My Family Hates Me Because I’m An Atheist

Which I couldn’t give two shits about.

The problem I have with them having so much hatred towards me because of it, is because they’re trying to shut me up and keep me quiet. They’re calling family members, discussing my atheism among themselves, but they can’t pick up that same fucking phone and call me. Pure cowardice if you ask me.

I didn’t come out as an atheist because I hate god. I didn’t come out because my prayers weren’t answered. I didn’t come out as an atheist out of spite towards my family. I came out as an atheist because I was sick and tired of lying to myself and people around me who I truly am inside.

It’s not like I had much to lose when I did. My family is the epitome of ‘dysfunctional’ and it’s been that way long before I was thought of.

It wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be when I finally came out. My family was mad, my cousins disowned me, my little brother hates me, but I came out of it pretty much unscathed. A lot of Black atheists can’t say the same I’m sure. It’s the social idealism that all black people are religious. Who could blame them? It’s like every race besides blacks know that the very bible they make gospel videos about on BET is the very same bible used to enslave their ancestors. They hate it when I bring up that fact.

According to a Pew poll, black Americans are more likely than members of any other racial or ethnic group in the country to report a formal religious affiliation. And even among those who didn’t select a particular religion in that survey, three out of four identified as “religious unaffiliated” (meaning they didn’t choose a denomination but said religion was either somewhat or very important in their lives). That’s compared with slightly more than one-third of the unaffiliated population overall. -Pew Poll

It’s like they cover their ears while singing “La-la-la, I can’t hear you!”

Black women are the single most religious demographic in the country. – Journalist Jamila Bey

For awhile, I was like that to myself. I was telling myself that me being an atheist won’t do me any favors. It was when I got sick and fucking tired of people assuming that I was a christian all because I was black. So I simply start telling people that everyone isn’t a Christian, so don’t be so closed-minded. They were shocked, of course. A black woman that’s an atheist? They almost hurled shoes at me at one point. It wasn’t going to change who I am.

The fact that I’m a black atheist woman is a shock to most people in my atheist social group. Again, it’s that social idealism that people have of black people. Then there’s BET with their gospel shows that air every fucking Sunday and sometimes throughout the week; especially if it’s the gospel awards. It also doesn’t help that Tyler Perry isn’t making it any better. He’s the poster child for Christianity massaging in the black community. I can’t think of one of his works where god wasn’t heavily sprinkled all over it.

So add that and that America is a predominantly Christian country and you have what I call ‘A Brainwashed Nation’.

“We’re everywhere.There are a whole lot of us who are not going to nod and amen our way through things. So many of us are putting an end to that unfortunate practice. Everyone’s soon going to know us.” -Jamila Bey

I didn’t come out sooner than I did because then, I was a child. Then, I was afraid of getting my ass beat and then ousted from the family for good. I felt no matter how hard I try to get my family’s approval, them knowing I didn’t believe the same thing they did, it wouldn’t have been enough for them.

So, now that I’m out and beating my chest and baring my teeth; showing aggression against anyone who wants to shut me up, I’ll be damned if I turn around and be quieted down because a few family members hate that I’m an outspoken atheist. I’m not going to shut up for them. They didn’t show me the same respect when they were still trying to shove that religious shit down my throat after they found out, so fuck them.

Any black atheists out there that haven’t come out, yet. Please know that you’re not cowards, but don’t be afraid to stand firm. When you do decide to come out to whomever is in your life, know that there are groups and pages like mine that are willing to support you the best way we can. When you come out, you do this not just for yourself. You do it for the entire community. Your courage will give other atheists courage. Christians are bullies and I can say that with experience.

To my cousin Louis Clark who is the one who was on the phone with my grandmother a couple of days ago expressing his distaste of my atheism to my grandmother. If you happen to come across this blog, I would like to say, FUCK YOU very much. I’m not kissing you or anyone else’s ass because you’re butt-hurt about my life-choices. The only reason you even called my grandmother is because you feel threatened and you’re unsure about your beliefs. Running to my grandmother makes you a coward and I have no room for them in my life. So you can stay where you are; in Florida with wife #3. The bible has something in there about that, but I’m sure you didn’t know that.

It is a shame that so many black Americans are shackled with the religion that was imposed onto black slaves by their christian masters. The Bible taught that slavery was good and that slaves should obey their masters and that rewards would come in the (mythical) next life. Completing the emancipation process should include outgrowing the chains of Christianity and instead embracing freedom and reality.

