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Getting older March 9, 2013

Posted by Teen Atheist in Ask Teen Atheist, family, friends, issues.
3 comments

All throughout my youth, I dreamed of becoming a writer. I wrote all the time, about everything. I watched TV shows and ranted along with the curmudgeons on Television Without Pity about what each show did wrong, convincing myself that I could do a better job. I flew to America with a dream in my pocket: I’d study Dramatic Writing at NYU (because Philip Seymour Hoffman went there!) and become a television writer. I knew I could do it; all I had to do was want it badly enough.

Then I got to America, and found that there were millions of other people who were better writers than me. I realized I wasn’t a great writer after all, just an OK one. So I stopped writing.

It sounds a little sad — I’m sure it’d break the heart and hubris of my 17-year-old self — but I’m okay with it. It’s part of getting older. I’m thankful to be able to both recognize my limitations and accept them. Sure, it’s a little scary to suddenly not have a clear idea of what I want to do anymore, but part of growing up is learning about myself through experience.

I reread old blog entries on occasion, and I cringe a little (so much anger and drama and rambling in my teenage heart!), but I’m still proud of it. I’m glad I managed to capture the emotions in the eye of the storm, to document every moment of rejection from my parents. I’m only sorry I ran out of things to say, and sorry that I still have letters from teenage atheists out there that I haven’t responded to. When I stopped writing, I also stopped writing back.

So, teens and teens-at-heart who still check this dead blog, I’d like to tell you a bit of I learned in the process of getting older. I’m not much older, at 23, but I’m old enough to finally understand that there’s not really a point in life where I will be right about everything. (Don’t tell my 17-year-old self that.)

Things I Know Now:

  1. I can’t tell you if you should come out to your parents or not. But if you suspect your parents will lose their shit, there’s no shame in waiting until you’ve moved out to tell them. You’re not a coward, you’re their child and you shouldn’t have to deal with that conflict and potential abuse if you don’t feel prepared to handle it. Besides, it’s not like you were honest with them about your discovery of porn.
  2. If you’ve already told them, or if they found out, and they’re not handling it well, stay calm. If they try to throw every argument in the book at you, keep this response handy and repeat as necessary: “I’ve made my decision, and I am happy with it.”  If they object right away, say, “That is your opinion. But I’ve made my decision, and I’m happy with it.” The calmer you are when you say this, the more effective it’ll be.
  3. Google is a useful tool. Read more about atheism. Look up forums and discussion groups where you can talk with and befriend fellow atheists, and laugh with them about how shitty your parents are being. Sometimes it helps just knowing you’re not alone.
  4. Being part of the atheist online community is a great way to befriend people of all age groups, which is an experience I recommend for all teens. Now, a lot of older people will either insist or imply that they know better than you. They’re not all right, but they’re not all wrong either.
  5. Telling your friends can be nerve-wracking, but that first time you find a friend who reacts with just, “OK” — it’s a pretty awesome moment.  (And “Me too!” is even better!)
  6. Sometimes you’ll have friends who don’t agree with you. That’s fine — it’s pretty hard to make friends if you refuse to talk to anyone who isn’t an atheist. Just appreciate what you have in common with them, and accept that even if they’re wrong, they will never let you convince them that they’re wrong. I had a Republican roommate for a year, and the reason we got along well is because we never talked about politics. (Also, she owned the apartment, and cut me a HUGE break on rent. Good people.)
  7. That said, you can be a little choosier when it comes to who you date. I’ve found OKCupid to be a great way to meet fellow atheists, but don’t make an account if you’re not 18 yet!
  8. If you really have to, here are some questions you can ask a believer if you feel like being a smartass.
  9. In your teens it feels like your atheism is the biggest part of your identity because you have to defend it so often, but there will come a day where it’s just another part of your life. It gets better.
  10. You don’t know everything. You will never know everything. But keep learning anyway.
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Ask Teen Atheist #6 September 4, 2010

Posted by Teen Atheist in Ask Teen Atheist, family, issues.
5 comments

Chadwell writes:

I’m a 16 year old in highschool and I guess my natural cynicism lead me to question the dogma and ignorance of religion. I was a christian but I just figured that why would god send the only salvation to man kind to a single area and practically turn his all-mighty back on the rest of the isolated world. More issues built up and I questioned more until I reached the point of atheism. I have been a self proclaimed atheist for a while now. However, I should just get to the problem I’m having. So my parents are relatively religious and always turn a blind eye to anything negative about religion. I “came out” to them two days ago and they literally laughed at me. They took nothing seriously and they said I would need to rely on my faith in god one day.

