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From Point A to Point B, and how I got there September 18, 2007

Posted by Teen Atheist in backstory, issues, rants.
Tags: , , ,

Let’s get one thing straight: I wasn’t born this way. I was actually born and raised Roman Catholic, but my family isn’t one of those incredibly controlling types that make children want to rebel. Atheism was a choice I made for myself. I didn’t stop believing in God just to spite my parents; come on, I’m not that shallow.

There was a time when I used to believe, when I used to turn to God for everything. This was, of course, was when I was much younger and more naive. Slowly, I realized that leaving my fate to some unseen deity was kind of foolish (to me, anyway), and I began to doubt. It wasn’t just one defining moment when I decided “Bam! I’m atheist!” — a long thought process was involved.

My family used to go to Church a lot when I was younger, but a few years ago those visits stopped altogether, although we would still pray before meals and celebrate Catholic holidays. I’m not sure I could give you a straight answer if you asked me whether or not my family had something to do with my decision to become Atheist. They probably had some influence. I’d give more credit to Bill Maher, though. I worship the guy, and I agree with most of what he says. Hell, he could tell me that the world was made entirely of fire and I’d be inclined to believe him.

There were a lot of things about my former religion that I was unhappy with. Firstly, I hate how my religion proclaims itself as one of the most “accepting” and yet my parents are so quick to bash other religions. Once, I went with a friend of mine who was Protestant to one of their worship sessions. I had a great time. It was so enjoyable and uplifting compared to the admittedly dull Holy Mass that we Catholics went to every Sunday. When my parents found out, though, they forbade me from ever going with my friend again, out of fear of my possibly getting converted. They also talk ill of Muslims, which I highly disapprove of. This doesn’t only apply to Catholics, though. I think all religions may be guilty of seeing other religions as inferior. Of course, it depends entirely on the individual. I’m sure there are people who show an equal level of respect to religions different from their own. Unfortunately, I find that people like these are rare.

Secondly, Catholicism is homophobic by nature. (And I love gay people. I’m a fag hag. I’m practically a PFLAG mascot.) Which is quite hypocritical, because didn’t the Bible state “Judge not lest ye be judged?” I refuse to be part of a religion that discriminates against people based on the gender of whom they choose to fuck. Again, I understand that there are exceptions to the rule, but there just aren’t enough.

Thirdly, Catholicism is sexist. If you asked me why they won’t allow women to be priests, I couldn’t give you a good answer, be it now or even back when I was a practicing Catholic.

Yet of all the groups that Catholicism bashes, I sympathize most with, unsurprisingly, my fellow atheists. While Christians see people of other religions as merely misguided, they assume that being an atheist means that you are of poor faith and that you follow no moral code. Basically, worshipping no god is even worse than worshipping a god of a different name.

I made it a point to catch the episode of Morgan Spurlock‘s 30 Days where an atheist had to live with a Christian family. While I won’t touch on the actual experience of the atheist herself (since I’m sure a lot of heavy editing was involved, and both parties came off as asshats anyway), the part of the episode that sticks out in my mind the most were the facts that Spurlock provided: a recent survey revealed of all social groups (race, gender, sexual orientation, religion), atheists were found to be the least trustworthy, and that in elections, most Americans would not vote for an atheist even if s/he was qualified and competent. This is probably a corollary of the “atheists have no moral code” theory that I touched on in earlier posts.

The whole “atheists aren’t trustworthy” thing was quite apparent in an episode of — and I can’t believe I’m about to admit that I watch this — Tyra. It featured a social experiment called “Tyra’s Teenville” where 10 teenagers from various social classes and ethnicities were supposed to create a mini-community where they have to do various tasks such as assigning designations such as “mayor,” “police chief,” “banker” and “prostitute” for each other by vote, creating a town flag, pairing up for marriage (why am I not surprised that the “mayor” married the “prostitute?”), and voting off one of the community members.

