“Mum, Dad, I’m An Atheist.”
Well, I didn’t say it quite like that. Atheist is still a scary word, really. But I recently came across David G McAfee’s blog and his new book “Mum, Dad, I’m an Atheist’ giving advice to people on how to ‘come out’ as a non-believer to their fundamental families. It made it think about my own ‘coming out’ moment.
I believe I used the words, “I don’t think I believe in God anymore…“. It must’ve been odd for my parents, considering we were only able to meet up that evening because I’d been flown 1000kms to the north of Brisbane by my employers – the church – to attend our National Annual Conference.
To be honest though I said it in revenge. Handing the menus back to the waiter, I was just settling in to the sound of waves on the beach a few metres away, when mum gleefully announced that I was sharing in their ‘Separation Celebration’ dinner.
Yep, I said ‘Separation Celebration’ dinner.
Tomorrow they’d be taking their rings off after 26 years of marriage. Only a year ago I’d taken them through their 25 year vow renewals on a beautiful day in front of a host of friends… and now I was supposed to celebrate it being over. But that’s their story…
My story is that the cavalier announcement of their upcoming separation gave me the, er, movtivation to talk about my own deviance from the truths we’d all held onto for dear life for the past two decades; like belief in a God who needed us to ‘save’ humanity, like No Sex Before Marriage, like No Divorce – ever.
I said, ‘Well, I have something to tell you as well.’ and the anxiety just about washed me off my feet. Seeing them sitting there expectantly, their faces always the place I came to for unconditional love and soaring pride, I didn’t know if my next words were about to take that all away.
For anyone out there who has ever ‘come out’ as an atheist or a homosexual or pregnant when you weren’t supposed to be, kudos to you. I did it in an environment where my parents, confused as they were, could only say ‘well we love you unconditionally’ and get on with the matter of their completely-unallowed divorce. My sister did it as a 17 year old unwed soon to be mother to parents who, even after the baby was born, made her and her boyfriend sleep in separate rooms when they came to visit.
Who knew backsliding would be so difficult? I was always told it was easy. So easy you had be wary of it, like falling off a cliff while mountain climbing. The truth is, no one goes through these moments unless there’s a good reason.
Reason is a damn good reason, people.
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To My Family: As batcrazy as you all are, I couldn’t live without you. I’m so glad we all got divorced and confused about religion around the same time, haha. Luv you all dearly, even the new ones. Xx