1. Welcome to Religious Forums, a friendly forum to discuss all religions in a friendly surrounding.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register to get access to the following site features:
    • Reply to discussions and create your own threads.
    • Our modern chat room. No add-ons or extensions required, just login and start chatting!
    • Access to private conversations with other members.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon!

Revealing conversion/nonbelief to loved ones

Discussion in 'Interfaith Discussion' started by Sinncubus-74, Nov 28, 2019.

  1. Sinncubus-74

    Sinncubus-74 Member

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2019
    Messages:
    42
    Ratings:
    +49
    Does anyone want to discuss experiences with telling loved ones - family, significant other(s), close friends, etc. - about changes in religious/spiritual views (or newfound lack thereof)? Or thoughts/fears about what would happen if they ever found out?

    For me, I've decided my spiritual practices and inclinations are my business, and therefore I'm under no obligation to tell anyone about it by virtue of being in my life. I see it the same as my sex life...unless they're involved in it no one really needs to know the dirty details, it's more something I bring up if I feel comfortable doing so.

    Despite this, I prefer to be able to be open about my beliefs with those I'm close to out of personal preference and will be able to use my living space for my practices more freely once I start living independently. For example, once I'm on my own I'll be able to leave offerings on an altar instead of hiding them where no one will look, and that's something I'm quite excited for. In thinking about this, I started thinking about what it would be like if I invited, say, my mother over, and she wanted to look at how I went about decorating my space. You get where this is going.

    As I've stated before, people who aren't involved in my personal stuff aren't owed any personal information pertaining to those things, and that for me absolutely includes family members no matter how close we are. But I'd be a lot more comfortable if at some point in the future I was open with at least my mom about the fact that I'm no longer Christian because it'd be a big weight off my shoulders.

    Ya see... I don't like being inside churches. They always make me feel on edge. It's like... being in a place of worship for a religion that had such a big part in screwing up my mental health isn't good for me. It doesn't matter that the people there don't know I'm only pretending to pray with them, or if I'm not there to attend service. I always feel uncomfortable, unwelcome, and unsafe.

    I may eventually sit down with my mom and explain why I always try to avoid going there since she's the one who always asks me to come with her. Certainly not any time soon, and more likely when I have my own place. But wow... thinking about how she might react really hurts me.

    My mom isn't the type of person who would kick her own child out of the house or cut off ties with them for something that isn't harmful that she happens to disagree with. However, she is likely to interpret me falling away from Christianity as her failure as a parent. I mean, for her that means I'm going to Hell, and it'd definitely upset her greatly if she knew. I'm not saying I have the worst situation in the world. Far from it. But damn... I'd feel absolutely awful if I added that guilt on top of everything she's been through.

    I'm glad I got that off my chest, really should've talked about it sooner instead of bottling it up.

    Thank you for reading. :sunflower:
     
    • Like Like x 3
  2. sun rise

    sun rise "This is the Hour of God"
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2014
    Messages:
    54,179
    Ratings:
    +24,028
    Religion:
    Love
    How do you feel about at least parts of the Bible? How do you feel about the ethical teachings such as expressed in the Sermon on the Mount, the injunction to love or perhaps something else?

    I'm asking this because being true to yourself to me also means being true to you not wanting to add to her burden.

    Of course I don't know you well enough to really offer advice, but if I were you I'd be looking for a way that is both honest to your beliefs and honest to your wish to avoid giving her pain.
     
    • Useful Useful x 1
  3. KAT-KAT

    KAT-KAT Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 2, 2019
    Messages:
    9,747
    Ratings:
    +7,104
    Religion:
    Hinduism with some New Age influence
    I came out as transgender to my religious, non-LGBTQ+ supporting family. It caused tears on both sides at first, but they eventually came out as accepting, and now even pretty much have changed their minds about LGBTQ+.
     
    • Like Like x 3
  4. Aupmanyav

    Aupmanyav Be your own guru

    Joined:
    May 5, 2007
    Messages:
    24,507
    Ratings:
    +10,405
    Religion:
    Atheist, Advaita (Non-duality), Orthodox Hindu
    - Being a believer or non does not make much difference to Hindus. They already have all the theories that can be there.
    - We do not have anything against LGBTQ. The society has always accepted them but not assimilated with them. They had their own place in society, and their financial needs were taken care of. Of course, now they have equal rights and more (affirmative action). The last bastion to fall will be recognition of LGBTQ marriage. Some day that also will happen.
    - However, coming out of closet in the family is still a huge thing.
     