Several of the kids were racist, most notably this one obese white girl with a lip ring (watch her at her worst in this Tyra show clip, and this one) who made the black boy a “garbage man” because “[he looked] like [he was] uneducated,” and the black girl a “thief” because, as Racist Fat Girl said, “When I think ‘thief,’ I think of black people.” She then chose a white Texan male as Teenville’s mayor because he had a Southern accent. This is your future, America!

Needless to say, Racist Fat Girl annoyed me the most. As for the kids I did like, the black “garbage man” was actually a very smart kid, as was the “religious leader” of an ethnicity I can’t quite place right now (his name is Shant, in case you might be able to help me out). The one that stood out the most for me, however, was the white/mixed-race girl who was named the “banker.” I liked her not just because she was an atheist like me, but because she was very open-minded about everyone. She chided Racist Fat Girl on giving people their designations based on their races and the way they dress. She then “married” the only gay guy (“convenience store owner”) in the group over the racist “mayor” because they shared the same ideals and would get along better — and yeah, they were the only two non-virgins in the group. Basically, if I were a part of Tyra’s Teenville, I would speak and act most like the “banker” girl (yes, I do have a propensity for chasing after pretty gay boys, why do you ask?).

When the time came for the teenagers to vote out one of the community members, I was certain they would kick Racist Fat Girl to the curb because she was bigoted and annoying. To my surprise, they instead voted out the “banker.” Why? As the teens themselves admitted, they voted her out because she was an atheist, and her beliefs (or lack thereof) clashed with theirs.

That’s pretty much my story, in a nutshell. I’ve only recently begun life as an atheist, and even now it’s already difficult. I feel like I’ve been “voted out” from my family. Don’t get me wrong, I mean, I still live with them and all, but nothing is ever going to be the same again. There is now an invisible wall that divides us. But my family only serves as even more proof that Catholics do discriminate against people of other religions or of no religion.

I don’t like discrimination in any way, shape, or form. I don’t like being on either the receiving or giving end of it. So I gave up my religion, because I refuse to be part of a group that looks down on others.

Now, you might be thinking, “Well, aren’t you discriminating against Catholics?” My answer is no. I don’t look at a Catholic and think, “Wow, you must be an asshole.” I wouldn’t treat Catholics with any less respect than I would other people. 99% of my friends are Catholic. I am merely stating why I chose to leave the fold — because aside from having no tangible proof that God exists, I respect gay people, and Muslims, and Buddhists, and single mothers, and while some Catholics may feel the same way, I know most of them would disagree with me.



1. Joe - September 19, 2007

Thanks for sharing your story!

2. overcaffein8d - September 20, 2007

Nice story. I’m glad to see another teenager starting a blog… I have like 6 posts. You should email Pedro at Planet Atheism [www.planetatheism.com] to get on there πŸ™‚

I suppose I’ll eventually do the “how i became an atheist” post… i suppose it’s sort of obligatory. (my blog is atheismandcoffee.blogspot.com)

3. Teen Atheist - September 20, 2007

Joe: Thanks for reading it! πŸ˜€

overcaffein8d: Yeah, I haven’t come across many teenage atheists in the blogosphere yet πŸ˜› Thanks for recommending the Planet Atheism blog, I’ll be emailing Pedro right away. πŸ˜€

4. skeptic - September 21, 2007

Hi Teen Atheist, Very good Blog, I will add it to the links directory on our Secualr Earth site.
I must disagree with your first sentence however. You state: “Let’s get one thing straight: I wasn’t born this way. I was actually born and raised Roman Catholic”. Actually you were born atheist as is everyone. We are all born without a god belief and at some point indoctrinated. I know I am picking nits, but its my pet peeve when theists always assume atheism is the choice when actually religion is the choice.

Good blog, keep it up.

5. Teen Atheist - September 21, 2007

That’s a good way of looking at it, skeptic! Thanks, and I’m honored to be a part of your blogroll. πŸ˜€

6. vjack - September 22, 2007

Yep, we were all born atheists. It is only through indoctrination that children become religious. I like where your new blog is heading. Keep up the good work.

