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?