What resources are there for helping teens develop a broad, secular, fully integrated understanding of life?
People raised in a religious environment may discover atheism in their teens, but it can be very hard for them to sort through everything they have been told and retain the factual while discarding the baseless.
Religion, for example Christianity, is based on some historical reality with admixtures of magical thinking and power politics and philosophical mind-games. It takes work to tease out the fact that Jesus was real, but he was a Jew, not a Christian - and then to deal with all the implications.
I first became an atheist at 17 - but it took me a couple of decades to rid myself of all magical thinking and to integrate history, science and the development of religion as a coherent world view. It is this ability to "see life steadily, and see it whole" which I feel is essential for a stable and comfortable transition from a religious to a secular life.
I am interested in connecting with all resources for helping teens (and adults) be comfortable in developing their own world view. My own contribution is a novel, The Gospel According to the Romans, that contextualizes Jesus as a fundamentalist rabbi within the ongoing resistance to the Roman occupation of Palestine. It is designed to allow those brought up in the Christian belief to see how the religion developed from its historical (non-Christian) origins - but presented as a spy story, not as a university text.
If you know of other resources out there - for dealing any religion - please let me know.
Good luck on your novel. For some time I have thought of writing a short story based on MATTHEW 27 51-53.
This is an old site for teens, but I do not know how active it still is.
http://teens.rationalresponders.com// It would be fortuitous if a group were formed on Atheist Nexus for teens specifically.
I agree with Neil Thompson and Paul Cahill. For an overview of the dearth of reliable evidences, I suggest you read from John Remsburg's missive - an old assessment, but still valid.
Telling good stories can get a free thinker a pass even in religious schools.
In 11th grade in a nun-taught Catholic high school, a valued member of the noon hour chat group I was in entertained the rest of us with his belief in re-incarnation. He described a soul as a kind of bottle that gets filled again and again. We listened, chuckled, and returned to talking about cars, sports and girls.