Although I told my parents that I am an agnostic and do not feel bound by their laws and restrictions they have steadfastly refused to budge on the issue. Currently I have no alternative but to violate their laws behind their back, to my dismay. Any advice on how you would deal with it, or have any of you had anything similar occur to you in the past?

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Thx Nate
Yeah, that was an interesting post---thanks for typing it up!
It's hard, Daley. But at least you can look at yourself in the mirror and be at peace. Good point you make about now having more "room" for more healthy friendships.
Emanuel, thank you for having the courage and integrity to tell your parents. Staying true to yourself is very important, and you will lead a fuller life if you do it.

If you are a minor and live with your parents, I believe you have an obligation to respect the rules and customs they have for you to the extent you are not being harmed. Personally, I would make it very clear that I will go through the motions out of respect for them, but they should know that I do not share their faith. I would remind them occasionally throughout the year, and make it clear that this isn't something they are going to "fix", but again, respectfully going through the motions.

If nothing else, this will make it easier to maintain the relationship once you leave home and strike out on your own. They will have a basis from which to understand, and will probably have done much of the coping already.

Understand that they probably feel a profound loss and that is why they persist.

Josh Nankivel
Thanks for the encouragement. When you say I have an obligation to respect their rules and customs, do you mean that I should follow their laws even when they're not around? If so I disagree with you. I made it clear to them that the only reason I'm currently following the Jewish laws is because they're making me, however I asked them to stop. I told them that they could either accept my decision and we could have a nice relationship or I would just go behind their back. I did this because they will eventually find out that I violate their laws on my debate trip and when that happens I'll just say I told you. I actually feel kind of bad and slightly understand their view. The bible has like a catch 22 in it. It says that they're not allowed to let me choose to be athiest. So that means while they stay religious they are bound by their own laws not to allow me to choose my own beliefs. Its rough
It is rough. Their faith, if they live up to it, allows for no compromise. But after all, they are human beings. For brief moments, their humanity may beat out their religious convictions. From personal experience I tell you to enjoy those moments when they arise. They can be few and far between.
I've come to accept that they will never change. They've come to accept that I'm not going to be actively religious. So right now I follow all the minimal requirements of Judaism, which while annoying I can deal with for the sake of my relationship with my parents. Eventually they'll adjust to it but whatever its not worth forcing.
They might be interested if you take the mitzvot and the taases and study them yourself. Basically, you have said that god doesn't exist and therefore all the laws are invalid.

One thing that is approved in Judaism is scholarship, which might go well in your favor. For example, there are 613 mitzvot. Some are good (203 - keep promises). You should have no problem with that. There are bunches (231 - to judge cases of paid liability) that are irrelevant and you'll never have to worry about. Again, no problem.
Then there are those that aren't relevant to you (267 - not to sell land in Israel in perpetuity) that are damaging to society as a whole that you might point out as ones you disagree with. Then we get to ones that are entirely disgusting. (613 - Destroy the seed of Amalek, 301 - a rapist has to marry the girl he raped)
Then there are the administrative kosher and no-fire-on-shabbat laws that are annoying but not really bad. Those you should heed because although you are atheist, you are a believer in parents. Just do it because they asked you to... as much as possible at least.
Also point out that some (#1 thru 9 at least - Believe in god) that you really can not do because you simply don't believe in god.

So sit down and negotiate. Do the administrative and irrelevant ones because your parents asked but point out that some are impossible for you and some are downright disgusting for anyone to do. and can offer a secular perspective on Judaism as well.



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