Right now I am sitting with the reality that I am losing people in my life over god. I am not the type of person who likes to go around offending people. I care what people think of me more than I care to admit. I knew when I started this blog that it was only a matter of time before I would have to be more open, and I walked into this fully prepared to lose people.

It’s different when it starts happening.

In most areas of my life religion is meaningless. Most people I encounter don’t care what anyone believes about god. Existing in that world makes me wonder why I bother talking about this topic to the point of upsetting anyone. But this is why. It may be the single thing that inspired me to write my very first post here.

To some people belief is everything. Just a hint of disbelief can be enough to discard a friendship. And if you have family members who feel this way? I don’t know what happens, I’m still waiting to find out. Many Christians will hold out hope for you unless you confirm it for them. Should they read this blog, I suppose that’s pretty good confirmation.

When I share this part of my life with Christian friends, I will be breaking bad news to them. I will have to fight the urge to apologize. It’s weird how Christians never need to “break the news” of found faith. And then what happens after I tell them? I wait. Some I will lose right away, no further questions asked. Others will disappear more gradually. Some will want to fight for my soul.

I will be at best a victim and at worst a villain. But I will certainly be pitied.

And I am angry about it. I don’t deserve it. My inability to believe in god is so insignificant, and yet here I am making myself sick over the anticipation of what is about to happen in yet another relationship. It’s going to be traumatic and it will all feel unnecessary, but I will be dragged through it anyway. I will explain myself, even though I was never obligated to be anything for them. If you have followed my blog, you may notice I have become an expert at explaining myself.

But that won’t be enough. I’ll still be wrong because I don’t believe. It will be my fault that there is conflict. It will be me who is accused of persecuting Christians for my lack of faith and decision to write about it. My feelings will be secondary, because between an atheist and a Christian? The atheist has always been the bad guy.

 

12 thoughts on “Thoughts of a Villain

  1. It always grieves me when I see people go through this, It’s been 10 years since I deconverted and I’m still losing people in my life. I think, after a while, you become somewhat desensitized simply because so predictable. Research has really helped me to better understand what’s happening in the minds of believers.

    Besides the lies they’ve been fed in church and in the Bible about us “heathens”, a recent study found that thinking about atheism actually increased thoughts of death in believers – to the same extent as thinking about death itself. We are a reminder of their mortality.

    Losing my social network, friends, some family members, jobs, and even my marriage has been the price I’ve paid for walking away from my cultural belief system. But I’ve never looked back with regret.

    Stay strong. We are here to provide any support we can. My email is in my gravatar. Feel free to email me anytime.

    *hug*

    1. Thank you 🙂 Having been a Christian it is both a blessing and curse to understand where they are coming from. I’m glad to understand, but it also means I know exactly what I am up against. It is definitely helpful to have connected with so many others who have had the same experiences. Just another reason documenting our thoughts is worthwhile.

  2. This is precisely the reason I am scared out of my mind to “break the news,” even to my old friends from high school whom I don’t really ever see any more. I am scared to death of becoming the bad guy.

    I very much feel for you. Sadly, I feel as though there is precious little I can do besides encouraging you to stay strong! I know I have said it before, but you have continually been an inspiration in my path.

    1. Oh, I feel the same way about old high school friends. We stay linked mostly through Facebook these days, but I know some will unfriend me immediately and that will be it. Logically I know these aren’t the friends who matter, but it still feels terrible to be discarded so easily. One of my oldest friends, who doesn’t even know I’m an atheist, is already ignoring me just because of something I said that wasn’t pro-Christian enough. And I thought she would be one who stuck around. Maybe not….

      But right now I am most concerned about a potential leak to family. I wasn’t ready for that yet and I think it is going to be bad. Of course, I knew what I was getting into. Thank you for your encouragement, it means a lot!

