Anybody Raised by Atheists?
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02-12-2014, 12:12 PM
Anybody Raised by Atheists?
I've read a lot on this forum in the short time I've been here about people's "deconversion" stories, or how they found atheism and what they did about it. Some of them have been truly heartbreaking and I think it's GREAT there's a place like this where people can get support for the grief they're going through.

I've also read a lot about the degree to which people think their atheism impacts their kids, there seems to be a great deal of concern here about raising our kids with open minds.

So just thought I'd ask, anybody here come from an atheist upbringing; raised by atheist parents? What was that like? Were you the "weird kid" among your peers? Were your parents "out of the closet" about their beliefs, or was it more of a don't ask don't tell scenario? Did religious people in your family or social circle try to convert you to some brand of theism?

Anyway I just thought it might be interesting to get the perspective of people who never really had to deal with a deconversion because they weren't raised with religion in the first place. Care to share your story?
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02-12-2014, 12:31 PM
RE: Anybody Raised by Atheists?
I wouldnt say I was raised by atheists - I was raised in a secular home. We simply never discussed religion. We were left to figure it all out on our own.

My mother was raised Catholic, as soon as she married she never attended unless it was a wedding or funeral or some other special reason. Not on holidays. My father was raised in a few flavors of Christianity, presbyterian, calvin, as a kid. He took some sort of Catholic classes when in the Navy so that he could marry my mother, but after the wedding, he didn't go back. I don't think any of us (5 children) ever got baptized or anything.

I have a very vivid memory from elementary school of a boy asking me if I believed in god. and him being pretty freaked out when I said "I don't know" I had never considered whether or not a god existed before that moment. He asked me if I was atheist, again, I didnt kniw what in the world he was talking about, so he figured that I must be an agnostic. I was clueless. I just know that I didnt want anything to do with him after that encounter. I am 47 and he was recently added to my facebook friends list. LOL. My hometown likes to stay together.

In high school- a few friends had to go to church, on holidays, weddings, funerals was pretty much my only exposure. Every time it was a completely bizarre event that fascinated and creeped me out at the same time, especially catholic churches. I was astonished how everyone knew the responses, knew when to kneel, sit, etc. About that same time the whole Jim Jones thing happened and I was convinced it wasnt for me.

fast forward to my late twenties, early 30's and I meet my husband. He is a believer but doesnt really practice. We move to a highly religious area. (nc) and I figure I will give it a try, maybe I just have missed out on something. The first time we go, as we are walking in, I tell him, they better not offer me koolaid. Sure enough, the door swings open and the greeter says " welcome, we have some drinks over there".

We stayed about a year, I was trying to figure it out, daughter number one came along, a month early, things got scary at the hospital, husband called the pastor, pastor came in the room at the wrong moment and got a full show and we tried to attend for a bit after but it felt creepy, never went back. My daughter is now 11.

Both of my parents deaths in the last five years got me really thinking about things that I honestly never bothered to slow down to consider before and that was when I gave myself the atheist label. I came to TTA a few months after my father passed.


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02-12-2014, 02:02 PM
RE: Anybody Raised by Atheists?
My mother, grandmother, and grandfather (all from Germany when my mother was 12) were just not religious. I never heard them talk about god or anything....when I was about 10 a friend of mine invited me to her church and I went. I went a lot. For over 60 years.
So growing up in a non-religious family had nothing to do with how I turned out.
My brother, son, and grandson are also Atheists....LONG before I was. So I really think that people will do their own choosing regardless..... when their time is right.

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02-12-2014, 02:28 PM (This post was last modified: 02-12-2014 02:33 PM by Free.)
RE: Anybody Raised by Atheists?
Was raised on a small island in a small village that was 99% Catholic. Teachers were all nuns, Priest was the principal.

Got my hands spanked, ears pulled, sent to the principal's office so many times I lost count, all because I couldn't stop laughing at how stupid the bible stories were.

With animals that could supposedly talk, and people supposedly flying up into the sky, who could blame me? I could never figure out how the nuns and priest could believe any of that stuff. I read better stories in my Superman/Batman comic book collection ffs.

Anyways, my parents had to come to school more than enough to apologize for me cuz there was no fucking way I was apologizing for not believing in the bullshit.

It was insulting. I remember that they made me read from the bible in church one Sunday, and I had the hardest time not breaking out in laughter. Friends of mine sitting in the front row knew I hated it, and would make funny faces at me as I stood on the podium.

My family wasn't much into religion. They just went with the flow in the village.

