Since becoming an atheist I have definitely felt more free. It used to be that the only negative feelings I had were when my mother forced her religion upon me, but it was tolerable. But now I have another negative feeling-- fear. I have been an atheist for 5 or 6 years now, but I've only recently been really open about it. My immediate family didn't know until I was 16, and I am just now really coming out about it to my extended family. Since coming out about it, its caused a lot of tention in my family, and I am really afraid of losing them. I know I should feel that if they decide to distance themselves from me because they would rather put their invisible sky daddy above family that it would be their own problem, because the bible teaches unconditional love to your family (except for that one passage where jesus says to hate your mother and father if you want to be his disciple), and to love and accept thy neighbour. On the other hand, the bible teaches you to distance yourself from negative influences, and since I'm the black sheep of the family, I'm afraid that negative influence is me. I just love my family, even if they are all religious nutjobs, and I want them to feel the freedom that I have felt since becoming an atheist. I'm just afraid they are going to become ashamed of me or something, and distance themselves, and claim they still love me, but in reality are hurting me. I don't understand how they don't see that their religion hurts people they love.
Does anybody here have the same fears? Has anybody had to deal with losing people to religion?

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Replies to This Discussion

forget the bible. throw it away. it's a useless, ancient text designed to control, not enlighten. Using that book to justify your deserved love from your family is playing on their turf. Toss it in a blender and hit the "whip" button.

As for your fears, you are experiencing what all ex theists experience. separation anxiety. My personal journey took me 30 years to get to where I am now and it's not over. It never will be. All knowledge is never truly learned. However we can still marvel at our world, in it's complexity, thru our observation of nature, and feel amazed at how small we really are. That's what you're afraid of. The notion that there is no special plan for your life. Well, there is. The plan is now yours. Go and live it. See it thru. Your family will continue their attempts at bringing you back into the fold. They will deny your decision and dismiss it as a "phase" you're going thru. Just keep on keepin' on, kiddo. Being insignificant is not the same as being alone. We're all in the same very large boat.

Keep your chin up.
Thanks. I think finding the atheist nexus has made it all that much more easier.
I disagree with forgetting the bible, use it.

This might work or make things worse: Find some verses about forgiveness and tolerance and remind them what it means to be a 'good' Christian.

I think it would also help you to get some perspective on this issue. Check out "The Devil's Playground" it is about how every Amish child has to go through this. Not just with their family but the whole life and community that they knew growing up.
I've been meaning to watch that. I can't find it anywhere though!
I watched it on streaming Netflix but they don't appear to have it available anymore =(
thats ok. netflix isnt in canadaland anyways :(
Amazon works if you have the money and if your family is Catholic "Deliver Us from Evil" is...well not for the faint of heart.
unfortunately i am lacking a credit card. my family isn't catholic, they are i guess baptist? i'm not exactly sure. i just know they're christian.
Just go to Walmart and ask them for a visa gift card. You can put as much money on it as you want, then spend it online. I do think there are small fees though. At least this is the case in America. It's worth checking into for all the other purchases that suit your fancy as well.
yeah we sell those at the video store i work at. its tempting, right? but i'm afraid of getting these cards and spending it online and then not having enough money to eat. i have so many movies i have to make my way through already anyway!
Honestly, unless you really feel you need to, I wouldn't even bring up the subject of religion, especially if your afraid they will be upset about it. It's not worth the grief it will cause them, and certainly not worth it for you if it causes them to treat you poorly, or preach at you every time they see you.

I've been calling my self an atheist for 7 years now. The only people in my family who know that, are my parents, who are pagan and agnostic, and my sisters 1 being Christian 1 being apathetic (She doesn't know and doesn't care.).

But I do have very religious loved ones, and I find it best to just leave that subject alone with them. No reason to make my elderly grandparents worry about my immortal soul (any more than they probably already do.) or just cause them to be generally upset. No reason to make my Aunt and Uncle upset because I don't believe. (I think they know, but we don't discuss it which is fine with me.)

If anyone asks, I wouldn't lie. But I'm not going to volunteer the info. Just like I don't immediately reveal that I'm atheist to other people I meet in my life. If the subject comes up, the great. If not, then I don't see why I need to advertise my non-belief to anyone. Even family.

So do what you think is best. If you really feel like you have to tell everyone, then go for it, but realize that yes, they may look down upon you.

I would also say (easier said than done) that if that happens, and you are shunned or looked down upon, yes it's their problem not yours. I know it's hard when those you love and look up to are disappointed in you, but you can't live your life to please them. You have to do what's best for yourself.

the thing that bothers me is that the people in my family are "those kinds of christians" if that makes sense, as in they're not just christian, they're anti-athiest, anti-gay, etc etc and very outspoken about it. i understand not talking about it to save their feelings, but what about my feelings? i don't usually talk to them about religion as long as it doesnt involve me directly, and as long as they aren't saying anything hurtful about anybody, or if their facts are skewed about something and i just want to correct them. why should i stay silent to save their feelings when they can't do the same towards me? and to what extent should i stay silent? does it include things i post to my facebook or things i keep in my own home?




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