Fundamentalist Christian family, atheist me.

There once was a time when I was the most faithful and religious of them all... But through the process of higher education, and the use of logic and critical thinking, I could no longer deny the fact that I had grown into a full-blown atheist, leaving my parents and my brothers and sister behind in Never-never Land. I did not intend to tell them about it...not for a while at least (I planned on moving out first). I was reading Christopher Hitchens' "God Is Not Great" and left it on the kitchen counter by accident before going to work one day. You would think that I was caught with drugs with the way my mom accused me of "bringing garbage into her house." She accused me of simply angry with God because my life didn't pan out as I had wanted) it to. She asked me if I had been raped (as if that could provide for her a logical explaination as to how I lost my faith in God) and she told me that I might as well be a Satanist. My father said that there will be no talk of this "non-sense" of there being no God under his roof. He also told me that unless I changed my mind, he did not want me to be present at his deathbed. My sister told me that I had allowed Satan to take over my heart and mind, and my brothers told me that they would no longer come to me for advise they needed.

Eversince that day, life at my home has been mental tourture. I've been dealing with depression and self esteem issues that I hadn't had problems with prior to my accidental coming out. My parents were so furious with me and my disbelief that I was sure they were going to kick me out of the house. Part of me wishes they had. All of my friends were Christian and it was just a matter of time before they stopped wanting to see me (I think they were scared that if it could happen to someone as faithful as me, then it could also happen to them. My disbelief was seen as a weakness and a disease). Pretty soon the only social interaction I got was through the people I worked with, who have been mostly very cool with my open atheism.

With the economy the way it is I cannot afford to get my own place and I've been desperately looking for another job so that I can finally escape. I know that things will get better someday; they have to. I plan on going to my first atheist meetup this month. Yay! Super excited about that...

I want to thank everyone on this site for being there for me when my own family hasn't. I read the blogs and discussions and it makes me feel happy and sane and not so alone. :-)

Views: 739

Tags: abuse, christian, crazy, depression, family, fundamentalist, mental

Comment by Lindsey Harris on January 20, 2012 at 5:11pm

Thanks for all of the uplifting comments everyone. It's cool knowing some of you can relate to what I'm going through. To answer your question, Jared: no, my family hasn't done an intervention exactly. My mom did set up an apointment for me to meet with the pastor of their church and one of my little brothers brought me to Starbucks one day to meet with his youth minister. They were both very nice and they were both very civil meetings, but both men were, for lack of better words, very ignorant and stubourn and I walked away feeling even more frustrated. But I got a free caramel macchiato from the later meeting so that was cool. ;-)

Thanks again, everyone! You are all wonderful! :-)

Comment by Helen Pluckrose on January 20, 2012 at 5:36pm

Oh, Lindsey! Poor you! :( This is the worst thing about Christianity - your family are so sure they are right that they see your disbelief as worse than if you had become a crack addicted bank robber.  The worst thing is that they are probably being like this because they love you and fear for you. They think you are in terrible danger. They are saying things to you I could only imagine saying to my child if she revealed she was a Neo-Nazi involved in racial murder or something!

Christianity is psychological abuse of children which leads to adults doing the same to their kids and the cycle goes on - well done for breaking it.  That chapter of God is Not Great - Religion poisons everything? This is the perfect example. It must be so hurtful. I am glad you have got some people to support you. :( I am in the UK and don't know anyone who has a positive belief in a god - everyone seems to be agnostic or atheist. I often think how lucky I am when I hear a story like this. I hope you come to some understanding with your family.

Comment by Ed on January 20, 2012 at 8:44pm

Lindsey,

Ask your parents if their love for you is conditional. When they say "No" walk up and give um a hug and say 'thank you" for your understanding and respecting me as an adult who thinks for herself. 

Comment by Laney on January 20, 2012 at 9:08pm

I'm sorry that knowledge is so shunned, instead of praised. I hope you find a more open-minded environment soon!

Comment by Dustin on January 20, 2012 at 10:28pm

I posted this on my facebook wall :)  - Your story made me very sad..

"Reading another story of an atheist who has had their entire family turn on her. Father saying that he doesn't want her at his deathbed, mother asking her if she's been raped, as if that would somehow be a reason to be an atheist. Are Christians this deluded to where they can't understand not everyone believes the way they were indoctrinated? Some of your children will open their eyes, leaving you in the dark. To stop showing love and support truly is the 'Christian way' it seems in many households. I want to cry everytime I read these stories and they happen way too often..."

Comment by Morgan Matthew on January 21, 2012 at 12:49am
Hi Lindsey, be sure to keep us updated if you don't mind.
Comment by Kenny Howse on January 21, 2012 at 2:53am
@Dustin Couldn't agree more!
Comment by Daniel on January 21, 2012 at 4:21am

Hang in there, it gets better. I am kind of in the same boat. I had to move back home because of international politics and am now stuck in the bible belt. I am counting down the days untill I can leave. 

Comment by Mabel on January 21, 2012 at 10:38am

Many times people don't realize what the price for coming out will be. If they did, they at least could brace for it.

It sounds to me like you were caught off guard by your family's reaction. I have seen many people post on atheist forums about similar occurrences with their friends and family. I think that most likely one day you will look back and not regret what you did. I am not an out atheist, yet. Maybe one day I will develop the courage to not hide who I really am from so many.

Comment by Dale Headley on January 21, 2012 at 3:54pm

   Good luck.  In any case, you should take pride in your intelligence and your use of reason, logic, and evidence to make decisions in life.  In the long run, it will be your salvation.  To put it another way, you have the power to make your Heaven here on earth, within your life span.  Your relatives, on the other hand, are depending upon a post mortem salvation fantasy that will never come, because it doesn't exist; and you know it!  Have fun at your first atheist meetup.

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