What do I do now?
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22-07-2013, 10:29 AM
What do I do now?
I'm at the stage in my atheism where I finally have come clean and decided to be honest with myself. I don't believe in a god or gods, that's pretty much it. I was born to a pastor and a Christian school teacher, and not just any pastor, a BAPTIST pastor... And not just any type of baptist, independent fundamental baptists! If you don't know about them let me fill you in: these are your hardcore fundies within Christendom. It goes beyond the usual gay bashing and the 'you gotta get saved' spiel. My folks think that rock music (which is what they call absolutely any type of music with a percussion beat) is the tool of satan to deceive young minds, they are teetotalers (no alcohol), and at one time even bought a "tv guardian" which is a device you hook up to the TV set which blocks out all the fuss words and replaces them with family friendly subtitles at the bottom of the screen, so 'fuck!' Becomes 'oh!' 'Ass' becomes 'bum' 'God' becomes 'man' and 'sex' becomes 'hugs' (I kid you not).

So let me tell you a bit about my life. I was practically born in the church. Sunday mornings, Sunday nights, Wednesday evenings, the occasional Saturday, jesus camp, knocking on strangers' doors handing out tracks, jesus camp, the whole shabang! I went to Christian school all my life, a "healthy alternative" to the heathen public schools where they have all kinds of unholy sex and teach evolution. Gasp!

Anyway, at 16 I started doubting a lot of these rules I was made to live by, because they weren't even in the bible but were made up by the church elders... I started to distance myself from the baptist label. "I'm just Christian" I would say to myself. But then I started reading the bible for myself, extensively. I saw so many inconsistencies and moral dilemmas like how the bible kinda says the earth is flat and basically condones slavery, polygamy, genocide, and racism. I started experimenting with marijuana and sex, and i found out i really liked both! i started to wonder what other pleasures of life being a christian was holding me back from, but at the same time i felt guilty that i was breaking God's law.. i was soo confused.

By 18 I started to say "maybe some parts of the bible aren't really inspired by God." Then I got kicked out of my Christian school because I protested the racist way the teachers would treat minority students, constantly harassing black and Hispanic friends of mine with subtle insults and getting away with it!! My parents supported me in this and I was enrolled in my local public school where my faith was actually challenged for the first time and I actually met atheists and homosexuals in person. But i held strong to my convictions. Upon starting college I began to think that maybe everything I had learned, or rather, been indoctrinated in, was bullshit and lies. I began to call myself a deist and then an agnostic because I didn't want to let go of the notion that maybe a god did exist.. But then I started watching all the usual atheist videos: George carlin, Doug Stanhope (on the comedy front), the amazing atheist, penn jillette, darkmatter2525, the thinking atheist... And even the deeper philosophical and scientific minds: hitchens, Dawkins, Neil degrasse Tyson, Stephen hawking.

I am now 21 years old and going to college, but I still live with my parents because I can't afford both tuition and an apartment. It's been a few months that I realized I am atheist and my attitude toward religion, specifically the one I was raised in, is anger, frustration and despair that I am still forced into this bullshit! I am an adult so my parents can't force me to go to church, so lately I've been skipping church to go drink beers with my older brother (who is also an unbeliever). My younger brother is 14 but smarter than me, enough to figure out at an earlier age that Christianity is a steaming load of shit.. But he's still a minor so he's not given the freedom that I have and doesn't have the luxury of a car and drivers license. Anyway, every time I miss church I'm given a sermon about how I'm drifting from god and am headed for ruin and I'm a bad example for my little bro (which is not true because I take him to the library and sometimes my college classes and encourage him to read and think, and he's at the top of his class in school). My mom once even said she hoped something bad like me having to go to the hospital happened so I would wake up and go back to god!!

Anyway, right now I am alone in Spain and have been here for almost two months as kind of a trip I planned and worked for in order to travel, experience the world, and have a breather from the damn religion. It's been great, but I'm due to go back home to the states in a week. What's more, I didn't fully come out as an atheist to my parents, but in a long conversation I had with my mom I made it pretty clear that I dislike church and think the bible is full of mistakes and inconsistencies and subtly hinted at the fact that I'm not Christian anymore.

I know that when I come back my parents will be in full conversion mode, but I'm afraid of fully coming out and breaking their hearts. But I've thoroughly enjoyed my vacation from religion and I don't think there's any going back.

This is the part where I want you to chime in... What do I do upon my return? What would you do in my place? Have you lived or are you living through a similar situation? How did that go/is it going? Do I just come out now or wait another year until I graduate college and I'm out of the house?

For what it's worth, and I'm sure you already know this, no amount of reason or evidence or facts will do any good in this situation. It's like religion literally blinded them to obvious truths that are undeniable.. Typical

I would love to hear your responses and any advice you can toss my way.

Thank you!
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22-07-2013, 11:34 AM
RE: What do I do now?
I feel for the situation you're in. Particularly because your upbringing is reminiscent of my own. Congratualations for taking about half the time to figure it all out before I did. The only suggestion I really have is move out. You say you can't live on your own and go to college. I challenge your thinking because you were able to save for a trip to Spain, so it's apparent you have some income. It just means you won't be able to take trips for a while. Or, maybe it will mean you have to sacrifice a year of working and living on your own before getting your degree. Myriads of people have done so before you. Get a roommate. Rent a room in a house. Do whatever it takes to get out from under your family's roof. That's priority #1, unless you're a masochist and actually enjoy the conflict they will continue to throw at you until you re-convert or run off forever.

Good luck whatever you do!

It was just a fucking apple man, we're sorry okay? Please stop the madness Laugh out load
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22-07-2013, 11:45 AM
RE: What do I do now?
Living in the same house, the conversation is probably unavoidable. Try to make the following points clear:

· You are not mad at God and being rebellious to his authority.

· You are not worshipping Satan because you don't believe in him either.

· They did not fail in any way.

· They did a great job of raising you to be intelligent, thus questioning instead of merely accepting.

· "No religion" does not equate to "no morals" – you are still the reliable, upstanding citizen that you have been.

You could possibly engage them in a minor discussion that could go like this:

You: Do you pray to Buddha?
Them: No.
You: Why?
Them: We don't believe in him.
You: Why not?
Them: Bla bla...not real...bla...
You: That's how I feel about EVERY god.

Getting them to empathize your perspective may be futile, but worth a shot.

Good luck.

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22-07-2013, 05:20 PM
RE: What do I do now?
Thanks for the replies guys. And you are right. I will have to sacrifice a little bit more and work harder to move out of the house to have the freedom I want. As for coming out calmly and reasonably, I understand the thought behind it but I'm at the moment analyzing the pros and cons of doing this outright. On the pro side, it will be a weight off my chest to finally put it out there, on the con side, my parents will not accept any of the arguments that you presented (no matter how well thought out and reasonable). In the end I guess I'm afraid of my parents dying thinking that I'm on my way to hell, it will be a huge blow to them and also my extended family which is equally religious... But at the same time I'm tired of living every step of my life in accordance to what they will think or say. A sticky situation indeed. Anyway, thanks for the thoughts and ideas, they've definitely given me a little more perspective. I just really need to use this time to think about what my next steps will be. The first mission is to move out as fast as possible... Then I will have the freedom to live as I want. Telling them I'm atheist might not serve any usefull purpose whatsoever if I'm already out on my own, so I'm still on the fence about that one. Well, guess I'll just have to see how this all plays out. Thanks again for the responses!!
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