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Telling My Atheist Parents That I Am A Christian

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Hello everyone

 

I am on my way to discovering God and Christ and I feel very, very drawn to progressive Christianity.

I am very happy with this discovery but I am quite sure that my parents will not be.

They raised me atheist and I really don't know how to go about telling them about my potential new found faith.

 

Does anyone have any suggestions or tips? Has anyone gone through this?

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You know your parents better than anyone else, so you need to ask your voice of reason. But, it seems to me when someone is very excited about a newly found spiritual path (or any other path for that matter), and they suspect they are about to get cold water thrown in their face, it might be wise to hold back for a while.

 

You have no obligation to share your spiritual life with any other human. It's an "inside" job, so it will manifest (hopefully) to others in the manner in which you live your life.

 

Peace,

Steve

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Either your parents will understand or they won't.

 

You are not entering into a relationship with your parents, you already have one with them. But here is a question or two ... are you seeking a god because you are entering a relationship with your Christian partner? Will he love you any less regardless of your beliefs or lack thereof? Will you (both) be happy?

 

In Karen Armstrong's The Case for God, she had one concept I heartily agreed with, she was gently admonishing Christians for focussing on their belief whereas Christians 'should' be focussing on their actions. This is of course true for those that have a lack of belief or an active disbelief.

 

So both from a parental and partnership point of view, never mind beliefs, what are your actions going to look like?

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Hi there, it certainly is a sign of the times that - apparently - your parents are OK and accepting of the fact you are gay yet you worry about revealing your leanings towards Christianity. You say your parents will not be "happy" so that is all I have to go on. Like Christianity itself, Atheism has many mansions, from Militant to By Default.

 

It is difficult for me to presume to offer tips as I tend to stumble along myself, often looking around for any tips on just how to take the next step. Happily I tend to be moved less and less by whatever judgement or reaction others have.

 

In your first post you said that you wanted to be a Christian if you are able to. ​I only have the words to go on, but to me they imply you envisage some sort of standard to achieve, to live up to. I can only speak for myself by saying that such a way of seeing things invites trouble. I have known it. For me it is about acceptance, pure and simple.

 

In Buddhism there is the distinction drawn between being a Buddhist and being a Buddha. Everyone loves a Buddha, but Buddhists tend to either bore others or drive them crazy.

 

Anyway, I am beginning to waffle. Best of luck.

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You know your parents better than anyone else, so you need to ask your voice of reason. But, it seems to me when someone is very excited about a newly found spiritual path (or any other path for that matter), and they suspect they are about to get cold water thrown in their face, it might be wise to hold back for a while.

 

You have no obligation to share your spiritual life with any other human. It's an "inside" job, so it will manifest (hopefully) to others in the manner in which you live your life.

 

Peace,

Steve

 

Well, I want to wait but right now I am literally hiding my Bible and not reading the Bible out loud when my parents are upstairs, in case they could hear.

I'm not very comfortable with that but I'm also not comfortable with having to explain myself and sort of avoid the truth as well as avoid lying. I also don't want to deny following or wanting to follow Christ, as I don't believe that is right.

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Either your parents will understand or they won't.

 

You are not entering into a relationship with your parents, you already have one with them. But here is a question or two ... are you seeking a god because you are entering a relationship with your Christian partner? Will he love you any less regardless of your beliefs or lack thereof? Will you (both) be happy?

 

In Karen Armstrong's The Case for God, she had one concept I heartily agreed with, she was gently admonishing Christians for focussing on their belief whereas Christians 'should' be focussing on their actions. This is of course true for those that have a lack of belief or an active disbelief.

 

So both from a parental and partnership point of view, never mind beliefs, what are your actions going to look like?

 

My partner is female and I am female also.

Anyway, she didn't mind me not believing but it is through her and her church that I started to become interested in the scriptures and now that I am reading them I really feel like it is something I want to follow and find purpose in.

 

I agree that I should focus on my actions and making them as Christian as possible, but this really is about not wanting to lie nor deny Christ when I fully accept him. I am now, as I said in a reply to another user, literally hiding my Bible.

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Hi there, it certainly is a sign of the times that - apparently - your parents are OK and accepting of the fact you are gay yet you worry about revealing your leanings towards Christianity. You say your parents will not be "happy" so that is all I have to go on. Like Christianity itself, Atheism has many mansions, from Militant to By Default.

 

It is difficult for me to presume to offer tips as I tend to stumble along myself, often looking around for any tips on just how to take the next step. Happily I tend to be moved less and less by whatever judgement or reaction others have.

