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Breaking The "bad" News

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I know that many of us have written anti-testimonies, but in the interest of saving search time, I thought it would be convenient to have a thread dedicated to the actions and re-actions of the most important and most difficult aspect of leaving Christianity:

 

“Breaking the Bad News.”

 

HOW did you tell people you no longer believed? What method did you use? Was it face-to-face? Did you write/e-mail them? Was it planned or spontaneous? And more importantly, DID IT WORK? If you had to do it all over again, would you have chosen a different method? Would a different method have made things “easier”, less painful, or less confusing?

 

Was it better to just “rip off the Band-aid®”, throw cold water in their face to shock them, or should you have eased into the topic over time?

 

Or maybe even not told anyone at all? Or waited until MUCH later, for a better moment. What advice would you give to anyone in YOUR situation, knowing what you know now? How’d you do it?

 

I’ll start.

 

I deliberately used the “Band-aid®” method on everyone, and in retrospect, I wish I hadn’t. My wife was absolutely shocked and dismayed to learn so abruptly that her former “godly”, previously rabid Evangelistic husband no longer believed in “Jesus”.

 

For two years I had been researching and cataloging what I found wrong with Christianity, and when I was done I just dumped the entire load into her lap and said, “Cool, huh?!” I thought that she would appreciate my blunt and frank disclosure. Brother was I wrong!!!

 

She freaked. She couldn’t talk to me for days after that. She actually believed that my unbelief meant that I wanted a divorce! (Christians typically believe that “apostasy” equates to “a desire to sin greatly”, ergo she expected me to sprout horns and go live at the local Tittie bar!)

 

Eventually I managed to calm her down and explain that my unbelief simply meant that I would no longer be pretending to believe in fairy tales, and NOT that I had a desire to “fulfill my lusts of the flesh.” (I didn’t think it was prudent to inform her just then of my newly minted secular views on “sin” and sexuality, though. She was already freaking out. Why confuse the issue?)

 

I believe that I could have avoided all that confusion if I had SLOWLY revealed what I was learning and processing, and not just “sprung” the news on her in toto.

 

Ah well. Live and learn.

 

However, when it comes to my mother (father deceased), siblings and “other” family and associated nimnulls, I don’t care about stepping on THEIR toes. I ripped that Band-aid® off with glee! I never liked them anyway, so screw it. I don’t live with them, and I don’t care how they feel.

 

So, I don’t recommend the abrupt approach for those you care about. Un-cool. It’s a shock to the system, and people aren’t prepared to deal with it. Better to be gentle.

 

Although for those whom you don’t care about? Fuck it. Let ‘em have it between the eyes and don’t look back. Or don’t tell them at all. What do you care what they think?

 

So for me, the methodology depends on whom you’re dealing with and what outcome you desire.

 

Fun, fun.

 

Anyone else care to add their method/experience for breaking the "bad" news?

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Anyone else care to add their method/experience for breaking the "bad" news?

 

I guess I had it pretty easy. No one in my family was particularly religious, except for my mother when I was very young. None of them attended church or prayed either, so it was easy to avoid the discussion. It was twenty years after my de-conversion before I broached the subject with them in a rather casual manner. The only one who had any concern at all was my mother, and she only said, “Well, if there is a god, I am sure he knows your heart, and everything is fine.”

 

Out of four children, only my brother remains a Christian, my two sisters and I eventually reached the same rational conclusion.

 

IBF

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Hmm... well, I started the process before my husband. I tell him nearly everything, so I also told him about what I was leaning in school... half way in an attempt to get some counter-answers, and halfway as an attempt to open his eyes a bit. That goes on for about two years, and then I finally "come out" completely to him. He was not surprised or concerned for my soul or anything, but he was a little disappointed that I don't believe in Heaven (anyone ever seen that Malcolm in the Middle episode?). However, his full deconversion didn't follow for about a year or so.

 

I recommend the gradual method with spouses for sure... it may help them deconvert as well, and they are more able to see your point of view.

 

My mom is not a Christian, so that wasn't an issue... my father passed a long time ago.

