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Subject: Atheists should not be communicated with! rss

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Ed Bradley
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That sounds awful and you have my sympathy.

You are faced with a terrible and difficult choice.
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Clay
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Man, that's rough. It's always hard when you can't just be yourself, especially around your loved ones. That said, this is a pretty safe place to vent and get it out of your system, it's not likely someone you know is just going to stumble across this little corner of the internet and read your posts. Maybe you should stick around for awhile and see how it goes?
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Jasper
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Best of luck to you.
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Why would you need to move out of the country completely, and not to just another part of it that is more tolerant?

I really have a hard time seeing all of America like that.
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Ed Bradley
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Medic Dutch wrote:
Thanks for all the kind words. This is something that has gone on for many many years. I had to have a very religious wedding. I am always making excuses as to why I haven't gone to church in over 2 years. Why I never read the bible, why I never want to pray in public. My brother who is one of my core gaming buddies and is also a youth pastor is slowly beginning to figure things out and now he is very passive aggressive to me and won't allow me to stay at his house and he won't make time to game with us anymore. It is awful and I feel very claustrophobic.


That seems to be some pretty damned un-Christian behaviour to me.
Feels more like. . .bigotry.
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I think you have to talk with your family, about your religious views, but especially about them accepting and respecting your opinion.

But yeah, I know it's easier to talk.
 
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Medic Dutch wrote:
Thanks for all the kind words. This is something that has gone on for many many years. I had to have a very religious wedding. I am always making excuses as to why I haven't gone to church in over 2 years. Why I never read the bible, why I never want to pray in public. My brother who is one of my core gaming buddies and is also a youth pastor is slowly beginning to figure things out and now he is very passive aggressive to me and won't allow me to stay at his house and he won't make time to game with us anymore. It is awful and I feel very claustrophobic.


This sounds very much like the anguish that some gay people go through before telling everyone.

I feel so very, very sorry for you. I hope that you can find some way of getting everyone you love to accept you.

If not, come to Brighton, we accept everyone.
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Chad Ellis
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I'm often struck by how similar being an atheist in some communities is like being non-heterosexual in some communities. (Often the same ones.)

Coming out is often painful, but in the long run most people who do it are glad they did.
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Yeah, moving out of the country is completely unnecessary. Simply escaping rural Texas to a more metropolitan or cosmopolitan area should be enough.
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Lynette
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Medic Dutch wrote:
Thanks for all the kind words. This is something that has gone on for many many years. I had to have a very religious wedding. I am always making excuses as to why I haven't gone to church in over 2 years. Why I never read the bible, why I never want to pray in public. My brother who is one of my core gaming buddies and is also a youth pastor is slowly beginning to figure things out and now he is very passive aggressive to me and won't allow me to stay at his house and he won't make time to game with us anymore. It is awful and I feel very claustrophobic.


Only you know your family so I am not going to say you are in error. However just a thought, any chance that what is driving the wedge is that your brother senses you are living a lie rather than being knowingly upset at what you are lying about?

I am not going to tell you that they won't think you are wrong and try to argue with you about it for awhile. And even later any time the subject comes up.

And Lord knows they are going to pray for you.

But it just might be possible that viewing you as "horribly back-sliding" and not admitting to it or talking truthfully about it is causing an even worse reaction than the truth of your thoughts on religion will.

Disapproval doesn't always go hand in hand with actual rejection. They do love you.

Though once you come clean I would strongly suggest you do not become a militant in your face atheist type toward them. That likely would be a relationship breaker.

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Ed Bradley
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Meerkat wrote:

Though once you come clean I would strongly suggest you do not become a militant in your face atheist type toward them. That likely would be a relationship breaker.



I think this advice comes from your own prejudices rather than an impartial desire to help. The guy is already living a life of quiet desperation in order to try and preserve his relationship with these unworthy relatives of his. And your advice is to carry on suffering?

God* forbid he does unto others as he is being done by.

* sic.
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Clay
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Fwing wrote:
Meerkat wrote:

Though once you come clean I would strongly suggest you do not become a militant in your face atheist type toward them. That likely would be a relationship breaker.



I think this advice comes from your own prejudices rather than an impartial desire to help. The guy is already living a life of quiet desperation in order to try and preserve his relationship with these unworthy relatives of his. And your advice is to carry on suffering?

God* forbid he does unto others as he is being done by.

* sic.


