Parents force me to go to church, read Christian "literature". What should I do?

First, my  coming out story. After church, I got into yet another argument with my Dad about what happened in Church. The story was that one city that got destroyed and that guy who was spared's wife looked back and disenigrated. I said that that was her home. She had friends, family, etc. It was unrealistic to think she wouldn't give one glance back. Dad said that it was a horrible place so her looking baxk meant she liked it. We didn't get anywhere, so my Dad said something like "Well, you love God, don't you?". I felt it was time to tell the truth and said "So it all comes out? I don't". My little sister gasped.They left the car and me and Dad talked. Luckily, he was at least a little tolerant, as he wasn't angry nor did he punish me. But of course he had to guilttrip me by saying how sad he was that his son would go to hell. But we moved on and we barely have a rift.

 

Note barely. Now he and my mom force me to go to church. I tried once to lock myself in my room and refuse to go, but my dad talked to me and said that I lived in their house and that I should respect their wishes until I'm 18. I kinda agree, but I feel guilty. I feel like I'm letting my fellow Atheists down. The most I do to rebel now is make snide comments during the sermon. Then when I read books like Atheist Universe(and I use bookS sparingly, as my school library doesn't have any yet has books about religions like Christianity and such) my dad makes me read stuff like Left Behind. When I go online and read atheist things, I need to look at other views(course, I didn't need to read about Atheism or Hinduism etc. and get their views when I was a Christian) What should I do?

 

As a side note, should I talk to my younger siblings about atheism? Part of me thinks I should, seeing as my mom and dad preach about Christianity. But another thinks that I'd cause problems between them and my parents. Again, what should I do?

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I think you should definitely not worry about letting your fellow athiests down. Anyone with any sense would be proud of what you have done. I think you should feel free to discuss your beliefs and how you came to them with your siblings by way of explanation rather than as an attempt at deconversion. If you can, I would recommend respectfully reading the materials your dad requests you to and discuss your thoughts about the subjects as calmly and confidently as you can with him. I would also suggest going to church if your dad continues to demand it without snide remarks, but with clear and definite statements of your opinions and thoughts on what transpires there. It sounds like he might actually listen some. I wish you luck.
I agree with John on this one. One other thing that you might find valuable is keep good notes on the materials that you are required to study by your folks. Record all of your thoughts on what you are reading and save it privately. Spiral notebooks are fine for this. 20 years later, you will appreciate the insights that you get from looking at who you were. Involve your folks in your studies and include history with it as well. Nothing kills religion like knowledge. Ask lots of honest questions, and only venture your opinion when asked. This is an opportunity for you and your parents to know each other better. Even if you don't sway their opinions, at least your parents will know who you are.

For now, at least until you turn 18, you're kind of at the mercy of your parents' beliefs and the whole "you're under my roof, you'll do as I say" that we all had to deal with at one point or another.  However, instead of seeing it as a bad thing, you could inspect the silver lining as a sort of scientific method.

 

Learn what you can about Christianity.  Think about it, consider it, understand what it is about the belief system that you consider flawed.  Much of history and literature are seeped in Christian teachings, so the more you know, the more you'll be able to learn once you hit college.  Think of it as archaeological research; the more you know about this subculture within our history, the more you'll be able to understand Milton, Shakespeare, the Republican party and current Tea Party activist arguments.  Consider it to be similar to learning Greek mythology.  You understand the motivation of Lot's wife (the chick who turned to salt for feeling sentimentality for her hometown); what are your thoughts on the psychological motivations within mythology for, say, Abraham?  Muhammed?  Consider this an education, not a religious oppressiveness.  

 

Also, the more you know about Christianity, the more you can understand why you're against it.  I wouldn't necessarily encourage you to talk to your younger siblings about atheism; however, I would bring up discrepancies based on what you learn in church, and see if they come to the same conclusions you do.  If they don't, it'll be an interesting conversation and, perhaps, a bonding experience.  