So whithout further ado, what should I do? (lol that rhymed) What should I say/do to prove to them I’m serious?

Though not all atheists had to go through the same thing I did (thankfully), I’ve been through enough to say this: it’s very, very difficult to make the religulous see our side of things. I’d even go so far as to say that it’s not worth the effort — at best, you get a fair debate, at worst you worsen the rift between yourself and the people you’re talking to.

In a situation like yours, I think the issue isn’t so much about how to convince them as it is about how to deal with them. Religious parents react in different ways upon finding out about their child’s atheism; I think you’re actually lucky your parents went for denial instead of anger, like my (estranged) parents did, but I understand how frustrating it is when your parents don’t take you seriously.

And this sounds stupidly simplistic of me, but: the best way to prove you’re serious is to be serious. As many a writing teacher would tell you, “Show, don’t tell.” You already know that your parents are likely to turn a deaf ear to anything you have to say in defense of your non-belief, so instead, be a living example of how you can be a sane, good and kind person even without God or Christianity in your life. Refine your motivations and your values system. Donate to charity because you like helping others. Study hard because you want to succeed. Don’t hurt or steal because you genuinely believe that such acts are wrong because they violate basic human rights. Be nice to other people, including your parents. That way, if your parents ever start coming at you with attacks on your beliefs, you can defend it through real-life examples.

It’s still possible that no matter how well you live your life, your parents will still refuse to show any modicum of respect or tolerance for your beliefs. My estranged parents still see my atheism as a personal failure on their part. (They failed me in countless ways, but atheism wasn’t one of those.) But if you have a life you’re proud of and a belief system and values system you’re secure in, their approval won’t (and shouldn’t) matter to you anymore. You’ve risen above them. You take yourself seriously. And that’s what’s really important.

Ask Teen Atheist #5 March 27, 2010

Posted by Teen Atheist in Ask Teen Atheist, backstory, family.
13 comments

Michael asks:

I am 14.  I was raised Catholic, and until about a week ago I was a firm believer.  But last week I began to think.  And the more I thought, the more it didn’t make sense.  I’m pretty confident at this point that I don’t believe in God, and I’m pretty sure I’m an Atheist.  However, I haven’t had the guts to tell anybody. There is a sort of silent understanding between me, a friend who seems to be in a similar situation, and his atheist girlfriend.  Anyway, I feel safe in my belief that my friends will be tolerant if I tell them.

My real concern is in my mom. My dad not so much.  He’s extremely Liberal, and in no way seems like he would be angry about this.  I’m not sure how my mom will react though.  She was raised heavily Catholic and is still pretty Catholic herself.  I’m worried how she will react.  I also have two younger sisters, and I’m not sure how they’ll react either.  Worst of all are my grandparents,who have a strong hold on my mom and are devoutly Catholic.  I worry their reaction would climb into the extremes.

I’m supposed to be confirmed in May, but I don’t know how I’ll be able to bare that huge a lie.  I need to get this off my chest before then.

What do you think would be the best way to come out to my mom to minimize her alarm?

First of all, it’s great that you’re applying critical thinking to your religious beliefs. I encourage you to read more about atheism in order to strengthen your beliefs, because down the road you will come across people who will try desperately to change your mind, and it helps to be equipped with a strong foundation and appropriate counter-arguments.

I was confirmed back when I was 12, although I was still Catholic then so it wasn’t a big problem at the time. I understand how hard it is to lie; even though I was outed to my parents against my own will, I don’t think I could’ve kept my beliefs a secret for very long.

