First, my coming out story. After church, I got into yet another argument with my Dad about what happened in Church. The story was that one city that got destroyed and that guy who was spared's wife looked back and disenigrated. I said that that was her home. She had friends, family, etc. It was unrealistic to think she wouldn't give one glance back. Dad said that it was a horrible place so her looking baxk meant she liked it. We didn't get anywhere, so my Dad said something like "Well, you love God, don't you?". I felt it was time to tell the truth and said "So it all comes out? I don't". My little sister gasped.They left the car and me and Dad talked. Luckily, he was at least a little tolerant, as he wasn't angry nor did he punish me. But of course he had to guilttrip me by saying how sad he was that his son would go to hell. But we moved on and we barely have a rift.
Note barely. Now he and my mom force me to go to church. I tried once to lock myself in my room and refuse to go, but my dad talked to me and said that I lived in their house and that I should respect their wishes until I'm 18. I kinda agree, but I feel guilty. I feel like I'm letting my fellow Atheists down. The most I do to rebel now is make snide comments during the sermon. Then when I read books like Atheist Universe(and I use bookS sparingly, as my school library doesn't have any yet has books about religions like Christianity and such) my dad makes me read stuff like Left Behind. When I go online and read atheist things, I need to look at other views(course, I didn't need to read about Atheism or Hinduism etc. and get their views when I was a Christian) What should I do?
As a side note, should I talk to my younger siblings about atheism? Part of me thinks I should, seeing as my mom and dad preach about Christianity. But another thinks that I'd cause problems between them and my parents. Again, what should I do?
To be serious: I think that ASA has the best approach so far.
You can stand your ground and not intentionally burn bridges in front of you.
Be steadfast, be calm. Talk about religion as you would talk about changing a carburetor. Sorry: fuel injection system (showing my age).
If you feel compelled to be a wise-ass every once in a while, you can always ARDENTLY study the nasty, cruel parts of the bible (plenty of links here and elsewhere). You can even start with Lot, since, apparently, it's OK to get your dad drunk and have sex with him until you're pregnant. (I always wondered...What? They couldn't wait until they got to the next town for the dad to find a nice second wife and have more kids with HER? Didn't God know that the next town was only a few days hike away?)
(I will admit--I never had to "come out". I was brought up by atheist/agnostic, liberal parents. None of this was ever a problem for me. Your mileage obviously varies)
Awesome post Jacob. My response is that you should endure. I just got finished reading the Odyssey, and perseverance is my favorite virtue, so it comes with the territory that I will be pushing lessons learned, but in all honesty, I think this really is at least a central virtue, if not the central virtue. You are so young, you have your whole life ahead of you. Concentrate on two things which will complement each other - building up your external power (i.e. figuring out how to be independent and make a living so you don't have to associate with people who force things on you and don't accept you for who you are (and who aren't delusional!!)), and your internal power. For the former, I highly suggest learning science and technology, these are the most secure ways to earn a living these days, or if you already know how to make money, then good for you! You have it better than most. For the latter, keep reading, talking to other people, etc. You have a good mind, you will figure yourself out in time. Keep your life in balance in this way and you will be successful and happy.
Being a good person requires doing what is in the long-term interests of your self-esteem, so don't do anything you will really be ashamed of later on, and do take stands for things that you will take pride in. On that note, there is no shame with enduring your parents and their delusions. In the meantime, if you follow my advice above, you will work your way free of such oppression and you will be a force for good in the world in the future. Again, remember that you are still young and you have plenty of time. Bide your time patiently. And if you are able to help your siblings realize that they are also being negatively affected by the sickness that is religion, this is something you can take pride in, so absolutely nudge them in the right direction. But don't force them, let them make their own decisions, even if they are the wrong ones. Siblings... Well, good luck in any case, and keep coming here for moral support! You have all the right stuff from what I can see!
It's tough being 15 and living with religious parents. I'd recommend covering, keeping a low profile, without actually lying to your parents, until you're old enough to be emancipated without trauma. If you're lucky enough to go to college, away from home, you're home free. It won't be long, just a few years. Meanwhile, an online community like this can help to keep your sanity.
About that advice to meet girls at church, I don't recommend it. The last thing you need is deep emotional attachment to people infected with religious mind viruses. As a teenaged boy your libido would not be your friend in this circumstance. You need bonds to help you survive unscathed until you're free to make your own life, legally and economically.
I can't believe anyone has suggested tormenting your sunday school teachers yet! Oh what an opportunity you have to improve your debating-a-religious skills! Read the bible and pick out the things that make the least amount of sense to you. Questions such as "where did Cain's wife come from?" "why does the bible say insects have 4 legs when that is clearly not true?" "where does Jesus condemn gay marriage cause I'm just not seeing it?" and other such annoying questions, peppered with knowledge on your end and a persistence to make them nuts might drive your teacher to request you don't show up, thereby getting you off the church hook. I suggest http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/ to help you along in your quest for knowledge.
If that doesn't work, I'm sorry to say, you are indeed in a bit of a bind. But it sounds like your folks have some compassion in them, which is great. So it might not be all bad. As for your siblings, rather than lecturing them on what you believe, encourage them to question and seek answers on their own. Give them all the love you can, whatever they believe-if they end up staying xian and they know you as a kind and loving person who happens to not believe in their god, they might be more likely to be accepting of other people who aren't like them. And if it so happens that they do end up coming round to your side, then all for the better.
I for one would also like an update on how things are going!