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.
I'm so sorry for you, religion aside that's just plain horrible. I know it might be difficult, but try and get out. Heck, if you can wait a few years you can crash at my place. But on the bright side, you found this place, I haven't been here for long, but it's already helped me so much. So i just hope you the best man.
Yeah, your parents fucked you up. Try to save up as much as you possibly can so you can escape. My first year of college was one of the best times of my life. I could drink COFFEE! I could stay out late! I could swear! I could make an atheist club! I didn't have to explain every facet of my life to my mother! I was raised Mormon and it wasn't nearly as strict, especially since I have awesome parents but I did blame it for a lot of things in my life too that I didn't feel I had to go through.
Your schooling experience seems especially distressing and that's abuse if you ask me. Your parents had no business going about it that way. As far as things like math are concerned, your experience will depend a lot on who is teaching you, and it is very difficult for most of us to learn it on our own. But you can get there. I hear Khan academy is quite good, so if you google that and give it a try you might have some luck. It will take a while to get anywhere and you should expect that. It's normal. Learning curves are weird that way.
Also I have a friend whose parents play the victim card to the extreme. They're very manipulative. We convinced her to move out and they still email her trying to get her to come home. But her parents are religious zealots from Saudi Arabia. She grew up in a place where women couldn't even drive themselves places without a man. And she's a feminist atheist lesbian. Her home was not a safe place for her. And she's much better off on her own. Don't let your parents guilt you to death. It's your life. You've got to take it back by force.
Getting out may be easier if you can find some roommates. Even if you're all sharing a room in a tiny apartment, it beats living with crazy people...
This is only the beginning! Your mind is free. You are 21. You are truly free! That victim trip your parents may use, you have named it. Now it isn't quite as powerful.
Most especially, YOU ARE NOT ALONE! You're here with us!
I don't know what deficiencies your home schooling may have had. I do know, as a former English teacher, writer, and editor, that you are an excellent writer. You are far more literate than most posters, whose writing you will read here.
It is scary to plan your whole future. That you were just locked in your room all day raises my hackles. Ironically, your forthrightness in admitting you are afraid, shows an admirable courage. I'm glad to meet you, Eric.
My only advice: research on your search engine where the nearest Atheist, Humanist, Skeptics, or Freethinkers groups are anywhere near where you live. Make contact as you did here. Any group would be happy and lucky to have you!
This is only the beginning!
Astaroth, The good new is you are 21 years old, you have a brain, and I assume a healthy body. You have yearnings that are normal, natural, and necessary to make the transition from boy to man. What are your options?
1. Do nothing.
2. Moan, cry, shout, blame, criticize, terrorize, become a sacrificial lamb upon the throne of someone else's god.
3. Find a trustworthy friend who is not religious. perhaps at your local mental health clinic, or physician, boys' club, to get some ideas.
4. Get a job and move out.
All of these sound daunting when looking at them from your perspective. Don't expect to be stress free or certain of your next action; just know you are right in taking some dramatic action. Take some risks and expect failure. No one grows up without going through some failures. If you have a mind that can think at all you will figure out something to attempt.
Let me assure you, you are not alone. I am 76 years old and had a terrible time freeing myself from the religious and their mind control ... and I was just a Presbyterian ... no cult or crazy group.
Your rant is appropriate and healthy. So, lick your wounds, pick yourself up, start moving.