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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?

Ain't that the truth?

 

This is why I always advocate "Coming out" of the closet. (We could learn something from the gay community.) It isn't healthy to live this lie. And why should we? What "evil" have we done? We just no longer believe an obvious fairy tale. Why should this make us "bad" people? Fact is, we aren't. And we need to be encouraged and bold enough to explain this. If our family and friends can't accept this, then what kind of sick relationships have we been nursing?

 

I would much rather END a sick relationship than continue walking on egg shells. It's too hard on the nerves. I once suffered a nervous breakdown pretending to be what I wasn't, trying to make everyone else "happy." Once I figured out what I was doing to myself, I quit pretending and just let everyone have it. It wasn't all that clean, but I still felt better having cleared the air. And now I don't have to pretend to be "Christian". No one expects me to go to church, or pray, or nothing. And I can enjoy all my "worldly" pleasures in full view of the world. No more hiding my copy of "Atheism" by George Smith. No more pretending not to like sci-fi and fantasy. I'm free!

 

If people can't handle the truth, if they can't accept me for me, then they aren't worth keeping around. I'm done being "phoney".

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I've found coming out about my deconversion to be sometimes easy and sometimes tricky. With my immediate family, I have had no problems whatsoever. I can be honest with them, and they're honest with me, and we respect one another enough to go our separate ways happily enough no matter what we discuss. And even though I was extra cautious revealing this to my mother, she was more than understanding despite her disagreement.

 

My grandmother and grandfather have been entirely different matters. When I told my grandmother, she got very upset. I was afraid for a while that she might just attempt to abduct me and somehow force me to believe her way. Then again, she sees herself as matriarch of the family and her way is always right, no matter what. We've had major disagreements on other issues as well.

 

When I told grandpa, he just said that one could read the Bible from cover to cover many times, get different meanings for parts, and even find literally thousands of errors and contradictions, but that every single bit of it was true. I felt more sorry for him than anything, because for the most part he is actually a very intelligent man. It was just sad to hear him say that there were major problems but to just turn of his reason like that.

 

I typically try to be gentle with the revelation when I can, but I have found that the more I do this, the easier the band aid approach becomes.

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Guest Odinist

Well I told my parents when I was young. They just laughed and thought it was a "stage." As the years continued I refused to pray. It was a hell of a fight for me. They made me go to Christian schools and I was banned from a couple for "preaching my beliefs". They eveuntally gave up and let me live like I am. It's horrible because at christian holiday's they have pretty much shunned me. I take it and give it. :loser: Pretty much all I have to say.

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I told my parents a few months ago cause I was tired of pretenting around them. It didn't really work cause all they do now is avoid the topic all together, when it comes up they get mad and usually resort to some dogmatic teaching like "Your just mad at God" and the like.

 

Mostly they try to pretend it never happened, and just ignore it. I guess I can live with that, but what pisses me off is that they used to complain all the time that we didn't have an real and honest relationship, and now THEY are the ones shutting down real comunication.

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I told my parents a few months ago cause I was tired of pretenting around them. It didn't really work cause all they do now is avoid the topic all together, when it comes up they get mad and usually resort to some dogmatic teaching like "Your just mad at God" and the like.

 

My mom found out a few months ago that I am no longer a Christian, and she doesn't really want to believe it either. She said I'll probably change my mind and come back; or that I'll waffle on my beliefs. It kind of upsets me a little, but if that helps her deal with it, I guess I'll just leave it be.

 

 

Anyway, how did she find out? I left my laptop out in their living room, and she looked at my bookmarks in firefox.

 

Jovial Atheist

American Atheists

Ex-Christian.Net

Talk.Origins

etc...