 

In your first post you said that you wanted to be a Christian if you are able to. ​I only have the words to go on, but to me they imply you envisage some sort of standard to achieve, to live up to. I can only speak for myself by saying that such a way of seeing things invites trouble. I have known it. For me it is about acceptance, pure and simple.

 

In Buddhism there is the distinction drawn between being a Buddhist and being a Buddha. Everyone loves a Buddha, but Buddhists tend to either bore others or drive them crazy.

 

Anyway, I am beginning to waffle. Best of luck.

 

Well, I am not at the point where I'd confidently call myself a Christian as I feel like I don't know enough about the scriptures yet to do so. It is just that I feel that one day I'll probably be at that point, but I just really don't want to hide things from my parents and lie. I really don't find that correct...

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I like your thinking. The right time will come along, and even if there is a bit of a fuss for a while familes usually come back together.

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.I agree that I should focus on my actions and making them as Christian as possible, but this really is about not wanting to lie nor deny Christ when I fully accept him. I am now, as I said in a reply to another user, literally hiding my Bible.

 

My apologies on my assumption ...

 

Personally I am an agnostic and not really of any faith other than there is a reality beyond my perception and that my perception is at least to some extent a reflection of that reality. So based on what I have seen the Progressive Christian faith is a reasonable model to base one's actions. I think acceptance in the sense of understanding is a reasoned path to take. That is not to say we will not have adversaries (humans and situations) in our lives and we will have to interact and deal with, be one with etc.

 

You will find that at this forum people will draw from various traditions and texts, not just Biblical when they want to make a point. Again personally I am skeptical of the traditional personal Christian God. I accept Christ as a myth, and here I am not being derogatory. I don't know whether Jesus existed or not, but I certainly don't believe in any literal interpretations. The tricky bit is how to interpret these myths and you will have no end of fun working out your own interpretations.

 

Can I suggest The Power of Myth by Joseph Campbell (the coffee table version) It originally was a TV series on PBS and is available from libraries on DVD. It gives an interesting view on how to handle our major religious texts. I did not agree with much of what Campbell wrote but it was interesting nevertheless.

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My apologies on my assumption ...

 

Personally I am an agnostic and not really of any faith other than there is a reality beyond my perception and that my perception is at least to some extent a reflection of that reality. So based on what I have seen the Progressive Christian faith is a reasonable model to base one's actions. I think acceptance in the sense of understanding is a reasoned path to take. That is not to say we will not have adversaries (humans and situations) in our lives and we will have to interact and deal with, be one with etc.

 

You will find that at this forum people will draw from various traditions and texts, not just Biblical when they want to make a point. Again personally I am skeptical of the traditional personal Christian God. I accept Christ as a myth, and here I am not being derogatory. I don't know whether Jesus existed or not, but I certainly don't believe in any literal interpretations. The tricky bit is how to interpret these myths and you will have no end of fun working out your own interpretations.

 

Can I suggest The Power of Myth by Joseph Campbell (the coffee table version) It originally was a TV series on PBS and is available from libraries on DVD. It gives an interesting view on how to handle our major religious texts. I did not agree with much of what Campbell wrote but it was interesting nevertheless.

 

As I see my faith evolving now, I don't think I'll ever believe in a literal interpretation of the biblical texts. I really find using the God, Jesus and the Bible as a sort of guiding light, a sort of way of life very interesting and very useful. Will I ever believe that Jesus walked on water? No, I'm pretty sure I'll never get to that point but I do find it very interesting to find the different possible meanings of parables and texts extremely interesting as well as sharing those interpretations with other people and talking about them.

 

I will check that out once I do not have to study anymore. Thank you for the tip!

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I will check that out once I do not have to study anymore. Thank you for the tip!

 

Hope the studying goes well ... A couple of Campbell quotes and a story I like to whet your appetite:

 

There seem to be only two kinds of people: Those who think that metaphors are facts, and those who know that they are not facts. Those who know they are not facts are what we call "atheists," and those who think they are facts are "religious." Which group really gets the message?

 

Religion turns poetry into prose.

 

 

In one such story, Campbell recalled that as he emerged from a banquet he was approached by a member of a religious cult who asked, “Do you believe in God?” Campbell replied, “Young man, I don’t think you know the implications of that question. I’m acquainted with hundreds of gods. (But) I think I know the one you’re talking about. I believe in Him, too.”

The cultist then asked, “Sir, are you an atheist?” and Campbell replied, “I don’t think you can call a person an atheist who believes in as many gods as I do.”

