reply
 
Thread Rating:
  • 0 Votes - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
14-05-2015, 09:26 AM
Sharing my atheism with my younger sister?
Hello...this is my first time posting anything here although I've had many things I've wanted to put up. XD I've never had the guts to do it! So here it goes, sorry that it's kinda long...

I have a predicament.
I am 18 and still live with my deeply religious, fundamental Christian family.
Homeschool, homechurch, the whole nine.
I am currently in the closet with my atheism and I am trying to wait for a good time to come out. I am planning on moving out of my parents home in early 2017, and with that, I will also come out as an anti-theist.

My atheism has been leaking from the seems and I can't stop it. I hate living a lie. But I am so scared of coming out while I am still under my parents roof.
With that, my parents are worried about me and see my doubt. As does everyone at our little homechurch. I hardly even talk and it just shows through.

My question is about my 11 year old sister. Me and her are really close and I know it would be so easy to get her to think about god and realize that he just isn't there. I could just ask 'so why do you believe in god?' And she would see that her reasoning (that she doesn't know any different) is flawed. She is smart. And I know that she would be dazzled with things like Evolution. I don't want her to have to grow up like I did, half loving god and half hating him because of what he has done and expects me to do if I follow him as my fundie family would have me.
It has caused me so much pain to leave the faith. I am extremely depressed and frequently entertain thoughts of suicide and I'm on the verge of self harm. I try to convince myself that neither is the solution to my problems, but it is so incredibly tempting.

Should I wait (and save myself) to tell my sister about my beliefs and let her form more attachments to god as she hits puberty?
Or should I risk it all and help her out of the fundie mind?
What is keeping me is the fear of her not being able to keep it on the down low. She is only 11. As well as that she would have no other resources outside of me and my bestfriend. My family only fellowships with other believers, and I see that the overly sweet, 'Christian' mentality annoys the crap out of my little sister already. She would be driven mad if she was conscious of her differences to her friends.
Do I spare her that pain? The pain I myself am dealing with at this moment In being stuck in a fundamentalist group with no other (very little) outlets? It is torturous! Either way she will feel pain. And I don't want that, I want to save her from the pain. But it seems impossible.

Keep her in a braindead state until it will wound her to open it up, or free her mind now and let her suffer the pain of being a misunderstood outcast until she too can move out?

Or am I missing the light side of this? I have a tendency to do that....


Sorry if this was a bit rambly and vague. If I need to explain better I can.
Thank you in advance for reading this. Any help on the matter is greatly appreciated. <3
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes ImpertinentSkeleton's post
14-05-2015, 01:28 PM
RE: Sharing my atheism with my younger sister?
First off, if you are having thoughts of harming yourself try coming here and venting. If that doesn't help, get professional help. We all need outlets and while person to person contacts are provably best, you will find like-minded people here who are in similar situations and communicating with them may ease some of your stress.

It seems like you have an exit/coming out plan with your parents which is great, but it seems not quite on an optimal timeline since you seem ready to come out, but the move out date is two years away. Any chance in getting away sooner? Are you off to college?

The issue with your sister is complex to say the least. Talking to your little sister could backfire on you. You could potentially be outed by her and have all your family against you in a worst case scenario. If in talking to your sister, you do help her deconvert, your parents are likely to take this as turning her against them.

I am wondering that since your sister is pretty young, maybe the best thing you could do is be a great role model of an atheist older brother who lives a happy life, who loves his family, who is a more moral person than the fundies your parents associate with. I think that will go a long way to helping your sister.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 4 users Like Iñigo's post
14-05-2015, 01:29 PM
RE: Sharing my atheism with my younger sister?
My heart goes out to you. First and foremost you need to know, that you have an abundance of self worth. Harming oneself is never the answer. Communities like this one are not just great sources of information, but a safe haven where you can feel appreciated and supported.

Unfortunately, I can't offer you a full proof solution to the dilemma regarding your sister. My advice would be to help her understand science in as natural a way as you can, without raising any household alarms (family issues).

From what you've shared, I'm assuming you may not be in a position of financial independence (yet). If that's the case, its best to hold off on any declarations of non belief.