I think she's just saying he shouldn't go all "your god doesn't exist and here's a list of reasons why, also your morals are reprehensible and Jesus was a liar and we can't celebrate Christmas ever again" to his family if he does come out, as that would be counter-productive to preserving the relationship. I'd say most people could handle that level of restraint without feeling great anguish over it.
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Adrian Hague
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Medic Dutch wrote:
If my family found out they would truly disown me and I am not exaggerating.

I have no doubt that you are not exaggerating. It truly saddens me to hear this. How they reconcile 'good christian' with abject hate of anything non-christian is beyond me (what happened to 'love thy neighbour'?)

Fwing wrote:
That seems to be some pretty damned un-Christian behaviour to me.
Feels more like. . .bigotry.
Damn straight it is.

Anyhoo, here's 8 should you wish to buy the badge.

Yours,

A Compassionate Atheist.
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Phil Standen
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The Message wrote:
Fwing wrote:
Meerkat wrote:

Though once you come clean I would strongly suggest you do not become a militant in your face atheist type toward them. That likely would be a relationship breaker.



I think this advice comes from your own prejudices rather than an impartial desire to help. The guy is already living a life of quiet desperation in order to try and preserve his relationship with these unworthy relatives of his. And your advice is to carry on suffering?

God* forbid he does unto others as he is being done by.

* sic.


I think she's just saying he shouldn't go all "your god doesn't exist and here's a list of reasons why, also your morals are reprehensible and Jesus was a liar and we can't celebrate Christmas ever again" to his family if he does come out, as that would be counter-productive to preserving the relationship. I'd say most people could handle that level of restraint without feeling great anguish over it.


Persecution in a microcosm. I agree, but it shouldn't have to be that way.
 
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Ed Bradley
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I came here to remove my earlier bad-tempered post aimed at Lynette but I see I've been quoted so it's too late.

Sorry, Meerket. Day 4 of quitting smoking is my only excuse.
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Fwing wrote:
Meerkat wrote:

Though once you come clean I would strongly suggest you do not become a militant in your face atheist type toward them. That likely would be a relationship breaker.



I think this advice comes from your own prejudices rather than an impartial desire to help. The guy is already living a life of quiet desperation in order to try and preserve his relationship with these unworthy relatives of his. And your advice is to carry on suffering?

God* forbid he does unto others as he is being done by.

* sic.


1) First I would point out he hasn't actually been "done by" yet. They don't know he is an atheist. He FEARS what might happen if he comes out.

I am not saying his fears are not valid, but at this point they are still just fears.

2) Rejection is often not for the reasons people think are happening. Case in point. My extended family on one side is very traditional "baptist" and yet one of my cousins is openly gay. Her partner has been welcome to family events for over 30 years. Everybody knows they are gay and partners. Everybody is quietly LOVINGLY supportive of them as people. But my family for the most part think homosexuality is a sin. (I am the odd person out on this one) My cousin even went to the pastor of this small community fundamentalist church to talk about why they couldn't be married in the church. And the family knows about this and has to my knowledge never given her flack about it. She and her partner even attend the church for family events like weddings, holidays and anniversaries etc. She and her partner do wear rings and did a private personal ceremony and consider themselves married.

Even though the family by and large thinks they are living a horribly sinful lifestyle they are loved and accepted. Even though they love my cousin and her partner as people, most of my family is still anti-gay-marriage.

However if my cousin and her partner had acted like IN YOUR FACE, you must not only treat us well you mush APPROVE of us. We will stick our tongues down each others throats in front of you all the time. (keep in mind that kind of PDA is considered low class even among strait people in my family) And insisted we all argue about gay marriage at every family function etc I suspect they would have destroyed many of the family relationships they currently enjoy.

But they would not have been destroyed just because they were "gay" obviously. Since just being openly gay has not destroyed those relationships.

I am suggesting that he not treat his family with the disdain and disrespect he fears receiving if it turns out his fears about just the reality alone are not 100% accurate.

You know that whole, they gave you a finger, don't assume that means you can demand the arm type of mentality.

Don't make the rejection you supposedly fear happen by being an obnoxious atheist rather than just an atheist.

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Lynette
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Fwing wrote:
I came here to remove my earlier bad-tempered post aimed at Lynette but I see I've been quoted so it's too late.

Sorry, Meerket. Day 4 of quitting smoking is my only excuse.


No problem.

