By Anonymous —
I was born into a family of evangelical fundamentalist Christians who took an uncompromising and very literal interpretation of the bible. In hindsight I described their attitude as a strict adherence to the 11th Commandment — Thou shalt not think!
I am the only member of my extended family who does not believe and I’ve felt forced to keep this secret as the consequences would be horrific. I have tried many times to broach the subject with my family only to end in their hostility and inability to understand the points I am making. After bashing my head against a brick wall so many times I’ve accepted that I simply cannot get through to them and calling myself an atheist may as well be an admission of Satanism in their eyes.
Their religious outlook governs every aspect of their lives and dictates how they see the world such that a normal casual conversation is impossible without every word passing through their religious cognitive filter first. They accuse me of being uncommunicative when in reality they are incapable of conducting a conversation without injecting their faith into it. Likewise, as I always know their opinion before I even ask them there is no point seeking their advice as I already know it.
Growing up, I quickly learned that it was pointless coming to my parents with my problems as their advice was invariably “pray to God” — which was a cop-out way of pretending to be helpful while doing nothing. Countless times I’ve endured their barbed remarks and vitriol without replying in kind.
I’m weary of hearing them preach love and compassion yet practice bigotry and intolerance, I’m weary of the religious frenzy they whip themselves into — convinced that Christ is coming today, just as every Christian has for the past 2,000 years. I’m weary of the same tiresome arguments and their failure to even listen to my objections.
I left home at age 18 as I felt my only choice was to escape with what sanity I had remaining or become as they were, and I’ve never regretted this. Sometimes I think that if I had been born into a more enlightened and liberal Christian family I might still be a believer.