I would recommend that you start by telling the truth about your atheism to the people you believe won’t have a problem with it, like your friends and your dad. In a situation like this, it’s important to have a support system to fall back on, and knowing that your friends and your dad will be there for you will really help in case your mom rejects your beliefs. I didn’t have that luxury when I was outed, so it was completely awful for me; I was sequestered in a house with a family who refused to talk to me, and friends who didn’t know what was going on. I cried almost every other week. When I told the truth to some of my close friends, though, I felt much better.

Once you’ve set up that support system for yourself, talk to your dad about how you feel about the upcoming confirmation. Ask him for advice and let him know you trust him. This way, at least you’re sure one parent understands where you’re coming from, even if the other doesn’t.

As for the actual conversation with your mom, wait until she’s in a reasonably good mood before you sit her down and talk to her. Start with the positive: let her know you appreciate the moral values she’s taught you, etc. Emphasize that your decision to become an atheist had nothing to do with the way she raised you — it’s more than likely that parents will blame themselves and see it as a mistake when a child deviates from the religion s/he was indoctrinated in, so it helps to let them know early on that nobody’s at fault. Tell her that you’re growing up and learning to think for yourself, which is a good thing. But be firm about your decision not to be confirmed and your need for her to understand that confirmation is a very personal thing; no ritual or sacrament can change what you believe in, because belief comes from within.

Whether or not to tell your grandparents is up to you. Like I said, religion is a personal issue, so I don’t feel the need to broadcast my atheism to everyone I meet (if I did, I’d waste time on many, many more circular arguments, and those are never fun). Of my extended family, only one cousin knows I’m an atheist, and that’s only because he discovered it by accident while borrowing my laptop. I don’t feel all that affected by it, honestly — I doubt telling my relatives would help or improve my relationship with them.

Best wishes, and no matter what happens, the most important thing is that you maintain a firm grasp on your own identity. Don’t let fear, intimidation or guilt change that.

Chapter II December 5, 2009

Posted by Teen Atheist in family, friends, school.
30 comments

Hello, world! Wow, it’s almost been a year since I closed this blog. I’m writing this partly to see who would still notice anything new on a blog that’s been dead for a year (reveal yourselves, lurkers!), and partly because hey, I’m in a whole new chapter of my life now, and I actually have things to say about it this time.

Property on the internets

The teenatheist.com address is dead now, so we’re back to teenatheist.wordpress.com. I had a falling-out with the dude who paid for the domain, plus there’s no point in paying for a dead blog.

My identity

I used to say that I wouldn’t mind if people figured out where I’m from and what my real name is, but honestly? It annoys the fuck out of me. Like, a couple of guys found me on a social networking site within a month of this blog’s inception, and there was this dude who made really irritating “I know who you are” comments on this blog several months ago, and emailed me asking for my real name and shit. Guys, sometimes people want to stay anonymous for a reason.

And why is it important, anyway? I always wanted the focus to be on what went on in my life, not what my name is, where I live or what I look like.

Don’t try to force it out of me — I actually just give it away if I like/trust you enough. For instance, I still stay in touch with Holy Prepuce via chat and email, and I ask him for advice about my real-world issues. And a dude I went to high school with started reading and commenting, and I talked to him on chat with my IRL handle and I was like, “You know Teen Atheist? You’re talking to her.” Haha.

Commercial: Kris Allen

If you like me, you’ll check out Kris Allen‘s album! He’s the dude that won American Idol this year, but he is way fucking cool, makes awesome, mellow, acoustic pop-rock stuff, and he did this kick-ass mash-up of “Falling Slowly” from Once and U2’s “With or Without You,” that I have been listening to for days on end. His album is my favorite album of any Idol alum, ever. My favorite song on the album is “Bring It Back.”

Twitter

Should I get a Twitter? I could, if there are enough of you out there whom I could talk to. Give me your Twitter links!

[Obligatory fundie rant goes here]

One time, I Googled myself and found this Christian site where they featured my blog and were like, “Everybody, please pray for this girl so that she becomes enlighted by God” or some shit. Haha. Keep praying, dudes. The only god I worship is Bjork.