    • Informative Informative x 1
  5. Laika

    Laika Well-Known Member
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2015
    Messages:
    7,951
    Ratings:
    +8,376
    This is probably not the same but back in 2015, I joined the Communist Party of Britain. It was sort of a "coming out" experience that I thought this was the "right" thing to do (or else something I'd regret not trying when I was older). I actually told my parents and it worked out that my dad didn't speak to me for three days. I was forbidden from conducting any party activities in the house and they cut my allowance so I couldn't give any donations to the party. In one particularly memorable car ride, my dad then threatened to write a clause in his will preventing me from using my inheritance for party activities and also threatened to go to the police if I got involved in anything illegal. (Which ok, is fair enough, but you'd hope your parents would at least hesitate out of some confused sense of loyalty to their son... )

    My mum basically didn't speak to me for the entire year. That was actually worse if I'm honest. As it turned out I left- at my own discretion- near the end of the year. Things sort of got better after that, but I haven't really been able to express any political views in my own house without a snort of derision since.

    As far as I am aware, the only lasting consequence is that I can't gain U.S. citizenship until 2025 and would have to demonstrate that I can take an oath to the U.S. constitution with sincerity due to their immigration laws. Maybe I have a file somewhere in the depths of British intelligence, but I will never know.

    I'm also bisexual, so I've also had to have "the talk" with them as well. That went better thankfully, although my dad was somewhat disappointed at the thought he may not have grandchildren. I've never really been in a position to be explicit about relationships around my parents and there is a really regrettable sense that none of my friends are really "good enough" for them, but that's actually a reflection of them rather than me.

    I'm not sure if that is going to make you feel better, but I am still here and still standing even after all of that. I hope it works out for you. It's really sad when people can't see beyond the label and just love them for who they are. But in the end, it's not you. It is them and you deserve to be loved no matter who you are. :)
     
    • Like Like x 1
  6. ImmortalFlame

    ImmortalFlame Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2010
    Messages:
    9,817
    Ratings:
    +5,385
    It might not be exactly the kind of story you're looking for, but I remember the first time I ever really became aware of my own and my family's lack of religious belief.

    My mother was raised Protestant but became an agnostic and my father was raised Catholic but became an atheist. I joke with people sometimes that they would often argue over which religion I wasn't going to be brought up in. Either way, I was raised in a way that was seemingly entirely absent of any real exposure to religion, and no particular view of religion was ever really enforced on me by my parents, so I never even really became aware of it until my nursery years.

    Where I grew up, there weren't a lot of schools that weren't run by either the Protestant or Catholic church (except the local Islamic School for girls, but that presented other problems). Generally, the better run establishments were Catholic, so my parents ended up sending me to a Catholic nursery. From what I remember, it was basically just the same as any regular nursery (or, I assume it was), until one day our teacher sat us all down to tell us a story.

    It was the story of Jesus Christ, and how he was a very nice man who told us all to love each other, and all the improbable, amazing things he did, and how following Jesus Christ would mean we would all get to spend eternity in a magical, happy place with everyone we love. I remember sitting there and listening to her speak, and the strange mix of emotions I had when she spoke about heaven and how magical it was, and how important it was that we followed Jesus to get there. She told us that people who followed Jesus were called Christians, and if we wanted to go to heaven, we should be Christians and behave like Christ. She never really said what would happen if we didn't, but needless to say the implication was clear.

    I remember being picked up that day by my mum, emotions and questions still swimming in my mind. I tried putting it to the back of my head all afternoon, distracting myself with toys and games. But eventually, as I was sitting in the hallway and my mum passed by, busy with some washing, my curiosity overcame me and I decided I finally had to ask her:

    "Mum?" I piped up.

    She looked down to me.

    "Are we Christians?" I asked.

    "No," she said, "We're not Christians."

    I smiled.

    "Oh, good!"

    I went back to playing with no more worries.
     
