My Mum Threw Away my Atheist Book!

Before reading, please check this post here as it turns out she didn’t throw my book away at all, however for about over a year I thought that she had. I have left this post up as a snapshot into what kinds of things you go through when you keep your atheism a secret and because it might help others who relate to this. Of course none of the things I go on to say about my family apply, however my message of tolerance still stands. If you have just finished reading the blog post above, then I hope you enjoy this story.

This is a story that started in February 2020. On my blog I reviewed “Outgrowing God” and found it quite interesting to write about. So, when I was given a free amazon voucher for £10, I looked at what might be a good book to review. I had been watching Dan Barker at around this time and found his book “God: The Most Unpleasant Character in All Fiction” quite interesting as I really didn’t know that much about the bad things in the old testament, and I thought it might make a good exchange kind of gift.

When I started reading it, I was quite disappointed because it was essentially a list of bible verses with nothing else talked about. I read a good amount but got bored and sort of gave up on it.

Because of work, I would go to my parents house once a week to stay as they lived very close to where I worked. As I was starting to move house I began to bring old things back with me that I didn’t want anymore. On one of these trips this book was one of the things that I brought and left behind at my parents house.

I was nervous about leaving the book in my room, as I didn’t know what would happen if they found it. So I hid it, although not particularly well, in a box that looked important enough not to open.

It stayed there for many months, until one day when my mum told me that she had cleaned the room and done some vacuuming. I was instantly worried, and when I went to check the place where the book was, it wasn’t there. I looked all over, in every possible place but still couldn’t find it.

The book had been taken, and I still have no idea where, although I suspect it went either in the bin or the shredder, without a single word mentioned to me.

They basically just pretended like it never existed, and I couldn’t ask them about it because they would ask me why I wanted it.

Nothing seriously bad happened to me because of this, but I did notice God being injected really strangely into conversations and being questioned about it in really obnoxious ways that they never would have said previously. Things like “Doesn’t it amaze you at how God made everything so perfectly?” and “How is your relationship with God recently?”

I’ve always found it strange, because these questions never seem to be asked in a normal way. I can tell something is different, like they’re worried as they ask it or trying to make me respond with just one specific answer.

I never lied really, but obviously didn’t say everything. I’ve explained to them about how the fact that 99% of the universe is uninhabitable does not make me convinced that it was intelligently designed, and also how evolution is really what to thank for the great variety and amazing life that we see.

It’s died down now, and doesn’t really happen anymore (partially because of not needing to go back there for work) but I am left with the thought of how pointless and immoral it all was.

I feel like one look through my parents house would explain this to you.

My Dad works for a Christian book production company, so as a consequence, he gets lots of books given to him. This means that our bookshelves at home are piled with very little besides Christian books. Some of these books were given to me and read to me as a child and teenager, whereas most were just left there and never touched by anyone.

It feels so wrong to literally keep thousands of books that agree with you, and throw out the first one you find that disagrees with you. This mindset which is intolerant of other beliefs is problematic. Also, that was my book! Will I ever get the money for the book given back to me? No. Although my parents are generous, any money given to me wouldn’t be as payback for anything, just a gift.

What disappoints me as well was that there are good reasons for a Christian to read an atheist book: challenging your beliefs, finding out what atheists are saying so you can try and convert them, doing a book exchange where you agree to read one book recommended by another person and seeing what other people are saying outside the religion. None of these thoughts were considered or asked to me before the book was thrown out.

My parents told me that that I was given a free choice to work it out and find out what I believed on my own without their influence, however this just tells me that it was a complete joke. You cannot say that and throw out books that belong to me because they disagree with you.

If you want someone to be free to choose what they believe, you don’t drag them kicking and screaming into church until they suddenly start wanting to go, or send them to a religious primary school.

In my opinion, free choice and exploration is really the best way. If you need to use manipulative techniques like throwing books away and forcing them to only see your perspective to convince someone, what does it say about your beliefs?

Truth will be found in the honest search for it, so if you’re beliefs are true, you shouldn’t worry… and just give me my book back. We must be open to other ideas to make sure that we have the best understanding of the truth.

What would you do if you found your son/daughter with a book that disagreed with you beliefs?

9 thoughts on “My Mum Threw Away my Atheist Book!

  1. Wow, that is so obnoxious! I started reading the God Delusion in my Lutheran mom’s house and I kept it in the dust jacket of another book and hid it in my bed. She never found it.

    I agree so much and relate to everything else you said too. I have been “out of the closet” and a really outspoken atheist for 3 years and I still feel uncomfy bringing any pro-freethinking books to my family members’ houses, even though they know I have the books now and I display them proudly. They have oodles of Christian books that they read ALL THE TIME.

    Also I agree about the Barker book – I tried it too and didn’t like it. It is a shame that you went through this for a book that isn’t even that good 😂 I met Dan Barker once and he signed my book so now I can’t get myself to get rid of it so it just sits in my basement.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s so clever, in hindsight my spot wasn’t good enough.

      Yes, it’s so personal and important to them that it’s so difficult. I remember explaining Noah’s arc to them and it was so crazy the way they reacted. I think it’s also to do with when you are a Christian, it’s really difficult to find anything that disagrees with you from someone who doesn’t hold your world view, so you just don’t think good opposition exists and don’t try to find it so often.

      I don’t think Dan would mind that opinion as it’s nearly 100% bible quotes and so very little to do with his writing ability. It’s good for if you want a reference book or want to show someone the bad things in the bible, but not for light reading.

      That’s amazing, I’d really like to meet him! I’d have to bring one of his other really good books for him to sign. I would never get rid of that (although my parents might) hahaha

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’d let them read whatever they wanted. My folks, although Christians, let me come home from the library with the strangest things. For whatever reason, my small town library had all these books about black magic in it, the really bizarre stuff from the late 60s and 70s. I got those out, books on world religions, books of myths, etc.

    I also ended up reading the bible when I was around 15 or so. Extraordinarily dull, but I got a lot of my reasons to look at other religions from it. Finally became an atheist in my mid 20s after trying some stuff out.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m really glad for that, it’s great to have the freedom to explore everything, and that’s what I’d try to do with my kids as well. I can see these black magic books being really interesting to read regardless of whether or not you believe it.

      I think I would struggle if they brought books praising and supporting people like Stalin, Hitler or terrorists. After writing this post, I feel I would have to let them read it while encouraging them to get their information from multiple sources.

      I couldn’t get through the bible (despite having about 20-30 copies in our house) for the same reasons why you didn’t like it. It’s really amazing how you explored and questioned your beliefs, it was really interesting to read this!

      Like

      1. yep, it would be hard to see kids reading things from lunatics, but I did read Mein Kampf when I was probably around 15 too. and that’s was about as “exciting” as the bible.

        Of course, I was also reading Marvel comics at the time and knew how to punch Nazis. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Yeah, it’s likely to be ok, and if it does make them believe those crazy things, then stopping them reading the book probably wouldn’t stop it, would be best to encourage them to question and think.

          I only read manga, but it’s good to know that if you think about it, there’s a good amount of stuff showing the bad things coming from these kinds of ideologies that makes stuff like this unlikely. My school talked constantly about the bad these groups have done as well.

          Like

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