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Trying To Convince My Family I Am Good Without God


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I was raised in a Christian home and came at an atheist at 16. Ever since then I have been dealing with pressure and bullying from family and people who were supposed to be my friends. They keep telling me that the only way to be happy is to find God and Jesus. I keep telling them that my ideals are my own and that I respect their right to believe what they want and they should respect me.

But lately it has gotten really bad when my cousin made it his mission to try and convert me back. He has been harassing me constantly about how atheist are horrible people who don't care about anyone at all. This is sending me deeper into a spiral and I do my best to respond rationally. But now he is making me feel like less them a human just because I don't follow a deity. And he now has convinced some members of my family that I am only an atheist because I am mad at God. How can I be mad at something I don't think exist? How can I convince him to be happy with who I am and stop trying to change me? How can I get the rest of my family to understand this as well? I accept them for who they are! Why can't they accept me?

Does anyone have any advice on how I can get them to understand they are not helping but hurting me even more? I thought that at 24 they would understand my atheism is not just a "phase". But part of who I am.

Edited by Esplin
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There is absolutely no way you are going to convince a very religious person you are good without god. You have told them this so there is no need to discuss it further. Tell them you do not want to discuss it further. If they keep bringing up the topic, keep repeating that you do not want to discuss it further. Say no more than this. Some people are slow learners.

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It is my experience that having a discussion with a deeply religious believer tends to quickly turn into a debate, and usually ends in an argument. Although such a conversation can be entertaining, it can also get mentally exhausting, especially when it takes place regularly within your family circle. And as 1i11ian wrote, you have slim chances of convincing a religious believer of your beliefs. I think the best approach here is to agree to disagree, and never re-approach the subject.

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I thank everyone who posted here. It is hard to listen to them say they are going to pray for me. But I am doing my best to ignore it. It just seems they think there is something wrong with me if I don't believe. I am just telling them I don't wish to talk about it anymore. Some religious folks need to realize that trying to push religion on others drives them away more then it brings folks in. Thank you again everyone for the kind words. :)

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I used to argue with my family about this all the time. I used to argue with everyone about it. Now I've realized that it doesn't matter, and I don't get into discussions with people for the most part. If someone tells me they are keeping me in their prayers, or whatever else, I just say thank you. I mean, they think I'm going to burn forever in hell. I think it really makes no difference what they believe. I would expect them to be more animated about the subject in that light.

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I was raised in a Christian home and came at an atheist at 16. Ever since then I have been dealing with pressure and bullying from family and people who were supposed to be my friends. They keep telling me that the only way to be happy is to find God and Jesus. I keep telling them that my ideals are my own and that I respect their right to believe what they want and they should respect me.

But lately it has gotten really bad when my cousin made it his mission to try and convert me back. He has been harassing me constantly about how atheist are horrible people who don't care about anyone at all. This is sending me deeper into a spiral and I do my best to respond rationally. But now he is making me feel like less them a human just because I don't follow a deity. And he now has convinced some members of my family that I am only an atheist because I am mad at God. How can I be mad at something I don't think exist? How can I convince him to be happy with who I am and stop trying to change me? How can I get the rest of my family to understand this as well? I accept them for who they are! Why can't they accept me?

Does anyone have any advice on how I can get them to understand they are not helping but hurting me even more? I thought that at 24 they would understand my atheism is not just a "phase". But part of who I am.

Now, this is gonna come as a big surprise I bet...but I am a Christian and I actually understand you!! I would rather you be an atheist if that is what you believe, than being a Christian who doesn't really care or doesn't really believe! So, if you want to not believe, that should be fine. I am fine with it really. There are many reasons why people choose to not believe or end up leaving a faith (ANY faith). There's also many reasons why people choose to believe or become believers after not having had faith before. I know Atheists who are now Christians and I know Christians who are now Atheists.

Either way is fine, the key to this is to respect the other person and not put them down for what they believe or do not believe in.

I am not going to put you down for not believing, actually.

I am sorry your family is acting like that and I hope they stop. I guess they are trying to help you, but sometimes we have to understand that openly talking about faith isn't going to help, maybe we just need to let things be and just see how they develop, and go with the flow more.

I am a go with the flow kind of Christian myself actually.

Cheers :)

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I was raised in a Christian home and came at an atheist at 16. Ever since then I have been dealing with pressure and bullying from family and people who were supposed to be my friends. They keep telling me that the only way to be happy is to find God and Jesus. I keep telling them that my ideals are my own and that I respect their right to believe what they want and they should respect me.

