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← Benefits for young atheists?

LaurieB's Avatar Jump to comment 2 by LaurieB

If you are an atheist then I recommend that you start putting distance between yourself and the church. I realize that you are 15 years old and that this could be difficult if your family requires you to attend. If you continue to attend Catholic schools at the college level I can only assume you will be functioning in a state of absolute aggravation by the time you graduate. What good can ever come of that?

Please don't think that I take your dilema lightly. I had a difficult time of it when as a teen I wriggled my way out of the Methodist church that I was brought up in. Now at 50 I have a fair amount of bitter resentment against the brainwashed adults who at that time, heaped negativity on me over the whole ordeal. One side of my family are Methodists and the other side are Baptists. They believe that the Bible is literally true in every way. Even now I don't have a single family member that supports me in my atheism. They ignore the whole subject like the plague. You see, it's not just the Catholics that control their youth in mean and cruel ways. I hope you can find at least one or two adult family members who will defend your freethinking ways. That would make such a tremendous difference to someone your age, even if they don't agree with your views, the least they could do is celebrate your independent nature. If you can't find someone in your family then seek out mentors where ever you can find them.

As for the college applications, have you looked at any public universities? Surely you don't think that only Catholic schools are the best schools, do you? I've now helped my own kids with their applications and several of their cousins too and I don't see any problem with them being atheists. There is no place on the applications where you need to worry about the religion thing. And there are plenty of ways to promote yourself as a morally good person. Think about all the humanitarian organizations out there that you can join and really make a difference. Get out there an volunteer at any number of places that would be thrilled to have your help. I'm thinking about all the nursing homes in every town that are full of lonely elderly people who would be delighted to have a young person to talk to. What about shelters for battered women and soup kitchens for the homeless? If you are strong in any particular academic subject, how about spending time in elementary schools tutoring kids who struggle academically to do their homework. Many of them have no help at home.

These are just a few ideas off the top of my head but really, the list could go on and on. You don't need to join a church youth group to demonstrate your moral fitness on a college application. I know that because I belonged to these dull groups at your age. When I finally was allowed to quit the church and then the day I moved out of home and went off to (public) University was a day of freedom for me. I hope you have that feeling on some day in the future too. Now as an adult I feel that I have a great power in this life that I'm not afraid to speak in defense of oppressed people on an international scale. At your age I read every book I could get my hands on about feminism and political movements. Then after graduation I traveled and lived in a tough third world country where I saw the tragic consequences that religion heaps on women there. I now see those people who tried to brainwash me as being very small minded, frightened, and judgmental and I'm so thankful that I'm not one of them.

I wish you the best of luck as you forge your way through all of this. Try to avoid bitter negativity and always remind yourself how lucky you are that you have an independent and intelligent mind. Go for it!

Mon, 23 Jul 2012 13:39:32 UTC | #949891