Losing Faith Could Mean Losing Your Family

I had previously posted about Michael Amini and his story of leaving the Mormon faith.

Dr. Valerie Tarico uses that piece as a starting point for discussing how losing one’s faith can also mean losing your family. You can read it at The Huffington Post.

Many who lose religion muddle along in silent shame — wanting to believe, praying desperately for doubts to be removed, blaming themselves and fending off images of eternal torture before finally giving up the fight. Granted, some lucky few simply flip a bit, but others find themselves dragged reluctantly into an internal conflict takes years.

Most religions implant psychological safeguards against apostasy, little emotional bombs of fear, guilt, shame and self-loathing that get triggered by the mere act of questioning. In religious orthodoxy, doubt is the domain of fools. It is the consequence of having hardened your heart like Pharaoh or resenting God’s power like Lucifer. Oh ye of little faith!

…in the absence of dramatic evidence to the contrary, we are all taught to think of religion as harmless.

It’s time to give up the illusion.

(via The Huffington Post)


[tags]atheist, atheism[/tags]

  • Mriana

    I’ve read this and I think Valerie is right on target. I’ve only “peeked out of the closet” with my relatives, but it’s not shame or guilt- it’s fear of their reaction, because they’ve already shown me some of it. My mother would/will blame it on getting an education and she would be right, but I wanted to be educated.

    I also think it’s a shame more psychologists are not delving in this area. I agree with Valerie that religion has some dangerous and damaging ideas that need to be irradicated and it needs to start with psychologists and other people of academia. Not that people like my mother and aunt will listen- they won’t, but it would be a start for future generations.

  • Karen

    Most religions implant psychological safeguards against apostasy, little emotional bombs of fear, guilt, shame and self-loathing that get triggered by the mere act of questioning. In religious orthodoxy, doubt is the domain of fools. It is the consequence of having hardened your heart like Pharaoh or resenting God’s power like Lucifer. Oh ye of little faith!

    Wow – that’s the best description of this phenomenon that I’ve ever seen. Excellent!

  • http://ranaban.blogspot.com RNB

    “Most religions implant psychological safeguards against apostasy, little emotional bombs of fear, guilt, shame and self-loathing”

    Some religions implant psychological safeguards against apostasy, little actual bombs of harassment, imprisonment, torture and execution.

    Of course that could not happen today in the United States or in nations that are friends of the United States?

  • TXatheist

    I recommend http://www.exmormon.org for those leaving mormonism and the bulletin boards there are full of wonderful people. I also got to learn the secret mormon handshake there, no joking.

  • Josha

    This is a big reason why there needs to be more atheists groups out there: to dispel the myth that we’re horrible people and as a welcoming place for people leaving and questioning their faith.

    The reason why I haven’t told my family or friends is because I’m afraid of their reaction. I’ve been telling myself I will do it but when the time comes I can’t seem to make the words come out. I’ve heard them talk about nonbelievers before and I don’t want that prejudice piled on me as well. I hope that they will change their minds when they see what a thoughtful and honest person I am (but I still worry).

  • Kevin L.

    I am a senior undergraduate at university who graduates in May. Thereafter I will hopefully have a full-time job and will be supporting myself financially. At that point it doesn’t matter whether or not my parents and relatives know that I’m an atheist.

    I don’t think that my parents would be the type to kick me out. But I’ve read too many stories about non-believing people being disowned to not exercise some caution. After all, my parents completely flipped out when my brother said that he was leaving the Catholic church – and he still attends non-denominational church services.

  • Beleaver

    It’s amazing that for individuals that are so hard-line unbelievers you fight your whole lives against something you say is not real. You then blame and accuse others of forcing their beliefs upon you, yet you are so blind you do not see you are yourself hierocrats by forceing what you belave upon those that do not share your same views. stop judging those and telling those that do hope in something better that it is a lie. suffer not the children and we are all children if you think about it and if you think you know the answer then why are you not all powerful and why don’t you just go out and yell it to everyone I am God because you know deep down there is a God and you are nothing but a speck of sand.
    Stop trying to convince yourself that you are a higher lifeform that need no guidance. You say there is no God and that if there is then show him to you. Ask yourself every time you say I Love You if there is love…..Do you see it, Do you hear it, Do you feel it? it is the same with God you may not see him feel him are hear him but it does not mean he is not there. and if you say if this is so then why does he not do something….
    He does but a ignorant as man is your replies are always the same if not said the same STOP TRYING TO RUN MY LIFE so he waits for you to ask and do not expect to receive that which you do not need Jesus never handled money and if you say he did you need to read the words carefully someone always handled it for him and he never asked for himself but for others for he was content with what he had. I think it is time for you to open your eyes are stop trying to deceive others into believing what you so whole heartily do. Man has enough pain and sorrow without you wanting to bring more disappointment into their hearts as well.


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