Post # 1
I feel a little silly asking but do any of you bees feel out numbered when it comes to dealing with family or friends as far as being agnostic or atheist? I feel like my family refuses to accept my lack of beliefs. my stepmother says I just say it to fuzz up my mom & siblings and that I will eventually grow out of it, I’m 24 and have been at the very least agnostic for 5 or 6 years. It hurts that they feel its acceptable for them to try to baraide me about not being a “Christian” but its somehow not okay for me to stand up for myself. My brother is honestly the worst, he attacks my lack of beliefs and says that its Christians that are being attacked and ostracized, which I think is a little as the majoriry of the US, especially freaking Tx, is Christian. How so y’all deal with this stuff?
Post # 3
I am not an atheist or agnostic, but I have other beliefs that are unusual among my friends/family. I do my best not to bring it up if at all possible. Is there any way you can firmly but calmly say something like “well, we’ll just have to agree to disagree on that one!” nd then change the subject?
Post # 4
I don’t talk about it. If it’s brought up point blank, like, “Will you please pray for me?” I’ll say something like, “I don’t pray, but you’re in my thoughts.” Other than that, I consider it a non-issue. Atheism isn’t a religion. I don’t need people to “respect” my non-belief, any more than I respect their fervor for an imaginary man in the sky.
Post # 5
@HappilyGeeky: I have to be honest, parts of your post seem a little misled. Christianity, as in proper Christianity (i.e. following the New Testament, applying Jesus’ teachings to our lives, etc) is massively outnumbered. All of “freaking texas” isn’t Christian, at least not in the proper way. The faith sector claims religion, and equates it with conservative (re: republican) values, which isn’t always the case. So to say Christianity isn’t outnumbered is false. True, Jesus-following, well-meaning men and women of faith are drastically outnumbered by looney right-wings.
That being said, I think if you are of an age where you are allowed to make your own decisions (which you are), your family should accept you and love you the same. It’s what I do with my family and friends who don’t believe like I do.
I hope none of this was offensive, OP. I just wanted to show you we aren’t all bad, and we sometimes feel helpless just like you.
Post # 6
@Miss_Words: I think what OP means is that society deems it socially acceptable to be Christian (because 70-something percent of the US claims to be) and it is “normal”. Christians, whether “true” or not get to talk about their religion all the time and say that everyone should follow by “Christian rules” (though normally they’re wrong about that as you know, lol!), but people who have more uncommon beliefs (atheist, wiccan, Buddhist, etc) are found to be “just immature” or “weird”. You are right though, the number of people who actually walk the talk are few and far between. ;D I’m sure it is just as awkward for the people who truly follow Christianity to be around the psuedo-Christians as well!
@HappilyGeeky: I totally get you OP. I’m spiritual and kind of the black sheep in my family because I’m kind of strange in their eyes. My father’s family is the whole conservative Christian deal…and I run a spiritual, revolationary-friendly yoga studio and do all kinds of other weird stuff. ;D
Post # 7
Thanks, it wasn’t offensive:)
I’ve told my family basically that they are gonna believe what they chose to as am I, but just like I’m not going to change they way they feel they aren’t going to change the way I think… At which point my brother generally starts attacking and getting red faced mad that I won’t just agree that he’s right and there’s a God. My other brother is understanding with me and even he thinks the other one is being over the top.
Post # 8
I just ignore all the negative comments about me not being religious. At first I was mad, because just like you, I was always told I will “out grow” it. Well, I didn’t. Then even my side of family kept telling me how I need to find God and have a better life. Thank you very much, my life is awesome as it is. So now, I just ignore everything they tell me religion-wise.
Post # 9
How frustrating. I hate how people sometimes feel like they’re entitled to tell you you’re wrong when it comes to religion. I, too, do not believe in religion and have gotten many comments from friends. Also, I agree, most of the time it is a Christian person telling a non-christian person they are wrong in some capacity (do not mean this in an offensive way, just stating an observation. Also not saying that ALL christians do this…).
Live and let live, people!!!
Post # 10
You should move to New England! There’s like 10 Christians in the whole six-state area! And I went a whole year without a Mormon missionary knocking on the door!
Post # 12
My Mom is still convinced that Catholicism is some kind of reverse Judiasm and passed down through the father, therefore I must be genetically Catholic. Keep in mind my Dad was an EastMas Catholic at most, only went to church because she dragged him and quit going when I did. Oh, and she’s Shinto. I knew I didn’t believe in the Catholic deity or any other by the time I was 12, which is when I quit going to church. For almost 20 years, she’s constantly reminded me that regardless of my personal feelings, I’m Catholic.
On the plus side, my fiance is an atheist. She’s aware of that, and apparently in her world, converting to the religion (or lack thereof) to your spouse trumps genetic Catholicism. Sometimes, all you can do is shake your head, sigh and change the subject.
Post # 13
@Miss_Words: at first, your post had me going and then I got to the middle. You are so right, as I don’t recognize the teachings of Jesus in much of the current right wing.
@HappilyGeeky: it seems like you are facing a lot of intolerance and dismissal of your right to make your own decisions, simply because they aren’t the norm where you are. You are clearly outnumbered so no wonder you feel that way. this is demonstrated in your example, it’s assumed it’s okay to ask you to pray, as if you are presumed t be a Christian. If you object, that’s an issue, which means the two are not equally respected. I’m sorry you have to deal with this, it would drive me nuts. thanks for starting such an interesting thread, I enjoyed every single response.
Post # 14
I just don’t bring up my beliefs either. I have some religious family and I just don’t talk about how I really feel about their religion (Christianity). They wouldn’t appreciate my honest opinion.
Maybe you can try not to engage in discussions with your family members about it? It might be helpful to make your personal views not up for discussion, and if they insist on discussing your beliefs even if you’re not engaging with them, leave. They’ll understand eventually. And they’ll eventually see that it’s not something that you will just grow out of or say to ruffle feathers.
Post # 15
@BrandNewBride: I so wish this was true. I’ve lived in southern New England my whole life. While it isn’t too bad here, we do still have our religious crazies.
@HappilyGeeky: I’m thinking that your brother gets riled up for one or three reasons:
1. He honestly believes and is terrified for your soul.
2. He wants attention and will do anything to get it.
3. He just likes to piss you off.
If the reason is two or three just tell him to f#?! off and be done with it. Refuse to discuss the topic anymore and change the subject (or leave/hang up if he refuses to comply).
If the reason is number one. . . well, I guess he at least has good intentions? But I would say do the same thing as the other options (just nicer): tell him you appreciate his concern, but your views aren’t a topic for discussion. Then change the subject.
Post # 16
Thank you for all of your responses, they’re all very helpful. Btw, just to clarify My intent wasn’t and isn’t to say its just Christians that are the only people who do say these things.
@brandnewbride I loved your comment, on my mom’s side of the family all her aunts and uncles are Mormon- her uncle is a Mormon minister, she went to church with them after my grandpa left the Air Force for like 2 years and when she was 16 she started going to a catholic church… She swears the Mormon church sent her a letter that she was going to hell which she framed apparently. I’ve never seen it and she has a habit of using (as my dad likes to call it) revisionist history, so I don’t know if it really exists. Lol 🙂
but really, thank all of you for your comments they’ve all been helpful and given me things to ponder:)