View Full Version : Out of the closet.
22nd August 2005, 12:10 AM
Well, I'm out. My mother found out that I don't believe in god. :( At the moment I really hate religion. She is going through such pain and torment, for what?
Funny thing, I never dreamed this would happen to me. I was the good kid who always went to church and served a mission.
I love my mother and she loves me and we will work this out but what a giant pain in the a$$. I defend religion a lot but things like this really strain my tolerance for such an archaic social construct.
22nd August 2005, 12:25 AM
I hope it turns out well, and I'm sure it will.
22nd August 2005, 12:37 AM
Oh, I'm sorry. :( I hope she comes around soon.
22nd August 2005, 12:57 AM
I sympathise, Randfan. I had a similar background to you - the good guy who never put a foot wrong and never missed church. I was golden in my parents eyes.
I had a great relationship with my dad, we talked all the time. What I didn't realise was that my atheism would cause him such a real problem. When I left the church it really made him confused, he just didn't seem to be able to relate to me anymore. We tried to talk but there was now an 'elephant in the room' kind of problem that neither of us wanted to point out.
From that time on I never really connected with my dad again. I tried but it felt frustrating as I felt like he always missed the point of what I said. It's hard to describe but when we talked it was like we were having 2 separate conversations and I couldn't work out why.
I always thought I could fix it though. I always thought I could re-connect. Maybe he just needed more time.
Then he died suddenly at the end of 2001 and I never did get to fix the hurt. As if I ever could anyway.
He always used to tell me when I was growing up that it didn't matter what I did in life as long as I was a xian. He would judge me on that basis alone. He meant it in a good way because he never saw any possibility that it would never be true.
Problem was that it didn't matter what I did now, I would always see the disappointment in his eyes.
As for my mum, well she just didn't understand so she pretended it wasn't true! That has worked well for us both. I have no intention of pushing the issue there.
The evil of all religion is that it values life and a person's worth on the basis of an arbitrary set of judgements, not wishing to engage with the human being underneath.
Sorry Randfan, didn't mean to get into all that! Probably haven't helped much.
22nd August 2005, 01:26 AM
Originally posted by RandFan
I defend religion a lot but things like this really strain my tolerance for such an archaic social construct.
My tolerence went out the window when 7 out of 10 voters in my home state decided to make their private bigotry a public law.
22nd August 2005, 01:51 AM
Heartbreaking stuff Rand and Oleron. :( Makes me glad I wasn't born into a religious family.
22nd August 2005, 03:15 AM
I had the same issue with my mother. However I was always the kid who loved to push the envelope. When I told her just about 2 weeks ago she was devastated. She is the kind of person who always told me to keep god in my life and everything will be ok. The conversation that broke it into the confession of atheism involved me getting a raise and finally moving out of my apartment and purchasing a home. I told her how excited I was and she then said well you better thank god for all the blessings he has bestowed upon you. I replied somewhere along the lines of "mother I have no need to thank something that I do not believe exists however I just wanted to say I thank you for the wonderful way you brought me up". It eventually escalated into why should I thank god for things that I work hard for and in the end succeed? If I went around thanking inanimate objects it would be more logical would it not? At least I know these objects exist. I could go around thanking my car for not breaking down or I could thank the light bulbs for giving me light to read!
She called me back about 5 days later asking why I didn't believe in god. I said to her because I just can't believe anything paranormal exists. She said "well what about ghosts" I said to her where have you ever seen any proof that they exist? She replied she saw it on some TV show! then she went on about psychics and I told her she should take a look at www.randi.org his organization is offering 1mil to any person who can under controlled conditions do or prove anything paranormal and soon after that there is a good chance that same person would receive the Nobel prize and change life as we know it.
She is a very scattered individual and misplaces many things and her routine of finding them is saying a prayer to St. Anthony who would supposedly help her find missing things and when she finds the missing items she thanks him! I said why not thank yourself for having such conviction to look for these items? I also told her people have a tendency to believe that whatever is being done at the time something turns around for the better they end up thinking that whatever was being done or happened created the outcome. Sometimes what ever it was being done does help and sometimes it does not but just appears that way. The day after that conversation she tried looking for her car keys but this time without praying to St. Anthony and guess what she found them!
She took a look at this site and now she is finally starting to question things. Yesterday we had a wonderful conversation about my siblings, science, religion and about the new house! I have never in my life felt closer to my mother than I do right now. Knowing that she had the bravery to take some time and open her mind to reality and go against what she believed in. She still believes something greater exists and is not agnostic or anything yet but she is on the right path.
