I followed this discussion as soon as it was posted. A day later, no one has ventured any advice and I think I know why; many people are reluctant to give advice to minors, especially when that advice concerns rules and expectations by parents.
I will not offer any specific advice, only observe that these sorts of events are the things that go into a developing character.
As just recently getting out of teen hood, the only advice I could give you, is to just go through the motions. It is living a lie, but so are your parents if they feel the need to force it on you, at this point in age you have no choice. Just be objective and learn more so why you don't believe and use the experience as that. You don't ever have to say you believe. My mom was a christian until recently and my little brother is super religious and while I don't like church institute out of respect for my mom and my bro I went along to his 'Rebaptism" or w/e they call it.
Religion is a life choice, and no matter how much we disagree for the most part it's not hurting anyone other than limiting of individual thought... and if that the way they want to live, let them.
But I would truly recommend not lashing out on your folks as that can have repercussions. The last thing you want to end up in, is some whacked out intervention where they try to force the belief down your throat.
But take my advice with a grain of sand, and think about your future.
Ok. Here's the thing. Try as he might, your dad cannot control what you think. And that's just too bad for him. You are an atheist and there's really nothing he can do about it and, more importantly, you probably couldn't change back even if you really wanted to.
So now you're trapped between a rock and a hard place. You can try to become a Christian again which, and I speak from experience, is a pretty painful thing to try to do both mentally and physically. Or you can lie to your dad which is also probably going to be a pretty hard task.
Talking to him about it probably won't move anything any further because given the odd order of "be Christian until you're an adult" gives me the sense that talking about it isn't the kind of thing he's open to and that even if you did talk about it it wouldn't resolve anything.
Now, I actually know nothing about your situation save for the one line, but I imagine that if I was in your situation I would first have to be honest with myself. That is, accept that I am an atheist. Next, I would simply avoid confrontation with my parents until I reached that magical age of 18 where apparently I am allowed to think how I like. That means, essentially, just taking it: go to church, listen to them talk about magic spells, generally not putting up a fight.
The fact of the matter is that they're your parents and until you're independent, they have, to a degree, the right to lord over you. But you must, must, MUST remember that what they cannot do is step inside your head and change what you think. What goes on between your ears is only for you to decide. No amount of draconian commands will change that fact.
Exactly. Your dad can call you a Christian if he likes, but he can't force you to believe it.
I have a suggestion for you, Sono. Tell your dad you will read the entire Bible if he does as well. Reading the entire Bible is one of the best ways to make someone an atheist. Find a website that breaks the Bible down into 365 sections, so that you can finish it in one year.
Agreed there. As a Christian I read it cover to cover over and over. When at first I was a church goer they would always push the new testament on me, suggesting that the old testament isn't as important. Well as I read the new testament, it was quite obvious that Jesus believed differently. I read everything, and wow... I started to question if we had the right god. I really began to question if maybe this was the deceiver in reality. I asked this question. The answer was always, "faith." Yeah... that made it even more obvious. I must admit that I did try to reason it all away, but false reason never holds up when brought into question.
As The Friendly Atheist has suggested in the past - your mind is your own and they cannot take your thoughts away. But they can make your life more difficult if you do not abide by their rules while living in their home.
You are being held back from expressing yourself while living at home but when you are 'of age' you will feel a great sense of freedom you will never forget.
Keep in mind you are not alone! Parents regularly ask their children to follow EXACTLY in their footsteps.
Kudos to you for questioning what you are being told and knowing better that to blindly follow along.
Bide your time in their home until you can make a home of your own. I don't think that's living a lie, I think it's intelligently adapting to your situation in order to successfully set yourself up for getting out of it! Getting kicked out on the street or being harrassed in your own home doesn't sound like a good home life.
Remember your parents MEAN well, even if it's stifling at times. And remember they cannot stop you from thinking, so you win!
In due time, grasshopper!! :)
Permalink Reply by K on September 29, 2010 at 6:10pm
You know there is no hellfire waiting for you for faking a few years...I have no idea how old you are, so it may be only months.
Dad, by that statement, has shown that his mind is closed....he needs you, for whatever reason, to give the appearance of being christian. Perhaps, on some level, he really feels it will benefit you in the long run. Perhaps he needs to impress his boss, or his own parents. Perhaps he's really worried about you, and this is the way he can express it.
Will he let you choose your own church? If so...life is good! Attend a Unitarian Universalist church...most are open to any beliefs, and will give that christian appearance, but not subject you to boring attempts at saving your soul.
If not...go where he wants you to. He cannot force your beliefs, so you may think whatever you wish. It's not forever, you know, even if it feels like it! Go to church with friends to keep things interesting.
You might, if you want to push the issue, start leaving Ingersoll or Thomas Paine books around, or books by modern skeptics. Let Jehovah's Witnesses into the house one Saturday...tell him your exploring various versions of xianity in hopes of finding the truth. ;o)
Whatever you choose, try to be kind...most parents are trying their best, even if they head down the wrong path.
It's really hard to stand against your parents, especially when they get so passionate about something. Even after leaving the nest it can feel as though you only have the option of giving in or turning your back, since they don't like you having an option. I had to face a faithful mother for three years in the home, and still after moving out. She got rid of a huge library of books I had, considering them "evil" because they were about Warrior philosophy (Hagakure, for example) and other religions. Being a lover of reading, it was like she had thrown me away. I never forgave her the rest of the time I lived there. My natural teen rebellion became very focused on religion after that.
If you want to maintain peace, hide anything that is against their beliefs, if you can. If you want to feel less imprisoned, however, fight back with reason. It's up to you to decide which is better. I honestly am not sure, really. If my books were hidden I would not have had to buy them all again (I felt stolen from and called her a thief). On the other hand, hiding who I am would simply not be who I am.
The good news is that my mother eventually saw reason and stopped being a hypocritical Christian.
Wanna know how exactly I dealt with religion being pushed onto me? Satanic music blasting in my room, shouting the lyrics at church, and pointing out to everyone that Noah was a Sumerian king (he's on their list of kings as Ziusudra) and would have believed in the Sumerian gods. I got aggressive about it when they tried pushing it onto me until the entire topic was totally avoided at all times whenever I was around. Reason always conquers false beliefs, and the unrighteous always back down. When you can get them to question their own beliefs, it scares the hell out of them. But be careful, the fanatics who think their son is dominated by Satan get really nutty. Fear makes the crazed animal all the more crazed.
I don't want anyone getting the wrong idea about my mother. That was just one of very few examples. For the most part she was a good mother who gave my brother and I a lot of freedom, compared to most parents. She wasn't overbearing, yet tried to keep us safe without imposing on our chances to grow. But there's an example of how good people and good parents get twisted up by their belief system. At least we weren't sacrificing goats and whatnot.
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