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Youngest brother might be joining me in atheism
#1

Youngest brother might be joining me in atheism
I've posted before about my religious family and being the only non-believer I know of. (I have 5 brothers).

In January I moved several states away, and was back visiting a couple months ago. My youngest brother, 16, abruptly asked me while we were alone why I left Christianity. It was the first time anyone had directly me asked anything except when one of my older brothers had asked me about my beliefs a few years ago. I think word had spread through the family but it was always the elephant in the room.


I just told him the truth, that I started doubting the Bible and the idea of god, and the more I looked into it the more sense it made that none of it was real. He said he'd been doubting a lot too, and didn't want to keep going to church.

I think it's going to be tougher for him than it was for me. I stopped believing while a little older and already gaining more and more independence, so it was easier to extricate myself. My parents also have more respect for me in general, since I was always "the good one" and never caused any problems. My younger brother is a little more of a troublemaker, and my parents see every little thing he does as a direct rebellion against them.
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#2

Youngest brother might be joining me in atheism
Has to be good news mate.      Thumbs Up
I'm a creationist;   I believe that man created God.
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#3

Youngest brother might be joining me in atheism
(07-28-2019, 03:33 PM)Maffis Wrote: I've posted before about my religious family and being the only non-believer I know of. (I have 5 brothers).

In January I moved several states away, and was back visiting a couple months ago. My youngest brother, 16, abruptly asked me while we were alone why I left Christianity. It was the first time anyone had directly me asked anything except when one of my older brothers had asked me about my beliefs a few years ago. I think word had spread through the family but it was always the elephant in the room.


I just told him the truth, that I started doubting the Bible and the idea of god, and the more I looked into it the more sense it made that none of it was real. He said he'd been doubting a lot too, and didn't want to keep going to church.

I think it's going to be tougher for him than it was for me. I stopped believing while a little older and already gaining more and more independence, so it was easier to extricate myself. My parents also have more respect for me in general, since I was always "the good one" and never caused any problems. My younger brother is a little more of a troublemaker, and my parents see every little thing he does as a direct rebellion against them.

He'll find his own way. It's just a matter of time. Reality has already planted the seed of doubt within him, therefore nothing left to do but let it grow on its own in the wild.
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#4

Youngest brother might be joining me in atheism
Good luck to him, and I hope you can be good supports to one another.
god, ugh
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#5

Youngest brother might be joining me in atheism
My general advice to deconverting minors is to be respectful and kind to your parents, and abide by their rules so long as they are not genuinely abusive or toxic. When you reach majority (or often, tactically, financial independence) then you can make your own choices.

I'm not suggesting this is one-size-fits-all, but young people seem particularly bad at making objective cost / benefit analyses about such things, and besides, they have few options until they're of age.

Of course in an ideal world, children should have increasing choice and responsibility as they get older, and in my personal view, choice of religious affiliation and observance should be theirs by the time they're 16. But a lot of parents disagree with this, fearing for their children's eternal and temporal well being. But unless it's a pretty physically or emotionally or mentally neglectful or abusive household, having to go to church is kind of a first-world problem.

I don't know a young person who doesn't humor / agree to disagree with parents on any number of issues, not just religious ones. It is every individual's call, of course, as to what battles they actually pick.
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#6

Youngest brother might be joining me in atheism
@mordant -- I think children should have their choice of affiliation (or non-affiliation) whenever they deem themselves fit. Of course they'll still likely cotton to the faith of their parents, but still I think that asking their observance until 16 is untenable.

I figured out I didn't believe in the Christian god when I was 12. Would you really have me sit through four more years of Baptist bullshit because my mom was a believer and insisted? (She was a believer, but did not insist after I was about 9 or 10).

My son's Catholic (at the time) mother and I let our son make up his own mind. It's not a bad way to deal with it.

Other parents disagree ... I guess it relies on how it turns out.
<Insert intelligent thought here>
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#7

Youngest brother might be joining me in atheism
At least one of the brothers is probably also gay. Wink
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#8

Youngest brother might be joining me in atheism
(07-29-2019, 02:37 AM)Thumpalumpacus Wrote: @mordant -- I think children should have their choice of affiliation (or non-affiliation) whenever they deem themselves fit. Of course they'll still likely cotton to the faith of their parents, but still I think that asking their observance until 16 is untenable.

