I'm a newish atheist. Two years, I guess. My husband knows, my kids do not. My friends suspect. I'm trying to be careful how and when I come out. So, I have no one IRL to talk to. I've just started reading here after having the site recommended to me by an atheist blogger.
My husband is amazingly cool about it. He lost his faith a few years ago but I think it was out of anger because he's back at it again. We had an interesting conversation the other night. He said that he knows there can't be a heaven because it makes no sense whatsoever, yet he needs there to be so he believes. He's an otherwise brilliant person and I think he is just having trouble letting go of his upbringing.
I, on the other hand, was a rebel from the word 'go'. In Catholic high school, I told the teacher of our religion class (a priest) that papal infallibility was bull. I was a shy kid but on matters of religion, I called it like I saw it. I even tried to fail my confirmation test by refusing to memorize the rote prayers.
I left the Catholic church eventually and tried different flavors of Protestantism, mostly in the south. So... scary! I nearly got killed by the laser eyes of judgment at church many years later when the pastor said they were going to show a video on the evils of Harry Potter and I started angrily whispering to my husband how they can't judge it if they'd never even read it. He was mortified. Not because he disagreed with me but because I couldn't be quiet about it. So, yeah, I have trouble not speaking the truth out loud and I think my friends are on to me and I may be needing to look for new ones soon. I'm 46 and getting a little old for starting over. But here goes.
So happy to be here. ^_^
Just realized I needed an explanation for the subject line. One of my friends appears to have figured me out and I am not sure if she will be quiet about. So things could get interesting. :)
Things are happening, Joe. My recovering addict friend seems to have spotted me as an atheist or agnostic. I think I inadvertently outed myself. It also didn't help that I called her out on her new belief that a squirrel or, possibly, butterflies are her new animal totem (she's experimenting with Native American religion while having no speck of NA blood). *sigh*
But it's more likely she figured it out the way that my friend, who used to be an atheist (how does anyone even do that!?!) discovered it. I got a message from former atheist friend last night that my posts on Blonde Nonbeliever's(my blog friend who pointed me here) Facebook wall show up on the news feeds of people who are only friends with me and not BN. Facebook has always assured us that only people who are friends of both can see those messages. *sigh* So, Facebook is outing me, to people who are discerning and curious enough to follow the rabbit trails. Former atheist friend is cool with it. Former addict friend says she could never get her former atheist/agnostic acquaintances to openly talk about it and I think she wants to pick my brain.
That said, my kids are on my FB too. They know something is up because they know I have atheist friends. So, we shall see what happens when they start asking questions.
This might be easier than I thought. I knew I had cool friends. Hoping my kids will be just as cool with it. They are just as disgusted with extremism among organized religion (two have had personal encounters with Sharon Phelps of WBC). It remains to be seen if they are terrified that their mom will go to hell. OK. Onward and.....onward, I guess. :)
Thanks. I weeded out the reactionaries long ago. I hope you're right about the kids. They do seem more admiring of the superstition-free mom they've had the past few years.
Just be honest with your kids. If you have that kind of relationship, take them out for a drink and have the conversation. Dont think too hard about it... after all you have no idea how they're going to react. Just be optimistic. There's no need to worry about something that's beyond your control. I'm sure all of us would like to know how things progress. Please keep us up to date!
Two of them are still minors (and the 6yo, who won't care). Also, two of them still seem to need the crutch of religion. I am working that crutch out from under them bit by bit by sharing stories I find about how destructive churches and blind faith can be.
You might also consider what role religion and/or a faith community could be playing for them psychologically. If you replace faith by meeting their needs other ways, their transition should be less traumatic.
We haven't been to church in years, but should they express the need, there is a UU church in town that has a large atheist population. I have also put the two youngest in school at last. (They love it.) Older two are at college. Thanks for the suggestion. I will keep my eye out for other opportunities.
Yeah, I need to sit down and formulate my comments for the inevitable questions. But, since thinking is fun again now that religion is kicked out of my brain, I think it will be an enjoyable task. :)
I've never been anything but an atheist. I got kicked out of Sunday school at about 7 years old.
I know it it is hard for some people, to live your life hiding from what other people think. But how important is what people think. I'm thinking something bad about you right now... Ok now I'm thinking something good now. Can you feel the difference. You cannot, should not, let your life be controlled by what other people think. You tell them what you are, and have the confidence to be who you are. And if they don't like it, is their problem. Why live in discomfort because of what someone will think. They only think about you occasionally, you think about you all day long. And what you think about yourself is far more important.
So, quick update. I joined Omaha Atheists Facebook page last night, after making sure that comment activity was hidden. Apparently, FB must have other settings I need to change when joining groups because I am pretty sure Facebook outed me, based on a good-natured, snarky comment someone left on my page this morning. I'm not trying very hard to hide but I am not ready to be completely transparent yet. Waiting to see if anything else comes of it. My good buddies are still talking to me so they either missed it or suspected all along and don't care. My husband's family is on FB. I've always been freethinking enough to have already given them enough to talk about behind my back. They should have a lot of fun with this.
Also, my teen girls mentioned during a conversation on tolerance that they have atheist friends. I will answer them honestly if they ask me if I am but I'm not putting it out there until they want to know.