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Religion and Spirituality, Science and Philosophy Use this forum to discuss what you believe in. This is a place where everyone may share their views freely.

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How do I say this? - October 2nd 2013, 02:59 AM

Okay, so I come from a very, very Christian family. I attend a Christian high school, go to church with my family every Sunday, and so on.

Here's the problem: I'm not a Christian anymore. Right now, I'm somewhere between agnostic and outright atheist. This raises a question. How do I tell my family this?

I've considered not telling them - just going on with my life until I'm not living with them anymore, giving lip service to my parents' God while I'm under their roof. The whole idea just feels so dishonest - to them, to myself, to everyone at church and at school. I don't want to deceive them like that.

If I tell them, though ... my father especially is not exactly an example of religious tolerance. As far as he is concerned, a life without Jesus is a life that's not worth living. I know it's possible his attitude might be different when it's his own daughter, but somehow I doubt it.

What should I do?
   
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Re: How do I say this? - October 2nd 2013, 03:24 AM

Tell the truth. I cannot tell you how hard it feels when someone's intolerance towards different neighbors give's God's love a bad name. I hope that you give God and Jesus another chance, as they did the same for you. However, it is entirely your choice to believe in God or not. I can't make you believe. That would take away all the happiness that comes from God's love. Tell your parent's the truth, they will understand. Be an honest and courageous person. If you ever, however, choose to give God another chance. You can PM me any questions you have about him. It's one thing to believe in God, to have faith in him is another.
   
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Re: How do I say this? - October 2nd 2013, 03:31 AM

In all honesty, I would wait until you have a clearer idea of where you stand in terms of religion. Since your parents, especially your dad, are so religious, there's a solid chance that there are going to be some arguments about your change in belief. That's not to say you shouldn't tell them. But, your parents are much more likely to respect and be tolerant of your decision if you can show them that you have a clear understanding of what you've chosen and why you've chosen to think that way. If you tell them that you're somewhere in the middle of agnostic and atheist right now, they might not be as accepting and still push you to go to church, under the delusion that they might be able to sway you back.

By the way, I'm speaking from personal experience and seeing what my parents do with my sister. I can't promise that your parents will react the same way. It just seems to be a likely response.


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Re: How do I say this? - October 2nd 2013, 12:11 PM

I agree with Sammi, I'd wait until you are in a position to be able to argue it better on solid footing rather than being in a position of "between this and this".

I can definitely understand the awkwardness of going to church and just acting things out and feeling like your being dishonest. But it's also really hard to talk to some religious people about how you can possibly just not believe in the existence of a God, in fact, I sometimes wonder if they'd accept Islam and Hinduism first because at least other theistic religions are not denying the existence of a God (and therefor might their confront their fundamental beliefs less). Ultimately though, you just have to find your footing, I guess you can't really stop taking communion like I did at the moment but that's an option.

So yeah, you can keep going to church if your parents are really upset, but you can do little things like stopping taking commununion. But overall as long as your parents will be tolerant and non-violent I'd say figure out what you want to tell them and do it. But make sure you know your absolute in your beliefs;




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October 2nd 2013, 06:24 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Masquerade. View Post
In all honesty, I would wait until you have a clearer idea of where you stand in terms of religion. Since your parents, especially your dad, are so religious, there's a solid chance that there are going to be some arguments about your change in belief. That's not to say you shouldn't tell them. But, your parents are much more likely to respect and be tolerant of your decision if you can show them that you have a clear understanding of what you've chosen and why you've chosen to think that way. If you tell them that you're somewhere in the middle of agnostic and atheist right now, they might not be as accepting and still push you to go to church, under the delusion that they might be able to sway you back.

By the way, I'm speaking from personal experience and seeing what my parents do with my sister. I can't promise that your parents will react the same way. It just seems to be a likely response.
This is probably a good point. I've been trying to do some research, but I have a long way to go. I suspect that I'll probably get a good hard push to keep attending church anyway, but maybe if I seem firmer in my beliefs it won't be quite as big.

(Also, by the way, I love your avatar / pic!)

Quote:
Originally Posted by ~Wallflower~ View Post
I agree with Sammi, I'd wait until you are in a position to be able to argue it better on solid footing rather than being in a position of "between this and this".

I can definitely understand the awkwardness of going to church and just acting things out and feeling like your being dishonest. But it's also really hard to talk to some religious people about how you can possibly just not believe in the existence of a God, in fact, I sometimes wonder if they'd accept Islam and Hinduism first because at least other theistic religions are not denying the existence of a God (and therefor might their confront their fundamental beliefs less). Ultimately though, you just have to find your footing, I guess you can't really stop taking communion like I did at the moment but that's an option.

So yeah, you can keep going to church if your parents are really upset, but you can do little things like stopping taking commununion. But overall as long as your parents will be tolerant and non-violent I'd say figure out what you want to tell them and do it. But make sure you know your absolute in your beliefs;
Trust me, in my church Islam would not be any more acceptable than outright atheism. Remember all of the Christian Right groups that were protesting the mosque / cultural center near Ground Zero? Our church is at about that level.

