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Plan To 'come Out' To Fundamentalist Parents - Any Tips?


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It's been six months since I jumped-ship on christianity, and now I'm feeling I should tell my parents. They're fundamentalists and they live in the same city as me, so it's not easy trying to pretend. I know they'll hit the roof, though I have studied enough to provide numerous answers for why I no longer believe. I know that reasoning and explaining my position may not work either, so I'm looking for any tips or feedback from other ex-fundamentalists.

 

thanks

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If they are not on your case to come to church or not on your case in babblespeak, leave it alone.

 

If the inverse, tell them simply you no longer believe or an agnostic.

 

They can then waste their time praying for you. Bear in mind, your exit will reflect (in their minds) they failed as parents and as such may go totally batshitcrazy trying to win you back to teh lard.

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I don't have any specific tips to give you since I didn't lose my faith until after my mother passed away. I honestly don't think I could have ever had any kind of discussion with her about religion, not open and honest anyway. I believe if she were still alive, I would probably still be a Christian fearing the wrath of eternal damnation, even though I always had my doubts. I admire you tremendously for having the courage to tell your parents about your loss of faith. Good luck to you and sorry I couldn't be more helpful. :-)

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Oh they've definitely been on my case. A while back I left their church which is more of a cult, and now I'm accused of being "in sin", I'm cursed, and at odds with God - simply because I left their group and now attend a 'normal' fundamentalist church. I still attend this 'normal' church now and again if only to keep up appearances and to have a laugh to myself at the garbage I used to believe. Amazing at how many families are disrupted all over nothing, and by nothing I mean some ancient book that no one can figure out enough to only have one single denomination.

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It will come up. They'll invite you to church or ask you to lead them in prayer, or something. I would be as non-confrontational as possible, but firm.

"You know, lately I've been doing a lot of studying, praying and thinking and I have come to some different conclusions than you regarding religion. I don't really believe that stuff anymore and I'm comfortable with that. I understand how you feel, since I was once there myself, so I know how wrong you must think I am about this. I don't feel the need to prove anything or explain my reasoning, but be assured it has been thorough. I hope you don't take my change of heart personally; I just hold a different opinion than you at this point. I also hope this difference of views doesn't come between us."

 

Good luck.

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It's tough man, I'm going through the same problem. I exchanged emails with my father, who, while religious, believe that the bible is mostly full of shit but he believed that he has had his own "experience" and therefore that should account for something. Nevermind everyone else's "experience" with different religions. He cites knowledge by acquaintance as opposed to knowledge by description.

 

My mother however, would cry every single night if she knew. There is no way to tell her that will make it better. She is soft, and would be devastated. Reason and explanations won't do anything to help, I fear. My biggest problem is that I am only 20, and I cant keep this a secret for the next 50 years. Especially when it comes to raising my children.

 

Wish I had advice for you.

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It's tough man, I'm going through the same problem. I exchanged emails with my father, who, while religious, believe that the bible is mostly full of shit

 

I wonder if someone like your dad would be harder to convince in the long run. My dad is a very by-the-book "if it says it, I believe it" christian, and he's also had experiences with God that 'proves' that God is real. When I left christianity, it was because the inspired Word of God had too many problems with it and the God described didn't match up to what I saw in the real world. And therefore, I had to conclude that my own "experience" with God was a result of something else. If it comes down to it, I'm hoping to use the same angle with my Dad and hope it plants a few seeds of doubt.

But for someone that doesn't believe the bible, yet still proclaims the God of the bible.....sheesh! How would you tackle it? All you've got left is personal experience, and how can you 'prove' their experience was false? I think that would be very difficult until they themselves admit chance, coincidence, power of suggestion, etc.

 

My mother however, would cry every single night if she knew. There is no way to tell her that will make it better.

 

Mothers are a different breed. It's like they are immune to doctrinal reasoning. Anytime you try to go through the logic of how a supposed doctrine doesn't make sense or doesn't add up, they pull the emotional card. At least my mother does. When I left their cult, I wrote my mother emails explaining why I didn't believe their particular brand of doctrines, and my words were basically ignored in favor of "We raised you the best we can, how can you turn your back on us? You've hurt us deeply. I'm sure you'll just reply with more bible stuff, but you're just full of spiritual pride" etc etc.

