Told my parents I'm an atheist...
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18-04-2013, 06:45 AM
Told my parents I'm an atheist...
Hey guys and gals,

So last night I finally told my parents that I no longer believed in god. The conversation wasn't a surprise to them. They didn't disown me or yell at me. They had some stereotypical concepts of what atheism is. They said I was without hope or joy. That I would soon find out how angry atheists were. That my "choice" would destroy my ability to be compassionate. And to top it off, that I had joined a different religion. Oh and lets not forget that I am going to hell. (I sometimes still have trouble dealing with the concept of hell. I have lived in terror of going there my entire life.) While those answers don't depress me, I can deal with their lack of understanding, I still feel depressed.

I know I have a tendency to be a people pleaser. I hate disappointing others. My parents more than most. I'm a grown man able to make my own choices but that doesn't mean I don't still love my family. I don't want to hurt them. But this change in my life could end no other way.

They still love me and care for me. I'm their son. In that respect I am better off than most. But that doesn't make hurting the ones you love any easier. Even when its the right thing to do.

My sister has been supportive even though she is a theist. However, she has lately been pushing me to tell others in my family that I am not ready to tell. If there is one thing my personality doesn't like it is being pushed. I'm not hiding it, but I also want to be the one making the choice. It's my life after all.

I guess right now I am just dealing with a lot of emotions. Despite their profession of love for me, I still worry that they will withdraw or worse, spend time trying to sway me back. I don't expect fixes from posting here, but I needed to talk to someone about this who might understand what I am feeling. I just needed to get it out.

“A philosopher once asked, “Are we human because we gaze at the stars, or do we gaze at them because we are human?” Pointless, really… “Do the stars gaze back?” Now *that’s* a question.”
-from Stardust (2007)
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18-04-2013, 06:54 AM
RE: Told my parents I'm an atheist...
(18-04-2013 06:45 AM)Saneter Wrote:  Hey guys and gals,

So last night I finally told my parents that I no longer believed in god. The conversation wasn't a surprise to them. They didn't disown me or yell at me. They had some stereotypical concepts of what atheism is. They said I was without hope or joy. That I would soon find out how angry atheists were. That my "choice" would destroy my ability to be compassionate. And to top it off, that I had joined a different religion. Oh and lets not forget that I am going to hell. (I sometimes still have trouble dealing with the concept of hell. I have lived in terror of going there my entire life.) While those answers don't depress me, I can deal with their lack of understanding, I still feel depressed.

I know I have a tendency to be a people pleaser. I hate disappointing others. My parents more than most. I'm a grown man able to make my own choices but that doesn't mean I don't still love my family. I don't want to hurt them. But this change in my life could end no other way.

They still love me and care for me. I'm their son. In that respect I am better off than most. But that doesn't make hurting the ones you love any easier. Even when its the right thing to do.

My sister has been supportive even though she is a theist. However, she has lately been pushing me to tell others in my family that I am not ready to tell. If there is one thing my personality doesn't like it is being pushed. I'm not hiding it, but I also want to be the one making the choice. It's my life after all.

I guess right now I am just dealing with a lot of emotions. Despite their profession of love for me, I still worry that they will withdraw or worse, spend time trying to sway me back. I don't expect fixes from posting here, but I needed to talk to someone about this who might understand what I am feeling. I just needed to get it out.

Well, you were very brave to tell them! I still have yet to have "the talk" with my parents. Sounds like you did a very good job in telling them, even though it wasn't easy.

I know just what you mean with the hell thing. It's easy for me to not believe in God or the bible, but eternal torture makes me a little uneasy sometimes. Lol

"Most people are other people.
Their thoughts are someone else's opinions,
their lives a mimicry,
their passions a quotation."
-Oscar Wilde
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18-04-2013, 07:00 AM
RE: Told my parents I'm an atheist...
Welcome.

Been there, done that. I understand perfectly. Your realtionship with your parents has been altered and from here on out it will be different.

For me the fallout was severe but over the proceeding years it has mellowed out, the topic has been avoided, detente if you will (has to be since it becomes too emotional) and we still love one another. Perhaps this is what awaits you.

You will find many in here in your situation so stick around, the more the merrier.

“I am quite sure now that often, very often, in matters concerning religion and politics a man’s reasoning powers are not above the monkey’s.”~Mark Twain
“Ocean: A body of water occupying about two-thirds of a world made for man - who has no gills.”~ Ambrose Bierce
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23-04-2013, 12:27 PM
RE: Told my parents I'm an atheist...
This is the second time today I recommend QualiaSoup's videos, but why the hell not, if they're good?
http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=UUc...XTn-VSQ4uA
Check them out and see which one would best challenge the ideas your parents have about atheism or morality. Then ask them just to watch the video with you, that you want to say something but the video says it better...

You may start with this:


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23-04-2013, 12:32 PM
RE: Told my parents I'm an atheist...
Well, welcome to the club!

