Why I Should've Kept my Mouth Shut
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09-08-2014, 06:55 AM
Why I Should've Kept my Mouth Shut
Sometimes it's just hard being a young atheist. I'm 15 years old and going into 10th grade in a couple days, so I'm obviously going to still be living with my family for a while. Well, anyway, as for what this post 's about, so I was raised Christian and for the majority of my life I believed in what they did, went to church, said Grace, the whole package, until about a year ago I really started to question things. Everyone told me the bible had all the answers so I decided to sit down and actually read the thing for once, and I'm pretty sure many other previous Christians knows what that can lead to.

After a while of being an atheist, I finally told my best friend about it. They were more of one of those agnostic theists who didn't really care about the subject, so they were not only ok with it but came to appreciate my honesty and openness with her and we're still best buds. Then even later, I worked up the nerve to tell my own family about it, even though my friend recommended against it. Well, my folks turned out to not be as understanding with the matter.

I got into a huge argument with them, trying to defend my atheism and tell them I'm still the same good person they loved. They asked me why I was being so close minded and what bull shit on the internet put these ideas in my mind. They made a bunch of passive aggressive statements about how the devil's fooled me and they tried to get me back on their side with all the arguments I expected, Pascal's Wager...
When I explained that this wasn't going to change my mind they told me that they weren't mad, just disappointed, and said that they were sure that I don't REALLY feel this way.

"Its just a phase, or you're just doing this for shock value or to be different or 'cool.'"

They accepted that they can't change my mind so they don't try anymore, but they threatened to punish me for voicing my opinion to anyone else in the family, especially my siblings. They wouldn't even let anyone else know I'm an atheist, talking about how much it would offend others or embarrass them or, God forbid, spread to the younger ones. They said that I'm supposed to lie to the everyone else about my faith and that as long as I live in their house I don't have an opinion of my own to share. They won't even let me mention it on online sites such as YouTube. (Hence they don't know about this site)

I just don't understand them anymore. As long as I keep quiet about things we're alright, and everyone still says grace at dinner, but the moment I bring up religion anywhere and they find out they threaten all sorts of punishments. Why can they be so outspoken to anyone about their faith and continue indoctrinating the other kids into this, but I can't be open about my atheism to any other relative? I'm a good person, I try hard in school, I make good grades, I still love them, how have I disappointed them for thinking critically about my own beliefs and formed a different opinion? How am I an embarrassment to them?! I've just felt so awful lately and have cried so much these past few days. It feels like they'll probably never understand my lack of belief and I just don't know what to do or say anymore. I'm sure there a few of you who can relate, right?
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09-08-2014, 07:12 AM
RE: Why I Should've Kept my Mouth Shut
It's fear.

Fear of becoming social outcasts.

Asking you to lie about it does seem horrible hypocritical but then, they are christians so hypocrisy is a given, I guess.

There are many here who have gone through the same thing.

We even have a 'teen' section where us big people fear to tread.

You are definitely not alone.

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09-08-2014, 07:32 AM
RE: Why I Should've Kept my Mouth Shut
The problem is that they still see you as a child and expect to have control over you. And while you are dependent upon them that's the role you'll have to live by. It's the really frustrating part of growing up. You develop your own opinions but aren't financially independent and parents can have trouble letting go of their control after having raised their kids for so long.

There's a definite fear of you spreading your atheism to your (younger?) siblings which is why they are demanding that you stay silent, but also a lot of denial on their part, hence the reason they are referring to it as a phase. They're not giving you the credit that you deserve.

If you've had blazing rows with your parents about your atheism then this will only reinforce their impression that it is a form of rebellion on your part. If on the other hand you only ever talked about it when you were calm and reasonable, refused to rise to whatever frustrates you and at the same time utterly demolished their arguments with ease if they push too hard, then they would have to start giving you the respect that you deserve. No matter how infuriating your parents may be while you're still financially dependent upon them, you should try to make a concerted effort to do the latter. You will find it far more satisfying in the long run and your relationship with your parents will improve as a result.

(It also works on bosses at work who are bullies!)
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09-08-2014, 08:43 AM
RE: Why I Should've Kept my Mouth Shut
(09-08-2014 06:55 AM)A Female Free of Faith Wrote:  Sometimes it's just hard being a young atheist. I'm 15 years old and going into 10th grade in a couple days, so I'm obviously going to still be living with my family for a while. Well, anyway, as for what this post 's about, so I was raised Christian and for the majority of my life I believed in what they did, went to church, said Grace, the whole package, until about a year ago I really started to question things. Everyone told me the bible had all the answers so I decided to sit down and actually read the thing for once, and I'm pretty sure many other previous Christians knows what that can lead to.

