One Isolated Atheist

Sometimes it’s painful to watch the people close to me follow religion so blindly. God, Jesus, the Bible — that’s just how it is to them. That’s what their parents and grandparents believed. Indoctrination passed from generation to generation — no questions ever asked.

How can you not be at least a little curious about what else might be out there? Is there something out there better for you? I’d like to think they question and are too afraid to admit it, but unfortunately, they probably don’t. Blind faith is comfortable. Why rock the boat?

Back to the painful part — I’m alone. My family, my friends, coworkers — all believers. The only one who feels remotely similar to what I feel is my husband. 

I hate it when Christians attempt to “save” me, so I don’t think it would be right for me to do the same in return, no matter how much I want to pop the bubble and break the trance. 

It is so confusing trying to figure out how Christianity could possibly still be relevant in present-day life. What value does it hold in the modern world? I’d like to think it’s just superficial — professing belief for outward appearances — but where I live I would probably be wrong. People actually believe in those fairytales. 

Is anyone else feeling isolated?


  1. Bruce Fuentes says

    Everyday. I am not close to my siblings, who are nominal believers. My wife’s family are all dedicated Christian’s. My wife is a believer but not active or vocal.
    I have nonreligious friends but they are very deferential til I christianity. I have one friend who is an a owed atheist, but he is a “ghosthunter” so there is no connection really anymore and his belief set is even more ridiculous than christians.
    Yes, being an atheist is being isolated.

  2. boakley59 says

    Hello from small-town Arkansas (population about 10,000)!
    We are in high evangelical, heavy Republican territory (county went 75% for Trump). Yet, shortly after the 2016 election, a few freethinkers found each other through Facebook and we now have a private group of more than 100. We offer mutual support, shared wisdom and experience, and gather socially each month. We have out atheists and closeted, LGBTQ members, those all along the non-religious spectrum, single moms, young and older couples — you know, humans!
    So, wherever you are, keep your tendrils out — you are not alone. Be safe, but keep your eyes and ears open. You will find us who are with you.

  3. says

    I’m alone too.

    The parents are familiar. I’m thinking about ways to get them to talk to me. They’re both military family background. But only my dad was in the military, mom died the traditional conservative, protestant wife thing. I finally found what I needed to start confronting the awfulness in their politics.
    I don’t go to them much because they’ve don’t want me to express anything negative about their politics and beliefs. I’m slowly finding language to work at them when we do see each other. I’m going be more explicit about how they feature in my social anxiety, disgust, and rage. And tell them how I avoid them because I don’t like feeling all the negativity they won’t let me express.
    There’s more isolating features to my life that I’m talking to my therapist about. I’m unable to express myself the way I need to, due to no one’s fault, and that’s being negotiated in a slow but increasingly hopeful way.
    The tourette’s syndrome is isolating. That will probably change as I get better at proactively asserting and using that part of myself. I’m not yet sure how to handle all the pathology talk in journals and society with my newfound political skills that it’s enabled.

  4. publicola says

    Personally, I don’t tell people that I’m an atheist– it’s none of their business. And I really don’t care what they believe. They can tell me I’m gonna burn in hell until they turn blue. So what, let them. My response would be, “Ok, if you say so”. I never told my parents because they would have been heartbroken, and would never have understood. They didn’t need to know. I worked with a guy who took the bible literally; swore the earth is 6,000 yrs. old. He’s one of the nicest guys I know, and he used to talk sometimes about things he had to do in church– not preachy, just conversation. Did I think he was tragically self-deluded? Sure, but arguing about his beliefs would prove nothing. He’s happy in his world, and I was happy to leave him there.
    I’m more self- contained than most people, (much to my wife’s chagrin), so isolation doesn’t bother me. But you seem to be a social person, and I can sympathize with you. Like Boakley59 said, keep your feelers out. When you talk to people you can eventually get a sense of whether they’re tolerant or not. If they seem to be, try to get to know them better. You may find yourself a good friend that you can confide in if you choose. In the meantime, if someone asks you about your beliefs/religion, deflect and say your not comfortable talking about it, or say you’re not really a church-goer. If they persist, say you don’t like to discuss personal matters and then take your leave. Hang in there.

  5. TGAP Dad says

    I am also feeling the isolation, as are you. In my case, it’s COVID-19 foisting it upon me and my family, but it actually started much earlier in life, as the metaphorical black sheep. My mother used to (probably?) joke that she had three kids, one of each: a boy (my older brother), a girl (my younger sister), and me. And it didn’t get better from there, either. The chasm between us was as real as yours, Ashes, but had absolutely nothing to do with religion. We are an entire family of heathens, my parents being first-generation of the heathen lineage.
    I’m not sure what it is that makes our own family into foreigners, but religion certainly isn’t the only form that takes. My wife and I are in our 50s now, and our parents are all still with us, mine in their early 80s, my wife’s in the late 80s and her 90-year-old father. Watching this unfold has given us a more mature perspective, as we witness their gradual decline, and I find myself more forgiving than I ever would have thought possible. Or perhaps I’ve heard too many episodes of Wrongful Convictions to maintain that grudge. Or maybe I’m just getting sentimental in my old age.

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