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Jerry

What relationships have you lost?

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Hello, I am wondering what relationships you have forefitted by coming out as an atheist, or nontheist?

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All of my friendships besides one, and they don't even know I'm an atheist, because I don't need to become the focus of the church gossip circles. We just have nothing in common anymore, and I don't need interventions or to be told that I've gone over to the devil. 

Some family relationships are strained. Other more distant family relationships I've broken off because they were toxic to begin with. 

It requires building a whole new support network. 

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Only my fundamentalist old friends from years ago and with whom I remained in contact until they were told I'd given up on god. Other Christians are OK and I notice no change in how we relate (I don't see them every week).

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I lost my relationship with jesus.

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10 minutes ago, TheRedneckProfessor said:

I lost my relationship with jesus.

 

😂

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I haven't actually lost any relationships but the couple that might have been impacted we're already thoroughly compromised anyway for tangentially related reasons. From what I gather reading other people's extimonies I think a lot of it is that I was never very deeply involved with a conservative or closely knit church. I pretty much was always just floating out there on my own doing my own thing. I know from reading a lot here that it's very common for ex-Christians to go through a lot of difficulty with relationships when they deconvert. So, if it's something you're struggling with, you definitely have company.

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I haven't actually lost any relationships, but most of them have fundamentally changed.

 

My parents and siblings and I are on relatively good terms now. Things are still strained, but much less than they used to be. Mostly,  we just avoid certain conversations. We also don't see each other as often as we might. 

 

I haven't had any actual falling outs with my friends, but we've drifted apart to the point where there are some that I see anually, and some that I haven't seen in years.  These are people that I used to see multiple times a week. We just have different interests now. And that's fine. 

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My family is mostly believers, and since I posted some atheist things to FB they stopped communicating with me for the most part. I still send birthday greetings and get a reply, I still can give them stuff from our dad who died some years ago, but they don't visit or ask how I'm doing even though most of them live pretty near.

 

We were friends with some large Russian families, but our only real common ground other than being human was Christianity. And it would cause church problems for them to have us in their homes once we had rejected Jesus, so we sort of mutually backed away though we still have love for one another.

 

Other friends I had from before contacted me about getting the "old gang" together, so I explained the deconversion to them. That was an interesting exchange of emails. No rejection, just seeking to understand, which was cool. A couple of others that were once close and are more rabid I just stopped giving them access to my FB posts. Their contorted thinking could lead them to say some really bizarre things or show up at a jazz gig to preach. Some of the others were manipulative swine, and I lost nothing in having them apart from me.

 

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No loss. I've never mingled much simply because I don't like the world we live in and try to participate as little as possible out of protest. It's my business, not theirs, and never have felt the need for socializing in general so my associations have always been very limited. I'd rather be a happy hermit than a miserable social butterfly.

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This is an emotional subject for me.  I have never actually said "I am an atheist" to anyone in my family, though I have certainly elaborated on my extreme doubts about most anything the bible has to say.  I suppose its akin to saying, "I prefer the company of women," rather than just stating "I'm a lesbian."

In any case, my obvious doubts have made it impossible to mend a decades-long rift with my mom, because the conversation always goes back to God. So my relationship with her feels blocked,  for lack of a better word. And now my oldest daughter does not confide in me nearly as much as she used to because I no longer support her brain-washed rationale for some of the huge life decisions she is making. Its as if everything I say is taken with a grain of salt or an eye roll. I feel no longer respected so I guess that is what I've lost. It has been implied that I am foolish and/or rebellious for rejecting much of what the bible has to say.

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Unfortunately, many of my "friends" are involved in the church. So, needless to say, they no longer want much to do with me. The funny thing is, I'm not even "out" about my new found freedom from religion. My lack of church attendance and involvement has pushed them away. I'm glad to know just how fickle those supposed friends really are. I'm also aware of other relationships in my life that would be destroyed if I came out. Mostly, my marriage. My wife is a true product of Baptist teaching and philosophy. Having gone to a nonsecular, private, Baptist affliated school (K-12), along with a STRONG Christian up bringing at home. She certainly views nonbelievers in a very unflattering light. She disowned her cousin, that she was once very close with, when she announced that she was a lifelong atheist. That was a situation that helped me to realize the costs of coming out as free. The entire family essentially disowned her. It was a heartbreaking moment. This was at a time when I was struggling with my own belief system. So, I learned to just keep my mouth shut. I have managed to escape Sunday services and church activities by citing personal differences with the Pastor, who was a close friend at one point. However, I really don't think professing my atheism is a good idea.

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22 hours ago, freshstart said:

 Its as if everything I say is taken with a grain of salt or an eye roll. I feel no longer respected so I guess that is what I've lost. It has been implied that I am foolish and/or rebellious for rejecting much of what the bible has to say.

^^This. However, I just don't care, most of the time. I know who's being foolish and it sure isn't me. 

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My marriage ☹️

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On 3/18/2019 at 6:50 AM, Jerry said:

She disowned her cousin, that she was once very close with, when she announced that she was a lifelong atheist. That was a situation that helped me to realize the costs of coming out as free. The entire family essentially disowned her. It was a heartbreaking moment.

 

Such is the power, love, and compassion of the church, and their families.

 

This poor person did nothing that actual impacts anyone else in any way.  Yet, so much punishment.  So much vile.  So much hate.

 

The church lacks both empathy and morality.

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When I came out as an atheist (and I did immediately after deconversion), my church community began the process of love bombing to try to win me back to the fold.  When it became clear that it wasn't happening, one "friend" after another stopped talking to me.  That entire group gradually fizzled out save for a handful that I still keep in touch with till today.  In retrospect, I think that falling out was more to do with the fact that we had nothing in common except Jesus in the first place, I would never associate with them outside the context of the church.  There was the couple of fire and brimstone nutjobs who condemn my actions but I shook that off in time.

