Bigotry in my family
August 6, 2015 at 3:10 am #2246
I got a problem I could really use some help with. It would be much appreciated. I’m 17 years old, just about to start college in a month and I had recently come out to my parents that I’m atheist. I’ve thought long and hard about it quietly to myself for years (since I was about 11). My parents do not like the fact at all. They weren’t assholes enough to disown me or anything preposterous like that, but they do continue to shove their religion down my throat. They keep trying to convert me. Every time I come home from work, they conveniently have a religious movie playing when I walk through the door, which kind of irks me, like I know they’re trying to imply something, maybe, maybe not. But I’m hoping someone could influence me with some ideas to help me get them off my back and to respect me for what I choose to believe in life. Sadly, people are so delusional that they’re willing to do anything (including mocking their children) in order to form a “personal relationship with God”, which is utter nonsense. I guarantee if God “told” them to put a bullet in my head, they probably would without thinking about it, just saying. Rant over. Anyway, I would really appreciate some help with how I could get through to them. I don’t want them to be atheist (if they were, that’d be great) but I just want them to accept me for who I am and not for someone they want me to be, because I am not and will never be.August 6, 2015 at 3:31 am #2248
An excellent read… unfortunately, it won’t solve your problem.
Unless it helps to know your situation is appallingly common.August 6, 2015 at 7:00 am #2252
Well, this kind of situation isn’t uncommon, at least. My own parents, while not as blatant or as serious about it as yours seem to be, have been doing the subtle hints thing for many years, and I’m 34. I’ve been told to “borrow” Christian books carefully left on the coffee table of their home, that my mom thinks are “really interesting” or “such a fascinating book” and that I “might like”. My dad has asked if I intended to bring up my kid in church, despite knowing full well that I hadn’t been to church or expressed anything but negative opinions of religion in over a decade.
When I was in college I had a rational conversation or two with my mother explaining why I felt the way I felt, and it went pretty well, at least in the sense that I think she thought it was understandable. Which reminds me, any time you broach the topic, I would advise you to do it with one parent at a time, in casual settings where you’re already engaged in conversation—long drives are a good example.
But don’t be surprised if, even after they come to grips with it, they still feel that you’ll find your way back to faith at some point in life. It’s a little patronizing (as if I haven’t put countless hours of serious thought and research into this subject, far more than they ever have?), but from parents I can put up with it. I would try to stop thinking of it in terms of bigotry, and more in terms of that they love you a lot and they may honestly be afraid you won’t end up in heaven with them, and be lost forever. I also try to be gentle about it because it implies that if I’m right, they won’t see their own parents again, ever, and I know that’s a great comfort to them to believe that. So, so sad and childish, but a great comfort nonetheless.August 6, 2015 at 7:09 am #2253
SteveInCO I will read your article sounds very interesting from the title! Thank you! And Stutz I see where you’re coming from and I will try what you have said. It sounds like it should have a good or at least decent outcome. I appreciate your guys’ input. Thanks again! I will let you know how it goes when the time comes!August 6, 2015 at 1:23 pm #2260
I also try to be gentle about it because it implies that if I’m right, they won’t see their own parents again, ever, and I know that’s a great comfort to them to believe that. So, so sad and childish, but a great comfort nonetheless.
Well, that’s one load I don’t have to deal with. Whether or not the Christians are right, I won’t see my mother in heaven. She was an atheist too. If the Christians were right, there’d be a chance I’d see her in hell, though that would involve satan giving us adjacent torture racks. If they aren’t, I’m not going to see her at all. Either way, it won’t be in heaven.August 6, 2015 at 5:47 pm #2272
Hi Jeff, welcome to Atheist Zone! I’m so glad you’re here!!! Below is a list of rights. I would recommend printing this off and putting it somewhere that you can read over and over. I might even suggest that you tell your parents that this is what you expect. If they choose to disregard you in any of these ways you can say, “mom/dad, I feel that you are overstepping a line and I feel disrespected when you talk to me that way. I’m going to go to my room now…” Or something like that.
Here is the list. This doesn’t just go for your parents but for ANYONE in your life….
Personal Bill of Rights
I have the right to express all my feelings, positive or negative.
I have the right to ask for what I want
I have the right to determine my own priorities
I have the right to not be responsible for other people’s behaviours, actions, feelings, or problems.
I have the right to say “no” to others without feeling guilty.
I have the right to take time to slow down and think.
I have the right to be uniquely myself or “my own person”.
I have the right to say, “I don’t know”.
I have the right to make decisions based on my feelings
I have the right to be in a non-abusive relationship.
I have the right to make mistakes
I have the right to be safe
I have the right to put myself first.
I have the right to dignity and respect
I have the right to love and be loved
I have the right to be human-not perfect
I have the right to my own personal space and time
I have the right to privacy
I have the right to be angry and protest if I am treated unfairly.
I have the right to earn and control my own money
I have the right to grow and change, including changing my mind.
I have the right to decide if and when, I choose to forgive my mistakes or anyone else’s mistakes
I have the right to be happy.August 6, 2015 at 11:30 pm #2296
Here’s something you need to remember: If your parents truly believe in their religion, then they probably believe you will be going to hell as a non-believe. All they are trying to do is protect you from that. My advice is to be outwardly aloof and inwardly to feel like your parent’s behaviour is predictable. If you go into the house/conversation/whatever expecting them to try to convert you, it will be alot easier to ignore.
Having said that, as a youngster, no one would hold it against you if you were to pretend to believe, to keep the peace, until you are able to move out of home. I’m sure many have done it before and many will do it in the future.August 7, 2015 at 2:53 am #2321
Matt thank you for your advice! Greatly appreciated! And Belle Rose, I did print this out and read it to my parents. They understand very clearly I believe. I hope so anyway… Thank you very much!August 7, 2015 at 3:04 am #2326
@mrjeffster16 GREAT JOB!!!!! Let me know it works! It seemed like the right thing to do “in theory” but I’ll be super curious to know if anything changes over the next few weeks! GO Jeff!!!! 🙂August 7, 2015 at 3:06 am #2327
It doesn’t get much clearer than that does it! LOL!!!!! Keep it close to you and remember them…those truths will change your life if you learn them and uphold them, no matter who you are dealing with. It’s never about being disrespectful but about commanding respect and being strong in who you are. I can tell you are strong, but now you have a cheerleader in your corner 😉August 7, 2015 at 3:08 am #2328
lol thanks! I really do appreciate it! I’ll let you know of any substantial progress! So glad I can actually talk to people about this!August 7, 2015 at 4:45 am #2343
Of course! That’s what we’re here for. Just remember with those rights, your parents (and anyone else in your life) have the same rights. Keep that in mind and it will all work out ;)….Think about that for a while and it will help you continue to be a good son to them and show them the honorable, and moral person you are without god.August 8, 2015 at 1:50 am #2380
I agree! Thanks again!
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