Ojay, Ouch! It really hurts when religion comes between parent and child. Even as we want to hold on to a relationship, it is difficult, at least for me, to listen to the rhetoric of religion when I know it to be babble. Yes, healthy and fulfilling conversation can occur here.
Stephen, powerfully stated, a reframing the dilemma into the long view. As children, we learn how to not challenge authority and to obey adults ... perhaps children who are able to challenge parents and authority have more to offer than adults can even imagine.
My mother smoked from the time she was 12 years old, she too smoked with windows rolled up while I was in the car, she died an excruciating death at 66 of emphysema.
Teaching children to obey is not my highest priority, teaching them to think, reason, consider consequences, make decisions from their own reasoning power makes far more sense to me.
I haven't told my family but I suspect they pretty much know, I haven't been to church in years and there have been the odd comment here and there but I am non confrontational by nature and I won't convince them and they won't convince me so there we have it.
I was raised secular (being kin to Alfred Russell Wallace this is not so shocking.) I sort of morphed from someone ignorant about religion in general into a full on atheist during my four years of junior high. By high school I was pretty vocal about my atheism, and always in trouble. I had to change high schools because the teasing got so bad. Eventually I left my home state altogether. I'm from West (by god) Virginia, but I've lived in Philadelphia PA for something like 8 years. I find it easier to be an atheist in a multi-religious city. (It was nothing but Christians in WV.) Philly has many religions and nonreligious people living side by side, also it's the birth place of "secular freedom." I put that in air quotes cos well... We all know how "free" we really are.
Hi Allison, I am glad you joined A/N. There are so many lively conversations and great friendships form. If you have interest in politics, economics and religion and their interrelationships, please join us at Politics, Economics, and Religion.
I'm "in the closet" for now except for the internet and to known atheists. I'm planning on telling my friends and family when I am 18. Then they can't force me to go to church every day trying to convert me. Also when I tell my friends I won't face isolation if they don't take it well, and I can see who my real friends are.
I'm somewhat open with people about my atheism. I have a co-worker who is atheist and we have some pretty good discussions about science and religion. I've told considerably more people that I'm not a believer than straight-up said the word "atheist". I'm a horrible liar and do not like to equivocate, so if someone asks I'm going to tell them.
My husband is fine with it. He's more or less agnostic. He wouldn't label himmself an atheist. Other than him I haven't been direct with our immediate family, who are all very religious. I really would like to bring it up with my parents and sister, but they live far away and we don't see a lot of each other. I'd rather they not find out over the Internet, but if they did I suspect they wouldn't be too surprised. I don't try to hide the fact that I'm scientistic and have no interest in church-going. We have very good relationships and I really don't think they would treat me any differently, but I am a little nervous about it. It's the whole, I don't want them worrying about my soul burning in hell, thing.
I'm more worried about the kids and how our lack of religion is going to affect them. My mother-in-law asked recently if we were planning on sending the kids to Sunday School. Even though I had a pretty positive religious up-bringing, I'd be pretty pissed if someone (adult) told my kids they were going to hell. I know one of these days we'll have to have a conversation about it. I'm not really sure how to prepare them.
Fortunately, although I live in Texas there are at least a few different skeptic/atheist/humanist groups I can meet up with relatively close by. There is a humanist group I have been meeting with once a month, which always contains some lively conversations and is good for my "soul". :)