I havent been on AN for a while now, Ive been dealing with life kinda keeping away from the internet and television as much as possible. I have some creative juices that have been bubbling up ready to erupt like a volcano so Ive been focusing my attention there...but meanwhile there have been some events that invovle religious family members and my health that I want to share & hopefully get some perspective about from like minds:

I'll start by saying the cat's out of the bag my family knows I am no longer a Christian but recently they decided without warning to confront me on the subject.

First I'll explain a conversation with my overbearing, proselytizing grandma---I decided to visit her and have lunch about a month ago (btw this is the first time Ive spoken/seen her in about a month due to her calling me a liar on my vmail about something she assumed I would do but never agreed to, I was upset about it so I just didnt interact with her for a few weeks).
So as Im leaving her house ater we've had a semi-comfortable lunch she begans to lecture me about being a believer the kick in the ass was when she said "Because God gave you so many talents and gifts he had to give you MS to humble you" she also switched gears on me to then tell me "Maybe you wouldve found a job by now if you'd just pray"...

Next my mom call's me about 2 wks after this happened to lecture me about god---My mom actually says to me in the conversation "I dont know what happened to you, you used to be responsible, you were brought up in the church so I dont know why you dont believe now" then she decides to bring up my disease and say "Maybe god would take away the MS if you would just ask him to"

So I know most of you reading this can understand the sickening feeling I get when thinking about the holidays...I think Ive fallen into a depression. After my mom's call I just cried for hours, I called the only atheist friend I have and made on this site but I still feel a deep sense of sadness and loneliness. I really just want my family to be tolerant and not to make me feel like my disease is still present b/c I am not affiliated with their religion/god.
On the other hand I realize they are ignorant and insensitive to say the least and so I try to look pass these comments but Idk if I can. Both of them upset me b/c they know very little about my disease & when they talk about it, it's only to blame me for having it! They never offer an ear to listen about the challenges, they never take a moment just to offer hope. I find them a little repulsive b/c I despise this type of treatment towards me or anyone for that matter. So this makes me reluctant to be in their presence.

I guess Im seeking advice or opinions. Oh by the way my mom thinks Im irresponsible b/c I didnt have enough money to pick my sister up from college (an 1hr 30mins from my college) to bring her home (2 hrs away) for the weekend...this trip wouldve cost me $120 in gas at least...Without a job at the moment I told her I couldnt afford it, that led to this conversation about money and somehow translated to me being irresponsible (please note: No one helps me financially! I make ends meet the best I can and am looking for work w/o any luck like -so far- not very different from most unemployed americans right now.)

I just feel sad that things are the way they are, that I wont be sharing the holidays with people who love me just the way I am...and even beyond the holiday season these relationships may not me mended, not easily at least.

Thanks for taking the time to read this!
*Pls excuse my errors, Im not proof-reading* :D

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Comment by Jim Adams on November 12, 2010 at 3:09am
Well, you're just going to have to ride this one out but I love Rosemary's creative idea of challenging them and asking for prayer to prove god can make a difference. Put it back on them and be sure to tell them you'll be waiting for that answer! You're certainly in my thoughts during this Solstice Season, Dani and keep shining that smile of yours. Good health.
Comment by Glen Rosenberg on November 10, 2010 at 12:20pm
Dani,
You corroborate what I suspect. Arguing theology, delving into the weaknesses and insanity of the delusion will not work. Atheists make this mistake over and over. I very much like your point that since there are so many religions how can I choose one over the other. Hammer this idea that the accident of their birth determines their beliefs. Had they been born in Palestine they would be Muslims. Had they been born to parents who were some other religion that is where they would end up. And in that event they would defend their religion with as much fervor as they do now. They inherit their religion. You on the other hand reason that it is all nonsense. In any other context they would certainly be sympathetic to individuals who are critical, thinking people and dismiss positions that are dogma.
If you follow that with an examination of the church and make your family aware of their cult you may actually cause them to question.
I think you are on the right course. May the horse be with you.
Comment by charlotte carney on November 10, 2010 at 10:57am
keep us posted - we want to make sure you are OK! big atheist hugs, charlotte :)
Comment by Dani on November 10, 2010 at 10:02am
Rosemary-
Thats exactly what I did, first with my mom this summer I told her straight up "You believe in the power of prayer, so pray for me! Other than that there's nothing you can do...you cant convince me to believe again." I also told my gram to pray for me but she responded it was up to me to get what I wanted from god...SMH I kinda feel that trying to argue logically with people who dont use logic is pointless, I think every good point I make just flies over their heads! Thanks for the advice, I appreciate the understanding!

