3
Why can't I believe?

I am an 18 year old man/boy (caught in between i guess lol) Anyways, I have trouble believing in God. My parents are catholic, I went to a catholic school for 8 years of my life. As soon as I got to highschool I basically stopped believing. I honestly didn’t really have a direct reason other than I thought the idea of a God was dumb compared to the size of the universe. From what i have read and learned in highschool and from my own research, life seems to be a fluke here on planet Earth.

Religions also seem kind of dumb to me as well. They are all based on violence, if you don’t do this then, you will go to hell. If you go blow up yourself then you will go to paradise with many virgins. I’m not trying to be racist, i know not all religions are that extreme. Also, should i tell my parents? Is it worth it? I am 18 now and living in their house.

Posted: July 22nd 2011

Ophelia Benson www

It’s not “racist” to think the paradise-virgins idea is stupid.

About telling your parents – it depends on what they’re like (and obviously only you know that). I would say it’s not worth doing if it would only pain them and nothing else. It might not be worth doing from your point of view if it would only make them angry and nothing else. It might be worth doing if it wouldn’t do either of those, and could instead lead to interesting conversations. If it would do a mix of all those…it’s hard to tell; use your judgement.

Sometimes parents pretend to be more firmly and undoubtingly religious than they really are.

Posted: July 23rd 2011

See all questions answered by Ophelia Benson

Blaise www

Like Eric says, you could be describing my life at your age. Catholic School, Catholic parents, just never “got” religion, etc.

Belief (or disbelief) isn’t something you choose, it just happens. If you don’t have a reason to believe, you won’t. All you can do is take the time to examine your beliefs, and be sure you know where you stand. If you are clear on what you believe and how you feel, you are whole, and you can find happiness. If you aren’t sure where you stand, you’ll never be comfortable.

As far as who and how you tell what your position is, that’s a whole other story! Yours is a delicate position, living with your parents as you do. As was stated, you know your parents, not us, but it’s likely that you can reveal most of your lack of belief without being rejected by them. I never told my mother that I was an atheist, because I was worried how she would react, but I did tell her that I was pretty sure that if a god existed, it wasn’t anything like the ones described by our current religions. She was cold at first, but a few days later, she told me that it was alright, I’d come around sooner or later when I had time to “grow up”. I think she thought it was just a phase…

I never went to church again, and the topic was never again discussed in our home. It was a fantastic solution!

Posted: July 23rd 2011

See all questions answered by Blaise

Eric_PK

You sound a lot like me at your age. By the time I got to high school, I didn’t feel a need (or have a reason) for belief, and when I went away to college I just stopped going to church.

There’s nothing wrong with not believing, but catholicism is pretty heavy on the guilt side of things, so it would be natural for you to feel guilty for your non-belief. You were taught that you should believe before you could make a rational decision about it on your own, so it’s not something you can just change rationally. Over time, you’ll feel less guilty.

Parents are always a hard call, and ultimately you have to do what you are comfortable. I didn’t tell mine because I didn’t see the upside; it could only lead to causing them pain. If you are depending on them for support (housing/college/whatever), it’s especially risky – there have been parents who have kicked their kids out after learning they were atheists. I’d also caution you that you can’t tell how people will react based on how they talk about religion usually; they may not act particularly religious but when confronted with an ATHEIST they may react strongly. Religion ties in an emotional level.

So approach that area cautiously.

Posted: July 23rd 2011

See all questions answered by Eric_PK

 

Is your atheism a problem in your religious family or school?
Talk about it at the atheist nexus forum