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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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Wisteria Offline
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Possible Religious Breakup With Parents - April 14th 2016, 04:23 AM

Hi. I'm Wisteria, just a normal girl, struggling to find an Atheist support group. As I now know I'm Atheist, I'd love to tell me parents. But, they are extremely religious Mormons, I am afraid telling them would rend our relationship in two. I know they would never harm me, or kick me out, but I am seriously considering the possibility they'd detach from me, emotionally. My mom may understand, but my father would become psycho, and try to drag me back to the church. I'd honestly like suggestions, and personal stories, on whether it is worth coming out as Atheist to me family, or not.

*If this is in the wrong forum, please excuse me; still finding my way around!
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No one reads the titles of replies ;) - April 15th 2016, 12:32 AM

Hey there,

That can often be a tough situation. I'd say it would be more in your interest to tell your family about it, because I imagine it's not so comfortable being in a church for a religion you don't believe in. All you can really do to explain it is that people have always had different religious views or none at all, and it's all their own choice. If you think your mother might understand, maybe you could try to get her on your side a bit, just to see if she can't help out with your dad. I have no idea if the Latter-day Saints have any kind of punishment for apostasy, but if your parents are ultimately cool with it, hopefully there wouldn't be any trouble there.

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Re: Possible Religious Breakup With Parents - April 15th 2016, 06:22 PM

Personally, I found in my case it didn't make a difference. My family did, initially, become a little more pushy with religion, but nothing overbearing. This said, everyone's family is very different. You'll be the best judge of your parents reaction, and you can base your decision on that. I'd also say it depends on how old you are. If you are out on your own, or nearly out on your own, then it won't make much of a difference (this is when I did it). But if you still live with them, as you're line of thinking goes, you still need to be wary that your relationship may change and be worse than if you just kept quiet to begin with. Religion, or lack thereof, never defines us. It's only a part of us. We don't need to distinguish ourselves as atheist or Mormon. We're humans. Your sense of belonging isn't identifying as an atheist. Your sense of belong is finding a definition of family, and creating that family for yourself. It can be in an atheist support group, it can be your personal family, or it can be your friends. But, as I've said, I find separating yourself from a 'title' to remove that need of 'belonging' is more ideal. In another thread similar to this I mentioned that religion, at least to me, tended to matter less and less with age. Meaning, it doesn't matter that I'm an atheist and my family is Christian. I don't care what religion anyone is, including myself. I think adopting this mentality is helpful and prevents a lot of drama, pain, and possibly war. It's great that you know you're an atheist, presently. But this may change, it may not change. You never know. So existentially I find it's not really worthwhile identifying as one thing or another.

I hope that makes sense. If you ever need someone to talk to, I'm here. The main thing I hope you know is that I was raised Christian (baptist), and went through a religious identity crisis. I was Christian, atheist, agnostic, dabbled with Buddhism, deism, ignosticism, agnostic deist, weak atheism, so on and so forth. What I found was that in those stages, my religious identity really didn't affect who I was. It felt like the world to me at various times, but looking back, it's not that big of a deal. And so for people who it IS a big deal, sometimes I think it's just better to not talk about it. But really, only you know if that's the best decision for you based on your family and how well you can psychologically deal with it.

"For small creatures such as we the vastness is bearable only through love."
- Carl Sagan
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Re: Possible Religious Breakup With Parents - April 24th 2016, 06:36 PM

For adults, there would be no question that I would always recommend complete openness and honesty on the subject. It is a little different for those still under the jurisdiction of their parents. Suggesting that a young person be dishonest and / or not forthcoming with their parents is a troubling thing, but it is sometimes justified.

Only you truly know your parents and only you can predict the measure of their reaction. Obviously, if their reaction would be extreme (or there is even a chance that it would be extreme) and would make your life miserable, then don't do it. This is probably not a life and death issue for you. You can probably afford to wait till you are an adult and out from under your parents before letting them know your beliefs. Still in doubt? Do a simple cost / benefit analysis. On a piece of paper, write down all the benefits that you would get from telling them, and then list all the costs / bad results that would come from doing it. Compare the two.

Too often, parents are trapped in the management paradigm, thinking of control, efficiency, and rules instead of direction, purpose, and family feeling. I am sorry to say that every parent I've ever known was deeply scripted in the control paradigm, and although they would never admit it or discuss it, any condition that lessened their control of their children would be dealt with sharply and harshly. I am of course not saying that ALL parents everywhere are like that; such is just my experience.
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atheist, breakup, coming out, detachment, emotion, parents, relationships, religion, religious

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