Familial Relationship Outcomes of Coming Out as an Atheist
How do families react when a member “comes out” as an atheist? As one When individuals come out to their religiously observant parents or. Although I think I would have still “come out” in some way or another, it would have but in those situations, it's hard to predict how the parent will react. If you come out as an atheist expecting that the hate people feel for you will .. 4 Online Dating Sites that Actually Work for FreeTop US Dating Sites. How can I come out as an atheist to my conservative Indian Muslim parents? Should I tell my date if I'm an atheist or agnostic before our relationship gets too.
I hope you both have a fantastic year! Maria AJ is apparently completely blind to the beauty of the story.
An Atheist and a Christian: A Love Story
Best of luck to both Kate and Eric. It seems to have worked really well. I hope things work out for you. Richard Wade I would like to hear how Erik is handling his relationship with his parents lately.
The only detail I read was that at one time he stopped talking to them. Does he have to directly defy them? Does he conceal his relationship from them?kid tells religious parents he hates god, goes very wrong..
Are his age or economic dependency factors in how much pressure they can bring to bear on him? This part of the story sounds like it has at least as much potential for pain for him as what Kate has gone through.
Please listen to the gentle words of Michael. For you to start your first comment with a sarcastic crack suggests there may be a good reason that she has not come to you to talk about this. Kate is your sister. Soon enough she may be the only family you have left. Treat her with respect, love and empathy regardless of her views. Seavee I am a new poster on this site and this is a difficult topic.
I will try and make my comments as sensitive as possible. How does Erik reconcile the fact that the Christian Bible specifically says that Christians should not join themselves with unbelievers Second Corinthians 6: A Christian is defined as someone who follows the teachings of Christ. The Bible is generally considered the authority on the teachings of Christ.
I ask because it addresses what I see as the fundamental problem between atheist and Christian relationships. How does the Christian party reconcile their belief without becoming hypocritical?
I Told My Religious Parents I'm Dating An Atheist. It Didn't Go Well.
Please understand that I do not mean to be unkind. I simply have a very difficult time imagining how this scenario could be successful. Discussion might help me out here. Changing my mind would certainly broaden my miniscule dating pool. Richard Wade Hemant, thank you for this wonderful story. When I want people to see the essence of what you are trying to do, I will refer them to this post.
When Kate heard the reasons, she knew exactly the proper explanations to respond with, but this time she kept her mouth shut. While the story as a whole was a nice example of people overcoming prejudices, this part disturbed me. Kate, best of luck and a world of happiness to you and Erik.
My Christian husband and I have been together for 15 years now, married for 12, and have two children together. It can be done, and done happily! Dawn How does Erik reconcile the fact that the Christian Bible specifically says that Christians should not join themselves with unbelievers Second Corinthians 6: Jen I agree with Richard; I am curious what the current relationship is between Erik and his parents.
Kate says she learned how to speak appropriately around Christians. As she began to know more about Erik, however, she discovered there were educated Christians in the world. I am not sure I understand why this is a terrible question. There would be times it would be rude to ask, I suppose, but if someone expresses to me that they think certain Biblical events are literal retellings of actual events, I would ask if they truely believed that.
Come on, now, how could anyone believe that the some of the stuff in there is real? There are educated Christians, yes, and many of them know plenty about their religion, but I have never heard a sane, rational person think that the Bible is a literal retelling of only literal, true events. Claire I am not sure I understand why this is a terrible question. I have never heard a sane, rational person think that the Bible is a literal retelling of only literal, true events.
Furthermore, the person who thinks that is an educated, intelligent woman and a good friend, whose common sense and good judgement I value in every area outside that of religion. People will never cease to amaze me.
Or, what I wish I knew. No matter how much what they believe stuns you, shocks you, disgusts you, or pisses you off, count to 10, and give them the benefit of the doubt that there is a reason they believe what they do.
Think about your own beliefs; why are you an atheist?
3 Doubts Closet Atheists Should Have Before Coming Out (And 3 Reasons To Do It Anyway)
How sound is your own philosophical foundation? Even though atheism inherently makes sense, imagine if you were brought up differently. Even if you were brought up in a Christian household, maybe your understanding of Christianity is just plain wrong.
How does this promote harmony? It was just ugly. Rejection also eroded cohesion between participants and their religious family members. Like Eric, Doug kept his atheism private for years.
When he disclosed his atheism to his parents, his mother exhibited rejecting behaviors by not speaking to him. She took it pretty hard. That was very difficult. Despair was a third common reaction exhibiting a lack of cohesion. Oliver, for example, reported that his wife cried after he told her that he no longer believed in God. He reported that his family members felt tremendous grief stemming from their belief that Kristian would be assigned to hell for his unbelief: But it was a combination of incredulity and quite a bit of despair actually, quite interestingly.
I suppose [they] fear[ed] for [my] [im]mortal soul. Everything reverts back to God and religion and Jesus, or praying…. See Smith for more discussion of how atheists construct and maintain their atheist identities. See also Peek and Small for more on religious identity, and FitzgeraldSinerand Smith for more on atheist identity. He seems angry about it. I essentially hear nothing from him. We were very close. The three most common examples of adaptability were a acceptance, b unconditional love, and c time.
This is going well. We know you were always doing your own thing. The third aspect of adaptability is that it often takes time for family members to adjust to the news. Trevor reported that his mother was initially resistant to his atheism, but that with time she was accepting. For example, Oliver had not been communicating with his wife during his deconversion, and as a result, his wife was angry, threatening to leave Oliver and take their children when she learned that he no longer believed.
