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: 929

Comment by Jared on January 19, 2012 at 11:51pm
I'll never understand how a family can just decide to pick a book over their own blood. Too bad they didn't take the time to read the book at the least it would give them something to discuss with you if they are soo concerned over your soul. Well hopefully they will realize before its too late that family is more important in the long run. Its sucks that you are stuck for now in a hostile home and hopefully you are able find some good work so you can go on your own.
Comment by Jared on January 20, 2012 at 12:00am
Have they been trying to do an intervention? I've had some friends whose families were relentless with that crap.
Comment by Kenny Howse on January 20, 2012 at 2:44am
I'm so glad I brought up my kids to have open minds, I have three daughters who I told at a very early age that I didn't believe in god, my then wife was a xtian who taught them all that xtian BS, in the end they made up their own minds, one married a catholic & says she believes in god but isn't in any way religious, the second to my best knowledge is a non-believer and the third still only 16 is a bit of a radical atheist! Two out of three isn't bad! The point I'm trying to make is whatever my daughters became I would have supported their choice, in my opinion the important thing was to teach them to think critically and question everything and not to just accept things on faith or because some religious leader 'said so'.
Comment by Kairan Nierde on January 20, 2012 at 3:31am

I'm sorry your family has reacted this way.  Try to make some contacts at your meetup.  Maybe you can find a roommate or two to make moving out affordable.  My parents thought I was angry with god too.  I wish things were different.  Maybe they will grow to accept your loss of faith--it's so new and raw for them right now.  Your siblings are still growing up.  Even though they aren't coming to you for advice, you are a role model.  When they start to think for themselves, they will see that you have taken the path of intellectual freedom and maybe they will too.  Hang in there.

Comment by Barry Eckert on January 20, 2012 at 5:09am

Kairan has a good suggestion there about the roommate(s).

Lindsey, I'm sorry this happened to you. The depression and self-esteem issues you mention aren't strange given the hostile environment you are in. Keep opposing those thoughts with the rational abilities you obviously have - remind yourself that you are a good person and try not to listen to the negative self-talk. Most of that sort of problem that I have had has been due to my channeling other people's criticism into my own inner voice. Sometimes telling myself "Stop it!!"helps. A hug from a friend works pretty well too.

{{{{Lindsey}}}} <= virtual hug ヅ

Comment by Robert Karp on January 20, 2012 at 9:04am

Lindsay your story is heartbreaking. This is why whenever I hear christians complaining that are oppressed I just want to scream "try being gay, try being an atheist, try being a muslim for that matter"!  My advice is surround yourself, as you are planning to do with people who share your convictions. The meet-up is a great idea. I would also say don't count out all your xian friends just yet. Everyone on here has religious friends and family that do accept us for who we are. Who knows, one of them might be questioning his/her beliefs as well and will take your courage as inspiration. As you also mentioned we are also here. Hang in there!

Comment by Steve on January 20, 2012 at 10:58am

They certainly proved again why god (and religion) isn't great

Comment by Ben on January 20, 2012 at 1:06pm

I can relate to you. When I'm around friends and even acquaintances, I can easily talk about my atheism and other sensitive topics. When I'm around my immediate family, however, things are much different. My dad and brother are especially fundamentalist and close-minded. My heart starts racing when I even mention the words billions (as in we can measure light and the fact that it's been travelling for billions of years). I generally try avoiding religion topics when I'm around my family, although I do hint at my atheism and certain scientific facts every once in a while just to make them feel a little uncomfortable. :)

This website is great in that it lets you feel like atheism is normal and accepted among other rational people. You are definitely not alone in your atheism!

Comment by Jacob LeMaster on January 20, 2012 at 4:36pm

People in our state do get quite uppity about their religion (damn bible belt)... I got really lucky at work and I work with 2 atheists for the time being.

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! :-)


You need to be a member of Think Atheist to add comments!

Join Think Atheist

© 2020   Created by Rebel.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service