Post # 1
I had a interesting discussion this morning with a group of people I volunteer with at a secular organization(which basically just means people of all faiths and those who aren’t religious to volunteer side by side).
So this guy has two kids with his ex, a couple years ago she became religious. Her and her new husband lives revolve around the church, majority of their friendships and social lives come from other parishioners.This of course has not been going down smoothly with the children. Who feel like they are no longer allowed to socialize with other kids, and that their sports and school actives take a backseat to the events their mother and stepfather prefer them to attend.
I do think the mother being overly zealous and trying to force religion down her teenage kids throat when they barely been exposed to it, is foolish. However I am not totally opposed ot parents making their kids go to church.
If I have a kid and they decide at some point that they want to attend some services I probably take them myself, and have discussions with them about it. I feel like this Dad should intervene for his kids and place limits on things, and make his ex allow them to have their old friends to socialize with, and able to attend activities and sports they been doing for years. I stop believing when I was 12, yet I went through my teen years, and even when I was college and home on break. I don’t think it’s asking parents too much, and if anything it probably cemented my beliefs. I think there should be limits(and quite frankly I think this mom is trying to isolate and control her kids and this guy probably has a big fight on his hands). I just think parents shouldn’t be so fundamental about it and it probably push thier kids away.
My brother for example hated going to church, but it was more about him pushing boundaries and rebelling a little under my parents. As an adult he is now religious. I don’t know, what you guys think? If you stop being a believer while under your parents roof/control, what happened and how do you feel about it?
Post # 3
I picked as a young child. Even though I don’t think I knew what it meant when I was young, I have always been an atheist. I was raised in a Catholic family, and went to Catholic school until grade 4. I never believed what was written in the bible, I thought they were stories that didn’t happen.
As I grew up and learned more about science, history, and mythology, it just made me feel more confident in my beliefs. My parents made me go to church until I finished high school. I have never had to actually say to my parents that I am an atheist, they just seem to know and have never questioned my decision to have a secular wedding.
When we have children, I will definitely tell them about religion, that some people believe but some people don’t and it’s ok either way. I don’t think I would take them to church though, I have no desire to go to church again if I can avoid it. If Fiance wants to take them he can (although he doesn’t go to church either) or they can go with their grandparents. It will be their choice.
Post # 4
- Wedding: August 2013 - Rocky Mountains USA
I’ve basically always been agnostic and recently realized I was more of an atheist – I’m 30. As a kid, we went to church occasionally on holidays, and then my mom started making us go to a relatively mild nice Methodist church every week when I was 12 through 16 or so (random much?!). I think it was more for the community involvement than because any of us were, or were supposed to be, religious.
I got confirmed and everything, but the whole time I was thinking “Uh I don’t believe Jesus died for our sins, what a waste of time.” I was never a “believer” at all, but I did enjoy some of the less religious sermons about forgiveness, charity, etc.
Luckily my family isn’t particularly religious and doesn’t care at all. I think we’ve talked about religion / God like twice in the past 10 years?
My Fiance is a “Jack Mormon” (someone who left the Mormon church – he was 14) and that was fairly tramautic for him. The church is really heavy-handed about famiies and friends essentially writing off the person because they’re a sinner who’s going to hell, etc. Later, his whole family basically lost their faith over time and now none of them are Mormons – thank goodness! 🙂
Post # 5
I did at 22 (23 now), I just kept questioning religion and eventually came to the conclusion that with the 1,000’s of deities out there, who really knows? why do people seek religion? why do people follow religous beliefs/organizations? etc, it just never made sense to me. life is too short to spend it “guessing” that your deity is the right one (assuming there even is one). I’m probably not making much sense but this video does a good job of capturing what I’m trying to say: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QXzlMblBQpQ
Post # 6
- Wedding: October 2011 - Bed & Breakfast
I went to a christian school for all of elementary school. We had chapel every week, had to memorize bible verses, read bible stories every day, sang christian songs, etc. It wasn’t super in-your-face, but enough to make my little 9 year old brain decide that it was a total crock. When I switched to public school religion fell off of my radar for the duration of middle school. By high school I was reading about Wicca, Buddhism, Tao-ism, etc….. basically just trying to figure out what, if anything, resonated with me. My parents were nervous about it, but they didn’t fight me on anything. All in all, they were pretty cool. By senior year I had decided that it was all meaningless to me, and accepted that I was an atheist. My Mother said that she “didn’t want to hear it” and my father would just shut down, so I never forced the issue. We now have an unsaid understanding. I don’t bring up my atheism and they don’t ask.
