The story of the 13 year old atheist!

Hey guys, I'm Victoria, I'm an atheist, and here's my story-

I've been an atheist for a year now. If you've read the biography part of my profile, you'll see that I'm 13, almost 14. That's right, I've been an atheist since I was 12, almost 13. I found out about this website by Twitter, and quickly got addicted to reading other peoples stories, and reading discussions, and being recommended books. Before I go on, I need to warn you that this is probably going to be a really long story. But, it's an interesting one (I like to think), so, yeah.

“My background”
Anyway, I became an atheist when I was 12. I honestly can't tell you why. I was (and continue being) raised in a Catholic family. My dad is agnostic/spiritual, but not loud about it, and my mom is a Catholic, but kind of my non-practising and spiritual. I have always been a skeptic, but I always held a belief in God. I figure that it was a combination of seeing too many extremely religious people, being on too many atheist-friendly sites, and the death of my grandfather.

“Becoming an atheist
The death of my grandfather might have had the most influence on this new state-of-mind, not because I was close to him, and I was going through grief, but more because I saw what his death did to others. My grandmother sitting on her couch, bawling her eyes out, it hurt to see. It also made me think “How, how can there be a God that could let the happen to people?”. Not that that's a good reason to drop all beliefs, but it was kind of a revolution. This grandfather was on my Dad's side of the family, and my Dad's side is Catholic also, so they prayed after he was taken away in a body bag. It wasn't anything big, simply a moment of silence, with lots of people praying. I noticed myself not praying during this time, simply reflecting. I did not see the use of praying, what good would talking to the sky do.

“Coming out”
So, the atheism just hit me, and stuck to me. And, you know what? I like it. The worst part of being an atheist, for me, was telling my parents. My mom, as I mentioned, is Catholic, and pretty easy going. I told her when we were on the topic of religion. I told her I figured I was agnostic, which was a lie. I knew her thoughts (at the time) about atheists, which were that they were too in-your-face, and they'll argue about religion, and all of that. She wasn't too sure of the meaning of 'agnostic', so I explained it to her the best I could. She seemed to understand, so I let it go. Then, a few months later, we got onto the topic of religion again. We were driving around Toronto after an event, and someone asked if there were any Catholics in the building. If you know Toronto, you know it's a VERY multicultural area, and the specific area we were in was VERY Asian (to be blunt), so my mother was the only Catholic, along with some other bloke. Anyway, when asked, she and the stranger raised their hands. I was about to, then I remembered. It was a second-nature thing to raise my hand, a habit.

So, on the drive around Toronto, I said something like “I like how there were only like 2 Catholics in the place, eh?” and she was like “Yeah, we aren't in Whitby any more, haha” (Whitby is where we reside, it's a very white, Catholic/Christian/Atheist area) “And,” said my mother “why didn't YOU raise your hand?” I was surprised, because I had told her I was agnostic, which was a lie, but I'd rather be thought of as Agnostic than Catholic. So, I said to her, “Mom, I explained it to you...I'm an agnostic! In fact,” I said to her, and little pissed off, “I'm an atheist.” She was surprised, and she said the 'normal' type things, about all of this. She then said something that hurt me, she said “So, you don't believe in God?” “No, atheists don't normally believe in God.” “Oh, well, that's too bad.” That hurt. She explained that she didn't mean it that way, but still, it hurt, guys.

“Back up”
When we got home that night, I asked my dad if he believed in God. My mom was in the room, and she heard it all. I pretty much just forced the question onto him, saying “Dad, do you believe in God?” and he was surprised. Also, he didn't really know I was an atheist, so he kind of hesitated. I kind of pushed him on, and he eventually replied “Uh, no, not really.” “Good”. That was me saying good, simply because I didn't want to be the only atheist in the house. My mom was surprised, I could tell by her expression. My dad was confused. I said to him “She said it was bad that I was an atheist!” and he said “Oh, ____ (My mom's name)” in a disappointment, then left (to go to bed, it was like 1 o'clock am.)

My mom still had some issues with me being an atheist. Please, don't get me wrong, she's an understanding, forgiving person, who has always said that she wouldn't care if I was gay, or bi, or any religion, except for those types of “UFO to heaven” cults. I didn't figure that she would have such issues with my atheism, but she did. It was definitely more of a curiosity thing, but she still had her ways of telling me she wasn't a fan of my new religion, or rather my lack of religion. She wasn't violent, or disowning about it, but she had said before I told her that she would feel like a “failure of a parent” if a child she raised (she didn't use me, her only child, as an example) turned out not being confirmed, or became an atheist (this was during a conversation about confirmation, a Catholic's “adulthood” ceremony into the Catholic Church, like a Bar/Bat Mitzva). Also, I didn't like how she kept on bringing up my atheism, and how she would say “atheist” when referring to me, and my new beliefs. I can only describe it like this- It was like I came out gay, and she was like “Oh, you a fucking faggot!” instead of saying something like “Oh, you're a lesbian. It was like that. Very harsh. By the way, I'm not gay. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

I go to a Catholic school. Rather, I went to one, because I just graduated grades Kindergarten through 8. (I got honour roll and 2 French honours) (I know no one cares :/ lol). Also, I'm going to a Catholic high school. I'm going because they're a good, prestigious type of school, and all my friends are going there. I wish it was a public school, I really do. I am happy that the school size is going from 240 kids to 1400 kids, because there are atheists there, I know a few, and I'm bound to meet more. I know a Catholic high school isn't atheist/agnostic-central, but it's a start. But, being in a small Catholic school was hard. I only told one person about becoming an atheist, but the word spread through out my class via facebook and twitter and formspring and stuff, and people knew. Luckily, so to speak, I had very few friends, so no one really cared, but the friend I told was uncomfortable with it, and that was about it. Being in such a close knit school was awkward at times, because I would be told things like “God bless” and wished “Merry Christmas”, “Happy Easter” and such, and asked was I was giving up for Lent, and asked to give intentions for prayers, or lead prayers.

“My dad the agnostic”
My dad is great. He stands up for me if religion comes up, as does my cousin, who is an atheist as well. So, my “team” is made up of my Dad, my Cousin, and my Mom. I say my Mom because she wouldn't let me be subjected to abuse simply because of my beliefs.

So, people, there's my story. I love questions and comments, so go ahead an asked. If you actually read all this, than your reading skill just went up by +1 point :)

Thanks for reading!

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