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Posted by Mushir (2389 posts) -

I finally told my mother that I no longer believe in God.

This may not seem like a big deal to a lot of you, but for me it was huge. My whole life I was brought up as a Muslim. My mother is extremely religious and my father is as well, but he didn't really ever teach me anything about it. Even though we moved from India to Norway almost 16 years ago, we always kept our Islamic traditions and tried to follow all the rules that we could.

A year and a half ago my older brother said to my mom that he is having doubts about his religion. A few months past and he eventually became an Atheist. This was a huge psychological blow to my mother who had always been such a religious women. I had honestly not thought much about my religion before this and just blindly did what my parents had taught me. After what my brother did I started thinking more and more about religion as well. I started having doubts. And while I still believe that Islam has taught me a lot of good things, I just could not believe in a lot of the things that it says. I told my mother this and said that the only reason I do anything religious is because I love her, not God or the religion. She told me that she didn't want me to do that for her, and said that I should just stop if that's the only reason I do anything related to Islam. And so I did.

I feel like I've done the right thing, but constant guilt I feel from seeing my mother in pain because of me is really tough. I love her and she's honestly the best mother I could ever ask for, but I just can't believe in a religion just because of her.

Most of you probably don't really care about this, but I just needed to write and share my thoughts. Has anyone else gone through something like this? If so, how did you handle the situation?

#1 Posted by Mushir (2389 posts) -

I finally told my mother that I no longer believe in God.

This may not seem like a big deal to a lot of you, but for me it was huge. My whole life I was brought up as a Muslim. My mother is extremely religious and my father is as well, but he didn't really ever teach me anything about it. Even though we moved from India to Norway almost 16 years ago, we always kept our Islamic traditions and tried to follow all the rules that we could.

A year and a half ago my older brother said to my mom that he is having doubts about his religion. A few months past and he eventually became an Atheist. This was a huge psychological blow to my mother who had always been such a religious women. I had honestly not thought much about my religion before this and just blindly did what my parents had taught me. After what my brother did I started thinking more and more about religion as well. I started having doubts. And while I still believe that Islam has taught me a lot of good things, I just could not believe in a lot of the things that it says. I told my mother this and said that the only reason I do anything religious is because I love her, not God or the religion. She told me that she didn't want me to do that for her, and said that I should just stop if that's the only reason I do anything related to Islam. And so I did.

I feel like I've done the right thing, but constant guilt I feel from seeing my mother in pain because of me is really tough. I love her and she's honestly the best mother I could ever ask for, but I just can't believe in a religion just because of her.

Most of you probably don't really care about this, but I just needed to write and share my thoughts. Has anyone else gone through something like this? If so, how did you handle the situation?

#2 Posted by 2HeadedNinja (1723 posts) -

I'd say welcome to reason. I cant imagine how hard that has been since I never was a believer. I have not been brought up by religious parents and there has never been a doubt in my mind that most if not all religions (I admit I dont know much about eastern religions past the Islam) are plain wrong and based on doctrins written by human beings in a time we had no explanation to nature and the universe besides some form of god.

I'd also say it speakt to your morality and the love to your mother that you worry about her. But in the end mothers are mothers. She will love you weather you are a person of faith or not. She will love you for who you are and not what you believe in. Treat her and her faith with respect and everything will be fine.

#3 Posted by crusader8463 (14426 posts) -

Good on ya for making your own choice. I know many people that blindly follow a religion only because their parents did and they got brainwashed into it at such a young age that they never had a chance to think for themselves or to form their own opinions. Now they just do it out of habit more than anything. I grew up with a mother that wanted me to go to church but she never forced me to. She wanted me to experience it and to learn what I can and to make my own decision on if it was something that I wanted to follow. Whatever my choice she she was ready to support me and never pressure me into what she believed.

It can be rather frustrating going to family events when most of your family is deeply religious. All you can do is try your best to avoid topics of conversation that can lead to talking about religion as it never leads anywhere good. Once I was old enough to realize this family gatherings got a lot less painful to be around.

