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How do I get out of going to Church

3 years ago I came out to my mom that I am atheist and she has been fine with that but within the past year she has gotten a new boyfriend who is somewhat religious and making me go to church with them. If I don’t go I have been told that she will take most of my stuff away [clothing, computer, cell phone, and my camera which is my passion in life] and that I could not live with her anymore. Now I could do live with my dad but it would be very unsafe for me there because he is an alcoholic and he lives in another city. I know I could just go and sit there but I am really atheist and cannot stand the sight of a church much less attend a service. She has expressed to me that the most important thing for her is to get me to go to church, but I have also expressed to her that not going to church is something I am very passionate about more so than my camera. Help please.

Posted: August 24th 2008

Dave Hitt www

Being an atheist kid in a religious family is very, very difficult. You depend on your parents for basic necessities, and there isn’t a practical way around that.
You could explain to your mom that if she wants you to accept her boyfriend he’s going to have to treat you with respect and stop forcing his religion on you. If he doesn’t, you’ll tolerate him, but no more. Then have the same conversation with him.

That may not work. If it doesn’t, the best you can do is suffer in silence. Making it a constant battle will drain you and make everyone miserable. It sucks, but that is the reality of someone in your situation.

If that happens, I’d suggest finding a job that will get you out of the house as much as possible. Hoard every dime you earn in an account neither of them have access to. This will make it easier for you to leave home when the time comes. And wouldn’t it be unfortunate if your employer starts demanding you work when church is in session?

Posted: October 18th 2008

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Reed Braden www

Tell your mom and her boyfriend again that you’re an Atheist and that you don’t want to go to church. Be very polite about it. Good: “I’d rather not go to church. It’s not convincing enough.” Bad: “I’m not going to church. End of discussion.”

If they insist, you can remind them (gently and politely!) that the church hasn’t provided any new evidence in over a thousand years and that taking away your stuff isn’t going to help convert you. If they still insist, just go.

I’m sad to say this, but you’re under your mom’s roof so you have to live by her rules. But if she insists you go, make a good example of Atheism to your mom. Sit quietly in church (Use the back of the bulletin and a pen to solve the mysteries of the universe or something.), don’t make a fuss about having to go, have polite discussions about Humanism and Atheism when it’s appropriate and just be nice. You have to live with her for a little while so you might as well make it a pleasant experience.

And I would strongly discourage you from moving in with your alcoholic father.

Obligatory general advice to kids and teens: Stay in school, drugs aren’t cool, study hard, use a condom every time, don’t eat nails.

Posted: September 16th 2008

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SmartLX www

You have my sympathy.

You need to work out whether your mother wants you to go because of her own newly-strengthened faith or for the sake of her boyfriend. If it’s the latter, no amount of persuasion will change her mind and it’s him you need to convince that it’s futile to drag you along.

If they think that taking you to church is going to reconvert you, that’s an illusion you can dispel directly. Just criticise the services and sermons themselves. (Not during them, that’s rude.) If they think that taking you to church is making things worse (which it apparently is) it won’t be worth doing.

Since you’re stuck in church in the meantime, get something out of it. Really listen to the sermons and the readings. Spot the inconsistencies, the logical fallacies, the appeals to emotion and fear. Try to understand the people around you in the pews; why they come every week, what they’re thinking as they hear this stuff. Don’t just shut off and feel it hammering on your skull, or you really will suffer.

I hope things improve soon.

Posted: September 15th 2008

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