After a while of being an atheist, I finally told my best friend about it. They were more of one of those agnostic theists who didn't really care about the subject, so they were not only ok with it but came to appreciate my honesty and openness with her and we're still best buds. Then even later, I worked up the nerve to tell my own family about it, even though my friend recommended against it. Well, my folks turned out to not be as understanding with the matter.

I got into a huge argument with them, trying to defend my atheism and tell them I'm still the same good person they loved. They asked me why I was being so close minded and what bull shit on the internet put these ideas in my mind. They made a bunch of passive aggressive statements about how the devil's fooled me and they tried to get me back on their side with all the arguments I expected, Pascal's Wager...
When I explained that this wasn't going to change my mind they told me that they weren't mad, just disappointed, and said that they were sure that I don't REALLY feel this way.

"Its just a phase, or you're just doing this for shock value or to be different or 'cool.'"

They accepted that they can't change my mind so they don't try anymore, but they threatened to punish me for voicing my opinion to anyone else in the family, especially my siblings. They wouldn't even let anyone else know I'm an atheist, talking about how much it would offend others or embarrass them or, God forbid, spread to the younger ones. They said that I'm supposed to lie to the everyone else about my faith and that as long as I live in their house I don't have an opinion of my own to share. They won't even let me mention it on online sites such as YouTube. (Hence they don't know about this site)

I just don't understand them anymore. As long as I keep quiet about things we're alright, and everyone still says grace at dinner, but the moment I bring up religion anywhere and they find out they threaten all sorts of punishments. Why can they be so outspoken to anyone about their faith and continue indoctrinating the other kids into this, but I can't be open about my atheism to any other relative? I'm a good person, I try hard in school, I make good grades, I still love them, how have I disappointed them for thinking critically about my own beliefs and formed a different opinion? How am I an embarrassment to them?! I've just felt so awful lately and have cried so much these past few days. It feels like they'll probably never understand my lack of belief and I just don't know what to do or say anymore. I'm sure there a few of you who can relate, right?

The damage is done, don't make it worse while you are under their roof. The best thing you can do is be the good kid you say you are. I can tell you it is not a lost cause. Time and their observing you doing the same things as before, won't mean they will ever accept your not believing, but it can over time not be an issue.

My younger sister, caught the same hailstorm when she came out as an adult, fortunately she was already out of the house. I can see however that time has made things settle down though.
.
Just keep your nose clean, stay in school and if you need to talk about it you have atheists on line you can do so with. You will be out on your own soon enough.

Poetry by Brian37(poems by an atheist) Also on Facebook as BrianJames Rational Poet and Twitter Brianrrs37
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09-08-2014, 09:53 AM
RE: Why I Should've Kept my Mouth Shut
[Image: Yourenotcrazyyouarejustwakingup.jpg]

Much like what others have said, keep cool and under the radar; you'll enjoy it so much better once you're out of the house, on your own, and stable. You have done nothing wrong! You were curious, went seeking answers, and followed your questions to their logical conclusions. Don't feel bad for keeping your newfound freedom to yourself (it is liberating to realize you don't live in a celestial dictatorship, isn't it?), your falsehood is being forced upon you by adults who couldn't handle your honesty like, well, adults...

What your parents are doing to you is really shitty, but also understandable. They may see your atheism as a personal failure on their part; they were good Christian parents expected to bring up good Christians children, and they've already 'lost' one before she's even made it to college. Depending on how involved they are in the community, there could also be a great deal of shame involved (knowing Christianity, there is often a great deal of shame involved in dictating and controlling 'moral' behavior). One or both of them might even have their own doubt, and your openness about your lack of belief may be a mirror that reflect something about themselves they'd rather blurry than deal with. None of this is meant to excuse your parent's action, but merely to try and possible contextualize their motivations; to help create understanding (and possibly) bridge communication.

Maybe one day you'll be able to have honest conversations with them, but it seems pretty clear that the time isn't now. I love my father, and I've given up on talking to him about his Southern Baptist faith because of one conversation I had with him. One day I flat out asked him "Is there anything you could possible be presented with that could change your mind? Is it possible, at all, that you could believe you were mistaken?" He answered in the negative. That's it, full stop; end of the conversation. Trying to change the mind of someone who upfront refuses the possibility that they may ever change their mind, is a lost cause. One would better spend their time debating with a house cat. I hope your parents aren't that closed minded, and that someday you'll be able to have a thoughtful and honest conversation with them regarding their faith.

