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?
I have had some similar run ins with some family and friends. I used to be a reverend and now I'm not even a Christian, and they don't understand what's going on with me. They look down on me for it all. They think I only left the religion because I was deeply hurt by my pastors. They don't appreciate the amount of intellectual and emotional energy that it takes to reconsider a belief system that you embraced your entire life.
I recently had an aunt of mine comment on one of my posts about how all women basically should marry a rich man and stay home with their children. I was so insulted by her stupidity that I deleted her. Most of the extended family aren't religious, but there's one particular part of our family that is really, really outspoken about their faith. It's annoying.
Personally, I end up deleting and blocking them. We're not THAT close. We see each other about once a year. And, I personally don't care if they are offended by that. If they can't accept me as me, then that's their loss.
I have "Pastafarian" listed as my facebook religion and on top of that, it is hidden from anyone(limited profile) that might take issue with it--no one who I'm blood related to or went to high school with can see my posts, statuses, anything. I have no wish to see their stupid farmville or jebus quotes either.
The worse that's happened was my father threatened to "teach me a lesson"(which would mean beating me until I vomit or have broken bones, in his terms), if I didn't accept the religion he told me to accept. Which is southern, misogynist, racist, homophobic and fatphobic baptist christianity.
Welcome to Alabama. You will wear the Ku robe or we will beat you for wanting equal rights for all humans.
Somehow, I am miraculously unmarred by this, and am relatively interested in other cultures and other people, I'm very active in Fat Acceptance, Feminism, and Gay Rights whenever I have the chance(aka can get over my crippling social anxiety due to my experiences with family as a kid).
My dad is also very vocal about how I should lose weight. And shouldn't be eating that, on top of him not liking that I support gay rights, gay marriage and equality between different cultures and you know, punishing the companies that hire illegal immigrants, not the illegal immigrants.
My dad's side of the family is all pretty insane and all lives in Alabama. My mom's side--I get along with it a little better, but my sister tends to do things like claim that I'm trying to be like Michael Jackson whenever we're around them--in order to try to make herself look better--she's always demanding cars and money and such from various relatives.
Yes, my family is crazy. On many levels. My mom has been my rock, she's been oddly accepting of all of this, I think because she knows that deep down, I'm a good kid--she's unhappy that I don't believe in god, and "prays for me" but, she hasn't reacted as badly as the highschoolers whom I told I didn't want to pray with, or my dad, when I tried to explain that I was going to SERAM(SouthEast Region Atheist Meetup).
So yeah, bad, but it's not just religion here, it's a lot of other things attached in with it, that I am ostracized for. Not just rejecting their bible and jeezus.
I just have to say that your words really struck some cords for me. It's been so long that I had forgotten about the people I looked up to when I still believed in god and wanted to be 'saved'. Many of them had a particular look that I wanted to emulate. Many of them said things that I wished I could feel comfortable saying. Most of all, there was a compelling simplicity to just 'believing' without thinking things through.
The problem for me was the mountain of paradoxes that I just couldn't climb. An all loving god that would punish me by keeping me alive and suffering for all eternity rather than just erasing my existence. An all knowing god that was regularly disappointed with his creations. An all powerful god that needed money, and lots of it.
I just couldn't let it go, and further paradoxes left me questioning everything. So many of those people that I looked up to, or that I sought the guidance of, tried to counsel me to stop thinking about things. They tried to tell me that the real wisdom was to just accept all of this at face value as the mysterious nature of god. Over and over I was told that my curiousity would fade and I would be left with nothing.
Well my curiousity hasn't faded one iota. It grows everyday and it drives me forward. It is who I am. I am over 40 years old now and I just moved to the French part of my country to learn the language and the culture - as well as the history of my own country. I spent the last week delving into the depths of the tensions that lead up to the American Civil war because I never could accept that it was all about freeing the slaves (important as that may have been). I even wrote my own little blog about it, expecting that no one will read it, but just to help clarify my thoughts on the matter. At the moment I am filled with more hunger for more knowledge than ever before, and I'm filled with more pleasure by each lesson than I ever dreamed possible.
How is it that those people I looked up to so long ago can find such pleasure in clinging steadfastly to their ignorance? Why do they think god gave them a mind in the first place?