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11 comments

  1. You bring a very good point about the social expectations and misconceptions in regards to minority women and faith. I would think it is even higher a standard and expectation being imposed on you by others of your race and culture, which is even more infuriating and frustrating. There are enough brick walls to demolish outside that bubble, but to have to break through that within your own community? Damn! I do not envy your position.

    Most definitely do not allow yourself to be hushed, censored, or silenced. At some point your anger with cool, and that is not bad because you have reached some level of closure and can then further your ideas and influence. Boundaries are huge, and eventually, folks will come around to regular dialog and discussion. Some will always just treat you with pity, but that is just deflection on their part. You know this, I know this, and most of our secular communities know this. You have support out there! Keep at it. :O)

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  2. I am still border line on the ‘I’m hated because I’m atheist’ stance. Degrees of hatred within families are rooted in steep psychological jealousy and self-hatred. My findings is that there are myriad reasons one can give for rejecting another. Not just non-belief. It could be one doesn’t listen, is perceived as a criminal or uncouth, etc. Strong family ties usually alleviates the problem. There is usually other family members who feel rejected for other reasons. Atheism is just one ‘excuse’ used.

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  3. I too am living in the Buckle on the Bible Belt and have to watch my words and enter into religion very carefully. But, not that careful, as I have a series of short paragraphs I use to “discuss” (smack the theists down) Atheism and Christianity….as follows:

    I find religion disgusting for these reasons:

    We are to worship a god who committed suicide by cop (Roman Soldier), and died for us. First of all I would NEVER ask anyone to kill themselves for me. The very idea of asking or worshiping someone who “died” for me, so I or anyone else could “escape” from Justice morally disgusting.

    We are told Jesus loves us. But, if we don’t love Jesus back, Jesus will send us to hell to suffer for all eternity. This is blackmail, extortion, and threats…worthy of the Mafia and a bunch of thugs.

    There is zero evidence that either Jesus or Christianity existed in the first or second century. This means that Jesus and Christianity is a fraud and a third and fourth century forgery, and a hoax.

    We are threatened with eternal hell if we don’t believe in their imaginary gods. The problem is Christians have no idea where hell is. If Christians are going to threaten us with “hell” shouldn’t they at least know where it is? What’s the address?

    It is bizarre and against all moral and ethical conduct to be told that human beings can be “forgiven in advance” for anything they do, simply by mouthing and mumbling a few words such as “I believe in Jesus.” Or “Jesus forgive me.” Its been stated that such serial killers like Jeffrey Dahmer and Hitler are now in heaven, because both were avowed Christians.

    The forgers who wrote the bible, obviously did not know Jewish Law…which states that no good Jew would be running around rioting, attending court proceedings, and demanding another Jew be executed by the Romans….on Passover. Therefore, its obvious who ever wrote the cruci-fiction myth was a fourth century gentile and did not know Jewish Law. Its no wonder, then, that Jews laugh at the idea of crucified Jesus as the Jewish messiah.

    When some Christian says he/she believes in god….I say. Really? Which version of god do you believe in? So far, I’ve never gotten an answer. Because they don’t know. Recently, I asked this same question of a preacher…and he refused to discuss it. One’s version of god is a product of where one is born and brainwashing.

    I use to work in a hospital and saw entire church congregations come to the pediatric cancer ward and pray for children dying with brain cancer. They got on their knees, prayed to god and Jesus, waved their hands in air, cried and begged god and Jesus to save their child. Not once did their imaginary Jesus or god “cure” a single child. One would think that after prayer did not change the course of the disease, Christians would finally figure out that “Nothing fails like prayer.”

    In the hospital and clinics, I did see children cured of various diseases. due to medical interventions, often created by Atheist scientists. However, when the parents were informed of the child’s improvement….they did not thank the doctor, the nurses, or the medical researchers, all of whom spent thousands of hours learning how to cure disease…they thanked god and Jesus. I find Christians not just delusional, but ungrateful and scurilous as human beings.

    Christianity is not only a religion that worships and focuses on death, it is a religion for cowards and bullies….who need some imaginary super sky fairy to take care of them, and smite their enemies….or give them free stuff they neither earned or deserve.