I figured out I didn't believe in the Christian god when I was 12. Would you really have me sit through four more years of Baptist bullshit because my mom was a believer and insisted? (She was a believer, but did not insist  after I was about 9 or 10).

My son's Catholic (at the time) mother and I let our son make up his own mind. It's not a bad way to deal with it.

Other parents disagree ... I guess it relies on how it turns out.

My mother said to us that we would go to church until 16 and then could choose.  Since I had known I didn't believe the hoo-hah since I was 9 or so, I chafed at that.
However, by the time I was sixteen, I was active in the Youth Fellowship which was more about fellowship and friendship than about religion.
At 17, I was president of the YF.  It wasn't until I was 18 and off to university that I left all that.

N.B.  I lost my virginity on a YF ski weekend.  Angel

Oh, no Hallucinations 4:11 says the 'gilded sheep should be stewed in rat blood' but Morons 5:16 contradicts it.
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#9

Youngest brother might be joining me in atheism
(07-29-2019, 02:37 AM)Thumpalumpacus Wrote: @mordant -- I think children should have their choice of affiliation (or non-affiliation) whenever they deem themselves fit. Of course they'll still likely cotton to the faith of their parents, but still I think that asking their observance until 16 is untenable.

I figured out I didn't believe in the Christian god when I was 12. Would you really have me sit through four more years of Baptist bullshit because my mom was a believer and insisted? (She was a believer, but did not insist  after I was about 9 or 10).

My son's Catholic (at the time) mother and I let our son make up his own mind. It's not a bad way to deal with it.

Other parents disagree ... I guess it relies on how it turns out.

In a perfect world, no parent would be particularly discomfited, much less offended or panicking, by a child who does not wish to follow their parent's faith. Like your parents, mine did not insist, but they would have been dismayed and deeply concerned if I had not. My apostasy came years later in my adulthood, so it didn't come up, though.

In some fundamentalist households, for a child of any age to not attend church, much less reject the faith, represents a huge loss of social standing for the parent, including, in many churches, ineligibility for church leadership ("if a man cannot manage his own household, how shall he manage the household of faith?"). Most such households are controlling of children, mostly out of concern for their family's (and especially the child's) spiritual and moral well-being, without being too self aware around how much of it is about their social standing and acceptance, too. If the relationship is basically loving, I see nothing more than a perceived downside in humoring it for a time by treating it as a social obligation rather than some onerous chore. It can actually be liberating to pass through great farting clouds of bullshit and not be swayed by it ;-)

On the other hand, some parents are real asshats toward their children around this, and some children are just personalities that can't handle going along to get along, and that's why I think every situation is different and there can be no hard and fast rules. It's just that when I've encountered teens wrestling with these questions they tend to have a rather overdetermined notion of how big a deal it needs to really be. A well meaning parent might withhold college tuition assistance if the child doesn't maintain church involvement. On some level both parties know it's just outward compliance. Is the child best served by running up more student debt or not going to college at all? Usually, I'd say, not. Though I will admit it's vexing to have to act the role, it's also vexing in today's world to go your own way without full support of your family, financially and morally.

Look at it this way: if a college student saw an ad that said, "attend our stupid meetings until you're done with college and we'll pay 75% of your tuition and send you a care package every month", wouldn't most take them up on that? And would they feel like they were "living a lie" or betraying themselves? It wouldn't be their favorite thing, but you'd better believe they'd answer the ad.
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#10

Youngest brother might be joining me in atheism
(07-29-2019, 03:04 PM)mordant Wrote:
(07-29-2019, 02:37 AM)Thumpalumpacus Wrote: @mordant -- I think children should have their choice of affiliation (or non-affiliation) whenever they deem themselves fit. Of course they'll still likely cotton to the faith of their parents, but still I think that asking their observance until 16 is untenable.

I figured out I didn't believe in the Christian god when I was 12. Would you really have me sit through four more years of Baptist bullshit because my mom was a believer and insisted? (She was a believer, but did not insist  after I was about 9 or 10).

My son's Catholic (at the time) mother and I let our son make up his own mind. It's not a bad way to deal with it.