Good luck on that quitting smoking thing. I hear it is a bitch.

*hug*

PS my reply posted before I saw your desire to retract the original post.
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Lynette
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phil_standen wrote:
The Message wrote:
Fwing wrote:
Meerkat wrote:

Though once you come clean I would strongly suggest you do not become a militant in your face atheist type toward them. That likely would be a relationship breaker.



I think this advice comes from your own prejudices rather than an impartial desire to help. The guy is already living a life of quiet desperation in order to try and preserve his relationship with these unworthy relatives of his. And your advice is to carry on suffering?

God* forbid he does unto others as he is being done by.

* sic.


I think she's just saying he shouldn't go all "your god doesn't exist and here's a list of reasons why, also your morals are reprehensible and Jesus was a liar and we can't celebrate Christmas ever again" to his family if he does come out, as that would be counter-productive to preserving the relationship. I'd say most people could handle that level of restraint without feeling great anguish over it.


Persecution in a microcosm. I agree, but it shouldn't have to be that way.


I don't understand why this would be "persecution in a microcosm".

I come to RSP because I enjoy a large percentage of the exchanges. If I didn't enjoy them why would not wanting to have somebody hammering on me about my faith at every family gathering make me the persecutor? Peaceful co-existence requires tolerance and compassion from both sides.

Just an FYI... somebody I loved more dearly than I can ever express committed suicide because after he became a Christian his family was so horrid to him that after a few years he broke under the strain.

I met him after he had converted so I wasn't part of the reason he became a Christian. However he was one of the kindest, most joyful people I have EVER known. And he wasn't "preachy". That loosing his family over this hurt him so badly it eventually drove him to that level of despair is heart breaking to me.

So it goes both ways people. People are just as persecuted for their beliefs as for abandoning them sometimes.
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Medic Dutch wrote:
So I am afraid to have an atheist microbadge because I don't want people not trading with me. I used to be a good christian and part of what I was taught was that people who don't believe in god are the worst of the worst and should be avoided at all costs. My family raised me in the church and sent me to a private christian school. One day I had a moment of clarity and lost all religious beliefs. My wife and I have to pretend to be religious and as we get older it becomes more and more difficult.

I guess the real reason I am hesitant to advertise such a belief is because I live in rural Texas and the closed minded people out here are very confrontational to anyone who doesn't share the baptist conservative christian point of view. I wish it was socially acceptable to be able to be proud of having no religious views instead of ashamed. If my family found out they would truly disown me and I am not exaggerating. My parents and siblings mean so much to me and I could never imagining losing them. It's almost getting to the point where my wife and I are considering moving out of country. I don't get to talk about my lack of religious convictions very often so I am posting in this forum because this is my way to vent and get these feelings off my chest.
Thanks for reading this rant my fellow board gamers

-James


I'm sorry for your stress and your pain. It's difficult enough to feel like an outsider in your community; feeling like a (potential or actual) outcast within your family can be searingly painful.

There was a Washington Post article within this past year about a man raised in a similar religious environment who converted to Islam. He and his mother had reconciled, but it was uneasy; she was convinced he was going to hell, and by all apparent measures the relationship was never going to be the relatively uncomplicated mix of love and acceptance it had been before. (I tried to find it quickly but failed; you might have better luck if you search.)

You might just want to vent without hearing advice, and that's fine.

In case you do want advice, I'll put it below. In case you don't, I'll put it in spoiler form.

Spoiler (click to reveal)
I suggest that you consider the role that your own past feelings play here. It sounds to me like you assume people will feel about atheists the way you used to feel about atheists. It's easy to do that, but, of course, it can distort perception. Regardless, focusing on how you'd like to be perceived rather than how you fear you'll be perceived can make for a happier outlook.

(For instance, does a BGG atheist microbadge really influence many people negatively on BGG? Perhaps it does, but BGG overall is quite atheist-friendly, as far as I can tell.)

It sounds like some kind of "coming out" is in order with your family. Reading up on coming out as experienced by gay people might not be a bad plan. If I were in your shoes, I'd consider things like who is the best person to approach first and what their fears might be -- for instance, they might assume that not being religious means being completely immoral or a Satanist or something. You know that's not true; they don't. At any rate, thinking that through in advance can help you to assuage at least some of their fears.

You might also consider how you think it makes sense to present yourself. Is it important to you to be considered an atheist within your family and your community? If so, then, by all means, go for it. It might be, though, that you're comfortable with stepping back from religious observance without going full-bore visible-atheist on people, which might be easier.

