Living in a heavily Christian household when you have no belief
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11-04-2012, 09:44 PM
Living in a heavily Christian household when you have no belief
Hi, I'm (Brand) new to these forums, but I kinda of... need help. Or support. Or, well... anything at this point.

I'm 18 years old, and my parents (Specifically my mother) are hardcore Christians. I'm also an Atheist. The way I managed to turn away from religion so quickly is through my constant thought. I would think about anything, whether it be what just happened in an episode of Dragonball Z or what happened to the dinosaurs. One day I was actually thinking about God and how people could have such visions and actually SEE hell and God and all manner of other spiritual things. That day, the filter on the fridge needed to be replaced. I drank some of the water, and it was disgusting to me. I hated it. I told my dad about it, and he explained to me that, not only was the water still being filtered, as it is designed to alert us to it needing to be replaced well before it actually needs it, but that unfiltered water was what we got from the sink. A few minutes later, I drank water from the fridge again, and it tasted... completely normal. This got me to thinking. The power of the human mind- it is powerful. If you truly believe something, as I truly believed the water was nasty, that is how you will perceive it. That was when I was in the 4th grade. It wasn't until the 6th grade until I grew the balls to tell my parents, after they pretty much demanded I join a large prayer group to "Thank the Heavenly Father for healing me!" (I had just gotten out of a major surgery on my stomach- I have Crone's disease and needed an operation on my intestine).

"How dare you say such a thing!"
"How can you explain the world's existence?"
"What if you're wrong and there IS a God? Is it worth burning in hell forever?"
"You know how many billions of people believe in God? How can so many be wrong?"
"What if GOD caused the Big Bang to happen? Did you ever consider that?" (At that point I didn't even know what the Big Bang was)
"We can't let an Atheist live in our home, but we are required to let you stay until you graduate."


Needless to say, as an 11 year old, those were some pretty tough questions that I had no response to. My parents then proceeded to greatly increase their monitoring of my activities (I was JUST hitting that age where I didn't want them to, too) and forcing me to attend Church 3 times a week. At first it was just alright, whatever. They made me listen to Christian music. A friend gave me his old Ipod and I listened to real music on that. I would make up homework for myself to do on Wednesdays and Fridays (Sometimes Monday) just so I could get out of going to Church. This went on for a good... 4 years or so.

Then I had yet another Crone's attack. This one much more severe. It was the summer after my Freshman year of high school. Still an Atheist, but slowly starting to hate life. I had come to love the summer, as it gave me extended breaks from my parents and the life they wanted me to live. But that became difficult. Stomach cramps killed me. At many points I found it impossible just to walk or even stay on my feet. I went into the hospital, and they gave me TPN- an IV fluid that's constantly hooked up to you to give you nutrients. It only worked briefly. I found myself vomiting for hours, many times with blood, having constant cramps (I'm not talking the slight pain- I mean hundreds of sharp, stabbing pains all over the inside of my stomach as the acids inside it spin around like a whirlpool). It was also starting to hurt as I pee'd, and it would often come out darker colored, with shreds of black in it. I had to be rushed to the ICU at 2:37 in the morning one day. I asked my mom why God was doing this to me. She said it was the Devil. I asked why God didn't help me.

"He must be testing you. The Lord works in mysterious ways"

I didn't get to eat for a week while the doctor's tried to figure out what was wrong with me. One day, seemingly at random, a half dozen SURGEONS stormed into my room, asking my parents to sign papers so they could prep me for surgery. They were in a major hurry. My parents demanded they slow down and explain what happened. Apparently, I had a hole connecting my intestine to my bladder and was on the verge of death. The put me under immediately.

I'll put the next paragraph in spoiler tags (Hopefully I get them right) because, well, it might gross some people out.

When I woke up was quite easily the worst few moments of my life.
The first thing I noticed was I had a bag on my stomach, and a thick white line running down my stomach, starting right underneath my bellybutton. I also realized I had a tube running up my penis. Getting an erection caused it to squeeze the tube, which was beyond painful. I had it for so long that my body trained itself not to get an erection overnight. I still don't get them and this is almost 3 years later.