I raised teen LK to be open to the possibility of religion, took him to services at several different churches when he was curious, etc. He’s also declared himself to be an atheist. Obviously that is fine by me.
Post # 7
I didn’t start slowly phasing my parents into the truth of it until I was around 14-15, when I decided I would not be going to church anymore. They… didn’t really balk much. They happened to get a little disillusioned from the church around that time as well, plus I was also distancing myself from them, so less communication means less drama about things we didn’t agree on. If only everything in life would go that smoothly. 🙂
Post # 8
My parents sent us to a Presbyterian church when we were young just to get a general understanding of religion but we were never forced. Then when we got a little older, I think around age 7 I decided I didn’t want to go anymore. Then as I got older into my mid teens once I had more of an understanding I decided religion was not for me at all and it developed from there.
My dad was raised catholic but never actively did anything. He never went to church or preached to anyone, you wouldn’t even know he was religious at all But he has strong beliefs. My mom has her own beliefs but isn’t really religious….
I love that my parents totally left the decision up to us. Nothing was ever forced on us, even their own beliefs and they have no problem with 3 of us being atheist. I also have a brother who turned Jehovah’s Witness on his own about 17 years ago but that’s a whole other story lol.
Post # 9
I was never seriously religious. My dad is a lapsed catholic who never pushed anything on me, my mom is…. some kind of christian lol. My grandparents were always very religious, and my parents seem to believe in god and think that believing in god is a good thing, but they don’t even go to church. (Though we did for awhile when I was a kid.) They didn’t baptize me.
So I kind of *always* assumed all those bible stories were just allegorical, like Santa Claus (which I also have no memory of genuinely believing in) and thought everyone thought so. I never took it seriously at all. I didn’t try to pick them apart logically because to me they were just more fairy tales with a lesson in them. By the time I was in middle school, I had been exposed to the darker sides of religion – religious war and discrimination and people who want to take away others’ rights just because their god says so.
I was vaguely “spiritual” through middle school and some of high school, believing “something’s out there, there’s some higher being we can’t perceive, but it probably doesn’t really care much about us at the micro level.”
But all I wanted was to maintain a sense of wonder, and that spiritual feeling just faded away the more I learned about the world, about people, about science, about space, and by the time I graduated high school I realized that empiricism and humanism are vastly superior and study of those things provokes a proper sense of awe and wonder without having to make shit up.
As Douglas Adams once said, isn’t it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe there are fairies at the bottom of it too?
(For more data: My FH was raised by the catholic-est catholic that ever catholic-ed and hardly believed a word of the mythology anyway. When he was very young some of the discriminatory stuff stuck and he admits to being kind of exclusivist and mean, but as he hit preteen and older, he met more different kinds of people and realized the error he had made. Then, he was even angrier at the church after that for having put those awful ideas in his head to start with. Today he is a militant atheist who believes that religion is a pox on society.)
Post # 10
I did not attend church often as a young child because of my mother’s work schedule, but I did grow up believing in all the bible stories and in God and Jesus. As a teen I began going to church regularly (three or four times a week). I was definitely a zealot. Yet, the part of me that is incredibly logical could always come up with problems with the bible and God. I wanted my faith though, so I pushed those thoughts away.
When I went away to university and was removed from that community, I slowly began to lose my faith. Those logical flaws came roaring back up, and I dealt with unnecessary guilt over my sexually charged relationship with my now Fiance. Eventually I broke down and ended up going on a little retreat, if you will, to a prayer house. I was there a week, and while it had previously been a place where I refreshed my faith, it felt empty then. I wanted to believe so badly, but I just couldn’t.
So at the age of 18 or 19 I became an atheist. I’ve never been happier.
