I wasn't too sure about posting this here, since this is mainly a discussion forum, but I really don't know any other place where I can put out a message specifically to atheists/freethinkers from my area, so here it goes.

Here's the dope: I'm a YA atheist living with my fundamentalist Christian parents in southern Idaho, and I really need an ally. My mother, who is normally very agreeable, has a very bad dictatorial streak that comes up now and again, and I'm worried that she will eventually make good on her threats and become violent. (She's big on the "spare the rod" bit.) I'm doing my best to avoid confrontation (see "lying through my teeth" - it's for the best), but if she tries to assault me I don't think I'll be able to just sit down and take it, and I know that if I resist there will be a huge schism.

My extended family members are pretty much the only people I know in this area of Idaho, and they're all Christians themselves and would probably narc on me if I tried to seek help from them. I need someone who can offer some support and advice - not huge amounts, but it'd be nice to bounce my thoughts off someone now and again - and help me out if I do have to make a run for it.

(Note: I'm currently not available for in-person communication. I probably will be in three to five months, but in the meantime I'll have to stick to Think Atheist and e-mail.)

Mind you, I don't know exactly how imperative this threat is; it may never happen. But she's been much too volatile lately (and, well, throughout my whole life) for me to reasonably ignore the possibility.

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Try looking into Meetup groups.


It is always tough to give minors advice in these situations because you are dependent on your family. You should not do anything that will put yourself in harms way or cause you to be thrown out of your house. If you truly fear for your safety, then there are other alternatives.

I don't know how old you are, but you'll have plenty of time after you've reached adulthood to live an atheistic life. The best bet in most situations like this is to avoid conflict. That means enduring trips to church, even, as Noah Kane may have to do and you can read about here.

Every situation is different, though.
Reggie covered most of it, but I'd like to add that if you are not doing so already (and particularly if you share a computer with the rest of your family), you need to set your browser to delete all cached information upon shutdown, including browser history. Don't have it save any passwords, bookmarks, or anything else that might give away your lack of belief to anyone.

It may seem a bit paranoid, but parents, particularly controlling ones, have been known to poke about their children's computers. It used to be diaries, nowadays it's bookmarks, histories, and Facebook.
I definitely agree about the computer thing - make sure you clear your history and check your task manager to make sure you don't have a key logger running.
It does sound paranoid, but I have friends who's parents did that to them when we were younger.
Thanks for the suggestions.

I'm actually over eighteen years old, despite the whole living-at-home-with-no-job-prospects bit. And I've been an atheist for about a year, so I'm used to keeping my head down and putting up with stuff. The problem is that she demands complete "respect" - if I voice an opinion that is different from hers on any serious subject (no religion involved, mind) she gets anywhere from suspicious to completely butthurt, and if I dare let it slip through the tone of my voice that I am irritated with her... well, the last time that happened, she threatened physical violence. I am willing to put up with a lot, but I will not tolerate being beat (even if it's "socially acceptable" slapping) if there is an alternative. I'm trying to avoid conflict as much as possible - I'm basically walking on eggshells here, which I mentioned in an earlier draft of the message but somehow got omitted from the one I posted. I lie my face off, go to church, clear my history, the whole nine yards, but when my mother starts spouting some ignorant anti-humanist rhetoric it becomes really hard to control myself. I've made it so far, but I don't completely trust myself not to slip up at some point. That's why I want to be prepared to bolt - if it does come to that, I want to leave of my own volition before my mother has a chance to kick me out of the house.

Reggie, thanks for the link. I'll check that out.
You are very welcome. I know full well it is hard to keep quiet when someone is trampling truth and reality. I hope all works out well for you and don't be shy about coming to this site and venting, seeking advice, looking for other groups, or whatever you need. Most people here are very eager to help and many of us can empathize with your situation to one degree or another.
MeetUp is a good resource; personally I can't say enough about it, cause it got me evolved with two atheist groups in the Spokane & Coeur d'Alene area. Prior to finding them, I coulda swore my wife and I were the only non-believers n the vicinity.

There is also Idaho Atheists Inc based in Boise. I found their site awhile back, but since they don't really do anything in northern Idaho, and they don't update the website very often, I haven't checked them out much more.

I also started a CDA group here on TA, but we don't have too many Idahoans.

Everyone else seems to have given some great advice, so I'll just wish you luck. And be sure to let any of us know if there is something we can do to help.
I really cannot put myself in your position as my family did observe Friday nights but never spoke about religion much ,and I was able to make my own decisions as to religion with logic and reason..
As you are young just keep your views on religion to others to a minimum and I am sure that in the future religion will not have such a stronghold, and it willbe a fairer world.
Not if I keep my views to myself, ma'am.

A lot of people seem to assume that because I'm young, I must be pretty naive. I mean, yeah, I'm missing out on a lot of life experiences, I can be a little hotheaded sometimes, and there are some things I don't know. But I've also learned that there's a season for everything. There's a time to keep your mouth shut (now) and a time to stand up for what you believe in (later, when religious types don't have any power over you). There's a time to be patient and a time to attack.

I've often thought about leaving my home state, honestly. It's pretty Republican around here. But then I realized that I'd just be holding back progress. Without thoughtful, articulate humanists (flattering myself here a bit, I realize) to speak up about what is and is not acceptable, our more backwards neighbors will never learn.
You make me smile.


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