Hi, I'm Eric, and I'm 21-years-old.


I am an atheist.


And it isn't surprising that I am, considering how religion has fundamentally ruined my life from the get-go.


I was born in a Conservative Republican, Presbyterian-Christian household. From the start, I was home schooled. For some people, this means gathering in a community of like-minded people, sharing ideas, resources, etc... but not for me. Basically what home schooling amounted to, for me, was unschooling. Which is basically the concept that you learn from your experiences.


Anyway, my parents basically locked my brother and me in our rooms all day with the same toys year after year. We rarely went out, and when we did, it was during the day to the store (usually a health food store) when no kids were around. There were no kids in my neighborhood, when we went to church we'd leave immediately after, so essentially I had no real friends for the first 16 or so years of my life.


Fast forward to now. I should be in college, I should be knee-deep in relationships, and I should be driving to work every day. I should be living. But, I'm not. I am completely at their mercy to this day. I have tried many times to talk to them seriously, but they always turn it into a victim thing on their end and it never gets anywhere. So now, I feel alone, and kind of scared that my life can't get anywhere... I never really had a chance, in retrospect.


So now you can see why I am an atheist (emotionally, anyway)--I never went to real school, never had friends as a kid and was home all day, because of a book written 2,000 years ago that tells you to worship a cosmic jewish zombie, and right-wing conspiracy theories spouted by Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and the like. Thanks, Christianity! You're the best!


P.S. Any advice would be nice.

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Welcome and feel free to 'vent' here with fellow freethinkers.  You don't need to feel alone.  What you've said reminds me of what it would be like to live a 'cloistered life', not a REAL life.  I am the mother of a 16 year old and a 20 year old and have raised them without religion.  As a parent, it is painful to know that they've had to struggle with bullying and with being 'different'...but because they've survived it all beautifully so far, I have to know that they are stronger people because of their experiences.  I couldn't always 'save them'...and it taught them to be self-reliant, I think.  It almost sounds like your parents were protective to the point of emotional suffocation...the term "emotionally atheist" that you used, made me wonder what you meant exactly by that?  Empty?


It is time to think about getting a plan in your mind to distance yourself from what you see as 'unhealthy' living and define the kind of life you want.  I would definitely agree that moving out and living on your own or with a room mate is the direction to shoot for.  But I know the economy is terrible for people in your age range.  It's bad everywhere but young adults are really struggling to find full-time jobs with wages to support themselves. 

Ah, yes. Perhaps that was worded poorly on my part--I meant, you can understand why I became an atheist, from an emotionally standpoint, as opposed to an intellectual standpoint... which is something else altogether for me. The two combined were dealbreakers, for sure.


Thanks for your support.

I think that theism has been extremely detrimental to all of our lives because of its influence on human progress. Without theism, we could have so many things and the world would be so much farther ahead than it is today. While this is slightly on a less personal level than in your situation, many people have done nothing with their lives because of theism, which in my opinion, is just as bad, or worse than what happened to you. I think that if it's important to you, you should research and learn on your own or with other people. Talk to your parents and be straightforward with them. Explain to them what your desires are, explain how they are restricting you, tell them to let you choose for yourself and ask them if they trust you to make the right decision. Your parents seem to be extremely religious, so I would strongly advise you not to confront them on issues of the actual religion, because that will only hurt your relationships. While it's sad that this excuse has to be used, tell them, even it is a lie, that you're not an atheist, but an agnostic, and that you want to look out into the world on your own to "discover god for yourself." While most of this is probably not true, it would be convincing to religious people. Do what you can to move out and get away from them and do what you missed out on.
I agree with everything said above and I want to add that it's only 'natural' for the young to leave the nest and this could be an argument in itself... you need to discover your own path and your parents will hopefully support this decision as a common, normal, and expected behavior on your part.

You need to find a way to move your life forward. 


Not knowing what your skills are it's hard to say much.  Looks like you are literate and know the internet.


Like The Nerd I joined the military and that worked for me too, but that was another generation ago and a different war.  GED is also an important step, you need that to begin a legitimate education.  With the recession economy finding a job is hard, but ultimately you need to be able to get by.  If you have other family maybe they can help.  Good luck to you!

Y'know, if I still believed in god, I would probably think I'm cursed.


Firstly, I'd actually love to join the military. The problem is... I suffer from Celiac Disease, an autoimmune disorder which, when wheat products are consumed, causes the immune system to attack its own cells, which could have potentially fatal results. And, just my luck, the military doesn't accept recruits with this disease. :-/


Oh, and as far as other family goes... I really don't have any. :-/


Thanks for the advice.

I haven't been diagnosed with celiac, but when i eat wheat bread, i blow up like a balloon and get really irritable. I am hypoglycemic though. Start networking with people around you. Get work, and when something better comes along, take it. Find out what you like, and just hang around it. To get away from religious people, i HAD to work alone, so self employment was/is my escape.

Have you tried a gluten-free diet?

Your life so far has been difficult, but hopefully it's nowhere near over, there is still a lot of it left for you to enjoy or ruin as you see fit ;-).


Public school isn't so great either - and you have no way to know if maybe in that environment, that stifles creativity and humanity, you might have been *more* susceptible to religious brainwashing. My girl is only 6 and already she has faced religious bullying, that the supposedly caring and liberal teachers can't manage to do jack crap about. You are doing GREAT to be atheist at 21, loads of people manage to get to young adulthood just cruising along as part of the heard, and never challenge the BS they are fed, never really butt heads with it, and swallow that lie - then need to "uninstall" all that programming. Not a fun task I have heard. 


I personally would lean more towards the suggestions of telling "white lies" - spinning the situation to you folks, keeping the peace and getting the heck out of there, try to get a job, move out. Either the military or college / trade school can be a little drastic first step, as they both involve making commitments that will endure for years - to either the military or for student loans. First you really need to experience the joys of freedom, & the difficulty of fending for yourself and making your OWN mistakes. After suffering under the screwed up delusions of religious folks, your own struggles might seem refreshing and fun. Mine did, for the most part. Embrace the role of broke, struggling young adult and you will probably find friendship with people in the same situation, who will appreciate your atheistic nature. 


Keep sharing and reaching out, vent all you like. Seriously, I congratulate you on being atheist at 21, there are loads of folks here who took much longer to make that leap, and who regret wasting years of their life living under a delusion. You don't have to face that, you're better off than you think, years from now you will probably look back and have more pride over the person you were despite the weirdness of your upbringing than anything. Religion IS hideous, but don't let it get you down, we're all in the same boat in a way, resisting together. For every one of us who "comes out" and manages to live a decent secular life, we all benefit, our culture grows stronger, more vibrant and wholesome. Try not to forget that you are young, healthy, and relatively free - religion tries to beat you down, to tame and hobble you, but you have resisted that, which speaks well for your strength of mind and of character. It is very likely that you do in fact have the strength and skills to leave and manage on your own - not easily, but you are in a much better position than many folks. You can do it! Find inspiration where ever you need to, and make the leap. 

Thanks! I actually became an atheist when I was 16 or 17... my friends all thought I was weird. lol


I appreciate the words of inspiration. ;)

I am in pretty much the same situation as you plus the extra burden of numerous health problems... I finally managed to secure some funding for university and I am planning on moving to the dorms next summer 2012... lol if all goes well 2012 really will be a earth-shattering moment for me, external strangeness or not.




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