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Not 'out' Yet- In A Tricky Situation...


Malaika
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Firstly, 'Hello'. I'm a new poster, but i've lurked on this board for more than 2 years now

 

I'm a very happy ex-christian. My deconversion started 2 years ago and was completed a year ago. This site was completely instrumental in this process and I can't express how thankful I am to you all. When I fist found this place and read your testimonies I just wanted to pray for you all! Then slowly I began to realize that- wait a minute- there are people who are GOOD who AREN'T CHRISTIANS? In 25 years, i'd never understood this.

 

Long story short- THANK YOU.

 

I've been lucky that my de-conversion was never upsetting. In the last 2 years i've gone from being a suicidal, depressed, nervous, guilty, self-loathing, miserable creature, to someone filled with so much joy and love of life that I feel like I could burst! I even like myself now. My mind and heart are completely open. I am FREE!

 

So here is my dilemma:

 

I've undergone my de-conversion away from my best friends. Literally. They are in another country. They're all fundies, but I love them all with my whole heart. We speak daily and they've noticed the dramatic change in me, but don't know that I owe everything to atheism.

 

In a few months, i'm going back to this country and to my old life. I'll be staying and working at a christian charity for three months. Suddenly my life with be full of church picnics and early morning prayer meetings. I survived these during my deconversion very well. I'd go to church and listen even more intently to the sermon and be able to see why it was so wrong. During worship, I can still raise my hands and sing at the top of my voice, not to god, but to LIFE, for which I am so thankful. I smile ear-to-ear throughout the whole service- staring at the 'EXIT' sign for inspiration. Honestly, I love church and bible study even more now that i'm an atheist. Weird, I know.

 

So basically, i'll be living this life for a few months. I want desperately to 'come out'. I want to tell the world how my life has been saved and share my joy with everyone. But I can't. If my friends and the charity took it the wrong way, I could find myself homeless, not to mention this charity means the world to me. I've supported it for years.

 

I don't want to lie to these people in any way. I've managed to go for two years without lying to them and i'm not going to start.

 

Just not going is not an option. The very expensive plane tickets have been booked and I DO want to go.

 

I know that what i'm getting at here is a little ambiguous, but can anyone offer any sort of advice here? I've spoken to other atheist friends about it, but they've never been christians before and I don't think they fully understand this.

 

Can anyone share any of their own experiences?

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I forgot to mention that I suspect some of my closest friends really have their doubts about their faith, but living as missionaries, they can't afford to investigate their doubts any further. I have a feeling this will make my friends hostile towards me if I were to come out, because the people who doubt the most seem to be those who fight most aggressively. Denial.

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One of the suggestions I've heard for coming out that sounded like it would be the most helpful is to tell the people who you think will support you first and then have them do that when you tell everyone else. I can't vouch for its efficacy myself, though, as I'm still in the closet.

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Honestly, I love church and bible study even more now that i'm an atheist. Weird, I know.

 

Yes, it is. I couldn't get beyond that statement. It makes no sense to me.

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I assume you're coming back after this trip?

 

Why not wait until you come back and then break the news to them. You don't want to make yourself an outsider when stuck outside your support network. These people love you now... but they might not when you tell them this. People tend to react very strongly to challenges to their faith. They might grow to adjust to it over time but you don't want them to have power over your life during the most volatile times.

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Honestly, I love church and bible study even more now that i'm an atheist. Weird, I know.

 

Yes, it is. I couldn't get beyond that statement. It makes no sense to me.

 

 

Sorry. It's because since i've stopped being a christian, i've really enjoyed studying christianity and its origins and its myths. I could never do this before. Being there makes me thankful that i'm not trapped by it anymore. As a christian, I had absolute and blind faith. It's been very interesting seeing these things from the other side. I must point out that i'm an anthropology phd student, so that may be one of the reasons I enjoy this. I treat it like fieldwork. I just don't like to see people I love getting sucked into it.

 

 

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You say you have been lurking on this site for two years. In case you have missed them, read some of the posts of how Christians react when Ex-Christians come out to them. Sometimes they take it very well, but that is rare on the whole. Sometimes it doesn't affect their relationships very much, but this is rare on the other end of the spectrum. Most often, people who feel obligated to tell their Christian friends and even family members, meet outright hostility.