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If you can tell them in English just speak slowly. "I....am.....a.....theist...." ;)

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One possibility is to let your parents know that you are studying religion, specifically Christianity, but you (if you do) remain an a-theist in that a traditional theistic understanding doesn't speak to you (perhaps even because of your upbringing). Atheism and pantheism are sometimes seen as polar opposites and radically different 'answers' to theism. There is a middle way called pan-en-theism (God in the world) and many (not all) who call themselves progressives Christians seem to express themselves in its terms.

 

There are great theologian out there to read, one is a guy named John Hick; I would recommend his 'The Metaphor of God Incarnate.' This is very readable and an amazing intro to a non-theistic approach to Jesus.

 

Best of Luck and feel free as you read and study this and/or other books, to pose questions or offer thoughts for comment.

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You say you're looking to Jesus and the bible more as a guiding light as how to live your life. I wonder if your parents would be as concerned about that perhaps compared to say being a Christian believer who believes you must accept Jesus as a persona saviour or you're going to Hell etc etc. Perhaps as atheists that might be more their concern rather than whether you're using this or that philosophy to help you through life. Perhaps.

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People gave you some great advice. I just have to say you believe in the consciousness of Christ so you can say you are a Christian, but having said that you don't have to say a thing, live the mind of Christ and you don't have to say a word. People who are trying so hard to make others Christian are really trying to convince themselves because they have doubt. You are feeling something enjoy it and the ride and people, your parents will feel the joy, let them enjoy it too.

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People gave you some great advice. I just have to say you believe in the consciousness of Christ so you can say you are a Christian, but having said that you don't have to say a thing, live the mind of Christ and you don't have to say a word. People who are trying so hard to make others Christian are really trying to convince themselves because they have doubt. You are feeling something enjoy it and the ride and people, your parents will feel the joy, let them enjoy it too.

 

If I gave the impression that I want them to be Christians, then you've got it all wrong because I really don't. I just want to stop hiding all traces of Christ and Christianity and I live at home. I live with my parents and I generally never go out on Sunday and now I would like to go to a church in the city. They are going to start asking questions and then I do not want to lie...

You are right that I don't have to say anything but that also means that I will have to lie at some point and that doesn't sit well with me.

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You say you're looking to Jesus and the bible more as a guiding light as how to live your life. I wonder if your parents would be as concerned about that perhaps compared to say being a Christian believer who believes you must accept Jesus as a persona saviour or you're going to Hell etc etc. Perhaps as atheists that might be more their concern rather than whether you're using this or that philosophy to help you through life. Perhaps.

 

Perhaps. I could try to explain it like that if I have to. They just see any type of spirituality as dumb and as something for weak people... So it worries me.

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I just want to stop hiding all traces of Christ and Christianity and I live at home. I live with my parents and I generally never go out on Sunday and now I would like to go to a church in the city. They are going to start asking questions and then I do not want to lie...

You are right that I don't have to say anything but that also means that I will have to lie at some point and that doesn't sit well with me.

 

From the gospel of Thomas

Split a piece of wood and I am there, lift the/a stone and you will find me.

 

​If I may ...If I were you I would get clear in your mind ... What you mean by Christ and by Jesus, especially if you are not taking the Bible literally. The two have different applications.

 

Also here is a link to the words we can actually ascribe to Jesus (at least according to Rex Weyler). It is short and I think makes for an really interesting insight.

 

Tot ZIens

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Perhaps. I could try to explain it like that if I have to. They just see any type of spirituality as dumb and as something for weak people... So it worries me.

 

I understand, but you won't be the first child who holds a different point of view to their parents! :)

 

But of course that doesn't take away your worry and I am only being a little light hearted.

 

If you think it will end very badly, then I think a different approach might be required than if you think your parents just simply won't be approving. I know I did plenty that my parents never approved of but they still loved me. Sometimes you just have to walk through it unfortunately.

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Firstly I'm this wonderful womans partner and secondly thank you to all of you who have given her such good advice and providing such a supportive and welcoming atmosphere.

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Firstly I'm this wonderful womans partner and secondly thank you to all of you who have given her such good advice and providing such a supportive and welcoming atmosphere.

 

:wub::wub::wub::wub::wub:

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Any "advice" given is probably less important than the spirit in which it is given.

 

Steve

 

Unless you are referring to a nice single malt, I can think of a few exceptions.

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Unless you are referring to a nice single malt, I can think of a few exceptions.

Badum tssst!

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