comment by Gerardo_Rojo ·
2008-11-10T02:34:52.000Z · LW(p) · GW(p)
I have been going through something like this for the past couple of weeks.
I don't have a family yet, but I've been a preacher for about 10 years. I was kind of a wonderchild, as I started at age 14 and instructed in doctrine several priests, nuns and missionaries. I constantly discussed theory with eclesial authorities.
Physically too, I always pushed myself to serve God, often willing to risk injury in an effort to bring the word of God to other young men and women in ways that would touch them.
I was happy giving my all, making God my first priority, and never expecting anything at all in return. I thought that some people sow, and some others reap, and it was my place to give the example, that regarding God's work it was about what you gave, and not about what you got.
But before I considered myself a Catholic, I thought of myself as a rationalist, and it's only now that I'm in this path, leaving faith behind.
A lot of people claim that faith is evil, some of Dawkin's claims are outlandish, but I've seen that it's not. I've seen people turn their lives around many times because of it, leaving drugs, leaving depression, leaving gangs, treating their families better, becoming all around better human beings.
So I've decided to not tell everyone, not because I can't convince them to drop their faiths, but because for many of them it really works for making their lives better. Also, our personal lives are personal, and I've never gone around telling everyone my political views, or even what my favorite food is. If it comes up, and I judge it appropriate to do so, I'll discuss it, but it's not about forcing anyone to believe what you do, because then you are hardly better than those you deride.
Of course there are some loved ones who you will have to tell, and there's no other way around it. In my case it's my father, whom I largely converted myself about 8 years ago. You have to find some quiet time to discuss it, tell them that you no longer believe, that it's fine if they do but that you cannot do everything you used to and still be honest about it, and that hyprocrisy is not a valid option.
When I have kids I don't plan on forcing them either to be atheists, or make a purpose to either tell them or hide them all that I have done for the church. I think my job would be to raise them as good human beings, kind and considerate, strong and intelligent, but other than that, it's their path, not mine.
I apologize because this post was very "stream of consciousness"-like, I'm still figuring this out for myself, but I know that it's my life, my only one, and that if I want to be fulfilled I can't delude myself or live hiding who I am. I know people will have a hard time adjusting, but they can either take me or leave me, but it will have to be for who I am and what I stand for.