#4 Edited by CrossTheAtlantic (1146 posts) -

I grew up in Texas in a supremely religious household (Christian), so I understand how big of a thing it is to leave that religion. It's not like you're simply stopping something, but you're actively shedding a significant portion of your own past life. It's an incredibly huge and important undertaking, but I think it's one that allows you to truly decide who you are. I had the same thing happen with my family back before I went to college, but my thesis for architecture school was all about religion and the self and how that applies to community, so I've just recently really wrestled with all this stuff (and, at times, way too intensely). I think it's important to understand why man desires religion. It's not something to simply be mocked because that won't end it. Obviously, right now, it's a very key aspect to what makes man tick.

I think it's good that you're writing about it though. I don't think it's a step to be glossed over or not reflected on.

I sincerely hope for the best for you. Thanks for sharing!

#5 Posted by BrickRoad (704 posts) -

I congratulate you on your free thinking. Being an Atheist means that you have to respect peoples rights to believe in a god or supernatural being, but in theory you cannot respect the belief itself as it is groundless. There is no evidence for god, what so ever. It is entirely faith based, and now your Mum probably worries your lack of faith means you wont join her in heaven one day. So it must be hard for you and her now that you have differing opinions on the order of the universe. You should remind your Mum that being an Atheist doesn't mean you have no principles, or that you are moral free. You still intend to live a good life, and be a good person. It's my opinion that because I don't believe I will be rewarded in heaven, any good act I do is because it is the right thing to do, and not because I will be rewarded. This probably means my morals are not based on fear or reward. That's a good thing. Your Mum's god would never punish you for living a good life because you felt it was the right thing to do.

My Mum was religious, I was baptised Church of England. I never really believed in gods. When her parents died of long, painful cancers, she lost a lot of her faith. It's sad, because she wants to see them again. I do too, but I know I never will. It's hard, but it's the truth. There's still a life out there for you to live, and just because there isn't an after one doesn't mean you can't have a rich and fullfilling one now. So spend time with her and your loved ones, everything will be okay.

#6 Edited by eroticfishcake (7787 posts) -

I've grown up in a predominantly Atheist environment despite living in Ireland all my life (Ireland being rather religious up until the early 2000's anyway) so I can't relate much. Having said that I think you did the right thing in that you had your doubts and ultimately made your own decision, that plus you told your mother what you honestly thought which must've been difficult. But just because you don't believe in God doesn't mean you believe in Humanism. So do what you can to make life better for both your family and others.

#7 Posted by MikeGosot (3227 posts) -

Me and my girlfriend are both agnostic, and while my mom thinks it's different, she respects my point of view. My girlfriend's mother, on the other hand, doesn't think that way, she screams things like: "How could you not believe in Jesus? You're alive because of him!".

#8 Edited by Encephalon (1306 posts) -

My household was only mildly Christian; when I later discovered that I wasn't religious at all, it wasn't a big ordeal, so I can't relate to your case exactly. But I definitely understand the process of learning to think critically after being indoctrinated into a belief system from childhood. So, regardless of which "side" you ultimately came down on, I commend you for making the choice on your own.

#9 Posted by MikkaQ (10329 posts) -

I got lucky because my parents wanted to make sure I could choose what religion I wanted. So they didn't really raise me one way or another and encouraged me to find out for myself. As a result, I constantly flip-flop what I do and don't believe. There's a constant inner conflict about what religious principles I should or shouldn't adopt, or what faiths I should or shouldn't hold. I find that more interesting anyway than just picking one and sticking with it I guess. It's also why I'll never have a definitive answer to the question of whether I believe in god or not.

I think it's good of you to come out with that though. Maybe she'll be hurt by it for now, but I think that ultimately it's good to have an honest relationship with your parents, you'll be closer to them in the long run that way.

#10 Edited by Mushir (2389 posts) -

Thanks so much for all the comments guys. I really appreciate it.

