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Breaking The "bad" News

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...........

As for friends, I guess I kind of have a "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. If anyone asks me about my relationship with Christ, or how I'm doing spiritually, or where I go to church these days, I will freely tell them that I have renounced Christianity; if they invite me to a church function, I will politely decline. I'm not really ready for the avalanche of witnessing that comes from telling a Christian that you're not a Christian anymore, and I've already had my fill of "but don't you care about your soul?" questions, so I only tell if it comes up in conversation.

 

My current roommate is on the fence about his own Christianity, but we don't really talk about it... I figured I'd found my way on my own, and he has no problem with my decision, I'm sure he'll discover his own way too.

Ah Wisdom! Ya gotta love it! Welcome to the forum and the land of Freethought, labratsolo. It sounds to me that you've got a level head, and a well thought out method for dealing with things. That's great. Keep up the good work.

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I grew up in a large, very religous family, but most of my brothers and sisters have come to the same conclusion, long before I did, so among us it's pretty much unspoken, anyway. My mother, I'm not so sure I will ever tell her, I'm am convinced that hearing the news from her youngest would kill her, for sure...

 

As for friends, I guess I kind of have a "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. If anyone asks me about my relationship with Christ, or how I'm doing spiritually, or where I go to church these days, I will freely tell them that I have renounced Christianity; if they invite me to a church function, I will politely decline. I'm not really ready for the avalanche of witnessing that comes from telling a Christian that you're not a Christian anymore, and I've already had my fill of "but don't you care about your soul?" questions, so I only tell if it comes up in conversation.

 

My current roommate is on the fence about his own Christianity, but we don't really talk about it... I figured I'd found my way on my own, and he has no problem with my decision, I'm sure he'll discover his own way too.

 

Yes, very well-put. Welcome to the board, and good for you! I am pretty much the same, revealing my religious opinions only when the conversation comes to that, for the most part. There's no need to go and preach the good news of Deism or however I see things, anyway. I won't hide it if questioned, but don't feel the need to march around and show it off, either.

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Guest Perry
I've already had my fill of "but don't you care about your soul?"

questions, so I only tell if it comes up in conversation.

Of course, that type of rejoinder presumes too much.

It also seeks to put the blame on you and the burden

of disproof on your shoulders. Whether wittingly or

otherwise, it's a very manipulative tactic. The burden

of proof lies with those making the claim for something

(the existence of gawd). It is not up to the rational

person to prove anything other than the showing that

the evidence advanced by the ‘believer’ is incredible

and fantastic.

 

One hard "break" to make is re-appraising the long-used

jargon. "Soul?" "Whazzat?" Those should be the answers.

Followed by something like, “I've given up believing in the

Easter bunny, Father Christmas, the Tooth fairy and now

I've given up believing in religious fables. It's just part of

my growing up."

 

The same goes for “convicted in your heart” and other such

emotive claims. “The heart is a muscle that pumps blood.

All references to affairs of the heart are to do with feelings.

Not a one has anything to do with reason and intellect.

I use my head to make most important decisions and

I recommend you do the same.”

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Guest chris 1.0

so far I have only told a few people. My wife didn't take it well at first but is slowly coming around. she sits on the fence herself but I believe a fear of hell and a lifelong belief chokehold is keeping here believing. If her parents found out I'm pretty sure they would push her to divorce (which she wouldn't do) because they are uber fundies. I told my mother that I didn't really believe anymore and she actually didn't seem that upset but just said "well try not to give up completely" but other than that she was cool with it. My biggest fear is actually telling my closest friends but I'm pretty sure they are starting to "get the drift" so to speak.

 

a funny story :

 

a kid who I once mentored and "led to the lord" IM'd me asking for biblical advice and when I told him "I can't really give you any of that anymore" he freaked out.

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I told my wife as soon as I had finished reading what convinced me. She only started going to church when we got together, so she doesn't know a whole lot about the religion to begin with. In that sense, she draws on her own feelings and traditions as someone from a different culture, and therefore has never been into the idea of the alternative to being a Christian being a damned heathen.

