Sorry Mum – You Didn’t Throw Away My Atheist Book

This is embarrassing. In July, I wrote a post called “My Mum Threw Away my Atheist Book!” because I genuinely believed that she had. However, I now realise that she didn’t, because she actually found the book and showed it to me! So sorry mum. Let’s talk about what happened today.

So what actually happened was a lot more understandable and reasonable than I made it out to be, mainly due to paranoia. The book was originally hidden in this old toastie maker box in my room. It looked like a piece of junk that nobody would ever use or want to open. Instead of opening it, and finding my book, only to throw it away, she saw that the box looked like junk, and put it with some other similar things in the garage (where she thought it belonged since it was junk) and left it there.

When I came back, I found that the book was gone (along with the box that it contained) and thought that she had found it. This led me to a lot of worry and uncertainty, naturally leading to the post where I thought she threw it away.

So now that I know she didn’t throw it away, or wasn’t even aware of it, the question is will I take down the previous post? I don’t think I will, but, I will put a large disclaimer and explanation, asking people to read this first before continuing. This is mainly because there were a lot of people who could relate to that post, and found good things in it, as well as the fact that it is a snapshot of the kind of worry you face if you stay in the closet within a Christian family. I do take a lot of the things I said back because they were simply in my own head and never actually happened.

I think a lot of people would be interested in how my Mum reacted. So now I’ll give the story of the discovery.

Today, I was packing for university with my mum in the room helping. I was packing something else when my mum loudly exclaimed “Richard Dawkins! You have a book by Richard Dawkins!?”

I was incredibly confused. Obviously, I thought that the book had been thrown away, but I do currently have a book by Richard Dawkins – The Selfish Gene – which is the book I thought she might be talking about. It has nothing to do with religion, so I did put it on our bookshelves expecting nothing to come of it, so if she was talking about that it would have surprised me.

I looked, and instantly saw that it was the book I had lost a long time ago, although it was written by Dan Barker with just an introduction by Richard Dawkins. I felt a bit of panic at this time, however the tone that my mum used was not one of shock, panic or worry, more one of neutral surprise.

I said “What… Oh… I didn’t expect to find that” and then put it back, and continued packing. My mum continued packing as well and didn’t do anything.

So I guess we’re cool? Literally nothing in her behaviour changed at all for the rest of that day, so I don’t think anything will change between us, of course if there is, I’ll leave updates.

Now that the book has been discovered anyway, I’ve decided to leave it on my self now so that if anyone chooses to look at it they can. I would have put it in amongst all of the many other Christian books in my house, but I felt that it would be a little improper since it’s technically not my shelf, unlike the one in my room.

I am generally treated as if I am not a Christian, with them being somewhat unsure of what I believe. I think over the years they have probably started to get the message when I stay silent, change the topic, or try and explain parts that even a religious person would disagree with e.g. science and what’s in the bible.

This has probably cemented the fact to them that I am not a Christian, however it looks like our relationship will remain unchanged, which is a pretty amazing thing.

With no longer being at my job, and not having to worry about losing it, and this happening and everything being basically fine, I’m starting to consider whether or not I should come out of the closet and say that I’m an Atheist. I’ll seriously consider it.


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