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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Support Groups » Coming Out....In Religious Terms

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Author Topic: Coming Out....In Religious Terms
mysticpisces
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Member # 28411

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I think I need some help "coming out" to my family, determining my religious beliefs...or lack thereof.

My mom and brother are pretty religious, and are Christian. I decided a while ago that I just didn't believe anymore...it's not that I'm bitter against God or anything like that....it's just that I don't agree with a lot of what the Bible says and I have my own spiritual beliefs that I feel secure about.

I still go to church with my mom sometimes, but I feel like such a phony because everyone there really believes that I'm this spectacular Christian....and I'm not. I'm going to college in the fall, so it'll be an easier break for me. But still...I don't know how upset my mom would be to hear all this.

My best friend is having a much harder time. Her family is Mormon, and it was especially hard for her to stop going to church. She not only gets nagged by her mother, her priest and other church members give her a hard time too.

I think there are a lot of people like this who need help establishing their own beliefs, without all the stigma. It may be a free nation, but in terms of your family, it's harder to have religious freedom. There are also those who may really want to be religious, or are trying to switch religions, or whatever....I guess this can be the place to give support.

I hope this gets off the ground. It's hard to come out of the religious closet.

Posts: 20 | From: U.S.A. | Registered: Apr 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
not_a_hobgoblin
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I heartily agree with you. I chickened out- I told my parents that I didn't feel ready to be Confirmed (choose to be an adult in the Catholic church) "right now." Kind of implying later, but I still feel guilty about not 'fessing up and saying "Hey! I found my own path, and I need you to let me walk it!"

--------------------
"Cut her down."
"She is a witch!"
"But she's our witch. Cut her down."

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mysticpisces
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Yeah, I just hate the guilt that is associated with the Christain religion (or at least some of the protestant and Catholic religions). I think it's the one thing that really turns me off about it. I just wish I were brave enough to stand up for my own beliefs.
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Mr. Matthew
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mysticpisces,

I don't believe that God made man, I believe that man made God. And yet God is powerful. Almost all cultures believe in a God or Gods.

I'm not religeous, but I have religeous feelings. I guess you do to -- "mystic" is part of your Scarleteen name.

As you say, you are going to college soon. You will be able to walk your own path. It might be best if you don't make a strong point of abandoning your mother's religion. She'll get the idea of what you do or don't believe, eventually.

I recommend playing it cool. Live your own beliefs when you are on your own, and don't make a big point of "coming out" with your mom. It will hurt her, and the relief you may feel by being honest may not be great enough to make coming out, in a big way, worthwhile.

And maybe instead of feeling phony, you can consider going to church with your mom simply a support of her and a nice mother/daughter activity. You can go and keep your beliefs to yourself without being dishonest.

Respectfully,
Matthew

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Monotonous
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mysticpisces, I know exactly what you mean.

I myself am an atheist, and found it hard to tell my family that. My mother's side of the family, in particular, is super Christian, and they didn't really take my response to Catholicism very well. But, I agree with Mr. Matthew, just play it cool with your mom, you don't have to make your "coming out" a big deal. You could just give hints. Not even that, if you don't want to.

Okay. I've been dying to tell you this, since I read your name:

I'm a Pisces too!!! [Big Grin]
Well, half. I'm on the cusp of Pisces/Aries. But still! I felt like I had to tell you.

[ 08-04-2006, 11:57 PM: Message edited by: Monotonous ]

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Ecofem
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A great organization that aims to end religious-based hate and violence against GLBT people is Soulforce. <http://www.soulforce.org/>

Their Mission Statement: http://www.soulforce.org/article/7 I'm atheist myself, but I really believe in the organization's aims.

I have to agree with Mr. Matthew and Montonous about keeping your beliefs and sexual orientation on the downlow until you go to college if you think it's going to cause major problems. While it's absolutely vital to be true to yourself, not coming out until after graduation when your parents are paying for college (and coming out would risk getting cut off) and things are otherwise ok.

And, gosh, think of all the fun and interesting GLBTQ groups, various religion classes, etc. waiting for you at college in just a few more weeks! [Smile]

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mysticpisces
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Well, I must clarify, that it has nothing to do with my sexual orientation, but more of my sexual beliefs.

It's just hard for me to break away from this force that has shaped a lot of my beliefs. I like a lot of the people at the church that I go to, and I know it would crush them to just leave and never come back. A lot of them think I'm like "the perfect Christian." What I really am is just very respectful of other people's opinions.

I think a lot of what you guys said sounds like good advice. I think once I am living on my own it will be easier for me to believe on my own as well. I don't have to be grandiose about telling others what I believe. My family would never disown me or abandon me, but I've always had a fear of failure and disappointing my parents kind of ties into that....

Thanks so much for all the advice.

And Monotonous, your comment made me smile [Smile] Yay Pisces!