 

She still suggests we should go to church, because in all honesty the minister is a very good preacher and Sunday services are deliberately intended for general use. They consider home groups and stuff to be where a Chrisitian needs to be visiting for spiritual watering.

 

But I also know about what he's like Monday to Saturday and that most of the elders that started the church have since left it, because of the direction it has taken.

 

I might need to tell my wife a bit more about the dirty laundry before she loses interest in church altogether.

 

Anyway, my great aunt rang today to ask when our baby son is going to be baptised, being the widow of an Anglican minister and all. She doesn't know about our deconversion and I will only tell her if she annoys me too much. The reason she is asking about baptism is nothing to do with spirituality: she is just, as always, trying to have things her way. She knows our entire religious history since I was old enough to go to Sunday school has been in churches that do not practice baptism of infants. In fact, I once heard her late husband telling some people at a gathering that he always told enquirers that it was not biblical and not appropriate. I wonder if he ever told her (she was bigger than he).

 

Of my closest friends, the only one I believe is/still is a Christian is probably not suitable to tell: I think he is just the kind of personality that is attracted to things of firmness. He spent a good while before his return to the church trying to score with nubile girls of an age Joseph Smith used to prefer and banging around a bit with those that let him. That said, at least he knows what it's like to be an ex-Christian, albeit not with the knowledge that the faith is false, just out of preference for his other interests for a time.

 

However, I really would like to break it to those friends I think fell away years ago, just so they know they themselves have nothing to hide from me. The question is how many of them, since they know people that know people that know people I don't want to know.

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i haven't told anyone. it isn't a secret or anything, though. i just didn't see it worth telling everyone about it.

 

i still go to youth group(free food) and i understand the bible more than most of the christians do. i guess to be a christian, you can't understand it that well. if you did, you wouldn't be a christian.

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Well, coming from a oneness pentecostal church.....I cut of my loooong blond hair to about 3 inches long and dyed it burgundy and called the cops on anyone that called me telling me to come back to the lawd!!

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I had just graduated from college (a Christian college nonetheless) and had been an ex-Christian for a year prior to graduating. A week after returing home from college, I wrote my parents a letter dropping the big news. After 6 months of living with them (and the range of emotions they went through knowing their daughter was "turning her back on god") I moved out of their house an hour away to go to graduate school. Through the help of a small school loan and federal student aid and a part time job I was able to live on my own. I got married to my best friend last summer (a guy I had previously rejected (in my fundy days) for not being a Christian and is himself an ex-Christian) and have being doing really well :) and will be graduating with my masters degree in May. My parents have come to love my husband and are much less preachy than before.

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Breakin' the BaddNews. Ha. At age 21, I started going to gay bars, stopped going to church, got asked about it by christian friends (including my old youth pastor) and he announced it to the entire college group at my church not to associate w/ me. That I was an apostate and living in willful sin.

 

So I waffled for about two days (ending up going in front of the church and trying to renounce my apostacy), but couldn't hold on to a belief that was no more. Just walked away. Friends tried to get me to go back, but I think the gay thing sorta made them run away.

 

In that I was lucky. They found they were in over their heads and allowed me to move on.

 

My dad said to me, "what you're doing is hurting your mother." I answered back, "it hurts me more to continue as I was in the church." He understood that I had answered him as an adult man, and ever since he's never talked about it, and also we've become much closer.

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My dad said to me, "what you're doing is hurting your mother."

 

Have you noticed that Christians (related to you or not) rarely concern themselves with how they make you feel? It’s like our feelings and beliefs are inconsequential. :shrug:

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My dad said to me, "what you're doing is hurting your mother."

 

Have you noticed that Christians (related to you or not) rarely concern themselves with how they make you feel? It’s like our feelings and beliefs are inconsequential. :shrug:

I can't help but notice this. "Sin" and guilt are foundational elements of Xianity. Making people feel like shit is Job One. Typical emotional blackmail and abuse.