But lately it has gotten really bad when my cousin made it his mission to try and convert me back. He has been harassing me constantly about how atheist are horrible people who don't care about anyone at all. This is sending me deeper into a spiral and I do my best to respond rationally. But now he is making me feel like less them a human just because I don't follow a deity. And he now has convinced some members of my family that I am only an atheist because I am mad at God. How can I be mad at something I don't think exist? How can I convince him to be happy with who I am and stop trying to change me? How can I get the rest of my family to understand this as well? I accept them for who they are! Why can't they accept me?

Does anyone have any advice on how I can get them to understand they are not helping but hurting me even more? I thought that at 24 they would understand my atheism is not just a "phase". But part of who I am.

Why did you become an Atheist at the age of 16? Was there a specific event that took place in your life?

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I have always been into science. Astronomy, biology, chemistry. Growing up I was questioning everything and I realized that lots of questions about the universe can be answered without invoking a deity. During my time in college I spent time studying all religions and realized that none can live up to logic and reason for me. The universe is a beautiful place and I see no tangible evidence for a deity. I have no problem with those who do believe. I just want them to stop trying to convert me. I will gladly answer questions about my atheism they may have but I just wish for them to respect it. I am happy with my position and see no reason to believe. :)

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I was an atheist most of my life, probably from about the age of 8. I just never could wrap my mind around some big guy in the sky controlling all of our actions. For me, it definitely was not a phase. I became a Buddhist in college because I wanted some structure, but I still don't believe in a monotheistic God.

My family used to say ridiculous things to me. For example, they said that if Hitler accepted Jesus Christ as his savior, he is in heaven. But I would go to hell because I'm not a Christian. I mean, really? I'm worse than HITLER because I don't believe the same things as you? What a hateful statement. :( How would threats and insults possibly convert me to Christianity?

I also used to get very angry when people said they would pray for me. Now I just simply interpret it as "You will be in my thoughts" and it's a lot easier to deal with.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I was raised in a Christian home and came at an atheist at 16. Ever since then I have been dealing with pressure and bullying from family and people who were supposed to be my friends. They keep telling me that the only way to be happy is to find God and Jesus. I keep telling them that my ideals are my own and that I respect their right to believe what they want and they should respect me.

But lately it has gotten really bad when my cousin made it his mission to try and convert me back. He has been harassing me constantly about how atheist are horrible people who don't care about anyone at all. This is sending me deeper into a spiral and I do my best to respond rationally. But now he is making me feel like less them a human just because I don't follow a deity. And he now has convinced some members of my family that I am only an atheist because I am mad at God. How can I be mad at something I don't think exist? How can I convince him to be happy with who I am and stop trying to change me? How can I get the rest of my family to understand this as well? I accept them for who they are! Why can't they accept me?

Does anyone have any advice on how I can get them to understand they are not helping but hurting me even more? I thought that at 24 they would understand my atheism is not just a "phase". But part of who I am.

I can fully understand where you come from, I have been fortunate enough that my close family has been supportive (or at least have not broached the subject with me and have tended to leave it lie) but I have had to hide my beliefs from most casual acquaintances for obvious reasons. It has made for a very isolated feeling. The best advice I can offer is this, always know you have brothers and sisters out there that share your situation and are there for support on sites like these, and that at the end of the day you must do what makes you happy. Its your life to live, and I know I cant go to sleep at night if I know I havent at least tried to make myself happy with who I am. You sound like a caring, intelligent, conscientious person and when all is said and done... that is all that we can ask of ourselves! I am not gay but my best friend is, and he has had similar issues with his family, and like they say.. "It will get better" I hope this helps, but I do know that it takes a person of strength to stand for what they believe in, and it sounds like you already have that in Spades. Be proud of who you are and revel in it!!

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Trying to argue religion with my grandma gets me NOWHERE. It's like talking to a wall. I just don't argue. I let her say what she wants. I nod my head, let it go in one ear and out the other, then walk away. Simple as that. Takes practice; at least for me it did. :smilingteeth: Just don't let it get to you. They were probably raised and brain washed into their beliefs. Just let it go and move on with your day, no matter what they think. Be happy and who cares what other people think? You have the right to your own beliefs.

The thing about any religion is that you're usually raised in that religion. You basically get "brain washed" into believing what you believe and most people never change their viewpoints and are so hard headed about their religion that nothing will change their mind, no matter how much you talk to them. That's what I've found out. I just don't argue with people, if I can avoid it...

Edited by HighWithLife
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I was raised in a Christian home and came at an atheist at 16. Ever since then I have been dealing with pressure and bullying from family and people who were supposed to be my friends. They keep telling me that the only way to be happy is to find God and Jesus. I keep telling them that my ideals are my own and that I respect their right to believe what they want and they should respect me.

