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Religion and Spirituality, Science and Philosophy Use this forum to discuss what you believe in. This is a place where everyone may share their views freely.

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  (#1 (permalink)) Old
Agony Offline
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Exclamation Christian family thinks I'm Christian - September 9th 2012, 08:37 PM

So my mom wants to start going to church, ever since her dad died she's been one with God and all this stuff. I come from a family (mom and dads side) where if your not Christian your frowned upon. Recently I found out that I'm really not Christian, I used to say I was but I don't believe in many things they believe in. Most of my friends are Christian and they joke saying I'm going to hell because of all the stuff I say and do. I don't really know what religion I am but I know for a fact that I'm not Christian and I don't want to be. I don't want to go to church and pretend I'm something I'm not and do things I don't want to do, but I also don't want to get in a fight with my mom and family about religion. I respect Christians, don't get me wrong, but when they start telling preaching to me I get really irritated. I'm always nervous around churches and they honestly freak me out. What can I do? I don't want to start WWIII with my mom and family, but I do NOT want to go to church.

Also, I didn't know if this went in religion or friends and family but since it's overall talking about religion I figured it would go here. Feel free to move it if necessary.

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  (#2 (permalink)) Old
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Re: Christian family thinks I'm Christian - September 10th 2012, 01:59 AM

In situations like this I always advise people to pick their battles carefully. So you're not a christian and you don't want to be; that's perfectly fine. YOU know that about yourself. YOU feel you aren't going to change. YOU have your own religious self-identity and are happy about it. But your mom and your entire family want to go to church. Church is important to them. You live somewhere where most people go to church. It would be very unorthodox of you to not go to church. It would definitely be noticed. You live with your mom and your family. You depend on them for food, shelter, clothing, transportation, and other provisions. You anticipate this would lead to a big argument with a lot of fallout.

Based on the facts, you have to decide whether or not it's worth this battle. It's your life and your choices. You're the one who has to live with the consequences of deciding to bring it up to your parents.

However, I will also give you my two cents.

I'm 22 and I still have to go to church on occasion, when I am with certain relatives, because I'm in a situation similar to yours. And when I was 14, I was still having to go to church each Sunday for youth group and for the sermon. I'm a christian, but I generally don't like churches. I don't agree with a lot of what is preached at them, because frankly I disagree with a lot of things many christians believe in. But it was one and a half hours a week out of my life. It was important to my mom, and is important to my grandmama and aunts and uncles. Do I dislike going? Absolutely. Do I often get bored? Yes. But I go because these people work very hard to make my life beautiful and to let me know I am loved, and if this means that much to them, I can shove aside my complaints about their belief system for an hour and go sit with them in church.

It's up to you. But for me, once I look at it from a stand point of going because I love someone, it suddenly isn't so hard.

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  (#3 (permalink)) Old
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Re: Christian family thinks I'm Christian - September 10th 2012, 04:23 PM


Every teenager goes through a very long journey of self-discovery and deciding that you do not believe in Christianity is completely normal and more importantly, completely OK. You, as an individual, do not have to believe what your parents believe or what your friends believe. Faith is such a personal and individual part of your life. And because of that, you are entitled to feel how you want.

I think you should be open and honest with your parents. Let them know that you having been thinking a lot about your families take on spirituality and that you feel differently. Just remain calm and sincere. Do not make it into an argument, just let the know that you are just being honest with them on your thoughts and feelings. Also let them know that you do not feel comfortable attending church, as you do not believe in what is being preached.

Now, this is where the conversation could take several different routes:

1) They want you to attend church no matter what. In this scenario, I say go to church. Going to church will not harm you in any way. In fact, it could be a great opportunity for you to listen to the sermon and then decide how you feel on the topic. Do you agree, do you disagree, why? How do you feel differently? This could be a great time for you to dedicate yourself to figuring out how you feel on several different religious topics.
2) They understand that you do not wish to attend church, but give you the option to go if you want to. Here you just need to do what you are comfortable with. If you really can’t stand going to church, then don’t. But I still feel like you should use that time to do your own personal reflection. And let them know that you will be using that time for that reason.
3) They understand, but want you to go to church as a support system. Your mom is going through something so difficult at the moment with her dad dying. She might just need to spend that time with you on a more personal reason, than a spiritual one. So talk to her about this. Let her know that you are there to support her if that is what she needs from you right now.

Either way, at the end of the day, any one of those outcomes will be OK. One day you will be out of the house and on your own and can do as you please. But, going to church is also not the end of the world, even for a non-Christian. As a human being, not a just a Christian, you should be understanding and non-judgmental to others. Just because you are physically in a church does not mean that you automatically subscribe to that particular faith. It just means you are strong enough in your beliefs that you can sit there and listen to others without judging them. It may be different from how you feel, but, they are entitled to their beliefs and so are you. And if you want your family, or the world for that matter, to not judge you, you can’t judge them back.

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Re: Christian family thinks I'm Christian - September 11th 2012, 08:00 PM

I know how you feel.

I stopped going to church about 2 years ago. At first my parents would get really angry (not upset, angry) and make snide comments like "What was the sermon about toda...oh wait you didn't join your family for church this morning!" but they gradually stopped bothering me about it. One day my dad just said calmly, "You don't have to go with us if you don't want to, it's your decision," and that was the end of it. But during the argumental times, I was torn for several reasons. One, as an atheist it was pointless for me to go, and I got no benefit from it. Two, I saw how my parents had made it into this meaningless ritual that they followed just for appearance's sake. Three, I didn't like the people at their church and found most of them to be sanctimonious and fake. But of course, if I were to point any of that out to them they'd become even angrier, and I didn't want to take the risk of biting the hand that feeds me. Eventually I got into the habit of just ignoring anything church related. If they mentioned it or brought anything up I would just change the subject calmly. I didn't want to give them a hostile attitude, but rather one of indifference as a personal choice. It took a while but they finally got the hint.

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