My mom often says that I must go to synagogue simply because I must show respect for the family. They say they want the family to be there as a whole (Parents + Sister + Me). How should I counter this?

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bingo bullseye nailed it However you want to put it.
Hellbound is right
I'm curious: what type of synagogue does your family attend? Some synagogues are very open to atheism/humanism, and some are very closed to the idea. For many it's more important that you participate in and be a part of the Jewish Community as a whole than the specific beliefs or ideologies that you hold. If that describes your family/synagogue, why not be a part of it?

If they are part of a more orthodox synagogue/shul that takes it more literally, that is a different matter. In that case, could your tell your parents that you don't don't feel comfortable there, that you want to attend one that is more accepting?

You don't have to have faith or belief to be part of the Jewish community...I wonder if this would be a way to maybe meet your parents in the middle?

Just a thought.
Well, my family attends a pretty liberal synagogue which I would say is pretty open to nontheism, and my mom is okay with my atheism...however, what tics her off is that I don't participate in the services, being part of our culture. You see, she is agnostic, but she is infatuated with Jewish culture and tradition and wants me to come to synagogue out of respect for these traditions. However, I, a gnostic atheist, see a contradiction between Jewish tradition and atheism, so I refuse to go to shul for this reason as well as because it's boring and because I don't relate with other kids that go to my parents' shul. It really just isn't a community I want to hang out with. (To be honest, my mom doesn't like the community either, but she still goes because of the whole culture thing.)
This reminds me an awful lot of being black. Especially in the context of the culture being tied to the religion. As a black atheist I have many ties to them culturally as there is something shared between various individuals however when it comes down to the religious aspect of it for me there is simply nothing there. If they are fine with you being an atheist score that as a major feather in your cap. They want you to pass on the "culture" of it all but you not having to exactly be deeply religious about it. Where exactly the religion starts and the culture begins as in many of these quasi situations is anyone's guess. But at the end of the day I would deem it better to be true to yourself first. Passing this kind of thing on to your kids is something you should strongly consider that your comfortable with.
I basically agree that this is bullying.
To me, it seems the problem is basically about Jewish identity and keeping your Jewish heritage. I also guess this urge to "remain Jewish" even without belief may linked to Jewish history. Maybe it would be worth to have a discussion with your Mom not on religion and attending religious services, but on Jewishness (and maybe your familiy's history)?
Perhaps. What would I discuss, though?
Move the discussion from religion to Jewish heritage... like asking your mother why these traditions are so important _for_her_ (I do hope she'll find you old enough for such a discussion). It's not necessarily a bad idea to try to understand why your Mom does what she does, and if you know why this is so important for her, it may be easier for you to find a solution (you know, to fight an enemy successfully, you have to know him ;-)). Maybe a compromise like you reading some books about traditions and history "in exchange" for not going to the synagogue (I'm not thinking of "religious books", but of books on religion, i.e. he cultural history approach to religion).
Well, the whole services thing is more about being there as a family. I think that's her main argument for me going. (Hellbound Alleee has a pretty good prediction above...I it may be correct)
Well I would simply ask you (not your mother or anybody else): How much do you respect yourself? There is no need to "counter" any argument. Just don't go!
They may threaten me if I refuse to go...not physically, but with punishment. I'm still 15, you see.
You can show respect for your family many ways (helping out around the house, being polite to your parents and siblings, doing your best in school, volunteering or working in the community, etc.). Why do they insist you put on a show for them by going to synagogue and engaging in a lie (pretending for others you believe in god)? What about "Thou shalt not lie"?

But if they do make it a case of "go--or else" you can still make your objections known. Still behave appropriately while there, but let them know you strenuously object to the idea of living a lie just to appease others (a few times, not each time you go). They may, after a while, decide you really do have the right to determine your own destiny and aren't just "going through a phase".




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