But lately it has gotten really bad when my cousin made it his mission to try and convert me back. He has been harassing me constantly about how atheist are horrible people who don't care about anyone at all. This is sending me deeper into a spiral and I do my best to respond rationally. But now he is making me feel like less them a human just because I don't follow a deity. And he now has convinced some members of my family that I am only an atheist because I am mad at God. How can I be mad at something I don't think exist? How can I convince him to be happy with who I am and stop trying to change me? How can I get the rest of my family to understand this as well? I accept them for who they are! Why can't they accept me?

Does anyone have any advice on how I can get them to understand they are not helping but hurting me even more? I thought that at 24 they would understand my atheism is not just a "phase". But part of who I am.

I can fully understand where you come from, I have been fortunate enough that my close family has been supportive (or at least have not broached the subject with me and have tended to leave it lie) but I have had to hide my beliefs from most casual acquaintances for obvious reasons. It has made for a very isolated feeling. The best advice I can offer is this, always know you have brothers and sisters out there that share your situation and are there for support on sites like these, and that at the end of the day you must do what makes you happy. Its your life to live, and I know I cant go to sleep at night if I know I havent at least tried to make myself happy with who I am. You sound like a caring, intelligent, conscientious person and when all is said and done... that is all that we can ask of ourselves! I am not gay but my best friend is, and he has had similar issues with his family, and like they say.. "It will get better" I hope this helps, but I do know that it takes a person of strength to stand for what they believe in, and it sounds like you already have that in Spades. Be proud of who you are and revel in it!!

Actually, I can really relate to all of this! You are gonna find it maybe weird that a Christian can relate, esp seeing as your posts have been about not believing :P but really I can!

How easy do you think it is going the other way around: Becoming interested in developing your Christianity in a family where Christian faith is just thought of for holidays like Christmas and Easter? :P

Try then telling your family you are considering working in a field like Theology, and watch them all shake their heads and look at you like you've just sprouted ten heads with antennae attached :P

So yeah, I can relate. And, so as you know, it takes as much courage to believe as it does to not believe :P

Just do your thing! That's what I did and my family are OK with it now :)

Cheers :)

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Trying to argue religion with my grandma gets me NOWHERE. It's like talking to a wall. I just don't argue. I let her say what she wants. I nod my head, let it go in one ear and out the other, then walk away. Simple as that. Takes practice; at least for me it did. :smilingteeth: Just don't let it get to you. They were probably raised and brain washed into their beliefs. Just let it go and move on with your day, no matter what they think. Be happy and who cares what other people think? You have the right to your own beliefs.

The thing about any religion is that you're usually raised in that religion. You basically get "brain washed" into believing what you believe and most people never change their viewpoints and are so hard headed about their religion that nothing will change their mind, no matter how much you talk to them. That's what I've found out. I just don't argue with people, if I can avoid it...

Just adding my two cents:

There's many Christians (and other religious people) who are not brainwashed. There's many of us who CHOOSE a faith, as well as there are many who choose Atheism.

My own faith came from my own choice and life experience, but it does not mean I am brainwashed, and it does not mean I am a fundy or anything else like that!

I just wanted to remind you that not every Christian you come across is brainwashed, and that religious = brainwashed isn't true either.

Everybody is different, and everybody has a different life path and different spiritual journey.

I KNOW a lot of people meet Christians who seem very brainwashed, I have met such people too and even if I am a Christian myself, I do not feel any connection to them.

However ALL the Christians are not like that at all! :)) Most of us are just normal people who happen to believe in a certain religion, nothing more :P

What I am trying to say here is I guess that one should try and see each person as an individual in a faith/non-belief and not just put everybody from one faith into one category, because there's many of us and we are different :)

I myself would define myself as a Christian Hippie, incorporating Peace, Love and Understanding into the message of Christ :)

Hope ya see what I am trying to say here :)

Cheers :)

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Trying to argue religion with my grandma gets me NOWHERE. It's like talking to a wall. I just don't argue. I let her say what she wants. I nod my head, let it go in one ear and out the other, then walk away. Simple as that. Takes practice; at least for me it did. :smilingteeth: Just don't let it get to you. They were probably raised and brain washed into their beliefs. Just let it go and move on with your day, no matter what they think. Be happy and who cares what other people think? You have the right to your own beliefs.

