My grandfather died recently. He was super worried about my salvation not too long beforehand. I was home for Thanksgiving and he cornered me to ask about it. He started crying. I told him I was saved, but I don't think he believed me. My mom was oblivious to his need to believe I was a Christian, and blabbed it to both grandparents.
My heart breaks when I think of him, just because I know this thing was not resolved. I know he's gone now, and it doesn't hurt him anymore, but I wish his last memory and thought of me could've been positive and happy. I wanted him, of all people, to be pleased with who I had become. I feel like I deeply disappointed him, and that hurts in a way I find hard to express. It's not that he didn't love me after finding out... it's that he loved me so, so much... and only wanted the best for me. Even though I think prayer is useless, there was still something special about knowing he said a prayer for me every, single day. Just knowing I was on his mind every day meant a lot.
Like I said in a different post, I wish my grandma didn't know. I didn't tell her. I feel betrayed that my mom told her.
Cara, that is so terrible that someone else told your grandparents. In a deeply religious family, it's a personal choice to reveal your contrarian ideas.
I feel the same way when my religious family members pledge their prayers to me: I deeply appreciate the intent, even if I don't believe that any effect will follow from the action.
I burn with envy as I read your post. :P
I hope to be as bold and happy with myself as you are one day. I probably will, one day soon.
I always think to myself "If they have an issue with me, that's their problem, not mine."
It's probably mostly a matter of circumstances. As far as atheism goes, I had it pretty easy growing up. Neither of my parents were (or are) religious, and my community and social circles were mostly pretty liberal and open. Atheism was pretty common. I never grew up around my grandparents, so my sense of accountability to them is pretty limited.
While part of my forthrightness with regard to my atheism is the result of my personality, I also grew up with a sense of entitlement toward being an atheist. It's my constitutional right as a Canadian, and more importantly, it's my right as a human being (even if that right is not respected in all places by all people).