 

I never told my best friend (all she knew was that I was taking a world religion course and a Bible history course at my university), but she figured something was up and decided I was not worth her friendship anymore. And I didn't even tell her anything... I don't know how she knew... maybe the magic spook told her. She dropped out of a world religion course she was taking because it challenged her faith... the last real conversation I remember having with her was about evolution (I was still a Christian). I was suggesting that one did not have to believe in Creationism to be a True Christian, and as she was going into nursing, maybe she should be open to it since it guides a lot of the science of her future profession. She seemed deeply disturbed, and I never realized until a couple years later that that is when our relationship began to crumble. It culiminated in her fired me as her maid of honor for her wedding... and went downhill after that. About a year and a half ago, we went to their apartment and saw a Rush Limbaugh sticker somewhere and made a comment in jest... but she got really offended at our comment and at the Tori Amos CD palying in my car. She has gone really wacky fundamentalist (obviously). For all she knows, I am a liberal Christian and that is enough for her to shun me. Anyway, so for best friends, I still have no idea what to suggest... I don't think either would been better for her. Some people just can't handle that kind of information.

 

My husband broke the news to his mother in a very bad way... he doesn't recommend it. It was Easter and he was asked to pray. He blurted out, "Not appropriate!! Someone else should pray." According to his mother, we have ruined all holidays from now on because of that. It wasn't quite that abrupt though... he had told her about going to mainline churches, not believing in Creationism, etc... and she was relateively ok with that (well, not really... she accused him of throwing out the baby with the bathwater, etc etc... did you leave because of how a specific church treated you, etc etc...). But I guess the BIG shocker was that he couldn't pray at Easter... you know, the Big Deal... the Resurrection... was no longer a part of his belief system.

 

I guess it just depends on the type of person you are coming out to in how you will break it to them... I can see benefits to both. If the person is reasonable and Christian, the gradual method is best. For people that you know will be unreasonable, well, either method will be disastrous. For people that won't give a rat's ass, I recommend the Band-Aid method. They won't care enough to make a big deal out of it. :)

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My parents aren't fundy, but they still go to church anyway for the socializing. I finally told them a while ago, and they said that they realized I was agnostic anyway.

 

But they STILL try to get me to pray and go to church with them all the time. They just cannot accept that there are people who don't believe and don't need to go to church for the socialization. They treat me as though something is wrong with me because I don't have the need to socialize like they do.

 

I am a member of a writing critique group and a Star Trek club. I am an introvert. That is as social as I will probably ever get. Church just does not work very well for introverts; the whole organized religion system is set up for the average extroverted type who needs to be around other people a lot. That is not me, it never has been, and it never will be, no matter how much they try to force religion and extroversion down my throat.

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I'll certainly pin this one Grinch. Damnned interesting subject, see quite a few folks have already perused it.

 

kL

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My mom and I have always had very lively discussions so, one day when the topic of faith came up, I told her that I didn't agree with everything in the Bible. Initially, she was a little upset. But a few days after, when the topic came up again, I told her what beliefs I do share with hers, such as goodness being a desirable state and evil being reprehensible, etc. She understood then, as much as we disagree on the Bible, I haven't fallen into any nastiness. She's also become an ally in my deconversion, protecting me from potentially less-than-pleasant exchanges, and often uses the excuse of my schedule (both when I was in school, and now when I am at work) as to why I don't attend church any longer.

 

With my Aunt Cynthia it was different. While we were praying at the dinner table one night (I had bowed my head out of respect) Mom, at the tail-end of the prayer, blurted out "in Jesus' name we pray", and I instinctively cringed. Mom apologized to me, and Aunt Cynthia flipped out. Aunt Cynthia told me then "you better believe in Jesus, or you're going to hell!"

 

A few months later, during the townwide Seafood Festival (if i remember correctly), we visited my old church because Mom was helping out at the church's stand outside selling homemade lemonnade and freshly squeezed orange juice. My uncle John had to use the bathroom, so we sat in Fellowship Hall and waited for him.

