My mother is still deeply religious. I would never try to free her of her beliefs because I know that she is not capable of dealing without them. It would be an equivalent shock to her system if my father died than if she no longer believed in god. The comfort she derives from it, trumps my desire that she open her eyes. I am lucky that she gives me the space I deserve to believe what I want, though I know it disappoints her and concerns her. I know that others have relationships with their believer loved ones that are much less civil.

I'm making this post to get a sense of how others deal with their fundamentalist loved ones and share the experiences involved. Are relations tense? How do you interact and communicate about the issues on which you disagree with them? How do you go about trying to pierce through their deluding beliefs? What do you do to keep the disagreement from getting out of hand? Any interesting stories to share in dealing with your loved ones who refuse to not believe?

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For the most part, I have not really brought the topic up. When I came out as gay to my parents they were devastated. Despite me still being a believer at the time, they have kind of equated my being gay with some kind of rejection of God. They made it clear that they don't want to talk about it, and have never brought it up.

In some sense, this has helped, because they no longer ask me about church. My dad still talks about the bible studies he teaches, and I just listen politely.

I honestly don't know if I'll ever get brave enough to tell any of them either that I'm an atheist, or the rest of them that I am gay. Fortunately, I live fairly far away, so it's easier.

My nephew is very open about his atheism, and has frequent discussions with his parents about it. He never really was "into it" like I was, though, so I don't know how similar the reaction would be.
Relations with my parents and I are extremely tense. Until about a year ago I was extremely fundamental. I even attended liberty university for a year. My parents were so proud of their 'young woman of God.' So when I left the faith even though they didn't know it, awful tensions arose. I was dealing with the worst depression I could never have imagined because my whole life had been shattered and they were preaching hell-fire and damnation just to make sure I didn't deny god. They told me I was escaping the consequences of my sin by taking anti-depressants (my sin being listening to oldies music). Now that was hell. But since then they've had their suspicions that I am not a christian and each time they find anything indicating thusly they threaten me with fasting. My dad is in poor health. I'm still very much struggling with the decision of being honest with them about my own beliefs because I completely understand the pain it would put them through to think I was going to hell. And there's no way to reason someone out of that kind of imagined heartache. In the mean time I am as vague as I can manage. I try my best to protect them and shield them out of my life. When they press me (which happens constantly) I do my best to defer and deflect. I give them vague statements about how I feel like there are teachings of Jesus that help me in my life. I personally feel it would be a lot easier for both of us if I were to somehow cut off relations with them entirely. Most likely in an emotional way that would exclude the issue of religion. I think I've had just about enough of their martyr syndrome. :P
sorry amanda. that sounds really rough. we're thinking about ya.

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