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I disagree with my parents' religion - what should I do?

I'm in a predicament. Ever since I was little, I'd been following my family's religion and religious practices, but not because of my own consent. When children get exposed to a belief ever since they were born, it is hard to allow them to vieww things from another perspective. Yet, as I'm exposed to more and more different information in school, I'm beginning to see what I really believe in, and I'm finally sure on the fact that I'm an atheist. Both my parents are very devout and stubborn, so I haven't mentioned any of this to them yet, since I know for sure the outcome won't be that "pretty." But because I haven't told them yet, they expect me to go through the usual prayers and things with them just like I used to, yet I don't feel right when I'm doing something i don't even believe in anymore. I'm so confused, I don't know what to do. Should I just go along with it until I go out into this world and have more of my own say, or should I bring it out in a subtle way? Will it further ruin our relationships (which is to say, not that well off anyways)if I tell my parents? Please suggest me on some ways to solve this problem...thank you so much.


Wendy's advice

The first thing I'd suggest is not to do anything rash. Announcing to your parents that you're an atheist is not the way to have them see things from your point of view. Also, because you're young and still developing your own belief system, it may be that atheism seems like a good idea to you right now because it is so far from the beliefs you've been raised with. You may later on decide that you do indeed believe strongly in your parents beliefs, or in something completely different, so announcing to them now that you no longer believe in their god may be a little premature. However, it is important to keep the lines of communication open with your parents in order for you to have a relationship with them. Is it possible for you to start by mentioning to one of them that other kids at school belong to religions different than yours and that you'd like to learn more about some of the different faiths that are out there, and then take things from there? If your parents are willing to allow you to learn about other religions, there's a chance that they may be open to discussing some of your ideas as time goes on. If you attend a church, there may be a minister or youth counsellor you could speak to there who may be able to help you sort out your feelings about religion as well. If your parents are completely unwilling to compromise or allow you access to ideas other than their own, then there isn't really much more you can do. While you are living under their roof, it is respectful to go along with your family's traditions, even if you don't particularly care for them. Just keep in mind that your mind and conscience belong only to you and that, regardless of how much someone else wants you to believe what they do, you will eventually be the one in charge of deciding what you believe and following it.

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