Hello there. Heard about this site through the Chariots of Iron podcast and thought I'd take a look.
Personally my journey into un-belief has been a slow and arduous one. Raised in a christian family that was very liberal in it's beliefs made me a, perhaps, not notice the more striking flaws that are found in more fundamental belief structures. My family had no issue with accepting things like evolution etc. for example. However I started to question in my late teens early twenties why it was that I never felt any of that relationship with god that other people claimed to. After that the story is probably similar to almost all of you in here who have de-converted. Questions lead to research, research leads, eventually, to a rejection of belief.
I came out to my parents last year that I was not a christian. Haven't yet told them about my atheism since just the first part was fairly hard on them. I figured I'd let it come organically and not force the issue. Any advice? Suggestions?
Is the whole thing on YouTube?
So, I dont have to buy it on DVD, right? :)
Welcome new heathen :)
Chalk one more up in our population :)
Enjoy your stay at Atheist Nexus and dont be shy to join in on our discussions.
Sometimes, silence (on your part) is the best thing. They will figure it out for themselves.
If they confront you with a question like, how can you not see god in all the wonder of nature?
You can tell them that science has perfectly logical explainations for most of what we see around us, there is no reason to evoke a god to explain the natural universe as there was thousands of years ago. And I have not yet seen any evidence or even good arguments to belive.
If an argument requires faith alone, then that argument must be very week indeed.
Also, there are many religions. They all have holy books, and they all believe that theirs is the true god in spite of the fact that one religion has as much evidence to support it as any of the others...NONE!!
My parents (esp my Mom) were always christian but did not force me to go to church every Sunday, or have family bible readings, or any of that. My Mom always knew that I did not believe, but never forced anything down my throat.
I noticed a change as my Mom got older and esp after she turned 80.
In her younger days, she was less active in church and bible reading.
As she became old, she was reading the bible every day and watching those aweful, obnoxious televangelists.
So, as the reality of death gets close with age, she became more and more active in her bible study and worship to "perpare" herself.
As a believing christian, I found that my Mom had a great fear of death (many of the verse she underlined in her bible dealt in some way with death, resurection, heaven and hell).
I believe that no one, no matter how "devote" they appear, has 100% faith. Faith requires constant "backing up" and reassurance. Church can be a great "group theropy" for them.
For obvious reasons of survival, our brains evoled to question, anaylize, rationalize and even be skepticle.
Our early ansestors did not have the advantage of speed, sharp fangs or claws, etc to defend them from predators, they would have been easy pray in the African Savana.
They had only their evolving brain to survive and our social nature also helped our brains evolve.
We are all basicly hardwired with these tools of survival.
A theist will not believe obviously false or outragous claims any more than a atheist.
They would not believe in Elves or fairies or ancient myths, but they have "faith" in the bible and that they will have life eternal in heaven in spite of the fact that this is equally as fancyfull as any of those myths.
I think this is one reason why they get very upset when their religous views are challenged with logic.
My Mom passed away at age 90, firmly believing she had earned her place with the lord in heaven for all eternity.
I would not even think of trying to convince her otherwise, that would be needlessly cruel.
Faith is a very fragil thing since it is totally counterintuative, and deep down, everyone knows it.
I agree that I would never attack my parents' faith in an attempt to deconvert them. The would ofcourse be needlesly cruel. My mother recently went through a battle with breast cancer and my dad was recently diagnosed with Parkinson's disease and it's not surprising to me that they have returned to their christian upbringing for solace in times like that. It comforts them and I would never rip away anything that comforted them. Especially since they aren't the fundie type. My parents are very liberal christians who really represent the very best of their type. As such, other than it simply being illogical to me, there is no reason I would attempt to disillusion them.
It bothers my mother that I am an unbeliever. She has even said she wants to see me in heaven and worries that I am making the choice not to be with her. That is the hard part for me. I have explained that it would be hypocritical for me to take up the belief only to be with her in some imagined afterlife. However it still becomes a bit of an issue for her.
Thats very sad Alli.
My Mom was also very concerned that I would not be joining her in the afterlife.
A few days before her passing, I held her hand in the hospital, she casually told me she was going to die (they know). Choking back my tears, I told her it was okay, you will be in heaven with the lord and everything will be so beutiful.
And please dont worry about me, I am sure I will find the lord too in time and we will be together again.
That was the last time I was able to talk to her as sepsis had begun to effect her mind, and a short time later, total organ failure. But she died peaceful, she lost concienceness and had to be put on a breathing machine as her lungs had failed.
We, my brother and I, had to make that disision to take her off the respirator and let her go. I cant imagin anything harder and it will always effect me.
For a short peorod of time after my Mom's death, I started thinking I should really give this religion thing a good honest try. It was so important to Mom.
I did my best to find some room for belief in god and ignored the fact that the earth was not made in six days, etc. I could just write that off as "poetic writting", and, what did they REALLY mean by "6 days"? I reasoned.
For several days I prayed (I felt rather foolish, and always checked to see if anyone could hear me) with my cousin, who I consider a good real christian, and love and respect her. She tryed to show me the way to open myself up to let god in.
And, I have to honest, even though my doubts were still there, I felt a sort of comfort in it. It really did help me get over my grief (so did 6mg per day of Xanax :)
But when my grief period was over, I droped it. I started to snap back into the real world, and I felt like a child.
I was more dissalusioned than ever with religion after having read the bible.
And our all-loving all-powerful saviour could not even grant me my only prayer; please god give me ability to believe. Show me how, give me some sign, even a dream!
I mean, hell, I wasnt asking for a million bucks or something selfish.
If god had created us, our minds, our curiosity, our questioning and skeptic nature, why would he not grant this one prayer?
But nope, no sign, nothing. So okay for you Mr. God! who promised to answer the prayers of those who have faith (big problem with that one too, but thats another story)! Screw you asshole, dont ask ME for any favors :)