I don't think this can be stated enough, so I'd like to reiterate, please do not harm yourself. It may sound corny or cliche, but it does get better.
Visit this user's website Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 2 users Like Cosmic Discourse's post
14-05-2015, 02:18 PM
RE: Sharing my atheism with my younger sister?
(14-05-2015 09:26 AM)ImpertinentSkeleton Wrote:  Hello...this is my first time posting anything here although I've had many things I've wanted to put up. XD I've never had the guts to do it! So here it goes, sorry that it's kinda long...

I have a predicament.
I am 18 and still live with my deeply religious, fundamental Christian family.
Homeschool, homechurch, the whole nine.
I am currently in the closet with my atheism and I am trying to wait for a good time to come out. I am planning on moving out of my parents home in early 2017, and with that, I will also come out as an anti-theist.

My atheism has been leaking from the seems and I can't stop it. I hate living a lie. But I am so scared of coming out while I am still under my parents roof.
With that, my parents are worried about me and see my doubt. As does everyone at our little homechurch. I hardly even talk and it just shows through.

My question is about my 11 year old sister. Me and her are really close and I know it would be so easy to get her to think about god and realize that he just isn't there. I could just ask 'so why do you believe in god?' And she would see that her reasoning (that she doesn't know any different) is flawed. She is smart. And I know that she would be dazzled with things like Evolution. I don't want her to have to grow up like I did, half loving god and half hating him because of what he has done and expects me to do if I follow him as my fundie family would have me.
It has caused me so much pain to leave the faith. I am extremely depressed and frequently entertain thoughts of suicide and I'm on the verge of self harm. I try to convince myself that neither is the solution to my problems, but it is so incredibly tempting.

Should I wait (and save myself) to tell my sister about my beliefs and let her form more attachments to god as she hits puberty?
Or should I risk it all and help her out of the fundie mind?
What is keeping me is the fear of her not being able to keep it on the down low. She is only 11. As well as that she would have no other resources outside of me and my bestfriend. My family only fellowships with other believers, and I see that the overly sweet, 'Christian' mentality annoys the crap out of my little sister already. She would be driven mad if she was conscious of her differences to her friends.
Do I spare her that pain? The pain I myself am dealing with at this moment In being stuck in a fundamentalist group with no other (very little) outlets? It is torturous! Either way she will feel pain. And I don't want that, I want to save her from the pain. But it seems impossible.

Keep her in a braindead state until it will wound her to open it up, or free her mind now and let her suffer the pain of being a misunderstood outcast until she too can move out?

Or am I missing the light side of this? I have a tendency to do that....


Sorry if this was a bit rambly and vague. If I need to explain better I can.
Thank you in advance for reading this. Any help on the matter is greatly appreciated. <3

I agree with what Inigo and Cosmic wrote. I think it would be better to wait until you get out from under your parents' roof and are financially stable enough to support yourself before you decide to say anything to them. Unfortunately, imo, that would include not saying anything to your sister at this time. You will have plenty of opportunities in the future when you are out on your own and can support yourself to talk to your sister about science, atheism, your views on life. Until then, there are a bunch of nutty atheists on TTA to talk to Smile so you are definitely not alone in your (non)beliefs.

And most importantly, don't hurt yourself. Nothing is worth doing that. And like Cosmic, said, things do get better. And if you can't cope on your own--it is okay to go and talk to a professional about it. Hang in there and welcome to the forum! Smile

"Let the waters settle and you will see the moon and stars mirrored in your own being." -Rumi
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes jennybee's post
14-05-2015, 09:21 PM
RE: Sharing my atheism with my younger sister?
(14-05-2015 01:28 PM)Iñigo Wrote:  First off, if you are having thoughts of harming yourself try coming here and venting. If that doesn't help, get professional help. We all need outlets and while person to person contacts are provably best, you will find like-minded people here who are in similar situations and communicating with them may ease some of your stress.

It seems like you have an exit/coming out plan with your parents which is great, but it seems not quite on an optimal timeline since you seem ready to come out, but the move out date is two years away. Any chance in getting away sooner? Are you off to college?

The issue with your sister is complex to say the least. Talking to your little sister could backfire on you. You could potentially be outed by her and have all your family against you in a worst case scenario. If in talking to your sister, you do help her deconvert, your parents are likely to take this as turning her against them.

