I was brought up in a fundamentalist family.

Anyone still dealing with any issues from religion?

Do you fear the result of coming out Atheist to your family?

Any thoughts are welcome.

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Plus reason and logic weren't used to arrive at their position, so they're useless in trying to change minds.  

Spud, I hear your pain about your younger brother gatting married into a Salvation Army family and your concern. I also hear the distress with your brother with whom you rode. You are clear on what you know to be true and why you do not share beliefs of others in your family. You have tough decisions to be made and there is no right answer, as far as I can tell. You give up something to get something.

There is no one right answer, so the sorting has to occur in your thinking. Seek help from others if you nee it. 

Some will want you to come back into the religious fold. 

Some will accept you as an atheist even as they remain religious. 

Some will shun you, perhaps talk behind your back to influence other family members. 

Some will reject you until and unless you return. 

Being prepared for how you feel about each one of these options, and you know what you want for your life, then the decisions may be easy. 

That does not mean you will be free of grief for any loss that comes as a result of your choices. This kind of grief needs to be acknowledged and you have the right and responsibility to ask for support. 

If youy find yourself feeling guilt, shame, grief, fear, you may need some professional help if it goes on for more than a year. After that, it becomes wallowing. 

My hangup is my anger. The rage continues, especially as I observe the role religion plays in emotional distress in other people's lives. I wallow deliciously in my fury. 

I am not saying this process is easy; it is a responsible process for making a decision about which road to take. Whatever road you choose, take responsibility for that choice. It does no good to blame others. 

William, that would be scary, but maybe that got you to be an atheist sooner.  What do you think?

My favorite was a tent preacher in the Fort Worth-Dallas circuit named Brother Dave Epley. He knew that Elmer Gantry type preachers had to have a gimmick, so he would four-wall (rent out, then sell tickets yourself) a downtown theatre in places like Fort Worth. And there he would start his show with enormous panache. The curtain would part and there, propped up for the audience to see it, stood a coffin with Brother Dave in it. He would rise out of the coffin and tell the audience "Hallelujah!.Thank the Lord! Please notice that I am dressed for this occasion, I put on my Holy Ghost Dancing Shoes...." He was a scream. I'd rather see a good country preacher than watch a multi-million-dollar action film with a plot linking the CGI'S. Give me one Brother Dave Eppley to a dozen Robert Downey Jr.'s any day.

Marjoe Gortner was good enough. I guess I'm showing my age here.

William, that is child abuse! No wonder you hated it. 

Running up and down the isles and screaming. That sounds like Penny's costal church. Blabtist is a different thing.

I'm going to get me a realistic looking fake snake and take all my clothes off and run up and down the aisle of the biggest church here speaking in tongues: "Allahoobalooba Natchalogalola Bubolopanaga Sangatamulo &c. William S. Burroughs, addressing the matter of snake handling pastors, said "I'm gonna throw some black mambas in there...."

Please let me know when your performance will be, I will move mountains and rivers to see it. 

I think what Joan means by wallowing is suggested by the word itself, rolling around in shit or mud, wallowing. When someone tells you a miserable story you listen intently and make a suggestion if you can, but in any case if you hear the same story over and over and you willingly listen, you become an enabler. You help the person wallow. It's hard to feel sorry for someone who will not help themself. Or who simply enjoys your sympathy, so they go for it over and over again.

Do you suppose if you asked someone who stays in a bad situation, why they stay - they would say, "because I enjoy it"???

No?  I don't think so.  What do you think they might tell you?

What might a therapist for the abused woman say, about why she stays?

Do you suppose a psychologist would say "because she enjoys it"?

Luara, a bad situation, whether a marriage, a job, a place one hates, and does not find a way out of the misery holds some responsibility in keeping the misery going. Yes, it is hard to change external events and it is often unhealthy to give up when miserable. Have you talked to people about why they continue in an unhappy situation? Usually, the individual will tell you they can't afford to change, they will lose their security, safety and stability, they can't act against god's will, they aren't strong enough, or smart enough, or brave enough. 

I was in an abusive marriage to a professional man who had very high social standing. I then worked for 20 years in battered women's shelters, boys' ranches, Displaced Homemakers programs, and had a private practice. I know the routine. I have also worked in federal, state and municipal prisons and jails and have heard from the men. The stories are not so different, male or female, rich or poor, educated or uneducated, religious or non-believers. 

If an individual is not happy in a situation, there is a process he or she can use to help sort out the issues, identify goals, explore options, develop action plans and evaluate outcomes. In this country, we are not victims. We have rights and responsibilities. 

Yes, the economy is bad and created by greed. That is not a topic for this piece. Yes, there are hardships and obstacles. Yes, it is hard. 

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