7. Teen Atheist - September 22, 2007

Thanks, vjack! I’m so glad I started this blog, I learn so much from you people. πŸ˜€

8. sluggabohn - September 22, 2007

Nice writing, I think you could make a career of it one day!
Keep on bloggin’, T.A., and i’ll keep on visitin’

9. overcaffein8d - September 22, 2007

I finally got around to doing that “how i became an atheist” post…. probably much less interesting than yours though.

turns out my state is 92% christian (and 84% southern baptist..ech!)

10. Teen Atheist - September 23, 2007

Sluggabohn: Thank you! That means a lot to me, and your readership is much appreciated.

11. Teen Atheist - September 23, 2007

Overcaffein8d: I’ll check it out right away! πŸ˜€

12. ashley - September 27, 2007

hey:) I’m the banker and i just wanted to say thank for for agreeing with me, I got so MUCH SHIT from the show.. people telling me I was going to go to hell and all this non-sence, and it’s nice to know someone actually agree’s and im not crazy ha:)

13. Teen Atheist - September 27, 2007

Cool! I also got to talk with the “garbage man” online. πŸ˜€ It’s surprising how easy it is to find things/people on the internet.

I’m so sorry you got that treatment on the show, Ashley, but we can’t really expect much out of those narrow-minded fundamentalists. πŸ˜› At least you ended up looking smarter than the other kids, especially to viewers like me. πŸ™‚

Oh, and sorry I bashed the racist fat girl (Rachel, was it?), I just really hated what she had to say, especially to the black kids. I was actually shocked to find out that you two are friends in real life. LOL.

14. jackie - October 18, 2007

Wow, i love your story, and it’s so true. I’m also a teen atheist and have been through enough discrimination to say that people (especially christians) think that if you don’t have a specific faith that you must have no moral values and are unable to be trusted.

It’s quite ironic when you think about it. It seems that atheists are the most open minded and least judging out of the religious groups in society and yet we get the most negativity. I’ve been told that i’m going to go to hell and that im a satan worshipper and so on and so forth and i haven’t said anything about the validity of a person’s religion to anyone. whenever someone asks what i believe in i always say i dont believe in god, not there is no god. I don’t put down anyone’s beliefs but people seem to automatically think im “immoral and evil”.

Plus, religious people always tend to say how moral people have to be, but they end up being hypocrites. They discriminate people for being different and clearly go against what would be seen as righteous. But people with different customs and beliefs get blamed. Unfair, huh?

But just to explain my perspective, my parents are atheists, but i didn’t really grow up as one. We celebrate christmas and my grandfather is a minister, but we never really talked about religion or faith or prayer or heaven. They never said anything to me about there being no god or religion being bad. I just grew up without the haze of personal belief in front of my vision. I had been able to see the world around me for what it really is without bias in the way. I just wish people would look at me for what i have to offer as a person instead of my beliefs.

Thank you for sharing your story. It makes me feel like i’m not the only one going through this kind of experience. πŸ™‚

15. Teen Atheist - October 18, 2007

Exactly, Jackie. It’s why I’m so turned off by religion — it preaches hate and prejudice. You’re quite lucky to have atheist parents, though. My atheism has driven a wedge between me and the rest of my family. 😦

I just wish people would look at me for what i have to offer as a person instead of my beliefs.

Yeah, me too. Unfortunately, atheists are the most reviled/persecuted minority at present. I hope that changes someday.

16. Free magic show after the service! « Diary of a Teenage Atheist - October 20, 2007

[…] Catholicism, miracles, prayer, Protestantism, religion trackback Remember when I mentioned how I went with a friend to their Protestant worship service and enjoyed it? And how, afterwards, my parents had banned me from ever visiting a Protestant mass again, in fear […]

17. jackie - October 20, 2007

Yep, it’s true. The hypocrisy of religion is really quite astounding when you think about it. And that’s so horrible how even your family treats you as a different person now that you don’t share the same exact view of the world as them. A family should support their member’s decisions. As long as said decisions aren’t hurting anyone, why tear them down? Wouldn’t that just make it worse? I don’t think discouraging a loved one for choices such as religion would make them want to revert back to their old ideas. Logically, it would just make religion create an even worse taste in their mouth.

