Hello,
I am 16, doing IBDP and a very stressed teenager.
I belong to a Hindu family and my family strongly supports religion and existence of god.
But I don't believe in god as I doubt its existence and holy books.
It's been 3-4 years since I have become atheist.

I have kept it a secret to my family and everyone else.
But...
now my life is more hectic, I don't have time and my parents want me to be more religious in terms of going regularly to temple, praying to god..and when they ask me I am like "I have better things to do than that..."
I do some of it and skip the rest, like I go down outside my home but just take a walk and come back home, don't really go to to temple.

But now it's very tough, I don't have time for all that, I don't like going to temple and pretend that I am praying..
I am so desperate to reveal this secret to my parents, I feel like I am betraying the closest people in my life. All people close to me, my parents, teachers, friends are religious.
but I am scared about the after-effects.
My parents love me a lot and I love them.
I don't want them to stop loving me or disliking me because of my beliefs. They might be heart-broken to know this.

So I want to know what should I do?

Tell them, or live my life way it is, bearing this burden or a secret in me throughout my life?
I definitely want to tell them as it is intolerable now.. but I don't want to disturb them.
So please give me a good or a proper way to approach them and discuss with them about my views through which they completely understand me, and they are not "that" disturbed.

What currently I have planned is to write what I am facing in a sheet, and put in what I am facing but slight changes in the situation - character, religion,... and tell them my teacher has asked me to discuss with parents and their views, I believe this should let me know what would be their reaction and help me know what will be the after effects.

I am going to try this tomorrow(Saturday) evening and see what happens..

 

But if you have better opinions which I really need, PLEASE someone assist me!

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You are in a difficult situation, no doubt. I don't claim to know what is the best approach for every situation, and yours seems incredibly hard, but I'll give it a go. The first thing I would suggest is going as slowly as you can. Parents are notoriously slow to be understanding of differing opinions, so if you could go on step at a time with them it might make it easier for them to digest. You might want to begin with just the simple fact of it, that you don't believe it and don't want to feel forced to believe what you cannot accept. I think what generally happens is that parents who don't accept this first statement of non-belief begin to ask rebuttal questions. That is always the hardest, because if you answer them badly you set yourself up for more questions and you feel badly that you cannot defend your beliefs, whereas if you answer them well you can end up hurting your parents feelings. I don't know what they would ask, especially being not too familiar with hinduism, so I don't have any suggestions here.

 

You might also consider raising the question of other beliefs. Ask them how they manage to distinguish between hinduism and other faiths/religions. Since every faith believes just as strongly that theirs is the right one, how can anyone choose between them?

 

I think the strongest argument is simply to attack faith itself. Faith is opposed to reason - when you are asked to take something on faith, it literally means without having enough justification based on reason. There is reason to believe that we come up with beliefs requiring faith because it is what we desire - we want to live forever, we want to live in a just world ruled by a just creator, and so on, but that doesn't mean that we do. If you want to come to your own beliefs using reason and not accept things just because other people do, then it seems reasonable that faith is just wish-fulfillment, that man created the ideas of deities, and that we would be better to have a scientific understanding of human nature and of the universe, and rationally discern what is true and good in the world and in ourselves, and what we ought to do based on what really does exist. Hope that helped.

Well told story Spencer, the long version would make a good blog post. :)
Not knowing how your family would react and with you being a teen, I can't tell you what to do.  I never had to go through this situation you are in and I feel for you.  I can tell you that you have found a good place to get support and to be able to say whatever you want whenever you want.  I hope being on this site provides you with a little peace.
Can you wait until you move out of the house and you are on your own?  Do you really need to tell them now?
That's what I am thinking too Steph.
Yes, that's what I thought.

I plan to live with my parents throughout my life...

so I guess that wouldn't work :(

I feel for you. My son is also doing IB and it is stressful. Interesting and clever idea to bring it up as a school assignment and see how they react. Along those lines you could leave Gora's "We Become Atheist" laying around and see if they take it well.  

 

You should probably avoid creating more stress for yourself at least until you are done with IB.  You have so much homework, can you use that to avoid the most time consuming of the religious activities? Do you have a doctor or a school counselor that you can trust to talk to about it?  If you have to do religious things just realize you are doing it for your parents and don't beat yourself up for it.

 

I like Steph's idea of waiting until you are a bit older and they aren't trying to control you as much. Maybe ease them into it with transitional ideas that treat religion allegorically.

 

 

Well the source of the problem was they want me to be more religious, I was using my homework and studies as an excuse but it made my dad furious and asked me to give at least a little time to praying and...
Yash, at your age you are still under your parents control.  This puts you in a vulnerable position.  We adults, who share your views, don't have this problem.  Others may have better and additional suggestions.  Here is mine.  Consider whether or not you still hold any practical, ethical principles which you derived from your Hindu teachings.  Let's say the 1st principle of "AHIMSA", to do no harm, still seems  a good, moral idea to you, for your life; you could tell them that you still hold this, and other views in common with your parents. Maybe a discussion of how you plan to conduct your life in an ethical, principled manner, will take some of the sting out of your announcement. Good Luck.  At your age, I, too, was already an atheist.  I did not have the courage to tell my Roman Catholic father that I had rejected my religion.

Thanks to everyone who has supported me, I am going to discuss tonight about this and post it online over here, hope the outcome is good...

 

Hello everyone, thanks for your support and encouraging me.

Yesterday night, I discussed it with me dad and he didn't seem to shocked! He was somewhat suspicious about my beliefs.

He accepted and said "well, it's your belief, and everyone has their own beliefs". Well it well, he wants to have a further discussion today or tomorrow about this before I tell it to my mom and my sister, as both of them are very sentimental.

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