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SmileyGuy1974
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I know it's been a while since this string had a post, but I just saw it, so it's new to me. Mystic, your story is very similar to mine. I have just recenlty come to my own conclusions on my religious beliefs.

I was raised Roman Catholic, and now consider myself to be a Liberal Christian. I too believe that the Bible is a good book, but is more a set of guidelines than it is a rule book. I see God as being like a supportive parent. God isn't up in heaven with a pencil and a checklist of bad things you've done. God is supportive, empathetic, understanding and loving. All God wants is our love.

Some of the stricter sects of Catholicism, and Christianity in general, have taken very narrow views on certain topics, like sex, for instance. And that's fine if people want to believe those views. (Although, many Catholics I know think the Church is behind the times). I believe that sex is a gift from God. That's why God made it feel so good. If God wanted sex to be only for the purpose of procreation, he would have made it feel no better than sticking your finger in your ear.

I talked with my mother just the other day about my belief system. She was very supportive of my choice. She is a Catholic, and will probably always remain a Catholic, but she said that all she wants is for me to believe in God and be a good person.

Mystic, someday you'll be walking through the gates of heaven to meet God, and all God will want is a great big hug! (That's the God I know).

To the members who are atheist, I respect & appreciate your views and advice. I do not mean to force my beliefs on anyone. I wrote my beliefs here because I think that Mystic and I are on the same page.

Thank you all, and if this string brings more discussion, that would be great!

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lil red
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i am a very comitted christian. and so is all my family. i prey every day that i riase my son to stay forever beliving. to die a beliving christian. but if he were to at any age tell me that he does not belive the christian way i would respect that because i have an undying love for him. try your mother you could be suprised. if she loves you she will respect you and how you decide to live your life. she may always hope for you to change your belifes to what she taught you but only because she cares and wants what she thinks is best for you.
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pwk23
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I know what you're saying. I was raised Catholic, but a lot of Catholic/Christian doctrine just doesn't sit well with me. When my dad (who's more religious than the rest of the family) asked me in high school if I was going to be confirmed, I did the same thing and said "Maybe later, right now doesn't feel right."

Then I went off to college and spent quite a bit of time away from home. But the first year I went back for spring break happened to fall during the Catholic season of Lent, and my dad insisted that for at least the week and a half I was home I "give something up" and not eat meat on Fridays. I told him that I felt like I was disrespecting myself and Catholicism in a way, if I was half-heartedly following religious beliefs I didn't actually believe in--going through the motions without there being any meaning to them, if you will--and my dad just blew up at me and said that I was just too lazy and selfish to "give up" something for one week.

My mother, on the other hand, saw logic in what I was saying and that whatever I ended up choosing to believe was totally fine with her, and my life was mine to live however I saw fit. So, Mystic I guess you can pitch your beliefs to your family in a calm, logical manner to see how they respond. Maybe it'll be sort of 50/50 like with my parents, but I hold strong to what my mom said--in the end, especially once you live away from home, your life is yours to live and believe what you will. Make sure to respect what they believe, as well, and perhaps make compromises if you can, but no one should be pressuring you into believing something you really don't.

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SmileyGuy1974
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Well said pwk23.

I still follow a few of the Catholic traditions I learned as a kid, like Lent. However, I put my own spin on things. For instance, I don't always "give something up" over Lent. I choose to do something proactive instead. Maybe I'll be more complimentary, or say a prayer every night before bedtime. I treat Lent more like a New Year's Resolution.

I never thought about religion growing up. Catholocism was something that I just accepted because it was all I knew. Now that I've seen and experienced more of this world, I believe we have to make our own paths through life.

Finally, I want to be sure to say that I have a lot of respect for the Catholic Church. I don't want to sound like a Catholic basher. That's not what I am. I've just found that many of its teachings don't mesh with what I've learned in this more modern and progressive world.

I'm glad this string has gotten a few more posts because I think there is a good number of people who retain certain religious beliefs because they haven't really thought about them or challenged them with things we now know to be true.

Religion isn't blindly following what others teach; it's about opening your eyes and seeing where you stand with God (or whichever higher power you worship).

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poppybluefrogs
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I was christened a protestant but my Nanna and Gramda are irish catholics and i always felt pulled between the two. Then when it came time to being confirmed i told my Nanna that no i woudn't be confirmed as a catholic and she blew up. But then again i also told my family i wouldn't be confirmed as a protestant either and this annoyed the vicar a lot. I've subsequently learnt not to trust th church because it feels like they want to control me.

I've come up with my own system of beliefs because of this and follow a more pagan line. The furthest i've got to telling my family or local vicar though is that i don't want to be confirmed. None of my family have a problem with pagans but they think its a lot of silly wishy washy business.

Don't be afraid to tell your mum you don't want to be confirmed. i think telling her straight is a better idea than just saying 'not now'. It'll keep things clear of confusion.

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