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Coming out to my grandma & preacher grandpa

Discuss the unique needs of secular people relating to family, friends and coworkers in a predominantly theistic culture.
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Coming out to my grandma & preacher grandpa

Post by excreationist » Mon Dec 31, 2001 9:28 am

This just happened... hopefully I will remember a lot of the conversation...

Anyway, my grandparents live in a different state, and all of my relatives on both sides of my family are Lutherans that regularly attend church.

I used to be a creationist (hence my name) and I was very open about it. My grandpa, who is a retired preacher, was very supportive of that. Basically creationists take the Bible very seriously - they believe that every word is the inspired Truth.

Anyway, I just talked to them on the phone for a while. After a while, my grandpa mentioned a program that was on TV yesterday about creation. Since I was holding a TV program, I could find out a lot of information about it, and I was telling him about what it said. (The title and that it is a German program)

Here's a rough transcript of the conversation:

Grandpa: It's all about creation and Genesis 1. You used to be quite interested in that.
Me: Ok.
Grandpa: [more stuff.]
Me: Well I *used* to be a creationist.
Grandpa: What do you mean you *used* to be a creationist?
Me: Well I don't believe in creation any more.
Grandpa: But it's all in the Bible - it talks about creation.
Me: Well I don't really believe in the Bible.
Grandpa: Then you're not a very good Christian then, if you don't really believe in the Bible.
Me: I'm not a Christian though.
Grandpa: Well what are you then? A Moslem or something?
Me: Well I'm kind of an atheist.
Grandpa: That's no good....
Grandma (also on phone): Well we don't believe in that.
Me: ok.
Grandpa: [something like:] We'll pray for you and we hope that you'll come back to God again.
Me: ok.
Grandpa: [something like:] We hope things go good for you [implying that I "see the light" again] during the coming year...
Me: ok.
Grandpa: So your little sister is out isn't she?
Me: Yeah, she's at some party.
Grandpa: Is it a new year's eve party or a birthday party?
Me: I'm not sure.... well it is on new year's eve. [but my sister and some friends were going to leave before midnight to go elsewhere]
Grandpa: So is your other sister there?
And then I eventually said goodbye, etc, and that was it.

I was feeling a little nervous at the time, but I was able to keep very relaxed and pleasant. After it ended, I suddenly noticed how strongly my heart was beating... it is still beating quite strongly.... (this tends to happen to me when I do something daring)

I had told my Dad about my lack of belief in the after-life and god about two years ago and he was saying like "so you believe that when you die, you just die and that's it?" "yeah" I replied. It looks like my Dad never passed on the message that I was no longer a believer. A while ago my grandparents seemed to know that I had been "struggling with my faith" though.

And in the past, my grandma had tried talking me into being a preacher... I said that I was a bad speaker (I just mumble). But from mid primary school to near the end of high school I wanted to "serve the Lord" in various jobs - e.g. a Christian magazine publisher, a Christian band singer or manager, a creation scientist, etc.

[ December 31, 2001: Message edited by: excreationist ]</p>

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Post by Krieger » Mon Dec 31, 2001 10:36 pm

It's good that you came out about your atheism to your grandparents.

None of my grandparents know I'm an atheist, but thats because I never talk to them anyway. =)

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Post by diana » Mon Dec 31, 2001 11:10 pm

Excreationist, you've just done a very daring thing. Also, I think you did it in the most respectful way possible. You didn't try to argue or defend yourself, which tends to cause bad blood. You simply stated your beliefs when directly questioned. I think you've done well.


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Post by Amulet » Mon Dec 31, 2001 11:58 pm

I agree it's good that you came out. A few years ago, while visiting my sister, we went to my aunt and uncle's house. They're very religious. I told them I'm agnostic (it came up) and don't believe in the Bible. My aunt said, "Do you *really* believe that?" My mom has said I *can't* believe as I do.

A few months ago, a talk show had an atheist on the show, and this very angry caller was asking him about his beliefs, and assumed that atheists have no morals, only care about doing what they want (consequences be damned), and don't care about others. He was quite hostile.

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Post by excreationist » Tue Jan 01, 2002 4:08 am

Hey thanks guys. I sometimes have these moments where I do the right thing....