Teenage Atheists
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17-05-2012, 08:58 PM
Teenage Atheists
Hi there!
My name is Steven and I thought, because of the most recent TTA podcast, I should start this thread. ( Sorry if there is another thread like this!)

My reason for doing so is because I am currently fifteen and am an Atheist. I wanted to know, and to find out how many other teenagers on this site had been or still are teenage atheists and what they went, or still go through because of it. This isn't particularly aimed at teenagers, just people who can relate to the subject and provide something to the discussion.

My story: I was about thriteen years old when one time I was on the internet, searching up documentaries, when I found " The God That Wasn't There". Being adopted, and raised a fudementalist, I raised an eyebrow at the title. It made me get a bit bothered at what the documentary was about, but nevertheless curious. It was that curiousity that got me to watch it, and start questioning.

As soon as I was done watching, l decided to read the bible. I was an avid reader,but I only managed to finish it within three months. When Atheists say that the sure fire way to take your first steps to become one is to read your "Holy" books, I realized they were right. In that book, I read about many horrible things, from slavary, child abuse, genocide, etc to Take no thought for the morrow. It made me think in a.... Newer direction.

By the time I was done with it, I was an atheist. I was still thirteen when my Seventh Grade teacher ( I went to a catholic private school.) had a lesson about Atheists and non belivers. She said, " Atheists are God Deniers and are going to Hell. I can't respect people like : Stephen Hawking." Hell was a sticky situation with me, I was very indoctrinated to the point of fearing Hell immensly. In a seething rage, I stood up and told her " Then I am going to Hell, I am an atheist. Don't bother saying we are God Deniers because we don't believe in nonsense like that!"

And I was outed.

My teacher looked at me, wide eyes and mouth gaping. She asked me to see her in the hall way, to which I reluctantly went. She wanted to tell my parents about what had happened, but I dissuaded her.

Fastforward a year. At the day of the reason rally I decided that if many Atheists were making their stand and grouping together for something they stand united on, I wanted to be counted as an true atheist. I told my mother and father of my lack of belief, and my mother looked at me with the a blank face.... And said.

" Thank God you're not my real son."
I was adopted from Russia at a young age, and when I heard this.... Well I wasn't happy.

Now my parents barely look at me anymore. I am a giant embaressment to them and their religion.
I am very happy to be on the side of reason and I am now more convinced that ever that
Coming out as an atheist is not only needed, but also very brave.

I want to hear other's story and their thoughts on this issue.

P.S : Writing on my IPad, sorry if I made any spelling mistakes.

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17-05-2012, 09:29 PM
RE: Teenage Atheists
Oh my gosh, seriously? I want to adopt you! This makes me sad Sad. Discrimination hurts, but from your mom? Sorry you had to go through this and are still in this. Sometimes, though, people say things that they don't actually mean or maybe need to come to terms with in situations they don't expect. You never know where this will lead or how your parents will relate in the future. Sometimes people say things hoping to get certain results, not realizing the true impact of what they say.

I sometimes wonder what would happen if my kids decided to be much different than I would choose, like maybe be religious or a hobby I am not a fan of or something. I would like to think I'd always just encourage them to be safe and happy, but to always keep communication open and to always love them. It doesn't mean I have to agree or support their decisions. Funny how something like religion can twist someone to not be open to their kids.

I hope you find support in ways you need it close by- or here on this forum Smile A supportive community is important, it can be its own kind of family.
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17-05-2012, 10:04 PM (This post was last modified: 17-05-2012 10:12 PM by Bucky Ball.)
RE: Teenage Atheists
(17-05-2012 08:58 PM)Atothetheist Wrote:  " Thank God you're not my real son."
I was adopted from Russia at a young age, and when I heard this.... Well I wasn't happy.


Hmmm.

I think if I were in your position, I would pick the moment, sit them down, and very quietly, respectfully, and nicely, say something like :

"mom, and dad, when you decided to adopt me, the deal was, unconditional love, cuz that's what a family is. You picked me, and we started this journey togerther. Now, I don't need an answer today, but I need to know, if you're changing the rules, in the middle of the game ? Would you rather I be dishonest, and lie to you about my non-belief ?" It may have them think about things a bit differently. You obviously still love each other, or it wouldn't matter.

Maybe, give one of them a copy of something...like one of Dawkin's books, and say, "I don't think you're going to agree with this, but you might want to understand where I'm coming from".

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17-05-2012, 10:07 PM
RE: Teenage Atheists
(17-05-2012 10:04 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  
(17-05-2012 08:58 PM)Atothetheist Wrote:  " Thank God you're not my real son."
I was adopted from Russia at a young age, and when I heard this.... Well I wasn't happy.


Hmmm.

I think if I were in your position, I would pick the moment, sit them down, and very quietly, respectfully, and nicely say something like :

"mom, and dad, when you decided to adopt me, the deal was, unconditional love, cuz that's what a family is. You picked me, and we started this journey togerther. Now, I don't need an answer today, but I need to know, if you're changing the rules, in the middle of the game ? Would you rather I be dishonest, and lie to you about my non-belief ?" It may have them think about things a bit differently. You obviously still love each other, or it wouldn't matter.

Maybe, give one of them a copy of something...like one Dawkins book, and say, I don't think you're going to agree with this, but you might want to understand where I'm coming from.

Clearly, giving them " The Ultimate Liar's" book wouldn't really solve anything. My parents are some of the most religious people I know. It would be better off if I let them keep doing what they do. I don't need any unessassary things distracting me from my goal of an academic future and a good life of reason.
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17-05-2012, 10:16 PM
RE: Teenage Atheists
Thank you for sharing. Hopefully, in another generation or so, this type of story will be a bitter relic of the past.

