Closet Atheists Time Has Come
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11-07-2014, 11:06 AM
Closet Atheists Time Has Come
Hey there, I'm an 18 year old who has just finished 6th form (high school in the US) in the UK and going to university in September.
My parents are hardcore Christians, part of a fairly newish sect called the 'Iglesia Ni Christo', and they are very into this Christianity thing, both having offices in the church, my dad even being one of the head deacons at our locale.
5 years ago, when I was 13 (I had recently been baptised into the church) I thought that if I'm old enough to choose to undertake bible lessons and swear an allegiance to their God, I was also old enough to say no. Apparently not. When I told them my mother broke down into tears and my father started shouting at me and threatening to kick me out of the house. I don't remember all of it, but one specific line really resonates with me, even today, saying 'You live in our house, you eat our food, so you're going to obey our rules!'
As an introverted 13 year old with no family close by and with few friends, this came as a real world shaker, so I made a promise to myself saying when I don't live in their house and don't eat their food then I'd tell them once again. So now, 5 years later the time is closing in.
So I recently have started to look around on the internet and found the thinking atheist podcast episode on closet atheists and thought it would be an idea to pop onto the forums.
Ideally speaking I'd like to leave my parents on good terms, especially as I'd like some financial help with university, my maintenance loan is means tested on parental income, but that doesn't mean anything if they don't give you any money.
While I know I'm not risking life and limb like atheists in the middle east are, I'd still like to ask for your guys help and advice, how should I go round telling them and coping with feuds that will inevitably come?
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11-07-2014, 12:01 PM
RE: Closet Atheists Time Has Come
(11-07-2014 11:06 AM)Arquebus Wrote:  Ideally speaking I'd like to leave my parents on good terms, especially as I'd like some financial help with university, my maintenance loan is means tested on parental income, but that doesn't mean anything if they don't give you any money.
While I know I'm not risking life and limb like atheists in the middle east are, I'd still like to ask for your guys help and advice, how should I go round telling them and coping with feuds that will inevitably come?

Hello fellow Brit!

If you're planning on going to university you'll probably need to stay in the closest a good few years longer (plan for 4). Although on the plus side, you'll have a lot more freedom if you are living away from home. Although going to university now is far more expensive than when I did it so if you're studying at a nearby university and staying at home then you'll still be under their roof and eating their food all the time. And it doesn't stop after that when you've got your degree and are looking for a job and can't find anything because you don't have any work experience and need to do internships (which are definitely a new thing in the UK). What course are you thinking of taking? This can make a lot of different to how long it takes to become independent.

Generally speaking if you want real independence from parents who make strict demands on how you live your life you need to have both the means and will to completely cut contact with them. That's not to say that you have to, you just need to be able to and let them know it. It can be difficult for parents to appreciate that their children are now grown up and able to make their own choices. Some say that they never really do.

So your choices are either go to university and pretend to do as they say for at least another three years; or get a job, leave home and then tell them that you never believed. You will then have to wait for them to slowly come round to the idea that you are not who they think you are.
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11-07-2014, 02:19 PM
RE: Closet Atheists Time Has Come
(11-07-2014 12:01 PM)Mathilda Wrote:  Hello fellow Brit!

If you're planning on going to university you'll probably need to stay in the closest a good few years longer (plan for 4). Although on the plus side, you'll have a lot more freedom if you are living away from home. Although going to university now is far more expensive than when I did it so if you're studying at a nearby university and staying at home then you'll still be under their roof and eating their food all the time. And it doesn't stop after that when you've got your degree and are looking for a job and can't find anything because you don't have any work experience and need to do internships (which are definitely a new thing in the UK). What course are you thinking of taking? This can make a lot of different to how long it takes to become independent.

Generally speaking if you want real independence from parents who make strict demands on how you live your life you need to have both the means and will to completely cut contact with them. That's not to say that you have to, you just need to be able to and let them know it. It can be difficult for parents to appreciate that their children are now grown up and able to make their own choices. Some say that they never really do.

So your choices are either go to university and pretend to do as they say for at least another three years; or get a job, leave home and then tell them that you never believed. You will then have to wait for them to slowly come round to the idea that you are not who they think you are.

Thanks for the response, I plan on living away from home (main reason for this was my promise) reading computer science with a year in industry. Fortunately I now have friends willing to take me in until university starts and I'm working multiple jobs over the summer to get money as a financial buffer at university till I can find a way to support myself (I worked it out; with my maintenance loan alone, after budgeting rent, I'll be living on £33 per week, while possible, not ideal). But my question still stands on how do I let them know?
I've thought about several ways (most of which would probably go down really badly) like giving them some kind of ultimatum and cutting them out completely if they enlist the help of our minister, or giving them a letter like suggested in the aforementioned podcast (I haven't read Godless yet).
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11-07-2014, 02:33 PM
RE: Closet Atheists Time Has Come
How well do you get on with them? I mean, do you love them? If you *want* to remain friends with them, try to do it non-confrontationally.

I'm just gonna waffle now, hopefully you'll find some of it useful Smile

I'd raise it after supper, at home, or in a similarly safe (for them) environment. Just say something like "Mom, Dad, there's something I've been wanting to discuss with you guys for a while now, but I never felt that the time was really right"...

Just remember, they may well react badly but a lot of the reaction may well be bluster and not very thought through. That's OK. Try not to take what they say to heart (they may say some hurtful things, either intentionally or with no realisation that they're being offensive).

I don't know. It'll help if you can try to see things from their perspective. Try to understand why they might react the way they do. Parents are just people, just like all of us. As such they are complete fucking screwballs and fuck-ups, because that is what every person is. Therefore... forgive them if they are less than perfect Wink

Basically, if you can make it clear that you're still the same boyo just with more devil inside, and that you still love them very much and are not a big scary guy (many people feel threatened by their kids suddenly growing their own brains) then they'll hopefully be keen to still hang out with you.

We'll love you just the way you are
If you're perfect -- Alanis Morissette
(06-02-2014 03:47 PM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  And I'm giving myself a conclusion again from all the facepalming.
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