OK, so here is the deal. My family is really, REALLY, religious (Southern Baptist) and I slowly separated myself from their beliefs for the past 5-6 years until about a year ago where I am a full blown anti-theist. As one might expect, this has caused tension with my family (they don't know that I no longer believe in god, they just think that I am a horrible Xtain). This came to a head about 8 months ago when I posted on facebook (oh wonderful facebook, the place to go for drama) that I support gay rights and that they should have the right to marry and such. While this got a lot of positive feed back from my friends, my two (lets call them Cain and Able lol) brothers started posting things such as its a mental illness and that god does not approve and such. Their posts of course received a lot of negative responses and while Cain backed off (to fight another, less public day), Able kept right at it, even going so far as to call my friends and myself some kinda ugly names (liberal crap head [lol], embarrassment to the family, dumb, unintelligent, etc) After the name calling started it got really ugly as one can imagine. Able is also a police officer and he also said things like how the police are anti-gay and other things that could really get one in trouble. Believe it or not, Able's facebook was then "hacked" and he had to delete his account.
All this led to a phone conversation I had with Able were he called me more names (little bitch being the most common) where he decided that we just weren't going to see each anymore. Time went by very peacefully for me, except for my father telling me that I needed for forgive Able and such and me ignoring him and telling him that if Able wants forgiveness then he has to call me and apologize. Anyway, a couple of weekends ago I come to find out that my aunt and uncle were up to see my step-mom graduate, I couldn't go to the graduation because it was mother's day and I didn't think that my mother would appreciate me going to see my step-mother on her day. They had a huge family dinner, and since my bother was up, I didn't find out about my relations even being in the state until after they had all left. I confronted my father about keeping me in the dark and basically lying to me and he said that it wasn't to hurt me, just to not cause drama.
I happen to feel that they are taking his side after all the shit he said about me and I am the one being punished, not him. Should I not be feeling this way? I am just...I don't know how to say what I am, just...empty...over this experience. I feel let down and abandoned by my family, I wanted to "come out" about my atheistic beliefs (I knew it would be a big deal and I would probably loose them, but I had hope that they would just love me anyway) but I feel that after this experience I really can't because then I really would be viewed as the worst person ever and they would shun me. And while I love my husband and his family (they are much more open minded, my husband is an atheist as well) I don't know if I could stand being cut off from everyone in my family.
So I guess, what do you think about this situation and is there any advice on how I should deal with them?
(Sorry for the book)
I came out as soon as I noticed I was atheist. Personally as much as a love my family, if they can accept me for who I am, then I don't need them. That is just my personality. If you think that you cant take that kind of emotional turmoil when shit hits the fan. Then maybe maybe coming out is not a good option. I hope everything turns out well for you, it sounds like a catch 22.
You gotta live your life for you, Amanda. Would you really be cut off from your whole family if you came out about this, or would you only be cut off from the ones who feel like your living with sense is an affront to them? Do you really need that kind of people in your life?
well at least you have a like minded spouse. My favorite part of this sitiuation is how they act like we are defective or lacking something in our lives or "lost" is a good one. As much as it sucks I'd say you need to argue your case. Make them explain why they would take the side of an asshole like the god the worship and not their own blood. Id say we all need to argue our case more given the grip the religious have on politics.
"...we all need to argue our case more given the grip the religious have on politics."
Sigmund Freud (bless his whacked out mind) once said: "there comes a time, in everyone's life, when they need to tell mommie and daddy to go straight to hell!"
"Go to hell mommie, but I still want to.... erm.... have sex with you" : )
Hi Amanda, I'm sympathetic to you feeling like an outsider in your own family. It's a very lonely place to be. Clearly, your thinking no longer jives with the groupthink within your family and by their reaction it doesn't sound like there is room for tolerance, at this time. Also, the police officer (Cain) could potentially cause you trouble, because of his bullying ways and the power available to him through his badge. If connection to your family is as important as you indicate, I suggest you stay connected and gradually reveal your disinterest in religion by opting out of religious expressions and making occasional casual non-confrontational statements. While it seems your brothers are looking to argue and belittle, your parents will probably be most concerned with where they think you'll end up - and this will cause them a great deal of stress and worry and they will feel compelled to save you - as parents want to protect. It's very difficult to shield such an important facet of ourselves from those we are closest to - but sometimes it allows us to prepare the ground for the mustard seed of our anti-faith, so to speak. Good luck!
If you havent already I would suggest that you talk to your parents alone, explain to them what happened(they need to hear both sides of what happened). Let them know just because you dont believe in the same thing doesn't make you any different than who you were yesterday. Tell them that you dont want to be excluded from the family and that this "drama" that your drama queen brothers have set forth is just that, drama. If your parents are understanding they should see that this is just one of your beliefs and respect that and who you are. As for your brothers be strong and don't show them they have won, be cordial and show them that you are better than they are because you are strong!
You have every right to be upset with them all, but as family the bond that makes us family should accept you for who you are.
You might point out that Jesus preached l things like forgiveness and to turn the other cheek and let him who is without sin cast the first stone, but you'll probably just hear back that The Devil can quote scripture to his ends.
Someone once said that "the first virtue of a family is to get along with each other." Obviously your family doesn't get that, so you might as well divorce your family for now and wait for them to notice that you're not around.
If they made such a big deal out of supporting gay marriage, I don't want to imagine what they will do when you tell them you are an Atheist. The consequences can be awful.You are basically putting yourself out there for them to cast their stones at you and do all the manipulation tactics that are known to men. They can't accept that you have a different opinion on a trivial subject, and much less they will be able to accept you after they find out you don't share their same beliefs. Also they won't side with you against your brother, that would be going against all that they preach, at least they are being truthful to it.
So if you really don't care about severing your bonds with them and the amount of drama that comes with it, then go ahead and drop the bomb. Now don't expect that they will act all supportive, applaud you and support progressive beliefs. They will do all the opposite. Specially your brother. At least, you would be free to not go to church and keep up with their delusions. So some weight will be taken off your shoulders, also you now are an adult and have a family of your own. And at the end of the day the family you create is the one that matters.
But if you want to keep them in the picture and "belong", keep your Atheism to yourself, and now and then put the show they are expecting to see from you.. Make that relationship frivolous, and laugh at them with your husband when they are not around. You can call it being PC.
In my case since I don't really care about people that complicate my life, I don't need anybody to breath, and I already got from my family everything I ever needed (a womb, a house, food, education, love and support when I was growing up) I would just tell them straight.If they accept it fine, I would really appreaciate it since is not their obligation, if they don't fine.
But this is me and my opinion.
Amanda - I can't help wondering how someone with a fine old Irish name like Mrakovich, wound up in Southern Baptist territory in the first place.
We've had this issue before, and there just is no pat answer. The truth is, that theists, for reasons no one can explain in a nutshell, identify so strongly with their belief-system, that to reject that - in their minds at least - is to reject them. That's what they feel you've done, and they've childishly rejected you right back.
My only advice would be to just continue being a good daughter to both your mother and father, but stay fast in your beliefs. It will either pass or it won't, but you must accept that it may not.
As for your brother, Able, if your Dad is so concerned that you two make up, it must be important to him. I would consider this a signal that your Dad doesn't want to see you separate from his family. I would offer to do a sit-down with Able, with your Dad present, so he can see you're making an effort (and so that later, there can be no exaggerated, "he said/she said" tales told back and forth), that should give you an opportunity to explain, in front of your Dad, that your decision is a personal one, and is not intended to be, nor should it be considered too be, in any sense disrespectful to any of them.
Best I can do, Kiddo - good luck!