I'm having a problem with my parents.

I know this might be a frequent problem spoken about on this website, but I don't know for sure because I'm new here.

 

My parents are trying to force-well, forcing me- to go to church. This only happened after I told my mother that I'm an Atheist. When she thought I was a Christian she wouldn't force me when I said I didn't want to go.

She even said to me "You can't go through life believing in nothing."

And my father told me this when I asked why they're forcing me, "Because your mother said so, and she's your mother."

Great reasons, huh?

 

I'm asking for your opinions, what should I do about this situation?   

-----------

*Update*

I tried to talk to my mother about it, and asked her why she is forcing me. I didn't raise my voice, because I'd rather not start an argument if it means her and I could just agree to disagree and she just let me believe whatever I want to. Mainly, her reasons were "Because I want you to experience it." and "Because I enjoy it". I explained to her that it's not something that I would enjoy and I kept asking her why. Of course I know the answer why, I'd just like her to say it. But of course, she didn't. She avoided answering the question, and after talking like a normal person for about five minutes she got angry and acted like a child. She walked out of the room and said "There's nothing else to talk about.".

I think it's ridiculous that she can't say it herself, she'd just rather treat me like a little kid. I even tried asking her to talk to me as another person, and not her kid so that she wouldn't go and tell me "Because I said so" again.

 

Thank you for all your help, guys, I'll try to keep you updated a bit if I can and if you want.

I still have a full week to convince them not to force me to go.

Tags: advice, atheism, church, force, need, parents

Views: 45

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Replies to This Discussion

Go to the church as requested (you will only need to do this once)

 

Put up with the blah blah blah

 

At the end (better still at the beginning if you can) ask to speak to the priest/vicar/whoever.

Tell the religious rep that you are there against your will and ask what his/her opinion is on parents forcing their offspring to attend a religious ceremony against their will.

 

Do this in front of you parents if you can.

They will be really pissed off initially but at least they will take your non belief seriously.

Eh... don't you think that will just increase their resolve to send him to church and indoctrinate him more?
In addition to that, it also helps if you question everything and point out all the stupid flaws with their belief, right there in church.  Argue with the Priest (or whoever).  You might not be welcome there anymore afterwards :)

To me, your course of action should ultimately be decided by what kind of parents you parents are. I am going to make the assumption that you are still of the age that you are still dependent on your parents. If so, you may have little other choice than to just deal with it and go to church as requested... at least once or twice. It will really depend on how religious your parents are, and how you think they will react to you being more 'aggressive' in your Atheism.

 

Best case scenario, they aren't overly devout themselves and are more or less going through the motions (although they still believe). In this case, making a scene in the church, simply asking too many 'pesky' questions, or simply debating your parents on specific points may grant you freedom from going to church.

 

Worst case, they are devout in their belief and any acting out will cause them to make your life a living hell, or even disown you. If this is how your parents are, as bad as it will bore you, you will likely have to continue going. But if you do, all is not lost. Use it as an 'educational' opportunity. As has been said before, nothing shows how ridiculous the Bible is more than reading the Bible. Use it to hone your arguments and to know your stuff. I can tell you from personal experience, that nothing throws a theist off more than when you know more about their holy book then they do.

 

In most cases your preferred path will lye somewhere between my examples. SO if you want to give us any more info, I'm sure we'll be happy to help you out. One thing I would address though, it the misconception that  we 'don't believe in anything'. Reassure that you 'believe' in reality as it can be scientifically demonstrated or explain that you are not 'empty' and 'sad'. You still see beauty in the world and care for your parents just as you always have. However, a god simply isn't necessary for such emotions or a healthy mental attitude.

 

Also, don't worry about asking a question that may have been asked already. When it comes to family dynamics, every situation is different. I do bid you good luck on your quest for understanding from your family and hope you will be sleeping in on Sunday's before long.

 

Cheers!

We had a huge long discussion when I told my parents.  They thought it was something I was doing to rebel or something. After the yelling subsided, they ignored it for the most part.  The only time I was forced to attend church was at christmas.

I still get the "You can't go through life believing in nothing" spiel and its been nearly 20 years.  I believe in things, just not in magic sky wizards.  I believe science explains things much more nicely than religion.  I believe in reason and evidence.  I believe we have only this one life, so we should live it like we want and do the best we can, help others, and be kind.  I believe I dont have all the answers, nor do I need them in order to live right.  I dont believe I need to fill in my gaps with myth and superstition. 

Eventually they will see you are serious.  Question them, question the priest/pastor/what he calls himself.  Do not let them bully you in to pretending you believe something you dont.  Seems like Dad will support you first if you talk to him alone about it, so make him an ally.  Tell him you feel uncomfortable in a church and ask him to support you in your decision.  He does not have to agree with it, but he can respect you!  Then move on to Mom. 