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Have you noticed that Christians (related to you or not) rarely concern themselves with how they make you feel? It’s like our feelings and beliefs are inconsequential. :shrug:

I can't help but notice this. "Sin" and guilt are foundational elements of Xianity. Making people feel like shit is Job One. Typical emotional blackmail and abuse.

 

Yeah, these were my thoughts even then. My view of it was certainly secondary, and my dad did try the emotional blackmail. The good result came from my father's abandoning this tack after I personalized it, and actually moving forward to building a good relationship with me. I think he understood from his own rather alienating experience with the church (another story).

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Guest Tain

I told my parents in a rather poor way, though i dont think it would have helped much to do it gentler. My whole family is Southern Baptist, or at the very least protestant: suday school teachers, youth leaders, and, in my dad's case, preachers. It's a big family thing.

I was already in some deep trouble with them all, especially my parents, because they had found out via a 3rd party that I was making plans to get emancipated (I was 16 at the time). I'd been grounded for 7 months for this crime... maybe a little more, and had less than a month before I would turn 17 and be able to move out (in MO you can move out at 17, you just have no rights). They decided to go for one last ditch effort to force me to stay, by trapping me in an arguement where I had 2 choices: convince them that I was beyond hope, or conform to their wishes. So i did the former.

For the first time I told them that I didnt care what god thought about what I was doing. If he existed, which i doubted, I felt no need to do his will all the time. If they wanted me to feel bad, evil, defiant, shameful, selfish, etc... they could succeed, but they would have to use some weapon other than god.

They quit fighting me. In fact, they told me that they wanted me to leave when I had been planning to leave (unless I was willing to repent), because they didnt want the wrath of god to screw up their lives while he destroyed me. They told me that they hoped that he would kill me quickly so that I would not have to suffer under his wrath for too long.

The rest of the lot is figuring out gradually. It's been 9 months since I moved out, and I think most of the family has realized that I don't attend church, or believe in god anymore. The big sign is that they've started making a real effort to get me back in church as of late, lol.

Possibly, eventually, they all might forgive me for rebelling against the family and rejecting their god. Then I might be able to tell them that I'm a lesbian and have had a girlfriend for the past 6 months who I am hoping to marry some day. :-D The storm following that should be fun to watch. I expect to be able to see them without having to hide a critical part of my being possibly by the time I turn 40... but we'll have to see.

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Wow sounds like you've had a rough time of it. It does get better over time. Anyway, welcome to the site. :grin:

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Guest Emerson

Mr. Grinch, your post cracked me up! :lmao: "let them have it between the eyes" I loved that!

 

:lmao:

 

But honestly, you're so right. The only opinion that we have to live with is with our own and no one else's, after all other people aren't living our lives. Well my parents have their own beliefs which I don't agree with and that's fine, they encourage me to believe as I want to believe. I don't come from a religious family, although I was involved in christianity for some time. Worst years of my life. Fuck those fuckers. I'm better off without those idiots.

 

btw, I love this place! You guys rock!

 

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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My deconversion process took 3 to 4 years depending on when you start counting. My wife was has pretty much been in the loop the entire time, from start to finish, and I think that's been a very good thing, since she's had time to adjust in "real time" along with me.

 

When I first mentioned that I was starting reexamine some very problematic issues with the Bible, I think for a long time she thought that I was simply going through a "questioning phase" and that I'd eventually come back around. When she got to the point where she realized this wasn't going to be the case, she got pretty upset for a while, but over time I think she's coming to terms with the situation. I'm sure she still doesn't accept my atheism as permanent, but she at least realizes it's gonna be pretty long term at "best." (I, for one, know that I am NEVER going back. :nono: )

 

I can't imagine what might have happened if I had dumped everything on her at once - I don't think our marriage might have survived (and I'd very much like it to), so I'm happy to have kept her in the know.