But until you can, know that there are plenty here that you can talk to (in public or private); in addition to asking any and all questions. We may not be the most couth forum in the internet (by the way, 'couth' is your $10 word for today Tongue ), but we're nothing if not honest in our opinions and advice.

Welcome to the real world.
-EK

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09-08-2014, 10:09 AM (This post was last modified: 09-08-2014 10:32 AM by Atothetheist.)
RE: Why I Should've Kept my Mouth Shut
(09-08-2014 06:55 AM)A Female Free of Faith Wrote:  Sometimes it's just hard being a young atheist. I'm 15 years old and going into 10th grade in a couple days, so I'm obviously going to still be living with my family for a while. Well, anyway, as for what this post 's about, so I was raised Christian and for the majority of my life I believed in what they did, went to church, said Grace, the whole package, until about a year ago I really started to question things. Everyone told me the bible had all the answers so I decided to sit down and actually read the thing for once, and I'm pretty sure many other previous Christians knows what that can lead to.

After a while of being an atheist, I finally told my best friend about it. They were more of one of those agnostic theists who didn't really care about the subject, so they were not only ok with it but came to appreciate my honesty and openness with her and we're still best buds. Then even later, I worked up the nerve to tell my own family about it, even though my friend recommended against it. Well, my folks turned out to not be as understanding with the matter.

I got into a huge argument with them, trying to defend my atheism and tell them I'm still the same good person they loved. They asked me why I was being so close minded and what bull shit on the internet put these ideas in my mind. They made a bunch of passive aggressive statements about how the devil's fooled me and they tried to get me back on their side with all the arguments I expected, Pascal's Wager...
When I explained that this wasn't going to change my mind they told me that they weren't mad, just disappointed, and said that they were sure that I don't REALLY feel this way.

"Its just a phase, or you're just doing this for shock value or to be different or 'cool.'"

They accepted that they can't change my mind so they don't try anymore, but they threatened to punish me for voicing my opinion to anyone else in the family, especially my siblings. They wouldn't even let anyone else know I'm an atheist, talking about how much it would offend others or embarrass them or, God forbid, spread to the younger ones. They said that I'm supposed to lie to the everyone else about my faith and that as long as I live in their house I don't have an opinion of my own to share. They won't even let me mention it on online sites such as YouTube. (Hence they don't know about this site)

I just don't understand them anymore. As long as I keep quiet about things we're alright, and everyone still says grace at dinner, but the moment I bring up religion anywhere and they find out they threaten all sorts of punishments. Why can they be so outspoken to anyone about their faith and continue indoctrinating the other kids into this, but I can't be open about my atheism to any other relative? I'm a good person, I try hard in school, I make good grades, I still love them, how have I disappointed them for thinking critically about my own beliefs and formed a different opinion? How am I an embarrassment to them?! I've just felt so awful lately and have cried so much these past few days. It feels like they'll probably never understand my lack of belief and I just don't know what to do or say anymore. I'm sure there a few of you who can relate, right?

Hello FFF (can't I call you triple F, sounds like a secret agent name Tongue),

My name is Steven, but a lot of the members here either call me A2 or Ato or any variation thereof (Lets not mention Ferdinand's propensity to call me Attie Dodgy ). I am a teen, just like you, but not quite as young (17 over here). I was however, around your age when I came out to my parents about my atheism. Needless to say, a lot of the things they said to you have, at least once in my life, been said by parents to me.

I actually wrote quite a bit about my experience, and I even spoke to Seth about it in the 'I'm a Teenage Atheist' podcast. You can find my story in many places around the forum, like here and more recently, here (<---- This thread was more or less made for advice given to those teens who haven't come out yet, while the other is to share experiences, which might be more what you were looking for). I am always happy to write about Teenage Atheists because it is a topic that deserves more attention than some others. Some parents do the most horrible things to their children, all in the name of "Saving" them from eternal damnation.

Some of the things I have read (Specifically about the plights of those in REALLY fundamentalist homes) really made me sick to my stomach. I think a lot of this comes from the belief that teens, or young people in general are percieved as unable to think for themselves on issues such as these. That is not true.

Many teens around the word (Yes, even in the USA) have written a great many things about science, and beauty, and some younger kids understand how small we truly are in the universe. I have written extensively on some topics, like the afterlife or on Atheism being the cause of evils/injustices. (Sexism in the community was a pretty hot topic at the time, but it could be applied to anything). Other great members have written many amazing things while they were in their teens (Vosur is repsonsible for some of my favorite logical arguments and proofs/insights), so that claim is immediately thrown out the window.

