Hello everyone.      

          As some of you probably know I am new to this website and I would like to start out by saying good afternoon, I hope your day has been well. 

The advice I am looking for is family related.  I have recently come out as an Atheist to my own family, and my mother after finding out, sent me this message through Facebook.  Do to the nature of this post it may not be appropriate for small children to read.

"Enough of the ATHEIST SHIT!!!  If you want to make something of yourself... you need to start now!!!!!   It's time to stop trying to impress ignorant people.  You are so proud that you know people that are GAY...  Would you appreciate it if I posted how I really feel about queers.  You wouldn't dare post anti-gay remarks on your page because it might offend a QUEER!!!!  Yet you CHOOSE to offend some of the best people you'll ever know."    

Now, I would like to inform everyone of you that I do not really care whether or not someone is Straight, Gay, Bisexual, or any other of the sexual orientations.  The only thing I care about is if those people are kind to me, and admittedly some of them have not been. That's life.     However, the real issue here is the fact that this change in my belief will more than likely be spread to the other family members, if that hasn't happened already.  I would like to know your thoughts on this issue and how I could possibly sooth altercations with my old church.  They are Baptists by the way if that helps anyone. 

Respectfully,

Stuart.

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You have a right to protect yourself from the kind of strikingly unmotherly abuse your mother so freely dishes out. Define what you need the terms of your relationship with your family to be and then (gently but firmly) refuse to engage on any other terms. It takes some real maturity to detach to that degree, but it sounds like you have what it takes.

When I came clean and used the dreaded "A" word on my mother we didn't speak for four years.  However eventually we both calmed down and we could be civil. There is still some tension as they are terrified that me or my son will convert their children to atheism but in the name of continued cash gifts at birthdays and holidays we keep our traps shut and everything works out.  My son even goes with them to church now and again.  We laugh about it behind their backs but hey, my mom gives him $150 on his birthday and deluges with gifts on Christmas.  He knows what to kiss and when.  

Now mind you my parents and I have never had a loving relationship.  My father wanted nothing to do with us kids and my mother resented having to raise us.  I think they mellowed on that with my younger siblings which is why they are closer to them than I am.  By the time they mellowed I was out of the house and living with my grandparents. So as I often say your mileage may vary from my experiences and you may not be able to simply ignore them for 4 years until they mellow out.  

Just a small but important point on Evolution – because the Theory only relates to how life on Earth evolved and not how it began (abiogenesis), it is correct to say that it does not make the deists position untenable. It can be argued that there may be a God who created life on Earth and then left it up to Evolution to do its thing. However if one accepts the Theory then it is impossible to also accept that the specific god i.e. the God of Abraham “did it”. We could not have been “made” in our present forms according to the biblical story of Genesis and also be evolved. It is beyond doubt and scientifically true that we are an evolved species. That is not a matter of belief but a matter of education and understanding.

I don't get how you're offending anyone by saying your atheist...

If you do go into battle....be prepared :-)

I feel for you Stu.  My hurt for you is not because I've experienced something similar but more like 'survivors' guilt' that people who weren't killed in disasters feel.  I've had it way too easy with my family.  They were accepting about me five years before I was comfortable with myself.

I know how I'd reply to your mother if I were you.....

"Wow.  That's a real good idea, Mom!  It never occurred to me to be dishonest with the *best*people* you think I know in order to impress them!  Try not to be mad about me wanting to be honest with everyone and decide for myself who the *best*people* really are on the basis of how they deal with me being honest with them instead of me trying to impress anyone by being dishonest about who I am."

From you pic I guess you and I are about the same age. I'm 26.  I live in a very conservative north midwest state and come up on people like your mother all the friggin time.  It's better they meet me face to face and not run into my mother or brother or dad.

The best thing you can do is let go.  The bottom line is that people who have irrational religiously justified hatreds of anyone have two options in life.  Bury their hate and change or take their hate with them into their graves.  Arguing or attempting to reason with people like that is never productive unless you're willing to embarrass and humiliate them into seeing how ridiculous they really are.  I'm just now getting close to as good at that as my mother and brother are.

With anyone who is entrenched in any extremist dogma  whether it's political or religious there's one thing that always works to your advantage if you remember it.  "people should be able to defend everything they say and believe or they will begin to say and believe things that are indefensible."  Make them defend everything they say and believe.  Keep them on topic.  Don't let them drop one thing they've said and left undefended.  Hound them.  Brow beat them. Intimidate them and ridicule them. THEY NEVER CAN DEFEND WHAT THEY SAY OR BELIEVE.  Expect some ad hominems and silly insults.  ignore them and stay on topic. After a few minutes  tell them that if they can't defend the things they are saying then either they don't know what they are talking about or they're lying sacks of shit ... and walk away. It works well in groups where they will feel they the humiliation they deserve.

I don't know how long you've been out as either gay or atheist but I assure you there are more friendly and understanding people in the world that you'll ever need to meet.  If you need some great friendly gay resources just message me and I'll put you on to some.

Virge

Well Stuart.... the fact that you're not gay means more to me personally than if you were.  There are those of us who are personally invested and  involved in EQUAL RIGHTS (there's no such thing as gay rights except in fundamentalist propaganda) .... and then there are people like yourself who are supportive of the cause based on conviction alone with nothing to gain from it.  You illustrate the difference between BEING right and DOING right.  To me  people like you are more deserving of respect than the rest.

Yesterday a friend sent me this link yesterday.... he's gay and an active student at JMU but he had no idea this was happening until after it was over.  The entire thing was organized by non-gays. I feel I should be meeting them all and inviting them to a barbecue.  This was awesome.http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/anti-gay-preacher-visits-campus-...

Here's a straight guy in my state who stood up for gay people and suffered the consequences.  I'll be traveling that way next weekend and intend to go by and thank him.http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/anti-gay-preacher-visits-campus-...

Maybe I'm a naïve idealist but only because of the experiences I've had through war and battling ignorance and extremism on a personal level.  I've all but abandoned organized gay functions to support equal rights to put my energies into what I know really works.  That's changing people hearts one at a time.  That means I stay in the company of more straight people than gays, interact with them in ways to make them see my truth worth and ultimately help them get rid of their own irrational hate of people like me. In just over 3 years I've turned my tiny town of 1500 into one of the most gay friendly places imaginable simply by being a good neighbor, involved in town affairs and government and doing all I can to confront the root  causes of homophobia which is ignorance.  With people who are like your mother I never take them on in a debate of gay issues because all they know is fundamentalist propaganda.  My tactic is to catch them in a public situation and make them defend their words and beliefs or admit that their words and beliefs are indefensible. They can't defend them and they never admit they're indefensible --- but the weight of the humiliation they receive in the attempt to BE RIGHT makes a deeper impression on them than anything I can say defending equal rights for gays.  The biggest gain is that all the spectators get an education on the idiocy behind fundamentalist "lahjick."

You'd fit right in around my house, Stu.  I'm the only gay guy in the crowds on the weekends and you'd have trouble picking me out of the crowd.  My man will be moving here in December and I can't go anywhere in town without being asked about him.  He's one of those guys who's impossible to hate for anything.  He's leaving a city of over 2 million to start a career here --- party because he likes my friends better than his.

Thanks for being who and what you are. < imagine that in four inch tall type please.

Virge

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