I am wondering that since your sister is pretty young, maybe the best thing you could do is be a great role model of an atheist older brother who lives a happy life, who loves his family, who is a more moral person than the fundies your parents associate with. I think that will go a long way to helping your sister.

Your avatar is very Catholic, FYI.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
14-05-2015, 10:01 PM
RE: Sharing my atheism with my younger sister?
I agree with Inigo. Be an example for her. You could give her a couple ideas to wonder about, plant a few seeds, by the time she thinks thru them you will be moving out.

What is the worst case scenario if your parents found out? you know your family best and each one reacts differently. So after the shock of the news and a few arguements and tears, what would happen next? would you be kicked out of your home? would you be sent to intensive religious camp?

I think you should focus on your escape plan, start putting it in action. Can you get a job now? evenings? summer? weekends? I think a job would also help get you out of the fundie circle and around some regular people. Any chance you can switch to public school or take a class or two at the local community college?

the job and classes help to slowly adjust from being in the bubble your parents put you in to the regular world. You need funds and you need to adjust and you need more friends that arent in the bubble. all of these things move your plan forward and hopefully you won't feel stagnant and trapped and isolated.

come here to talk, don't self harm. many people here have been in a similar situation. its not impossible.

hang in there.


"Life is a daring adventure or it is nothing"--Helen Keller
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
15-05-2015, 09:11 AM
RE: Sharing my atheism with my younger sister?
(14-05-2015 09:21 PM)Dunkleweizen Wrote:  
(14-05-2015 01:28 PM)Iñigo Wrote:  First off, if you are having thoughts of harming yourself try coming here and venting. If that doesn't help, get professional help. We all need outlets and while person to person contacts are provably best, you will find like-minded people here who are in similar situations and communicating with them may ease some of your stress.

It seems like you have an exit/coming out plan with your parents which is great, but it seems not quite on an optimal timeline since you seem ready to come out, but the move out date is two years away. Any chance in getting away sooner? Are you off to college?

The issue with your sister is complex to say the least. Talking to your little sister could backfire on you. You could potentially be outed by her and have all your family against you in a worst case scenario. If in talking to your sister, you do help her deconvert, your parents are likely to take this as turning her against them.

I am wondering that since your sister is pretty young, maybe the best thing you could do is be a great role model of an atheist older brother who lives a happy life, who loves his family, who is a more moral person than the fundies your parents associate with. I think that will go a long way to helping your sister.

Your avatar is very Catholic, FYI.

My avatar is the Basque flag. I chose it because I have Basque heritage and to make the point that while Basques have traditionally indeed been very Catholic, I am not.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes Iñigo's post
15-05-2015, 11:21 AM
RE: Sharing my atheism with my younger sister?
Wow, this is complicated. My thoughts on the matter sort of are in line with the others.

1) DO NOT hurt yourself. Been there, done that, got the T-shirt. It solves absolutely nothing. It gets better although it may be extremely difficult to see it at this point. Be patient as 2 more years are nothing when you consider you are probably going to live for about 70 more after that. Don't sell yourself short.
2) I would make sure the exit strategy is rock solid and reliable. You didn't give any info on your age so if you are going to be 18 in 2017, you need to consider all options.
3) I would not tell your sister of your beliefs directly but instead discuss with her the things that made you not believe anymore. There are two reasons for this. One, do you want her to reject the fundie beliefs because of you or because she came to her own conclusion? Two, if you come out as an apostate and she does later, it is coming back to you no matter what. At least she can honestly say that you never told her. I also feel that it will mean more to her if she walks that path and reaches whatever destination herself and you were just a person with a non-fundie opinion. Good luck.

"If we are honest—and scientists have to be—we must admit that religion is a jumble of false assertions, with no basis in reality.
The very idea of God is a product of the human imagination."
- Paul Dirac
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 3 users Like The Organic Chemist's post
15-05-2015, 01:39 PM
RE: Sharing my atheism with my younger sister?
Thank you so much everyone for the opinions. It is very relieving to just have the simple knowledge that I've shared a bit of my situation with people and that they've heard and that you guys care. Smile
I am reading up on positive alternatives to self harm and trying my best to channel my feelings positively.
Getting it all out here is definitely helping.