I was in the hospital like that from July 2009 to February 2010. When I finally got home it was a grand celebration. My family was overjoyed I was now healthy. They, once again, asked me to give thanks to God and join a prayer group- but now they wanted me to preach and share my story to our Church. I told them no. At this point, I had been lying to them, saying I believe in God just to hopefully get them off my back about it. At this point though, I wasn't going to have any of it. At 16 years old I told my parents, with several thousand more times authority, that I truly believed there was no God. Then I found myself going to church 3 times a week again, except now my mom made me study the bible (Ironically, as thoroughly as she made me study it, none of the parts that clearly paint God out to be his true immoral self ever came up). They were going to force me into a God loving man, whether I liked it or not.

2 years later, and I am still an Atheist. My mental health seems to be deteriorating, and from time to time I seriously consider suicide. I am back to lying to my parents about my belief, and while I am close to graduating (May 30th), I am in no way ready to set out of the house on my own.

A part of me... a large part of me... hates my parents. Not the usual dislike a teen has for their parents, either. Whenever someone tells me how much I'd miss my parents if they were gone, the only thing I could imagine missing is the support while I try to make my own way in the world, and by that I mean my lunch money. I can honestly say I wouldn't be at their funerals. I find myself not being keen to talking to others unless I know them, and I don't feel the need to attend prom or even graduation. I've got no experience with girls anyways, so there'd be no way in hell I could get a date.

My mom is saying our church will become a "Church of Healing", because God told our pastor that. She said that I should team up with him, because as someone who God has healed, I have the power to heal others. She doesn't know how far away from her and her religion I want to get- as soon as I can.

I realize how depressed I've become. This very post went from what was meant to be a two sentence post telling you guys my parents were pushing Christianity on me to my entire life story. I've never had anyone to talk to about this, so sorry if I gave too much information. I'm not even sure what kind of responses I'm expecting... I guess I just want something.
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11-04-2012, 11:16 PM
RE: Living in a heavily Christian household when you have no belief
Hello and welcome! Thank you for sharing your story Smile

Here's what I think: Your parents, deep down inside really love you. They want to protect you from "eternal damnation" by being a person who reveres a divine being. Your parents believe that through their actions, they are helping you. However, you as an atheist will disagree with your actions. Don't hate your parents on what they have done.

Have you had any discussions with your parents about religion? Here's what I recommend when the next discussion arises. Understand why you do not believe in a God in the first place. Ensure that you can back up your claims (and ask your parents to back up their claims if their claim something). Get ready for counter-arguments against common apologetic arguments ranging from the scientific field to the philosophy field (argument from beauty, first-cause argument, bandwagon argument, anti-evolution arguments, young earth arguments).

Most importantly, stay calm, and remain rational. even though your parents may flip out.

Hope this helps Smile

Welcome to science. You're gonna like it here - Phil Plait

Have you ever tried taking a comfort blanket away from a small child? - DLJ
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12-04-2012, 01:11 AM
 
RE: Living in a heavily Christian household when you have no belief
Well, one thing you know is that if there is a god—if there is—He can cause you a great deal of pain if He wants to. Apparently, He’s done it in the past. Now you consider this unjust, no doubt, and maybe God is not always a God of love. But in just what you’ve written, I'm forced to wonder: Why shouldn't you suffer? I don’t wish it on you, but look at what you’ve said:

A part of me... a large part of me... hates my parents. Not the usual dislike a teen has for their parents, either. Whenever someone tells me how much I'd miss my parents if they were gone, the only thing I could imagine missing is the support while I try to make my own way in the world, and by that I mean my lunch money. I can honestly say I wouldn't be at their funerals.

Frankly, that’s despicable. They paid for your support all your life. They took you to the hospital to save your life. They prayed for you, and they tried to instill in you a religious belief that would give some purpose to your suffering and also make you acceptable in society (because society does not treat atheists very well). This they did for you, and you don’t have to pay back a cent.