Non-violent? Probably. Tolerant? That seems far less likely.

Last edited by Lizzie; October 11th 2013 at 03:43 PM. Reason: Merge consecutive posts
   
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Re: How do I say this? - October 2nd 2013, 06:40 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by mtnchickadee View Post
This is probably a good point. I've been trying to do some research, but I have a long way to go. I suspect that I'll probably get a good hard push to keep attending church anyway, but maybe if I seem firmer in my beliefs it won't be quite as big.

(Also, by the way, I love your avatar / pic!)
It's a lot easier to convince your parents, and any others who might question your decision, that you're not going to change it if you have a clear understanding of why you see things the way you do. It'll also make them more likely to respect it.

And, thank you!


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foreign hearts & exotic minds compelled her.
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Re: How do I say this? - October 2nd 2013, 06:47 PM

Well, I'm sorry that you've got such a dilemma - but congratulations on deciding to think for yourself about what you believe.

You have a right to have your religious beliefs tolerated, but unfortunately it sounds like your parents are going to be less than willing to allow you to exercise that right.

I've been in a similar situation, although my mum seems slightly less strict than your parents, and I did say that I was a Humanist - ideally your parents would accept it, albeit unwillingly, but there is always a chance that they won't. As has been mentioned previously, make sure that you do know your reasoning. Despite the illogical nature of doing so, the burden of proof will likely be reversed ("you can't prove Christianity isn't right") so it's a good idea to know what you're talking about if you do want to tell them.
I personally think it would be a good idea to be honest with your parents, although I can't guarantee that this won't make certain things difficult. Hold on in there, and if you ever need to rant or discuss anything, I'm very much an Atheist - feel free to PM me .


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Re: How do I say this? - October 3rd 2013, 06:26 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by mtnchickadee View Post
Okay, so I come from a very, very Christian family. I attend a Christian high school, go to church with my family every Sunday, and so on.

Here's the problem: I'm not a Christian anymore. Right now, I'm somewhere between agnostic and outright atheist. This raises a question. How do I tell my family this?

I've considered not telling them - just going on with my life until I'm not living with them anymore, giving lip service to my parents' God while I'm under their roof. The whole idea just feels so dishonest - to them, to myself, to everyone at church and at school. I don't want to deceive them like that.

If I tell them, though ... my father especially is not exactly an example of religious tolerance. As far as he is concerned, a life without Jesus is a life that's not worth living. I know it's possible his attitude might be different when it's his own daughter, but somehow I doubt it.

What should I do?
Honestly, I wouldn't bother telling them. It will just create arguments within your circle. I'd find people you can vent to, even if it's just online, that way your airing out your thoughts and don't get to the point where you flip out and just tell them.

You have a lot ahead of you. You need to discover what you are. And in my experience, religious families tend to want their family to continue being religious even if said person isn't. I've talked to my grandparents about my atheism. They act like that conversation never took place sometimes. And I'm 25. At most I'd tell them you're questioning your beliefs. Maybe it'll create an open conversation and maybe your family will have points that you didn't see before or the other way around.

Honestly, it's not a big deal. Let them think what they want, and you continue to seek truth in the meantime and discover what you believe. Regardless, most Christianity is just lip service. Not very many Christians legitimately believe in their god. Just look at their actions.

No offense but your post kind of proves it. You're worried about your fathers reactions. But look at Jesus. He told the religious people in his day that prostitutes would enter heaven before the most pious. Jesus is the example of tolerance.


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Re: How do I say this? - October 9th 2013, 06:37 PM

Don't be lukewarm either be for God or against Him.
   
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Re: How do I say this? - October 10th 2013, 04:08 PM

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Originally Posted by ag36 View Post
Don't be lukewarm either be for God or against Him.
Why?

What you've just done is created a false dichotomy, and it's an incredibly frustrating thing which Theists tend to do.
If one does not believe that any god even exists, then one cannot be against said deity.
If you believe in God, you don't generally go "against Him" - and if you don't believe in God, then you're not "against Him," you're thinking critically and making your own choices.
Your statement implies that God must exist, like it's obviously true, but unfortunately "He" doesn't necessarily exist - I would go as far as to say that there's no chance that the God you're statistically likely to be referring to does exist. Sorry about that.

</rant>


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Re: How do I say this? - October 10th 2013, 10:57 PM

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Originally Posted by ag36 View Post
Don't be lukewarm either be for God or against Him.
I agree what Rachel said... I'm Catholic (openly with other Christian views), but why force people into believing what YOU want? You can't make them. It's their beliefs and theirs alone. What if Christianity was largely a minority? Would you want someone telling you that you're wrong and that you should be a Buddhist (just for example)? Heck no! It's your body, it's your mind. Do with it what you want and leave the beliefs to the individual.


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Re: How do I say this? - October 11th 2013, 02:08 PM

Until you are financially stable, it's a bad idea to tell your parents anything. I've known people to get kicked out of home for this reason. For your own safety, don't tell them unless you're sure 100% sure that you're not putting your well being at risk.
   
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