 

Aunt Cynthia asked me why I had a problem with "that man there", pointing to an artist's conception of Jesus hanging on the wall. I said I didn't have a problem, as it was nothing personal against him. I also stated that I believed he had been a good teacher in his time, but I don't think he wanted to be reverred as the Son of God. I stated that I found the message to be of more import than the messenger.

 

She hasn't brought the matter up again. When I told Yiayia (Aunt Cyn's mom) when she asked that I'm not a Christian, she merely shrugged and said "well, that's all right" and asked me if I believed in Jesus. I gave my standard reply that I believe in Jesus as a teacher, and she was ok with that.

 

Of course, I don't exactly believe in Jesus anymore, but I still believe the one message of "love one another".

 

As for my Aunt Lois, I haven't told her. There's a lot of people I haven't told. I tend to view faith as a personal matter, and tend to dodge questions a bit when I'm asked in real life. Here, I'm very outspoken because I feel like I can't be in real life. To shout it from the rooftops could court disaster.

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My husband broke the news to his mother in a very bad way... he doesn't recommend it. It was Easter and he was asked to pray. He blurted out, "Not appropriate!! Someone else should pray." According to his mother, we have ruined all holidays from now on because of that.

Ouch. Yeah, that was rather unfortunate, but in all likelihood, it was inevitable. This is what happens to those of us who lack an atmosphere of free discussion, AND when we have no "exit strategy."

 

We simmer and boil for weeks, months and years, wrestling with our unbelief. And then suddenly, someone touches the wrong nerve ending and we explode all over them. (I've done this once or twice.)

 

This is the primary reason I wanted to begin this dialogue. So that others who follow in our wake can be better prepared for those "revelation moments", without blowing their lid during a Holiday meal or over an innocent comment like "God bless you."

 

Here's hoping this helps someone.

 

(And thank you, Nivek, for pinning this subject.)

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Here, I'm very outspoken because I feel like I can't be in real life. To shout it from the rooftops could court disaster.

 

Right. Same here. I don't even feel like I can discuss my feelings with my family because we get into arguments whenever they start asking me what I think about religious stuff. It ends up with me having to use the "I'm sorry, but I really don't want to argue about this stuff right now" line.

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When my mom visited and first seen my Wicca for the solitary practioner book she said are you not worried about your soul! Are you crazy! I told my friends in Birmingham they gave me information papers I gave her. One of them invited her to their wedding.

After that she said they are very friendly people although I don’t like Wicca I know you’re at least in something safe. Im not sure why the pagan wedding changed her to be so calmly about it im glad it did. She is still against it but accepts it.

 

I was sitting with some friends at work and one of them said I am on satanic groups and worship Satan. I bluntly said I do not not worship Satan Wicca has nothing to do with Satan! He said what group are you on now. I said im on an exchristian group for those thinking of leaving Christianity. He said why? I said I don’t believe in it never have never will. one person sitting with us said I like your brutal honesty.

 

Iv told my friends seth and amy a few times they still try to get me to go to church.

Maybe someday they will stop.

 

My cousin dale, my half brother and sister from my dad and step mother is the ongly other family members that know. They don’t really care.

 

Im not sure but I wonder if my grandpa on my dads side is an atheist.

We were talking about resurrection how I didn’t think it could be possible. and he said I don’t think the dead rise I think they stay in the ground.

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My husband broke the news to his mother in a very bad way... he doesn't recommend it. It was Easter and he was asked to pray. He blurted out, "Not appropriate!! Someone else should pray."

 

:lmao: That struck me as particularly funny although I know it was NOT at the time. What were you thinking when he did that? Did you like, knock his leg under the table or punch him in the arm? Perhaps a glaring look from across the table? I'm picturing a "Honey, I cannot believe you said that" conversation on the way home.

 

I agree, that was definately not the way to go!!

 

 

LOL My eyes must have gotten really big, and then I remember glaring at him with look of half surprise and half fear. ;)

 

he also got the "I can't believe you did that!" talk on the way home. ;) His mother wouldn't even speak to him for days after that... he didn't even realize what was wrong... even though I told him what she was upset about.