Glen-
I def weighed my options which is why I never attacked the god delusion when I came out. I only said "Since there are so many gods and so many diff religions how can I chose one over the other? How would I know that Im right in my choice when everyone thinks they're right?"
I tried to get them to understand the doubt that can arise just simply thinking about religion. I havent even tried to discuss disbelief in god b/c they didnt want to hear me out on that. Which is strange b/c my family and I have had many conversations in the past about religiosity and how it's more important to live for god instead of being dogmatic. They claim to not be religious & my mom really isnt so she surprised me the most. But anyhow I appreciate the response! I think the choice has been made after typing this up last night the sadness faded a little and I kinda feel numb and a overwhelming sense of just saying... F'em!

Thanks Cliff I appreciate the reply!

Charlotte-
Thanks for replying! I def have to stay in touch with people who actually get it. I know Im not alone in dealing with these sort of issues. I know Im not alone and I dont find it hard to reach out Im just kinda used to being my own problem solver...but I understand I need these connections and I want them!

Prog Rock Girl-
lol I can imagine her face if I said that, it'd be priceless but I'll keep that in my back pocket Im sure a time will come when it'll be useful! Thanks!

***Overall my biggest problem with these women is that they dont realize that I couldve come to them with the -explain your religion/why you believe- approach knowing they couldnt when the debate against me, instead Ive been careful in my approach/words in an effort to keep the peace. For the sake of not alienating myself by putting them on the defense Ive been a little too passive...and looking out or their interests hasnt helped the situation at all.-conclusion, if I decide to be around them I wont be passive anymore I'll say exactly what I think and let them defend their delusion.*** Thanks everyone!
Comment by Prog Rock Girl on November 10, 2010 at 8:57am
Some really terrible things to say to one's own kids...if she's complaining about your lack of religion, the whole thing can be turned back on her, though: "Maybe God gave you an atheist daughter to punish you because you don't have enough faith"...
Comment by charlotte carney on November 10, 2010 at 8:12am
my dear dani you are a beautiful, courageous women. your family, like so many others, suffer from delusions of religious grandeur and unfortunately this is more times than not "incurable." finding like minds and being able to share - you know your not the only one - is a really good way to help, especially during the holidays. when i first came out i got on line and found what ever non-religious/freethinking,atheist,humanist, what ever thing i could and reached out! i actually found friends and a feeling of connection that helped to make me know that i was not alone. you are in my thoughts and keep talking to us!
Comment by Glen Rosenberg on November 9, 2010 at 11:14pm
Dani,
You have a real pickle to solve. options: ingratiate yourself with the family by lying- characterize your journey to the dark side as a silly departure from the fold. Make your family understand your apostasy and accept you. Continue the status quo and live with the uncertainty it entails. Abandon ship.
Options three and four are likely to be unacceptable. So if you decide to make things right with your family and hold your tongue you have not been true to yourself and you have failed to educate your family. But at least you wont risk losing your family.
If you decide to challenge their world view I suggest that you avoid discussing theology and instead focus on the church as a political institution. If you focus on the godstuff they will always have a rationalization. Instead think of all the ways that the church has impacted humanity. Put them on the defensive. Let them defend the churches' support for Mussolini, for fleeing nazis, for slavery, for all of the abhorrent forms of bigotry, for protecting sexual predators, for . . .
MAY THE HORSE BE WITH YOU. I cant say I will pray for you!
Comment by Rosemary LYNDALL WEMM on November 9, 2010 at 9:20pm
I am so very sorry you are getting such cruel treatment from the very people you should be able to rely upon to help you in times of need. I am so glad you were able to write about it on AN and reach out to other people who might be able to be a tad more sympathetic.

Next time your family tries to blame you for your problems turn it around on them by telling them that they are obviously not praying hard enough, or their prayers are ineffective because they do not have enough faith. Direct them to the Biblical verses that state that anything they ask in the name of Jesus will be granted. Ask them why they haven't done that. Don't they care enough about you? In fact, just how much DO they pray to god asking for your recovery? Are they lazy, selfish of just too weak in the faith. Why doesn't their god listen to them? Have they offended him in some way.

How DARE they blame you!

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