The thing about any religion is that you're usually raised in that religion. You basically get "brain washed" into believing what you believe and most people never change their viewpoints and are so hard headed about their religion that nothing will change their mind, no matter how much you talk to them. That's what I've found out. I just don't argue with people, if I can avoid it...

Just adding my two cents:

There's many Christians (and other religious people) who are not brainwashed. There's many of us who CHOOSE a faith, as well as there are many who choose Atheism.

My own faith came from my own choice and life experience, but it does not mean I am brainwashed, and it does not mean I am a fundy or anything else like that!

I just wanted to remind you that not every Christian you come across is brainwashed, and that religious = brainwashed isn't true either.

Everybody is different, and everybody has a different life path and different spiritual journey.

I KNOW a lot of people meet Christians who seem very brainwashed, I have met such people too and even if I am a Christian myself, I do not feel any connection to them.

However ALL the Christians are not like that at all! :)) Most of us are just normal people who happen to believe in a certain religion, nothing more :P

What I am trying to say here is I guess that one should try and see each person as an individual in a faith/non-belief and not just put everybody from one faith into one category, because there's many of us and we are different :)

I myself would define myself as a Christian Hippie, incorporating Peace, Love and Understanding into the message of Christ :)

Hope ya see what I am trying to say here :)

Cheers :)

Yes, I agree with that. Totally agree. :) I should have rephrased my statement to say "most". I didn't mean to imply all.

Edited by HighWithLife
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Just adding my two cents:

There's many Christians (and other religious people) who are not brainwashed. There's many of us who CHOOSE a faith, as well as there are many who choose Atheism.

My own faith came from my own choice and life experience, but it does not mean I am brainwashed, and it does not mean I am a fundy or anything else like that!

I just wanted to remind you that not every Christian you come across is brainwashed, and that religious = brainwashed isn't true either.

Everybody is different, and everybody has a different life path and different spiritual journey.

I KNOW a lot of people meet Christians who seem very brainwashed, I have met such people too and even if I am a Christian myself, I do not feel any connection to them.

However ALL the Christians are not like that at all! :)) Most of us are just normal people who happen to believe in a certain religion, nothing more :P

What I am trying to say here is I guess that one should try and see each person as an individual in a faith/non-belief and not just put everybody from one faith into one category, because there's many of us and we are different :)

I myself would define myself as a Christian Hippie, incorporating Peace, Love and Understanding into the message of Christ :)

Hope ya see what I am trying to say here :)

Cheers :)

Just for the record, Peace, Love, and Understanding sure don't need to be added into the message of Christ, as far as I'm concerned. They're already part of it. A lot of people may not see it, for some reason, but they are all crucial parts of His message.

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Just adding my two cents:

There's many Christians (and other religious people) who are not brainwashed. There's many of us who CHOOSE a faith, as well as there are many who choose Atheism.

My own faith came from my own choice and life experience, but it does not mean I am brainwashed, and it does not mean I am a fundy or anything else like that!

I just wanted to remind you that not every Christian you come across is brainwashed, and that religious = brainwashed isn't true either.

Everybody is different, and everybody has a different life path and different spiritual journey.

I KNOW a lot of people meet Christians who seem very brainwashed, I have met such people too and even if I am a Christian myself, I do not feel any connection to them.

However ALL the Christians are not like that at all! :)) Most of us are just normal people who happen to believe in a certain religion, nothing more :P

What I am trying to say here is I guess that one should try and see each person as an individual in a faith/non-belief and not just put everybody from one faith into one category, because there's many of us and we are different :)

I myself would define myself as a Christian Hippie, incorporating Peace, Love and Understanding into the message of Christ :)

Hope ya see what I am trying to say here :)

Cheers :)

Just for the record, Peace, Love, and Understanding sure don't need to be added into the message of Christ, as far as I'm concerned. They're already part of it. A lot of people may not see it, for some reason, but they are all crucial parts of His message.

Yep, that is how I see it too!

However, I like to emphasize it sometimes, because when people hear I'm a hippie, they get the wrong idea of me :P

xoxo

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Trying to argue religion with my grandma gets me NOWHERE. It's like talking to a wall. I just don't argue. I let her say what she wants. I nod my head, let it go in one ear and out the other, then walk away. Simple as that. Takes practice; at least for me it did. :smilingteeth: Just don't let it get to you. They were probably raised and brain washed into their beliefs. Just let it go and move on with your day, no matter what they think. Be happy and who cares what other people think? You have the right to your own beliefs.

The thing about any religion is that you're usually raised in that religion. You basically get "brain washed" into believing what you believe and most people never change their viewpoints and are so hard headed about their religion that nothing will change their mind, no matter how much you talk to them. That's what I've found out. I just don't argue with people, if I can avoid it...