 

And my wallpaper showcased secular humanism and had the text "It's only ever been about us"

 

How's that for coming out?? :eek:

 

That and I got frustrated with an Intelligent Design conversation that we had and shot ID down point by point. (Which preceeded her looking at my browser bookmarks) So it was basically my mom that then asked me point blank "Do you not believe in God anymore?" I answered her honestly and tried to talk her through my reasoning in not believing in the Christian Deity anymore, and I think she understood why I no longer believe. So she told my dad about my deconversion, so I know that both of my parents know about it. I'm not entirely sure about anyone else in my family right now, but I feel comfortable enough in my beliefs now that I'm not afraid to talk about them, and if the situation comes up I will be open and honest about myself. Indeed, it is the only way to be.

 

As far as my friends go, I just came out with "I'm an atheist," and it didn't bother them at all. They're not Christians anyway, but it did kind of fascinate them how a rabid fundy such as my (ex)self could change his beliefs so completely. (My change in beliefs were actually a long time in the making, but I hid them from view.) It has made for a lot of great conversation about religion and morality and such since I admitted my atheism.

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This is why I always advocate "Coming out" of the closet. (We could learn something from the gay community.) It isn't healthy to live this lie. And why should we? What "evil" have we done? We just no longer believe an obvious fairy tale. Why should this make us "bad" people? Fact is, we aren't. And we need to be encouraged and bold enough to explain this. If our family and friends can't accept this, then what kind of sick relationships have we been nursing?

 

 

Thanks Mr. Grinch, you took the words out of my mouth. The person “hiding in the closet” is telling the world they are ashamed of themselves. It sends out the wrong message.

 

My mother was the only one who had an issue with my de-conversion. When she would tell me how “concerned” she was for me, I would just turn the table and say the same thing about her. (Mom, your faith is irrational and I worry that you are being controlled) We do have the right to our opinions, and if Christians in our families insist on telling me theirs, then turn-about is fair play.

 

IBF

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My mom found out a few months ago that I am no longer a Christian, and she doesn't really want to believe it either. She said I'll probably change my mind and come back; or that I'll waffle on my beliefs. It kind of upsets me a little, but if that helps her deal with it, I guess I'll just leave it be.

 

Yeah, my parents are acting like that right now, too. When several years go by and I don't join another church, perhaps then they'll figure out that yes, this really is the path I am on, and accept it. At least, I don't live with them anymore. That would make it all the more harder.

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“Breaking the Bad News.”

 

HOW did you tell people you no longer believed? What method did you use? Was it face-to-face?

 

Yes it was face-to-face.

Of course, fundyism is largely unknown here in Germany, so maybe my reply doesn't "count" as much as a US citizen's reply. But anyway... :pureevil:

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For the most part, the revelation of my apostacy was accidental. I think it began when in January of 03', I was visited by some Mormons, whom I proceeded to embarass by way of their lack of understanding of their own religion. My younger sister, who to my knowledge is still quite devout, insisted that I explain the nature of my beliefs. I told her, and supported with evidence, that I believed that Jesus existed, but wasn't necessarily god. I also told her I didn't believe in Hell. As I was still living at home at the time, I was sorry I told her that if hell existed, I'd be going there. Additionally, I lied for that same purpose: I don't actually believe Jesus existed, and I refrained from telling her I neither believed in heaven, the soul, the afterlife, or any anthropomorphic deities.

 

Also, I left a book where my stepmother could get to it. A book by Bishop Shelby Spong, a christian, which just happened to mention the word Atheist a couple times. I was threatened with 'eviction' due to it, and my evident lack of belief (that's pretty much what she said too, that she didn't like that I didn't believe the same as she did) stemming from the fact that I hadn't stepped foot in church that they knew of in 3 years. I'm lucky I guess that she didn't find me with another book I had entitled "Atheism: A Reader" :phew:

 

Right before I left, she told me that one of the conditions for staying there was that I had to start going to church. Not her church necessarily, but a church. These days, I am waiting for them to question my beliefs, so I can completely unload on them. I no longer fear hurting them with it because they can't do anything about it.

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There seems to be a tacit understanding between my dad and me. Last Christmas Eve, he asked if I was going to church-- but more of a head count than anything else. I'm sure he's disappointed, serving as the head of the congregation for a year or two, being a greeter for too many Sundays, but he seems to be at peace with it.