Thankfully my mother is understanding of this situation, and she's handling is better with me since my brother has already gone through the same thing. But I know that she's praying for me all the time and she believes that this is just a "phase" and that I will eventually become religious again. That's my main problem. I don't want her to think that this is just a phase that I'm going through, but something that I'll most likely stick to through my whole life. I've told this to her, but being the religious person she is, she refuses to have the same mindset as me.

#11 Posted by Dezztroy (850 posts) -

You made the right choice. No point staying religious if you have doubts about it.

I'm sure your mother will come around eventually.

#12 Posted by Abendlaender (2865 posts) -

Obviously I have no idea what kind of person your mom is, so this "advise" might be completely useless but anyway:

I didn't grew up in a particularly religious family but a friend of mine did. When he choose to become an atheist his mum was pretty desperate because she felt that this was somehow her "fault". That she either pushed him too hard in this direction or misrepresented her beliefs towards him. She wasn't really worried about "afterlife" stuff, but that he might have lsot his faith because something was wrong in his life and that he became disillusioned. So he talked to her about that. A lot. And of course it didn't fix it after one day but when she realised that he didn't quit because he was sad or disillusioned or disappointed but that he just couldn't belive a huge chunk of stuff he was told she felt a lot better and today she is completely fine.

Maybe keep that in mind but again: Your situation might be completely different and I'm certainly not some trained psychiatrist or frankly anybody who should give advise to other people over the internet.

#13 Posted by Kidavenger (3599 posts) -

I don't think religion is about believing in whatever crazy stories your group made up thousands of years ago, it's about being a good person, if you keep that up, your parents shouldn't care.

#14 Posted by 2HeadedNinja (1723 posts) -

@MikeGosot said:

Me and my girlfriend are both agnostic, and while my mom thinks it's different, she respects my point of view. My girlfriend's mother, on the other hand, doesn't think that way, she screams things like: "How could you not believe in Jesus? You're alive because of him!".

geeze ... I cant even imagine how that must be.

#15 Posted by TyCobb (1976 posts) -

All I have to say is, don't be like the asshole atheists that want to shove their atheism down others throats because they choose to believe in something else. They are as bad as the religious folk that want to shove their religion down your throat because you believe in something else.

#16 Posted by Bane122 (808 posts) -

As a Christian I'll just say. Good on ya. I'm glad you didn't try to hide something like that and that it has not created a gulf between the two of you. Your mom sounds like a hell of a lady.

People from both camps (believers and non-believers) often care too much about what the each other thinks. Your beliefs should only matter to you.

#17 Posted by believer258 (12081 posts) -

@Mushir said:

I finally told my mother that I no longer believe in God.

This may not seem like a big deal to a lot of you, but for me it was huge. My whole life I was brought up as a Muslim. My mother is extremely religious and my father is as well, but he didn't really ever teach me anything about it. Even though we moved from India to Norway almost 16 years ago, we always kept our Islamic traditions and tried to follow all the rules that we could.

A year and a half ago my older brother said to my mom that he is having doubts about his religion. A few months past and he eventually became an Atheist. This was a huge psychological blow to my mother who had always been such a religious women. I had honestly not thought much about my religion before this and just blindly did what my parents had taught me. After what my brother did I started thinking more and more about religion as well. I started having doubts. And while I still believe that Islam has taught me a lot of good things, I just could not believe in a lot of the things that it says. I told my mother this and said that the only reason I do anything religious is because I love her, not God or the religion. She told me that she didn't want me to do that for her, and said that I should just stop if that's the only reason I do anything related to Islam. And so I did.

I feel like I've done the right thing, but constant guilt I feel from seeing my mother in pain because of me is really tough. I love her and she's honestly the best mother I could ever ask for, but I just can't believe in a religion just because of her.

Most of you probably don't really care about this, but I just needed to write and share my thoughts. Has anyone else gone through something like this? If so, how did you handle the situation?

I'm very glad you wrote this. I haven't written off belief in God but I'm going through a serious phase of strong doubt, and I really don't know if I'll come out of it believing in God at all. Honestly, one of the biggest questions is "Did I ever really believe in God? This sudden doubt has, aside from thoughts, not changed my life much at all".