  3. I’m the one on who’s post you have recently commented on. Ma’am I can’t even start telling how much your comment has impacted my life. You were so absolutely right about what you said about Homosexuality. I certainly have changed my perception towards the subject. I have to apologize to you if my post has created any sort of discomfort or melancholy within you. I feel this awful because this is certainly not the reason why I have created the blog. I admit that I had a vague understanding of the subject. I’ve deleted the post because my perception was not right. And I wouldn’t want to mislead people into anything. I’ve also made a pact with myself that I would meet and socialize with at least a few homosexuals and get to know their anguish. I believe not every person who’s a believer in Christ mocks at Homosexuality. It is a disgrace that most of them do.
    Also about your family, I’ve traveled 80 miles just to meet an evangelist and explained your situation to him. I don’t know if you’re an Atheist or a Believer. But I did what the conscience inside me wanted to. I would just like you to know that there are a handful of people from my place (India) who are praying for you and your family. And if you have a Bible with you I’d like you to read the following scripture i.e. (John 9), That is what God showed me when I was deliberating about your question. And also thank you for taking time to go through my post. Thank you for your comment as it made a huge difference in my life.
    #CogentConscience

    1. Thank you for letting me know this, it means a great deal. I am always encouraged by Christians who seek compassion over judgment; if more were able to do this we would have fewer faith conflicts.

      The interesting thing about John 9 for me is verse 41: Jesus said, “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim to see, your guilt remains.” As a Christian I would have pointed to this verse while discussing Christian hypocrisy within the church. Many continue in their old ways and just ask for forgiveness again and again, but if you know the truth you would turn from these sins and find them detestable.

      I no longer believe in god, and during those years when I was losing faith this verse took on a whole new meaning. Until I was able to let go of god completely, it was a spotlight of guilt. I am the one who knows the truth but is turning her back. Had I come out a believer again I am sure I would have also come to believe that Jesus understood my faith crisis, but the bible doesn’t necessarily confirm that. Anyway, I appreciate your thoughts and response. I wish you luck on your own path.

  4. “Coming out” as an atheist will be a good screening opportunity for those who are worthy of your continued friendship to be honest. I suspect some of your Christian friends would be offended by that statement…(when I was a Christian I probably would have been).

    I deconverted at the ripe old age of 30-ish, and that was 20+ years ago. There was certainly no internet support around then, but very luckily my husband (who was a Baptist minister at the time), deconverted also. ..then returned to his original occupation as a Clinical Psychologist. He was my saving grace, as I was his. Our social network of friends and support dropped to about 3 people when we left. It was hard, I won’t lie. We weren’t vilified (at least not to our faces), but the few that stuck by us proved the depth of their friendship and I will cherish them forever.

    The people you need around you atm are those who trust and respect that you’re more than capable of figuring out what’s best for you…tho of course that is a life long journey. I’ve only just discovered your blog..I think thru Charles? Anyhow..it’s great that you have a place like this where you can journal openly and have plenty of support while you’re at it.
    ….I look forward to reading more of your posts.
    Cheers (real name Kathy..from Australia).

    1. We are lucky to have a wonderful secular support system. The friends that really matter already know, so really it is telling family that will be difficult. A few old friends will be a disappointment, but the sting of their rejection will soon pass. The strange thing is that I have been comfortable with my thoughts on god for a long time now. I just never admitted it to those who would care, because it didn’t seem to matter. But more and more I find myself in situations where I have strong opinions about religious matters and I cannot freely express my thoughts. I have a lot to say and I want to talk about it. So coming out is a new experience for me. I guess I am glad I didn’t do it during a time when I still felt so unsure about my faith. It will be easier now that I am certain where I stand with god. Thank you for your warm thoughts 🙂

      1. Yeah, coming out to family is a whole another level isn’t it. It was the most painful part for me, especially in R/T my mother. I’m sure the fact you’re more confident in your beliefs now will help you when coming out to your family. I wish you well with that, I really do.

    2. It does sound like it was a lot harder to deconvert in the days before the internet. I think it is still tough today, with all the resources we have. Since I am i, the mid 50’s myself now, it is difficult to let go, and I really have not completely. I am open right now very open to a godless Cosmos, but not quite ready to adopt materialism, which a godless Cosmos assumes. I also am not ready to quit going to Church yet. I hope this blog serves as a tool to help some folks with doubts to possibly deconvert.

  5. Great blog. You’re a thoughtful and skilled writer and I enjoy reading your posts. Not allowing myself to play the villain or victim in other people’s narrative has been one of my struggles as I’ve become open about my atheism.

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