Have you or your children lost friends over your atheism?  I'm encountering this and it hurts. My daughter told her best friend that we no longer believed in God, her parents are devout Christians.  My daughter's phone calls are now not being answered or returned, they spoke daily!  I suspect this is the reason because their daughter said we were inviting Satan into our home because we let our daughter read Harry Potter and we played D & D.  Another couple that we went to church with and used to go out with all the time stopped making plans with us recently.  I was very good friends with the mother, we went for coffee regularly and on playdates.  I have called, we used to have long friendly conversations and now she is quick to find a reason to hang up the phone.  I've tried to be positive and to seek out other friends, I'm still looking for someone to have coffee with but it still stings.  Anyone else had this happen?

Tags: Family

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I have friends that I am very distant with but I have known all my life there for we still stay in touch.

I still stay in touch with people I went to grade school with, Of course when I first left Christianity I explored Paganism, and several other religions so they were kind of use to me being different anyways. It was not even that I believed in god I just wanted to test it to make sure I was not missing something. I don't usually go around shouting out over the roof tops that I am an atheist. Until I am backed into a corner. Then I let it be known.. When my sister realized that I had been an atheist for years and not a witch or anything else, it really kind of floored her. We use to talk everyday, we live a thousand miles from one another now I am lucky if I talk to her once a month. It happens.. I am not sure where you are, but if you are close to Allentown PA I am happy to get together with you.. We can play wii, and let the kids play together.. Mine are 4 and 6..

 

Hi Janelle,

Long before I even recognized myself as an atheist, my children were generally ostracized because I was "different". The only thing "different" about me is that I have never gone along with the crowd which seems to make my conservative family and some friends uncomfortable.

It's really frustrating to have your kids meet someone they "click" with only to have them disappear all because you invite them to play D&D or talk about playing video games.

But are those kids really friends then?

I don't have any answers for you but you might try checking to see if you have a local atheist or freethinkers group. We started a local parenting group where I live. It's not very active yet, but it's a start.

Janelle,

It sucks and it hurts, and My family and I have experienced this.  It is especially tough when you live in a small town, as you know damn well that everyone talks to everyone else.  We "came out" to the mom of one of our daughter's friends in school when our daughter was threatened by another girl in their class that she was going to hell because we didn't believe in god (gotta love early indoctrination--it was kindergarten).  At first the mom was very open and accepting, but she slowly pulled further and further away and then her daughter stopped talking to ours in class and in the hallways at school, finally, she wouldn't even answer or return our daughter's (or our) phone calls.  We get the invisible man treatment now when we bump into this mom at school functions.  Right now, I can't really say that I have any friends in our area that I hang out with, and I'm getting more used to it.  Thankfully, this year at school, our daughter is getting along with most of the kids in her class (she's in 2nd grade), and she has 2-3 really close girlfriends.  I just fear that the topic of "what church do you go to" will come up and these parents might go the same way as our first experience did.  I am not one to lie about my position in life, and I don't want to have my daughter feel shame for our different lifestyle.  So I guess I'm in the same boat as you are.  Hey, if you are ever anywhere near Cape May, NJ, I'd love to have you over for a cup of coffee and a talk. :)  Keep your chin up!

I'm so sorry about the experiences your daughter has had at school, I'm glad my daughter hasn't had that told to her explicitly but I was pretty ticked when she said her girlfriend thought we were inviting Satan into our home.  Our daughter had attended a Christian school and I was a Sunday School teacher at a Baptist church.  I surrounded myself with other Christians so I guess I should've expected this.  If I ever take a trip to NJ I'll let you know, the same goes if you drive through Erie, PA.  Thanks again for the friend invite, at least we have this forum :)

Fred, it's funny but I hear ya.  I recently left Christianity, I miss some of the religious feeling that I think you're talking about.  I wish it were easier to express yourself on both sides of the aisle.  I've looked into Buddhism and other nonreligious spiritual experiences, I can't recreate how I felt.  I'm happier now though, and I remind myself that it's okay to miss the good parts of religion.

