my dilemna
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01-06-2012, 02:58 PM
my dilemna
I am 16 years old and have been an atheist for around 2 months now. At that time, I noticed that I was getting closer to adulthood and needed to decide on my beliefs and views on the world. My parent's weren't the greatest people to get advice from on this decision because they did not think for themselves. My Father was a Grade-A example of what I call the Indoctrination Cycle. This is when one is indoctrinated into the belief and religions of their caregivers and in turn do the same process to their own children. He was originally a Republican but after the 2008 election, he began to diverge into the slot of hard-core conservatism. All of his life views and beliefs could be summed up in an hours worth of Fox News and talk radio. His entire life had been based on living the beliefs of others, be it parents, Navy superiors, or TV/Radio hosts. Instead of keeping an open mind, anytime he came in contact with something contrary to his beliefs, he put it off as just another "Liberal Media Bias". My mother is an extremely compassionate and caring individual, but is sadly is the type of Christian that shrugs off religions problems as "something only God knows". Taking into account that these were not the best people to base my entire view of life on, I decided to make a mental journey through the realms of religion, politics, literature to attempt to create my own thoughts and views on the world around me. I decided to be unbiased as possible while at the same time not believing everything I was told. I began this intellectual process with the Bible, mainly because I was raised Catholic and wanted to look upon my religious world with innocence and logic. As I began reading this 1,000+ page book, I began to notice notice things that no one ever taught me in CCD and Religion Class. God in the Old Testament was a combination of ancient beliefs and prejudices. It was weird to think that such an omnipotent being would hold fast to such discrimination and hatred that we as a society have been trying to rid the world of for years. It was strange that a loving being who created the world would cater to the selfish wants of an ancient group in the middle east, helping them slaughter and destroy anyone who didn't believe in the same religion. He could have easily just have taught people how to compassionately try to convert people to the wiser way. These day's, it would seem like utter madness to kill someone for disagreeing with us. There is irony in the fact that most people who are strong believers in freedom of speech and religion are also supporting a book that is the complete opposite of it. A wedge between me and Catholicism had just begun to form. After the Bible, I read the God Delusion as an insight into Atheism. This book had many rational ideas, yet did not fully divert me from religion. What really did harder damage was my religion teacher. She was a fundamentalist Catholic who attempted to answer every question about religion. What really started to snap the rope between myself and religion is when questions I asked were getting answered in a way I didn't think possible from "religious" people. She was a pro life person, but when asked about the death penalty, she was in full support of it. Apparently man has no right to end the life of a being in the womb, but the second it grows up and is shown to be guilty of a crime he may have not of even committed, it's perfectly justifiable. That hypocritical statement began to shake the very foundation of my beliefs. What dropped the bomb on my former religion though was when I asked her why God would assist in the slaughtering of entire cities of innocent men, women, children, and animals. Her answer was that the Old Testament was a different time, and that God had to take whatever measures necessary to prevent his followers from being impure. I was mortified. She had just unknowingly justified terrorism and put it off as being a product of it's time. At this point in my life, I had internally renounced Catholicism. Any attempts at ending the closet atheism were halted in fear from my Mothers constant sayings of necessary belief to my Father's threats of HAVING TO GO TO CHURCH in his booming voice. Besides my conversion to being more peaceful and accepting, I was the same exact person, but I knew if I revealed anything to my parents, they could react the same way as finding out their son had just became a Satanic Cult Leader. I am deeply obsessed with helping others and am going to Nicaraugua for a volunteer effort next year. I am going through a Catholic relief services program which suggest that I should ask my family's church for financial support and prayers. This makes my Athiesm even harder because I now have to go up in front of a church and "act" like I'm doing this for deeply spiritual reasons. I know that if I come out, the trip could be in jeopardy, along with the cheaper tuition prices that Catholics pay to go to my school. I don't know how long I can wait before I can stop living a lie. Sadcryface
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01-06-2012, 04:17 PM
RE: my dilemna
Hi TheFreehead, welcome to the forums!

That's a tough choice... my personal suggestion is to not rock the boat while you're financially dependent on your parents. You're already in a tough spot and by telling them you don't believe it will probably only make it worse. It may be better to wait until you're out of the house and no longer subject to their house rules.

Very tough having to go up in front of the church though, it doesn't exactly leave you in a position where you can just sit in the back and ride it out.