    • Like Like x 3
  7. Brickjectivity

    Brickjectivity Veteran Member
    Staff Member Premium Member

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2012
    Messages:
    29,915
    Ratings:
    +10,936
    Religion:
    liber-scripta grim Christian
    Background:
    I have several siblings, each with problems that I feel I can help them with; but they won't listen to me. They in turn are all concerned about me. Dad is a widower, and I can't help him with his sadness. Someone else, almost anyone else from outside the family, can. Ironic, isn't it?

    Why we can't solve family problems:
    Beginning with the obvious: you can't switch families nor can you change who you are; and your family relationship problems are formed right along with your and your family. Family relationship problems are created by the nature of the individuals in those families. They are characteristic of each family, as characteristic as lock and key. It then follows that you likely won't see solutions to the communication problems in your own family. They will appear unsolvable. You as an individual are like a key shaped to fit a certain evil lock which unlocks your set of family relationship problems, so every time you visit your family you unlock those problems. If on the other hand I stick you into a different family you will probably see easy solutions to that family's communication problems. You won't fit their evil lock; but you can't switch families.

    Ponderous:
    So you feel like you are going to crush your mom. You just might, or they might pretend like it; or they might have a complex. I'm not a luciferian like you or atheist, but I would feel the same way about it as you and be cautious just like you; but I know people who don't. I know someone who frequently tells their mom off and pointedly argues for atheism versus their basic heaven going repent from sin or go to hell position. It has no effect on their mom, nor does their mom have any effect on them. The two endlessly go at it in public on facebook, having been formed by and for one another. This would never happen in my family, but we still have relationship problems of our own making. We are unable to resolve our own set which are of a different shape but no less unsolvable.
     
    • Useful Useful x 1
  8. metis

    metis aged ecumenical anthropologist

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2013
    Messages:
    33,215
    Ratings:
    +15,378
    Religion:
    ecumenical & naturalistic Catholic
    When 30, I converted from my fundamentalist Protestant church to my wife's Catholicism, and my family took it OK. But had I converted earlier, my staunchly anti-Catholic parents would have been far less accepting. What happened in between those years is that they really fell in love with my wife and attended a few masses when our kids got baptized, and they realized that what they had been taught at their church was not entirely true.

    To show you how far they shifted, my father told me when I was a teenager that if he caught me attending a Catholic church that he'd "Kick your [my] a**!", and he meant it. He also hated Italians, so you can imagine his and my mother's chagrin when I told them that I was going to marry this Sicilian Catholic woman that I've been married to for 52 years now.

    To their credit, my parents really changed on this, much for the better.
     
    • Like Like x 3
    • Informative Informative x 1
  9. ChristineM

    ChristineM "Be strong" I whispered to my coffee.
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2017
    Messages:
    28,808
    Ratings:
    +23,233
    Religion:
    None
    Hubby and i are both atheist to different degrees, neither of us has a bone of religosity in our bodies. Hubby doesnt believe gods exist but is open to torture that convinces him otherwise. Torture wouldn't do it for me (been there and survived intact), i would have to meet with this god guy and he would need to answer some very searching questions about his indifference to the life he is supposed to have magicked from dust and ribs, did great things for his creation then killed them all because they would not bow to his will... Omniscient??? What???

    Anyway, considering it only fair that the kids made up there own minds there came a day when the twins wanted to follow their crowd and go to sunday school, youngest was far to young. So they went every Sunday morning, religiously.

    After a few months daughter was first.
    "Mom"
    "Yes love"
    "Is it alright if I don't go to sunday school any more?"
    "Entirely up to you, but why, i thought you liked it and all your friends go"
    "I think they are lying to us"
    "How do you mean?"
    "Well the stories just dont make sense, they are different from what we learn in science class and Mr Jakobsen is a scientist, the teacher at Sunday school is not god"

    I couldn't fault that logic so her Sunday lessons ended right then.


