Teenage Atheists: Advice. (An article by A2)
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09-08-2014, 09:14 AM (This post was last modified: 09-08-2014 09:53 AM by Atothetheist.)
Teenage Atheists: Advice. (An article by A2)
So, I was contacted by WashingtonPost a couple of months ago to write an article about my experiences coming out and such, and after some productive calls, they never got back to me with their edits for a final draft. So, instead of waiting (and partly inspired by 'Why I Should've Kept my Mouth Shut') I decided that the article could be used as a tool for other people (lurkers) that could potentially use the advice contained, or at least they could relate that there is someone here that went through what seemed (to me, at least) the worst of it (sans kicked out, of course).

Without Further Ado:

Coming out as a teenage atheist shouldn't be an issue. There shouldn't be anything wrong with telling your parents that you don't know enough to commit to any particular religion, or that you demand more evidence than what has been given to you. So, if it shouldn't have been a problem, why was it so nerve-racking for me to come out to my parents that I was an atheist? Why was it so difficult for me to tell them what I really believed (or didn't believe in) about religion?

At the age of thirteen, I had begun to have trouble reconciling the world around me with the existence of an omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, all-loving being. If God existed, why did children die needlessly? Why did diseases exist? Why would a God that loves us, create a world that can barely support all of us? While none of this truly affected a god's existence, it tore down the God that I had, under the my parents instruction, built up in my head. The caring, loving, parental God I had believed in didn't exist. This was only reinforced when I completed my self-imposed challenge to read the entire Holy Bible. The Old Testament did not paint God in a favorable light.

However, none of that really made me challenge that their was some kind of force in the Universe, guiding us. If not a caring god, then it must a cruel, indifferent one. After all, there must have been something to create everything I see before me. It was not long after I had abandoned the Catholic God, that I realized I was going about things the wrong way. In my search for answers, I began to realize that I was making an assumption that the Universe had to have been created from an intelligent being. At first, it made no sense (After all, it only seemed right that only a god of some kind could create it), but as I slowly thought about it, I realized that the only way to gain clarity is to not make assumptions. With this revelation,I redesigned my perspectives and threw out any unnecessary assumptions (that included god).

That's how I became an atheist, a person that has no belief in a god, or gods. While my transition from religion to atheism was relatively simple, telling my parents was another matter entirely. I didn't know how they would react, and that scared me. They were religious, and I felt that telling them that I no longer am would be a huge slap in the face for them. So, for the longest time, I avoided the issue. I refused to comment, or twisted my comments so that I may be spared from having to sit my parents down and tell them what I really felt. However, every day that passed, I felt like I was disrespecting my parents by not telling them the truth (and faking belief) because I was too scared to come out.

When I was fourteen, I was resolved to come out to my parents. By that time, I was deeply aware of what religion could drive good men to do, and I had wanted to voice my support against it. I decided that if I couldn't be at the Reason Rally (a huge skeptics convention held in D.C. on March 24, 2012), that I would support it by finally speaking my mind about religion to my parents. Still, I had the feeling that I had somehow betrayed my parents by turning away from what they had believed. This feeling had prevented me from coming out earlier, but then I thought that they might be proud that I have decided to give religion a closer look.

Boy was I wrong.

I decided that beating around the bush would only make me less certain about it, and that getting it over with was the best option. So, I sat them down, and told them that I no longer held any belief in gods. To say they were displeased would be an understatement. I was called a failure and a disgrace, and some other things. After the exchange was over, I left feeling like I had disappointed my parents.

I am seventeen now, and not a day goes by where I wish that exchange could have gone differently. It's not that I regret coming out (I don't, and never will regret it), but I am ashamed that telling my parents the truth made me think (if only for a brief moment) that lying to them the rest of my life was the better alternative.

There are many teenage atheists that still have not come out, or are seriously thinking about it. To those that want to, I can not stress enough that you do it only when you are sure you are safe. There have been cases of teenage atheists getting cut off or kicked out because of what they don't believe in. I strongly urge that you do not come out if you think that might be a possibility for you. Your safety is the most important thing to consider. How will coming out affect you? Why do you wish to come out? These are important questions that need answers. If you can't come out but want to share your perspectives, I highly suggest you find a place (online or otherwise) where you can espouse your beliefs and opinions in safety. Do not put yourself in harms way if you do not have to. I wish I had that advice when I still was in the closet.

------------

I hope that this was helpful in anyway, and that people learn, and learn to take an issue with teenagers being treated badly by the people they love the most.

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09-08-2014, 09:20 AM
RE: Coming Out Teenage Atheist (An article by A2)
A2's Article of Faith. Big Grin

Methinks you underplayed the aftermath somewhat.

Consider

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09-08-2014, 09:26 AM
RE: Coming Out as a Teenage Atheist (An article by A2)
(09-08-2014 09:14 AM)Atothetheist Wrote:  So, I was contacted by WashingtonPost a couple of months ago to write an article about my experiences coming out and such, and after some productive calls, they never got back to me with their edits for a final draft. So, instead of waiting (and partly inspired by 'Why I Should've Kept my Mouth Shut') I decided that the article could be used as a tool for other people (lurkers) that could potentially use the advice contained, or at least they could relate that there is someone here that went through what seemed (to me, at least) the worst of it (sans kicked out, of course).

Without Further Ado:

Coming out as a teenage atheist shouldn't be an issue. There shouldn't be anything wrong with telling your parents that you don't know enough to commit to any particular religion, or that you demand more evidence than what has been given to you. So, if it shouldn't have been a problem, why was it so nerve-racking for me to come out to my parents that I was an atheist? Why was it so difficult for me to tell them what I really believed (or didn't believe in) about religion?

