I've been feeling down since the shit hit the fan with my family. I've been avoiding my aunt's phone calls (the gossipy one), and I've been avoiding talking about this to any family member until I get my "why I'm not a Christian" speech down. Whenever I try to explain it, my mind shuts down. I think I'm still way to hurt and emotional about their reactions, and whenever I think about talking to them again, I go back to that terrible few days, and I just can't concentrate on anything else.

Has anyone else been in a situation like this? Any advice?

Views: 9

Comment by Mike Donohoe on February 19, 2010 at 5:57pm
I sympathize fully. Most of my relatives were so awful in my case, generally, that I simplified my life quite a bit by essentially divorcing them. I realize that is not an option for everyone. As for religious aspects of some of the immediate "family," they along with other brain-washed evangelists went a long way toward my enduring interest in science and reason and in my disdain for religion. I have not been an atheist for some time now while remaining non-Christian and more spiritual than religious. I think a lot of religious people do a great deal for the cause of atheism. Not only ironic but sad as I think that reason and spiritual dimensions actually can coincide.
Comment by Brandon Rae [椎] on February 19, 2010 at 6:24pm
My sympathies, Andrea. Throughout this tough and emotional time, take pride that you're doing the right thing.
Comment by Shine on February 19, 2010 at 7:40pm
I have no good advice but heaps of sympathy. :( If your family is having a difficult time with atheism, perhaps you just need to give them a worse alternative. Like, say, showing up dressed like this:

and claiming that you are now an adherent of the Intergalactic Hello Kitty Troopers; it's worth a shot at least.
Comment by James on February 19, 2010 at 11:11pm
I'm so sorry to hear you're parents aren't taking the news well. When I first told them I was an Atheist, they didn't take it too bad. Just inquired slightly, an I gave a vague answer about evidence, science, etc... I lucked out, in that my parents aren't overly religious though. I felt as though there were still questions, buy they maybe weren't comfortable with 'that' conversation yet. So I ended up typing up a paper about why I'm an Atheist, why not Catholic anymore, evidence against Christianity and dispelling of common stereotypes about Atheists. I kept it honest, factual and respectful and then left it out on my table out in the open while I was at work for them to eventually find and hopefully read. They did, and I think it made them understand a lot more. But as I said before, my parents are not that religious to begin with. Heck, my mom doesn't like this about me one bit, but I still never got any hell threats or the usual stuff.
Comment by Fancy Nancy on February 20, 2010 at 3:32am
Hmm ... well it's your decision, you don't have to defend or explain in my opinion ... if they ask you questions, then up to you if you want to answer - first maybe work out if they really want to know - otherwise maybe just 'i just don't think i believe anymore' - no point having an argument if someone's not listening ... Like James, I also don't come from a very 'religious' family but still complicated ... I sorta go along with 'family traditions' which are Jewish/religious but don't go to shul (synagogue/temple) even once a year ... I don't want to give up contact though and I like the food eg honey cake at New Year - that's MY decision ... Good luck with everything ... your family may not like your views but hopefully they'll love you for who you are ... xxxx
Comment by Cara Coleen on February 20, 2010 at 8:48am
I agree with Fancy Nancy: you don't have to defend or explain yourself. Maybe you should challenge them to tell you why they're angry. Isn't anger the wrong reaction? What about concern? What about curiosity? Instead of attacking you, shouldn't they be asking questions?

Until they get their emotions in check, and stop gossiping, you shouldn't have to worry about getting yours in check. You weren't ready to talk about this to begin with, and you don't have to now that they've put you on the spot. They're not showing you any respect by prying. It'd be nice if they realized they were angry because they're concerned or afraid for you, but until they figure it out, you don't owe them a detailed explanation. Your opinions are personal. They had no right to confront you about this as if they'd just found out you were a drug addict.

I know it's hard. I've been dealing with this for a couple years now myself. My mom and I have both cooled down though. I try to show her that I'm still a good, respectful and loving human being even without "Jesus in my heart". The less reactive you are, the more they'll be forced to see that they're the ones not acting Christian... although I wouldn't expect much from them.

What's been the hardest is having to come to terms with the fact that my relationship with my mom and certain members of the family will never be the same. I'll never be able to be completely open; I'll never be able to come to them for advice because it would be so steeped in religion that it would be completely useless. I can't even go to my mom for comfort because she has the pull the Jesus card... if I only believed in Jesus, I wouldn't feel so sad that my grandfather passed away because I'd know I'd see him again. But she doesn't get that she's still sad... and I find it hard to believe she truly believes she will see him again. When you say goodbye to a friend who's going on a long trip, you're sad but you're not grieving. You know you'll see them again! Believers have the same reaction to death as anyone... but I digress.

It's hard and heartbreaking, Andrea. Just try to surround yourself with people who at least are sympathetic and supportive. Sometimes, families fail at being families.
Comment by Shine on February 20, 2010 at 9:13am
Andrea, I just reread my earlier comment and realize that it may seem insensitive. I want to apologize if I offended you; I was not intending to minimize your predicament or make fun of your situation. I guess I just always result to humor (admittedly, usually terrible humor) to try and make people feel better when they are down. But I realize that it may have come off wrong, and I apologize if it was inappropriate. I hope that you and your family are able to find a amicable resolution soon.
Comment by Andrea on February 20, 2010 at 12:45pm
Thank you EVERYONE for your support and advice. It is really sad for me to realize that my relationships with some members of my family are never going to be the same, but, do I really want them to be? I've been hiding this part of me for years, and it feels really good to have it out there...I just wish they would have had a little more respect for me. So, I think I'm going to wait for them to approach me with sincerity before I feel the need to "explain myself."

Shine-you totally don't need to apologize! I always turn to humor, and the fact that you had no idea how much I ADORE Hello Kitty and how big of a Star Wars geek I am, makes that post even better!
Comment by Shine on February 20, 2010 at 3:07pm
Yay, I am glad that the representative from the Federation of Intergalactic Hello Kitty Troopers did its job. :D

Honestly, I am still dumbfounded that your aunt started this whole thing, and instantly involved your grandmother. I think Cara said it best with: Sometimes, families fail at being families.

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