But you hate them beyond any normal bounds and wouldn’t even go to their funerals if they died—your words.

Now you’re talking about ending your life, always the adolescent’s final way of really hurting their parents. If you truly think you might hurt yourself, or if you feel like you hate your parents enough to hurt them, I think you should tell them so that once again they can take you to a hospital—a different kind of hospital, but a hospital nonetheless, where once again your life can be saved. My guess is they would do it in a heartbeat--because they probably care about you. No teenager should ever commit suicide, and no one wants to lose their son.

And, my friend, I’m not sure you want to go around ending your physical life while you’re still an atheist. If nothing else, consider Pascal’s Wager.

You seem like a hard case. Because you’ve been sick, people have probably gone out of their way to sympathize with you and try to give you what you want to make your life more comfortable—your lunch money so to speak. But maybe that has spoiled you. Maybe you need a reality check. Maybe you need to look at things differently, and maybe you’d be happier if you did. You could look at what you have left and be grateful for it instead of looking at what you don’t have and begrudging it.

I’m sorry for the pain you’ve had in your life. I hope you're better and able to manage it now. But I have to say this out of a true concern for you: Perhaps you should fear God a little. Christians only focus on God’s love. Maybe you should see Him more clearly. I mean I've seen Him bestow great mercy and love, even upon the undeserving like me, but I never allow myself to forget for one second that this is the same God that created the insect kingdom, and in the end, if He wants to, He can be quite brutal.
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12-04-2012, 02:26 AM
RE: Living in a heavily Christian household when you have no belief
I'm so sorry for your situation!

Check meetup.com and see if there are groups in your area, where you can connect with like-minded people for support while you figure out what your next move will be.

Hang in there, kiddo - it'll get better.

Warmest Regards.
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12-04-2012, 05:27 AM (This post was last modified: 13-04-2012 07:06 AM by Lilith Pride.)
RE: Living in a heavily Christian household when you have no belief
(12-04-2012 01:11 AM)Egor Wrote:  Well, one thing you know is that if there is a god—if there is—He can cause you a great deal of pain if He wants to. Apparently, He’s done it in the past. Now you consider this unjust, no doubt, and maybe God is not always a God of love. But in just what you’ve written, I'm forced to wonder: Why shouldn't you suffer? I don’t wish it on you, but look at what you’ve said:

A part of me... a large part of me... hates my parents. Not the usual dislike a teen has for their parents, either. Whenever someone tells me how much I'd miss my parents if they were gone, the only thing I could imagine missing is the support while I try to make my own way in the world, and by that I mean my lunch money. I can honestly say I wouldn't be at their funerals.

