I’m an atheist student of philosophy, who’s academic career has been thrown to the ground by the trauma of being ostracized by my family because of my non- theist views on morality, politics and so on. Here is my story:
I grew up in a very dysfunctional catholic family. As a child my family put me in a private catholic school where I grew up in the catholic faith, worshiping the christian god, and conceiving myself an essentially dirty sinner, as a “good” catholic child should do.
During my intermediate school years I developed great interest in reading philosophy books. Some Plato’s and Epicurus’ texts fell into my hands and I they touched me and captivated me as nothing before, by giving me tool of critical thinking. This early contact with pieces of western philosophy took me away from Christianity. The thinkers I read then gave me tools for rational argumentation and opened to me the complex and fascinating and overwhelming world of western thought before my eyes. I still thankful to Plato and Epicurus for that!
I started reading more and more texts with the obvious consequences: As a teenager I found pointless the custom of going to church every Sunday, and stopped going. Like wise, I stopped following other catholic customs and rituals, such as giving or asking for blessings to the family, refused to take in the Sacrament of Confirmation.
My family have always seen me as a “problematic child” ever since. They started treating me coldly and addressing to me in spiteful ways.
Naturally I kept reading and studying, and became more critical about the general moral and political views that the rest my family members shared. More and more I saw that their values and views were compatible with Christianity, mine with Democracy, on the other side. As a philosophy student I became interested in this incompatibility between Christianity and Democracy.
I understood the value of philosophy, as a powerful intellectual tool against obscurantism, and anti-democratic values, and wished to become a philosophy professor since I was 16. So I graduated form High School and I entered to the best university in my region the public University of Puerto Rico, and completed a B.A. in Philosophy.
I took courses of German, Latin, Ancient Greek with great passion and enthusiasm and excellence. I love the task of reading and understanding philosophical text in their respecting original languages. So I graduated Magna Cum Laude from B.A. in Philosophy last year.
And six month ago I was working in my Master. Their behavior of my family towards me became more and more harsh, cold, and even spiteful. Like they were telling me that among them you are either catholic, heterosexual, homophobic; or you are not one of us anymore.
Philosophy showed me the importance of adopting secular-democratic values, of defending them and -of course- of behaving according to them. So I am, openly supportive of the LGBT movement, and initiatives. I was participating in their local initiatives, for example. But all of this, were demonized by different family members.
Different members of my family were getting angry at me, saying that I was “wasting” all the money they put on my High School education to become a “crazy atheist”.
As they think of homosexuals that they have no morality, and the same is true for non-believers; they misinterpreted the difference between their values and the values of the other as an absence values in the other. Since none of them has democratic values, none of them can’t understand why is Philosophy, or the Humanities in general, valuable for society.
Each of them thinks that there should be a closet for non-heterosexuals, a closet for atheists, a closet for people who doesn’t want to get married by the church, etc. For example, there are a bunch of family member maintain their sexuality in the closet. People who has had their lives diminished by the fact that they are psychologically turned against themselves.
So six months ago they basically threw me out to the streets, by treating me as if I had no value as a person for holding the views I had. None of them now talks to me.
On that basis they thought of me a selfish person, who does follow social rules (catholic rules), and studies philosophy just for fun. As the can’t see what can philosophy offer to society.
They kicked me out of the family by beginning to treat me as a lunatic psychopath. Whenever I ask a member of my family why does he or she treats me so bad, they responded me, paradoxically, with: “You don’t love any of us.” On the premise that to love the family is the same as not to thinking differently, to study something that makes sense to them, get married by the church, etc.
They worked together to make me feel bad, and wrong.The aunt that was to me as a mother said to me she’ll never talk to me again if I don’t give up on my academic career. I was emotionally destroyed by that. It affected me on my courses, and I couldn’t finish my Master.
This took away from me all I had, my academic projects, the possibility of eventually getting my dream job as a professor of philosophy and to contribute to progress and democracy by passing forward the jewels of western thinkers to my future students.
So I entered in the most profound depression. I felt that they punished for being a good person, they punished me for studying. Now I suddenly have no family, no home, no career, no future. And already have got $36,000 of student loans on my back.
Fortunately I recently met Rocío, a sweet and beautiful Spanish girl, to whom I told my whole life-story, and started shearing time. Eventually we fell in love. She found me in the worst emotional state of my life and decided to get me out of it. She ‘loved away’ my depression.
We want to travel together to Spain next year, so I can know her family, and continue my studies in the Universidad Computense de Madrid, near her family’s home. But neither of us has the money for covering the traveling expenses.
I lost everything I had. This broke my dream of becoming an atheist philosophy professor, a defender of democratic values, as I have always dreamed to become. I felt like the protagonist of Blue Jasmine before we met.
Thank you all for the patience of reading this and for your understanding!