    Belief in End Times, and the Rapture is rampant among believers….whereby Christians believe Jesus is coming back and all saved Christians will fly up into the air and be “saved” from the oncoming apocalypse. The problem with this is that Christians now believe that End Times is imminent, so they do not have to “take care of the business of living now.” Belief in End Times is a delusional, and out right mentally ill escape hatch for cowardly people.

    Christianity and other religious beliefs including Islam and some forms of Judaism….cause the individual’s mind to go into a trance state, whereby they believe in impossible, supernaturalism as being the frame of reference for their lives. The problem is that once a person believes in supernaturalism and religious magic, such as god and Jesus can solve problems, or give them stuff without any effort…then the individual “lateralizes” his or her magical thinking into many other areas….and becomes a failed personality, who does not live in the real world. It is not an accident that there are more churches per square mile in the ghettoes and the poor parts of town…because religion destroys the mind’s ability to solve problems.

    It is a flat lie that Christians are more moral and ethical than Atheists. Why? Because criminals and prison populations are “over represented” statistically by Christians. Atheists by percentage commit less crimes, less violent crimes, suffer less divorces, their children are less likely to be juvenile delinquents, or use drugs….their children more often graduate from high school and college and suffer less mental health issues. Why? Because Atheism is grounded in reality…whereby Atheists more often solve real problems, using real solutions….instead of wasting time begging and praying to an imaginary god for help.

    I’ve offered to debate five preachers in an open forum. I said they could sell tickets and offered to let them keep the proceeds. All five preachers at first thought it was a good idea….debating an Atheist and winning for Jesus…but on second thought, all five backed out. Christians cannot defend what they believe on any level, and are moral and intellectual cowards. They know, and I know they know that I would have wipe the floor with them.

    Lastly: Atheism is NOT a religion. Atheism is a CONCLUSION that god does not exist, because there is not one shred of proof that any such divine entity exists who can or did interrupt the laws of physics, or change the law of cause and effect and the resultant consequences. Ergo, if the religious can prove such a god exists who can do magic tricks…(interrupt the laws of physics, etc.) we would all believe in their gods.

    When a Christian or a Moslem claims there is a “god”…I always say: Prove it.

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    1. I guess it doesn’t occur to those praying for their sick loved ones that it’s “God’s” will they were stricken with said illnesses in the first place. Which makes “God” a complete asshole in the first place to inflict such suffering.

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  4. This is the first article of this kind that I have run across. I am black and/or African american. I am also a 20 year old female. My family is traditionally baptist christian. I considered myself to be a nondenominational christian. Now I am an atheist. You’re article has moved me so much. I’ve never felt so encouraged and inspired to be so open with my atheism because you are a lot like me only braver and more liberated. I have not yet told my family. I wonder if I ever will. And I do fear their reaction but not as much as I fear living under the sickening lie that religion is for the rest of my short human life. I am being put to the test once again in just these holidays of 2013. My black religious family will all get together and for the first few hours, the elders will talk everyone to death about the bible and the “true” meaning of Christmas. My little nieces and nephews will mindlessly repeat that “God is love.” and “Jesus died for our sins.” and later everyone will drink and curse and have fun and do all sorts of things that God said don’t. Anyways, I’ve been researching, you see, and exploring and learning and just being open minded. It’s crazy because I’ve never felt so free. I understand and accept death. I fear it sometimes but my fear is rational as opposed to religion which uses death and hell to threaten you into submission among other things. I just want to say how thankful I am for you and your words. It makes me more brave and confident in exploring my atheism. Like it or not, this is a fight. I want to fight religion because it is in fact harmful. It has the power to make a family disown a daughter (anyone/thing), not love her, kill her spirit, harm her physically and emotionally. It can stop a family (people in general) from loving one another and it is just a superstition. A superstition given too much power and it is not right. Aside from the obvious fucking fact there are already tons of other REAL things to make us miserable; wars and diseases to name a few, religion is yet another obstacle that people need to overcome. I wish I could live to see a day when humanity grows up and leaves this poison behind.