This would also come as one huge shock to my whole family because for a while a lot of them were seeing me as something of a very religious person. I read and knew more about my Bible than most of them combined. But becoming a Christian changed almost nothing about me, and now that I'm a hair's breadth away from not being one anymore, I don't see much difference in actually crossing that line into full-on agnosticism (I don't think I'll be atheist, there's no way to know for absolute sure).

But yes, I do understand that it could be a very hard thing to do. It would definitely hurt me and devastate my family if - possibly when - I announce such a thing. I hope you and your family can set aside your differences and get along well.

Online
#18 Posted by eroticfishcake (7787 posts) -

@Mushir: In this case you've done all that you can really. Your mum is entrenched in her own views but ultimately she respecting your decision to believe what you want. Who knows, maybe you will return to religion again at some point but for now there's not much be done apart from continuing on and hoping that she won't bring it up again in the future. In all honesty, you're fortunate to have things go the way it is.

#19 Posted by Apathylad (3067 posts) -

It sounds like your mom is understanding about it. There's a lot more hostility between my mom and I when it comes to religion. The way I see it, this is a situation where being honest about it is much more important than following something you don't believe in.

#20 Posted by Karkarov (3229 posts) -

Wrong forum to post this on. Most people here have so little knowledge of religion and faith in general you could fit what they know in a small doggy bag. What you need to do is find something you do believe in, I would suggest you remember though that Athiesm is not a belief. It is a lack thereof.

#21 Posted by 2HeadedNinja (1723 posts) -

@TyCobb said:

All I have to say is, don't be like the asshole atheists that want to shove their atheism down others throats because they choose to believe in something else. They are as bad as the religious folk that want to shove their religion down your throat because you believe in something else.

Actually the defining characteristic of Atheism is to not believe ;) ... j/k ... there are annoying people on both sides as in every group of people.

#22 Edited by falling_fast (2263 posts) -

I left the religion I grew up in (Roman Catholic) behind when I was 18. I figured what's the point of a god who doesn't help you out when you need it. that and I find the catholic church's position on most things to be offensive. I object to anyone else telling me that I'm doing something "wrong" regarding spiritual affairs.

That doesn't mean that I hate all religious people. some of them are very nice, and the whole religion thing seems to be working out for them. I don't think it's any of my business, and I expect them to show me the same respect.

Currently, I identify, more or less, as a pantheist, I think. in that I think that if anything in this world is worthy of worship, it's nature, because nature is possessed of a sublime beauty that... it's hard to explain, but I'd rather be sitting among the trees than sitting in a church listening to some old man babbling about how terrible it is that the government is letting gays marry :/.

if there's more than that to pantheism, I kind of don't want to know about it. I don't want any stupid rituals or priests or whatever, I want spirituality on my own terms.

I still haven't told most of my family about any of this, though. My grandparents on both sides are quite religious (I'm Italian on one side, and Irish on the other, so you can imagine...) and I just don't see the point in upsetting them. My parents don't care that I don't go to church.

I assume it's kind of different being muslim, though. it's much more of an active faith than catholicism. I don't really have any good advice, but I wish you good luck.

#23 Posted by 2HeadedNinja (1723 posts) -

@Karkarov said:

Wrong forum to post this on. Most people here have so little knowledge of religion and faith in general you could fit what they know in a small doggy bag. What you need to do is find something you do believe in, I would suggest you remember though that Athiesm is not a belief. It is a lack thereof.

Why is it, if you dont mind the question, that he has to find some sort of believe or faith?

#24 Posted by MegaLombax (420 posts) -

I agree that you should never believe in a religion for the sake of another person. However, I disagree with your actions. I can sort of relate to your situation. I am a Muslim too, being brought by default as a Muslim from birth. Growing up, I was never taught about religion by my parents. They would tell me what to do and what to avoid, but that would be just it.

