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I would like to know if anyone else is going through this..

Yesterday.. I had a bad phone conversation with my grandfather. He was speaking for the whole family on my moms side (not including my mom). He informed me that because I'm not a christian that nobody in the family wanted anything to do with me. That I'm headed down a sad & hard road and I'm not going to bring them into that. He is taking me out of his will and I shouldnt expect anything from him ever again as long as I'm an atheist. The conversation lasted quite a while and ended with me in tears. I didnt argue with him or do anything to make him upset. I have NEVER in my whole life done anything to make him upset. I'm not even mad about the situation. I'm just really really sad that I lost a huge portion of my family. I guess I'm just going to get over it and move on.

I would just like to know I'm not the only one this is happening to. The few other atheists I know arent honest with their family. I just didnt see any reason why I should lie to them. I figured that a family was supposed to look past that stuff. Should I have lied to them?

i'm very sorry you have had to face such callousness from your family. i have not been through anything like what you describe, though my husband has been having a hard time with his mother. his family is very religious, and while they know we are atheists, we simply don't talk about it normally. but his mother's Alzheimer's doesn't allow her to filter her thoughts anymore. when i am not present she will often start haranguing my husband, and begging him to not go to hell, etc.

i also took in a teenage girl after her mother threw her out of the house because she refused to go to church. she lived with me for nearly two years, until she could move out on her own. i helped her get her driver's license and bank account, stuff like that. she has been on her own a couple years now. she and her mother have been on speaking terms for quite a while. but funny thing is, her mother has never attempted to thank my family for taking care of the child she threw out.

for what it is worth, i think you did the right thing by not pretending. maybe you should write your grandfather a letter to explain that you would rather he know who you really are than lie to him. perhaps in time your family will soften their stance. maybe one of them will realize that their treatment of you isn't very christian after all.

Yes, I've seen this same drama in one form or another posted on the message board many times. Grown-ups don't have to consult other people to see if it meets with their approval before deciding what they believe. Things that are not anyone else's business do not have to be explained to anyone; it's personal and private. Atheists are not obligated to discuss their personal opinions with antagonists, but if someone has chosen to tell people about their atheist views then they should also be prepared to defend them.

If theists don't want to go down "a sad dark road" why do they get in their cars and drive themselves to church to have their fears enhanced every Sunday" That's what keeps them hanging on to their security blankets and pacifiers. How is someone's atheism dragging theist relatives anywhere when the theists are the one's making all the demands? Atheists are not obligated to "drag" anyone into anything like theists are instructed to do. Atheists have decided for themselves not to support deception, whether its self-deception or someone else's deception, because they have concluded that it is unethical to support unsubstantiated claims. Unlike theists who think that everyone wants to know what they believe; atheists usually keep their personal private opinions to themselves, and that is not lying. All an atheist would ever tell anyone is to look for the answers themselves, because people who have never asked any questions sure can't answer yours.

Family members have no more right to intrude into other family members private affairs with rude inquiries than anyone else does. If a relative who was not mentally handicapped; called me to inform me that they didn't respect my ability to make my own decisions, and obviously they wanted to make them for me, I would not be the one crying when I hung up the phone. It's very handy to learn how to say, "I can't talk to you right now because I'm busy", that's what I do with people who are rude enough to try and run other people's lives.

I didnt just try to start anything with them. I have been an atheist for years and I didnt figure it was a big enough deal to run around and tell everyone. I didnt know if they knew or not and I didnt think it mattered. I guess they just somehow found out and I got the call. All I was asked was "are you or are you not an atheist?" I also thought that after my grandfather was done talking I would be able to actually explain my views to him but he hung up right after he said what he wanted. I had no chance at all to explain how much thought I have put into my beliefs or even tell him any of my views on anyting. I didnt want to just say "its none of your business" I wanted to discuss things and maybe once he saw that I have put thought into my beliefs (he doesnt think I have) he would accept it. I was mostly hurt that even though I have been getting closer to my grandfather (I'm a college student and he has been helping me out a lot and supporting me) I wasnt even given the chance to speak.

I never lost any family members because of personal religious beliefs and I am lucky that I have family members that value people more than ideologies. That being said, I can say I've lost some friends over how religion has the ability to control someone's life. One day you can laugh and have fun and the next day they attend some religious retreat and never seen again. The power of a brainwashed mind is very curious. I just don't understand how anyone can go through life satisfied with answers that don't answer anything and don't even bother to find out what they are told is true or not. All anyone can do is be good to others and treat people with mutual respect. Don't lower yourself to the treatment that they give you. The best way to give people the "Fuck You" is to do good for yourself and be successful without their help and have people around that are caring and supports you no matter what.

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