Hope this is in the right forum but I have been battling this the last 4 years and it's wearing me down, I'm 24. Well just to give some background. I was raised southern baptist by my mother, my father was a sinner until I was 16 and appears to have returned that way but we don't talk about god. My mother has always tied god into everything. Like certain things that seem completely illogical to connect she will with god. Like the reason my last relationship did not work out is because I had sex with the girl once 4 months before she showed she couldn't be trusted and didn't respect me. Well you two had sex, god just wasn't going to bless that. I'm like really WTF, I pretty much just got cheated on and you want to throw that crap in my face. This just really proves to me how inconsiderate and how messed up christians can be. I'm sitting there hurting and she wants to throw up something that happened 4 months ago in my face. My father he lets me be myself and make my own decisions without criticizing me and will catch me when I fall and tell me to keep my head up and keep moving. I'm not so concerned about telling him as I am my mother. Like she doesn't even think I should be trying to date, until I get things with god worked out. Wow, this sounds so pathetic, I'm 24 and my mother still tries to run my life. I still live with them while I'm working on getting through school and the girl that I thought was the one didn't work out, and I had to limp back home after she got done with me lol. I just wish my mother respected me as a person. I guess in writing this out I have realized that is probably the major issue here. All my friends, co-workers, and pretty much everyone knows I'm an atheist except my family and even extended family. I just don't know how to tell them, or to get my mother to respect me?


Sorry this turned into a rant/life story. Though just writing this down has helped as I finally realize a big issue about this is my mother respecting me as my friends have told me before.

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The best thing I can tell you is that as long as you're living in your parents home is to stick with it till you finish school... Sounds like your mother is a fundamentalist.. People like that believe that their god is in control of everything that happens.. There's only good and evil.. For you to tell your mother you're an atheist would surely cause her to freak out... Better for her to stick her nose in your business as she does now than to be freakin' out and sticking her nose in your business.. That always creates a big mess and things get said in the heat of the moment that you'll surely regret, maybe for the rest of your life.. One thing I can tell you for sure is a persons mother will be in their business till the end... That's what mothers do... Sounds like you can rely on your dad.. Maybe you shouldn't tell him either. Just hang in there till your on your own.. This is just another persons opinion.. It's ultimately your row to hoe..
Hi, Michael. I'm glad you brought this subject to the table. I was just looking through my wedding photos & saw some shots at a reception held for us by my in-laws. They are wonderful people. They are also devoutly Lutheran. In the pictures, my father-in-law holds a prayer before we eat. Part of me is like, this is our wedding reception. I would prefer not to pray. But the other half of my brain is like, my in-laws are well meaning and hosting this for us. I should be thankful. It's just 30 seconds and I can deal with it.

That's one example of many, and I'm sure I'll start running into the religion issue more and more as my children grow. You, however, are in a situation where it seems really important to you to express who you are. My advice? Start small. Write your mother (or your parents) a letter. Get everything out on paper. Don't give it to them. Just get your thoughts down. That way you'll be more clear headed about exactly how you feel.

Secondly, you're not going to change your mothers mind. She has her beliefs, & thus that is her truth. So I wouldn't go into this like you're going into battle. It's now about you're right, and she's wrong. You already know where you stand and you are hopefully comfortable in your beliefs. So while it's important for your mother to know what you believe, you shouldn't have to feel like you need to defend yourself. If she has questions, that's fine. But if it turns into an argument or something more, I would simply not allow her to take the conversation there. Leave the room. Leave the conversation. Whatever you have to do. Keep things civil and let her know that you care about her. If she still wants to get furious about it, that's her choice. But you must realize you have control over your half of the situation. It's hard for Christians to understand that atheism is typically a conscious choice and we don't feel as if we are lacking in anything. She may pray for you, but that is her matter. Remember, too, that she is your mother. You're allowed to have different beliefs. You can respect her while still forming your own separate beliefs.

Keep us posted with this. I'm interested in how you handle it, as it may influence my handling of my own friends and family.
Find a room for rent, your mother is far too involved in your life regardless of the religion. She sounds a wee bit controlling and egad, I wouldn't want my mom to know me so up and personal. Sounds to me by staying there your relationship with her has been strained by your differences in opinion. I lived with my mother-in-law for several years while my husband finished school and it was a nightmare, I hated not only being treated like a child but really despised the lack of privacy. She's your mom but she doesn't need to know every detail in your life. Once you're independent and have a little space and time to think it over, I'm sure you'll be polite and tactful with your mom regarding your atheism. If it's anything like my experience you'll love her more from afar.
I just got to the point where I could not take it anymore! I told a lot of people in my family, but not everyone. Some of the feedback I got back was ok, some was not! I have not told my mother yet but we don't have discussions about religion! I am sure she knows because I told my step dad. But it is going to come out eventually because my wife and I are expecting our first child! Everyone is already asking about being god parents and all the christian stuff that they do when they have kids! So i am going to have to break it down to everyone else sooner or later! I have already lost touch with some people I was really close to when I was growing up! And that is just because I told them I didn't believe anymore! But I realize that I have my own life to live and if they don't respect me for my views, screw em! I can't worry about what everyone else thinks about me!
I'm sorry your relationship didn't work out. It's been my experience that these things always work out for the best. Give it some time, you'll see.

