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All of my relatives are religious believers... I am the only atheist. It is driving me iNSaNE!

I don't know how to deal with my relatives! I am an Atheist and over 100 of my relatives (brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins, neices, nephews and all of their children) are religious believers. I get email from them that is religiously slanted and family gatherings are religiously slanted, too.

Some of my cousins are preachers and one of my aunts who is dead now used to be WAY OUT THERE in the religious realm to the point that many within the family and outside of the family refer to her as a saint! One of my brothers is a Jehovah and he is absolutely absorbed within that incredibly mindless pit.

I am all alone in my atheist sanity but I feel like I am going crazy in a never ending "battle" of absorbing the tremendous amount of ignorance and stupidity that I get from my relatives through email or witness at family functions! It is exasperating to the point where I just want to shake them and wake them up!

I don't know what to do with my internal frustration or how to accept them as they are when I know how STUPID and ignorant they are! What is worse, those things they believe in and spew from their mouths are partially the cause of wars, starvation, oppression, obedience faith rather than moral faith which is responsible for some of the most immoral and inhumane acts ever perpetrated against humans... like slavery, child abuse based on "sin," and on and on.

How do I, being an atheist all alone like this, deal or handle or cope with an entire ARMY of stupid family relatives for the sake of my own sanity!

I am so angry 3/4 of the time and I feel like I have no outlet! I listen to the "Atheist Experience" video programs and it offers me a level of calm just being able to listen to others who have the same reality understanding that I have. It is soothing to be able to listen something sane!

You see... for example, when I am on my death bed I am probably going to have a bunch of idiot morons singing religious songs and telling me to "go to the light" and "...its OK to let go and go home now..." when what I will really be wanting is to die while watching videos of "The Atheist Experience." That would be PERFECT for me on my death bed!

See what I mean? I feel like I am going insane trying to cope with all of these crazy people in my life! If I don't have them, then I will be alone... and I don't want to be alone, either!

Help!

Thanks!

Hal, you can not change your family, so do not try. Take a step back, both intellectually and emotionally and you will see them for what they really are...people who love you despite your flaws and despite theirs.

You do need to find other like-minded people, however. This is really your problem, and where your energy needs to be focused.

Dwelling on the negative aspects of ones surroundings is always easier than taking positive actions. But you really must, otherwise you will be wasting the wonderful insights you have acquired on petty whining.

Stop being angry. Stop blaming the ignorance of others. Start finding other atheists. Start building a positive life.

Hi cdo:

Yes. You are correct. I am whining. I feel crippled by the situation. But, maybe if I do step back intellectually and emotionally... that could be the problem! I think you are right!

It is tough not to dwell on it when day after day I get religiously slanted email asking me to pray for one thing or another... and the idiocy in all of it. I need new friends. I need to move away. I just know that is what I am going to have to do.

I have seriously thought of moving to Austin, Texas. I've already begun a search there for places to live and cost of living information.

Yeah... "blaming the ignorance of others." You're right! It is so hard not to be angry. I don't want to waste away. I can see that I am, though! Thanks for pointing that out.

I am going to have to move, I think. I am going to have to leave all of my acquaintances, friends and family behind and start over. To remain where I am is a place that leaves my Life feeling superficial, really. I need to make some changes.

Thanks for being forthright and honest. I can actually do something with your advice. Much appreciated.

....... Hal.

It seems that I have much to weigh. It is difficult to realize right now what the possible consequences will be for me to make such profound changes in my life. Moving to Austin, Texas where I will know no one and to leave everyone I know behind seems drastic, yet liberating. On one hand, I am alone already. On the other hand, it seems to me that a whole new Life awaits me elsewhere that in some way predicts a state of well-being, provided that I find healthy like-minded people in Austin, Texas who offer an equal amount of solace by simply being surrounded by them. I can only hope that I am correct in my assumption that moving away from an oppressive atmosphere of religious nationals is the social and personal liberation that I need to feel prosperous and emotionally tranquil.

I suppose I had better begin a "pro" and "con" list of moving and living in Austin, Texas. I hear it is a great place t live, though! Moving there alone might be a different thing altogether, however. I just dont know what to do at this point.

