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The Truth Is, I Love My Religious Family but Not Their God

Ever since I can remember I’ve been the type to question everythingSo growing up in a very religions environment felt like the world just played the biggest prank on my existence. I always felt out of place in everything related to religious activities and so I played along for the longest time just so I wouldn’t cause any tension in my family, discomfort, or shame. It was hard, and it still is because well, I haven’t really told my parents I’m an atheist. I’ve grown tired of pretending that I believe and care about their religious beliefs when in reality I find them flawed and straight up false.

Trust me, I tried to find sense in what they believe but the more I researched the more I couldn’t comprehend who any of it really made sense in their hearts and how simple it was for them to feel so strongly about a faith that has so little or none at all evidence to back it up. So am I wrong for not going along with their  religious traditions? I mean, after all, they’re not hurting anyone. If anything they have been part of a community that for the most part has given them a sense of belonging and that’s important, I guess. But then again, I do feel a sense of belonging being part of my college community so I’ve decided that being part of their religious community is hypocritical and I just can’t continue with this facade.

I know that for some this is not such a trivial thing to have to deal with their family but it is for me. I feel like a fraud not being honest with them. I feel that I’m not being myself and that I’m actually losing part of my identity in an attempt to hold on to this thing that is so not me just for the sake of the family.

I know it won’t be easy to have this conversation. I have been pretending for so long it really feels like the biggest betrayal of all time and it saddens me to think that I can really cause a lot of pain to my parents when I tell them how I really feel. But I have to believe that their love for me will be greater than my beliefs, and that not believing in what they believe doesn’t make me any less of the person they’ve known all these years.

I think religious beliefs are just part of who you are, they’re not all that you are. I have a moral compass and values. I’m kind to myself and others, I’m not judgemental or at least try to be, but I’m understanding of others and I have unconditional love for those I care about. I don’t need a religion to define me, I define me and my parents should be ok with that.

I think the best way to go about this is by being completely honest with them. Better late than never, I really  owe to them to be truthful and open. I’ll be willing to listen to their views and feeling about it. I know that I will disagree with a lot of their arguments on the subject but I feel that I also have valid points about my views that I can contribute. I just hope they receive my thoughts and views with empathy and understanding. Is it ok for parents and their child to have different beliefs? I genuinely think so, because even if  I don’t believe in their faith, I still love them to death. I admire them and respect them.

I always felt like there was something wrong with me for not believing in my family’s religion. I felt like the black sheep, denying their faith somehow made me feel unworthy of their love. At times I felt like I shouldn’t belong in this family. It was wrong of me to think that way, it was damaging to my soul. No religion should separate loved ones and I felt like it didn’t allow me to express myself completely. It breaks my heart to have that much pressure on myself, but it ends now. My family and I deserve to be close even if we are in disagreement I choose to not be part of their religion. I’m putting my foot down but I’m doing it with unconditional love and an open heart. Wish me luck.