 

And for a while, she was the only one to know. I kept going to church, playing in the worship team every Sunday morning and evening, etc. etc. until I just couldn't stand being that hypocritical any more and told my music pastor that I couldn't play anymore and why. (I used to play bass on the platform at church every Sunday morning for worship). My music pastor and I ended up going to lunch and having a pretty straight forward talk. To his credit, his biggest concern was for my marriage and my family - I think he had seen this kind of thing before.

 

At the time, everything was still new enough that I didn't have a good enough perspective to really articulate the factors leading to my deconversion. Recently, however, I've stopped going to church altogether, even though I know this is hard for my wife, since now everyone there can see the truth with her coming alone. That pains me some to know that this is embarrasing and uncomfortable for her, but in the end it's for the best.

 

Also, I've made a point to not only let all of my friends and family (and whomever else) know that, after 18 years, I've rejected Christianity, but I've been making a progressive attempt to explain to them how and why this happened to me on a blog I've started.

 

Basically, a couple of months ago I just sent the link to almost everyone in my contact list via email and let them know what the deal was. I told them if they had a morbid fascination or curiosity as to what happened to me, that the should read the blog, but if they didn't that was just fine with me too.

 

I've gotten a lot of mixed reactions from it, but to be honest with you, I've been surprised at the number of positive comments I've had about from friends and acquaintances. The process of detailing my thoughts and insights during my deconversion process has also been highly theraputic and I intend to continue for the forseeable future.

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Bravo and well done, Minus 196! It sounds as if you've got things well in hand. We could all learn a thing or two from the way you've handled things. Thanks for sharing.

 

Oh, and welcome to the Ex-C forums! :woohoo:

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Guest snoopy

Whatever you do, don't do what I did.

 

My entire family and 99% of my friends are Christian. I just told them straight out that I'm not Christian anymore, and I did not expect them to react the way they did. A lot of them got angry with me.

 

I wish I saw this forum before I said anything. I would have just shut up and taken things a lot slower.

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Guest ShannonXero

Just a Psychological puzzel.

 

I will soon be married.

To set it up:

His parents, their dog, my parents, their dogs and I and my fiancee and our dog... at the cerimony, 6 people, 5 dogs.

His parents: Methodist.

Mine: Freedom bible study... Baptists.

Him: Declared Atheist

Me: What I think is, "Agnostic"

 

What can you foresee happening?

 

Is this death?

 

How should I approach this situation?

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How should I approach this situation?

 

Elope, or just bypass the wedding and move in.

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I actually had more problems converting to Christianity than I did deconverting. I was raised by two agnostics, and they held the opinion that anybody who went to church was a personally weak individual who needed it as a crutch to get through life. I think they were mildy dissapointed when I announced I was Christian and going to start going to church. But they respected that and they just plain didn't care when I deconverted again. Religion just never important enough to be an issue in our house.

 

The only "outing" I've ever really done was with a few Christian friends who merely assumed I was a Christian and were telling me things regarding the faith like I understood what they were talking about and agreed with them. When I told them I wasn't a Christain, they paused for a few seconds then said "Ok." Since then, they've been more mindful of the fact that I don't understand a lot of Christian rules and beliefs and have never gotten in my face about it.

 

The only people I'd never just out myself to are my grandparents, who are Fundamental Southern Presbetarians. I know my mother's deconversion was a shitstorm before I was born, and she made it adamantly clear to them that she would not raise her children in the church and they were not to interfere with that.

 

As it stands, we live on different coasts and growing up they have accepted us and loved us and respected her wishes and our wishes to be left alone on the religion issue. Which, knowing my grandmother, is really a wonder. For me to flat out tell them that I'm a bi-sexual, libertarian, non-christian, explicit adult cartoonist who lives with a gay couple and a het-couple living in sin would be a slap in the face they really don't deserve. In that case, it's not being in the closet, it's a matter of respect.