 

I know my mother will flip out when I tell my parents I no longer believe, and I considered only telling my dad and having him relay the information (so that I could focus on the doctrinal issues, and not have my mother bawling and carry on). But the problem is he'll likely omit my reasons and twist things around to make me look like I'm under the influence of Satan or something. I think it's better if she hears things straight from me.

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It will come up. They'll invite you to church or ask you to lead them in prayer, or something. I would be as non-confrontational as possible, but firm.

"You know, lately I've been doing a lot of studying, praying and thinking and I have come to some different conclusions than you regarding religion. I don't really believe that stuff anymore and I'm comfortable with that. I understand how you feel, since I was once there myself, so I know how wrong you must think I am about this. I don't feel the need to prove anything or explain my reasoning, but be assured it has been thorough. I hope you don't take my change of heart personally; I just hold a different opinion than you at this point. I also hope this difference of views doesn't come between us."

 

Good luck.

 

 

May I steal this? I'm in a similar situation to the topic originator. This is perfect.

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I have a few questions before offering any advice:

 

How old are you?

 

Are you dependent on your parents in any way? Financially? Emotionally? Live under the same roof?

 

What exactly do you hope to accomplish? (this isn't sarcasm.)

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It's been six months since I jumped-ship on christianity, and now I'm feeling I should tell my parents. They're fundamentalists and they live in the same city as me, so it's not easy trying to pretend. I know they'll hit the roof, though I have studied enough to provide numerous answers for why I no longer believe. I know that reasoning and explaining my position may not work either, so I'm looking for any tips or feedback from other ex-fundamentalists.

 

thanks

 

Years ago when I initially came out, my mother and step father took it as an attack on them, my mother especially. They though my disbelief was like me calling them stupid for believing. My mother has attacked me many times over the years (verbal tantrums), until last year I took a stand and let her know why I COULD NOT believe at all. She still cries about it every once in a while to me, because my children are going to hell with me. My wife is now an agnostic and that makes it bad with even my mainstream (semi-liberal- denomination) in-laws. I have found that once most people find out you are an atheist, they take it as you calling them dumb for believing in a god.

 

good luck. Fundy parents are no fun at all.

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You guys might find this helpful also.

 

 

Thanks for that, I'll check it out.

 

How old are you?

 

Are you dependent on your parents in any way? Financially? Emotionally? Live under the same roof?

 

What exactly do you hope to accomplish? (this isn't sarcasm.)

 

Hi Rank Stranger, I'm not dependent on my parents at all. I'm old enough to be married and in my own home.

 

What I want to accomplish is laying the cards on the table with my beliefs, since there's a lot of friction at the moment with regards to me leaving their cult. I love my parents, so I think I at least owe it to them to be straight up, rather than always trying to dodge the issue whenever we get together.

 

 

good luck. Fundy parents are no fun at all.

Thanks for your feedback NoGods :)

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You guys might find this helpful also.

 

 

Best wishes!

 

 

Thanks! That was a good video. I love her stuff.

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Hi Rank Stranger, I'm not dependent on my parents at all. I'm old enough to be married and in my own home.

 

What I want to accomplish is laying the cards on the table with my beliefs, since there's a lot of friction at the moment with regards to me leaving their cult. I love my parents, so I think I at least owe it to them to be straight up, rather than always trying to dodge the issue whenever we get together.

Discern,

 

Your best bet is to sit your parents down and tell them that you appreciate the things they have taught you and the fact that they have shared with you the "God" of their own beliefs. Try to make them understand that you do not have bad feelings toward them for what they have taught you.

 

The next step is not to give them the "full monty" so to speak. Don't do the whole, "I don't believe in God" bit. Make this a phased experiment if you will. You are now feeling drawn "by God" to explore some new thoughts. It is critical to keep "God" in the picture at first. Don't hammer them with Atheism all at once.

 

They are not going to like this new "God experiment" much either, but at least you can fall back on the fact that you are trying to "follow" after where God is leading you at this time. You can work with modifications as need be and IF need be as time goes on.

 

Remember that you have nothing to gain by creating a rift with them that may be insurmountable now or in the future. Also remember that they "truly believe" what they believe. Try to be gentle in your approach and grateful for their bringing you up in the way that they thought best. Your kindness will go a long way.

 

Pappy

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Thanks pappy - I think it's wise to show appreciation to them and make sure they know I'm not blaming them for anything. Good advice.