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  5. I can relate to your dysfunctional family. Both sides of mine are completely NUTS. Most I don’t deal with at all; I could care less if they know of my atheism. But what’s holding me back is my devoutly religious mother. She’s kinda up there and has all sorts of health problems. If I came out this would kill her, literally. So for now I hold back and pretend to “believe” just to get her off my back, but it sucks big time. I don’t give two shits about the rest of my “family” disowning me, or even my mom, for that matter to be honest. She and I are not all that close, but I care enough about her to not want to see her go downhill mentally and physically because she WOULD. Knowing her oldest daughter is a hell-bound heathen would make her lose the will to live. Don’t really want to do that to her but I do feel at some point I may have to clue her in because she keeps hounding me about reading the bible. Going to church and shit and it’s irritating. Getting real tired of it…

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  6. I am a black woman and an atheist. The product of a Christian mother and Jewish father, I grew up in the Bible Belt and went to church all the time…and I do mean all the time. I don’t ever remember a time when I believed in any god or accepted any faith. I mean, my father passed on to me Jewish customs, such as kosher diet and celebrating those holidays. But he wasn’t really all that into it; he drank like a fish, ate pork, drove and worked on Saturdays and never wore any of his adornments. He never forced me to go to synagogue and was happy sitting around the house drinking beer on weekends.

    Now my mother…huge believer, deeply religious…major hypocrite. She made my siblings and me attend church every single Sunday even though the only time she ever bothered to attend herself was on the big holidays. I first became aware of my atheism when I was six and at a family gathering. My uncle (aunt’s husband) asked me about god and I told him I didn’t buy into it and that it wasn’t real. He smiled and told me I was atheist. I asked him what it meant and he told me it referred to the lack of religion or more specifically, lack of belief in a higher power or god. So now that I had a name for it, I was proud to share this with my family…only to end up getting my ass beat for it. But I stood firm.

    Over the next eight years, I suffered greatly for my atheism. My grandmother–gotta love those southern black Big Mamas–dragged me to church with her every Sunday. At seven, I told my grandmother’s friend that I didn’t believe in god. My grandmother made me get a page of the bible everyday. At the age of nine, I reiterated my atheism and my grandmother forced me to join the children’s choir and get two pages of the bible daily. At the age of eleven, I again reiterated my atheism and my grandmother forced me to memorize scripture and gave me chores, which I did while the pastor preached at me for hours on end. At thirteen, my grandmother forced me to sing solos in church–I had an excellent singing voice–and I was ordered to memorize the bible. I was whipped for “sayin’ against god,” whatever the fuck that means and grounded until I “came to my senses and turned to god.” At fourteen, I said, “Enough…enough…enough. I have had enough. I have told you for the past eight years that I do not believe in god and you refuse to accept it. Well, I’m telling you now that it is what it is and I am not a believer and never will be. So accept it, don’t accept it…I don’t care. I will not be attending any church, singing in any choir, reading any bible and I will not be proselytized to any longer.” Of course I was informed of my impending damnation to hell and I had to tell everyone, “Hell isn’t a place or destination; hell is other people. It has been other people that have made me suffer, not god. It has been other people who forced the church on me and insisted I accept god, or else. It’s not a passing fancy; it’s not a phase and no, I won’t grow out of it. Atheism isn’t like puberty or adolescence; you don’t grow out of it. You grow with it and it stays with you. I’ve been atheist all this time and I will be atheist for all time. Now you get to decide if you can accept this or not.” And I was through with it.

    My parents, siblings, nieces and nephews and my grandfather accepted me and loved me and were determined to stay in my life and keep me in theirs. My grandmother, aunts, uncles, and cousins gave me up for lost and in their eyes, I was dead. No real loss there; they were real dicks. I lost most of my friends, men I’ve dated, I’ve lost jobs, apartments, you name it. I even had to find a new beautician when the old one asked me about my church and I told her I wasn’t a believer. When I explained that I was atheist, she was very quiet while doing my hair. Once she was done, I paid her and after I paid her, she told me to leave her shop and never come back, that she only served Christians in her shop. Luckily, an attorney was in the shop getting her hair done at the time and witnessed this. I was cool with moving around to a new shop; I was tired of going out of my way anyway. But she called everyone she knew who did hair and I was turned away from several shops. I’ve since stopped getting my hair done and I just do it myself at home. I’m happy with who and what I am and while I’m not agressive and in-your-face out there with my atheism, I do stand firm in my beliefs or lack therof.

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    1. Wow, what a story, so much for Christian forgiveness. This is all too familiar. Religious “Believers” live in a hypocritical world. Believing the Bible or Koran or Torah is the beginning and end of everything, while living modern life with all the luxuries and amenities that are completely opposed by religious writing. http://forumforreason.wordpress.com/

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