Advice on dealing with parents
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18-07-2014, 11:22 AM
Advice on dealing with parents
If anyone can give me any advice whatsoever, I would greatly appreciate it. I am an 18 year old male (if my gender is relevant at all) and I live in a small town in Tennessee. Although everyone in this small town has the typical southern lifestyle and deep religiosity, I have never been much of a fan. Up until my mid teens, I never questioned the existence of god. I was skeptically about bible stories and such, but it never altered my faith enough to cause me to question. In my mid teens I got very interested in astronomy mostly, but science in general. Evolution was never taught to me in my public schools, but only in the 7th grade (for one or two days). Even in high school biology! Nothing. The only thing I heard about the origin of life and of the universe is when locals at church or elsewhere would tell me about how ridiculous and stupid it was. "Atheists are so dumb!" They would say. "How could we possibly arise from nothing!" Only in a really southern accent that has always annoyed me greatly. I finally started watching tv shows about science, by switching through the channels one night before bed. It was one of Stephen Hawking's series (I cannot remember the title). I remember it was about the Big Bang, and it absolutely amazed me. It sounded so ridiculous at the time, but the evidence kept catching my attention. For the next couple years I constantly educated myself on all subjects of science I possibly could. It was only until a few months ago I started dropping hints to my parents and family. I was certain the religion I grew up with was just one of many, and supported by no evidence. There was one occasion where I bought a book by neil degrasse tyson, and the other by Carl sagan. My mom threw them away before able to read them. A few nights ago, I overheard my mom talking on the phone to my father who is currently in Afghanistan. I'm not too certain what they were discussing, but I heard her say "whenever Sam gets out of his ignorant stage." (My name is Sam by the way.) After she got off of the phone I confronted her and asked why she thought I was ignorant. My brother, who knows I'm an atheist, comes in there and automatically starts arguing with me. We go head to head for a few minutes, and then I walked to my room. So basically, my mom knows. I shortly after emailed my dad and explained to him my position. My parents are fundamentalist Christians, so I can't even tell them about evolution or the actual age of Earth without them getting angry or upset. So I have two questions for anyone who can help. How do I handle this situation properly? I want to have a decent relationship with my family, if possible. My parents also want me to join a "church of Christ" student center at the university I'm starting to attend as a freshman next month. How do I explain to them I can't be a part of that? I've tried to explain, but my dad forcefully insists. Probably a plan to covert me back to his faith. Once again, any help is appreciated. Thank you very much.
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18-07-2014, 01:36 PM
RE: Advice on dealing with parents
I really feel for you and understand where you are coming from. I live in a small town in VA where religion is prevalent. It took me a while longer to find the truth than it did you, so kudos to you. The problem is that it sounds like you still live at home and are still financially dependent on your parents. Christian parents do not respect their children as individuals with a mind of their own like they should which will make it hard for you. The real question is, will they allow you to live under their roof while having your lack of belief? If no, then it's time to form a plan to get out of the house. Even if your parents wouldn't blatantly kick you out, living with them and hearing them try to convert you all the time would be unbearable. Though the bottom line is that you are 18 and they can't MAKE you do anything in reference religion, regardless if you are living under their roof. You just need to be respectful and calm when speaking to them about not wanting to go to church or whatever they have planned for you. A screaming match between all of you won't do anyone any good and will probably cause some hurt feelings.

My mom has held the same archaic beliefs her entire life. Only when I moved out and was financially independent was I able to really do what I wanted to. For example, when I moved in with my BF (husband now) my mom was NOT happy, cause you know, premarital sex and whatnot. But she had no say in the matter and I did what I wanted. She tried to tell me that if I needed to move out of my apartment for financial reasons that I could move home. Um no, that's not why I moved in with my BF.

Good luck!
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19-07-2014, 02:46 PM
RE: Advice on dealing with parents
I never had any of these problems. But, if I were you and me being myself. I would reorder those books from amazon. Sit down with them and give them a clear concise choice.