The only difference is that I sought out the answers for my belief and was encouraged by my parents since they couldn't. I've always had questions about religion, about Islam. My initial instinct was to simply think on my own for the answers, but I can tell you that this can be very misleading. So I went to learn about Islam from Muslim scholars. It has always been strongly encouraged in Islam to learn about religion with the guide of another person of authority. I started going to classes at the age of 6, and consistently going to small and short gatherings to understand the teachings of Islam. I can tell you now that religion is part of my daily life and it comes as naturally as breathing air. It makes sense. I do not claim that I wholly understand the religion now though, I'm learning still.

All I'm suggesting is to give religion another chance, and learn about it. Most people think that religion has to make sense from the get go, from the argument that if it's the right thing to do it has to make sense instantly, all the time. Like other things, faith needs work too. There is an effort required to understand.

#25 Posted by Hero_Swe (1187 posts) -

Wooooooooooo! Welcome to logic, reason and intelligencia club!

#26 Edited by TruthTellah (9396 posts) -

@Mushir: It sounds like you handled it pretty well, and your mother probably said the best thing possible. If you're only going through the motions of the religion for her sake, that's not the right reason to be doing them. Religion is about enriching genuine personal beliefs, and if there are no beliefs there, it's just meaningless actions that serve no one.

If you don't believe in God, then you shouldn't be acting like you do, and that's okay. Talking to your mother like that was great, but hearing that can be tough for someone. Still, it's for the best in the long run. She will get used to it over time, but at first, she really does have to grieve about such a thing. If she truly believes in Islam, then a loved one not sharing in that belief can truly be worrying, but you're very fortunate. It sounds like she was as understanding as a religious mother possibly could be with such news. Though, now that you've established and come out with what you don't believe, the real long term question is studying and figuring out what you will genuinely believe about the nature of life and the world around us.

Personally, I am a believer and servant of Christ, but I would never want someone going through the motions just for my sake. If you don't believe, you don't believe, and no one should have to pretend they are anything but what they are. Everyone has to have their own journey. I think it's great that you were open with her about it, and that level of mutual openness can only be good for you both going forward. Hang in there. You made the right decision in being open and honest with her, and it's for the best. Just give it time.

#27 Edited by kermoosh (911 posts) -

yeah i feel like the internet (with its free exchange of ideas, not cats) has a lot to do with people going to atheism. Also with modern medicine, science, and technology i feel like there is a larger pool of doubt than ever before to fish out of.

My mom knew is wasn't the most religious person recently (although i was in the past), however i told her recently i'm atheist. She took it fine but like you too she thinks its just a phase probably. She still tells me "i prayed for you" and stuff like that. That doesn't really bother me though because i take it as a nice gesture.

Bit of advise, don't go parading you're atheist. Some people take it harder than others and it will bring up many "Why don'y you believe in god" question. where the only answer would be the insult their religion in your answer. I've only been an atheist for a few years now and when people ask me if i'm religous, i just say 'i was raised christian' or 'i'm not muslim'. Again telling others you're atheists may go south quickly onlly for some people of course, many people don't care

edit: this is a rant i just realized, try to piece it together i guess

#28 Posted by Nev (558 posts) -

Much props for doing what you did. Must feel great to have it off your chest. I'm sure your mother will adjust to it better in time.

I can relate somewhat, and since other folks are giving their stories: I grew up in a pretty heavily Christian household. My mother was at least moderately religious, my grandma (who raised me just about as much as my mother) was pretty heavily religious, and we also lived with my grandparents, of which my grandpa was a preacher in our town. So religion was there as I grew up, definitely. However, my grandpa passed away when I was 6 years old, and from then on religion, for me, was more just a thing that was 'there'. There was mention of praying, there was "don't use gods name in vain', and there was certainly belief in a God strongly from the rest of the family, but it was not shoved down my throat. In that way, as I grew up after my grandpa passed, it really let me think about it all on my own, and figure out where I was on religion.

I'd say when I was 15 or so I realized I didn't believe in any sort of God. A year or two ago when I finally told my mother and grandma I was an atheist, they were somewhat understanding, but certainly not happy. I got pretty much told "fine, but just don't talk about it to me" from both. They weren't going to scream at me over it, but they just didn't want to hear it. Still to this day anytime I mention the word 'atheist' they get uncomfortable. But, it is what it is, and no matter how much I love them, I can't change how I feel about religion/God. They, and most likely your mother, too, can no doubt understand that.

#29 Posted by mlarrabee (3027 posts) -

Well I must say, it didn't take long for the self-satisfied Atheists to arrive!

I'm amused by it, but I don't mind; I find Atheistic logic as flawed as they find mine. We're both equally self-satisfied pricks.

But cheers for thinking through religion for yourself. There are few things so personally pointless as following religion for tradition's sake. As a few others have said, try to keep any derision toward the religious to yourself. Again, similarly, few thing are so irritating as one vocally pretentious in one's spiritual beliefs.

#30 Edited by TeflonBilly (4713 posts) -

My mother's side of the family is very Catholic and though not raised as one (My parents decided to never force a religion on me, but still instill in me the more universal lessons religion can teach you and not the dogma of it all), I am still very familiar with it.

I can respect religion as somebody's support (A more deragotory term would be crutch, but whatevs), but I'll never understand that level of faith. I would categorize myself as Agnostic, since I find Atheistm to be very fundementally arrogant.

My mother has never shown any sort of disappointment or resentment to the fact that I don't share her Catholic faith and I count myself lucky for that. Many people are so caught up in their religion that it will always stick in their craws. You should count yourself lucky as well to have such a seemingly understanding mom and pat yourself on the back that you've grown into your own opinion over the years.

#31 Posted by Voidoid (134 posts) -

You seem to have handled this transition perfectly, and from your description your mother is ostensibly adjusting to this change as well as she can in light of her held beliefs. I am sure things will feel better soon; no crisis lasts forever.

I would stipulate that the problem stems from the fact that deeply religious people see God in everything good and important in life; love, joy, beauty, responsibility and so on. In their minds, God is so intertwined with these concepts that when a person says he or she does not believe in God it sounds to them like this person also does not believe in these good and important things. This understandably is quite disturbing to them - a person who rejects love and happiness obviously is not well. Hopefully, your mother will eventually come to understand (at least on a subconscious level) that many parts of what she calls God are still important to you; it is only the deity part that you don't believe in as an atheist.

As for actual advice: is it possible that the family tradition aspect is important? I assume when you get kids you will explain your religious background to them, educate them about Islam so that they can benefit from it as you have and make sure that they get to choose their religion just like you. Perhaps it would help to tell your parents about this? Or perhaps it would only make it worse.

Good luck.

#32 Edited by commonoutlier (136 posts) -

You did the right thing, no doubts. It takes courage, but you have to do what you believe, not what others tell you to believe. I grew up in a household with an atheist and a Catholic for a parent, so I had a different sort of religious difficulty growing up, and while my Catholic father is very open and tolerant, I still haven't really spoke directly to him about religion in a while...I'm fairly certain he knows I'm an atheist, but I still don't feel comfortable telling him directly. I suppose I don't quite have your courage...it's kind of a cop out for me to just assume he knows and leave it at that, but I suppose also in a way, I also know he'd want me to believe in what I think is right, not simply in something because he does.

#33 Posted by twigger89 (282 posts) -

@Mushir said:

I finally told my mother that I no longer believe in God.

This may not seem like a big deal to a lot of you, but for me it was huge. My whole life I was brought up as a Muslim. My mother is extremely religious and my father is as well, but he didn't really ever teach me anything about it. Even though we moved from India to Norway almost 16 years ago, we always kept our Islamic traditions and tried to follow all the rules that we could.

A year and a half ago my older brother said to my mom that he is having doubts about his religion. A few months past and he eventually became an Atheist. This was a huge psychological blow to my mother who had always been such a religious women. I had honestly not thought much about my religion before this and just blindly did what my parents had taught me. After what my brother did I started thinking more and more about religion as well. I started having doubts. And while I still believe that Islam has taught me a lot of good things, I just could not believe in a lot of the things that it says. I told my mother this and said that the only reason I do anything religious is because I love her, not God or the religion. She told me that she didn't want me to do that for her, and said that I should just stop if that's the only reason I do anything related to Islam. And so I did.

I feel like I've done the right thing, but constant guilt I feel from seeing my mother in pain because of me is really tough. I love her and she's honestly the best mother I could ever ask for, but I just can't believe in a religion just because of her.

Most of you probably don't really care about this, but I just needed to write and share my thoughts. Has anyone else gone through something like this? If so, how did you handle the situation?

I'm in a similar position (very religious muslim family, atheist myself) but my family has decided to handle it in a much less healthy way. They basically ignore all mentioning of my atheism and get angry/emotional when I bring it up in reasonable context. For the most part I humor them, but I've had to put my foot down a few times and it was ugly. I think they are planning some kind of religious intervention with a sheikh and them and honestly I think it's going to be a very hostile situation, but I'd much rather stick to my own morality system then blindly follow their particular brand of bullshit.

#34 Posted by Intro (1211 posts) -

Congrats on speaking your mind and not hiding what you believe. It may be hard or awkward, but it's probably the best thing to do. I quit believing in god when an 18 yr old who lives 20 minutes from me got shot and bled to death. This was after he left bible study and someone tried robbing him. The kid held up his bible and said, "In the name Christ your gun will not fire." Sadly it didn't work and once I read that story I completely gave up.

I didn't tell my mom until she asked me to pray for my little sister's 14 yr old friend who had bone cancer. It went away after going around the country to different doctors and having surgeries. So they thanked Jesus for the help, but now it's back and I don't know how bad it is this time.

#35 Posted by Funkofages (68 posts) -

Congratulations on following your heart. Personally, I'm a Deist-Agnostic. Probably the best advice I can give you is, that if this a topic of interest, research. Philosophies, religions, sciences. Always keep your beliefs and ideals adaptable, never let you pigeon hole yourself, and never let someone pigeon hole you.

#36 Posted by Karkarov (3229 posts) -

@2HeadedNinja said:

@Karkarov said:

Wrong forum to post this on. Most people here have so little knowledge of religion and faith in general you could fit what they know in a small doggy bag. What you need to do is find something you do believe in, I would suggest you remember though that Athiesm is not a belief. It is a lack thereof.

Why is it, if you dont mind the question, that he has to find some sort of believe or faith?

Why is it Athiest's are afraid of people who do believe in something, organized religion or otherwise? I didn't say he "had" to do anything. However his life likely will be far more enriched by looking for things he cares about and feels strongly for and following those beliefs as opposed to just believing nothing.

#37 Posted by PillClinton (3292 posts) -

I commend you for respectfully questioning the dogma so prevalent in your life. I fortunately never had to struggle with such a thing, as my upbringing was very mildly religious, so coming to the conclusion of anti-theism was only natural for me. Now, I'd say I'm a skeptical agnostic with atheistic qualities--that is, I have no proof or evidence for or against the existence of an almighty deity, but don't fully disbelieve in some form of abstract universal 'consciousness' and cohesion. I see the beauty of the natural world and natural chemistry that bore life, the fact that we are animals and a result of evolution, the fact that the elements that compose our bodies were created in the middle of exploding stars. As Carl Sagan once said, "we are a way for the cosmos to know itself." That's spirituality enough for me. I'm proud to consider myself guided by my own inherent moral compass. Being good without belief is still being good; real actions should be judged as one's moral core, not a set of stated beliefs.

#38 Posted by selbie (1962 posts) -

You did the right thing. The act of pledging allegiance to a particular religion doesn't make you a good person. It's what you do for other people that counts. Be faithful to your family, friends, lifelong partner and those around you. That is what religion is about.

#39 Posted by EXTomar (4916 posts) -

I've always held there is nothing wrong with holding religious belief. Likewise I've always held there is nothing wrong with questioning religious belief either. Spirituality is an important side of humanity where whatever one comes up with their own personal belief system is not wrong but they must be comfortable with it. Following a religion to make someone else happy is never a good thing to do because it is all based on a lie.

Take some time to figure out what you believe. If they love you they'll understand it as part of the search.

