It was bound to happen eventually.

I come from a very conservative christian family so it should come as no surprise to you that my being a very socially liberal atheist, not to mention a lesbian, was not accepted with open loving arms by them. The other day I received a facebook message from one of my dad's sisters living in Ohio. I rarely see her and we haven't had a legitimate conversation in all the time that I've known her but she said that she saw that I had listed "atheist" under my religious views. "I realize being an atheist is the cool thing to do," she told me, "but I hope one day you grow smarter and you'll see the error in your ways. Until then, God Bless."

I was quick to reply.

"It seems to me that the current cool thing in this country is rampant anti-intellectualism and the outcasting of anyone who prefers the sound evidence of science and reason over a mythical supreme being with a faulty moral structure. Tell your God to keep his blessings and as far my "growing smarter"? I'll work on that...thanks."

Yes, I guess she does think she's more intelligent. It could be a coincidence that I'm currently working towards my masters degree in philosophy and english literature and she's an unemployed high school dropout...

But probably not. 

 

Anyone else have a similar experience to share?

Tags: Ostracized, by, family

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Fortunately, the only input I've gotten from my family so far is my mother constantly sending me apologetics books to read. However, some of my more devout relations probably haven't realized I am an atheist yet, so who knows what will happen when that occurs.

Is being an atheist really the cool thing to do?

 

Every time I say to a person that I am an atheist and don't believe in a god or gods, they look at me with disgust and think I'm a satan loving, immoral, genocidal manic bent on world domination.

 

I'v never seemed cool when saying I don't believe, but I guess thats what I get for analyzing the data and coming to a logical and rational conclusion that god probably doesn't exist. How uncool of you and I. 

Every time I say to a person that I am an atheist and don't believe in a god or gods, they look at me with disgust and think I'm a satan loving, immoral, genocidal manic bent on world domination.

 

That's true that most people react like that (in the US, especially in the Bible belt), and it's funny the way you put it. On the other hand, I think a lot of people are pretty cool with it as long as you keep it to yourself. It's almost like it's okay if they suspect you are an atheist - they can deal with the suspicion and still accept you as long as you don't spell it out for them. I'm not saying this means one should keep it to themselves. It's just an observation.

 

I have a religious aunt and I lied and told her "I don't know if there is a God or not but I pray just in case" and she was good with that. Sure, she in sprinkles a little religion into our conversations now and then (which are usually e-mail conversations), but she never pins me up against a wall about it or anything. However, if I were to tell her I was an atheist, I have no idea how she would react but I do have a feeling it would knock me down a million notches in her esteem.

I think your reply was perfect.  Did she answer that with anything?  I don't really have any similar stories, sorry.

The idea that family could even contemplate of acting like some kind of thought police, much less actually do so is alien to our culture and totally alien to me. I really have a hard time wrapping my mind around such behavior. It seems to me (at least one of) the worst kind(s) of betrayal there exists.

But as far as this particular woman goes one should keep in mind that being ignorant doesn't necessarily make you less certain of your convictions, even when certain about absurd ideas that stand in direct opposition to other rational ideas about reality she holds are absolutely true, or when false memories or being shown to be wrong with evidence to the contrary.

Yes I agree. I thought there was a name for this effect. Somehow I just can't recall.
Fortunately my parents, though themselves raised religious, raised me to make my own decisions. They are totally okay with the fact that I've chosen a different path, as long as I am happy and safe. However, I avoid discussing my beliefs with the rest of my family, who are devout Catholics. I know that if I were to come right and say "I don't believe in religion, and I don't believe in an omnipotent being either," I would be ostracized. At one point in my rather tame rebellious teenage years I chose to buzz most of my hair off. This turned into me obviously hanging out with the wrong crowd. Since then I've gone out and done things like putting copious amounts of ink into my skin. This too, caused quite the uproar. I can't imagine how they would feel if I let them know that I'm "doomed", and I am sorry, though not surprised, that your family has not offered love, as their religion preaches, but intolerance.

font is extremely purple..and hard to read on a dark background. anyway, I have an aunt...no, scratch that, I'm not even sure how she is related to me....point is, I see her like once a year and she found out about my atheism the same way. Facebook. which is fine by me, I dont want to hide it for anything. anyway, before hand my other relatives didnt know that I was an atheist since everyone in my family, like you're family..is a very conservative christian one. it stirred up a little drama to say the least. My grandmother tried to hold an intervention. yeah...

They really do all seem to think that it's a fad of some sort, even though knowing me, they would know that I've never been one to jump on the band wagon. Not to mention atheism is like, the smallest minority belief, or should i say lack their of, that i know of. Eeeeveryone judges us. it's not cool in the slightest.


Since you came from a very conservative christian family..

I think you are so brave to come out and say I am an atheist..

I appreciated this kind of courage!

Myself, I can not come out and say that in an explicit way....all what I did is a hint saying.

 

You've done the right thing..don't bother youself being stracized by your family..

life is a beautiful opportunity that deserves to be experienced...

 

And remember,


"Stand up for what you believe in, even if it means standing up alone"

I make sure to tell everyone quite quickly that I'm an atheist if I intend to start a friendship with them. If they're turned away, so be it. Such discriminating people aren't the kind of friends I'd like.

 

As for family matters, no. Although my parents haven't really said they're atheists to anyone (we live in Texas, and that complicates things), but either way they're very secular and they agree with my atheism. I congratulate you for coming out so honestly, though. I don't think I could if I were in that situation.

Why I hate Facebook, reason #294.

 

Well as you're already well aware, the opinions of our family (immediate or extended) only matter as much as we let them (awesome verbal smackdown by the way!  I may have to lift parts of it for my own use...).  I think surrounding one's self with people who love and genuinely accept you for all that you are, good bad or indifferent, are the really important social families that we build.  But I'm no philosophy major. ;)

 

That's what I like best about this site.  Knowing that even surrounded by narrow-minded "godtards" in this small town, I can come here and know there are people who get it.

My family history had twists and turns at the best of times but I am now definitely estranged from them.  I haven't seen my mother since 1992, and I last spoke to her in about 1997 by telephone.  We didn't even finish our conversation, I just listened to her rambling about god's will and stuff and grew weary and hung up.  My parents were really never together, so my relationship with my father was totally separate.  The last time I saw my father was about 1999, and then I spoke to him on the phone in 2003, I think.  Anyway, that's it.  I have no other contact with other family members, and now I don't even know where any of them live.

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