Frankly, that’s despicable. They paid for your support all your life. They took you to the hospital to save your life. They prayed for you, and they tried to instill in you a religious belief that would give some purpose to your suffering and also make you acceptable in society (because society does not treat atheists very well). This they did for you, and you don’t have to pay back a cent.
Well let's tackle several points, here. They paid for my support all my life? I guess I could be happy about that- but then, if they DIDN'T support me I'd have probably gotten a chance to live with a different family. An ambulance actually took me to the hospital. Prayers mean nothing to me. Religion does not give my suffering purpose, it belittles it, and it makes me angry. Also, being an Atheist is hardly unacceptable to Society. Your notion that Atheists are not treated well is ALSO false, as the majority of so-called Christians don't live lives for God, but only pretend to on Sundays- if they even bother going to Church at all. The majority claim to believe in God but don't have an ounce of spirituality in them- they never pray, read the bible, go to Church, etc, and live VERY sinful lifestyles. And I don't have to pay back a cent, but I am going to. Every last one. Even if I'm paying them back for the rest of my life.
(12-04-2012 01:11 AM)Egor Wrote:  But you hate them beyond any normal bounds and wouldn’t even go to their funerals if they died—your words.
Why shouldn't I? All my life I've been patronized in my own home for not believing in fairytales. I didn't get to live the kind of life most kids would get to- and not just because of my hospitalization.
(12-04-2012 01:11 AM)Egor Wrote:  Now you’re talking about ending your life, always the adolescent’s final way of really hurting their parents. If you truly think you might hurt yourself, or if you feel like you hate your parents enough to hurt them, I think you should tell them so that once again they can take you to a hospital—a different kind of hospital, but a hospital nonetheless, where once again your life can be saved. My guess is they would do it in a heartbeat--because they probably care about you. No teenager should ever commit suicide, and no one wants to lose their son.
I'm don't think I might do it, I just said I consider it from time to time. It's never even about hurting my parents, either. It's more about being free from oppression. Wars have been fought and blood has been spilled over what I am going through right now. Entire civilizations of people have migrated continents because of what I am going through right now. Having a religion you don't believe in forcibly thrust so far down your throat every day for over a decade, especially when I'm not even two decades old, is seriously damaging.
(12-04-2012 01:11 AM)Egor Wrote:  And, my friend, I’m not sure you want to go around ending your physical life while you’re still an atheist. If nothing else, consider Pascal’s Wager.
I've gotten that one before. My rebuttal is replace the word "God" in his wager with "Flying Spaghetti Monster" and it's the exact same thing.
(12-04-2012 01:11 AM)Egor Wrote:  You seem like a hard case. Because you’ve been sick, people have probably gone out of their way to sympathize with you and try to give you what you want to make your life more comfortable—your lunch money so to speak. But maybe that has spoiled you. Maybe you need a reality check. Maybe you need to look at things differently, and maybe you’d be happier if you did. You could look at what you have left and be grateful for it instead of looking at what you don’t have and begrudging it.
Nobody has done anything of the sort. I came back to school only to realize my teachers had failed me in their classes, despite my working every day, claiming my work never made it to them (I had a special teacher come to my hospital and she was assigned to take it to school and turn it in for me since I couldn't). My lunch money is something my dad gives all his kids, not just me. I don't get any more, or less. In fact, the only way people have tried to accommodate me is my parents didn't give me chores for a few weeks after I got out of the hospital. After that life went back to normal, except I was really behind in school and had no hope of catching up without attending summer classes.
(12-04-2012 01:11 AM)Egor Wrote:  I’m sorry for the pain you’ve had in your life. I hope you're better and able to manage it now. But I have to say this out of a true concern for you: Perhaps you should fear God a little. Christians only focus on God’s love. Maybe you should see Him more clearly. I mean I've seen Him bestow great mercy and love, even upon the undeserving like me, but I never allow myself to forget for one second that this is the same God that created the insect kingdom, and in the end, if He wants to, He can be quite brutal.
I wonder why a theist is on a forum supposedly for Atheists. There is no God for me to fear. I could imagine one up, but when he's of my own mind there's no way I myself could possibly find him scary. You have seen him do nothing. Just because something good in the world happens (While in the real world thousands die daily for reasons that obviously show God, if he exists, is far from loving OR merciful) doesn't mean God did it.

Also, I would like to go back to something I missed my first time going through this reply:
(12-04-2012 01:11 AM)Egor Wrote:  "But in just what you’ve written, I'm forced to wonder: Why shouldn't you suffer? I don’t wish it on you, but look at what you’ve said:

A part of me... a large part of me... hates my parents. Not the usual dislike a teen has for their parents, either. Whenever someone tells me how much I'd miss my parents if they were gone, the only thing I could imagine missing is the support while I try to make my own way in the world, and by that I mean my lunch money. I can honestly say I wouldn't be at their funerals. "
So what you're saying is the events contributing and leading up to my hating my parents is punishment for... hating my parents? I would explain to you how backwards and absurd that is, but since you're very clearly a theist...
*takes deep breath*
(12-04-2012 01:11 AM)Egor Wrote:  No.

I seem to have severely fucked that reply up, but I have no idea how to fix it...
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12-04-2012, 07:50 AM
RE: Living in a heavily Christian household when you have no belief
Welcome.

