After innocence (former Muslim)

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This is a testimony of a Muslim leaving Islam. It was originally posted at the FFI Forum and has been reproduced here with permission. Views contained in these testimonies are not necessarily endorsed by WikiIslam. See the Testimony Disclaimer for details.
After innocence
Personal information
Country of origin    Canada Flag of Canada.png
Gender    F
Age    21
Faith Information
Current worldview Atheist
Left Islam at age 21
Born or convert to Islam? Born into Islam
Parents' worldview Islam

Testimony of Leaving Islam

I was born and raised in a Muslim family. I always resisted religion, but it was always forced on me, so I would pray and fast basically in order to please my parents and in order to avoid controversy. I was also scared of disobeying them, not to mention the fear of hellfire that I was most likely headed for.

More recently, I've been doing a lot of research on atheism, and I've finally found something that makes logical sense to me, and something that finally fits what I had actually thought all along. It's hard letting go. It's very comforting to think of an afterlife. I am very sad now knowing that I will most likely not see my loved ones after death - whereas I had always previously comforted myself (however feebly) with the vague belief in some sort of reunion. It was kind of nice to think that some mighty being was watching over me, and would miraculously intervene at the last moment to save me from harmful situations.

The fact of the matter is that I am scared senseless of being honest with my family, especially my parents. They are devout Muslims, and as they get older, they are becoming even more obsessed with Islam. I have three sisters - one of which was recently diagnosed with Lupus. So she too, is quite devout. When I mentioned to her that I was researching atheism, she said that it would not work for me; that I "just wanted to go do whatever I wanted with my life" - that I would "have no morals" - that "you feel as though god has given you the rotten end of the stick so you're mad at him and are turning your back", etc. But what stung most of all was when she said how much I was hurting her. I cannot stand to think that I am hurting anyone, especially those who are closest to my heart. Why? Why the guilt trip? Can't they be happy that I'm finally beginning to feel free and at peace? I'm finally just beginning to let go of the fear and guilt that I'd been carrying around with me for years and years?

I am blind (almost completely. I travel with a guide dog and use a speech output program on my computer), so I feel as though I need my family's love and support even more. I know I will receive no support from them while I'm pursuing atheism, so I have a question. Knowing that my parents will most likely disown me or have a heart attack, blame themselves for failing at parenthood - not to mention the fact that they will lay on the guilt with such intensity that I honestly do not know if I am yet able to handle it, do I tell them about being an apostate? Or do I just "pretend" to observe Islam in a vague sort of way until it's absolutely necessary to make my beliefs known? i.e. when I decide to get married (most likely to someone who isn't religious, let alone a non-Muslim)?

I don't want to hurt anyone, but I am hurting so much. I'm scared. I wonder to myself: "If Allah really does exist, and knows I've turned my back on Islam, there will be no hope and I will burn and burn". This fear of hell and eternal punishment is so deep within me that I don't know how to get rid of it - I'm trying, but my atheistic thoughts have brought me so much dissonance that I have horrible fear, anxiety and panic at the thought of being disowned: I cannot lose my parents' love, but the religion I was raised in, and more specifically the belief in God, is hurting too much to hold on to. I am just so scared, and yet so comforted by being an atheist. I'm so glad I found this forum.

For what it's worth and as people here don't yet know me, I am a 21 year old university student in Canada. Female. Hmmm, I don't know what else to say. Thank you for reading. I know this sounds Corney, but right now, I just want a hug from someone who really, really gets what I'm going through.

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