I came out to my parents as an Atheist tonight. I did not do well at countering some of my father's assertions about the Bible, because my nervousness blanked my mind and I am not good at verbal debate anyway. I feel like I failed a bit, but I haven't been written off or banished - even though I am going to hell.

It's done.

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Comment by Linda on November 29, 2010 at 10:16pm
Yes, so glad to hear you've made it thru. Fear not, Kathy Griffin says she'll be there in hell too and so at least we'll have some comedy. ..

She is so funny! I never really cared that much for her until there was a marathon of her comedy routines recently on cable TV. I recorded all of them and she really cracked me up.
Comment by Earther on November 15, 2010 at 7:48pm
It is not easy but you will get better at the debate. The debate really is that there is no debate. The reallity is your family will or will not accept you as you are as you accept them.
Comment by Asa Watcher on November 15, 2010 at 1:23pm
My advice, and it is presumptuous of me I suppose, but, my advice is to not question them, do not debate them, it can only lead to argument and quibbling about inconsequential things.
What you should do is simply admit to your “lack of faith in the existence of a supreme being”. You can do so effectivly by saying something like: “I’m sorry, but I do not share your faith.” Nothing more to be said. You have faith or you don’t. You obviously don't.

When that happens, you will be placing the issue in the larger context of faith in general, both your lack of, and their embrace of...

It can’t help but cause them to ponder their own faith, perhaps only briefly, but still.

You can also assure them that you are not similarly abandoning the values they raised you to honor. You are still honest, loving, hopeful, forgiving, sensitive to others, and a good daughter.*

And if those are reasons for their god to condemn you to hell, so be it.

Best to you

*(I suppose if you are not honest, loving, hopeful, forgiving, sensitive to others, and a good daughter, you have issues with your parents that are beyond faith in god.)
Comment by Greg Adams on November 15, 2010 at 1:17pm
Congratulations! I know how hard that can be. My parents tried to send me to a psychiatrist (I was 17). I told 'em, "Sure. I'd love to talk to someone about this who might actually listen and consider my views." They decided against sending me.

When you find yourself at a loss for words, say this: "The heart cannot rejoice in what the mind cannot believe." I got that from "Evidence That Demands a Verdict" by Josh McDowell...a Christian writer.
Comment by Steve Ahlquist on November 14, 2010 at 7:47pm
I've been an atheist of one kind or another for thirty years but my father, who is now approaching seventy, still sends me religiously inspired emails and will never, I have come to understand, show any respect for my views. To this day there is no meaningful communication between my father and me save for family and weather.
Comment by Matt VDB on November 13, 2010 at 5:37am
Kudos to you for coming out. I'm not in an anti-atheists environment myself but I can only imagine what it's like to not be able to express who you are.

Personally, I wouldn't try to get into arguments with your parents about this too much. It's important they first accept that you don't in fact believe what they believe anymore. Then if they ever want to know why you don't believe or are curious, then you can elaborate. But too much confrontation will do you no good.
Comment by Karla on November 13, 2010 at 4:38am
Yes, so glad to hear you've made it thru. Fear not, Kathy Griffin says she'll be there in hell too and so at least we'll have some comedy.

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