I'm an Atheist, Therefore I'm Weird?

My grandmother called tonight. It was a little bit of a surprise, but we (my parents and I) were glad to hear from her. My parents and Grandma talked about the weather and this and that. It was a totally normal conversation, and then Grandma started asking about me. Actually, the words that came from my 84-year-old grandma's mouth were, "What's with Kristi?"

My aunt, who is a born-again Christian (like pretty much the rest of my dad's side of the family) has been closely monitoring my Facebook because I do, from time to time, post things on there that have an atheist and/or liberal bent. Without fail, each time I post something that goes against her beliefs, I can count on my aunt to post something like, "I'll pray for you," or "God still loves you and so do I." Apparently she has been talking to my grandma about the stuff I put on there. Grandma told me tonight that the stuff I post makes my aunt feel bad, so she has my posts and such blocked now. My uncle did something similar a couple of months ago. My sister hates it when I speak out against God and religion. Just last night I got a message from a cousin asking about my deconversion (see previous blog entry).

I never intentionally set out to offend people with what I post. My intention is to help people think, to open their minds and examine their beliefs and why they believe what they believe. I know, however, that in matters as touchy as religion people are going to be offended and it won't take much to set them off. Religion is that "special" thing that no one is supposed to criticize for some reason.

Now, I don't want to sound selfish, but what about me?

How does my family think I feel when they tell me they'll pray for me, as though I need help? How do they think I feel when they talk about atheism as though its some sort of disease? Why do they seem to think that because I'm no longer a Christian, I'm now evil and depraved?

Why is it okay for them to talk about God and post religious songs and articles, but when I talk about atheism or post things related to my point of view, it's wrong and, as my grandma said tonight, "weird"?

I'm really grateful for sites like Think Atheist. I feel it's a safe place for me to come and vent like this and know I'm among friends. Sometimes I feel really alone and it's comforting to know that I can connect with a community here for support.

Views: 5

Tags: Christian, atheist, family, offensive, vent

Comment by luvtheheaven on March 8, 2010 at 1:13am
You're 100% right and it is totally unfair to you for them to have that double standard... but unfortunately it's pretty common for Christian family members of atheists to act that way. We're all you're here now to help add to our community. :D I am really grateful for this site too. ;)
Comment by Galen on March 8, 2010 at 3:11am
I'd say your family members on FB did exactly the right thing by hiding your comments from their feed. It's exactly what I would've told them to do. If they don't want to hear your opinion, they're free to hide it and ignore it. But that's where it should stop. I, too, hide many friends' updates on FB. I get SO SICK of hearing about God this and Jesus that and how fucking wonderful "our lord" is. So I hide those people who are habitual religious posters. I don't de-friend them and I also DON'T go calling them up whining about how repulsed I am by their comments. They have the freedom to say what they want and I have the freedom to ignore it. That's where it should end.
Comment by Jack Cowie on March 8, 2010 at 4:04am
The fact that your cousin asked you about it, that people are noticing it... look, it's good. Some people never change, but there'll be some where you're just contributing to that seed of doubt. Especially in a reasonably public setting like Facebook, you need to be diplomatic, but keep going.
Comment by Lord Atheist on March 8, 2010 at 4:36pm
Of course you have to be weird if you're an atheist. Don't you guys eat babies and drink Cult kool-aid?
Comment by Jeffrey Sherrard on March 8, 2010 at 6:31pm
Thank you for sharing this! There are many others here with similar experiences, including myself. My family is largely religious and many of them balk at the scientific, secular, and outright atheistic content I occasionally post. They are free to ignore/block me if they so choose; as for the rest, I am glad to inspire them to question their belief system. We are all equally entitled to share our experiences and opinions. The fact that your family members are expressing their opinions is good. Maybe you are reaching them on some level! :)

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