As a junior at my high school, I participate in a series of events with freshman and incoming freshman to help them get used to the transition from middle school. When at an event honoring the Honor Society (why yes, I AM a nerd, thank you) I was asked what I wished to pursue as a career upon leaving. When I answered "Biology, with an emphasis on evolution" I really didn't think anything of it until later I was pulled aside. A "concerned parent" asked me if I wanted to study evolution because I believed in it.
Silencing my inner comments I politely replied "Yes, I do". She then asked me my religion, and when I told her I was an atheist she looked alarmed and asked me "And they promote this phase in this high school?"
While I quickly assured her that "Here at [Name of School] we encourage mental, physical, and spiritual growth of all kinds", I felt both terrified and offended. A friend of mine noticed and talked the concerned mother down with assurance that she was a Christian and many of her friends were, and that I was nothing but a token atheist, not in any way a majority. (I'm not offended by what my friend said, it was a lot nicer than I put it, I assure you.) But that thought stuck with me for a long time.
Do parents really believe that everything happening in their teenager's life is a phase?
I do understand that yes, adolescence is a prime time for experimentation and that at the end of these four to eight years we learn who we really are, and that the road getting there is often a roller coaster. (I mean, hell, in my freshman year I was a gothic lesbian Wiccan, neither of which I am now.) But when someone takes the time, often years to think of what they truly are, why is being an atheist such a "phase" regardless? Why can it be summed up as "the hard time in our life where we turn back on god"?
And with homosexuality in the mainstream. it is being excepted at a rate that atheism would dream of having. So why do parents so fear the teenage atheists?
And why do they easily cast aside other religions?