Hal-- I was so happy to read your posts, and am glad to hear you are well. When I wrote to you, I had no idea how old you might be or what economic constraints you might have, or even where in the world you might be! So you are thinking of moving to Austin? That is wonderful! I must admit I am jealous in a way. I am guessing you must be single and rather young. If so, then your youth is a much stronger advantage than you could ever guess.

Being alone ON YOUR OWN TERMS is a really liberating feeling. When you can start organizing your life in a way that actually makes sense to you, well it is a very satisfying feeling.

I will check back here in case you update with new info. All my best wishes are with you. There are sane people in the world! Seize the day Hal!

Is there any way you could somehow make "safe" commentary with your family without starting an argument? I know, its REALLY hard to do, but it works!

I have a family member who is also one of my best friends, yet is a complete religious whacko. Now, I could care less what her religious views are, and usually they don't even come up between us. 90% of the time, religion is a non-issue and we agree to disagree, which is the way it should be! We can still be friends despite such a vast difference in world view.

However, I call her a "whacko" because a believer is just a believer to me - its none of my business - but once they feel compelled to open their mouths and spew some crap at/to me it makes them a whacko, rude, and now its become my business.

She volunteers at the county jail and spends her free time converting felons. How this is approved by a government entity, I will never know. But I live in the Bible Belt so it is to be expected. [on a side note, I also think its funny how people like her have to rely on the homeless, starving people in Africa, and convicted felons for converts. You know, understandibly unhappy people. You never hear about people volunteering at the Country Club!]

Anyway, she was telling me about one of the Bible study classes she was doing with the jailbirds and she was retelling them the story about some blind guy [I know a lot of Bible stories, but I'd never heard this one]. She said that the guy was blind because "God punishes you because of your sins. What had this man done to become blind?"

So they discussed it and came to some sort of conclusion about what the man could have possibly done for God to strike him blind [I wasn't listening]. Then, she encouraged her group to speak up and confess, in front of everyone, ways that God has punished them for their sins.

One woman says that she contracted hepatitis from sharing dirty heroin needles. Another said her baby was born with cerebral palsy because she had done drugs while pregnant. [I think it is harmful to tell these people that God has done this to them. It is completely taking out the personal cause-and-effect. God didn't do it to them...they did it to THEMSELVES!!!]

So she was telling me this because she was completely taken aback by the answers her class had given her. She said she wasn't expecting answers so graphic, so vile, so honest. She said that she didn't really want to hear about all of those bad things in the world, because now they were weighing hard on her heart.

She asked me, "How in the world did I get myself into this?"

I replied, "Yeah....God punishes you for your sins." [LOL]

So I was able to tell her with one quick sentence that I don't approve of her preying on the inmates, I don't approve of what she was doing with them that day, and I used her own logic against her. But I did it in a "safe" way so that it sounded more like a "joke" ending and no one's feelings got hurt. She just stared at me, stopped talking, and she hasn't mentioned it to me again.

Now we can get on with our lives!!!

On saying that, I completely understand where you are coming from. Remember that you are not alone. Out of 100 relatives, have you noticed that there may be one or two who seems unnaturally quiet during get togethers? You never know...there may be another rebel among you!!!

GenXY said, "I have a family member who is also one of my best friends, yet is a complete religious whacko."

Atheists don't refer to people who are just believers as a wacko.

GenXY said, Now, I could care less what her religious views are, and usually they don't even come up between us. 90% of the time, religion is a non-issue and we agree to disagree, which is the way it should be! We can still be friends despite such a vast difference in world view.

If you could care less why are you calling her whacko? People who have vast difference in worldviews can be civil to one another, but are very rarely best friends, because the term best friends indicate simpatico. What you are writing makes no sense.

GenXY said, "However, I call her a "whacko" because a believer is just a believer to me - its none of my business - but once they feel compelled to open their mouths and spew some crap at/to me it makes them a whacko, rude, and now its become my business."

Well, first you say you call her whacko because a believer is just a believer (why call her whacko) then you say you refer to people who spew their beliefs at you whacko. If 90% of the time religion doesn't come up why are you calling her whacko? This whole thing is whacko.

GenXY said, "She volunteers at the county jail and spends her free time converting felons. How this is approved by a government entity, I will never know. But I live in the Bible Belt so it is to be expected. [on a side note, I also think its funny how people like her have to rely on the homeless, starving people in Africa, and convicted felons for converts. You know, understandibly unhappy people. You never hear about people volunteering at the Country Club!]"