I tentatively told my mom about me wanting to move out as soon as possible, which seems to only be reasonable after I get a job and car. She cried a lot but said she was willing to help me prepare myself. My dad knows about this but has never said anything to me about it. I just know he is grieved and feels like a failure. That has always been the case between me and him. I don't fit his fundie ideal, he gets moody and depressed.

I am going to be going to a GED class come June, thanks to my moms support. I will be the one funding everything though. I don't have a problem with that, as it gives me less to rely on with my parents.

I am hoping to get a job as soon as possible and strictly save my money for my own car, then start putting away for getting a place of my own.
If I could move out before 2017, that would be incredible. Terrifying, but incredible.
I grew up with the depressing mentality of living at home until I got married...even though I'm not interested in marriage until maybe my 30s. ._.
So moving out...at 19-20...by myself...is a huge sign of 'rebellion' to my family and church and is therefore incriminating and quite telling of my atheism.

I am hoping to get my drivers license next week and me and my sole friend are going to find some atheist freethinking meetups and hopefully make some friends and spend as much time out as possible.

Another thing with waiting until 2017 to move out...I will be 20, and my friend will just be turning 18 and we were going to room together in atheist happiness. So even though I hate to rely/wait on someone else to move out, I don't see how I could ever afford to live by myself. And i don't have anyone else i could room with...at this point. The freethinking groups might have another young person needing a roommate.
So if I am to room with my friend, we kinda have to wait until she's 18. (Her parents would be the type to send her to a reformation camp out of fear. So until she has age on her side, she's stuck. Which kinda makes me stuck too.)

Thank you for all your advice in what to do or not to do concerning my little sister.
I like what you said, Inigo, about just being a positive example of a secular/atheist sibling. (Without really coming out to her.) For my siblings (and church and family) to see that I am not 'corrupt' or without morals will be good for everyone. XD

I don't think my parents will do anything too extreme if and when i come out.
I've only seen my dad cry once, and that was when his best friend left the faith. He was so broken about it, it was awful. So I know he will be crushed by the news and feel like such a failure.
I will probably be openly prayed for at our church meetings...everyone laying hands on me and begging god to show me the way back. (I might let them try to pray for me and watch their god fail me and them or I might refuse them to pray publicly for me...I don't know yet. XD)

I will certainly loose any respect I once had when I come out. My opinion will be utterly worthless and everything I say considered a mocking jab.
That is one of the biggest things keeping me from saying anything while i still live at home. I don't want to be silenced. I want to be heard and my thoughts and passions to be seen as good to my parents. I still want them to be proud of me.
Should I just give up on that desire? Is it hopeless? Do they even deserve my respect? I have a hard time sorting that one out.

I have a feeling that my parents are afraid of me and what I might do. I am not like their other 5 children. They know I am not one to take hits from them. If they play discipline games with me, I make it a point to beat them.They know they can't control me and it scares them. The only thing keeping me 'under them' is my own decency to their wishes because they provide food and lodging and dearly beloved wifi. I don't wish to disrupt anything in their home. I try to make as little waves as possible. Just leave me alone and don't try to take my freedom.
I am very worried about them taking my freedoms...so having my own things is imperative to me. I will absolutely refuse for them to take what is totally mine. I will fight for that and if it gets ugly, I will severe everything, leave, and bum it under a god forsaken bridge if I have to.

If all else fails I will move to England and live in Russell Brands backyard.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes ImpertinentSkeleton's post
15-05-2015, 03:00 PM
RE: Sharing my atheism with my younger sister?
this might sound like an odd question, but did you know your Dads friend well? If he is still within a hour or so from you, his contact info might be good to have in an emergency, or any other friends or relatives.

Sometimes things blow up unexpectedly, its good to have a group of people to fall back on that understand.

Freedom of religion/conscience is a human right. We each get to choose our own belief system. I would maintain the path you are on, no need to come out until you can support yourself.

Focus on the job, you might find a roommate there.


"Life is a daring adventure or it is nothing"--Helen Keller
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
Post Reply
Forum Jump: