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Has anybody else lost family members over their beliefs?

I had a cousin once, we were inseparable, i thought. We grew up very close, we even lived together at one point. We used to do everything together, but then, something happened. I'm not sure if it was his new girlfriend, or he had some personal revelation or whatever but, one day he just went full god mode on me. He tried to convert me at first, but when I sat down with him to talk about it, it was clear I wasn't changing my position for him. I tried my very best to explain the origins of religion, the logic behind it, the history, the anti scientific claims, the fact that Christianity was mostly plagiarized from other, older religions, but he basically just plugged his ears and went, "lalalalalala!" Whatever, I'm not one to try to de-convert anybody, if you are happy with your beliefs, hey, fine with me. But it was clear that he thought since I called Christianity ridiculous, he thought I was calling him ridiculous. After that, our talks became fewer and farther between. Fast forward to today, I have a son, and he has 2. I've told him on numerous occasions that i wish for us to put this silly nonsense behind us so our children can grow up together like we did, it was some of the best times of my life. But he still refuses to let my 3 year old play with his kids for fear of converting them to atheism. No more birthday invites, no more family get togethers. It truly saddens me to this day to think of what we had, and what was lost over something so stupid. This to me is the true horror of religion.

Jables 4 May 20

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That is one of the biggest bi-products of religion, segregation and fear. I have made that very decision to end my relationship with my mother, step father, step sisters, niece and grand niece because of their unending attacks of who I am and the fact that I think for myself. I am actually less stressed out. My family are my daughters, grandchildren and one day the free thinking woman that I find.

Just because your family is your family does not mean they are the best thing for you. Those are the people you do not get to choose to be in your life. They are just thrust upon you, being good or bad, positive or negative, supportive or destructive. Even family have to earn their position in your life.

Well said. The good thing is that we can choose our extended family/friends with whom we don't have to walk on eggshells.


Not to be rude but that shit pisses me off. First they speak about free will and unconditional love and then reject family and friends because they "are lost"??? I will never understand why religious people seem to be the most judgmental and unloving people on the planet. If your cousin really believed his own dogma wouldn't he be the one trying to get the family together? I think he avoids you because he is not willing to be honest with himself. I did that to my friends when I was playing the role of a good Cristian housewife. I avoided them because I was afraid my bubble would burst and I wasn't willing to give up my new life of faux joy for them. I felt so guilty after that world imploded and I could see just how full of anger I had become for the Christian "family". Personally I think he avoids looking in the mirror and this as nothing to do with your beliefs. He created a stage of actors for himself and you just do not fit the part. Perceived self preservation? Sad the children suffer because of the adults. Such a perfect opportunity to teach love above all else.

I think he avoids you because he is not willing to be honest with himself.” That likely describes why most religious avoid those ‘like us.’ You’ve some deep insight on this, thank you for sharing ..and glad you choose integrity over expediency 🙂

@Varn Thank you so much for such an awesome comment! I appreciate that very much!

I think you hit the nail on the head there. Very well worded, thank you.

@Jables Thank you!

Speaking of Christians I am the only non-Christian participant at a Lutheran-run medical/senior day center known as LifePittsburgh; it has its share of hypocrites especially in the dining room and sometimes the medical area where the nursing personnel(some of whom are ignorant/predjuiced towards participants of color like myself every time I struggle to return my empty pill box to someone to refill it on Tuesday) are. I got into some trouble while trying to be a member of their church so I got out of conservative Christian and got into the world of liberal Christians .


There's very less social rewards for the non-believers in a community full of believers. This is not the first time you will experience it.

But their reward is fools gold, we’re nuggets of the real thing, rare, but truly valuable ..we know it - and they know it 😉

@Varn we know it, but I doubt they know it. The nightmare of subjectivity!!


There are quite a few religious folk on one side of my family. Some of them have dedicated their lives to the church. A couple of Bishops and a few priests in the mix. I am an atheist / agnostic humanist kinda guy.
I have had some long conversations and on occasion a certain tension has crept in with one or two getting a little confrontational. An Uncle was clearly offended by me arguing my point of view in a family gathering. ( someone else kicked it off ). He predictably dragged out the threat of hells fires. More for others than for me, who i'm sure he considers a lost cause. I think he worries that i provide an example to younger minds that it's Ok to have and express your own thoughts.
Still a little residual frostiness from one or two resulting from such occasions.
So, no loss or ostracism, as in excommunication or shunning, but some distance and change in body language.
I don't hold back if anyone initiates a discussion on peoples beliefs or the credibility of doctrine.
While i am conscious that the topic can be a touchy one for some, i am not going to navigate under their radar to reduce my visibility in order to protect their precious sensibilities.
Let everyone say their piece and listen to others and then each person take what they will from it is my approach.
No need for any discord or unpleasantness.

I knew I had to hide my atheism from my employers who would have set me up for an impossible task or position in which I would fail to find a reason to fire me. When people believe their church that atheist can not be trusted because they have no morals and are intrinsically evil they see us as animals that can be abused and even killed in the name of god. I tested those waters frequently with casual questions. There was a point, in my younger years, that I wore a cross for protection from persecution.


Yes, similar happened to me many years ago. It's such a shame when children can't know their cousins because of religious differences. The religious parents responsible for the riff are to blame - please don't take any responsibility for it yourself - no guilt for you being honest with your religious views.

In my case, I believe it was the religious parents not wanting their children to know that it doesn't matter what religion a person is, there are wonderfully good qualities in all, even non-religious folks. But since this happened decades ago, in my case, those parents and their children can see their atheist cousins became well adjusted loving caring adults, with admirable qualities.

So, be patient, the truth will even things out eventually, but it's still sad that your children are missing out on the closeness they could be sharing with their cousins.


If his views on religion are that opposed to yours, it’s impossible for them not to ooze into all aspects of life, making it best to keep your son away from such influences. I’ve had some serious go-rounds with relatives, but as we’d meet again at a wedding or funeral, nothing’s been permanent..

[shifting gears so beginning a new paragraph] Use the experience as a lesson to your son. Describe the times you had, the loss you feel, and the reason for that loss. Did that with my daughters in regard to friends, neighbors or family members I’d drifted away from due to religion. Seems that’s the best you can do ... that, and finding better influences and experiences for yourself and son. They’re out there, and some more fun than family 🙂

Varn Level 8 May 20, 2018

Wow, I love your comment, very insightful. I should turn this into a sort of learning experience for my son. I guess positive can come from all of this.Thanks


Mention that christianity, is supposedly all to do with loving one another and not judging


That is so sad. I didn't see my 1/2 brother for 25 years until recently, because he was threatened by my atheism, when I asked a biblical question. We are friends again and he never mentions religion to me, though his entire life is centered around his belief. We don't need to talk about it at all, if he doesn't want to, so we just have left it at that. I am so glad that he is back in my life. Religion is an utterly fragile thing that seems to be destroyed by the slightest doubt.

This simply bears repeating - “Religion is an utterly fragile thing that seems to be destroyed by the slightest doubt.” The utterances of honesty around here are more profound than any religious tracts I’m aware of…


Many of us on this site have experienced this sort of thing. It's a type of emotional blackmail.


I wanna thank everyone who commented. Your insight has shone a lot of light on my situation. Yes I lost a cousin/friend, but it looks like I don't have to live with the guilt I've carried so long with me. Thanks everybody.


My parents wrote me out of their will and was ostracized by the rest of my so-called family for many years. Mine is a lonely existence but I'd rather be alone than to be around hypocritical bible thumpers.


Not blood relatives, but in-laws who dropped me like a hot rock when I displayed atheist posts on FB.


Yes but not over religious beliefs I lost family members because basically our family was mad as a box of frogs and were always falling out with each other - Manic mother ,depressive father and brother with untold problems also all cockney born except me with dubious morality so they were pretty much lost to themselves but were never religious.


Life is like that, and through it we fall apart from friends, cousins, siblings,spouses, good neighbors and even parents for dozens of different reasons. Life is good and sad, bittersweet. The trick is to have more of the sweet memories and dive into them as much as we want...


More accurately I would say because of my lack of belief in their norms and institutions, and my belief in my own.


Kind of, but not over religion.


I have a sister who is a Sister. We do not approve of each other.


That's a great shame, when family ties suffer because of people's preconceptions about religion. But its also a sign that your cousin may have heard more than you expected when you were explaining the origins of religion... the fact that he is afraid of his sons being converted means that in his heart he probably agrees that atheism makes more sense.

Denker Level 7 June 29, 2018

I don't talk about my beliefs. I know I'll lose my family and friends if I come clean.


My elder daughter fell into some religious trap. First she joined some happy clapper sect and a few years down the track she got sucked in by the JWs. She was a very normal child, even cheakier and more witty than average. As a baby she had the most amazing laughter. Musically gifted, an avid reader and good writer.
One day, she was 17 at that moment, she asked me whether I would give her permission to become a Christian. The bigoted mother of one of her classmates had lured her into some sort of happy clapper mob. "Of course, my dear daughter, you have my blessing!" No bullshit I just said that as a 17 y-o she was old enough to make her own decisions and off she went on her mission. I suspected she was just interested in checking out the boys who were non drinkers and non smokers and non sweaters. We were all of that too without getting any senile god envolved. During that conversation her mother whom I had known at that time for 25 years suddenly uttered: "I believe in god too!" - "Holy Shit," was all I could say. At some stage in very beginning of our relationship I had asked her whether she wanted children. And in this context I had mentioned that I didn't want my children to be subject to any religious rite. She agreed and briefly mentioned that she had been baptised Lutheran, that her mother was at some stage a Mormon (I didn't really know what that meant apart from baking kosher cookies in Utah.) and that she had attended a catholic school in a Catholic country. She never mentioned anything about any god, neither had her parents ever mentioned anything religious during our gatherings.
So here was my otherwise normal daughter joining a Christian mob. She is 1/6 in her generation on my side and 1/4 on her mother's side, that is that she has only 1 sister, 4 paternal coursins and 2 maternal ones. She was only the 2nd one in my clan to have the privilege not to undergo baptism rites. As a child we had decided to withdraw her from religious education. Anyway after a few years of a rather loose connection to the happy clappers she sank even further and joined the JWs. She still invited me to her wedding, but since then she has severed her ties with me. My younger daughter is sad about the situation because her elder sister didn't even inform me that she had a child.
Several years ago she accused my on Facebook, sort of publicly of abusing her. I didn't expose her to the scriptures (btw she used to be a voracious reader and good writer with tons of musical talent, perfect pitch).
Recently she told her sister that she drags her baby just about 9 months old to bible study.
Now my only hope for her daughter is that when she turns 17 to walk up to her mother and ask her: "Mom, do you mind if I became a normal person and atheist?"


These people sound a bit unhinged. I am sorry that you have to experience this. My sons are atheists (they arrived there by their own thought processes, not anything said by me) but my sister and other family members are Southern Baptist. None of my family has shunned me for being pagan or atheist.


His refusal to let your 3 year old play with his kids is an age-old bullying divide and conquer methodology that organized religions have utilized forever. I'm sorry that your child is suffering because of this.


I have unfriended relatives on facebook because they are anti Obama, pro Trump, based on their Christianity.


I think I would have a similar result with my family. Some of them are super religious. That's why I'm still a closeted atheist for the most part. I'm afraid that mom and dad would take me out of the will if I told them I'm atheist. So, I hope one day come out at full one day with my new beliefs.

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