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More Than I Bargained For (long Read)


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Hello All, new here on Ex-Christian.net. I have actually posted this story on a seperate atheist forum but Ex-Christian.net seems to be more up my alley at this juncture so I will share my story here as well, as I plan to become an active poster.

 

I was raised on the values of the Christian church from an early age, before I was able to intelligently question anything. My father was a bad alcoholic in the past and he credits the church and "God" for helping him through his prior issues, so as you can imagine, he had formed a strong connection with "God". My mother on the other hand has no real backstory, she was simply raised as I was from a young age to believe. Growing up, I was blind to the homophobia and blatant bigotry that was running rampant in the household, as my parents and the church were so nurturing to me as a child that I simply couldn't fathom that they may be wrong about everything and as a result, teaching me values that hold no real merit. I was forbidden to go to any halloween themed parties or dances that they had at the schools because my parents and the church did not support the inherent "evil" of the holliday as they saw it as the glorification of Satan, so instead, myself and my younger brother would have to go to these lame halloween parties at the church where we would play games and sing songs about jesus. I am fully convinced that I would not have been allowed to go trick or treating either, if the church had another alternative function on the same night. I was always guilt tripped as a child into beleiving as my parents would even bring me in for talks with the priest who would then tell me that my parents wanted me in heaven with them and that by questioning God I would wind up in hell without ever being able to see my parents again. Finally, there is my great aunt, who is far more devout than any other relative of mine. Whenever I had problems as a child, she was always there to comfort me, telling me how much she cared about me and how much God loved me as well. But as I got older, I found myself becoming skeptical on certain matters. I would ask my youth group leaders about these things, but the answers they were giving me didn't seem to hold up well, while the opposing arguments from non-believers seemed to make alot more sense. At this point, I began to pray more often than ever. I prayed for forgiveness as I was ashamed of the fact that I was doubting God, and the church had always taught me that scientific evidence of any kind was simply a test of my faith, so at the time, I genuinely believed that I was a good Christian just so long as I rejected this "worldly" knowledge in favor of God. I had officially fooled myself into believing that I genuinely believed in God, and this was the case for a few years. Over time though, I finally began to see just how closed minded and bigotted my family really was, and it pained me to reliaze that I once held these beliefs as well and saw my parents as the pinnacle of knowledge. Over the years, I asked more questions and found that Chrisitianity was failing to give me any real answers; they were only rationalizing. On the other side of the coin, evolution, physics, abiogenesis and other sciences were making far more sense in explaining the origins of the universe and different species on earth, and best of all, they had evidence for their "claims". At this point, I had officially thrown the notion of God out the window as I could finally see just how ludicrous the whole thing was; I had forced my belief for years, but it came to a point where I finally had to admit that I was just lying to myself. The final nail in the coffin came during my sociology classes in University where we discussed several models of rationalization and went into concepts such as collective effervescence, and it was at around this time when I finally decided that I needed to "come out" as an atheist to my parents.

 

My family had been unaware of this fact until that night when I finally decided to inform them of my stance. I had not planned to do this at first but my mother had been reading off statuses from her facebook and the subject of God came up a few times, so I simply decided to say something. I had asked despite already knowing the answer, whether or not my parents believed in all of that stuff (not the best way to open, but I hadn't thought this through beforehand). They of course told me that they did and I began to ask a few followup questions to which my father then asked me what I believed as he had obviously caught on. I told him I was atheist and it is was at this point when everything became kind of hazy, as a yelling war would then practically materialize out of thin air. I don't even recall why the yelling started up in the first place due to the fact that I had become so full of rage that I was practically shaking.

 

Let me paint the scenario again: I, having never intended to start a yelling war, decided to finally come clean and tell my folks that I simply didn't believe in God. My father asks me to confess my beliefs; I tell him that I'm atheist. This part is hazy like I said, all I know is that we had said a few things to one another (though I can't recall what) that started an uproar.

 

Now here's where things got really heated: My younger brother (16 years old) enters the room and listens to me and my parents argue. My parents ask me where I got these ideas from and I tell them that I didn't get them from anywhere, just that I simply don't believe in God. My brother (who is religious, and is the type to never question it) then states that I probably got these ideas from the internet and that one can never trust the internet, to which my parents then take his side and accuse me of the same thing. I remind him that he borrows his beliefs from a book and my father then tells me to shut up. My parents (we're still yelling by the way) then begin to bash all the notions of evolution and the big bang theory despite the fact that I had made no mention of anything having to do with those things. My brother then chimes in by stating that the earth isn't millions of years old, highlighting the fact that technology has grown so much the past hundred years and if the earth were millions of year's old, we'd be much further along. I tell him about rock formations and such (though with three people yelling at me, its almost impossible to get a word in). For whatever reason, my brother then feels the need to tell me that Tupac (his favorite rapper) has heard the voice of God and how I'd explain that, to which I tell him that people have also claimed to have heard the voices of Krishna and Zeus in the past, as well as have claimed to have spotted UFO's and the Lochness Monster. My mother then brings up evolution again, putting down the notion that we come from monkeys while I respond by saying that the notion stating we come from dirt is absurd (and yes, I know we don't literally come from monkeys). I then finally get a question in, where I ask my parents about the misogony and the encouaging of keeping slaves, not to mention the homophobic nature and the hundreds of contradictions in the bible. They then blame the internet once again for filling my head with lunacy, as my father states that there are many different brands of the bible and that there are people who spend years going back and forth from the books, looking for contradictions. Unfortunately, we had no bible in the house (which was shocking to me), so pointing the contradictions out then and there was out of the question. I was willing to show them an online bible but they weren't willing to take anything from the internet as credible. I ask them a few more questions, to which by this point they are not answering but rather all laughing at. This was like some weird twlight zone situation where everyone that I had lived with my whole life had gone insane and I was the only sane person left, only I was the one being laughed at. We discussed (in yelling) the notions of miracles, the fact that there was supposedly a worldwide flood, and many more things. Eventually my father had gotten into my face and it took every fibre of my being to restrain myself my hitting him, though I know he was likely restraining himself as well. They had mentioned the prophecies in the book of revelation and how many of them had come true, to which I retorted by stating that the prophecies were very vague and had no real timeline to which they told me I was wrong. My brother then began telling me that I would just go to hell and have to live with it, which wouldn't be too bad if he wasn't saying it in such a patronizing tone as if me being an atheist made me a lost cause as well as retarded. Eventually I got fed up and went back to my room as my mother told me that I would have to start going to church again (this will not happen I gaurantee it). I had thought the argument was over by this point but I overheard them in the kitchen talking about how I must have joined up with some online cult or something, to which I stormed back out there and the argument continued.