Aspiring optimist
Eternal Pragmatist.
With the uncanny ability to see all sides in every argument.
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23-04-2013, 01:30 PM
RE: Told my parents I'm an atheist...
(18-04-2013 06:45 AM)Saneter Wrote:  Hey guys and gals,

So last night I finally told my parents that I no longer believed in god. The conversation wasn't a surprise to them. They didn't disown me or yell at me. They had some stereotypical concepts of what atheism is. They said I was without hope or joy. That I would soon find out how angry atheists were. That my "choice" would destroy my ability to be compassionate. And to top it off, that I had joined a different religion. Oh and lets not forget that I am going to hell. (I sometimes still have trouble dealing with the concept of hell. I have lived in terror of going there my entire life.) While those answers don't depress me, I can deal with their lack of understanding, I still feel depressed.

I know I have a tendency to be a people pleaser. I hate disappointing others. My parents more than most. I'm a grown man able to make my own choices but that doesn't mean I don't still love my family. I don't want to hurt them. But this change in my life could end no other way.

They still love me and care for me. I'm their son. In that respect I am better off than most. But that doesn't make hurting the ones you love any easier. Even when its the right thing to do.

My sister has been supportive even though she is a theist. However, she has lately been pushing me to tell others in my family that I am not ready to tell. If there is one thing my personality doesn't like it is being pushed. I'm not hiding it, but I also want to be the one making the choice. It's my life after all.

I guess right now I am just dealing with a lot of emotions. Despite their profession of love for me, I still worry that they will withdraw or worse, spend time trying to sway me back. I don't expect fixes from posting here, but I needed to talk to someone about this who might understand what I am feeling. I just needed to get it out.

You sound like a sensitive person and a loving son, so it's understandable that this isn't easy. If I could offer a couple of suggestions:

First, don't keep dwelling on the subject. You've made your decision and informed your parents. There's no need to bring it up further, unless they do.

If they try to sway you, stay firm and confident. You might say something like, "Mom and Dad, I know you love me and are thinking about my welfare. But you have to understand that I need to live my life in the way that seems right to me. I've thought this through very carefully and made my decision. So we'll have to disagree on this. I hope it won't come between us, because you know I'll never stop loving you and caring about you and feeling proud to be your son." You can word it better than that, I'm sure.

More than anything, though, don't tell them you'll be OK--show them. Show them through your actions that you're as loving and caring and compassionate as you've always been, that there's even more joy in your life now that you've freed yourself of irrational nonsense, that you're more confident in who you are than ever before. I bet they'll eventually come around to thinking, "Maybe we've been wrong about atheists all along."

As for the hell thing, it's hard to shake deas that have been drummed into your head from an early age, even though they make no sense at all. (I was raised kosher, and the Jewish dietary laws prohibit the mixing of meat and dairy. Even though I gave all that up in my teens, it took me a while to get over feeling a physical sense of revulsion whenever I saw a cheeseburger!) Just keep in mind that there's not one shred of evidence that heaven and hell exist. It's a myth designed to scare people so they'll stay obedient to the religious controllers. And anyway, a being who would sentence you to be tortured for all eternity for a lack of belief is no one you'd want to respect, much less worship, even if such a being existed–which if course he/she/it doesn't.

Religious disputes are like arguments in a madhouse over which inmate really is Napoleon.
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23-04-2013, 03:50 PM
RE: Told my parents I'm an atheist...
I did almost exactly the same thing a couple of years ago. My old man - I think he's a closet atheist anyway - at least he doesn't seem to set much store by Christianity. Mama's a true blue Christian though, so she had some questions, but overall they took it pretty well. I was stressed about telling them though.

I noticed the other day when I visited that in my old room which I still sometimes use the Bible had been placed rather suggestively where I normally keep my bedtime reading books Tongue A couple of times Mama tried engaging me in debate... which I studiously avoided, because she's my Mama, I ain't out to hurt her feelings. Now they seem to have accepted it and we don't discuss religion hardly at all. I don't pray with them any more is the only material change.
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23-04-2013, 09:04 PM
RE: Told my parents I'm an atheist...
Welcome to the club bro, remember despite what they may say or do they are seriously just trying to do what they think is best for you.
Also remember despite what they say, you are a good person.

And of course, remember this forum is rooting for you.

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P'cola Skeptic in thePub
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24-04-2013, 05:10 AM
RE: Told my parents I'm an atheist...
I'm trying to think of something worthwhile to add to this.

Can't.

I got the idea of Mamadog and Papadog and little baby Morondog stuck in my brain.

I think you have cool parents. It takes a lot to take news calmly of something that undermines one's own philosophy.

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24-04-2013, 05:43 AM
RE: Told my parents I'm an atheist...
(24-04-2013 05:10 AM)DLJ Wrote:  I think you have cool parents. It takes a lot to take news calmly of something that undermines one's own philosophy.

Well, I didn't until I saw the crap that other people's parents give them. Now I think I got cool parents Smile
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