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How Do You Feel When People That Knew You As A Christian Are Upset Or Sad About Your Awakening?


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How do I feel when people are upset or sad? -- above all, awkward as hell.

 

I have one friend in particular with whom I parted ways for almost two years. When we came back into each other's lives, she was living in a church house with five other girls, and I had become an atheist. We had always been good Christian friends - good to talk about theological issues with, not just "hey let's go sing about Jesus together and pray for each other every day." She cried when I told her. 

 

She's been reasonably respectful of my decisions. But in her faith, she has determined that "the only true healing comes from God." (Yes, that's an exact quote.) So when I come to her with an issue and say "I don't know what to do," she will "humbly and respectfully" tell me that it depends on how much I'm willing to try, because her church has this great support group for divorce....

 

She's still a great friend, and she's a good listener when she can keep her propaganda to herself. But she wants me to go to her church parties and talk about her church life and invite me to talk about my non-faith with her so she can answer my questions. I love and respect her, and she loves and respects me. But it's awkward

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My husband who is still a Christian seemed to handle it at first, but then started to barrage me with the question of if I were not a Christian anymore, why shouldn't he cheat on me?  I know....absolutely no logic in that question.  He began to be very unkind about a lot of things and accused me of "tricking" him when we first had met 27 years before, by telling him I was a Christian when I really wasn't...because he has that idea that I was never a "real" Christian, since for him it is not possible to become a "non" Christian.  After he began to barrage me with the question "Give me a reason I shouldn't cheat on you since you aren't a Christian anymore" in front of our children I asked him to leave and now we are separated.  He is in church and all involved and has friends and our old Christian friends think he is the victim and I am the heathen.  Do I sound bitter?  I am heartbroken.  I have had nothing but pain from Christians and Christianity.  Yet they all still let me know how they are praying for my heathen soul and that I would be "restored". 

 

I am so sorry.  I wish I could make it all better for you. Know that I care.

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I'm lucky. I moved 3000 miles away from people who knew me as a christian, and my family isn't all that religious. I still get the occasional person who ASSUMES I'm christian (why I have no idea, maybe because I live in a predominantly christian society and am not 'in your face' about my lack of belief or other religious affiliation)

 

I find this awkward. If I state I'm a non-believer it's going to open up a whole can of worms. I'm the last person to NOT defend my values and position but in this case it's usually just an acquaintance and really, what's the point of getting into it? There is also the very real danger that I will end up hurting myself in the professional world by 'outing' myself. You never know who knows who.

 

I don't feel that I'm 'going through a phase' with my anti-theism (technically anti-religion). Even before I claimed atheist as a position I was still anti-religion. It's a position I truly stand behind and in the right venue I absolutely will defend it and promote it. But there is a time and a place for everything, and casual conversation with an acquaintance (co-worker, family member, old friend) probably isn't the best time. I'm not out to 'de-convert' individuals, but if I can contribute to reason on a broader basis… why the hell not? Religion is a plague, that's my view and understanding, and to feel like I have any integrity at all then I refuse to remain quiet about it.

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