What should I do?
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14-02-2012, 08:15 PM
What should I do?
I have recently told my parents I'm an atheist. They rhetorically asked is this what they got for not sending me to church. It seems as if they don't like the concept of me not being the same as them. I'm still young and am only a junior in high school, so it's not like I have a college dorm I can live in. I love my parents, but them not being tolerant of my stance worries me. They don't force me into church or are zealots or anything, I'm just nervous. I would really appreciate it if anyone could give me advice on how I could/should handle this situation. Thank you.
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14-02-2012, 08:28 PM
RE: What should I do?
Scott,

I suggest you have another talk with them and tell them that you're feeling nervous about the first conversation, that you love them, that you don't want your beliefs about religion to come between you and them. You might ask them if they've ever had any doubts about god.
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14-02-2012, 08:44 PM
RE: What should I do?
I suggest calm discussions, emphasis on the calm. Maybe tell them about your stance being an atheist/secular humanist/free thinker. Share some interesting articles with them, and help clear their doubts with regards to the scientific world if any.

Maybe understand why they joined a religion in the first place, that is most important as this would be their greatest influence. Convincing may take a long time, but be patient and calm.

Ensure the whole discussion is a nice two way discussion. Find some time where everyone is free, relaxed and happy. After all, a happy discussion is most likely constructive (except under the influence of alcohol so get everyone a nice relaxing cup of tea)

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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14-02-2012, 08:48 PM
RE: What should I do?
(14-02-2012 08:15 PM)Scott D Wrote:  I have recently told my parents I'm an atheist. They rhetorically asked is this what they got for not sending me to church. It seems as if they don't like the concept of me not being the same as them. I'm still young and am only a junior in high school, so it's not like I have a college dorm I can live in. I love my parents, but them not being tolerant of my stance worries me. They don't force me into church or are zealots or anything, I'm just nervous. I would really appreciate it if anyone could give me advice on how I could/should handle this situation. Thank you.

Good advice from Jeff already.

When I was a bit younger that you are I found myself questioning all that I had been told about Christ and Christian beliefs. I remember feeling for a few minutes that God did not exist. My parents had insisted that I go to church so I had heard and been taught quite a bit for many years. I was beyond being full of doubt that all I had been told was wrong. I pondered it in my mind and got what for me was an affirmation that Christ did in fact exist. As such I never had to face the conversation you had. However, I can see where I might have faced this if I had not come to a different conclusion.

Personally I think I would offer your parents a bit of a deal. Tell them that you will keep an open mind regarding their beliefs if they will keep an open mind about your conclusions. If mutual respect can be established further conversation might take place that will not simply be on an emotional level.
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14-02-2012, 09:32 PM
RE: What should I do?
Just tell your parents you met this really hot girl that was into you at your school. Though she didnt attend your school, and this girl confused you about your beliefs. However, you just recently found out she worked for Satan. So of course you broke it off, and now you believe again.

After you move out and goto college, just keep bottling your emotions til they pay for your education. After that, release all that regressed frustration and anger. I mean really let them have it.
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15-02-2012, 02:58 AM
RE: What should I do?
(14-02-2012 08:15 PM)Scott D Wrote:  I have recently told my parents I'm an atheist. They rhetorically asked is this what they got for not sending me to church. It seems as if they don't like the concept of me not being the same as them. I'm still young and am only a junior in high school, so it's not like I have a college dorm I can live in. I love my parents, but them not being tolerant of my stance worries me. They don't force me into church or are zealots or anything, I'm just nervous. I would really appreciate it if anyone could give me advice on how I could/should handle this situation. Thank you.

Hi there. As others have pointed out, Jeff's approach is a good one and it may help.