 

We had Thanksgiving at my wife's aunt & uncle's house, and her aunt asked me point blank what I was, and I did reply atheist. She is a Baptist of two or three years, at the prodding of her son. Again, normal all the way through.

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For the most part, the revelation of my apostacy was accidental. I think it began when in January of 03', I was visited by some Mormons, whom I proceeded to embarass by way of their lack of understanding of their own religion. My younger sister, who to my knowledge is still quite devout, insisted that I explain the nature of my beliefs. I told her, and supported with evidence, that I believed that Jesus existed, but wasn't necessarily god. I also told her I didn't believe in Hell. As I was still living at home at the time, I was sorry I told her that if hell existed, I'd be going there. Additionally, I lied for that same purpose: I don't actually believe Jesus existed, and I refrained from telling her I neither believed in heaven, the soul, the afterlife, or any anthropomorphic deities.

 

Also, I left a book where my stepmother could get to it. A book by Bishop Shelby Spong, a christian, which just happened to mention the word Atheist a couple times. I was threatened with 'eviction' due to it, and my evident lack of belief (that's pretty much what she said too, that she didn't like that I didn't believe the same as she did) stemming from the fact that I hadn't stepped foot in church that they knew of in 3 years. I'm lucky I guess that she didn't find me with another book I had entitled "Atheism: A Reader" :phew:

 

Right before I left, she told me that one of the conditions for staying there was that I had to start going to church. Not her church necessarily, but a church. These days, I am waiting for them to question my beliefs, so I can completely unload on them. I no longer fear hurting them with it because they can't do anything about it.

 

Did you go to a church, Dhampir?

 

I don't live with my parents, but they help me out financially. My mom told me she wants me to take my kids to church, she doesn't care what denomination it is, as long as it's a church. So, I'm going to take the kids to a Unitarian church. They are a bit New Age for me, but at least they consider Atheism and Agniticism as valid paths.

 

Taph

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Did you go to a church, Dhampir?
Sure did. Went to a church most of my life, where practically everyone had the same last name and/or was related. We had the same last name but were related to no one there. :shrug:

 

I stopped going when I was about 16 altogether, but had trailed off going for long before, making constant excuses just because I didn't like getting up early on sundays. Long story there, perhaps one day I'll finally write my testimony.

 

Anyway, when I left, it was a mutual decision. And I made a completely clean break. I don't owe them anything, and the only thing I have asked for since leaving is a place to store some of my shit till I get a decent sized apartment.

 

I'd say break financially from them, however, you have kids, which if you depend on their money to maintain them, they will be the ones hurt. My suggestion would be to explain the nature of your beliefs as they are, and try, whatever is necessary to make them see the hypocrisy of forcing their beliefs on you and your children. But of course, if you don't want to do that, I hear a lot of traditional christians don't like unitarian churches anyway, so you can do that. It'll piss em of too, but shouldn't cause too much trouble.

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How Did You Announce Your Un-Belief?
I started buying books by well-known atheist and was like, "Mmm-hmm... those are mine."
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Since about 12 or 13, I have never believed in God, Jesus, heaven, hell, etc. I am now 27.

 

For years, my parents always kind of suspected that I didn't believe. But I played along with the whole charade simply because it was the easiest thing to do. I went to Mass (I'm a recovering Catholic); said the prayers; ate the little bread wafers, etc.

 

When I went off to college, I stopped attending Church altogether, even when I was home on the weekends. But I still went to Mass with my parents on "special" ocassions like X-MAS, Easter, and stuff like that. It was important to them. Even so, I think they knew by this point, but it was never discussed. At the time that was fine with me. I really didn't care one way or the other.

 

Then, just over a year ago, my wife and I had our first child. My parents had made all the arrangements to have her baptized. That's when I decided no more. I told them point blank that we are not baptizing our child, and that I am not Catholic. My wife pretty much feels the same way I do, although she has some faint Christian leanings now and then. My parents were shocked, angry, etc. We did not speak for weeks. But eventually they came around and got over it.