That's my opinion. Good luck!

Also- please edit that post and break it up into paragraphs for the sake of your readers. It's difficult to read such a block of text. Paragraphs at least help you keep track of where you are while you're reading the post. Wink
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01-06-2012, 06:13 PM
RE: my dilemna
Hi - I'd have to agree with kineo that unless you are already in a dangerous situation at home, it is best to bide your time until you are on your own. As far as "living a lie," it may help to reframe that as more "living privately." You may want to minimize religious activities when possible to keep yourself from uncomfortable situations.
As far as that Nicaragua trip; it may seem like a great way to satisfy your desire to help, but there are very costly risks;
1. By needing the support of your church to go, you are increasing your dependence and likely time spent in church and religous circles.
2. You may go only to find as much as you are there to do good works, you may be expected to spread the good word. I imagine this would put you in an uncomfortable situation.
3. One and two may lead to an unexpected "outing" and all the potential ills of that situation
You may want to consider doing some volunteering closer to home, with a more secular group. You can always find a way to volunteer oversees when you are a little older. Shoot, join the Peace Corps between high school and college http://www.peacecorps.gov/ .

Your beliefs do not make you a better person, your behavior does.
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01-06-2012, 06:56 PM
RE: my dilemna
As Debz pointed out, don't get down on yourself for living a lie. If you were not a minor with no intention of ever changing, that perhaps could be one thing. In your case, you're just developing an exit strategy: doing the things you need to do to grow and develop as a person until you're no longer a dependent.

Glad you're here. Hope you find a place to think freely here.

It was just a fucking apple man, we're sorry okay? Please stop the madness Laugh out load
~Izel
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05-06-2012, 03:34 PM
RE: my dilemna
Tough one considering your age and the fact that you are dependent on your religious parents, but some decisions have to be made buddy. As far as I know from my own experiences as an atheist, coming out is not an easy thing especially when you were once the Jesus Freak type. I shot from a super Jesus freak, all about Jesus, a self proclaimed saint to a staunch atheist in less than a month and it shocked most people, but I had to do it, for me.

I came out publicly on facebook and told everybody what I believed In and that they should respect that, and it worked. Some tried to talk to me and have me "see the light" but I knew what I wanted and what I stood for, even when they told me I will come back it's just a phase, I was like sure, keep me in your prayers (that should keep them busy for a while, while I go on with my life Drinking Beverage ).
It's been a while since anybody has bothered me about god and I couldn't be any happier than I am right now (well hopefully I make some real life atheist friends). So in short just come out and stop living a lie or else it's go become harder.
As for the trip, yeah it's for a good cause but is lying to yourself worth it?

Hobo Kgrrrrr kh kh kh
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05-06-2012, 04:05 PM
RE: my dilemna
Tl;dr. I am fifteen and an atheist, and I came out to my fundementalist parents. They did not take it well, and still aren't taking it well. If I could change something, I guess it would be the fact that I should have been a bit more reasonable in how I handled it.

I can relate when I was still in the closet.

[Image: 0013382F-E507-48AE-906B-53008666631C-757...cc3639.jpg]
Credit goes to UndercoverAtheist.
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05-06-2012, 04:35 PM
RE: my dilemna
I met a chick in the peace corps once Smile She was hot Big Grin Peace corps, peace corps! Just don't add an e on the end Smile Oh BTW welcome to the forum...
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06-06-2012, 06:12 PM (This post was last modified: 06-06-2012 06:16 PM by GirlyMan.)
RE: my dilemna
(01-06-2012 02:58 PM)TheFreehead Wrote:  I am 16 years old and have been an atheist for around 2 months now.

2 months?!? You're barely weaned from the religious teat. You've only just started to develop your own personal metaphysics. That's about the age I was weaned. No need to share it with anyone until it develops into a more mature state where you find it easy to articulate. No reason to even share it then unless you want to, it's about the most private thing I can think of. In my case, I found it easiest to articulate as the promise of a postmortem preservation of identity is total and complete bullshit. But it took me several years before I was comfortable sharing that with my devout Christian family.

(01-06-2012 02:58 PM)TheFreehead Wrote:  I don't know how long I can wait before I can stop living a lie. Sadcryface

We're all living a lie. I just prefer to make up my own lies instead of having another's spoonfed to me. Wink

As it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
And I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.
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