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Old 09-08-2012, 07:57 PM   #1 
Pogthefish
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How to explain this to my friends and family?

They are all very christian and I am secretly atheist, and i am tired of pretending and having them tell me that skipping mass is a moral sin, I want to be able to tell them "I don't care, I don't believe in that". I also want to show them that not all atheists are evil.
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Old 09-08-2012, 08:05 PM   #2 
AngesRadieux
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I don't attend Mass very often. Basically, I go on Christmas, Palm Sunday, and Easter. I'll go once in a while during the rest of the year. If anyone were to comment, here's what I'd say. There are so many truly evil people in the world committing all kinds of heinous crimes. With all the thieves, murderers, etc. out there in the world, if the worst sin on my record is not always getting to church, I think I'm in pretty good shape. Let's face it. God has more important things to worry about than where I am on Sunday mornings.

Not sure how to go about getting them used to the idea of you being an atheist, though. I guess I'd start just trying to get them to understand that you don't want to go to church every week. Give that some time to sink in, gauge their reactions, and once that settles figure out how best approach them based on that.
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Old 09-08-2012, 08:10 PM   #3 
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If it were me I wouldn't say anything until you are out of the house and on your own. Why make things harder for yourself?

Make a deal with your mom, you'll go back to church if she gives back the riding lessons
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Old 09-08-2012, 08:17 PM   #4 
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It's really not too easy if you've got very Christian people around you. I went to a Christian school for nine years, and for the last two (when I was becoming a young adult), I began to question and ultimately dismiss the Christian religion. It was hard being in that situation. I was still forced to go through confirmation by my parents even though I told them I didn't believe it. Many of my classmates were constantly telling me how worried they were that I would be condemned to hell..

Currently, I consider myself agnostic. Approaching religion from a scientific perspective... creationism is also a hard pill to swallow. But as far as the big bang theory, that seems just as impossible to me. (It's a scientific law that energy cannot be created or destroyed, so where'd it come from in the first place?). I feel like being agnostic rubs those who are piously religious a little less, so it's easier to get along. You and I can't prove any of the gods do not exist, just like they cannot prove god/s do exist.

Saying your agnostic, to me, means you're still sole searching. That's something they should be able to respect. You should also respect the fact that they will be worried because, according to their beliefs, you may be condemned to an eternity in hell. That's not something I would hope anyone would wish upon their loved ones. So, if they try to witness to you, be respective and open to it. If you are closed off about hearing what they have to say, they'll only push harder because they love you. Honestly believe in a faith takes a lot of trust and, well, faith. You may believe it's faith in something nonexistent, but you need to respect the devotion they've put in to their religion. Religion is a crucial part of some peoples lives and you just need to accept that. Even if you have to pretend to be agnostic, at least it will make you appear to have more of an open mind and a leas dismissive attitude towards what is so important to them.
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Old 09-08-2012, 08:27 PM   #5 
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But the whole thing is I'm tired of pretending! My brother became atheist when he was very yougn though, and they don't seem to care for him as much. They send him to public school, but I have a fancy private school. They say I have my choice of schools, but secretly, even if he asked, he couldn't go to private school because they can't afford it, and since money is gettign tighter... yeah. But I'm more worried abut how my friends will think of me and if their parents will even let me in their house. I don't know :/ I guess I just want to know HOW to tell them.. I mean do I post it on facebook, or do I talk to the personally? Do I just start telling people who ask and let word get around?
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Old 09-08-2012, 08:40 PM   #6 
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I realize you may have sat down and thought long and hard about this and you may be completely convinced that there is no higher beings, 100%. I'm not going to try to convince you otherwise, cause like I said.. I don't know. What I would suggest though is to pretend to start questioning it. As questions to your friends that show a doubt in Christianity, but still aren't worded in a way that you're saying you are 100% sure it is fake.

I don't know of you've done it already, but do some honest research about it. Maybe buy/rent books that do debate the topic. If you are able, sit down and talk to a religious leader. This is something that I was repeatedly forced to do the last two years at my private school and I honestly did approach it with an open mind to both sides, and I still was not convinced Christianity was something I wanted to believe in. But because I took a methodical and open minded approach to it, people weren't suddenly shocked or freaking out. It was gradual, even though deep down, my loss of faith was actually very sudden. People seem to respect it more if you approach the subject openly, because then it seems less like you're just doing it to rebel or something.
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Old 09-08-2012, 08:52 PM   #7 
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Yeah I actually was sitting in mass one day and I'm like "what if it is all fake, wouldn't we look silly? Its a good thing its not and I know because..... oh crap I don't know" And suddenly everyone around me looked like an idiot for believing.

Also, I have talked to my religion teacher, but he just says he stumped me because I can't explain how we got here. He still thinks I believe because of that and I feel liek he would grad emy quizzes with a different mindset if I told him
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Old 09-08-2012, 09:00 PM   #8 
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I appreciate Jennesque's advice. There's something to be said for getting along, even if you have to fake it.

But as Shakespeare said, ..."To thine own self be true."

It's really nobody's business what you believe, only how you behave. Learn to change the subject or insist on others' respecting your privacy. Get mysterious, they love that. Don't discuss it at all, with anyone.

Read Richard Dawkins' The God Illusion. or anything by him. Find an athiest discussion forum that you like, people with your point of view, for encouragement and solace.

Hang in until you're eighteen. Then show them your back.
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Old 09-08-2012, 09:04 PM   #9 
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Yeah.. my teachers did still treat me differently. Although, not as badly as a couple girls who were the rebellious type and were loud and proud about being atheist. At least at school, it's best to either pretend to believe, or be doubting and confused instead of in complete disbelief.

I constantly had to have conversations with my teachers about not asking so many questions in religion class, why I wasn't a Republican (lol, now that I'm more political than religious this is hilarious to me), and why I was pro choice.. why I wasn't saying the prayers out loud, why I was going to other churches... why was I defending evil catholics, haha. It was really quite a headache. I hope you can find some like minded friends, or at least people who can respect your opinions. Until you're out of school and out of the house, it may just be best to keep it on the down low.

Or, if you do try to "come out" as a non believer and it gets too annoying or stressful, you can always be "born again" until you're outta there! I'm sorry, it's not easy.

Maybe an option would be to still go to mass/church but switch to a public school? Your family won't think you're committing a sin by missing out, but you'll be free from the stresses of being an atheist at a Christian school. If money is tough, that's a good excuse to offer to switch. Or maybe say you'd rather be in school with your brother, whether it's true or not.
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Old 09-08-2012, 09:08 PM   #10 
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Religion is a tough tough thing, people on all sides of the fence take their feelings on the subject very seriously. I personally was raised christian, went to church and sunday school every sunday for the first 15 years of my life, and spent 3 weeks every summer at christian camp, but i wasn't really happy with the religion and decided to "find myself" so to speak. Now at the age of 26 I consider myself to be a solitary eclectic wiccan. It was really tough explaining to my very christian parents that I had an interest in Wicca, but we had a long talk, and I very maturely pointed out that I respect their religion, I love them regardless of their beliefs, and religion isn't something that I would personally use to determine how I feel about a person, and I hope that they can do the same! Good luck with your parents no matter what you decide to do!
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