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My husband broke the news to his mother in a very bad way... he doesn't recommend it. It was Easter and he was asked to pray. He blurted out, "Not appropriate!! Someone else should pray." According to his mother, we have ruined all holidays from now on because of that.

Ouch. Yeah, that was rather unfortunate, but in all likelihood, it was inevitable. This is what happens to those of us who lack an atmosphere of free discussion, AND when we have no "exit strategy."

 

We simmer and boil for weeks, months and years, wrestling with our unbelief. And then suddenly, someone touches the wrong nerve ending and we explode all over them. (I've done this once or twice.)

 

This is the primary reason I wanted to begin this dialogue. So that others who follow in our wake can be better prepared for those "revelation moments", without blowing their lid during a Holiday meal or over an innocent comment like "God bless you."

 

Here's hoping this helps someone.

 

(And thank you, Nivek, for pinning this subject.)

 

 

Exactly. You described it well when you said something touches the wrong nerve and we explode.

 

I hope someone can learn from this stuff and be mentally prepared for moments like those. Some people will never be reasonable about your decision, so it is best to know which situations may make you crack. If you are ok revealing your decision that way, then go for it... but I am guessing most of us don't want to traumatise those we love. I would say that the best way is gradually in most circumstances... and fake it if you have to until they have come to a decision to respect you and your desire to not have to pray in Jesus' name.

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I came out of the broom closet accidentally.

 

I can't even remember how the conversation happened. I have a feeling I may have been inadvertently outed by a manipulative boyfriend, but I'm not sure. Mostly I just remember that I was visiting my folks and somehow it came up that I was a witch and I no longer bought Xianity.

 

My dad the probably-atheist thought it was silly and ridiculous. My mom the semi-fundy was totally shocked and dismayed. There were a few very awkward questions thrown at me, of the "how can you believe this" variety; then we moved on to something else, though I was left with a sense that I was somehow in trouble.

 

Shortly after that I think my mom must've told the rest of my family. My sister actually talked to me about it. I made the attempt to explain the whole story but with my family's tendency to interrupt (a bad habit I unfortunately have sometimes too) it only came out in bits and pieces. She had a lot of questions, and comments about how I couldn't base my rejection of a religion on what one person had done, since it seemed like she thought I'd given up Xianity because of the antics of the fundy ex-SO I've mentioned here a few times.

 

Truth is, if there's the actions of any one individual I'd "blame" for my rejecting Xianity, it's the Xian god himself. And frankly I think he deserves the blame.

 

But I digress.

 

People kind of skirted around the issue for awhile. Eventually when I got officially engaged to my current spouse, and we decided to have an unabashedly pagan wedding/handfasting, my mom was forced to actually talk to me about it. I remember one particular phone convo that actually went pretty well. I think she just needed some time to ask all the questions she needed to ask in order to get a better handle on what I actually believed and figure out that I wasn't deflowering young virgins and eating babies. So in the end I got pretty lucky.

 

It isn't a hidden thing from anybody in my family that both myself and the spouse are pagans, but nobody talks about it much. One solid half of my family are devout Xians, and I suspect there's a measure of disappointment, but one of the advantages of family denial is that nobody talks about it - and hence, no arguments or proselytization. My gma could care less; my immediate family is, I think, more concerned that I'm happy; and the rest of 'em I'm not close enough to care about what they think of my religion anyway. Live and let live.

 

If I had to do it over again, I'd want it to be different. I don't mind at all that they know; I would likely have told them about it eventually, mostly I just wish I'd had more control over when and where.

 

In any event that was awhile ago. I think I came out of the broom closet in maybe 2001? And got married in 2004. Since the initial coming-out I've refined my belief system, and I don't think anybody's aware of it. I'm really pretty fiercely private about such things. My spirituality is the most vulnerable, intimate part of myself, so I'm extremely choosy about whom I share it with.

 

Anyhoo there it is. Thanks for reading. :)

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I haven't come right out and told my family. Though, I have dropped hints here and there, like I don't believe in hell. I don't believe in the personification of evil, as in Satan. I have said things like there are things about Christianity I just don't accept, and I don't want to go to church because I don't agree with everything they say. I go into the Gnosis "Everyone has their own Spiritual path." spiel.