Your parents seem like lovely folk [/sarcasm].

Anyway, people are always here for talking to if you need it... and yeah, I would advise maybe tracking down some kind of group near you or something to get away from the madness. Or you could just achieve happiness with lots of hookers and blow... Smile
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12-04-2012, 08:42 AM
RE: Living in a heavily Christian household when you have no belief
You said you were 18 - any chance of moving out?

Having something continuously shoved down your throat that you don't believe in is unbearable sometimes, especially at your age.

It also exacerbates Crohn's. Emotional turmoil is a trigger for flare ups. This is actually making you sick.

For that reason have no problems recommending that you try your darndest to get out of there.

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12-04-2012, 10:33 AM (This post was last modified: 12-04-2012 10:41 AM by Vipa.)
RE: Living in a heavily Christian household when you have no belief
Welcome,

Just ignore Egor, he seems to always lie in wait for prey and instead of helping he's making them miserable (which he doesn't understand because in his fuzzy brain it somehow makes sense to attack someone who's in need of understanding)


That really sucks... But if they literally said they can't have an atheist in their home to an eleven year old, you can't come out to them again with 18 if you cannot move out yet... (also @ robotworld)
While the forum sure is a good start you should as ethicalmom said search for groups near you

And hell no you have every right to hate them if they are like this. Making sure you survive your childhood is their job anyways, they don't deserve thanks for it if they fail to love you for who you are and constantly try to mindfuck you..
But maybe your relationship will improve once they don't hold any power over you. As long as it helps you to hate them go on ^^ but I think the better solution would be to just ignore them as much as possible and not wasting any brain power on a feeling that gives you a bad mood.

What kind of church are you being dragged to? Healing Church sounds like something Pentecostals would do. If it wasn't this tragic for you I would laugh my ass off over this pastor and his god speaking to him. I'd say he's the one whose mental health is deteriorating (why else would god need him to change his church to a church of healing)...

Anyway hope you'll like it here
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12-04-2012, 10:39 AM
RE: Living in a heavily Christian household when you have no belief
Quote: Just ignore Egor, he seems to always lie in wait for prey and instead of helping he's making them miserable (which he doesn't understand because in his fuzzy brain it somehow makes sense to attack someone who's in need of understanding)

Yes Egor, you are a guest here among atheists. Back off vulnerable people. I will not sit and watch you do harm. This is truly unacceptable.

Zangash, ignore him. He thinks he is saving your soul, he doesn't get what you are going through.

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12-04-2012, 11:32 AM
RE: Living in a heavily Christian household when you have no belief
I understand the difficulty in needing a lot of time to think things over. I too grew up primarily in my mind. The sad truth of things is that you really need to get away from your current situation. Your parents are trying way too hard to force their views on you, and as was mentioned before, causing you pains that really should be avoided. Find some groups and make some friends. People other than family help out those they care about as well. You need to find an alternative to living with your family, so find some people to talk with. Search groups that have similar views so you're less afraid to talk.

An alternative solution would be to search for a part time job. Many parents are much less adament in forcing things on their children when their children work. Finding a job may convince them to lay off on the religious push and help you move towards financial independence. It's not the easiest thing to do, but there are job centers all over made to help those not personally ready for the job hunt be able to find a decent wage.

While Egor was pretty rude in the way he talked with you, being in a psych ward sometimes can help. Too bad they always try to force medication (and christianity). Psych wards do help people learn how to interact with others and prepare them for living on their own through simplified plans and group homes. If only there were a similar program that didn't demand you be on anti-anxiety meds just for being there. I came to a bit more mental clarity during my short stint in a psych ward. Not having to scour the cabinets for my next meal was a hugely therapeutic thing for me as a kid. My stay was short though because they were demanding I take pills I wasn't going to take. Luckily I was 17 and had someone to back me up. If you really get to thinking too much about suicide this might be a better option than you expect.

I'm not a non believer, I believe in the possibility of anything. I just don't let the actuality of something be determined by a 3rd party.
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