 

Good luck to you :)

 

--M*

I actually reccomend reading those kinds of books, they're great for a laugh! But yeah you have the right as an american citizen and a human being to (not)read what ever you wish, it's as simple as that.

As for the siblings, I wouldn't recommend lecturing them or anything, but i don't see the harm in explaining your views to them.

Jacob, you're in a difficult position to be sure.  but it won't last forever, although it may feel like it.  i've been an atheist since i was 14 (24 years ago) and have endured many a church service, whether it be for a wedding, funeral, or to make my mom happy at Xmas.  here's what i would do:

1.  go to church with them

2.  look around

3.  notice all the silly "idols" that they worship even though they aren't supposed to

4.  notice all the dreary people, and try to count yawns (fun little game)

5.  sing their songs, loud and clear (this will either inspire or piss off your parents - either way it's a win)

6.  listen to the prayers and gospels and try to interpret them, but do not recite prayers

7.  take the good out of the positive messages as many are indeed good

8.  look for cute girls (or boys if that's your thing)

9.  don't kneel

10.  don't take communion

11.  don't genuflect

12.  don't touch the holy water (it burns!!)

13.  take mental notes

14.  don't ask questions, but give an honest answer if you are asked

15.  quit going the day you turn 18 and/or leave your parents house

best of luck to you Jacob.  it won't be that bad.  it's an hour per week, you have the whole rest of your week to have your thoughts in the privacy of your own mind. 

so you recommend Jacob run away?  that advice is highly irresponsible.  Jacob is being forced to go to Church, not commit armed robbery.  and he's not living a highly oppressed lifestyle such as that of the Amish. 

while it is an unfortunate situation, i'm certain he's better off living with his fundie twit family than living on the streets.

There may be. Such as?
He's still a kid. Look at his profile.

Be a good son.

Obey your mommy and daddy.

You can be every mommy and daddy’s dream, even if you are an atheist.

Don’t burn any bridges.

Engage your peers.

Church is a great place to meet girls.  (I know)

Enjoy the fellowship.

You’re never too young to practice patience.

You’re never too young to practice tolerance.

Always be polite.

Smile, and fill your heart with love.

I am so impressed with all the wonderful posts here. We are here to support you Jacob.
Asa you have such kind words. Love the list Matthew.
Everyone pretty much said everything. Hope it all goes well for you.

start a teenage or young adult group on meetup.com
or on here
and maybe even join up w/American Atheists
i noticed many young folks connecting through:
http://www.facebook.com/groups/179298715436387/
~~~~~~~~~~~~
lately i get from kid's w/fundy parents
"do you believe in god?
i say I believe children are our future...

and then leads to what's the 'name' of god!?
they just say 'god alright!?' lol sigh... educate
E d u c a t e.

hey I still battle with the fundies, it'll never end.. as quick as they'd like.. the whole end-time crap..
every big journey starts with one, two, a few little steps nah mean!? peace n' best wishes

Jacob-

 

I find it quite disturbing that your dad thought he could get away with guilt-tripping you by saying that he was sad that you were going to hell. He may not realize that he has such a smart son.

You live in your parents home. You have to abide by their rules. It sucks, sure. When I was younger, I was in a similar position. You really don't have much choice *but* to obey their rules. One thing you DO have a choice to do is regulate the amount of feedback you give them. This feedback may fall on deaf ears, I don't know what your parents are like. This is something you have to decide for yourself. The way that you respond to your parents may have a great affect on the way they treat you and your overall quality of life right now.

Don't feel like you are letting your fellow Atheists down. As an atheist myself I am happy to hear that you are standing for what you believe in, in some way- even telling your family alone is a great accomplishment.

I also think that you should stress to your siblings that they should "think for themselves" and come to their own conclusions. Plant a seed of logic. Hopefully it will stay with them so that they can arise to intelligent conclusions themselves. I wish you the best of luck in your situation.

 

-EDIT-

 

... I just realized you posted this in DEC 2010. How about an update, if you're even still around? ...

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