Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Going back INTO the Atheist Closet

 



At dinner the other night, my kids made a request of me.
Could we please go into the closet as atheists.

We have lost friends, have been treated badly, and have experienced unpleasantness from the mouths of babes.  The kids have HAD IT with being crusaders for reality.

I asked them, Would you rather be friends with a person who would, if they knew you are an atheist, shun you?  Would you rather keep it a secret in the hopes that they will never know?

No, replied The Doctor, in the hopes that once they know us, they will love us too much to judge us.





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If you enjoyed this post you might also enjoy:
On Being an Atheist Parent

19 comments:

  1. Aww. I'm sorry to hear it's been a rough road for the kids, but I love the way you listen to them and allow them to own this and work through it. It's hard to deal with peers saying stuff like you are going to hell (has that ever happened to you all? It happened to Julian once long ago, he thought that was bizarre!) Me and the kids don't identify as anything in particular, but I have to admit I do try to steer clear of anyone who might be afraid for my soul, seems easier that way.

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  2. So odd to me, the whole idea of it mattering what religion you are or arent;) I have been out of the pagan broom closet for geez, 14 years or so now. I think I must just not "talk" to the right people as I have not really ever run into issues. My children don't identify as anything but I assume with children there is more of the "oh, you are different" issue?

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  3. I'm sorry, although as much as they would love to think those people wouldn't judge them once they found out they still would. The length of time won't change some people, they will still be their same hateful selves and as hard as it -and you know I know full well that it hurts like hell- it's better to be honest and up front with people from the moment the question arises than it is to wait and loss life long friendships. I've lost friends I had, had for a few months, a few years, and one I had known since I was 11. Time rarely changes a bigot. I'm sorry your kids are having to deal with this, I'm sorry my kids will have to deal with this -I've shared that fear with you before-, and I'm sorry all kids who don't fit the "status quo" and aren't part of the popular religion, or the right orientation, or whatever reason people find to hate, I'm sorry they all have to endure it. It's not fun, in fact it's down right painful.

    But would a life in a closet be a life well lived?

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  4. I don't know who your sweet ones have run into but I'm Christian, a newbie homeschooler, introducing my wee ones to my faith but I would be horrified if either of my children would say to your children that they're going to hell. Those people do NOT speak for all Christians. I found this blog thru an atheist friend who I've known online for over 8 yrs and we just agree to disagree. I celebrate your rights and your passion to live as you choose. I'm sorry someone made you feel otherwise. Be blessed...or blessed be. :)

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    1. Beth, we also have some wonderful Christian friends.
      AND we've had enough heartbreak and unpleasantness that the kids simply asked me to tone it down...
      It has surprised us enough times that, the kids were feeling beaten down.
      Deep inside, I know that they are working hard to live lives of integrity, so I am leaving it up to them how and when to handle it.

      Peace!
      Karen

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  5. I just found your blog and I am also a homeschooling atheist momma to teens and live in MO. I too have lost friends...but also made new ones....real ones... and have surprising had a couple old ones return after they realized I was still the same person I had always been. I have been atheist many years but usually am not vocal about it unless asked. I tend to think its my business and no one else's. It doesn't define me and really isn't on my radar most of the time. There's so many other adjectives I'd use to describe myself! I am proud of who I am though and proud of my children, who I am raising to be free thinking individuals (my daughter is a christian...my oldest son is an atheist and my younger set is undecided)
    Keep on being you...regardless of others....its your life and a life well lived! Looking forward to checking out your blog and following you on your adventures!

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  6. You're in the States, right? I'm really shocked by how religious the US is. It's not like that in Canada, not even here in the Prairie Bible Belt. I'm not exactly an atheist, but I'm not a Christian either, or anything. Just curious about what things might be out there that I'm not able to percieve.

    I think you're going to find things quite different in Australia.

    Somebody give me an AMEN?! ;-)

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    1. A big ole' AMEN from me ;) I grew up in S. Georgia.. firmly in the buckle o the bible belt. I lived all over the US and found that to one degree or another, it is still like that no matter where you go. I moved to Australia 12years ago (I know, aren't I lucky! lol) and it is SO much LESS like that here! The first question people ask is NOT what church you go to lol...

      Karen, you're going to enjoy that aspect of living down here! And the hs group in the area where you're going to be is very welcoming.. lots of the families may be religious, but it rarely comes up if ever!

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  7. Wow. That is heart-wrenching. Madcap may be right -- you're likely to find Australia to be a more secular society.

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  8. Wow, I was quite shocked to read this. If other kids treat my kids badly I suggest they stop hanging out with them. Have your kids been trying to convert others to their beliefs? Because that wouldn't be so cool, but if they are being kind and gentle, their spiritual belief is a huge park of them, and does need to be accepted. Be all of who you are. Xx

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    1. No, they are absolutely not trying to convert people! They hate talking about it!

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    2. Oh gosh, that is so horrible that other kids are treating your kids badly for something they don't even like talking about. Hope they find some lovely friends to hang out with who accept them for who they are.
      xx

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    3. So do I, Michelle!
      Are you anywhere near Brisbane?
      We're going to be in the Ormeau area. How do we pronounce that by the way...LOL?

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    4. It's ORmow basically Karen :) That is the among the easier place names hehehe... wait till you are confronted with Murwillumba or Woollongabba lol..

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  9. Karen, I just came across your blog today. We're fairly recently out of the atheist closet. I outed us through some local activism for church-state separation. So far I haven't heard any requests from my kids to go back in the closet. I think my eldest(almost 9) is actually relieved that we're out. He has a strong need to be real and not feel that he is hiding parts of himself. Of course, that could change; my kids are still fairly young. Anyway, I look forward to reading through the rest of your blog, and I invite you to check out mine, about unschooling and living as an atheist in the (U.S.) bible belt: http://www.whattotelltheneighbors.blogspot.com

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    1. Suzanne, my son is particularly full of integrity, but, at the time of this post, was feeling VERY beaten down and disheartened. They had both been getting some negative backlash and simply wanted it to GO AWAY.
      It isn't really possible for us to be in the closet. We are far too invested in being "real" and honest. Besides, now that we are in Brisbane, we have found SO many secular families!

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    2. Glad you've met some other secular families in Brisbane. And I completely understand your children's feelings. For several weeks after I outed myself, I woke up with a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. An I'm an adult--I can't imagine how much harder it must be to face all that with less life experience to draw upon.

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    3. The kids have never been 'in the closet', actually.
      I, however, came out of the closet and found it completely nerve-wracking!

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