My parents do not yet officially know – I am sure my mother just thinks I am going through a rebellious time and am not attending church. I cannot imagine her horror if I actually uttered the word “atheist” to her. Though I would not be surprised if the issue comes up within the next few months. I think I will keep my answer vague and just tell her I am not going to church at this time.
Post # 11
I’ve never believed in God. My mother is religious, and we went to church every Sunday while I was a child, until maybe high school. I never believed in it, nor did my dad, but we went to keep the peace. My mom’s church is very liberal and progressive so it wasn’t terribly painful; they don’t believe the bible is fact so I was raised to believe they were just stories. I forget why I stopped having to go to church, but my dad and I stopped and my mom kept going, and while she teases me about it, I don’t think she really cares what I believe as long as I respect her views, which I do.
Post # 12
It’s easy for me because I live in Australia. People pretty much don’t give a damn here. I was raised in a secular household. My parents weren’t outspoken atheistis, but they weren’t religious either. My sister and I made our own choices, and I’m very glad we had that chance. Our parents would love us if we’d chosen to follow a religion or not.
Post # 13
I voted “I was raised that way”.
My parents never forced any religion on me even though they are both religious. I don’t think either of them relized my views until I was a teenager. My great great aunt who I love dearly did however push religion on me, in her loving attempts to save me. Funny enough back then I didn’t mind it because I knew she did it because she cared. So I would visit her every weekend and her rule was if you come and visit you must go to church with her and the family. And because I was so young I got to go to sunday school too!!!
I remember sitting there during sunday school listening to all of these “stories” and thinking these people were out of thier mind. But I was always polite and never questioned anything. Always bowed my head during prayer, never prayed, but it didn’t kill me to respect what they were doing. I knew it would hurt my aunt if I made a scene. I never discussed my views with her but I think deep down she knew becuase at every chance she got she would gift me a new bible after I would somehow “lose” the last one she gave me haha.
Once I hit high school though I started discussing it more. I have one friend that is super religious. Her father is a priest and her now husbands father is too. It was fun debating with her because we both understood that niether of us would change eachothers mind. There was never any hate or put downs in the debate, just a lot of info. It gave me some good practice for all the questions people would ask me later in life when I really spoke out about it.
Once my great great aunt passed a year and a half ago, for some reason, I felt very comfortable talking about it with anyone who asked, without any fear of her finding out and being hurt. I even went to a secular gathering in DC (Reason Rally) with my boyfriend and 20,000 others in the pouring rain for music, comics, speeches. It was a blast. I can’t wait until 2016 when they do another!
Since then I have had a lot of friends come up to me and ask questions. I always expected people to try and push thier beliefs on me more. I will admit a lot have tried, (even had some family cut off contact, but most were crazy anyway, lol) but not as many people are negative about it as I once thought would be. I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that I grew up in Maine verses living in the south where I think it would be a lot harder.
and I just realized I am typing a lot.. oops lol
Post # 14
I was 14 when I became an atheist. I finally learned about the history of Christianity and just could not believe anymore. There were other factors, but that was the last straw.
I’m not really a rebellious type. If you told me before my “de-conversion” that I would one day be a pro-gay rights, pro-choice, feminist atheist, I’d think you were nuts.
Post # 15
I’ve been an atheist my entire life. I was raised without religion although my parents did encourage me to research religion and if one seemed right, to follow my heart and go with it. I plan on raising my kids the same way. Chances are also, if we stay living where we are, our kids will be attending a catholic private school, the same as my partner attended. He is also an atheist and has been for his entire life.
Post # 16
I’d always felt like something was “wrong”, but I thought it was me. I mean, my parents, family, and friends were all religious, so I didn’t think to question them. So instead of questioning them, I questioned myself, and for a long time I felt bad because maybe I wasn’t “trying enough” to feel something.
When I was in middle school, I met someone who was an atheist. I learned more about it from there, and over time I just kind of came to accept that I didn’t feel anything and never have. Since then, I do feel happier, and even freer in some senses. I still find awe in life, I still find inspiration, and I still find hope; it’s just not in religion.