 

I spent the afternoon with my mother today, and we don't talk about religion or beleifs. She has a reading project of reading the entire Bible. She has read the New Testament and half of Genisis, but she just matter of factly tells me then moves on to something else.

 

I told a good friend of mine that I no longer believe in Christianity. She didn't say anything to me, but just look "really" surprised. Later, she told me that one of the things she had always respected about me was that I had such a strong faith in God. What could I say? "Sorry, to disappoint you."

 

Some things are just better left unsaid.

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8 years old and telling your mum that you ain't going to church no more 'cos "it's silly and only daft kids believe it" might just be a way of doing it that I wouldn't recommend...

 

 

Of course, most of my family know I'm an Atheist, but they still insist on dragging me into their prayers. :vent:

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Earlier this year both of my parents, separately but on the same day, asked me point blank whether I was still a Christian or not. I was honest and told them that I do not consider myself a Christian any more. When I told them about our Spiritual church's beliefs, my mom was open-minded about it, but Dad made it very clear that he believes all mediums and psychics are phonies and frauds. He seemed very insulted that I believed that Jesus was a great medium, even though if you read the Bible he did a lot of things that mediums are supposed to be able to do (healed the sick, held a seance, levitated). Mom seemed interested in our church and wanted to come to a service, so when they came down to see us, we invited her to one and Dad stayed at the hotel.

 

I had a couple of conversations with my dad about our beliefs and it became obvious that we disagreed on too many things, so he ended up saying that maybe we just shouldn't discuss religion anymore, and that was fine with me. However, when I called my brother a couple of days ago, I found out that Mom and Dad had been talking to everyone else about it, including him. Not that I didn't already suspect they were doing this. I think that when I talk to them next, I may tell them that it's okay to talk to me about religion, as long as they do it with an open mind.

 

When I told my brother about it, he had some questions for me, mostly philosophical in nature, but also pertaining to the Bible. He said that he believed that there was only one true religion, implying that Christianity was it. But when I told him that I didn't think that God cares about religion, only what is in someone's heart, he agreed with that.

 

I guess my approach was to just let them ask on their own time. That way you know they're ready to hear something they may have suspected all along.

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I was sitting with some friends at work and one of them said I am on satanic groups and worship Satan. I bluntly said I do not not worship Satan Wicca has nothing to do with Satan! He said what group are you on now. I said im on an exchristian group for those thinking of leaving Christianity. He said why? I said I don’t believe in it never have never will. one person sitting with us said I like your brutal honesty.

 

I wouldn't tell people at work you are Wiccan. There's just too much discrimination in the corporate world. Some companies will "lay people off" for not being Christian. They'll call it that cause they can't fire you technically unless you give them a reason to fire you, and they will use a different excuse during the next round of layoffs so you'll have no proof of anything to sue them with. Unless you work in a place where there are a lot of non-conformists, I wouldn't say anything at all.

 

I tried to keep my mouth shut about being agnostic at my current job, but having a fundy cube mate who kept trying to debate me all the time made that virtually impossible. If they don't hire me permanently (I'm contract), I will make it a point to not say anything at my next job.

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Earlier this year both of my parents, separately but on the same day, asked me point blank whether I was still a Christian or not. I was honest and told them that I do not consider myself a Christian any more. When I told them about our Spiritual church's beliefs, my mom was open-minded about it, but Dad made it very clear that he believes all mediums and psychics are phonies and frauds. He seemed very insulted that I believed that Jesus was a great medium, even though if you read the Bible he did a lot of things that mediums are supposed to be able to do (healed the sick, held a seance, levitated). Mom seemed interested in our church and wanted to come to a service, so when they came down to see us, we invited her to one and Dad stayed at the hotel.

 

I had a couple of conversations with my dad about our beliefs and it became obvious that we disagreed on too many things, so he ended up saying that maybe we just shouldn't discuss religion anymore, and that was fine with me. However, when I called my brother a couple of days ago, I found out that Mom and Dad had been talking to everyone else about it, including him. Not that I didn't already suspect they were doing this. I think that when I talk to them next, I may tell them that it's okay to talk to me about religion, as long as they do it with an open mind.

