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Atheist in the closet


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  Hey, people.  I'm almost 6 months out of 5 years of prison.  Still trying to get used to being free.

  I'm trying to get my finances in order, so I can get back on my own feet.  Unfortunately living with my Pentecostal parents. 

  I don't want to come out as atheist yet.  I have few friends left after prison, and I am scared to lose them and my family for my choice.  I need to, though.  I really don't know how to other than to come out and say it.  My life is currently in shambles, so I'd rather wait before I say anything.  Once I have a place of my own and new friends.

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Hi Ghost!  Welcome to our community, and welcome back to freedom!

 

I definitely recommend not coming out to your parents for now.  The “atheist” word especially scares the bejesus out of many people, not just devout religious types.  I hope though that at least you don’t have to pretend to be a believer.  But right now you’ve got to prioritize becoming self-sufficient.  
 

The good news is you can do all the atheisting you want here with us.  You can be yourself here.  Feel free to tell us about your life, your deconversion, whatever you want to share.  Vent as you need to.  
 

I don’t know how long you’ve been out of Christianity but you should know that deconverting is a process, not a single moment, and it can take time to get used to your new view of the world.  For me and for many of us this community played a big part in getting comfortable with life after religion.  I hope it will help you too.  
 

Looking forward to hearing more from you!

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Thank you much for the welcome and advice.

 

I swore off christianity about 3 1/2 years ago while in prison.

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Like TABA said, I wouldn't use the word atheist if you have to say anything about religion.  If they ask, just tell them something like you just need some space from church, or religion right now.  Do your best to avoid any church talk, and work on gaining independence. 

 

Many of us had to go through the agony of breaking the news to deeply religious parents and relatives, etc.

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Focusing on rebuilding your life is, and should be, your only concern right now, which, incidentally, provides you a perfectly good reason not to attend church and other religious functions.  For now, taking the practical steps of finding work, saving money, building credit, looking for a place of your own, will take so much of your time that Sunday morning might be the only time you have to catch a bit of the ol' R'n'R.  If anybody does ask, tell them you and jesus worked out an arrangement and he's cool with it.  Rebuilding an entire life from scratch is tough; I've been there a few times, myself.  If there's anything I can do to help you out, just holler. 

 

It also helps to remember that no prison can hold a liberated mind.

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Hey Ghost - thanks for your introduction and welcome!  I can't say that I have any advice to add, but just wanted to wish you well as you build a new life for yourself.

 

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Welcome to the forums.  While I definitely am happy to be open about my atheism, I totally understand the position you're in.  Do what you need to do to get your life back together.  You only need to be honest with yourself and any intimate partners who might become more than just a fuck buddy.  The rest of the world doesn't need to know.

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On 10/15/2020 at 12:13 PM, OnlyAGhost said:

  Hey, people.  I'm almost 6 months out of 5 years of prison.  Still trying to get used to being free.

  I'm trying to get my finances in order, so I can get back on my own feet.  Unfortunately living with my Pentecostal parents. 

  I don't want to come out as atheist yet.  I have few friends left after prison, and I am scared to lose them and my family for my choice.  I need to, though.  I really don't know how to other than to come out and say it.  My life is currently in shambles, so I'd rather wait before I say anything.  Once I have a place of my own and new friends.

 

Welcome aboard, OnlyAGhost. 

 

I see a lot of good advice here. No need to unnecessarily shaft yourself as you're trying to rebuild. This forum is an outlet. Feel free to use it. A lot of us live in places where we're surrounded by christian friends and family. I've been atheist since 91' but still have to deal with seventh day adventist in-laws and aunts and uncles. As well as living in and around an SDA community. Over time you get used to doing what you gotta do. I don't push my in-laws about it at all. I just avoid going there with them. 

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On 10/15/2020 at 9:13 AM, OnlyAGhost said:

  Hey, people.  I'm almost 6 months out of 5 years of prison.  Still trying to get used to being free.

  I'm trying to get my finances in order, so I can get back on my own feet.  Unfortunately living with my Pentecostal parents. 

  I don't want to come out as atheist yet.  I have few friends left after prison, and I am scared to lose them and my family for my choice.  I need to, though.  I really don't know how to other than to come out and say it.  My life is currently in shambles, so I'd rather wait before I say anything.  Once I have a place of my own and new friends.

 

Yeah, you need a place of your own, keeping the friends that will not be a bad influence on you, and eventually a job that you like. I don't believe you need to tell anyone that you're an atheist excepting for a wife and one or two good friends if you wish. Others will be able to tell you're a changed man and atheist by the good choices you make in life, by your worthy ambitions, and by your friendly and happy disposition :) It was maybe 5 years after becoming an atheist before I told my parents of my beliefs, and still am not sure it was the right thing to do. If you wish to do so I think it will be a lot easier when your life is in order. best of luck!

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I have come to think, like others this is complex topic with many variables. I could suggest you could try to tell them smth in the language of the Church. Like you are fighting with God like Jacob.  Or that you think that doing good things and rebuilding your life is enough for now as acts of faith, as Paul said that those who do good things follow the law written in heir hearts by God, not the one written on stone. Or that you feel your faith needs to mature so you are in a period of rearranging all your life, like when a child leaves his parents home for his own. That you trust the ever present Holy Spirit to guide where he wants, as he guided Paul in his missions, preventing some of his plans and sending him in other places. That you think the words of Jesus about charity to be fundamental, not empty rituals and forms which the Saviour himself accused the Pharisees with. Or looking deeper in the history of the Church and Bible to more fully comprehend God's plan with his  new Israel, the Church and what is the right path.

        In other words , you could make it seem like this period of space from official religious activities is actually the most serious spiritual phase in your life. Plus, reading church history I think is very useful for everyone in places with lots of christians and christian history. Europe and America being clear examples.

      And when you break the news, you could use the phrase "I have searched and remain unconvinced of the truth of christianity " rather than I am an atheist or christianity is false. That would soften the blow. Plus express your understanding that their worry is a sign of their love for you, if you feel that. That you aporeciate and cherish it, and you too care about them deeply. And altough some details of your life may change, you still believe in the broad principles of the teachings of Jesus on morality - love your neighbour, be charitable, be an upright, honest individual , try to be humble and aware of your tiny size in the face of the universe,  etc. Also that an all powerful all loving God would, in some way, guide your steps towards truth, whenever and whereever it might be, altough not in a way we humans could fathom.

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OnlyAGhost,

Welcome, and congratulations on regaining freedom.

I hope everything will fall into place for you going forward!

 

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