Good luck!

Don't go.
Make them respect your beliefs.
This is your first step into freedom from religion.
Don't let them step on you.
My parents did the same; once I stood up to them, I was able to stand up to anyone.

Stay strong, don't let them guilt you because they're your parents.
As parents, they have to love you and embrace you, no matter what your beliefs.
That's what GOOD parents do.

Y'know, I remember a few weeks ago my mother saying that she would love her children no matter what their beliefs, and now she's doing this. My father agrees with her on this, and doesn't even give it a second thought.

not even a "Hmmm...I wonder how this is making my child feel."

 

As a parent myself, I think ultimately you need to do what your parents tell you. But it might be fun to explain to them whats wrong with each sermon afterwords. Also, I would turn their own argument against them. I is they who believe in nothing (something that does not exist) while you believe in reality. Also, I think Chris Thomas' idea about speaking to the person in charge of your church is a very good one. It will take some guts to do that, for sure. But you put them between a rock and a hard place, because if the preacher man says yes, you should be forced to go against your will, you can bring the media in and all hell will break loose. Most likely he will say no, you can't be forced to go to church, because he is not going to put his job on the line over this.
When I decided I no longer wanted to attend church, but was still pressured by my folks, I just didn't participate. I didn't sing, I didn't recite, etc. After two weeks of this, I think my parents got embarrassed enough that they didn't push the issue. Good luck, Chelsea!
Thanks for the reply, that's probably what I'm going to end up doing if I have to go.

If you are sure they won't beat you - Speak to the Priest and tell him you think religion and church / God is all a nonsensical delusion and fabrication. 

 

Tell him you don't want to live a lie - And tell your parents all this as well.  

 

Make them believe you.  If they still 'make you go to church' - Then just sit there silently.  Don't do anything.  Don't sing - Don't pray - Do nothing.  

 

If your parents keep badgering you - Keep telling them you deserve respect and you think it's all made up mythology.  Be honest and sincere.  

 

Tell them what you DO believe in.  You do believe in things, don't you?  (Truth, Honesty, Respect, Freedom, Education, etc.) 

 

Good Luck - Keep us updated.  

As a father of four small children I would suggest:

If you are under 18 and living at home, then you must tread lightly and respect their wishes. Ask your mother if she is willing to sit down with you and your pastor to discuss your beliefs. Leave your father out of this if at all possible (he'll thank you later.) Your mother will likely go along with this since she'll be more comfortable ganging up with her spiritual leader with the 2:1 odds in her favor. Be respectful of your mother and the pastor as well as their beliefs in your 'discussion', but do not lose your temper under any circumstances. If your mother becomes hysterical or shouts let the pastor deal with her and ride out her tirade (believe me, being calm and quiet during your discussion will likely be far better revenge for any shouting you may endure.) By all means explain that you do see the benefits of what your parents church is providing its flock, but that you would feel like a hypocrite by attending any services. Use your arguments well, and do not give in to any emotional outbursts you may feel like acting upon, but rather let them think about what you have to say and you may be surprised by their reaction. Explain that you do not need religion or a deity to live a good life, since your parents taught you the differences between 'Right & Wrong.' You can explain that you do believe in truth as modern science explains the aspects of life and the nature of the universe. Do not under any provocation insult their beliefs, that you do respect their choices and you hope that they will respect yours as well. You should stress that while you may not be considered an adult yet by your parents, you have been taught by them to think for yourself and to make good decisions based upon facts and evidence. You may not have all of the answers, but your should explain that you do have the right to seek your own path in life and they should be happy to see you learn some things for yourself.

I left religion behind me for a variety of reasons, most of which were the hypocrisy in both the belief and the people attending church. I grew weary of the usual "Turn to the person around to you and tell them "I Love You", only to see the traffic snarl up in the parking lot and obscenities fly to/from every motorist there (granted, I grew up in the Boston, MA area so 'your experiences may vary'.) There are a lot of Biblical passages and examples you could use to support your decision, but unless you can stomach memorizing everything in the 'Big Book of Lies' you do not want to take on a pastor using that as your reasons ('They' will also tell you that Satan may also quote the Bible for his own purposes.) If you choose to make a scene at church you will only have your mother work harder to 'Save' you, as well as lose any privileges you may now enjoy.

Above all, believe you are a good person, live well, be kind to others, show your parents the respect they deserve, and they may eventually respect your decision. Trust me, they really do want what is best for you, but unfortunately you are trapped by their upbringing and anything you say or do will be suspect until you are living on your own and showing them that they raised you well (hopefully, but not always...)

Good luck!

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