My best friend is not a believer, but his parents are...
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20-04-2013, 04:50 AM
My best friend is not a believer, but his parents are...
I have a friend named George. Me and him are an odd couple. George is the only black guy in class and I am pretty white guy who hates rap, rmb and what else is popular (not that George is all that pop-oriented either, thanks to me he's a semi metalhead now). We have been friends since late 2011, but it wasn't before two days ago he started to talk about his issues with his parents. George was born in Nigeria and lived there till he was 8, when he then moved to Norway with his mother. As you might have guessed, in Nigeria religion matters alot, and George's parents are DEEPLY religious, christians in to the root of their hearts. George said to me that he believed in God, Jesus and what not untill he understood that the power of prayer has no power, at that praying for a A+ at your test, doesn't really give an A+. He was around 15-16 when he started thinking like this, around when I first met him.

According to George himself, he is forced to pray before he goes to sleep everyday, and he is also forced to go to chruch every Sunday. He says he doesn't protest; he doesn't want any trouble(I'll tell you what "trouble" means later). He says he still thinks his parents are kind, and if he says so I can't really say against it. But the deal about religion seems to bother him.

Here's the real problem: George has two siblings, a big brother at 20 or 21, and a little brother at 4. The story goes so, that Georges older brother once said to his parents that he did not believe in God. According to George, his father got so mad that he hit his brother right in the face, and it got to full fight, and later a lawsuit. Georges brother has cut contact to his parents and now resides in Oslo (George lives about an hour an a half away from Oslo). George has also expressed concern over his younger brother, Peter at age 4; about the indoctrination he is reciving.

I guess the question lies, what should George do, tell his parents that he doesn't believe, or leave it be untill he has moved out? Also, what should I do as a friend?

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20-04-2013, 05:03 AM
RE: My best friend is not a believer, but his parents are...
I think the common advice is that if you think that coming out will result in bodily or economic harm, don't. Wait until you are in a safe physical and financial place before doing anything like that. There are a number of "coming out" threads on this board and elsewhere that might help in understanding how to approach the situation if and when he does want to come out, and in general the advice there is probably to do so fairly slowly, not make a big issue about it, not use the "a" word, and throughout the transition show that you are still the same person as before with the same values and morals and hopes and dreams.

I may be wrong but I think every closet atheist is in some way looking for community. Be a friend, and let him tell you what he can't tell his parents so that it isn't boiling up inside him wanting to get out.

As for the 4 year old, there is no easy answer. He is the child and they are the parents. Legally everything is in their court. Unless they are being actively abused in a legally definable way parental indoctrination can't be interfered with in any major way. However, at some point as he grows up your friend will probably have the chance to explain to that child what an atheist is and maybe set him thinking... but especially for a closet atheist there is little that can be done. For sure a 4 year old will out you to whoever they talk to on a regular basis Wink

Give me your argument in the form of a published paper, and then we can start to talk.
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