My husband is also a spiritual atheist, actually he's a practicing member of the Hermetic Golden Dawn.  I don't share this with him, although I respect it.  I'm hermetic in that I want for everyone to find their own idea of happiness.  We should all want that for eachother.

 

Janelle , I miss the community as well... It was a great comfort in my life. Yes, it's ok to miss the bonds... The 'good' stuff. Perhaps one day our children will have this experience, but not through religion.

Fred - I often tick other non believers off. I'm a free thinker , which led me to non religious and non theistic belief- however I'm not finished.  I don't cease to think or dogmatically defend Atheism - sometimes I even will debate with them when they are guilty of what they accuse. So I'm free thinker- unbound by any system of thought that requires me to conform, whether religious or not. 

 

On you - are you a spiritual Atheist? I've met a few. 

I have not had this problem.  Not yet or not so far that I am aware.  But, the nature of friendships is often transient anyway and it probably is a good practice to make new friends on a regular basis.  Good luck!

Yes. I think mothers often feel the sting more - women are more emotional on average. Dads do in their own way - they hurt seeing us hurt. In my new 'outted' status ( which was many, many years ago), my first two children went through some awful experiences and loss of friendships. So much so I reconsidered being out... It was painful to watch them be out casted for MY beliefs. They were children ... and as such not responsible for our choices, I was. I've lost close friends who were in church with us as well. Women I had built long friendships with - I thought secure ones. I lost all my playdates , lunches and get together invites altogether. I lost my community , my support and even work became a test of endurance with bias. Tabitha my eldest girl lost her friends - all of them. She was picked on at school , were once she was popular. She wasn't picked for squads or any other school activities such as that, though she was in gymnastics and extremely good. Alex though brilliant and incredibly knowledgeable was not selected for debate teams and etc... He wasn't picked up the following season for racing either ( bikes) ... I rarely tell anyone about my Ohio life. It was quite horrendous for many reasons. In Florida we were kinda black listed at equestrian events or 4H. We attended but no one interacted with us... 

 

Yes, it hurts. Recently I've lost 'friends' too, I think mostly over fear of being stigmatized or called one too ? Like it's Leprosy? I just had a fall through a few days ago - and I'm finding I'm becoming more and more protective on who I let in my world or the life of my two youngest ones, age 3 and 1. Its made me less 'talkative' ... reclusive. I hate that, for the kids and myself. 

Angela, Wow!  It's hard to imagine being so ostrasized. I've had my share of falling outs, but nothing in comparison to what you and your children have gone through.  I'm starting to think I need to be more guarded with my family as well, I wouldn't want my children to be so obviously discriminated against.  I've taken steps away from religion, our daughter who did go to a Christian school now attends a very secular private school where many doctors and scientists without god send their children (thank goodness for financial aid!).  I hope things start looking up for you, I also hope that we all find our niche. 

 I have never lost friends but i have lost family.  Before i had my son zach, i told everyone i was not going to push anything on my son. If he chose to believe in anything i would support him. My mom would drop hints that i should baptise my son. She knew, well knows that im atheist. I didn't think anything of it. When i started to go into laber it was bad. I had to go in early bec i am small. They gave me meds to speed up the laber, then i had the epidural,bec my whole body wouldent stop shaking. when it kicked in i fell asleep for like 20 minets. waking up it felt like something had gone wrong. My mom wasn't in the room and everyone was wispering, and they were mad. I asked what was wrong and no one would tell me. I started freeking out, but they said everything was fine with the baby. I wouldent let it drop. Then jerry my husband told me, my mom had told my sister that she was going to go behind my back and baptise my son.

After that i woulden't let my mom watch Zach, by her self.  It feels like i lost my mom. I can't trust her anymore.  

 I don't blame you, granted I am not exactly the best person to console you   about this. If I had a kid and my fundamentalist mother took my kid to get baptized  I would most likely be extremely angry and even go to the point of not letting  her see her grandchild  for disrespecting my lack of beliefs or what we would have planned for the kid. I feel deeply sorry that your mother is a complete nut and did that, it is disrespect at it's worse. I do not blame you for not letting your mother watch the kid by herself, I wouldn't either.  By the way is that your son in your profile picture? He is adorable.

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