Well, my brother found out..
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16-03-2015, 11:31 PM
Well, my brother found out..
I probably shouldn't be surprised, given how sporadic my church attendance has been and how often I debate him on conservative issues under the guise of playing Devil's advocate. I guess I underestimated how obvious I was being.

Anyway, today I was working with my brother and talking about some issue and once again I was taking a contrary stance to his and he said something like, "I don't know if you're the one I should be talking about this stuff with. You always seem to make me feel stupid even though I see this stuff every day and know it's true" (we weren't talking about anything religious, just thoughts on some American issues). I got quiet and felt bad, because as the "smart one" in my family (their words) I'm always worried about making my family members feel stupid. I don't think they're stupid or that I'm all that smart, I'm just generally more well-read and educated, and I try to see all sides of things. And they're conservative Baptists, so sometimes they say some, eh, stupid shit. And we're all a bunch of sensitive pacifists. So, later I told him that I wasn't taking the opposite stance so much because I necessarily thought he was wrong, I just enjoy exploring multiple perspectives. He took this opportunity (and looking back I can see that he's tried on multiple occasions) to confront me about my spiritual life. He said it was obvious that something was up. So, I could either straight up lie, continue to use the wishy-washy "I'm having doubts" that I've used on my parents so far, or tell the truth. So I just told him. Then we talked for a couple hours, and while it wasn't too bad compared to many of the stories I've heard and read, it left me feeling depressed and a little worried about our relationship. He's 3 years older than me and we've always been close. Currently, I'm living with him and his wife until I can find a full-time job and save up some money. After we finished talking things got surprisingly normal, so I reckon I should be grateful for that.

As for the actual conversation, I started by just trying to explain what initially started me doubting, like all the issues I saw within the Bible, and he responded either with the expected arguments or by saying that he didn't know the answer. Then we kept getting stuck on the issue of why I had chosen to reject God rather than accept that I can't understand some things and just have faith. I did my best to explain that I hadn't chosen anything, that I'd simply become unconvinced. He wouldn't accept that no matter how many ways I put it. I knew that if I brought up secular Biblical scholarship, evolution, and other scientific issues that he wouldn't accept that at all, because in the churches I come from we're taught that when it comes to the Bible, scientists can't be trusted because they have this ultimate goal to disprove God. And that's what happened, and he wouldn't budge. The final point he brought up was that I seemed like I had "made up my mind" that God didn't exist, and he wondered why I didn't talk to more people than my youth pastor when I first started having doubts. I told him that I hadn't made up my mind, there were just so many things that didn't add up that I had become unconvinced, but said that I would keep an open mind as I continue to study. I'm honestly a little concerned about that last part, because I definitely don't want to be convinced that Yahweh exists, so I'm not sure how open I can keep my mind. He ended by saying that he wished he could do something to change my mind, but that he couldn't and we could not talk about it anymore.

I can't say I did a very good job at my first outing, partly because I didn't want to vomit too much of the past 4 years' worth of thinking I've done when all he was doing was expressing concern, but mostly because there's so much I still need to learn. The low point of the conversation was when he said he hopes I never lose my fear of hell (I admitted to him that I have a panic attack about once a month at night about hell and "what if I'm wrong"), because that means I'm not "callous" and there's still a chance for me. The high point was when he said it wouldn't change our relationship because I'll always be his brother and that it would only be something that he felt sad about from time to time. That last part gets me. I get vicariously depressed thinking about my family worrying over my eternal soul.

Just wanted to get this off my chest I guess. I had been wrestling with whether to send out an email to all my family explaining everything, but I guess it was a matter of time till someone confronted me, given how much time I spend with them.
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17-03-2015, 12:10 AM
RE: Well, my brother found out..
(16-03-2015 11:31 PM)Dex Wrote:  I can't say I did a very good job at my first outing, partly because I didn't want to vomit too much of the past 4 years' worth of thinking I've done when all he was doing was expressing concern, but mostly because there's so much I still need to learn. The low point of the conversation was when he said he hopes I never lose my fear of hell (I admitted to him that I have a panic attack about once a month at night about hell and "what if I'm wrong"), because that means I'm not "callous" and there's still a chance for me. The high point was when he said it wouldn't change our relationship because I'll always be his brother and that it would only be something that he felt sad about from time to time. That last part gets me. I get vicariously depressed thinking about my family worrying over my eternal soul.
I disagree. Good job! You were sensitive but it didn't stop you from telling the truth. My Mama is now convinced that God is significantly nicer than she initially thought, purely on the basis that I told her that any God who'd condemn a good person simply for disbelieving in him didn't sound like a loving God. It's quite funny actually. She can't imagine Yahweh sending her little boy to hell, so by fiat she declares Yahweh to be much nicer than that, since she's empirically established that a. her little boy is very much a good little boy b. he's pretty entrenched in his atheist position. Another thing I chucked into the mix was "If God wants to change my mind he knows how to do it" Big Grin

Quote:Just wanted to get this off my chest I guess. I had been wrestling with whether to send out an email to all my family explaining everything, but I guess it was a matter of time till someone confronted me, given how much time I spend with them.
I'd suggest no big reveal. It's nobody's business unless you tell them, rather tell them personally if it comes up or if you feel the need. Wink

We'll love you just the way you are
If you're perfect -- Alanis Morissette
(06-02-2014 03:47 PM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  And I'm giving myself a conclusion again from all the facepalming.
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17-03-2015, 04:39 AM
RE: Well, my brother found out..
I have to agree with the Dog (above) on both fronts...
Good job and no need to make an announcement.