I really don’t even believe religion is needed in today’s society, since there really is no practical use for it other than to have something to blame for hardships and something to thank for fortune. In the past it was used as a system to control people, to give them a code of morals and rules to keep chaos from erupting. It was basically a form of government, and a form of science in the way that it explained what was wondered. Now, we have both of those in our society, and religion, in my opinion, just adds more difference between people and more “reason” to criticize and ostracize. We’ve grown enough to move on and progress, but most of us still cling to what is (dare I say) out dated.

Anyway, I do realize i am very lucky to have parents that support me. They had even offered to drive me to church every week if i wanted. Of course i said no, but nonetheless, that kind of offer says something! I don’t take for granted that my parents would take me for who i am and not what i believe in, especially after I’ve learned how bad it really could be.

18. DaFatalGigabyte - October 31, 2007

When I told my dad that I didn’t want to go to church anymore, he said that he was ‘dad’ and that he could control me then. That didn’t go so well with me but what can I do? It’s not like I was doing something bad. He says that he doesn’t think atheists are bad people. How he acts it’s more like he really believes, with all the exaggerations of his past experiences in mind as usual, in Heaven and doesn’t want to see me not believe in God. But I don’t believe, and I never will until some verifiable proof is shown. He uses the bible and his exaggerations as ‘proof’. Again, the fact about miracles: If a cancer with a 5% chance of remission affects 20 people who are prayed for by themselves and by others, probability-wise 1 person’s cancer will remit itself. Even if 5 people’s cancers remit themselves, it contradicts the many verses in the bible that say that prayer will allow you to do anything.

Even if I told my dad this pearl of logic, he’d continue forcing me to go to church even though he doesn’t understand, and wouldn’t give a darn, about its effect on me. I understand forcing me to not hit my brothers. I don’t do that anymore because he punished me for it. But punishing me for not going to church! Basically they keep talking about, as a cop out, the social aspect. First of all, I don’t need lots of people in my life and what I get in socializing is provided online. My mom said it’s different online, and what’s different is not something that I need.
This is just who I am, so they reject who I am. And they punish me for sincerely being who I am. There one bit of hypocrisy. They say that they raised me in a family that would be centrist, allowing me to be who I was but punishing me for transgression of reasonable rules on like hitting, lying, and stealing. But then they go off with the church thing. That immediately disallows me from being who I am. Like I said, punishing me because I don’t need much of a social life.

Wow, this is something I’m putting on my blog and I should put a “Why I’m Atheist” post on there too.

I noticed that girl who was made the prostitute changed her hair and she didn’t look like the image of a prostitute(to those kids), the choker, eye liner, pink, lipstick, etc. People say that girls like that are whores just because they are jealous. It’s funny, hearing kids at school. They actually said that fat girls are the sluttier type because they want to feel belonged with guys. This being the consensus because it seemed fat girls wouldn’t normally get guys unless they tried hard at flaunting what they had as a girl.
For instance they’d say the fat girl with the lip ring was a slut. But I digress!
There’s no jealousy in religious prejudice but it doesn’t make any sense at all. It’s a friggin belief! It doesn’t always preach hate and prejudice. I have gone to very humanist churches. But religion has done more harm than good(as Jackie said about it being out-dated). A corporation, outside of politics, is better than a church, outside of politics. Where does the church’s wealth come from after all? The Catholic Church owns stock in various corporations but it makes no useful products to be bought with gold, silver, copper, paper, even dirt.

