Another pet peeve I have is how many Christians immediately think the worst of you and start shunning you when they hear the word atheist. I’ve gone through some lengths to show (albeit not scientific research) that my experience has shown that often the least nice people in life are religious while some of the best are not. This isn’t a die hard rule of course. I know great people, friends and family, who are religious and yet are wonderful kind people.
My reading of the Bible, particularly of Jesus life, is that if anything, Christians should be loving on those who don’t believe and not be afraid of them or hateful toward them. I’m happy to be your friend. I may not go to church or pray with you. But we can still hike, and go to concerts, and talk sports, debate politics, discuss relationships, and work through life’s challenges together. Sadly, many Christians seem unable to do this.
Much of what I’ve written would seem to portray my family in a negative light. I’ve simply tried to be accurate in my description of my childhood perceptions. However, to their credit, they received me surprising well after announcing that I was an atheist.
I believe I told my youngest brother first and I’d say we have an equal or better relationship than before. Same is true of the rest of my family. Part of it probably had to do with the fact that I was living as an atheist for a couple of years before I told them. Thus it was this double life of trying to appear somewhat Christian to them, but actually being non-religious. Once I was “out of the closet” I was able to be more authentic and actually connect on a deeper way. And to their credit they didn’t sabotage this or reject me (although I’m sure there are many prayers for my poor tormented soul).
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