When I quit the seminary and left the church I tried to slip as quietly out the back door as I could. At this point my theology professors from college, many of my college and seminary friends, and most of my extended family know I'm an atheist. I officially resigned my membership with the SDA church almost two years ago. Now I'm an atheist blogger and I've talked about the SDA church on the Chariots of Iron podcast a few times.
I'm as out of an atheist as I can be, both with those inside the SDA church and everybody else.
If you're worried about your mum I could get my dad to dig up some passages that imply that everyone who's heart is good goes to heaven. That was our pastor's stance on the subject. Gosh, I went to a weird SDA church.
I just became officially an unbeliever this year at 37. Only a few of my non-SDA friends know. None of my SDA family know yet. My parents haven't been in good health recently and it wasn't a good time to talk about it. I haven't talked to my brother about it because I don't want to ask him to keep a secret from my parents. I don't want to tell my sister about it at all because her family borders on the fanatical and I'd like to she her an my nephew again.
The only close Adventist friend I have is very opinionated and actually talks about how this is a Christian nation where non-Christians and non-believers don't really have or deserve the same rights as Christians. At least he's not pretending that religion doesn't discriminate. I'm definitely going to talk to him soon. Hopefully I won't lose a friend. But I'm not going to hide it from him.
Good luck everyone,
Hey DW Nomad! I listened to you on Chariots of Iron. Thanks for being on the show, it's my favorite podcast. I hope things are going well for you.
I came out of SDA about 20 years ago, and just recently left Christianity altogether. Chariots of Iron, Reasonable Doubts, Free Thought Radio and blogs like yours helped me not feel so secluded in a sea of Christians. It was podcast and blogs like these that inspired me to do a podcast of my own. It's pretty much one of the only ways I can express myself, when I'm generally unable to talk openly about it with those around me.
I had considered myself an Atheist for some time but shortly after Sept. 11, 2001 I was discussing with my Mother via email the events of that day (I was on a Navy ship in the Indian ocean getting ready to go into Afghanistan) and she mentioned how we should pray for the victims and families and how we couldn't understand "God's plan." It just sounded so utterly ridiculous to me at that point that I told her I could not believe in God even if I wanted to and explained exactly why I no longer believed based on simple reasoning and physical evidence and that if God did exist, I could not worship such a spiteful and sadistic being.
She has since mentioned God and of course still sends me Signs and other propaganda but basically doesn't mention it although I know it tears at her. After telling her it was easy to tell all other family and friends.
The wife and I had a little get together with some of her friends she went to a missionary school with. The topic of religion came up. At this point, everyone there had a few drinks, so we knew they weren't adhering to the SDA dogma. She announced that she was at least agnostic and asked where everyone else stood. One by one, everyone else claimed agnosticism as well, save one, "I'm not sure".
As it turns out, only were friends were open to everyone else about their beliefs. The others had family members they were trying to avoid hurting and even pretend to keep the Sabbath to appease them.
She still has friends that are in the church she communicates with on facebook. But she has updated her religious status and accepted she is an out and proud atheist.
I'm not out, due to a variety of factors. My main occupation isn't directly related to religion, but most parents don't want their kids taught by a known atheist instructor, though I do not teach religion/philosophy or science. Also, I'm not a proselytizer by nature, and feel no need to "prove" that my way is better.
I'm fairly cynical about a lot of things, and have always seen through the smoke and mirrors show the church puts on, but due to my early exposure to church stupidity and scandal, I just rolled my eyes. My response to the church's beliefs and behavior went along the lines of "well, just because they are dumb Adventists doesn't mean everyone is" and a deliberate uncertainty in response to all the black-and-white ironclad conviction.
Oddly enough, reconnecting with a close friend who is swinging towards the ultra-conservative in Adventism (has decided to forgo dating in favor of "courting" submissive, younger, presumably fecund girls who only wear skirts because of Deuteronomy 22:5, told me I was getting "old" and wasn't I afraid of not having kids, etc.) is what pushed me over the edge to admit my non-belief to myself, rather than a vacuous agnosticism. He went on and on about modesty and I just listened, since this isn't a topic that I'd ever really considered at length. Later on, the more research I did to clarify my own perspective and articulate a position on this, the madder I got. The fundamentalist "modesty" doctrine at it's core utterly objectifies and debases women in such a twisted way. The sickness behind all the "righteous" guilt tripping and shaming forced me to confront and reject my friend's church.
For me personally, I find that growing up in the Adventist subculture is almost like an ethnicity which will always be a part of me. However, where I used to be content to just exist in the community and throw out the belief stuff that I didn't need, I'm increasingly unable to stomach it, especially as I see the church swing further to the right, and really showing it's underlying "true" colors (thank you, Ted Wilson).
I came out publicly to all my family and friends this past year. I had held my lack of belief in god for about two years before I decided to make it known to my close ones. My mother took it very hard and started crying about how I was going to be lost and my dad just nodded his head and stated it was my decision but he would be praying for me. I have been fortunate to have a family who disagrees with me but doesn't treat me any different. I told my wife my new beliefs a short time before I shared it with my family and friends and she reacted very negatively at first and almost decided to divorce me. She eventually apologized and stated that her initial reaction was immature. We don't really speak much about my new beliefs at all. She is more concerned with my son growing up confused with two different belief systems in the house. I told her that I did not mind her bring our son to church, but I would be teaching how to think (critical thinking) rather than any ideology. All is well for the time being. It was amazing how lonely I felt in my new belief, but I have been able to join Atheist and Freethinking groups for support in the Northern Jersey/NYC area. I believe this site will also be a great support as well.
I am completely out, but if I go back and visit my parents I still have to act like a completely different person if I want them to even remotely enjoy having me there. I don't talk to anyone from church but I'm sure mum and dad spread every single little thing about me to their prayer group who in turn gossips to the next person, etc.
So yes, I'm very out, but at the same time I have to completely censor myself, basically, if I want to have a family.
As they adjust you may find they become more accepting and you have to censor less.
I hope so. For now whenever I go there I know that dad will use and guide every conversation to his own message, always, always, aaalllwayys.
One time, he met some "muslims" (translation: people who said they were from Iraq), and invited them out to a BBQ at the park that afternoon, they basically ate and left, quickly excusing themselves after an "emergency call". It was so embrrassing, the whole time, dad was guiding the conversation like "Did you know we don't eat meat too?". Not once did he ask one interested question.