Coming Out Atheist, pgs 99-100

Sep 27, 2016

“But some families will go in the other direction. Rather than ignoring or denying the reality they’re not happy with, some families will actually force the issue. They’ll pressure their family members to confirm their religiosity – often because they already suspect that it’s weakening or gone. In doing so, they force the nonbelievers to either lie – or tell them a truth they don’t want to hear.
This is one of the many good arguments for coming out sooner rather than later. The problem with your family forcing the issue is that you don’t get to come out on your own timetable. All those wonderful ideas about picking your time carefully, doing it when emotions aren’t running high, deciding who to tell first, etc. – it all goes out the window. So you either have to lie, and tell the truth later – which means you’ll get to pick a better time, but you’ll have the burden and complication of having lied. Or you have to be honest, even though the timing is lousy. (You can try to be vague or dodge the question – but families who are forcing the issue can be very persistent.)”

–Greta Christina, Coming Out Atheist, pgs 99-100


10 comments on “Coming Out Atheist, pgs 99-100

  • But today the way I play the game is not the same, no way
    Think I’m gonna get me some happy
    I think there’s something you should know
    I think it’s time I told you so
    There’s something deep inside of me
    There’s someone else I’ve got to be
    Take back your picture in a frame
    Take back your singing in the rain
    I just hope you understand
    Sometimes the clothes do not make the man

    All we have to do now
    Is take these lies and make them true … somehow
    All we have to see
    Is that I don’t belong to you
    And you don’t belong to me
    You’ve got to them what you take.

    George Michael
    [extract from the song Freedom 90]

    Of course there’s a right time and a wrong time to tell those we’re close to anything. Greta Christina is presenting an idealized case. If you’re financially dependent on your parents … is today, right now, the right time to say: Hey I’m an atheist by the way!

    Side bar: Great to see you on TV recently Greta!

    As George points out, it is almost inevitable that some lies will be told. How you square that circle is between you and those who need to know you better. It’s also a problem for the future.

    On the other hand; telling your gabby Cousin you’re an atheist before telling anyone else … is your subconscious trying to tell you something? Perhaps you’re more ready than you think? In which case, Greta is absolutely right – waiting longer is only storing up more trouble.

    Your freedom awaits.

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  • My Daughter is currently in college and I learned a few things – like how someone you think is self-confident and independent can become even more so.

    It struck me that one reason for high numbers of parents reporting their kids have become atheist after attending college is not because there is anything about the teaching that makes them into atheists. Rather, it’s because they learn to be adult, to be independent, about work and about the fact that they’re not alone in having doubts about just about everything.

    Just a touch of mind flatulence I expect.

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  • In the Paragraph above (–Greta Christina, Coming Out Atheist, pgs 99-100) “a truth they don’t want to hear” is what I hear all the time, and have to defend. My family discarded me long ago. My Father, now deceased, “Found Jesus” in the mid 1990s after a lifetime of Narcissistic-driven abuse and neglect all through my life. My Father often would verbally spar with me about what was written in “The Bible”. He would lose his temper and throw me out his home when I responded with witty and intellectual retort of his blind evangelical religiosity. My sister went “Mormon” after marrying a Mormon. She has told me that she follows the teachings of the “Prophets” discarding me to her trash heap as a non-believer. She has completely abandoned our kinship and kowtows to the Mormon Church’s Patriarchal oppression. I live in the second most “Bible-minded” city in the USA. There is little if any Atheist activity in my community. I am spurned and socially rejected when I “Come out” as a Militant Atheist, it is depressing.

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  • Is one wise enough to know better or is one’s parents wise enough to understand. Gleeful naveity versus entrenched dogma. However at any given point in time one has to take a position and just tell folk what you believe. Personal integrity does not need to suck up to anybody.

    Their life and your life. Please let me relate. My father fought an enemy in WW2 and took a dim view of that enemy. I flew back to UK using that enemy airline and he was negative. Dad, that was your war, not mine.

    ..and so in this scenario given that your oldies had freedom to make their life choices, indoctrinated or otherwise, then you have that same freedom to make your own life choices.

    Oldies I want you to be happy, have purpose and lead meaningful lives… please allow me to determine mine.

    Blood is thicker than ink so lets not lose sleep over this issue and agree to disagree.

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  • Hi Kevin [#7],

    Their life and your life. Please let me relate. My father fought an enemy in WW2 and took a dim view of that enemy. I flew back to UK using that enemy airline and he was negative. Dad, that was your war, not mine

    I totally agree. I’m too young to have parents who fought in WWII, and I’m astonished how this meme continues to survive. Britain’s three main opponents in that conflict have been our allies ever since (~70 years).

    When it comes to telling parents what you decided about your religious position they can’t see it … it’s a similar problem.

    Is this the ultimate expression of so-called ‘parent’s rights’?

    You know the kind of thing: “I have the right as a parent to educate my child at home to ensure they get a correct, Christian, upbringing.”

    What about the child’s right to a life of their own? What about the child’s right to be fully prepared to take on their role in wider society?

    What about societies right (yours and mine) to expect a maximally effective education that includes learning social skills, high standards in important subjects (like Math, Science, History … ) to ensure the next generation is not a burden on the rest of us, so that they can contribute the most that they can and so that they have that understanding of critical thinking that is vital to being a citizen in a democracy?

    No-one has a problem telling their parents that they’re atheists, or Mormons, or Jehovah’s Witnesses, or Buddhists, or even [shudder] Catholics – unless that parent has some cockamamy notion of their child as their property (and I include in that description those who treat their children as some kind of surrogate or ‘mini-me’).

    Far too many parents are being allowed to get away with this canard. Parent’s rights are limited to: Guardian.

    A parent’s role is temporary; it is a sacred trust to protect and nurture their child until they’re old enough and strong enough to deal with the World on their own terms (not a binary on-off but a ramp, and a slippery one at that).

    In this sense Greta Christina is right. When you feel yourself to be an adult, say what you believe – it’s both your right and your responsibility. If your parents disagree then that’s their problem – and if they make it your problem too, then they’re the ones that need to grow up.


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