19. Hugo - November 20, 2007

Catholics… hmm… I know very little about Catholics. In the case of protestants etc., I could possibly have recommended some books you could lend to your parents. I have no idea how to reach Catholics yet. *ponder*

I would have some other suggestions, but my approach to life isn’t for everyone. I’m more of a post-modernist: I don’t care for labels. Most people that decide to adopt the “atheist” label do so for a reason.

20. Hugo - November 20, 2007

(Oh, and my journey/story is at http://thinktoomuch.net/2007/09/15/in-too-deep/ – I’m not suggesting you read it, I’m just giving some directions in case you were actually looking.)

21. Samantha - November 26, 2007

I like this post. I can relate too, well maybe a little. I’m half Asain from my dad’s side and my mom’s side is American. My mom’s side is all for God and whatnot. I haven’t directly even told my family that I’m Atheist and I couldn’t even imagine what my mom would think, because she isn’t even THAT religious, but she tends to be one of the annoying judgemental people.

But what really pissed me off is when I told my one friend, and she told my other friend and she said, “Oo! That’s bad. You’re bad!” I don’t remember exactly. Then my other friend found out and she was being all good about it but she kept trying to convert me while being understanding, and God is HER LIFE, she says she lives for God, then told me for Christmas she would be getting me a Bible. My brother calls me stupid for not believing in God, he’s gonna get a taste of a ‘stupid’ Atheist’s mind.

22. Najo - November 27, 2007

Now, I really don’t blame you for hating your family. O_O


23. Rachel - March 5, 2008

Well I am the racist fat girl… And before you start to judge me I want you to ponder on somethings. First of all, media is evil and lies. You do not know what we went through if you talked to any of us you would know the true story. I don’t need to prove myself to you and convince you it was all a lie. But they are only in the industry to make money. They did a very good editing job to make things look abstract and not the way things truly were. The show really upset me and ruined my life. Now people think I am something I am not. I am sorry if anyone was hurt or influenced in a bad way by the show. If you want to contact me to know more please do.
you can contact me on myspace: http://www.myspace.com/gigantor09
And if you want to talk anymore trash…..You can say it to me.

24. Teen Atheist - March 5, 2008

“Ruined my life?” Oh, Rachel. Let me tell you something: you can blame the media and editing all you want (everyone who looks like an asshole on TV does, anyway), but you still said those things, so you can’t excuse your way out of that one. You signed on for this Tyra thing knowing that they could do whatever they wanted with the footage (or did you not read the contract?), so if the backlash surprised you, then I feel bad for you, but you should’ve known better. People judge; it’s what they do. Trufax.

25. Shant - July 18, 2008

Hey this is shant from the cast of Teenville.The thing was I did not go there to be racist I wanted to show others that you should not stereotype others without knowing.Tyra was very rude she got what we said and totally flipped it out she made it seem like we were racist by some of the negative comments however I tried standing up 4 what was wrong! However stupida Tyra edited out! She is all for the money.More negative things on the show gets peoples the driveness to watch the show! Well just wanted to say thank you for saying how good I was!

26. spectacularseculardeveloper - September 13, 2008

Shant, not sure about the rest – but I can’t stand sites that play music at you when you link to them.

Teen Atheist – thanks for sharing your story. I should perhaps do mine – although it is much less interesting. Good to know you have read The God Delusion. I am a fan of Dawkins, although I think Terry Pratchett puts it in a much more amusing way.

27. Marisa - April 15, 2009

Wow. That’s pretty much the same with me. Like, everything is the same. Anyways, if all people were created in God’s image, then why doesn’t he treat everyone equally? The Catholic Church is made up of hypocrits. I just finished the deep thought “Is there someone watching over us?” phase. Only twelve, right now. Oh well. My parents don’t know… yet. Thanks for posting this. I know theres a lot of people out there like this, but it’s nice to actually read what they went through. Thanks again for posting it!

28. Teen Atheist - April 16, 2009

Thanks for dropping by, Marisa! It’s always nice to hear from smart young people like you. πŸ™‚

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