As for your mother, it sounds to me like she's not so much unconcerned with you as she is concerned with God. Everything seems to be filtered through her religious beliefs: even the lives of her loved-ones. This does not bode well for communication . . . which is what you'll need to come out to her as an atheist. I have to believe your mother is there, somewhere, under the devout Christian. I think you should try to draw out the mother in her, over time, before telling her about your atheism. You two will need to relate as mother and son if you want honest discussions.
Well just an update. Over the past few days my mother has undoubtedly brought god up. So far I have been just blowing her off. Like I did attend a revival meeting with her. Afterwords she asked "What did you think of the message?" I was like it was alright and made a comment that the preacher was REDneck. Which he was, I wasn't lying. Then I just walked away.

Though I have made this Sunday dooms day for my mother. As much as I hate to do it, I am just going to have to be the bearer of bad news and crush her heart. I just can't live bottled up like this anymore around her. I am a very outgoing person, and enjoy the fun things of life. When I am out with my friends or even just at work and being my true self I feel so free. Honestly, I know this is going to cause a riff between me and my mother for a bit. Though once we work through this and she still realizes I am her son regardless of belief. I think it will be best for both of us. If I don't do it civilly soon. Then one day I may just blow up and tell her to blow jesus out her ass. I'm hoping this to be a liberating thing. I'm also hopeful that my mother will appreciate my honesty, be thankful that she will finally know her real son, and not the facade I put up to keep from breaking her heart.

This is the only course I know to take because right now I have school to pay for, and well as immature as this is I like to have fun on the weekends with my friends.
Well, it's a positive thing that you've come to this conclusion. Doing it "civilly" is really the only way it should be done. I went to see Richard Dawkins speak tonight at Cal Tech, and one of the questions asked was how we can communicate our own beliefs to theists. He reiterated that what we should NOT do is be abusive. (He mentioned ridicule was just fine) Though in the case of your mother, I would gentle, respectful, but firm. And maybe let her know it's okay if she's angry, upset, or disappointed. The important thing is that YOU aren't. Eventually, she'll make her peace with it. Or she won't. Either way, you've done what you needed to do. It's kind of less about her and more about you stating your beliefs and why they're important to you.
Oh I forgot the plan, lol. She is going to wake me up, I will tell her I don't want to go as usual. Then she will ask why, then I am just going to sit her down and tell her. First I respect her beliefs, then I'm going to explain to her I am a non-believer and atheist. Then I will leave it to her. If she wants to ask questions, I'll be open to answer them.
Good luck!!
Well the plan got delayed. So last Sunday I forgot to take something to somebody so I did it on what should have been the church's time according to my mother. Well to say the least she has been kind of snappy. So tonight I came home and asked her what the hell was going on? Well not exactly like that but you get the idea. So she starts in on me, well I guess it's because you skipped church to do something that could have waited. I just blurted out it wasn't because I thought that it wasn't more important, but because I don't believe in god. Needless to say, she flipped her top. She asked me when I got saved if I was lying. Which at the time was a no because I was scared of an imaginary place. I just told her no, but my views had changed. She could comprehend this and just changed to a perspective. She now wants to know how she can have one son that is just so in love with god (he's going to be a preacher), and one that is an atheist. She threatened to kick me out. I told her yeah that's really going to help me accept the existence of your god. So she agreed to let me stay and his going to talk to my father and if he thinks that I should be in church or not. My guess at this point is he is going to leave that decision up to me as he does all others.
It's getting late sorry for the typo's. Here's the last half revised.

Needless to say, she flipped her top. She asked me when I got saved if I was lying. Which at the time was a no because I was scared of an imaginary place. I just told her no, but my views had changed. She couldn't comprehend this and just changed to a different perspective. She now wants to know how she can have one son that is just so in love with god (he's going to be a preacher), and one that is an atheist. She threatened to kick me out. I told her yeah that's really going to help me accept the existence of your god. So she agreed to let me stay and is going to talk to my father and if he thinks that I should be in church or not. My guess at this point is he is going to leave that decision up to me as he does all others.
The conversation sure didn't go like you planned, that happens when things get heated. If I were you I'd write a letter to your father explaining your atheism, he sounds more reasonable and can talk with your mom. The fact that you are 24 and your mom still thinks it's appropropriate to talk to your father about whether you "should" go to church or not shows she still thinks of you as a child. I still think you ought to find a place of your own, especially since the cat's out of the bag about your atheism and she started to compare you to your brother. Unfortunetely you telling her "yeah that's really going to help me accept the existence of your god" probably was like telling her that you are a lost sheep and will come back to Christianity, and she can save you from your atheism. Good luck, I hope things cool off and that eventually your mom will come to respect your being atheist.

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