To be honest, overall the atheist community has treated me more harshly when I disagreed on political or social ideas than Christians for leaving their faith.  I had a "second deconverstion" after I abandoned Atheism + around the 2015 to 2016 time frame.  When you go from one "tribe" to another, you can expect human nature to show it's real colors be it religion or other ideologies.

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3 hours ago, RealityCheck said:

overall the atheist community has treated me more harshly when I disagreed on political or social ideas than Christians for leaving their faith.

 

I hope this means they harshly attacked your ideas/thought/conclusion; and not your existance/personhood.   

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4 hours ago, RealityCheck said:

When you go from one "tribe" to another, you can expect human nature to show it's real colors be it religion or other ideologies.

 

That is a very profound statement that puts you far ahead of the majority of the population. Seeing you know this truth about humanity, you'll do just fine in life. SunTzu would be proud.

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1 hour ago, ConsiderTheSource said:

 

I hope this means they harshly attacked your ideas/thought/conclusion; and not your existance/personhood.   

I wont bullshit you (or anyone who is reading this and knows me), I can be a piece of shit of a human being sometimes especially when I go into full on defense mode.  That doesn't exactly help my situation.  However, I'm sure you've seen the Darkmatter2525 vid where he makes the case that rejecting a person's beliefs is often seen as rejecting the individual as a whole.  Ideology is intertwined with someones very being, it's their identity.  So when I, for example argued against feminism, suddenly I was a sexist bastard, etc....and the person promptly ghosted.  This is despite the fact that I never in my life treated women as lesser beings.  I think we can all agree that is someone gets to the point of ghosting then that's a good sign that they hate your guts and personhood.  

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But I want to take this back to the OP and address @Jerry.  Anytime anyone goes through a sufficient ideological transformation, you can expect to lose friends.  I have lost my fair share and so has everyone here.  Its sad that we can't see past that collectively but it's just the way things are.

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I haven't lost many because before I left the church as many people knew I was going through "doubts" and was praying a lot. I think many of the people in my life who know think I will be back after I have "figured things out" with god. For example, my husband and I don't have children yet, and I get the "Ohhhh just you wait, when you have kids so much will make sense." I don't think they realize that I have stepped away in such a way as to not be able to come back. I might even have to ask this site for advice in the future when kids are more real, I think it's going to piss off a lot of people when I don't change or raise my child to believe they deserve hell or need a "savior." I foresee a really tough conversation happening with my parents if they don't respect our rules about preaching at my children, because I will cut them out if I have to.

 

The thing that has surprised me the most is, if I get put in a position where I have to confront my "not religious" label directly as opposed to be silent or dance around it or whatever, I have had more than one person admit to feeling the same way. It's crazy, I wasn't prepared for that!
 

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5 hours ago, ag_NO_stic said:

The thing that has surprised me the most is, if I get put in a position where I have to confront my "not religious" label directly as opposed to be silent or dance around it or whatever, I have had more than one person admit to feeling the same way. It's crazy, I wasn't prepared for that!
 

I suspect there's a lot of people like that hiding in their churches, it's only that the difference between them and us is that we had the force of will to be more honest with ourselves and others and refused to people please that way. 

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16 hours ago, TruthSeeker0 said:

 

I suspect there's a lot of people like that hiding in their churches, it's only that the difference between them and us is that we had the force of will to be more honest with ourselves and others and refused to people please that way. 

 

I completely agree. I probably shouldn't have been surprised at all, I just still was! lol I guess I figured others would leave when they discovered a lie too....

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On 3/25/2019 at 11:02 AM, ag_NO_stic said:

I foresee a really tough conversation happening with my parents if they don't respect our rules about preaching at my children, because I will cut them out if I have to.

I really hope it doesn't come to that.  I am worried that my kids may do the same to me if dare to share my atheist beliefs with future grandchildren who will surely be raised as Christians.  I think its good to expose kids to all sorts of beliefs and let them critically think it through at home with your guidance. Sheltering them does not give them the chance to do that.  I want to respect my kids choices about raising their kids as believers, but I also don't want to be dishonest if and when little ones ask me questions about my beliefs.  It is a fine balance.  In the end, hopefully love wins. 

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I lost "friends" at the church we attended, but wasnt into the social scene that much anyway, so it wasn't a great loss.  Haven't really "lost" any family relationships over religion, but some simply tolerate me now. 

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13 hours ago, freshstart said:

I really hope it doesn't come to that.  I am worried that my kids may do the same to me if dare to share my atheist beliefs with future grandchildren who will surely be raised as Christians.  I think its good to expose kids to all sorts of beliefs and let them critically think it through at home with your guidance. Sheltering them does not give them the chance to do that.  I want to respect my kids choices about raising their kids as believers, but I also don't want to be dishonest if and when little ones ask me questions about my beliefs.  It is a fine balance.  In the end, hopefully love wins. 

 

Oh no, I hope you don't have to face that either. Here's something you can tell your children: "I don't have to answer to a god, so I will respect how you want to raise your children until they are asking questions for themselves and then we can talk about this again. Please don't cut me off." I am concerned that my parents answer to a deity FIRST, my dad has made his priorities clear, and I think they would ignore our rules to "evangelize" to my children which will royally piss me off. If they want to talk about god being love or "loving one another" and "God loves you" or appreciation for "creation" that's all fine with me to an extent. As soon as hell, sin, and "being saved because you otherwise deserve to burn" nonsense comes into the picture, they're gone and I REALLY don't want to have to do that.

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