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18-05-2012, 01:34 AM
RE: Teenage Atheists
As a teenager growing up in New Zealand, the theists were the freaks.

At least until I got to university where I was out of public school and merged with all the private religious schools people...

Still, Atheism is considered the norm here. 40% identify themselves as Atheist, but something like 15-20% say they go to church. In my experience with all sorts of people from different backgrounds and social level I would say the majority of New Zealanders simply just don't give it any thought. You might get people saying "yeah I believe in God" but that's all the thought they've ever given it.
Nobody really gives a flying shit around in this country.

As for your mother, just say "well you raised me". That will be sure to piss her off.

I don't talk gay, I don't walk gay, it's like people don't even know I'm gay unless I'm blowing them.
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18-05-2012, 02:01 AM
RE: Teenage Atheists
I'm Thirteen and I am an Atheist as well. I first began to doubt when I was 10 or 11 in the Sixth Grade. We were first learning about Evolution in History Class(Which tells you I definately wasn't in a Christian school). About a week or so later, another student in my class began to make fun of me. This was before I had made the decision, and I forget what he was saying it for, but he was saying "You're gonna go to Hell". It was very playfully and I knew he didn't mean it, but in an effort to get him to shut up I blurted out "I don't believe in God". At the time, I didn't believe it myself, but everyone else around me did. Decent people that I had known and grown up with had suddenly turned on me and turned into the most vile and ruthless bullies in the school simply because of those words. As the year progressed, I began to look upon what I had supposedly "Believed". What I realized were several things. The first is that I had, put simply, never liked going to Church. In fact, I loathed it. The second is that the Bible made absolutely no sense to me.....And finally, the third was that despite the fact that other students were claiming it to be rediculous, I realized that Evolution made sense, something that religion had never done for me before. These realizations set off a chain reaction that got me examining every detail about my own life, and the world around me. The more I learned from the internet, or class alone, the more Religion seemed to be pointless and simply rediculous. At this time, my mother was getting baptized into Catholicism and preparing for communion, and so I was afraid to tell them anything, and I probably would have kept this secret for a long while until the realization was forced into the open.

One of the mothers of the supposed "Decent Kids" had known me since I was in Kindergarten. As soon as her son told her about my beliefs, she instantly went into savior mode and contacted my mother about it. Essentially, I had lost all choice in the matter. To my surprise, however, my parents took the news fairly well. They were incredibly curious, but overall they accepted my decision. At the time, I think they believed it to be a phase. They started sending me to church three times as much, and R.E.(Religious Ed, an outside school program) became a part of my life. After a while, however, they finally realized that I was serious in my beliefs and the only time I was made to go to church was when a sibling was taking a sacrament, or occasionally on Easter. R.E. was dropped entirely. Though my parents learned to accept me, -EVERYONE- that I had known since the age of five years old had -COMPLETELY- turned against me. People that I had thought would never go about insulting or abusing me, were doing it on a regular basis. Most people have co-workers and friends entering savior mode. My friends entered torment mode. Out of everyone whom bothered me for my beliefs, I only remember one that was actually in savior mode.

Though eventually I made friends with a group of atheists slightly younger than me, and a westernized Muslim child and his family, I was eventually forced out of school for the stream of torment that I received. Bullying and hatred about my beliefs eventually evolved into hatred by everyone in the school, regardless as to whether or not they knew my beliefs, for -ANY- reason they could find. That's how much these people were affected by their friends. I feel I was forced into an early and somewhat distorted adulthood by the experience. It seemed as if everywhere I looked, I was hated. Before I made the decision to leave the school, I was eventually forced into my own little bubble. Any social skills I had before had completely dissolved. I became depressed and I began to hate myself for everything but my own beliefs, which I stood by.

It's amazing what a single decision can do to somebody.


As for your story, I am appalled at how your family treated you. As your mother, regardless of whether or not you were adopted, you should have received unconditional love, despite your beliefs. I live with my step mother and father and I'm still very close with my family. The only member of my family that has reacted in an angered way was my mother of birth whom called me Satanic and said I am not old enough to think for myself, and must continue to fall victim to the indoctrination. I personally don't consider her close family. She lives in another state, and the only time we ever spoke was once every 2-3 months, and only briefly. My parents separated when I was 5. She didn't know me as a person, and thus I don't care too much about her opinion. My step mom is my true mom.
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18-05-2012, 04:41 AM (This post was last modified: 18-05-2012 04:48 AM by ahoy.)
RE: Teenage Atheists
Stand up on what you believe is right, that is good.

But for the meantime that a kid cannot food, shelter, clothing, school himself….

I think the most “rational” , “reasonable” thing to do (for a teenager) .... to avoid conflict in the house…is... to be...aaahhhh..... silent, obedient. study hard...wash the dishes ? : )

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18-05-2012, 06:54 AM
RE: Teenage Atheists
Mate, I'm glad to hear you've joined the rest of us, the fight for reason Smile

But man I felt sick when I heard how you're adoptive parents began to treat you after you told them. Salute to you for holding strong, I'm sure you by now know that there are plenty of us who respect you for who you are, you'll never be alone.


Aha come to Australia, we go one of two directions, either we're mostly secular or even the religious over here are happy with everyone. There are very little to no stories like this that come out of Australia (I'm sure there might be a few), but on the whole religion doesn't dictate our lives, we tend to focus more on politics and how long till the weekend Tongue
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18-05-2012, 09:41 AM
RE: Teenage Atheists
shameful parenting. There is nothing wrong with having different opinions. That's what makes each of us unique and compelling in our own ways. To judge and to shun is petty and immature coming from a peer. Coming from a parent, adoptive or natural, is disgusting.

Be the bigger person. Show that you are more mature and accepting of others than your parent. I don't care what you believe in, as long as you believe in it as your own decision not at someoneelse's compulsion.
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