At the age of thirteen, I had begun to have trouble reconciling the world around me with the existence of an omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, all-loving being. If God existed, why did children die needlessly? Why did diseases exist? Why would a God that loves us, create a world that can barely support all of us? While none of this truly affected a god's existence, it tore down the God that I had, under the my parents instruction, built up in my head. The caring, loving, parental God I had believed in didn't exist. This was only reinforced when I completed my self-imposed to read the entire Holy Bible. The Old Testament did not paint God in a favorable light.

However, none of that really made me challenge that their was some kind of force in the Universe, guiding us. If not a caring god, then it must a cruel, indifferent one. After all, there must have been something to create everything I see before me. It was not long after I had abandoned the Catholic God, that I realized I was going about things the wrong way. In my search for answers, I began to realize that I was making an assumption that the Universe had to have been created from an intelligent being. At first, it made no sense (After all, it only seemed right that only a god of some kind could create it), but as I slowly thought about it, I realized that the only way to gain clarity is to not make assumptions. With this revelation,I redesigned my perspectives and threw out any unnecessary assumptions (that included god).

That's how I became an atheist, a person that has no belief in a god, or gods. While my transition from religion to atheism was relatively simple, telling my parents was another matter entirely. I didn't know how they would react, and that scared me. They were religious, and I felt that telling them that I no longer am would be a huge slap in the face for them. So, for the longest time, I avoided the issue. I refused to comment, or twisted my comments so that I may be spared from having to sit my parents down and tell them what I really felt. However, every day that passed, I felt like I was disrespecting my parents by not telling them the truth (and faking belief) because I was too scared to come out.

When I was fourteen, I was resolved to come out to my parents. By that time, I was deeply aware of what religion could drive good men to do, and I had wanted to voice my support of it. I decided that if I couldn't be at the Reason Rally (a huge skeptics convention held in D.C. on March 24, 2012), that I would support it by finally speaking my mind about religion to my parents. Still, I had the feeling that I had somehow betrayed my parents by turning away from what they had believed. This feeling had prevented me from coming out earlier, but then I thought that they might be proud that I have decided to give religion a closer look.

Boy was I wrong.

I decided that beating around the bush would only make me less certain about it, and that getting it over with was the best option. So, I sat them down, and told them that I no longer held any belief in gods. To say they were displeased would be an understatement. I was called a failure and a disgrace, and some other things. After the exchange was over, I left feeling like I had disappointed my parents.

I am seventeen now, and not a day goes by where I wish that exchange could have gone differently. It's not that I regret coming out (I don't, and never will regret it), but I am ashamed that telling my parents the truth made me think (if only for a brief moment) that lying to them the rest of my life was the better alternative.

There are many teenage atheists that still have not come out, or are seriously thinking about it. To those that want to, I can not stress enough that you do it only when you are sure you are safe. There have been cases of teenage atheists getting cut off or kicked out because of what they don't believe in. I strongly urge that you do not come out if you think that might be a possibility for you. Your safety is the most important thing to consider. How will coming out affect you? Why do you wish to come out? These are important questions that need answers. If you can't come out but want to share your perspectives, I highly suggest you find a place (online or otherwise) where you can espouse your beliefs and opinions in safety. Do not put yourself in harms way if you do not have to. I wish I had that advice when I still was in the closet.

------------

I hope that this was helpful in anyway, and that people learn, and learn to take an issue with teenagers being treated badly by the people they love the most.

Very good post. My coming out was, nobody caring. Nobody cared I was an atheist, not even my church owning aunt. So I guess I got lucky.

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09-08-2014, 09:31 AM
RE: Coming Out as a Teenage Atheist (An article by A2)
(09-08-2014 09:20 AM)DLJ Wrote:  A2's Article of Faith. Big Grin

Methinks you underplayed the aftermath somewhat.

Consider

Hahahahahahahahahahaha

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09-08-2014, 09:31 AM
RE: Coming Out as a Teenage Atheist (An article by A2)
I suggest that this become a sticky in the teenage section.

Nice work! Bowing

[Image: dobie.png]Science is the process we've designed to be responsible for generating our best guess as to what the fuck is going on. Girly Man
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09-08-2014, 09:32 AM
RE: Coming Out as a Teenage Atheist (An article by A2)
I would suggest you relabel the OP somewhat, so it comes up easier/higher on an internet search, with the first words as "teenage atheist" or "atheist teenager".

Nice job.

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09-08-2014, 09:44 AM
RE: Coming Out as a Teenage Atheist (An article by A2)
(09-08-2014 09:31 AM)Dom Wrote:  I suggest that this become a sticky in the teenage section.

Nice work! Bowing

The problem with that would be that it might not get as big of an exposure as it being in this section could. I want this to be as available as possible to help as many people as possible, it was one of the reasons I made it in this section.

(09-08-2014 09:32 AM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  I would suggest you relabel the OP somewhat, so it comes up easier/higher on an internet search, with the first words as "teenage atheist" or "atheist teenager".

Nice job.

Will Do.

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10-08-2014, 09:45 AM
RE: Teenage Atheists: Advice. (An article by A2)
Is the title good now?

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10-08-2014, 11:04 AM
RE: Teenage Atheists: Advice. (An article by A2)
Well done man. Good job

Insanity - doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results
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11-08-2014, 03:48 PM
RE: Teenage Atheists: Advice. (An article by A2)
(10-08-2014 11:04 AM)Rahn127 Wrote:  Well done man. Good job

Thanks man.

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