If you decide to tell everyone, however, keep the focus on how you have changed your beliefs and not how your beliefs have changed you. You are still the same person but now, you have decided that a reason and evidence -based epistemology is more satisfying, intellectually and emotional than a faith-based epistemology.

The same reason and evidence that your friends and family use in every aspect of their lives other than the god-question.

Again... good job with your brother.

Thumbsup

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17-03-2015, 10:22 AM
RE: Well, my brother found out..
That was a nice read. I'm glad that your brother is not going to let that change your relationship. I also agree with the Moron, just let things take their course. If you send out an email, some may take it as you trying to push it on them even though you are actually explaining yourself. The one thing that I find funny is that this stance is the only one where someone asks you to explain yourself If I say I am a christian, they say "cool", If I say I am a muslim, it may be "Oh that's nice." If Hindu, "OK, I see." But "I am an atheist" is almost always met with "why?"

"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
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17-03-2015, 11:45 AM
RE: Well, my brother found out..
To the OP, Dex, good job dude! Thumbsup I also agree no need to make a big deal about it by coming out to everyone. Smile


(17-03-2015 12:10 AM)morondog Wrote:  My Mama is now convinced that God is significantly nicer than she initially thought, purely on the basis that I told her that any God who'd condemn a good person simply for disbelieving in him didn't sound like a loving God. It's quite funny actually. She can't imagine Yahweh sending her little boy to hell, so by fiat she declares Yahweh to be much nicer than that, since she's empirically established that a. her little boy is very much a good little boy b. he's pretty entrenched in his atheist position. Another thing I chucked into the mix was "If God wants to change my mind he knows how to do it" Big Grin

Mom logic....I soooo love that!!!!!


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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18-03-2015, 09:48 AM
RE: Well, my brother found out..
Thanks for the encouraging words and advice, guys! Shy
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18-03-2015, 10:42 AM
RE: Well, my brother found out..
sidetrack for a moment--- had to LOL at the references to morondog. In one post he is " the dog" and another he is " the moron". lololol. Thumbsup

Ok, back to business...

no announcements- you handled things well with your bro because the topic came up naturally, it was a one on one convo, no one felt pressured. An announcement would be like setting the house on fire.....everyone up in arms, all of them coming at you for reasons and explanations that they won't understand. No worries....your brother will let the cat out of the bag for you because " you need help". And he was worried about you and loves you. Next will be his wife, then the rest of the family.


get ready.


like others have said, remind them you are still the same person, if god was loving then he would understand, if he was powerful he could send some evidence to fully convince you. Of course I would have to ask why an amputee has never, ever, ever had a limb restored,but I'm snarky like that. Dodgy And just try the human rights angle of freedom of conscience.

please keep us posted on how it goes, we often get posts like yours but rarely hear how things have sorted out a few months later.

welcome to TTA.


"Life is a daring adventure or it is nothing"--Helen Keller
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18-03-2015, 11:27 AM
RE: Well, my brother found out..
Quote: I'm always worried about making my family members feel stupid.

Some things can't be helped.

Atheism is NOT a Religion. It's A Personal Relationship With Reality!
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22-03-2015, 07:27 AM
RE: Well, my brother found out..
Christians seem to think that when we realize we are non believers, it's like we flipped a switch and can flip it back. They can't seem to grasp that it may have been a lengthy process before we come to the realization that we just don't buy in to their beliefs. My evang. neighbor finally knows I don't believe yet she seems to think I can by just asking her god for forgiveness.
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03-04-2015, 04:23 PM
RE: Well, my brother found out..
Okay, it's been a couple weeks. I've listened to everyone's advice and my own reservations and decided not to make any kind of announcement. My brother and I have only had one more conversation on the topic. It started after he came home from church where a visiting evangelist had said some stupid shit about homosexuality. (He actually said a ton of stupid stuff about America in general. I'm thinking about making a post about it with highlights; I streamed the service from home and took notes.) I gave into an urge to make a comment about homosexuality not being a choice and for some reason this shocked him. We argued about that for a while and somehow got back onto the topic of my atheism. Unfortunately, the conversation ended with him probably thinking he won since I agreed I'd continue to look into things. I should have made the same request of him but I was frustrated at this point and his wife was pulling into the garage and I just wanted to be alone.

Some points he made during the conversation:

-He knows homosexuality is a choice because this gay guy he worked with said it absolutely is a choice and told a lesbian they worked with to stop lying and admit it's a choice.
-One proof of the Bible is the fact that Israel came back together to reform a nation as prophesied. He also said the fact that Israel is the subject of so much unrest in the middle east and the world is evidence of fulfilled prophecy.
-Several times I brought up evidence or studies or evolution specifically to make a point, and he seemed to think that the fact that I learned about them on the internet means he can dismiss them without looking into it.
-Before I "make a decision" about what I believe, I should talk to our pastor in person, because he will be able to convince me that the Bible is true and God is real apparently.

Apart from that conversation things have been pretty normal between us, which I'm really glad for. I don't know whether he's told his wife or anyone else.
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