I am a 39 year old father of three wonderful daughters. I came to atheism at a very young age after being forced to go to church and finding nothing there which struck me as particularly useful. I've struggled with my belief/or lack thereof for many years, especially around the time of my father's death and subsequent mother's death. I struggled to find some meaning in the universe and to put things into perspective but alas I have found nothing.

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Hi Robert!  Welcome to the site.
All of my friends are Christians. Sometimes they annoy me to no end. They are so sure they are going to heaven and all of us atheists are going to hell. I just cant explain to them that if god was a true loving and forgiving god he would forgive us our doubt and let us go to heaven too, instead of having us burn for eternity with the likes of Jeffery Dalmer and the son of Sam. Unfortunately I cant jump through the hoops necessary to get into the pearly gates so I guess I am doomed. It is such rubbish and I apologize for my disjointed explanation of what I am going through, I will become more expressive as I become more familiar with the site and the community. Until then, bear with me.
Ok, no problem.  Do they know you are an Atheist and that's when they tell you about hell?  Are you getting into debates with them?  We are here for you if you need us. : )

I tell them I am agnostic. And they constantly tell me God is real. In fact, one of my friends recently got into a car accident in which he supposedly "saw his life flash before his eyes" and he wasted no time declaring to me that "God is real." I did not argue with him, nor tell him he was probably in a state of shock or having some other fear response. I just let it slide. I honestly try to avoid the topic but as you have probably noticed, when you are around NBC's the topic of our holy father (the lord) is never far from hand. It really gets on my nerves, but like I said, all of my friends are Christians so I find myself biting my tongue a lot and laughing inwardly at them.

 

I also claim, when pressed, to be an agnostic and a Humanist.  I'm lucky, first, to live in a fairly "blue state" area where extreme Xtians are rare.  Too, I'm not the only non-believer in my family -- one son, and 4 of 7 grandkids identify as Humanists.  I get broadsided on Facebook; half my posters are very Xtian (through one family member) and the other half laughs a lot.  You speak of "meaning in the universe," and I'm not sure what that means.  Was it created for a purpose?  No.  Does it all have a meaningful beginning and end?  No.  But is it fabulous, with almost infinite possibilities for pleasure and joy, as well as pain and sadness?  Yes.  I wonder if looking for meaning isn't a holdover from your Xtian surroundings. 

My friends and family treat me as though I am simply misguided and will "come to Christ" at my own time. But, if I were to tell them that I think they are all batshit crazy, it would be the end of many of my friendships and family associations. We atheists are oppressed in the United States. When is someone going to stand up for OUR rights and declare that we have a voice. Just because I don't believe why should I be a second class citizen? why?

 

I think I see some improvement.  Pres. Obama has acknowledged us as a part of the mix.  (He about has to; he was raised Humanist by his mother.)  We have one member openly serving in Congress now.  In one survey, 49% said they knew an atheist, and 48% said we weren't as bad as they thought -- or something like that.  Look how long other changes have taken: women's rights, racial acceptance, gay rights.  None is complete yet, but all have made progress.  Be calm and patient, and develop a sense of humor.  It often helps.

I have done what I can to instill critical thinking into the mind's of my children but they still have that childish desire to believe in the phantasmagorical. I think my youngest really "gets it", but then she is closest to me in ideology. For one she accepts me for who I am rather than putting a value on me that I must live up to. I guess one out of three ain't bad.

 

Welcome. I'm new too and I love it here. My family was that way but I got away from them all. They weren't going to understand and pointless 'debates' wear on me. Additionally, my friends have always been more family to me than family. They talk to me, not at me. They've been there. Anyway, I understand how that can be if you feel obligated to them. I'm sorry it's been so uncomfortable but we are here for support.
Welcome, Robert. You really must feel alone in your community.  Just try to raise your kids the best you can and give them the knowledge they need. This will hopefully satisfy the missing piece in your life. You seem like such a cool guy. Congratulations on being true to yourself.
Welcome Robert. Believe or not, you're not alone here in your rejection of sky fairies, after life inspired Disney Land theme parks (or in the case of Islam, eternal brothels), or Freddy Kruger waiting for you if you dare to question "Da Boss" in the sky. I, too, have lost my parents. However, just like you, I have wonderful children who are my chance at a better future for the world. You, and your parents, are the reason for the existence. Just like me and mine. Sounds like you're doing a good job as a father (and as you know, it ain't easy) in instilling in them a rational outlook for the only life we have. Keep up the good work, and again, welcome.

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