 

Now, religion is something that is never discussed. It's kind of like the big pink elephant in the room that everyone tries to ignore. For the most part though, things are pretty normal. There are some awkward times around the holidays when we say a prayer before X-MAS or Thanksgiving dinner, but that's about it.

 

My advice for those who are still in the closet...do not be ashamed of who you are, and do not be afraid to state your position. There is absolutely no reason to feel guilty because you believe differently than your family or friends. The guilt is a remnant from the brainwashing of Christianity. It is a religion based upon constant guilt and self deprecation. You must overcome that. I only wish I had done so sooner.

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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

 

Are you sure you want to go into business with someone with whom it is not possible to have an honest relationship?

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I have only "come out" to my husband and to a close friend. My family is all fundy "baptized in the Holy Spook" Xtians except for one of my brothers, so I haven't told them.

 

I recently considered telling my non-Xtian brother about this site, but then got concerned, since I use my real first name, that he might find my x-timony on here and "out" me. He and I are a lot alike and though I am more outgoing than he is, he and I are both impulsive, so I don't completely trust that he would keep my secret. And I especially don't trust his wife, who has back-stabbed several relatives. She's a JW, if that makes any difference.

 

So, for now, I'm in the closet.

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So, for now, I'm in the closet.

 

I have found that certain people shall remain in the dark, while others will not. It totalyy depends on how I expect them to react and whether or not they can be trusted not to go telling those on my untrusted list.

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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

 

Are you sure you want to go into business with someone with whom it is not possible to have an honest relationship?

 

um, isnt that the way it is with just about any job?

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Guest Vanzetti

It seems that a lot of people broke the news to their loved ones later in life, I guess I was an early bloomer. It was the summer going into my junior year and some how the parents got on to me about a book I had been reading, "The Art of Happiness." One thing lead to another and it turned into a shouting match where I finally told them that my belief in god has been slipping for a long time. This resulted in my father throwing me out of the house without shoes and no where to go.

 

They got over it and I came home a few nights later. The relationship with my parents has gotten a lot better. But my mother still likes to drop hints here and there such as the comment concerning one of my friends converting to christianity "It was so sad he was an atheist, you know, not having hope and life must of been so depressing." And my whole extened family knows and likes to send me Bibles. I have gotten more Bibles since I lost faith, then the 15 years I was a "christian."

 

My grandmother still likes to talk about atheists(and liberals) like they are demons sent to earth to ruin her life, which is weird since I'm both.

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I really haven't "come out of the closet" to many people, yet. It was only September of '04 that I finally began seriously giving up certain Xian beliefs consciously and finally brought many years of off-and-on private doubting to its rational end. Only my girlfriend and some of her friend really know of my religious views, and really only my girlfriend has listened to me explain them in-depth. I don't get a chance lately to see many of my friends since our lives are rather hectic, so I haven't had an opportunity to explain my conversion to reason-based belief.

 

I may never tell some people, like my father. He's a wonderful man, but I think it would really confuse and possibly hurt him were I to explain my change. My family isn't the sort that thinks too deeply on religious matters even though they have fervent personal belief, so going into philosophy and history, et al, would mostly fall on deaf ears. Plus, my father is over 80 and not in the best of health, so I'd rather live a lie and shoulder that myself than shock him with my new religious views and place additional stress on him. Of course, it may not be that bad at all, but at the moment I'd rather not risk it, and if living a little lie makes a nice old man happy and harms no one in the process, then I'm fine with that. As a Heathenish Deist, making a big to-do about my religion and suffering persecution for my views isn't nearly as important to me as when I was Xian; there's no need to be a martyr for a religious opinion in a rational world.