I guess what I am trying to say. Give it a little time and try to explain to her why you are atheist I used to believe my mother was a stone hard Xtian and with a little talking and reasoning she now understands why I am the way I am. One thing I might suggest is that you show her a skeptical site like this one or something skeptical to watch. Take some time and sit down and watch it with her. After getting blasted with the facts from these skeptical sources then both of you possibly go to www.bible.com and read bible answers or something similar and the sheer stupidity of these religious answers is magnified a thousand times more after engaging your brains learning some truths just beforehand.
I am not a psychiatrist or a professional counselor of any sort I am just a simple meteorologist. I just had a similar experience and what was done just seemed the logical explanation for its current outcome. I do not know your mother or how significantly she reacts to certain situations. The suggestion I stated above may not be the way to go about things or it just may be. Just don't give up hope and treat her with the same respect as you have always shown her.
I hope things work out for you.
22nd August 2005, 07:26 AM
"Life is just what happens to you,
While your busy making other plans" --John Lennon
22nd August 2005, 07:52 AM
My mother is Mistress of Denial. Both her children are atheists, but she refuses point blank to believe that we really don't believe. She thinks we're just too lazy to go to church. She won't discuss religion at all. I think probably her own faith is flagging, but she feels guilty about that, so projects that everyone believes deep down, despite the improbability.
So we just avoid the topic around her.
22nd August 2005, 10:09 AM
I sincerely hope everything works out for you. I can't imagine telling anyone in my family. It was all I could do to tell my wife, and she is a very mild theist.
22nd August 2005, 02:51 PM
My mother and stepfather raised me, and they were atheists. My biological father believes in God, but doesn't really talk about it a whole lot, so it never became a source of conflict that I didn't.
My grandmother on my father's side, however, is deeply Christian and would like me to be as well. She's a wonderful, loving person and one of my favorite people in the world. I think she probably believes that I am Christian, and I simply haven't gone out of my way to tell her that I'm not. I think it would disappoint her a great deal, and it is not doing our relationship any harm for her to imagine that I am. I don't really even need to pretend, I just have to keep my mouth shut about it. For her, I will. If I felt like I was pretending, I would speak up instead.
22nd August 2005, 04:44 PM
My mother and other friends still hold out hope that I will come back into the fold. But then that's what faith is all about.
22nd August 2005, 06:22 PM
Good to hear that love exists, despite the cruelty of the truth.
Keep the love alive and I'm sure things will be fine.
23rd August 2005, 03:30 AM
Pssssht- I'll never tell my parents. How much longer can they live anyway? Besides, it's almost fun carrying on an elaborate lie, swearing certain people in the know to secrecy -- essentially playing out an episode of Perfect Strangers if it lasted nearly a decade. My parents couldn't handle it if they found out. Which is not to say they don't occasionally have suspicions. I was once asked by my mother point-blank. What did I do? I lied. It was a brilliant lie, I might add. I mean, I laughed at the question as if she asked if I was wearing rubber pants.
A person not long ago "came out of the closet" to me. He being gay. Seeing as how we were in similar situations, I gave him the above sage advice: You lie. It's probably more difficult as a gay though (Yes, I said, "a gay"). That necessarily involves a behavior that cannot always be hidden away in one's head.
23rd August 2005, 04:50 AM
Well, I'm out. My mother found out that I don't believe in god. At the moment I really hate religion. She is going through such pain and torment, for what?
Because her religion tells her that the son she loves will be taken from her, and cast into the eternal lake of fire, simply for not believing. And this puts you on the side, at least in terms of simplistic manichean interpretations of good and evil, of all the things your mother hates in this world, and which her religion is a way of coping with.
As you say, you will work it out between you, and I hope this proves to be the case... Perhaps you can tell her the parable of the Good Samaratan, and tell your mother that although you don't have faith, you do and will try to remain a good person and good son to her right now. And if the Day Of Judgement comes, you'll stand before God in the guise of that Samaratan too, and God will understand.
But really, the most important thing is for you to be secure in your own lack of faith. Not because of a need to protect your own self, although this may be required if things unfortunately don't balance out... but because allowing yourself to be too accomodating will only make matters worse between you. Cleaner breaks are easier to understand and repair than complex ones... and the best thing you can do now is clearly be yourself, be her son, rather than keep trying to adapt to her own needs. And if she does love you for who you are, that will help her find you again sooner.
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