UNDERSTANDABLY most of their fanatic domes are built in neighborhoods where the wealthiest people live.

GenXY said, "Anyway, she was telling me about one of the Bible study classes she was doing with the jailbirds and she was retelling them the story about some blind guy [I know a lot of Bible stories, but I'd never heard this one]. She said that the guy was blind because "God punishes you because of your sins. What had this man done to become blind?"

The Innocence Project is a national litigation and public policy organization dedicated to exonerating wrongfully convicted people through DNA testing, and since they started many people have been proven innocent who were on death row, wrongfully convicted of crimes they didn't commit.

I guess you think "atheists" refer to incarcerated people as jailbirds, they don't. The terms you are using do not depict the views of most informed people. Unlike George Bush who said, "there are no innocent people on death row" intelligent people know there are people who have been proven with DNA testing to have been wrongfully convicted of crimes that they didn't commit.

GenXY said, "So they discussed it and came to some sort of conclusion about what the man could have possibly done for God to strike him blind [I wasn't listening]. Then, she encouraged her group to speak up and confess, in front of everyone, ways that God has punished them for their sins. One woman says that she contracted hepatitis from sharing dirty heroin needles. Another said her baby was born with cerebral palsy because she had done drugs while pregnant. [I think it is harmful to tell these people that God has done this to them. It is completely taking out the personal cause-and-effect. God didn't do it to them...they did it to THEMSELVES!!!]"

I can't imagine what an atheist would have in common with a dimwit like this. Your very best friend?

GenXY said, "So she was telling me this because she was completely taken aback by the answers her class had given her. She said she wasn't expecting answers so graphic, so vile, so honest. She said that she didn't really want to hear about all of those bad things in the world, because now they were weighing hard on her heart."

A person without training working with people who are that sick is unfair to them. I feel sorry for them that they didn't get the medical and professional counseling that they really needed.

GenXY said, "She asked me, "How in the world did I get myself into this? I replied, "Yeah....God punishes you for your sins." [LOL] So I was able to tell her with one quick sentence that I don't approve of her preying on the inmates, I don't approve of what she was doing with them that day, and I used her own logic against her. But I did it in a "safe" way so that it sounded more like a "joke" ending and no one's feelings got hurt. She just stared at me, stopped talking, and she hasn't mentioned it to me again."

According xian scripture Matt. 7:1 her sin was - "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone " I assume she's heard that, but no Xian can really do it.

GenXY said, "Now we can get on with our lives!!!"

You didn't tell her what was really wrong with what she was doing, so what was the point? Oh! You can still be friends with a whacko. There is no reason that an atheist would sit there and listen to these kinds of little lectures, and examples of the Xian love and charity. Your grandstanding for theists is very obvious. You also don't seem to say, what everyone knows, xians go after your jugular if you disagree with them. That's ok I did it for you.

Now you can get on with your life!

GenXY,

I can relate to you cause I too have friends and families that choose religion over reality. So don't listen to or be discouraged by the dumbass things that people such as John from the above post hates on. Every time someone says that they have a religious friend, assholes like John will automatically start making unfounded accusations and demonize someone for what? Saying you have a theist friend or that you sat through a bible story? It's nonsense that this is so offensive to these fucktards. I don't think these idiots realize that some of these religious folks are also loved ones. These are legitimate experiences that some atheists have in daily life. You'd have to be some paranoid atheist screwball to think what John is implying that you are doing, so the best you can do is ignore them.

Your family member/best friend sounds like she has to reconcile some big problems with her faith. Even though she is unwilling to listen to you, maybe someday she might reanalyze her beliefs and you would be a good support if she ever shed those beliefs. Stay firm on using reason and evidence when deciding on what is real and fantasy and you'll never go wrong. If you guys truly care about each other and the honesty and joking around is not detrimental to the relationship that you already have then I wouldn't worry about calling her a wacko or if she calls you a heathen. As long as there is an understanding and mutual respect, you'll be fine. Respect not for what belief one has but respect for each other in general.

> All of my relatives are religious believers... I am the only atheist. It is driving me iNSaNE!

So... you're becoming religious, too?

scnr

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