Just adding my two cents:

There's many Christians (and other religious people) who are not brainwashed. There's many of us who CHOOSE a faith, as well as there are many who choose Atheism.

My own faith came from my own choice and life experience, but it does not mean I am brainwashed, and it does not mean I am a fundy or anything else like that!

I just wanted to remind you that not every Christian you come across is brainwashed, and that religious = brainwashed isn't true either.

Everybody is different, and everybody has a different life path and different spiritual journey.

I KNOW a lot of people meet Christians who seem very brainwashed, I have met such people too and even if I am a Christian myself, I do not feel any connection to them.

However ALL the Christians are not like that at all! :)) Most of us are just normal people who happen to believe in a certain religion, nothing more :P

What I am trying to say here is I guess that one should try and see each person as an individual in a faith/non-belief and not just put everybody from one faith into one category, because there's many of us and we are different :)

I myself would define myself as a Christian Hippie, incorporating Peace, Love and Understanding into the message of Christ :)

Hope ya see what I am trying to say here :)

Cheers :)

Yes, I agree with that. Totally agree. :) I should have rephrased my statement to say "most". I didn't mean to imply all.

Thanks for understanding mate, much appreciated.

I would even say SOME rather than MOST :P

Don't forget that those TYPES of Christians you are referring to are actually very, very few in a very large group of people with the same faith.

xoxo

Edited by EvinLejonhjarta
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It is my experience that having a discussion with a deeply religious believer tends to quickly turn into a debate, and usually ends in an argument. Although such a conversation can be entertaining, it can also get mentally exhausting, especially when it takes place regularly within your family circle. And as 1i11ian wrote, you have slim chances of convincing a religious believer of your beliefs. I think the best approach here is to agree to disagree, and never re-approach the subject.

Even as a Christian, I sympathize with this. There is a group of evangelical Christians with all the flexibility of an iron bar and all the subtlty of a bulldozer, and they seem to have taken over the faith because they are making the loudest noise. Frankly, they embarass me when they're not frightening me.

But there are a lot of us out there, and we're all over the spectrum of rationality and tolerance, so in examining Christians, you're likely to find what you're looking for. If you set out to find intolerant bigots, there are certainly plenty of those who call themselves Christians. But it you set out looking for tolerant, non-judgemental, thoughtful people who call themselves Christians, you'll find them in large numbers, too.

It's a big religion and it's anything but homogeneous. Don't give up on us because you've met a few jerks.

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It is my experience that having a discussion with a deeply religious believer tends to quickly turn into a debate, and usually ends in an argument. Although such a conversation can be entertaining, it can also get mentally exhausting, especially when it takes place regularly within your family circle. And as 1i11ian wrote, you have slim chances of convincing a religious believer of your beliefs. I think the best approach here is to agree to disagree, and never re-approach the subject.

Even as a Christian, I sympathize with this. There is a group of evangelical Christians with all the flexibility of an iron bar and all the subtlty of a bulldozer, and they seem to have taken over the faith because they are making the loudest noise. Frankly, they embarass me when they're not frightening me.

But there are a lot of us out there, and we're all over the spectrum of rationality and tolerance, so in examining Christians, you're likely to find what you're looking for. If you set out to find intolerant bigots, there are certainly plenty of those who call themselves Christians. But it you set out looking for tolerant, non-judgemental, thoughtful people who call themselves Christians, you'll find them in large numbers, too.

It's a big religion and it's anything but homogeneous. Don't give up on us because you've met a few jerks.

I am with both of you on this! I know many people without faith, and that's fine with me. We don't argue and rarely talk about the subject. I also agree with Rincewind, the most of the religious people are understanding and really don't judge others, but unfortunately there are those who do, but don't let those few people turn you off of getting to know the rest of us :))

xoxo

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  • 1 year later...

Not sure if you've found an answer or not but my suggestion is that you set boundaries with your family. Set forth to them what you expect and if they don't respect those boundaries there should be a consequence. It's a difficult and often painful process but it drives the message home that your belief's are not open for debate.

If your cousin won't stop pestering you after you set up the boundaries than only communicate through email/text. Let you family know that you love them but that you won't tolerate them questioning what you believe anymore and that if they won't respect your boundaries than you won't come around any more.

It's easier said than done and like I said it is often painful but when they see how serious you are about this there's a good chance they'll back off.

I live with my parents and I've set up certain boundaries that must be respected and sucks when you have to reinforce those boundaries but has saved me quit a lot of headaches.

Hopefully this helps and good luck.

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