    A month or so later our son walked into the kitchen..
    "Not going to Sunday school anymore" and gave me that stare of defiance that all mother's cherish from their children.
    "Ok"
    "Sam doesn't go any more so i don't see why i should go"
    "Ok"
    "Don't care what John and Frank and Joey say, and i dont care what you say, i im not going", he really stamped his foot
    "Ok"
    "And anoth... What?"
    "Ok, ... want to talk about it?"
    "Ok, later, going to play on my playstation"

    Youngest daughter has never asked
     
    #9 ChristineM, Nov 29, 2019
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2019
    • Like Like x 1
  10. Wandering Monk

    Wandering Monk Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2019
    Messages:
    2,858
    Ratings:
    +2,106
    Religion:
    agnostic
    Family should come first. Screw religious 'correctness.'
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Winner Winner x 1
  11. Sinncubus-74

    Sinncubus-74 Member

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2019
    Messages:
    42
    Ratings:
    +49
    Ah, let's see. I've really changed a lot since I left, but I don't think she'd find my current moral compass abhorrent. Thanks for bringing this up, I didn't think about this being a factor in the conversation.

    Ten Commadments:
    Alright, for obvious reasons we're definitely not finding common ground on commandments 1, 2, & 4. 3 we both broke all along, a speech habit.

    "Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you."
    I don't believe parents deserve respect or obedience purely by virtue of being the person's parents. They can still be incompetent at raising a child, abusive, or otherwise unpleasant people to be around. They're humans, and therefore not always right.

    I respect my mom because over my lifetime she's earned my respect through all that she's done for me and continues to do.

    "You shall not murder."
    I think context matters. I wouldn't fault a soldier merely for shooting another soldier in a war by itself, and I approve of self-defense should it come to that, but not going immediately to the option of killing someone if it's unnecessary to get out of the situation. But yeah, don't just go around shooting people because you feel like it, that's not good.

    "You shall not commit adultery."
    Cheating to me is more of a scummy thing to do than abhorrent, and even then it isn't always scummy. I wouldn't fault someone for, say, cheating on their abusive spouse with someone who treats them better. There's nothing wrong about that in my eyes.

    As for adultery in general, I approve of divorce for any reason, polyamory and open relationships, so I disagree. I don't see marriage as a requirement for sexual activity just two consenting adults.

    "You shall not steal."
    Depends. Stealing a loaf of bread from a starving homeless man is completely different from that homeless man stealing the bread from a wealthy supermarket chain that won't feel the impact of that one loaf being gone.

    "You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor."
    I don't respect people who spread false accusations about people, that's scummy. Though lying in general is not necessarily abhorrent.

    “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”
    Jealousy can be healthy if it encourages you to improve yourself. Jealousy in itself isn't wrong, turning that into acts to sabotage someone else is where it gets problematic. If someone wishes they were with their neighbor's wife, they shouldn't deny it to themself. That does not equate to being a homewrecker, that requires action of some sort.

    Sermon on the Mount:
    1. I don't believe in thoughtcrimes. Anger =/= murder or actual intent to do so, lust =/= homewrecking, cheating, sexual assault and harassment. I think it's healthy for people to know, recognize and accept how they feel, instead of bottling it up.

    2. Lust is natural and embracing it can be healthy. If no one is harmed because of what they're doing I don't care what a consenting adult (or consenting adults) do in the bedroom.

    3. People should be able to get a divorce for any reason, and I don't see getting back into the romantic/sexual world after that as committing adultery no matter why they split up.

    4. While I do think depending on the situation being the bigger person can be better, people shouldn't be shamed for standing up for themselves when they're being kicked around. Absolutely, if someone slaps me, I will slap them harder. If I wasn't harassing them they should have kept their hands to themselves.

    5. I don't love my enemies. I hate them and see nothing wrong with that. If I forgive someone who is my enemy, it's because I've decided it'd be healthy if I moved on and stopped giving what that person did power over me, not because I'm obligated to in any way.

    6. There is nothing wrong with living it up and enjoying material posessions, so long as one recognizes if and when it becomes unhealthy and could bring their downfall. I don't have any views on what happens after death at the moment, so my concern is with this life and how I can improve it.

    7. I don't like judgemental hypocrites, so there's an agreement.

    8. I do my best to avoid doing things to people I wouldn't want done to me if I were in their situation, or wouldn't find fair.

    I doubt my mother would find any of what I just said reprehensible, so that makes me feel somewhat better.
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Informative Informative x 1
  12. sun rise

    sun rise "This is the Hour of God"
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2014
    Messages:
    54,179
    Ratings:
    +24,028
    Religion:
    Love
    From what you wrote, and by emphasizing your areas of agreement, I think you're on the path to increasing the odds of a positive outcome.
     
    • Useful Useful x 1
Loading...