 

 

 

 

 

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It's tough man, I'm going through the same problem. I exchanged emails with my father, who, while religious, believe that the bible is mostly full of shit

 

I wonder if someone like your dad would be harder to convince in the long run. My dad is a very by-the-book "if it says it, I believe it" christian, and he's also had experiences with God that 'proves' that God is real. When I left christianity, it was because the inspired Word of God had too many problems with it and the God described didn't match up to what I saw in the real world. And therefore, I had to conclude that my own "experience" with God was a result of something else. If it comes down to it, I'm hoping to use the same angle with my Dad and hope it plants a few seeds of doubt.

But for someone that doesn't believe the bible, yet still proclaims the God of the bible.....sheesh! How would you tackle it? All you've got left is personal experience, and how can you 'prove' their experience was false? I think that would be very difficult until they themselves admit chance, coincidence, power of suggestion, etc.

 

Yeah, it certainly is a weird situation. He is an extremely logical man, a person who spends all his time reading Socrates and thinking about stoicism. But for some reason he just hasnt come to the same conclusion as me. It's certainly a strange thing. I specifically pointed out the "have your cake and eat it too" problem he was having, but he just believes that his experience trumps everything else. He certainly isn't an asshole about it, though.

 

 

 

 

 

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You guys might find this helpful also.

 

 

Best wishes!

 

I sent this video to my father, thank you very much.

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  • 2 weeks later...

It's been six months since I jumped-ship on christianity, and now I'm feeling I should tell my parents. They're fundamentalists and they live in the same city as me, so it's not easy trying to pretend. I know they'll hit the roof, though I have studied enough to provide numerous answers for why I no longer believe. I know that reasoning and explaining my position may not work either, so I'm looking for any tips or feedback from other ex-fundamentalists.

 

thanks

 

You might consider writing a letter and seeing to it that, when they get it, there is a day or two before they can meet with you. That way you don't have to endure the initial shock with the obligatory shouting and screaming. Aside from that, there is probably no easy way to do what they will see as a betrayal.

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Here's the response *I* got when *I* recently came out to my folks. Felt like a good swift kick in the nuts. Note that my mother compares it to me dying. Nice.

 

************

 

I really don't know what to say at this time. as for showing this to dad, not yet. I don't know what could have influenced you to such error and you are smart enough to know it is error...but I will continue to pray that you ask for forgiveness & repent. because whether you want to believe it or not, the big boom did not just happen, we were not evolved from apes, but created by GOD.....you sound as if you are almost defiant in your decision.....and have become an atheist....I just don't think you need to express this to your dad at this time....I appreciate you sharing it with me & love you for it....but it is almost like loosing another son...and I have always prayed that I would not outlive another son. it is just so hard to believe anyone, especially my own, would ever disclaim GOD. I will never stop loving you..but this, I can not even begin to comprehend or understand. again, I thank you for sharing and I am proud that you did,, but you are so so so in error. and I hope you soon come to realize that & have time to make amends. love you, mom

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hmm, that's a good suggestion. Thanks reluctantagn. I guess I didn't think about that because I didn't want to tell them like a pussy (kinda like breaking up with someone via text msg), but considering the circumstances and magnitude of the subject, a brief letter/email is probably a way to soften the blow before meeting them in person. After all, I've had a very long time to think about my decision, but they haven't.

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Seems like a reasonable response, I am sure she will tell your dad.

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Seems like a reasonable response, I am sure she will tell your dad.

 

 

I'll give her a week. If she doesn't, I will. I'm tired of this.

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She sounds like a hopeless cause. At least she still loves your devil worshiping, baby eating, science believing ass.

 

Remember, you're not out to hurt anyone and you're not responsible for the beliefs, education and feelings of others. It's her (and Dad's) choice to adopt a philosophy that excludes rationality.

 

Time will probably help heal. Good luck.

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She sounds like a hopeless cause. At least she still loves your devil worshiping, baby eating, science believing ass.

 

Remember, you're not out to hurt anyone and you're not responsible for the beliefs, education and feelings of others. It's her (and Dad's) choice to adopt a philosophy that excludes rationality.

 

Time will probably help heal. Good luck.

 

 

Thanks! Not meaning to hi-jack the thread here...just thought my scenario might be relevant.

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