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How to tell my parents that I am not religious?

 
 
Reply Sun 8 May, 2016 02:40 pm
I come from a religious (Christian) family, and I had been Christian as well, up to when I got into middle school, when I started having doubts and realizing that it is doing nothing but holding me down and making me feel horrible about myself, and am now agnostic. I thought that being bisexual was wrong, until I stopped being religious and now accept the fact that I am bisexual, I not only want my parents to respect that I am bisexual, I also want to let them know that I respect their religious beliefs, but I also want them to respect mine. I have no clue how they will react to this, or if they will kick me out of the house earlier than usual for this. I'm not looking to bash them or tell them that their beliefs are wrong, just that I don't believe in god anymore and that I am bisexual. Most of my friends know I am agnostic and are agnostic/atheist themselves (but most of my friends do not know about my sexuality), but my parents have not heard about it yet. I'm afraid they will not accept it, and just in case they don't, what should I say, and what should I do if they don't, when should I tell them that I am no longer religious? Should I tell them about my sexuality or my religion first? Or both at the same time?
 
CalamityJane
 
  2  
Reply Sun 8 May, 2016 02:55 pm
@racistm3lon,
Are your parents very religious and live by the bible? If yes, you might have a fight on your hand. If there is some leniency in their religious beliefs, you should be able to talk to them.
First of all, many kids your age are not sure of their sexuality yet, they're still experimenting and they're still unsure of their own preferences, so give it a couple of years and you'll know for sure.

Now having said that, if it were me, I would start the conversation with the current subject that's everywhere in the news: equality for all! You could tell your parents that you are all for equality and you don't think that there is anything wrong with same sex couples getting married.

From there you can jump to religion and stating your opinion that any religion that is against equality and against homosexuality is not a religion you'd like to follow. Christianity should be inclusive and not exclusive of certain groups that don't fit the mold. Therefore, you are questioning your faith and the religious beliefs you were brought up with.

Don't tell them yet that you're agnostic, just mention your concern and question the religious beliefs in general and it might blow over into a discussion where your parents and yourself can arrive at a mutual consensus. In time, you can initiate more discussions on the topic, but
at the beginning I would keep it more neutral.

Your parents probably think you are too young to have a confirmed opinion on religion or sexuality, so keeping it neutral and initiating discussions will tell you if they're accepting or rejecting.

Good luck!
0 Replies
 
chai2
 
  3  
Reply Sun 8 May, 2016 04:00 pm
You don't say how old you are right now. Are you coming up to 18?

You do say you want them to accept these things. However, if you want to increase your chances of a happy life, you need to accept you have no control over whether they accept this or not.

My personal opinion is that my sexuality and belief/lack of is no ones business but my own. That said, from the position of advanced adulthood Cool I've acheived, I personally would wait until I was out of their house, supporting myself etc before saying anything.

It's not living in the closet. It's saving yourself from untold tears, arguments, maybe threats and worse.
If they are christian as you say, they're not going to accept any form of sex that doesn't involve just a man and woman, and they also won't accept your questioning and/or disbelief.

If when on your own you choose to tell them, you'll be in your own space, living your own life. Their reaction will be their choice, and you won't need to be held hostage to that.
racistm3lon
 
  1  
Reply Sun 8 May, 2016 04:33 pm
@racistm3lon,
@Calamity Jane @chai2

As for how lenient my parents are with religion, they do not go to church very often at all, however they do bring up god a lot, my mother does not seem to be homophobic, well at least one time she joked with me and said that something I was wearing looked gay (which is a term she doesn't use option) and I said that there was nothing wrong with being gay, and she said "I know". As for my father on the other hand, I have no clue but would guess that he would be against it.

I will be reaching 15 years old in October, and next year I will be in 10th grade. I have had thoughts about both genders and have been sexually attracted to both.

As for keeping my religion and/or sexuality a secret, I don't think I would be able to do that for long, and wouldn't be very comfortable in doing so. I can certainly handle the backlash from those who would be against my sexuality and or religion, and I'm certain that many of my friends will not care about my sexuality (and already are fine with my religion) it's just the matter of telling my parents, and how they will react to it.

Maybe I'm rushing it, from what I've heard so far I shouldn't be jumping to the conclusion that I am bisexual so quickly. I've also heard a lot about trying to wait until college or when I'm not so reliant on my parents anymore. As for my sexuality, how do I know what it is, or have I not gone through puberty far enough to even know my own sexuality? Ever since I dropped my religion I have thought of myself as bisexual (instead of doubting the feelings towards both genders).