Some positives to consider here is that you're not the only one in your predicament and that you can can make a positive difference. Given how hostile your community is to failing to toe the local religious line, you can be assured that there are others who, like you, are toeing the line only because they think they have to, not because they believe it. Once you step back from pretense, you and similarly-minded people are more likely to recognize one another and connect.

On a similar note, one reason why communities like this continue to be so anti-atheist is because of ignorance. You have the opportunity to strike a blow against this ignorance by being visible as a positive, loving non-believer.

A final word of advice is that you look for at least some network of support for yourself in which you're not the black sheep atheist. Are you near any larger towns? I'd make something of an effort (if you haven't already) to try to make contact with people who won't be harshly judgmental of you -- that way, even if you do face harsh judgment from your family, you'll be clearer in your own mind that the problem isn't you.


Wishing you the best! And, please, vent away!
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Phil Standen
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Meerkat wrote:
phil_standen wrote:
The Message wrote:
Fwing wrote:
Meerkat wrote:

Though once you come clean I would strongly suggest you do not become a militant in your face atheist type toward them. That likely would be a relationship breaker.



I think this advice comes from your own prejudices rather than an impartial desire to help. The guy is already living a life of quiet desperation in order to try and preserve his relationship with these unworthy relatives of his. And your advice is to carry on suffering?

God* forbid he does unto others as he is being done by.

* sic.


I think she's just saying he shouldn't go all "your god doesn't exist and here's a list of reasons why, also your morals are reprehensible and Jesus was a liar and we can't celebrate Christmas ever again" to his family if he does come out, as that would be counter-productive to preserving the relationship. I'd say most people could handle that level of restraint without feeling great anguish over it.


Persecution in a microcosm. I agree, but it shouldn't have to be that way.


I don't understand why this would be "persecution in a microcosm".

I come to RSP because I enjoy a large percentage of the exchanges. If I didn't enjoy them why would not wanting to have somebody hammering on me about my faith at every family gathering make me the persecutor? Peaceful co-existence requires tolerance and compassion from both sides.

Just an FYI... somebody I loved more dearly than I can ever express committed suicide because after he became a Christian his family was so horrid to him that after a few years he broke under the strain.

I met him after he had converted so I wasn't part of the reason he became a Christian. However he was one of the kindest, most joyful people I have EVER known. And he wasn't "preachy". That loosing his family over this hurt him so badly it eventually drove him to that level of despair is heart breaking to me.

So it goes both ways people. People are just as persecuted for their beliefs as for abandoning them sometimes.


He is the minority in the family group.

He should be allowed to express his views, without fear of retribution, anything less is persecution.

In the same way as minorities in society often feel the need to overtly represent their culture due to a precarious standing, he, as the minority, may wish to express his view more vocally.

The more influential majority should be tolerant of this.

I would feel the same if the views were reversed (as in your example).

Edit: Fixed typo
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Fwing wrote:
Day 4 of quitting smoking


With many apologies to the OP for this OT moment,

That's awesome! Quitting smoking is super-hard. Go, you! thumbsup
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It's an unfortunate reality that atheists are hated by the vast majority of people in this country. Over on reddit, there are posts everyday by teenagers whose lives have been made a living hell by their parents, peers, or schools because they "came out" as not having any religious beliefs.

Part of the problem is that certain evangelical groups constantly reiterate that atheists = satanists. This doesn't make any sense since atheists don't even believe in satan or hell, but nonetheless its become a common perception.
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Jonathan Leech
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Meerkat, was your poor friend coming out of another religion? Is that why his family was so anti him becoming christian or was he coming from a non-religious background?

I would agree with your earlier comments that persecution goes on all the time and would also agree that the original OP really needs to speak to somebody in his family for the sake of his mental health and the family as a whole.
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Zaphod wrote:
.Part of the problem is that certain evangelical groups constantly reiterate that atheists = satanists. This doesn't make any sense since atheists don't even believe in satan or hell, but nonetheless its become a common perception.


Or even that Atheists are 'god-haters' (which makes as much sense - i.e .none).
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AdrianPHague wrote:
Zaphod wrote:


Or even that Atheists are 'god-haters' (which makes as much sense - i.e .none).


I've also seen the "tools of satan" line, on Earth to manipulate christians, and force them to lose their faith.
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