My Cross to Bear

Another year gone by and I still don’t have the courage to sit my parents down and tell them that I’m an atheist.  Many people in my life know it, including my wife, my kids, and even some of my colleagues.  Why am I still afraid to tell my parents?  I am thirty fucking years old.  I should just sit them down and tell them, right?  Well, I guess it’s a little more complicated than that.  Part of my problem is that I am not just an atheist any longer.  I have gone all in and I am becoming an advocate for atheism, skepticism, and reason.  I co-host an Internet radio show with a theist (my friend and brother-in-law) I have joined a local atheist group, the Greenville Non-Theists, and I actively blog about my lack of belief.  I am not being honest with the people that raised me about who I am.  Both of my parents know that I am not a church goer, and they think that I’ll return to the alter one day, as they have done.  They would be quite surprised, however,  if  I told them that I don’t believe in a god or that I think the story of a  god/man Jesus is folklure passed down through the generations. Or that I believe that world religions cause much more harm than good.  It’s killing me though to keep this bottled up.

It will be much easier for me to have this conversation with my mother. She is not as dogmatic, but she really loves her church and does believe in an afterlife that includes Jesus, God, the angels, and the saints. That withstanding, I think she will accept it and it will just become something that we don’t talk about much.  My father, on the other hand, could get very insulted and may become derogatory.  Maybe my biggest concern is that by having this conversation he’s going to say things that are going to piss me off, and I might just reach my boiling point and go off on him.  I anticipate that he will blame my atheism on my liberal ideology and make some kind of connection to left wing socialist brain washing.  For the record, he is am extreme far right conservative Catholic.  Will this end our relationship completely or put such a strain on it that we hardly ever talk?

Hang on.

Thinking.

Sonavabitch.

As I’m writing this I’m realizing that my father doesn’t give a shit about sharing his beliefs with me, regardless of what I think. No matter how bigoted he may sound.  I think it’s time that I follow his lead  and let him know who I am and what I truly think.  He can take it or leave it.  

I think I’m still talking to mom first 🙂  

This rant has been extremely therapeutic.  I’ll let you guys know how it goes.  

 

Side note:  On Monday’s Atheist and Theist Radio Hour, Phil and I tackle the question, Is America a Christian Nation? Join us live at 11pm ET.

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10 Responses to “My Cross to Bear”

  1. While I’m not one to tell someone how to go about living their life, I’d suggest approaching your parents with caution. I’ve heard many stories of ostracization and refusal to communicate after some atheists tell their parents, and some will just avoid the subject all together. Careful what you jump into, sometimes its better that others don’t know.

  2. honeybrisketbabyfat Says:

    Hello friend! Thanks for commenting in my blog… I read your blog and I will add this site in my blogroll that people may understand the true meaning of being an atheist. I agree with you that we should be better individuals irregardless of our differences, faith, religion, culture and belief. Happy New Year and I wish you and your family all the best!

  3. I’m an ordained minister who spent four years in a Catholic monastery. Its a long story. Anyway, I say go ahead and be honest with your parents. They will always be your parents, but your beliefs have, and may once again, change. Honest people always chose relationships over pride. REAL honest people talk to mom first!! Good luck.

  4. I told my parents a long time ago. It was much easier for me as my parents are not devout christians (my mother attends random churches trying to find ones with accepting people, and my fathers only trip to church that I can recall was my grandfathers funeral 13 years ago). I had it even easier due to having two older brothers that both had very little desire to partake in anything religious. They paved the way for me to question religion and open my mind to the many ideas in the world.
    I can’t help but find the irony in your dilemma. Is it not a christian virtue to not judge, yet many alt-theists (a word I just made up to define people who believe in different religions than someone else) fear judgement of their parents, siblings, peers or even partners.

  5. Non-Christians will do shawn, alt-theists seems to have the negitive effect of excluding atheists, as they aren’t theists.

  6. Enshoku-

    Thanks for the suggestion. I think keeping it bottled up is fucking with me more than the possible ostracism that I may receive.

    Jim-

    Thanks for stopping by. “Honest people always choose relationships over pride” is a line I might borrow from you if necessary.

    Shawn-

    It is ironic. I guess I know how closed minded they can be. I have married someone open minded, the friends I have are open minded, and I’ve raised my kids to be open minded. It’s been easy to share my beliefs (or lack thereof) with them.

    honeybrisket-

    Thanks for sharing my blog with your readers. Many people have a misunderstanding of what atheism is. We’re all human and we’re in this together.

  7. Bro, I feel your pain, I’ve meet your parents:). I am grasping the burden you feel, your pains are my pains. I hope knowing me as long as you have you know how much I love you. I know this decision is up to you, and I know that regardless of what you choose it is not an easy cross to bear. I do feel that when you are true to yourself that that is all that matters. When confronted with your path in life and the choices that you have made, sure it will be hard for them to accept at first. But know, your parents love you and when they see that you remain true to your heart, that is all that it will take for them to realize, you are a man and you have chosen your own path. Hang in there bro. Be true to yourself, others will soon accept it. Even if it takes some getting use too. Love you man.

  8. I began reading Thomas Paine’s Age of Reason and the following is from the first chapter and directly relates to my (soon to be no longer) dilemma:

    “I do not mean by this declaration to condemn those who believe otherwise; they have the same right to their belief as I have to mine. But it is necessary to the happiness of man, that he be mentally faithful to himself. Infidelity does not consist in believing, or in disbelieving; it consists in professing to believe what he does not believe.”

    I don’t profess to believe anything that I don’t but my silence is sending the wrong message to the very people that need to hear and should hear what I have to say.

    By the way, I can’t put this book down. Paine was a strong Deist, but his skepticism and search for the truth, I believe, would have led him to atheism had he lived another hundred years. Specifically post Darwin.

  9. hypernova19 Says:

    Hey, thanks for the welcome! I can completely identify with this post, I haven’t told many people I’m an atheist. A lot of people I know, who are otherwise reasonable and nice people seem to have this strange dormant hostility for atheists. I really admire your courage, I don’t ever intend telling my parents!

  10. 1azylizzie Says:

    hello Scatheist. Thanks for commenting on my blog. It sounds like you’re in a bit of a predicament. I think your idea of talking to your mother first is good, mothers are usually more flexible and understanding when bringing up sensitive issues. I think that you should approach the subject carefully, but you shouldn’t hide who you in any situation. Good luck my friend.

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