Hi I'm 14 years old and about a year ago I started to question my faith. When it first clicked in my head I felt stupid for believing all these years, like I did when I found out Santa wasn't real.

My whole family believes in God and everything and I don't know how I could ever tell them I don't believe.

Even though I'm pretty sure I'm atheist I feel bad about not believing, what should I do?

Recently my dog went for surgery and I found comfort in praying for him, praying makes me feel a lot better when something bad happens in my life, is this bad?

And last, I was just wondering if anyone had any advice that would make me feel more comfortable about my choice in being atheist.

Tags: advice, athiest, closet, help, new, pray

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Thank you so much The Nerd! :)
This is a great site I'm sure it will help me a lot!
Thanks!
Hey girl. Welcome to the AN! I was about your age when I figured out the big lie myself. It's a strange and difficult process and having family that you know won't understand just makes it all crazier. Hang in there! You'll find a lot of good people and good advice here on AN and there are a lot of resources on the internet to learn more about living as an atheist. Build your knowledge about how the world works and slowly you'll no longer feel any need to talk to any invisible guys in the sky. If prayer still makes you feel better now, don't worry about it but try talking to a friend or family member about your worries next time and compare the results. :) As for feeling bad about not believing, the more you educate yourself on the arguments against theism the more that feeling will go away. If you can, read The God Delusion or a similar book. That book did wonders for my intellectual confidence. If you're afraid of your parents finding the book here is a PDF of the book. I was reading about physics when I was fourteen and I'm not the sharpest tool in the shed so although this is an adult book I really don't think it will be over your head. There are several other books about atheism available, just look them up on amazon or something.
Do NOT feel bad about any feelings that you are having about atheism or God. Especially if you were raised going to church or praying at meals. Indoctrination doesn't go away overnight. Your mind might be trained to feel guilty about thoughts and feelings but you should never feel bad about those things, only about the things that you actually do.
So anyway, how is your dog doing? I hope he is ok!
Question everything. It's not as easy as letting another person or group of persons do your thinking for you, but it will lead to a richer life.

Recently my dog went for surgery and I found comfort in praying for him, praying makes me feel a lot better when something bad happens in my life, is this bad?

Part of waking up to the many lies taught to us by means of religion is learning to let go of perpetual guilt- that you're always doing something wrong or displeasing someone. If you feel better by spending some quiet moments to hope for a positive outcome when a loved one is facing a difficulty, then do so. Just remember that while many religious people feel powerless to make things better- they've been taught to minimize their own strength and rely on someone that doesn't exist to magically fix everything- you can empower yourself with the knowledge that we are all we've got.

If I may offer a well-intentioned correction, I think that atheism is not a choice. Many of us may entertain going back to the world of believing because it would be the path of least resistance- atheism can be lonely, especially when all of your friends and family are believers- but we can't pretend anymore.

Keep on thinking, Melissa.
PS! Here a good resource for learning from other girls like you.
Thank you so much everyone! Yes my dog is doing great, he had surgery on his knee and he's running around like a puppy again! :)
Thanks Krista I'm going to start reading The God Delusion tonight!
Hi Melissa!

Welcome to Atheist Nexus!

I second all the advice given above and follow it up with: read anything that stays still long enough, and then (this is the important part) think about it. Think about what assumptions the person is coming from, think about what they have to gain from your believing them, think about how what you're reading makes you feel and why (also an important one!).

If you read something and really want another perspective on it - why don't you post it here and ask? Most people are delighted to help.

To become more comfortable in being an atheist, I suggest socialising with more of us. Go in the chat, chill out, go find some blogs to read. And most of all - relax. Being an atheist is NOT the most important thing about you. You are still the same daughter, the same sister, the same friend as you were before you had this realisation. You're not going to be defined by this for your entire life (unless you're exceptionally unlucky). It's just one aspect of your awsome personality, and IMHO, one of the least important ones.
Nice to hear from a young non-believer. =)

You probably feel bad for not believing because your parents believe. It's perfectly normal to feel alienated as an atheist. Unfortunately it's something we all have to face at one time or another. This video may provide some help. It's called "How to tell your religious parents you are atheist/agnostic." My family is only moderately religious so I'm afraid I don't have any personal advice to offer but believe me when you decide the time is right I wish you the best of luck.

No, I don't think it's wrong for you to find comfort in prayer. Even some atheists use meditation as a form of relaxation and I've heard prayer can help you focus your thoughts. Sometimes it can be difficult to get through difficult or uncertain times when you know there's no one up there looking out for you. I just try to stay optimistic and remind myself that unhappy feelings are only temporary. You can always find a way to make yourself feel happy. I know it sounds cliche, but life IS all about attitude.

Here's what I love about being an atheist:
- Being able to ask questions about everything.
- Being able to make decisions based on what I know is right rather than what the Bible says is right. You'll find the two aren't often the same.
- Never having to worry about hell.
- Deciding what I want to do with my life; finding what makes me happy.
- Getting to be a little bit of a rebel.
- Laughing at dirty jokes and not feeling bad about it.
- Celebrating the holidays however I want.
- Staying up late on Saturday and sleeping in on Sunday.
- Loving science without having to reconcile with God.
- Having unrestrained creativity.
- Feeling awed by the grandure of life; stargazing.
- Hanging out with other cool atheists!

I'm glad to hear your dog is doing well! I've had pets go through surgery before so I know how scary it can be. Make sure you give your dog lots of love when he gets home.

It's great to hear you're reading the God Delusion. I haven't read it yet, but seeing someone your age take an interest in Dawkins makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside. Sometimes it seems like kids your age won't read anything unless it's got Harry Potter on the cover.

Anyway, good luck on your journey! Don't feel pressured to make a big change all at once. Most of us didn't snap from being theists to atheists in one day. ^__^
Oh, I went through the same thing! I think when I realized that I could say bad words and think "bad" thoughts in my head without some big man in the sky getting mad at me was when I first started to really doubt that there was a god.
"Don't feel pressured to make a big change all at once. Most of us didn't snap from being theists to atheists in one day."

Sage advice, you're VERY young and the long journey of your life is ahead of you. Kick back, take it easy on this issue, move only at a pace YOU feel comfortable with.
Losing faith is a process. I started when I was around your age myself. I didn't come out of the atheist closet until I was 18. I spent a few years struggling with the indoctrination. It's an emotional journey for former theists. You question unbelief as much as you question belief. You go thru a phase of thinking, "I don't really believe this anymore, but what if I'm wrong? What if despite the fact that there's no logical reason for believing in a god, the god still exists regardless?"

So it's understandable that you'd still feel comfort in prayer. Even as an atheist myself who doesn't believe prayers are answered and it's just talking to an imaginary deity, I know that prayer can be beneficial as a form of meditation. Don't feel bad about it.

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