#40 Posted by McGhee (6094 posts) -

@Mushir: Good for you. I had to do the same think but on the Christian side. I was even going to be a minister at one point before years later becoming an atheist.

I even eventually turned my mom into a non-believer as well! It's easy to argue against logic until it's someone you love that is hitting you with it.

#41 Posted by bushpusherr (826 posts) -

It's very nice to know that your mother doesn't adhere to the recommended punishment for apostasy.

#42 Posted by seanvail99 (130 posts) -

I think you handled this well. Your seem to have thought long and hard about your choice.

My only advice would be to bite your tongue when you're around your family at religious holidays. Not sure if you've left home or not but those religious holidays tend to be when families come together and that's important. Turning those times into confrontations or fights helps no one.

As long as you're each respectful of each other your relationship with your parents will be fine.

#43 Edited by Aetheldod (3681 posts) -

I too , like many here , one day had to tell my mother about me no longer believing in catholisism ( a big deal in Mexico) .... she was sad for one day but when she heard my reasons she no longer (or never tried to) change me back..... And I never was hostile towards her or other religious people , but I always advice that the priest/pope/cardinals are humans and all they say should be logically analized , they are human after all. I consider myself agnostic , but that does not mean I have lost respect/awe/sublime feelings for religious stuff ... it is after all a human creation like art , an expression of humanity. But like all things conserning humanity it can be used for the wrong reasons.

#44 Posted by l4wd0g (2010 posts) -

Apostasy is the word you're looking for.

Anyway, are you at all concerned concerned about being punished for being an apostate? From what I understand, the Quran doesn't prescribe any earthly punishment for apostas, but many of the clerics and alatollahs do.

I hope everything goes well for you.

#45 Posted by Enigma777 (6084 posts) -

So happy both my parents are atheists. When I was old enough to understand, they gave me the choice to pursue whatever faith I wanted (or lack of). Went to church a few times, wasn't for me. Plus I like my Sunday mornings!

#46 Posted by hawkinson76 (376 posts) -

My impression of people is that these sorts of swings in belief aren't absolute, when looked at over decades people vasilate on this (and other things). I guess what I am saying is not
To get too caught up in what you perceive to be long term implications of something like belief, especially is family is more important to you than defining yourself by your stance on religion.

I say this as an atheist with no interest in maintaining a relationship with my parents or siblings, so I am not speaking from experience, I am am just suggesting caution when it comes to taking things like this too seriously, especially if it results in loosing things that are important to you.

Online
#47 Posted by artofwar420 (6299 posts) -

Good for you! I mean that in the least sarcastic way possible. Never believe something just because everyone does. Now do everything you can to become the best person you can be.

#48 Edited by Mirado (1050 posts) -

When I told my very religious mother more or less the same thing, she only had one piece of advice for me: "That's your call, but you might want to be buried in shorts in case I'm right and you're wrong. Hell's toasty."

My mother, as it turns out, is awesome.

#49 Posted by TheDudeOfGaming (6078 posts) -

@Enigma777 said:

So happy both my parents are atheists. When I was old enough to understand, they gave me the choice to pursue whatever faith I wanted (or lack of). Went to church a few times, wasn't for me. Plus I like my Sunday mornings!

What most people don't get is that religion isn't about going to church or reading the bible or any ceremony. It's about faith in God and living by the core principles of the religion. There's a huge difference between declaring yourself as a believer and actually believing.

Anyway good for you dude. it's better this way for everyone and your mother will eventually come to terms with it. And as someone previously said, don't become an atheist douche bag that's hostile towards all theists...but if you live in a country with a Muslim majority, I'm guessing you didn't plan on it anyway.

#50 Posted by phampire (289 posts) -

I was in a similar situation with my parents ( who are devoted Catholics) I sat down and talked to them about it, mum was pretty upset at the time. My advice is to keep having talks with her in the hope that you can reach an understanding with each other. I know some people choose to ignore discussing these topics with their religious parents but I think it is important to be honest with them. If they are decent and fair minded people they will respect your choice and still care about you.