 

When I told my brother about it, he had some questions for me, mostly philosophical in nature, but also pertaining to the Bible. He said that he believed that there was only one true religion, implying that Christianity was it. But when I told him that I didn't think that God cares about religion, only what is in someone's heart, he agreed with that.

 

I guess my approach was to just let them ask on their own time. That way you know they're ready to hear something they may have suspected all along.

 

Euphgeek,

 

Do you go to a Spiritualist church? I went to one for a while but the closest one to me now is a 45 min drive and I can't afford the gas to back and forth every Sunday.

 

Taph

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My little sister let the cat out of the bag for me. We were 13 and 15 at the time. My sister hated dull conversations. One day at the dinner table, religion came up somehow, a rarity for my family. Mary blurted out, "Rob is an atheist!" I almost shit my pants. My mother stomped that little fire out immediately. "No, he isn't!" she snapped. No one ever spoke of that exchange.

 

I never told my parents, but they have figured it out. I frequently write letters to the editor of our newspaper, which my parents read front to back, that make my secularist bent quite clear. My mother feels I have a right to my opinions. I think she may have Universalist tendencies. My father is disappointed that I'm not a conservative Christian republican like him, but he is proud that I write well and am passionate about teaching. We just avoid politics and religion because we are both strong-minded and those dicussions were harming our relationship.

 

As for friends, I just come right out with it. If they can't deal with it, fuck 'em. I've lost a couple, but most just compartmentalize the information and don't allow it to poison the relationship.

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I was sitting with some friends at work and one of them said I am on satanic groups and worship Satan. I bluntly said I do not not worship Satan Wicca has nothing to do with Satan! He said what group are you on now. I said im on an exchristian group for those thinking of leaving Christianity. He said why? I said I don’t believe in it never have never will. one person sitting with us said I like your brutal honesty.

 

I wouldn't tell people at work you are Wiccan. There's just too much discrimination in the corporate world. Some companies will "lay people off" for not being Christian. They'll call it that cause they can't fire you technically unless you give them a reason to fire you, and they will use a different excuse during the next round of layoffs so you'll have no proof of anything to sue them with. Unless you work in a place where there are a lot of non-conformists, I wouldn't say anything at all.

 

I tried to keep my mouth shut about being agnostic at my current job, but having a fundy cube mate who kept trying to debate me all the time made that virtually impossible. If they don't hire me permanently (I'm contract), I will make it a point to not say anything at my next job.

 

 

 

I hope that don’t happen. I don’t know how they found out.

I suspect one of my friends is a gossiper

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I wouldn't tell people at work you are Wiccan. There's just too much discrimination in the corporate world. Some companies will "lay people off" for not being Christian. They'll call it that cause they can't fire you technically unless you give them a reason to fire you, and they will use a different excuse during the next round of layoffs so you'll have no proof of anything to sue them with. Unless you work in a place where there are a lot of non-conformists, I wouldn't say anything at all.

 

I tried to keep my mouth shut about being agnostic at my current job, but having a fundy cube mate who kept trying to debate me all the time made that virtually impossible. If they don't hire me permanently (I'm contract), I will make it a point to not say anything at my next job.

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Euphgeek,

 

Do you go to a Spiritualist church? I went to one for a while but the closest one to me now is a 45 min drive and I can't afford the gas to back and forth every Sunday.

 

Taph

Yes, I do. Fortunately for me, it is only a 20 minute drive away.

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Quite awhile back I did a few 'podcasts' and put them on a new blog site of mine, damnablog.com - at some point I also updated my "about me" page on my family web site (thedixons.net) and mentioned podcasting and added a link back to damnablog. All of that is no big deal, except I then started making posts about my doubts regarding the Bible and God. At some point my Dad clicked that link. Busted.

 

But what chapped his hide the most was that the day he found out was just after we had met for a night out at dinner, and I had said grace over the meal! He was upset over my blasphemy!