 

Anyway, we argued till about 2 in the morning and after what seemed like an eternity, everybody finally simmered down. To this day, there have been no references to the heated argument that occured that night and while I'm sure they don't like the fact that I'm an admitted atheist, they seem to have accepted it. However, I have no plans to tell my aunt as it seems completely unneccessary to do so, besides, she would likely believe I was possessed and never want to speak to me again despite our past. Either that, or she would break down and start crying. It would be ugly though, that's for certain, and it would make the "discussion" with my parents seem like an olde English tea party in comparison. But anyway, I'm hoping this place will serve as a refuge of sorts, and I hope to post here again in the future :)

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I wasn't raised a fundy but upon my conversion, my fairly non-religious parents had a heart attack and a similar situation happened but in reverse to what you've described. I'm glad you found us. Thanks for sharing your testimony. Hopefully you'll enjoy yourself here as you're with like-minded people.

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Hi spongeworthy! Welcome to EXc. you have found the right place to talk about ex- christianity! Thanks for sharing your story. I enjoyed reading it this morning. It's so hard for the people in our lives to accept that we don't believe any longer in their bible god. This is a very safe place to share all your stories. Each and everyone of us, regardless of age or where were from, have been affected by Christianity and it's false beliefs.

 

I am looking forward to hearing more of your story, so keep posting my friend! You are not alone anymore!

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Welcome, spongeworthy (I love your user name!) :grin:

 

You are brave for telling your parents. I am not surprised by their reaction; that is one reason I haven't said anything to my parents.

 

I look forward to getting to know you as you become a regular poster on the site. Your "olde English tea party" bit made me laugh.

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Spongeworthy, thanks for posting and welcome to Ex-C. I haven't told my family yet (they live in a different state); what happened to you is quite a bit to be the brunt of. Yeah, this website is a refuge for a lot of people needing a break from fundie wonderland.

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Welcome! This is a great supportive place. I am sure you will feel at home. I am so sorry things went so awry and so heated. I don't blame you for feeling so upset by it. I find it odd too they would have no Bibles around.

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Gosh, thanks so much for sharing. I am glad you and your family have dropped the subject for the time being. I had to kind of chuckle at the dark humor in this story like the part where it seemed like the whole family had gone insane and you were standing alone, the only sane person left in the room.

 

And this " My brother then began telling me that I would just go to hell and have to live with it, which wouldn't be too bad if he wasn't saying it in such a patronizing tone as if me being an atheist made me a lost cause as well as retarded."

 

I think you have some to the right place to share and I wish you the best on dealing with your family. The hard core fundamentalists have such a hard time when they lose someone to the world. You are the winner in this in the end because you are living the one life you are sure you get in the here and now and not waiting for the good stuff until after you die.

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You are really brave to tell your parents. Something like this will take a long time for your family to accept. It sounds like you might have dropped it on them too fast. I would avoid using the word "Atheist" because it is so loaded. It might be better to just say you are not religious, or that you don't believe in Christianity. Christian beliefs are deeply tied to emotion, when you go against them you are going to get strong emotional responses. Keep checking in with them, ask them how they are doing with your views. Don't let it be an elephant in the room. You won't convince them of anything using logic or reason, this kind of belief doesn't work like that. It's better to ask questions, don't argue, but don't shy away from who you are. It sounds like your parents are mixing "deconversion" with "rebellion" which is understandable, do your best to make a distinction between the two. In the fullness of time, you might help your parents away from their beliefs. But it takes a lot of time. I have dreams about shouting at Christians. But in real life it is better to speak softly and change the world.

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Welcome! This is a great supportive place. I am sure you will feel at home. I am so sorry things went so awry and so heated. I don't blame you for feeling so upset by it. I find it odd too they would have no Bibles around.

 

 

Me too. I still have about 4, that is after I gave away about 6. Welcome to ex c :)

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No bibles in a religious house... WTF???

 

I still have mine that my parents proudly gave me when I was confirmedin the church. haven't opened in about 4 years and then it was because my buddist gf had a question...which of course it didn't answer.

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