 

Most people will know in time. I think my mother will be ok with it, at least after my father goes to rest in peace. I'll tell my friends who don't know when I'm good and ready - it's not the end of the world if I don't right now. Most of this past year I've spent just trying to determine what I believe, so there wasn't really anything to explain yet, anyway. When I'm more fixed in some basic views, I'll break the news. Until then, I'll just live my life and not worry about things I really don't need to. The woman whom I'll spend the rest of my life with knows and accepts and sympathizes also, and that's all I really need :)

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Are you sure you want to go into business with someone with whom it is not possible to have an honest relationship?

 

um, isnt that the way it is with just about any job?

 

No.

 

And when you work with family, there's always an additional emotional factor.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Guest AgnosticMike

My deconversion happened around 4 years ago. I was a minister, an evangelist and apologist (defender of the faith). In essence I came out after deciding I wanted to rediscover my faith of 40 years. To begin I chose to start from the position of an agnostic, a neutral unknowing position. When I began reading my Bible once more I began to see and realise things I had never considered before.

 

I began to announce to my friends that I had thrown my faith away and met some interesting reactions. Unlike most people I enjoy talking about my agnostic philosophy much to the consternation of my friends and family. Because I have had formal theological training (3.5 years studying theology full time) I have been able to analyse Christian beliefs from a unique perspective. This makes me more than a handful to the Christians I know and few if any seem to be game to talk to me about the topic.

 

This has been frustrating for me and as a result I built a small web site to explain some of my thoughts and questions. This enables friends and acquaintances to discuss the subject without having to confront me face to face. Many of the Christians I know find my deconversion confusing. They simply cannot understand what has happened to me.

 

My own family are not game to talk about the subject either even when I invite them to talk about various issues. The problem for them is I raise objections and questions they have never heard before. When you live in the protected walls of a church community you rarely get the chance to hear serious objections to the faith. For any of you who are interested in my questions and objections you can try this link http://users.tpg.com.au/mlsheen/index.htm. I’m not here to promote it but I am interested in the views and opinions of others like me.

 

My wife found it very difficult at first but has begun her own journey away from the church. She is not where I am but is slowly beginning to realise that the other side of faith is quite different to what she first imagined.

 

Regards

 

AgnosticMike

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My deconversion happened around 4 years ago. I was a minister, an evangelist and apologist (defender of the faith). In essence I came out after deciding I wanted to rediscover my faith of 40 years. To begin I chose to start from the position of an agnostic, a neutral unknowing position. When I began reading my Bible once more I began to see and realise things I had never considered before.

 

I began to announce to my friends that I had thrown my faith away and met some interesting reactions. Unlike most people I enjoy talking about my agnostic philosophy much to the consternation of my friends and family. Because I have had formal theological training (3.5 years studying theology full time) I have been able to analyse Christian beliefs from a unique perspective. This makes me more than a handful to the Christians I know and few if any seem to be game to talk to me about the topic.

 

This has been frustrating for me and as a result I built a small web site to explain some of my thoughts and questions. This enables friends and acquaintances to discuss the subject without having to confront me face to face. Many of the Christians I know find my deconversion confusing. They simply cannot understand what has happened to me.

 

My own family are not game to talk about the subject either even when I invite them to talk about various issues. The problem for them is I raise objections and questions they have never heard before. When you live in the protected walls of a church community you rarely get the chance to hear serious objections to the faith. For any of you who are interested in my questions and objections you can try this link http://users.tpg.com.au/mlsheen/index.htm. I’m not here to promote it but I am interested in the views and opinions of others like me.

 

My wife found it very difficult at first but has begun her own journey away from the church. She is not where I am but is slowly beginning to realise that the other side of faith is quite different to what she first imagined.

 

Regards

 

AgnosticMike

Hi AM,

 

As a fellow agnostic, I just want to say hi.

 

Welcome to the forum

 

Pritish

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Welcome, Mike... I am looking through your site now. I think it's amusing you and your wife communicate through the "letters" section. ;)

 

On Liar, Lunatic, or Lord... I have taken to saying Liar, Lunatic, Lord, or Legend. ;) We can have our cutesy phrases too you know!

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