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Christopherhays

Thinking of coming out to my parents. Should I?

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I’ve been an atheist for about a year now. I get along well with my family but they don’t know I’m no longer Christian. My parents are really into southern baptist Christianity. I don’t know why but I just feel like talking to someone. Literally everyone I know is religious and I feel like I can only be myself online. I don’t get along in real life with athiests the way I do with Christians. I guess I just haven’t met any that share my values. Why do I feel like talking about this with people? Is it worth risking important relationships to have the conversation? 

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This is a question that only you can answer. The same goes for anybody who asks the same question, and it gets asked a lot. However there are tips I've come across during the years.

 

One is that you don't need to necessarily do what I did which was basically a big reveal moment... that went down like a lead balloon. There was no forewarning and they didn't see it coming. Suffice to say it was a big shock. I needed to come out as I no longer wanted to attend the small church we gathered at, even for pretense purposes. Had I lived in another city where me not going to church wouldn't have been missed I might not have bothered to say anything. As it was any absence from the Church would have been noted so I came out one night over dinner.

 

My advice is to avoid that sort of situation. Is it possible for you to lay in hints, like points you disagree on, in conversation? I don't know what your values are, but for example say they are strongly against gay marriage and you support it, you could state that without outright needing to say you are an atheist. Do that sort of thing over a period of time and they will realize you don't necessarily believe the same things they do, and this may open a natural conversation about you being atheist, rather than it being a forced coming out conversation.

 

Also you have to weigh in to your consideration your family dynamics, how close nit you are, how tolerant they may be of a "back sliden" family member etc. These are things only you can answer.

 

As far as wanting to talk to people - I guess we just like having people around us that share the same beliefs and values. That's why I hang out so much here and on discord chat because I know I'm talking with people who at least share one major similarity.

 

I somewhat feel the same way as you. Even though I know my family know I don't believe in God nor share many of their values I still don't fully discuss things and have decent conversations with them because I know many of our values and opinions are diametrically opposed and for me to state mine would just bring conflict, and generally I don't think its worth it. So you certainly are not alone in the way you feel.

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Agree with Logical Fallacy. It might be compared to people who "come out" in other walks of life. People who have come out as GLBT have been known to have their families try extra hard to "correct" them. IE arranging for them to meet available members of the opposite sex (under the logic that they just haven't met the right girl/guy). I don't bring up my beliefs unless I am specifically asked because for some reason religious disagreements cut more to the core than many other feelings and thus evoke more virulent responses.

 

Find others who share your feelings and then you may feel that their camaraderie is sufficient enough that you don't have to "dump" it all on your family. (They may well feel dumped on". Do you live in a community where your beliefs, or lack thereof, may bring dis favor upon your family?? Some cultural groups are more attached to the church than others, which makes it even worse for one wanting to detach. I my case, I continued to attend church when I visited my mother because it meant so much to her. She is gone now and I am glad I made her happy with my attendance. After all it was just a few hours on a  few Sundays, so I don't have that guilt to carry around. Good luck. Let us know how it turned out if/when you do tell them.

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None of us can, or should, tell you what you should do.  We can really only offer you our own personal experiences.   For myself, I chose to simply live my truth and let the questions come as they may.  No big reveal moment, no family gathering blustering through pre-rehearsed sound bytes.  Nothing like that.  I allowed my actions to speak for me; and things simply progressed from there.  That's my experience.  It wasn't always pretty.

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Hey @Christopherhays,

 

I had to come out to avoid church as well. I simply cannot stand to sit there and listed to the BS as well as the "Yes, Jesus. Yes Jesus. OH GOD YES JESUS!"

 

With the exception of my bff and a couple "friends" as work all of my friends a fundies and they know my situation and my beliefs. We go out, we (they) prey over din din at restaurants, we talk music, politics, the weather - just like "normal" folk. With some I can even talk religion. Not with my family, though. The wife is too emotional and her son is too uneducated on science and has a financial (business owner) stake in maintaining the funnymentalist status. Part of that may be denial. 

 

But I digress.