 

You think these people are your friends and maybe they are your true friends. But what seems to be at the bottom of the hostility for those who experience it from their Christian "friends" is that these Christian "friends" can't help but view their deconverted "friends" as having been influenced by Satan and on a one-way trip straight to hell. Consider your actions very carefully and decide if you really want to subject yourself to abuse when you are dependent on these people for your welfare while you are on the trip.

 

You may have economic or other reasons for going. But by going you are setting yourself up for potential trouble at a time when you are dependent on the very ones who may show you hostility. My advice would be not to go.

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Honestly, I love church and bible study even more now that i'm an atheist. Weird, I know.

 

Yes, it is. I couldn't get beyond that statement. It makes no sense to me.

 

Sorry. It's because since i've stopped being a christian, i've really enjoyed studying christianity and its origins and its myths. I could never do this before. Being there makes me thankful that i'm not trapped by it anymore. As a christian, I had absolute and blind faith. It's been very interesting seeing these things from the other side. I must point out that i'm an anthropology phd student, so that may be one of the reasons I enjoy this. I treat it like fieldwork. I just don't like to see people I love getting sucked into it.

 

Ok. Great! Thanks for the explanation. Why did you wait so long (2 years)? Happy you decided to finally post.

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My advice is to go if you want to but do not come out during your trip. Just be private with your thoughts. Time enough to come out later when you have a more favorable situation. Once you squeeze the toothpaste out, you can't very well push it back in. Just be patient.

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My advice is to go if you want to but do not come out during your trip. Just be private with your thoughts. Time enough to come out later when you have a more favorable situation. Once you squeeze the toothpaste out, you can't very well push it back in. Just be patient.

 

Awesome. I'll be borrowing that. Thanks

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Malaika,

 

I think most have already pointed it out. go if you want but you will have to be very aware.

 

Since you have stated you are a anthropology PhD and treat studying the bible like feild work. Why not treat this upcoming experience as just that. Living Field work. Examine, the effect of the rituals and wording used. Study the unifing effects of religion. Maybe use this time to gauge reactions to hypothetical question about those that might have doubts and its affect on the society as a whole.

 

Do the things you would normally do when studying something up close, take notes, analyze responses, get family histories of religion if you don't know them, or if you do write it down.

 

I think it could be a wonderful oppourtunity to examine living culture from the "outside" while still knowing much about the "inside". It could also serve as a chance to intensely examine your atheisism and perhaps find others who doubt and have questions.

 

just my thoughts.

stryper

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I don't want to lie to these people in any way. I've managed to go for two years without lying to them and i'm not going to start.

 

This is going to be a problem, I think. When I deconverted, I did not want to lie, either, but also didn't really want to just come out to all my Christian friends. That will be very difficult for you to do if you are going to be around them all the time. It didn't take long for my story to be revealed. Like many others here, my friends responded in mixed fashion. Some were hostile, some were pleading, most just dropped me as a friend and didn't bother with me anymore.

 

I am kind of like you in a sense. I didn't personally mind going to church when I first deconverted, and found it fascinating to observe what was happening with outsider's eyes. It was interesting to note all the sales techniques that went into selling religion.

 

Congratulations on your freedom!

 

Respectfully,

Franciscan Monkey

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I don't know if this will help because my situation is much different. I have a husband and my oldest son who are still catholic, and two sons who are agnostic. It was very hard for me to come out to my oldest son. In fact, I didn't come out to him for a year after I told my husband. But I just didn't quit going to church. I started checking out the Unitarian Universalist church and then became a member there.

 

In that year I was so thrilled to have found UU and be free to tell people, in church, that I was an atheist. I became very involved in UU and the various social justice issues that we addressed there. I became the happiest person I had been my entire life.

 

I kept waiting for the right time to talk to my son. It finally came when he started getting serious about a girl and she wanted to friend me on facebook. I really didn't want someone else asking my son questions I should have already talked to him about. (I generally post things to make my friends think. I don't post extremely critical things against religion. Well, not too critical.)

 

The first thing I said to him was actually a question. I asked him if he had noticed anything different about me. He had. He noticed I had become more involved and seemed much happier.

 

That was the perfect lead-in to our discussion.

 

I guess my point is that sometimes there is a right time when the conversation is open for such a discussion. Sometimes the situation is just thrust upon you and you'll just have to make the most of it.

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