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grinch, thanks for a great thread...i still have as of yet to come out to my family...i have mentioned a few things to one of my brothers and my other brothers wife (who has had her own personal struggle with christianity), but as far as i know, my parents dont know...my wife is completely supportive in as she is not a christian herself and never has been (another fact my parents are unaware of)...my problem is, my dad is a Church Of God (pentecostal, but not holiness, athough it might as well be) preacher/missionary, and my mom is his dutiful and just as, if not more so, kooky and fundie subserviant wife...it looks like i may be entering in to business with my dad in the near future, and as much as i really want to be open and honest with my family, i never really was able to be even when a xian, and much less now that i am not...i think that any technique of comming out to them would severely alter the already shakey relationship we have...they have always wanted a relationship with me, but it has always been on their terms (ie ill go to church with them, and whenever we hang out i get reminded about how people who finished college make more money, how gawd blesses those who tithe...blah blah blah), and now that i am having a child, the pressure is on for me and my wife to go to church, because the child needs to be raised in church...currently my work is my excuse for not going to church, but i dont know quite how long it will hold up...i guess i am just going to keep it to myself...as much as i want to be open and honest with them, id rather keep them in the dark and spare myself the greif...who knows...maybe it will all come out one day when they dont find me in heaven with them

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I guess I'm still pealing the bandaid. It took about a year to slowly reveal it to my wife (she still hates it but is becoming more accepting). My oldest child sort of knows, but I dodge around it (and will continue to do so for now per agreement with the wife). My mother and siblings know, but I think my dad has his head burried in the sand. He has been careful not to ask, and I'm not going to bring religion up unless asked.

 

A few coworkers who have asked know I'm "not religious", and a couple know I'm actually somewhat hostile toward religion.

 

This has worked ok for me. I suppose I'd take the same approach if I faced the problem a second time.

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I have not announced "I am no longer a Christian" to anyone in my family--yet. It's been almost 4 years since I left the evangelical church I attended (where my father still goes). I've dropped some thoughts and opinions on how I view things now, but these could be interpreted as simply "backsliding" into liberal Christianity (which for some of my more fundamentalist family members, may be as bad as becoming a satanist, humanist, etc.). I do go to a Unitarian church (though not a member) and have brought up this church a few times in conversation. But I've noticed I tend to mention it to those who won't make a big deal out of it, or those (like my father) who probably don't even understand what Unitarianism is about. This seems to work for the moment, as my more conservative Christian relatives don't ask much any more about my beliefs, (I think they're scared to) and yet....

I feel the need to come clean to them. Why? Firstly, I need to be true to myself. I feel very stifled living this way, watching what I say lest I offend or upset someone. They are free to speak of God, church, beliefs, and anything as applied to them... why shouldn't I? It feels like I'm hiding something horrible, which is maybe what the church wants you to feel when you've left them? I don't know. Also, I can't help but wonder what I would face if something would happen to me, as in an accident or being admitted to the hospital. Would my family assume I'm still Christian and call one of their ministers? They did this for a relative recently, and while they were a Christian and didn't mind, I don't think I'd like to be heading into surgery only to have my former pastor walk in to pray for me, all because my Dad assumed I would like it. Flat on your back in a hospital bed wouldn't be the time or place to deal with "Um, no Reverend, I'd rather you not pray for me...I don't believe that way any more....etc."

The other thought I've had, is that it's not being honest with my family. If I never tell them about my change of beliefs, then how could I, for example, expect them to know I don't want their ministers showing up when I'm sick? I can't expect them to read my mind, though guessing and assuming others wishes is a disfunctional trait in my family. I would like to break that tradition.

So, I just look for easy ways to bring things up. No big shocking announcement, or mass emailing of a "Hey, I'm no longer a Christian!!!" message sent out to everyone. I'm just taking it one day at a time.

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So, I just look for easy ways to bring things up. No big shocking announcement, or mass emailing of a "Hey, I'm no longer a Christian!!!" message sent out to everyone. I'm just taking it one day at a time.

 

That gives me an idea - it's time for our annual Christmas newsletter.....hmmmmmm.....

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