Little bit of backstory, sorry.

So I was adopted when I was a baby, and as I've said in my profile my parents never forced any religion on me and when I was younger at some point I just stopped believing in any god, and in the past few years of doing research I have regarded theism as ridiculous mythologies and lies, and at this point it absolutely floors me that anyone can believe in these stories, now here comes my issue:

I have met and adore my birth families, my birth mother is a wonderful lady (and definitely where I got my geekiness from as she is a WOW addict) as is my older half brother, they believe in god, but not deeply.

My birth father (who is married to another woman now) and my two little half brothers are deeply into their faiths.  I don't really know how to approach this, I wasn't raised by him, and have only known my birth father for a few years (I've known my birth mother all my life so its easier to approach her) But it does really bother me that my two little brothers are being indoctrinated, I mean they do at least focus on the loving and caring aspect of it, but it's still not right in my eyes.

When I told them I was an atheist that was the only time I have ever felt like it was a bad thing, instead of being proud of it. They were mildly shocked and seemed a bit disturbed by the revelation. I've hardly heard from my birth father since, though I still talk with my younger brothers online and such. They tallk about god, the lord and jesus sometimes and it makes me really uncomfortable since I don't want to alienate them, but at the same time I feel like they have never really been given the chance to see another point of view (they were raised in parachute, Colorado, aka the middle of nowhere) But at the same time I don't feel like it's my place to try and show them, so I am at a loss as to what to do.

Any thoughts?


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I know exactly what you mean, I've experienced this myself. My natural instinct was to guide them, but I was hesitant for a number of reasons (could have caused them to fight with me, their parents, each other, or others). What I did was ask questions. Questions that start like "What do you think __________?" If you're like me, you'll probably be hesitant to directly challenge certain beliefs, but they deserve to come to their own conclusions and they just weren't given the tools to do that when they were indoctrinated. I think it falls on everyone who has the tools to reason to share them. So I guess I'd say try to spread the method you used to attain the beliefs you have, rather than spreading the specific beliefs.

I use my FB page as a way to speak my mind and encourage rational thinking. Under my Notes tab i have several different subject headings. One of "Favorite Quotes", all pertaining to religion, morality, history, and basic facts religious leaders don't usually admit to....another pointing out the mythology of Christianity & how it was all derived from other ancient belief systems...another with some favorite YouTube links like the Philhennes videos, some Sam Harris rationalizations...etc

If your brothers are also on facebook you can send them links to your information in hopes they might get curious...if not you can still send them emails with some non-confrontational but informative links they can watch or read. That way you can make your views & reasons known without being too pushy about it.

Good Luck. I know we all want our loved ones to live in reality & be aware of truths most people choose to reject for their own reasons. With small but persistent means, i think people will be more open to start thinking for themselves. I hope. : )

Thank you for your responses!

Yes on Facebook I post a lot of atheist bearing quotes and youtube videos about the subject, though I don't know if they read my page at all.

I may try a few of your suggestions on my older brother, since he is 18 and just went to college away from home, but I think I will wait until my 16 year old brother graduates, I just don't want to step on any toes.

I think posting things on Facebook where they can see them, but not directing the quotes or thoughts right at them, is a good idea. I'm sure they pay more attention to your page than you think, even if they don't comment. You are, after all, their big sister. You may be "planting a seed" (as they say in the religious community) and causing them to think. They may not be willing to immediately leave their religion, but you're allowing them to see the world differently than they have their entire lives. You're helping them consider other viewpoints. I really wish someone had done this for me when I was younger. I only knew one way of life: the Christian way of life that all of my friends and family followed. It was really hard coming out of it because once I realized god wasn't real, everything came crashing down around me. Children rasied in the religion build their entire lives on the idea of "god" being real.

 

Anyway, I think that being judged by people we care for is probably a common issue us atheists have. I'm still trying to figure out how to come out to my parents. People who are convinced their beliefs about "god" are correct will only see us as sinners or deniers of the truth. If they admit that we might be right, they have to also admit that they might be wrong. The majority of deeply religious people are absolutely unwilling to do that.

 

I admire you for being honest and open about your atheism. You're a step ahead of me, at least when it comes to family.

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