They can either put family before faith and leave you alone and stop arguing with you and NEVER touch another piece of "your" propriety again in the way they did before.

Or they will risk loosing you as a family member.

What is more important. Their so called faith and that you believe in the same retard bronze age fairy tale crap as they do...or YOU?!

If they actually love you, they will choose you and not their faith over you.

If they do choose their fairy tales over their own child. They are not worthy of your respect, love or your life. You should just get a decent job, find a friend to split an apartment with and move away and never talk to them again.....but not after giving them a tongue lashing of a lifetime and a Dear John letter.


My Youtube channel if anyone is interested.
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCEkRdbq...rLEz-0jEHQ
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20-07-2014, 07:07 PM
RE: Advice on dealing with parents
I don't share your experience, but my initial thought is that if you're starting university soon then find out if that university has a secular, atheist or non-belief group. I think in the states the Secular Students Alliance may be worth looking into.

Good luck!


"Name me a moral statement made or moral action performed that could not have been made or done, by a non-believer..." - Christopher Hitchens



My youtube musings: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfFoxbz...UVi1pf4B5g
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20-07-2014, 08:04 PM
RE: Advice on dealing with parents
First, you need your education and their help in order to get it. Suck up the atheism bit for now. Tell them it was a phase and you realize your mistake. It may save you from having to attend the student center. Once you're enrolled in University, you can use the excuse of a heavy workload for not attending. Your education is primary so do what you have to to get it. Once you've graduated you're a free man.
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20-07-2014, 08:10 PM
RE: Advice on dealing with parents
None of us knows your parents so it's tough to really answer this. I do recommend you not follow Shadow Fox's s advice. A "clear concise choice" is going to be perceived as an ultimatum. You put one out there, you are asking for a very negative response.

My honest opinion is: don't poke the bear. That doesn't mean you need to pretend you are something you are not, but you equally don't have to rub your beliefs in your parents faces.

I have 2 sons and I can't imagine them ever doing anything where I did not want them as part of my life. But, I do know gay people who's parents cut them out when they came out. Religion drives people to do some truly awful things.

My advice its to give your parents time and ease into this with them. Not everything in life needs to be a confrontation. They are your parents and I'm sure they love you and want what is best for you. Try to be considerate of their point of view. That doesn't mean you need to pretend to believe what they believe. You are entitled to believe in logic and reason. But, if you want to be treated like an equal adult, kick things off as an adult. Be respectful of your parents, and hopefully they come around. They mostly likely will never approve but you don't need them to approve of your beliefs, you just need them to respect your beliefs. That starts with respecting theirs.

Shackle their minds when they're bent on the cross
When ignorance reigns, life is lost
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18-08-2014, 12:29 PM
RE: Advice on dealing with parents
Hi Sam,

That sounds a very challenging situation you are in. Considering your age, and the fact you are still presumably dependant on your parents my advice would be - don't rock the boat too much yet!

Wait until you are financially independent and no longer living at home (e.g. have some healthy space between them and you) before you become too confrontational. This simply because it might actually jeopardise your own survival situation to rock the boat too much right now.

So (if you can bear to) - I'd consider just trying to withhold the truth of the matter from your parents, and trying to avoid the topic entirely in discussion. There's plenty of other people in the world (here, for example) where you can discuss cool stuff like evolution and science.

Once you are living away from them and financially independent of them, you can be as firm with them as you like because doing so won't threaten your personal survival.

My advice even then would not be too brutal with them, with their traditional values they are probably struggling quite badly to make sense of your ideas and behaviour, simply from a position of compassion towards humans who are struggling with something I think it's worth going as easy on them as possible, whilst still remaining authentic to your personal truth. There comes a time in the life of most people when they find that they are the ones having to make allowances for the poor behaviour and stupidity of their parents, in the same way that their parents once made such allowances for them when they were a young child.

If none of this resonates with you - then discard it, only grab hold of it if it feels true to you personally.

Good luck!

Phil
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