Other parents disagree ... I guess it relies on how it turns out.

In a perfect world, no parent would be particularly discomfited, much less offended or panicking, by a child who does not wish to follow their parent's faith. Like your parents, mine did not insist, but they would have been dismayed and deeply concerned if I had not. My apostasy came years later in my adulthood, so it didn't come up, though.

In some fundamentalist households, for a child of any age to not attend church, much less reject the faith, represents a huge loss of social standing for the parent, including, in many churches, ineligibility for church leadership ("if a man cannot manage his own household, how shall he manage the household of faith?"). Most such households are controlling of children, mostly out of concern for their family's (and especially the child's) spiritual and moral well-being, without being too self aware around how much of it is about their social standing and acceptance, too. If the relationship is basically loving, I see nothing more than a perceived downside in humoring it for a time by treating it as a social obligation rather than some onerous chore. It can actually be liberating to pass through great farting clouds of bullshit and not be swayed by it ;-)

On the other hand, some parents are real asshats toward their children around this, and some children are just personalities that can't handle going along to get along, and that's why I think every situation is different and there can be no hard and fast rules. It's just that when I've encountered teens wrestling with these questions they tend to have a rather overdetermined notion of how big a deal it needs to really be. A well meaning parent might withhold college tuition assistance if the child doesn't maintain church involvement. On some level both parties know it's just outward compliance. Is the child best served by running up more student debt or not going to college at all? Usually, I'd say, not. Though I will admit it's vexing to have to act the role, it's also vexing in today's world to go your own way without full support of your family, financially and morally.

Look at it this way: if a college student saw an ad that said, "attend our stupid meetings until you're done with college and we'll pay 75% of your tuition and send you a care package every month", wouldn't most take them up on that? And would they feel like they were "living a lie" or betraying themselves? It wouldn't be their favorite thing, but you'd better believe they'd answer the ad.

I get that. I wasn't proposing a one-size-fits-all solution, just saying what I considered the best approach based on what I'd learned growing up. I harbor no illusions that my experience speaks to those who suffer what you describe. I know they're out there.
<Insert intelligent thought here>
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#11

Youngest brother might be joining me in atheism
I left the church well before the age of majority but I was able to do so because I knew that my mother wouldn't make a big issue of it. She made a few concerned noises but otherwise left it alone. Not everybody has it that easy though and if your parents are going to give your brother significant grief then it might be worth his while to remain in the cloister for the time being. Ultimately it's his decision and only he has the information to make it.
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#12

Youngest brother might be joining me in atheism
But is your brother ready to hear about Cthulhu.

Campus Crusade For Cthulhu
A fool never learns from his mistakes.  A smart man learns from his mistakes.  A wise man learns from the mistakes of others.  That is why wise men study history.


Cheerful Charlie




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#13

Youngest brother might be joining me in atheism
Congrats to your bro.
My Argument Against Free Will Wrote:(1) Ultimately, to control your actions you have to originate your original nature.

(2) But you can't originate your original nature—it's already there.

(3) So, ultimately, you can't control your actions.
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#14

Youngest brother might be joining me in atheism
Good luck to your brother (and you)!  The very fact that he was curious about your reasons for leaving is a good sign.  If he does eventually leave the faith and comes out of the proverbial closet about his lack of belief, you might want to be prepared for the rest of your family to blame you for "influencing" him, no matter how little you may have actively tried to do so.  I get the impression that he started the conversation quite spontaneously and mostly if not entirely of his own accord.
The only sacred truth in science is that there are no sacred truths. - Carl Sagan
Ἡ μόνη ἱερᾱ̀ ἀληθείᾱ ἐν τῇ φυσικῇ φιλοσοφίᾳ ἐστὶν ἡ ἱερῶν ἀληθειῶν σπάνις. - Κᾱ́ρολος Σήγανος


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#15

Youngest brother might be joining me in atheism
(07-29-2019, 02:44 AM)Phaedrus Wrote: At least one of the brothers is probably also gay. Wink

Lol I've thought about that. 2/6 are adopted so that reduces the odds a bit, and I'm 99% sure each of them is genuinely interested in women, so at most someone is hiding their bisexuality or putting on a really good act.
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