Hello everyone!

I just began making a post about an issue I've been dealing with, and it started to run very long, so I figured I would move part to this section.

I am 20 years old and have been an atheist in one way or another for as long as I can remember. I have always been a bit ahead of my age bracket and as a child that manifested as being very analytic and thoughtful; more so than other children my age. I thank that for my becoming an atheist despite an extremely excessive catholic upbringing.

I can remember sitting outside one day when I was around five. I had recently been told some lesson regarding the rapture and with a child-like simplicity was thinking that their god wouldn't make sense because no decent being would end the world when some of the people living on it were only babies and hadn't had a chance to live, and since there would always be babies around, there couldn't be a rapture and therefore couldn't be a god. Obviously since then my understanding and belief system has matured and progressed further than "god can't exist because no decent being would hurt babies!"

It took me awhile to gain the confidence and strength I needed to really stand up against what my family pushed on me and really be able to say I was an atheist and be strong in that, but I feel that those beliefs were always there and I can't remember a time when I really bought into it; aside from saying and doing things as a young child to appease my parents, which I am sure everyone can relate to. We our all our parents children, as adults we are responsible for our own thoughts and beliefs; as children, the beliefs of our parents have a much heavier weight. We say and do things without really understanding their meaning outside of "my mom or dad told me this."

I grew up in an extremely catholic household. It can be difficult to explain to people just how religious they are because it is catholicism to an insane degree. I was told from a young age that religion was more important than me, religion always took priority. Most people grew up with tons of family photos around their house, I grew up with tons of religious photos, maybe one photo of myself. As the years continued, my parents became more and more cloistered within their religion to the point that the minute secular activities they used to engage in dissappeared little by little until they became completely engulfed in religion and completely unable to think or reason for themselves. They are so entrenched in their beliefs that they won't even give to charity organizaitons that are secular (including a child and orphan sponsorship charity that I have been a part of since I was quite young).

It's always a battle dealing with my family and I try as hard as I can to keep the peace. My upbringing was not only extremely religious, it was emotionally and verbally abusive. And yet, any issues that I had, any time I was upset or sad, the blame always fell to my shoulders. When they discovered I was gay and had told someome that I was afraid my parents would throw me out of the house; instead of being upset and concerned that their child was afraid of that and wanting to make things right and ensure I knew that wasn't the case, they got angry at me for slandering them and making up lies. That has always been their way, I confront them with their own bad behavior and I am the one lying, making up stories.

It got to the point where distance is just better. I left for college and have hardly been back since. I have a relationship with them but it is a relationship much better from a distance. I tried for along time to be rational and reasonable with them, but they refuse. It's gotten to a point where all that is being accomplished is my high stress level and bad back problems that a 20 year old should not have! At this point, I basically switched to autopilot. I will talk to them, be as mature, calm, and reasonable as I can, but I will not go out of my way to try to get them to understand things they are too far in denial to understand. Relationships work two ways, nothing gets done if only one person is making the effort. I would love to talk to others who have been through similar situations and see how others are handing them.

Apologies for the length of this post, I guess I got off on a tangent there. I originally was going to post this in Introductions but it seems to be mostly family related!

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It sounds like you are doing all that you can.  They are too invested in their own beliefs to love their son no matter what.. it is their loss.  I grew up in a cultish backwoods baptist household that was abusive verbally and physically as well, and I left and didn't look back.  There is no handling the situation other than what you are doing. I recently moved back onto my dads property, and let me tell you, it has not been easy.  I had to threaten to move again to get him to get off my back about religion.   Make the best of your own life through your own beliefs, and leave them to wallow in theirs. 


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