What I would like to say is that you don't really seem to have a problem. As far as coming out to parents goes, you seem to be one of the lucky cases. I mean, they didn't kick you out, they didn't shout, they didn't become violent, they didn't threaten, they didn't lock you up and they didn't drag you to church where some moron can go all fire and brimstone on you. They just seem to disapprove. Are you surprised? Look at it from their point of view. They believe that it was their responsibility to raise you as a good christian and they failed. They believe that you are on your way to eternal damnation. They even believe that they might be punished too for failing your religious education. They are not happy, but did you really expect them to be?

I also think that they hope that this atheism of yours is just a phase and it will go away by itself soon enough. You're young enough, they might be right.

Follow your gut. If you think that talking helps, talk to them. If you think that time will allow things to get solved by themselves, be patient. Being an out of the closet atheist is not easy, it's your mistake if you expected it to be. If you have trouble dealing with bad looks and rhetorical questions, retract your coming out, say that you saw a video and it shook you for a while, but now you're all right again and go back to the closet.

Oh, no Hallucinations 4:11 says the 'gilded sheep should be stewed in rat blood' but Morons 5:16 contradicts it. (Chas)

I would never shake a baby unless the recipe requires it.
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15-02-2012, 03:57 AM
RE: What should I do?
Some good advice, and some I’m not sold on.
You have “come out” good, but don’t now cower back in if it gets a little hot.
You made the jump, it was hard and you did it out of respect for your parents and yourself, don’t throw that away just because it snaps at your ankles now and then.
They’ll come to terms with who you are or they wont, it’s in the open and no back-tracking will wind the clock back.

Good on you for being honest with them.

A casual stroll through the lunatic asylum shows that faith does not prove anything. Friedrich Nietzsche
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15-02-2012, 04:43 AM
RE: What should I do?
(15-02-2012 03:57 AM)Karl Wrote:  Some good advice, and some I’m not sold on.
You have “come out” good, but don’t now cower back in if it gets a little hot.
You made the jump, it was hard and you did it out of respect for your parents and yourself, don’t throw that away just because it snaps at your ankles now and then.
They’ll come to terms with who you are or they wont, it’s in the open and no back-tracking will wind the clock back.

Good on you for being honest with them.

As a general rule, I don't panic when an 8 year-old tells me that he is in love with his teacher, I reserve judgment when a pre-puberty child comes out as gay and i don't pull out lifetime membership forms whenever a rebellious teenager comes out as a minority of any kind. In a great majority of cases they don't stay that way, so why bother?

Sure, atheism is slightly more serious than that, but when the parents "didn't like the concept" and they asked a rhetorical question he seems to have buyer's remorse.

If he is willing to go back to the closet, he was never ready to come out to begin with. Staying out will only get worse, he'll start seeing some real consequences and before long he'll say that he used to be a "devout atheist" (where have I heard that before?) but then he found Jesus and everything made sense again. If he's not willing to go back on his decision, maybe he'll start growing a thicker skin.

Either way, I don't really care if he stays in or out. Why do you? I'm just laying out his possibilities. How is that worse than pushing the choice you believe to be right without knowing him, his reasons for becoming and atheist, his reasons for coming out etc?

Oh, no Hallucinations 4:11 says the 'gilded sheep should be stewed in rat blood' but Morons 5:16 contradicts it. (Chas)

I would never shake a baby unless the recipe requires it.
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15-02-2012, 05:20 AM
RE: What should I do?
A slightly different angle...

They love you and they want what is best for you. Maybe they feel that you are walking into a future of isolation or intolerance from a culture that rates atheists on a par with rapists (I'm quoting L Krauss from recent discussion with R Dawkins) and they don't want you to go through that pain.

If this is true, then all you need to do is show how happy you are now. You're happiness is what they have worked for. When they see that you are happy and they observe that this directly relates to your beliefs, perhaps, not only will they not want you not to change but I suspect they would even support you publicly.

So..... be happy!
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15-02-2012, 05:31 AM
RE: What should I do?
Tell your parents your not their puppett. If that doesn't work, tell them you want to kill them, but explain to them before they die, that you are just sending them to heaven early.
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