 

I, like you, need to come here as well and for the same reasons. Right now I am working from home and Mrs. MOHO is in the next room with her little bible study guide becoming a
"better xtian" - partly so she can reconvert me. I have tried pointing out that if you realized the bible is not the word of any deity you would approach that a little differently (Digressing again). I'm not sure why her self-immersion is bible study bugs me so. Perhaps it will some day have the opposite impact they she is expecting. But my point here is that it DOES bug me and that's why I have to come here. And it helps.

 

So, my friend, feel free to come here just to chat and vent and gripe and bitch and join in the "fellowship" (made you blink). We're here for that just as I'm sure will be so too.

 

 

 

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10 hours ago, Christopherhays said:

I’ve been an atheist for about a year now. I get along well with my family but they don’t know I’m no longer Christian. My parents are really into southern baptist Christianity. I don’t know why but I just feel like talking to someone. Literally everyone I know is religious and I feel like I can only be myself online. I don’t get along in real life with athiests the way I do with Christians. I guess I just haven’t met any that share my values. Why do I feel like talking about this with people? Is it worth risking important relationships to have the conversation? 

 

I think LF has a good point. Instead of saying "I'm an atheist, bitches!", maybe just express particular points that you agree on and other points that you disagree on, and why. Some people think atheist means you eat babies and worship satan. The title implies a lot and puts other ideas in someone's mind than what you are really thinking. 

 

I dont really tell anyone other than my wife what my beliefs are... or my chosen title(s)....and generally nobody cares to ask.  

 

On the other hand if you are tired of pretending and going along with these people, shout it out loud. :)

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12 hours ago, Christopherhays said:

I don’t know why but I just feel like talking to someone. Literally everyone I know is religious and I feel like I can only be myself online.

 

Rather than reiterate the good points made by others, I thought I'd ask if you're familiar with www.meetup.com? Finding freethinker groups through that site was a big hep to me. You can search for meetups in your area with keywords such as freethinker, humanist, atheist, agnostic, secular, nonbeliever, ex-christian, etc. Good luck, and enjoy the journey ahead of you....

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I agree with easing into it, instead of making a big splash.  For example, my first step with family came up spontaneously in a discussion about gays.  I told them that due to my professional experience with them, I believed they were born that way.  In a sense, god made them that way.  Dad exploded with guotes from the bible, which lead to discussion of whether ALL OF the bible is the inerrant word of God.   That maybe some cultural beliefs got in there some way, which was where I was in my beliefs at that time.  They wanted to know where I came up with that idea.  That led to discussion of inconsistencies between science and religion through the ages, and obvious inconsistency within the bible.  

 

I assured them my morals had NOT changed, and that I still believed the salvation of mankind was found in the commandment of Jesus to love neighbor as self.  That seemed to reassure them somewhat.  My pointing out the inconsistencies seemed to somewhat stump them, and soon after that it came to a stalemate with Dad saying,  "I guess we will have to agree to disagree."   He also said he didn't think there was anymore hope for me.  

 

It helped that we did not live in the same town and discussions took place on relatively short visits.  Also, that at that time I was still attending a "liberal" church, which to dad's thinking was almost as bad as being atheist.  But I think easing into it was better than hitting them with the full load at one time.   

 

Living in LA you should have access to other nonbelievers, which I recommend you seek.  Not knowing your age, or  sources of social contact, and if you like social groups, it is hard to make a particular recommendation.  If you like "spiritually" oriented social groups, but not christians, try the Unitarian Universalist church.   Or Google atheist/agnostic groups.  I also recommend RfR, Recovering from Religion. 

 

BEST WISHES!!

 

 

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All the above advice is good. I'll add one more thought: I'd avoid using the term "atheist." As I've written before in these spaces, Christians use that as a pejorative, and it is sort of like waiving a red flag in front of the Christian bull. As Midniterider wrote, some Christians will see that as eating babies and worshiping Satan. So if you need to define your position, I would suggest you simply state that you no longer believe, or that you are a secularist, or whatever term you are comfortable with other than "atheist." 

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9 minutes ago, older said:

 I would suggest you simply state that you no longer believe, or that you are a secularist, or whatever term you are comfortable with other than "atheist." 

 

I agree.  At the time I disclosed my questioning I think I used the term , "Jesus-ite", which I saw myself as at the time.  I believed his message of love, but not necessarily being divine.

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