So I'm 18, and still live with my parents. I've also been an Atheist for two years now, and have never looked back at my former Christian faith.
So my mom and family still think that I'm a Christian, and they haven't really asked me much about my faith, but recently, my mom is really making a push to get me to read the read the bible, pray, etc. , and it is really starting to make me feel very uncomfortable.
The point is, I want to tell my family that I'm an Atheist, but I'm not sure how. If I just come out and tell my mom, she's going to kill me, I just know it, and may even take away my laptop and android tablet.
Does anyone have any experience with this and can offer suggestions? I really need help! I don't want to keep pretending to be a Christian! I want my family to know who and what I am, and I don't want to keep it a secret.
Well .. since you are still living at home and you are not on your own .. I would just keep your Atheism to yourself for the time being. Once you get out on your own then you can tell them (when you feel the time is right). I know how hard it is to keep it inside .. but just hold out for a little longer. My thoughts are with you. I wish you the best. I hope you like the site .. we are here for you!
Thanks for the advice. I have thought about just keeping it to myself, and I think that I will until I go off to college(that will be so nice.....). But it is really hard. My sister(even though we live together) emails me several Bible verses each day, and has approached me several times stating that I should make sure that I'm devoting myself to Jesus. It's hard for me to stay quiet when she does this. I just want to tell her to stop, but I just can't make myself do it, and I don't know when I'll be able to.
As for my mom again, at least I should be able to survive and keep it a secret until college. I'll likely just end up reading the Bible just so I can better prepare myself in my future meetings witth Creationists.
Thanks for your support. It really means so much to me to have some Atheist allies among all of the Christian doctrine that I encounter each day. I love this site. It's just what I've been looking for lately, and I'm sure that it will become one of my favorite places on the web.
I agree with Steph. It can wait. I think some of what is bothering is that you love your family. Doing anything that you consciously know will cause pain to the people you love hurts you also. And is scary. You worry about many things, will they reject me, will we get past this and have a good relationship again, do they still love me. And many other things. You have the time, my young friend. Making this sacrifice, temporarily, for your family. You will have to follow your heart and feelings on this eventually. But for now, try to step back, take that deep breath, and remember, you will make it. That old quote 'what doesn't kill you makes you stronger' might apply here. You will emerge the stronger.
Oh, and reading the bible skeptically is very good training for future confrontations. Really amazing stuff. Check out 'Evil Bible". It is online. But don't forget to read it in conjunction with the regular bible. Be well, my young friend. Feel free to drop us a mail anytime. Peace
Thanks for the great advice! I'm definitely going to wait until I move away before I tell them. That will certainly make breaking it to them so much easier.
And I checked out the Evil Bible. Along with the Skeptic's Annotated Bible, I might actually begin to enjoy my Bible reading and look forward to seeing all of the nonsense, violence, and all of the other unsavory things that it contains. That's part of what made me an Atheist. When I thought about all the people God kills, all the impossibilities the Bible contains, and combined that with the fact that people say "God is good", it was a no-brainer for me. I've never once looked back.
For several months after I came out, my mom was doing the same thing, sending me articles and bible verses to show me that god wasn't the ogre that she thought I thought god was. For the time being, maybe just delete the emails from your sister, and as tempting as it may be to bite your tongue, her confrontations will only get more insistent if you come out.
If anything, it's not a bad idea to read through the bible with your critical faculties engaged. It's not an exaggeration that there are probably more atheists who know the bible better than many Christians. You really see how crazy the whole thing is, and wonder how you could've been taken in by it in the first place.
I'll definitely do that. I have just been deleting them, but also I've been dying to send her a sample of the Kiwi Question or some other great Atheist article. I've managed to keep silent so far though, and I don't plan to jeopardize all of that hard work with one little email.
And I have been reading the Bible a little bit, and I'm enjoying analyzing the nonsense parts. The Old Testament is actually somewhat similar to the Koran when you compare all of the violence that God commands people to do, and I'm comparing the two to see which one is worse.
Thank goodness people ignore large parts of the OT. Where would we be if we had people who actually followed some of those commands?
Alex, I just have to add that I agree with David. Don't be afraid to reach out to us. You are off to a good start. The road to reason and healthy skepticism. What a grand adventure for the thinking, rational mind. Be well. And please keep us informed if you feel so inclined. We'll be here.
You are welcome! We are here for you. You can always feel free to email me to .. if you ever want to talk.
Oh Alex, as trite as this sounds, I can honestly relate so much with you. At age 18 I wasn't an atheist yet (that wouldn't happen for another ten years), but I was closeted gay, living with my parents, and terrified that they were going to find out and disown me. The only advice I can give you is that while you may want to be honest with them and declare yourself, you should probably wait until after you've moved out and are on your own. Right now they don't see you as an adult. They see you as their son who needs to be guided and put on the right path (Proverbs 22:6 was my mom and dad's parenting philosophy). I hate to advise you to sneak around, and I certainly don't advise you to pretend to be a Christian by any means, but if your parents are anything like mine you'll need to spend some time away from home before you can be honest with them. Atheism is scary to Christians, and to Christian parents who don't want their child to burn in hell. Ugh, it's messy.
What I can advise you to do is to start seeking out atheist community around you. Try a social site like Meetup.com and see if there are any atheist groups around you. I've had really good luck here in Saint Paul, and am finally starting to build a close community of nonbelievers. You'll want to make sure your parents can't snoop around on your computer, but the fact that you're on Atheist Nexus is a good start.
Twitter is also a great resource for connecting to other atheists! My handle is @happy_skeptic, if you want to connect, but I have a pretty extensive and supportive atheist network. If anything, it's nice to have reminders that you're not alone. Which you're not.
Thanks again for this advice! I'm glad that you can relate to my situation.
But yes, I think Proverbs 22:6 really is my mom's parenting philosophy as well(my dad has never approached me about religion, so he's cool). She has often said things like, "Do you want to go to heaven, or hell?" "It's my duty to make sure that you know about God, you realize that, right?" and "This is important stuff, Alex. It's the most important book that you'll read in your entire life."
It has been quite hard to stay silent with words such as these coming at me, but I have managed so far. I'll also try out some of the sites you suggested, and as soon as I get a new twitter account going(what would my parents say if they saw my old one talking about Atheism) I'll swing by and connect.
Once again, thanks! Talking with fellow Atheists really makes my life so much easier among all of this Christianity I have to deal with every day.
Watch out for the emotional appeals too: "How can you reject Jesus like this after what he did for you!? He loves you so much!" Hearing Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens parrot that in their talks and then tear that "argument" to pieces takes the pull right out of that. And still Christians will use that line: "Even if you don't believe in him, he still loves you." For the most part I just don't engage anymore. Only on rare occasions, when I'm feeling blodothirsty, will I tear into an Evangelical. It's fun to go after the gender assumptions about god. "Him? Why not her?"
Thinking about all of this, there is a line I came up with in a post some time back which speaks at least in part to the whole issue of belief and its problematic nature:
Something which does not exist cannot help us, but chronic dependence on something which fails to exist does active harm to all of us.
Some proposed deity out there might or might not help. The ONE person who CAN help remains "first person, singular," which in your case, Alex, seems to have a pretty decent start on things. And as for additional help ... well, judging from the contents of this post, you have plenty!