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.

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I don't even know if I still belong to the church.. I think I do, because I've never formally resigned.

 

When I was about 8, my family moved (literally and figuratively) away from the church. We never started attending another SDA church, so I don't really know much about it. As a teenager, I started developing Bipolar Disorder, and my memories are super fuzzy. I was actually hoping that someone could explain some of my early memories I have regarding the church, like, why do I remember my mom's baptism as such a traumatic experience? Is there something that the priest says that would make a small child think their mother was never coming back?

 

I don't know how many family/people from the old church know anything about my (non)religious standing. I tend not to talk to them, so I tend not to care.

That makes since that you don't care about those you don't talk to. If you weren't baptized then you aren't a member. If you want to talk about the trauma of your mom's baptism I would be happy to help you try to figure that out via email or Google Talk (x@dwnomad.com) or Skype (dwnomad) or at the Northwest Freethought Convention if you end up going.
The first thing that popped into my head was that the pastor probably said something about dying as baptism is a symbolic death, burial, and resurrection. Talk of death, dying in Christ, etc. is quite common at baptisms.

yes I've heard this too Lauren, a lot! This is likely it, Ariel!

I'm not out to everybody. At this point in my life I feel perfectly comfortable talking about my atheism with coworkers, local friends, and the whole of the Internet community, but am too scared to "come out," as it were to my mother, other relatives, and Adventist friends. Due to a series of events in which I could no longer keep quiet on the matter, I have been open about my atheism with one trustworthy sibling, who was very understanding and reassuring about my status as a sister despite his life involvement with the SDA church.

My reasons for keeping quiet have to do with my desire to preserve current relationships and avoid being a source of upset for those who care about me. The biggest hurdle in my mind is the idea of being honest with my mother about my atheism (dad passed away a year ago). Mom will always love me, whether I'm a baby-eater or not, but she's a worrier and if I tell her I've rejected pretty much everything I was taught, I feel she would forevermore lose sleep worrying about my soul and salvation.

I've made the decision that if she or anyone else asks me directly, I won't lie. I feel well prepared to defend my atheism tactfully but explicitly. Mom's not stupid and I feel she suspects something, but if she wants to avoid the conversation and keep the illusion that there's still hope, I'm about 90% happy with that. A part of me doesn't like censoring my real self, but, you know, pros and cons.

Andree,

Since we have a few overlapping friends, I can tell you that most people I'm still in contact with from WWC either don't care that I'm an atheist or are themselves atheists. Adding you to the list, I know of at least 10 people that were there when we were who are either atheists or pretty close to it. There is absolutely no reason to worry about how your college buddies would react. I would imagine that other SDAs in Portland wouldn't be much different either.

I'm sorry to hear about the loss of your dad. That is very compassionate of you to let your mom hold on to the delusion of your salvation while she grieves the loss of your dad. The day will come when she'll bring it up or talk to you about something that will force you to set her straight. Be ready for it and maintain control of the conversation when it does. I have a few blog posts about that at http://www.dwnomad.com

Honesty is always the right approach and you're not under any obligation to volunteer that kind of information.

I'm grateful to find contacts such as yourself to discuss these things with. I'm about to read your post on resigning from the church. My husband (you may remember him) is another atheist/science lover who was raised in Adventism and it's great to have a relationship free of religious contention. Man is it cool. “Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers." Damn straight.

Thanks for making this group.
I'm guessing Glen, but yeah I remember him. I didn't know either of you very well, but you two seem like you'd be a good match.

I wish I'd had advice like yours when I came out. Mine was tearful and angry and terrible and resulted in family breakup, basically. I wished I'd practised more discretion like Andree, and well I sort of did with mum but that was more laziness and being sick of her not noticing that I was an atheist even though I already told her twice ... denial?

I am totally out on the internet, but in everyday in-person life I am totally closeted (for purely financial reasons).
I read your story on your profile. Given your situation, that's a good idea.

It was the fall of 2009 when I finally gave up my faith entirely. Over the course of several years I came to disbelieve most of the specifically Adventist beliefs, and from there I more closely questioned the existence of God.

 

I'm out to my coworkers and one of my siblings, but I'm still not fully out to my wife of five years or the rest of my family. My wife knows that l place more weight on science than I do on 'revealed truth', and that I see no evidence for god, but I've continued to lie to her and tell her that I'm an agnostic theist. I first told her that I was an agnostic theist about 3 years ago, and at the time it was true, but I haven't had the discussion with her about my complete lack of belief since that time.

 

What makes this hard for me is that we have two little children together and my wife feels very strongly that she wants them to attend church regularly and to go to SDA schools. That terrifies me!

 

It's getting to the point where I don't feel I can or should keep this from her much longer.  :}

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