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I Want To Be More Open About Being An Atheist.


Mman2000
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How should I go about telling my family that I don't believe in their God?

 

I think my mom knows already but doesn't want to admit it. I know it would be a hard blow to both my parents if I told them I was atheist. Is there anyway to minimize the emotional train wreck that would result if I let everyone know I wasn't a christian?

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I think it's very important to have a support system in place before you tell them. You are going to need people who are supportive of you in order to handle the inevitable emotional fallout. If you don't have one, don't tell them. Also, don't tell them when you are emotional or in a moment of anger. You might say things you regret and you can never take back something that's said.

 

Be prepared. Know what you will say and how you will say it, be prepared to answer their questions and remain calm, no matter what kind of emotional ploys they attempt.

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Guest Ivy Leigh

I wrote about something similar that happened to me, in another thread. But I'm too new to know how to link that!

 

In a nutshell - a similar thing happened to me. My dad was undergoing cancer therapy and I was tormented because of this god thing... The more I thought about it, the clearer it became for me that although yes, my dad wanted me to believe in god, the underlying issue was that he pass on his morals, his legacy, through me.

 

So I started the conversation with "Dad, I know the most important thing that you would want to give to me, when you leave this life isn't money or knowledge - it's your faith. And I've rejected this - your most precious gift to me. I know this hurts you every single day, as it hurts me every single day. But I want you to know that you have passed on SO MUCH to me. I am still your daughter with those morals and values. And I will pass these morals and values onto my own children. And I love you. I don't want to change what you believe one little bit. I hope that you can accept me just as I am as well."

 

The main thing for dad was that he knew he was loved, respected and that he was leaving a legacy with me. To his credit, he was pretty understanding once he knew that I really genuinely love and respect him.

 

Another thing that seemed to help my fundy mom understand...she would tell me that I should just "choose" to believe. I pointed out that belief isn't really a "choice." I used the analogy "If a Muslim walked up to you and said 'Believe in Allah and the Qu'ran or I will blow your brains out.' you MIGHT be able to SAY that you believe in those things. But, even a gun in your face, cannot change what you *really* believe."

 

If your family is like mine, once they understand you're not out to rip their world view out from under their feet, they'll stop acting defensively and start being a little more accepting. Here's hoping, anyway

 

Ivy

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Why is it important for me to be open with them?

 

I don't want to live a lie, and I really don't want to feel as if I have to live a lie just so my family will get along with me. The more I hold back on telling them, the less I trust them to not go ballistic on me.

 

I've already told my mom and my grandmother that I don't believe in the Bible, that caused enough trouble without using the dreaded "A word". I'm probably going to tell my sister about my total de-conversion before anyone else in my family simply because I don't think she'll give a shit. I'll move on to the more sensitive people after that.

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Well if you are hell bent on it, then I advise trying to slip it into a conversation topic instead of doing a formal sit down saying "I have something to tell you." That will just make things worse.

 

If somehow in a family conversation religion comes up, or they ask you to go to a church service, say something like "I don't really believe in that anymore" or "No thank you, I've decided not to attend anymore." Be casual about it, like it's not a big deal. It lessens the stress.

 

If/when your parents start asking questions, reassure them that you're still the same person, but be firm in not allowing the evangelization. Tell them you know it already, they raised you, didn't they?

 

Above all, be respectful. Don't expect them to come around to your way of thinking (common mistake of Born Agains and New Atheists alike). Don't harsh their beliefs and don't allow them to harsh yours, and remember to say "I love you" often.

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I think it has to be a gradual thing; right now, my exit strategy is letting my parents know some of my questions about the faith, and showing them how some of the things they believe in (to them, "we" believe in) aren't even in the Bible; they're just made up, something preachers fabricated. They have admitted that they looked in the Bible and saw that yes, it wasn't in there. I've spent lengthy afternoons talking with them.

 

My aim is to establish a background of doubt, and gradually move toward the revelation that I'm a nontheist.

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How should I go about telling my family that I don't believe in their God?

 

I think my mom knows already but doesn't want to admit it. I know it would be a hard blow to both my parents if I told them I was atheist. Is there anyway to minimize the emotional train wreck that would result if I let everyone know I wasn't a christian?

 

I don't know if it is possible not to have a train wreck, no matter how polite you are about it. That is because they will wonder why you won't believe in their imaginary friend. If you tell them the answer as to why you don't believe it, to them, it is offensive whether you quietly mention it or scream at the top of your lungs. It seems that when I'm polite and offer a mannerly response to why I don't believe in their god, they still get angry at me. So, my advice is to tell them that you still love them and you are still the same person you were as a Christian. But, beliefs can change, yet that doesn't mean you are a different person. You still laugh the same, cry the same, love the same. If they can see that an atheist can be as moral as they are, that would not only make them open to the possibility it isn't so bad, but it would also show them that you still care about them.

 

I told my mom I was still her son and I still have the same personality I always had. I just let go of a god belief. Yet, I'm still the same "moral" person I was. I don't go out raping or killing (as christians often accuse atheist de-converts of doing). I don't believe in breaking the law now, even though I don't believe in a god. If being polite doesn't work, and they still yell at you for not believing, then you might as well get your "money's worth" by being confrontational about it. You have nothing to lose, since they would have already been in "attack mode", give them a real reason to be that way.

 

I mean, if they can't love you because you don't believe like they do, then ask yourself if they are really your family. I certainly wouldn't put up with any member of my family mistreating me for not being a Christian. I was lucky, because my mom still accepts me. However, it isn't always the case. So, if they reject you as a family member, then I wouldn't worry about it. Find people who DO care about you and want to treat you with love. They are out there. Fuck any person who mistreats me because I don't believe a fairy tale. You don't need enemies in your family who will only ridicule you with their arrogant nonsense.

 

So, try the "nice" way first and if that doesn't work, switch to "bold" mode and point out all the problems in the bible and with Christianity (its claims, its history, the behavior of christians, etc). Make it so they can't refute you and then leave it at that. If they REALLY love you, they will come to you later and apologize. If they don't, then they care MORE about their stupid beliefs than they do about you (which means they are assholes).

 

Peace out, Matt

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