Rigidity Rigidity is characterized by an inability to change relational patterns. Familial reactions to participants coming out as atheists were coded as rigid when family members became more entrenched in their religious stance as a result of disclosure.
The first subcomponent of rigidity is denial. In contrast, her father seemed to acknowledge her atheism by sending her hurtful emails about atheists. My dad has been pretty cruel and has sent us some pretty cruel emails about liberals and atheists.
Please, just believe me on this. She thought it was a phase. And she thought that the more she dragged me to church, the more likely I was to sort of snap out of it. Participants discussed family members regarding their atheism as just a phase as feeling dismissive and condescending.
Another demonstration of rigidity is family members requesting participants not to talk about their atheistic views. I do feel some resentment. Some participants reported family members attempting to convince them to believe in God. Brandon described how his mother increased her religious fervor after he came out. I have an entire shelf of books that my parents have given me.
You have to go to church…. You are going to go to hell. She kind of amped up her own religion and became more zealous, and so she started playing the hymns, recording of the hymns. She made plans to attend the temple, which is like a three-hour trip one way, and she was insisting more on reverence and sincerity in our prayers…. She did say some inflammatory things…. Peter Boghossian has observed that the faithful often seem to become more entrenched in their beliefs in response to someone stating their nonbelief.
Lastly, rigidity was expressed as pressure for the nonreligious to participate in religious ceremonies. For example, Omar recalled his mother pressuring him to christen his child to make other family members happy. Many participants described feeling pressure to attend church. When I am by myself, I know that I am an atheist. I know inside completely that I am percent there. When I am around my family, I have to pretend that I am not, that I am religious, especially, like during Christmastime.
It made me upset. Perhaps to keep the peace, Carl succumbed to the pressure to sing the hymn. Goffman notes that one stigma management technique is to conceal the stigma. The price for Carl, however, was that he felt resentful and disrespected. Healthy Communication Healthy communication is the third category of comments and behaviors that were supportive of familial relationships upon coming out as an atheist.
Participant comments regarding communication about religion were coded as supportive of the relationship when the communication was a authentic, b limited, or c entirely absent. Several participants alluded to the value of being authentic, or honest, about their nonbelief as an important element of communication with family members. Authenticity has been discussed extensively in the sociological literature see for example Goffman, ; Turner,in addition with reference to religion Alberts, Theo talked about his need to be authentic, saying: When the interviewer asked how coming out as an atheist affected his relationship with his parents, Paul replied: These comments from Theo, Tom, and Paul illustrate that familial relationships are protected when individuals are welcomed to honestly express who they are.
In what we believe is a point of departure from the traditional understanding of communication as a supportive factor in relationships, there is evidence in the transcripts that, at least when it comes to religious differences, limiting conversation can help protect the relationship.
Is religion an off-limits topic? Fitzgerald has written about atheists avoiding discussing their atheism with religious family members to avoid familial conflict. For example, Stan commented: Likewise, Walter explained that he avoided discussing his atheism with his grandmother out of genuine love and concern for her feelings: That would hurt her feelings. Chase similarly reported that discussion about religion with his parents is absent, but this again was for the purpose of protecting the relationship.
Chase explained that discussing his atheism would only hurt his parents and have no positive outcome. Poor communication The third category of comments that were unsupportive of familial relationships was poor communication. Comments were coded as exhibiting poor communication if the quantity or quality of the communication regarding atheism was unsupportive of the familial relationship.
Two subcategories of poor communication were a lying and b tension. When asked about taking her daughter to church, Elsie was initially caught off guard, and to avoid upsetting her in-laws, she answered that they were attending church. Feeling unable to speak honestly with them, Elsie coached her daughter how to reply to her grandmother.
Brandon recalls downplaying his lack of belief when his mother observed that he was interested in atheism. The second category of poor communication is a sense of tension in the relationship, characterized by disagreements or arguments. Paul recalled how he and his mother bickered about religion after he came out: Paul and his mother continued discussing religion, even though the conversations were tense.
Carl similarly described the tension that arose between him and some of his religious family members. But when it does come up, yes, it can create some conflict.
In his discussion of stigma management techniques, Goffman suggests that one way to reduce tension is to shift attention away from the stigma—in this case, the atheistic worldview—to another topic. Discussion In this study, we sought to understand how coming out as an atheist affects family relationships. We used the Circumplex Model of family functioning as a framework for analyzing interviews with 80 atheists about their coming out experiences.
On the cohesion spectrum, familial relationship quality tended to be preserved during the coming-out process when families exhibited a moderate level of closeness, with a sense that the family can remain cohesive even when individual family members may hold varying theological opinions.
In this study, family members exhibited cohesion when parents and spouses remained supportive and religion was considered to be inconsequential to the quality of the relationship. Relationship quality suffered, however, when family members exhibited disengagement, anger, rejection, despair, or an inability to relate to one another after a family member came out. A lack of adaptability, or rigidity, was problematic for relationships, leading family members to regard the revelation of atheism with denial or dismissal, or to try to silence, convince, proselytize, or pressure the person into religious participation.
Some participants reported being able to discuss their atheism with family members, but others noted that limiting or altogether avoiding theological discussions with their believing family members was the best approach for preserving positive family relationships. Communications scholars Afifi and Guerrero identified, based on numerous previous studies, that one of the primary reasons for topic avoidance is relationship protection.
They note that social bonds and the need to belong are powerful drives in humans, and, although self-disclosure generally facilitates social bonding, people routinely avoid topics that are perceived to threaten the relationship.
Recent research confirms that people attempt to protect their social relationships by avoiding discussion of topics perceived to threaten the relationship.