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02-12-2014, 02:32 PM
RE: Anybody Raised by Atheists?
My parents, too, never talked about any of it. They let me figure it out for myself, and I was ardently catholic until I read the bible at age 10. That was that, too old for fairy tales. (I see that the atheist association chose that for their billboards this christmas - too old for fairy tales. Tongue )

My parents were closet atheists and each only came out to me on their death bed. But I kind of knew. I just never thought about it after I filed that bible away. I didn't label myself atheist until some 3 years ago when my (atheist) husband died and I needed a place to vent and came here.

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03-12-2014, 09:37 AM
RE: Anybody Raised by Atheists?
My great great grandfather was a Methodist Bishop. Great grandfather was a missionary, as was his sister. My grandfather's sister was a missionary. My second cousin is a minister. My grandparents were rather devout and since we lived with them, we went to church every Sunday.

I was OK with it as it was more a social event than heavy religion. Us kids went to what amounted to day care while the adults did the holy thing. We played, had simplified Bible stories read to us, colored, etc. Until the day they tried to feed me the story about Jonah living in the whale. I must have been all of 7, but I knew damn well that didn't happen. I remember arguing with the teacher, who assured me that it did indeed happen exactly the way the story said.

After that I threw a fit about not wanting to go to church anymore. We had moved out on our own, and kinda drifted off from going every Sunday to not going at all. I had a brief bounce-back in my early teens, only because the minister's son was cute. But being old enough to sit through the whole service was too steep a price to pay for him - he wasn't *that* cute.

I went to a private school that was loosely "Protestant." We had a generic hymnal, we attended "Chapel" every morning, but there was no sermon. It was more along the lines of announcements, often a presentation of some scholastic paper from a senior fulfilling a requirement, mundane stuff. At Christmas we had an Episcopalian minister give a program, and graduation was held at a Congregationalist church. There were replicas of Greek statues in the hallways, but no religious statues. We had one semester of studying the Bible as literature, but we never got into truth/lies. We did a comparative religions thing in History, but it was never pushed to think one way or another.

At this point I just never thought much about it. Religion was something other people did. My parents never pushed it on us, but they did push education and the need to think for ourselves. They taught us to stop and think before jumping to conclusions, to examine and question. We were never allowed to express an opinion without supporting evidence. My parents were no-particular-ideologists who never set foot in a church again except for weddings and funerals. They stressed being good just because, giving back to the community, and sharing whatever you had.

Fast forward to the point when my former sibling became bornagain. (I know that's really 2 words, but not the way they say it.) He quit his very well-paying job and spent all day reading the Bible and >poof< decided he was a preacher. Since nobody was listening to him or hiring him, he decided that my parents should support him, his wife, and his litter of 6 kids according to the lifestyle he thought he deserved.

That's when I realized I was an atheist and moved on up to become a rabid atheist.

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03-12-2014, 11:50 AM
RE: Anybody Raised by Atheists?
Yes, though it's not as though they told me so explicitly. More of the "well, this is a story some people believe" kind of thing. I can count the number of times I was at an actual religious service on the fingers of one hand...

I was a teenager by the time I realised that yes, there were people who took that shit seriously. That was actually kind of terrifying.

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03-12-2014, 12:12 PM
RE: Anybody Raised by Atheists?
I was raised in the Sierra Nevada Mountains near Tahoe, out in the woods, in a cabin with no tv, very little radio reception and no neighbors. My parents just didn't discuss religion. My dad was an atheist and my mom was probably agnostic. I didn't even know who the hell Jesus was until I was about 9 or 10. It was during Christmas after hearing a Christmas carol about Jesus that I asked this girl in my 3rd or 4th grade class who Jesus was and she gasped at my stupidity and told me he was the son of god.

I had heard the name before but never thought to ask about this Jesus guy and when I finally did, right from the get-go I thought it sounded fishy and a little dumb. And sure enough, I was right.

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03-12-2014, 12:53 PM
RE: Anybody Raised by Atheists?
(03-12-2014 11:50 AM)cjlr Wrote:  I was a teenager by the time I realised that yes, there were people who took that shit seriously. That was actually kind of terrifying.

Yeah right? No kidding. I went to church as a kid, but even at the height of that it was always understood in my family that the stories in the Bible were allegorical, metaphorical, and not literally true that it was about the lesson; like Grimm's Fairy Tales or Aesop's Fables. I grew up thinking that's the way it was with everybody. Boy was I wrong.
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06-12-2014, 09:38 PM
RE: Anybody Raised by Atheists?
All my nieces and nephews were raised by atheists. Wonderful, happy, well adjusted kids, now young adults.
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