Thank you for responding and giving me advice, I just don't know what to think of, or how to handle any of this.
ossobuco
 
  2  
Reply Sun 8 May, 2016 04:39 pm
@chai2,
I'm agreeing with Chai. Work it out on your own; it is a private matter.

You want to get them all roiled up while you are barely beginning high school, so that you can proclaim your independent mind? I do see your point, but it's somewhat a poor time to do it.

I also agree with Jespah's take on how to advance slowly.

I'm not the least bit anti-gay (well, not since I had gay pals in the seventies, and before that I had no clue). I'm from a religious family and my father would have been fine with my atheism in my twenties (I'd often wondered if he was agnostic, but he went and died on me) and my mother would have had her heart broken if she knew, but she went and got alzheimers. We all never had that discussion, which is just as well, given the toughness of their lives. I would have made it clear in my twenties if the subject came up, but other matters were in the foreground.

0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  6  
Reply Sun 8 May, 2016 07:02 pm
I suggest that, for diplomatic and pragmatic reasons, that you leave this subject aside until you are legally and mentally ready to live on your own. Consider that your patents have given up a lot of their own lives to raise you, and make a sacrifice yourself to endure for a few more years. Otherwise, you would be wounding them and making everyone's lives (your own included) awkward for years to come.
ehBeth
 
  2  
Reply Sun 8 May, 2016 07:49 pm
@racistm3lon,
racistm3lon wrote:
As for keeping my religion and/or sexuality a secret, I don't think I would be able to do that for long, and wouldn't be very comfortable in doing so.


you don't have to lie about it, you also don't have to make it a topic of conversation

you are 14 years old. this is a time of major changes for you. let things settle and try to just enjoy life as much as possible.
chai2
 
  1  
Reply Sun 8 May, 2016 08:17 pm
@ehBeth,
ehBeth wrote:


you don't have to lie about it, you also don't have to make it a topic of conversation




Very, very true.

I'll bet your parents have never asked you "Are you bi-sexual?"

They probably haven't delved much, if at all, into what your religious beliefs are.

If you wouldn't sit down with your parents and say "I just wanted to let you know I am so heterosexual, and I have moderately strong religious convictions." why bother having the other conversation?

Here's a little secret. You don't have to tell your parents everything. They didn't tell theirs everything, and they don't tell you either.

BTW, I found it interesting you said since you gave up (my words) all this religious nonsense, you're comfortable with where your sexuality is leading you.

Personally, I am so much more ethical and have firmer morals when I just realized I absolutely didn't care one way or the other if there was something out there.
How can you really be free to do the right thing when you're never sure if you're just doing it to avoid punishment?

As far as your sexual orientation, my advice (and you don't have to listen to mine) is don't pay any attention to people who tell you you're too young to know what you want and who you are.

If sometime down the line you change how you feel right now, then that's how you'll feel then. Or not.

I knew I didn't want children since, well, I guess since the doctor slapped me on the butt.
I'm 57 now, and thank my lucky stars every day I'm child free.

However, I can't begin to count the number of times complete strangers would confidently, smugly or unthinkingly inform me "you'll change your mind, there's something wrong with thinking that way, you'll want one when you have it, I felt the same way until I had little Buford" etc etc.

heh. I actually did ask my mother when I was in my late 40's "mom, did you ever wonder why I never had kids?" she replied "Not really" End of conversation.

Enough about me.

You have a happy life.



0 Replies
 
Foofie
 
  0  
Reply Tue 10 May, 2016 01:32 pm
@Setanta,
Setanta wrote:

I suggest that, for diplomatic and pragmatic reasons, that you leave this subject aside until you are legally and mentally ready to live on your own. Consider that your patents have given up a lot of their own lives to raise you, and make a sacrifice yourself to endure for a few more years. Otherwise, you would be wounding them and making everyone's lives (your own included) awkward for years to come.


Well, who knew? Under that exterior is a wise and thoughtful Setanta. Best advice I believe. Plus, is was succinct.

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neologist
 
  1  
Reply Thu 12 May, 2016 03:21 pm
@Setanta,
Spot on.
As a teenager, I would head off to "church" and go for coffee.
I always came home refreshed.
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