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For a long time I did not go to church (about 15 years) and when people would ask me if I believed in god I would just pasify them and say yes.Then I would try to avoid the rest of the conversation.About six years ago I got something called a "computer" and when I was bored with looking at porn I would search diferent sights.I had aol and tried to type in atheist on an engine search and aol would keep sending me to a religios sight.Well that stirred up more interest in my search cause I was not getting what I wanted.Well soon after that I found the archved posts for ExChristian.net . I would read a some of the posts when no one was looking (like all the free loaders in my house) so I guess I was a closet atheist.Well about three years ago I had some one at work keep trying to push god on me and me ignoring him did not seem to help so I blurted out I'm an atheist and you can't prove there is a god.That led into a debate that he could not win cause he could not prove that a god existed.The word got around work pretty fast about my lack of beleif and I could see peoples attitudes change about me(this comes from a work place where most of the upper management go to the same church but that is just a coincidence) :twitch: .Anyway recently when some atheist was taking the "in god we trust" thing to court to try and have it removed of the American curency we were all watching the news on TV in the break room before work started and for three days I listened to some people saying someone should put a bullet into that guys head.That fucking ateist.Someone should kill that S.O.B..Then on the third day I got tired of it and blurted out I am an Atheist and i agreed with the guy on TV.Well the room went silent for a little while then a friend of mine came out and said that is ok I am a pegan.That made me feel a little better but I could still fell the tension in the room and I still feel that tention to this day.So maybe I should have kept my big mouth shut but it is a little hard when you are surounded by religion.Anyways that is basicly the short version of how I came out of the closet.

 

PS My family still does not know about my true beleif.Lucky for me they live far away.I do not know how they would take it.

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For me, it just kind of happened. I was in college, and I was firmly entrenched in the Christian life. I was already engaged to a Christian woman, had been "called into pastoral ministry" several years before, and had been a Christian role model for many years. There was no way I was going to "ease into it." Besides, I was going to be getting married to this Christian girl in six months, so I had to break the news right then. She came up one weekend and we were supposed to go to church together. She was staying at my parents' house and I was at my apartment (fundy values - you know how it is). She rode to church with my parents and was expecting to meet me there. I could no longer put on the act, so I just didn't go. I came over to the house for lunch, she asked me why I wasn't at church (figuring I had slept in or something), and I broke the news right then. She ran off and cried for over an hour, my mom came in and yelled at me, and that was how it happened.

 

If the circumstances of my life had been different, then perhaps the method would have been different. This was just the way I had to do it, otherwise I would have been stuck married to a fundamentalist Christian woman, eventually having to deal with what would have been a messy divorce.

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I grew up in a liberal Presbytyrian household in New Jersey, so I haven't really had any problems. I didn't tell my family at first, but about a year ago I was talking to my mom and just told her. She seemed fine with it, though she likes to bring me to church sometimes (special occasions and such). I told my brother point blank 2-3 years ago, but he's less likely to go to church than I am despite actually believing in Yahweh. I'm sure my mom has told my dad, but he's never said anything to me about it, though he seems to understand because we debate scientific and political views occasionally. I haven't told the rest of my family, but that's mainly because I don't want my grandmother to cry. She thinks I'm the only grandson who has religion, and she'd be very upset if I told her. If she weren't 83, I wouldn't have a problem with letting her know, but I don't want to hurt her. All my friends know and when I meet new people I have no problems just telling them straight out if the topic comes up. I've only had two people ever give me crap about it and they're only coworkers from my summer job, so their opinions aren't too important to me.

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Guest holiday_premiere

I have to say that sometimes, there is no way you can put it to make the going smoothly. Depending on who you are and who you are dealing with, breaking the news can become an intense ordeal, so prepare. I told my parents, when I was 16, that I no longer recognized myself as a Christian or wanted to take part in organized religion. My dad is a very strong believer and he still is having a hard time with it three years later. My sister is still concerned that I am going to be damned for this decision. My mom is disturbed but accepting. It's rough, that's all I have to say. But I will say that I have no regrets about telling them instead of faking it... I feel exceedingly better about my entire life and I enjoy making discoveries.

 

So I suppose I never gave any real advice about giving the news...just know that if you are dealing with really really strong believers in your loved ones, you may never be accepted, and you have to be okay with that.

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