Now, this is a rough time for you, and its a time where people (parents, if they see the chance) will try to convince you of their belief. My suggestion: Question, and educate.

This forum is wonderful in the fact that we have a Informational Resource Library all in one thread, for your debating/educating needs (I highly suggest you check out the links given in there, as they have helped me numerous amounts of times. You can even help add more links and help others get educated. Speaking about how wonderful this forum is, you said that your parents don't approve of atheism being posted from you online? Well, we have skype sessions for casual talk, and some recorded Skype shows like 'Get To Know a Forum Member - Featuring You!' (Psst, listen to the first one, I heard the guest is super sexy and whatever), or the Skypecast where forum members can discuss about topics related to religion that you might be interested in hearing (Note: these are not meant to be professional in anyway). There is a lot to explore, and a lot of people that can help you on your way to discovering truth.

Also, if you ever need an ear about stuff like this, but fear that some adults might not understand or 'get you', we have a teen section or you can ALWAYS come to me for anything you need. Like I said, teenage atheism is a topic most dear to me, and it is a topic I am still more than passionate about.

Have an enlightened stay

-Steven

P.S That was the longest response I've ever given to an introduction thingy!

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09-08-2014, 11:14 AM (This post was last modified: 09-08-2014 01:02 PM by Mathilda.)
RE: Why I Should've Kept my Mouth Shut
Another thing that needs to be pointed out to the younger generation is that they have grown up in the information age. That means that information is available to you that just wasn't accessible to your parents. It's so easy now to check wikipedia or use google to find out the answer to any question and to read debates and see how misconceptions are demolished (welcome to the forum by the way).

The first time I used the internet was at the age of 20 when I first went to university and that was also the first time I was ever challenged on my woo based beliefs that I had been exposed to as a child. It was the first time that evolution was explained to me for example. Before that, if the subject ever came up in conversation with my peers no one ever pointed out that I was believing a load of crap.

In the UK for example the tabloids always rant about how exams are getting easier because everyone is getting better grades, but quite frankly the younger generation are just becoming more knowledgable much earlier because they have access to so much more information now. Learning would have been so much easier if I had access to the internet when I was at school. I think this is one of the main reasons that atheism is becoming more prevalent.

But you never really feel more knowledgable, everything that everyone else believes in just starts to seem more stupid instead. This is either because other people have not been exposed to the same information, haven't understood it or have deliberately ignored it. The longer you've been conditioned the more painful it is to break free. For some it is too painful even though the information is now easily accessible for any enquiring mind.

This is not to excuse your parents, just to hopefully put it all into perspective.
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09-08-2014, 12:37 PM
RE: Why I Should've Kept my Mouth Shut
A Female Free of Faith ... 3F - you are amazing; 15 years old and you are not afraid to discover who you are! What an accomplishment! Thumbsup Don't ever stop trying to figure out your self.

I'm glad you are here and I hope you stick around. This is an international site so, you'll begin to see a broad spectrum of personalities here. People from everywhere on the planet discuss a multitude of interesting things here (even goofy shit) so, don't hesitate to join right in.

I think you will enjoy some freedom here which you might not be able to enjoy in your real home life. This is but one of the reasons some of our consistent posters stick around here. Rest assured, you are not alone.

Welcome to the forum. Smile

A new type of thinking is essential if mankind is to survive and move to higher levels. ~ Albert Einstein
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09-08-2014, 11:35 PM
RE: Why I Should've Kept my Mouth Shut
You're not alone! I wasn't a teenage atheist, but my sister was. She got out of religion before I did! Never underestimate the impact you can have on the people around you!

I'm truly sorry it's so tough with your parents, I hope you can make some friends here Smile

Atheism is the only way to truly be free from sin.
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10-08-2014, 12:21 AM
RE: Why I Should've Kept my Mouth Shut
Hello Mz Freedom! Smile

I had a terrible time breaking away from the religious brainwashing, and look at you - only 15, and already learning to think for yourself. Bowing

Teenage years can be tough in the best of circumstances! Now that you've shared this with your parents, I too would advise letting this whole subject rest. Without saying a word - you have the power to show them that atheists can and do have morals, obey the law, and not eat babies for breakfast. Laugh out load

You are wise beyond your years young lady! Yes

Welcome aboard. Thumbsup

It's easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled. ~Mark Twain
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