The Workplace

I quit my job in February of 2009. I got sick of it — I was one of the best salespeople on the team, but apparently our manager has never heard of that story about how you’re not supposed to fucking kill the goose that lays the golden eggs, you moron, that’s not how it works. (Read: I was overworked and underpaid, and double-overworked because they knew I was good.)

There are two more characters I have stories about, though. First is Eddie, this guy who joined the company a little after I ended the blog. We hit it off and since we lived near each other, he would drive me to and from work. I always thought of him as a really good friend, but we did have weird moments of sexual tension sometimes. But he was engaged, and I kind of lost interest in him early on, anyway.

Two weird stories involving Eddie:

1) One time, he asked if I wanted to “hang out” (intentionally vague). I said yes, he picked me up and it turned out he and his best friend were taking me to a bar. He paid for my drinks, at least. He kept offering me more booze, but I gave a firm no after the second pina colada, and then they whispered to each other and decided to take me home instead. No idea what that was about. Upon consulting with a high school friend, I was informed: “Dude, he was trying to get you drunk and fuck you.” I am quite clueless, sometimes.

2) A few months after I quit, Eddie started texting me, first asking if I was single, and then asking if he could take me out to dinner. I didn’t understand, because I’m pretty sure he knew that I knew he was engaged. But I was too much of a pussy to say no, so for two weeks straight I just kept saying that I was sick. I felt bad about it, because I really, really like him as a friend, and I still miss him to this day. But I don’t want it to be one of those things where I show up hoping for some nice conversation and by the end of the night I’m trying to figure out how to politely say “please stop putting your hand up my skirt.”

(Side note: I haven’t gotten any in a while, and if I don’t soon I might actually take him up on his offer. But he’s engaaaaged, TA. Control!)

The other guy I’ll tell you about is Lyle. Lyle isn’t a knockout at first glance, but he’s pretty cute if you look really really hard, and is kind of a paragon of perfection for me: 23, never had a girlfriend (read: not a chauvinistic horndog like 96% of the dudes in my country, and it’s not like he didn’t have opportunities — I wasn’t the only girl who dug him, but his friends say he’s cripplingly shy around women), well-off, nerdy (I’m a sucker for scrawny, effete, dorktastic types), humble, sweet, very fluent in English, can sing and play guitar, mmm.

Hilariously, though, I have never even been formally introduced to this dude, and have only talked to him a few times, so I was stuck with the conundrum of “Can you like someone for his inner beauty when you’ve never really met?” Because it’s not like I fell for him because of his looks.

But, ever heard of this thing called mamihlapinatapai? It’s when two people look at each other and want the same thing, but they’re both too afraid to make a move. Yeah, I think Lyle and I had that? Because I’d stare at him but end up catching him staring at me first, and I’d look away immediately because I’m a wimp of failcat proportions. But I can safely say that I’ve never had anyone look at me like that before.

Another funny thing is that we always talked about each other rather than to each other. I learned of this really late in the game — literally a week before I left the company — but my supervisor said he would ask her about me sometimes. EEEEEE.

But I just waved off all of these signs because I was going through a huge He’s Just Not That Into You phase, and I’m typically dense about men, anyway. Like, I didn’t figure this shit out until six months after I quit, when I told this to a new friend, Gloria, and she was like, “You moron, you should’ve jumped him while you had the chance” and I was like, “OH, FUUUUUU—.”

In the end, I think Lyle really wasn’t that into me. I’ve been told that if the guy doesn’t have the balls to ask you out, he’s not worth it, anyway. It just sucks that it’s been almost a year since I last saw Lyle and I still get heartclenchy when I think about him. Gah. Go away, feelings.

I have his number (it was in a company directory). I’d never use it, but I sometimes wish he would text out of the blue. Hi, you don’t know me but —


College!

“Pass out at three, wake up at ten, go out to eat, then do it again…”

Unfortunately for me, my college life is NOTHING like that. Well, not unfortunately, because even though life right now is completely boring to the outside eye, I’m actually genuinely happy. I have party girl friends, and through conversations with them, I’ve realized that while partying is fun sometimes, I’m just not that kind of girl, and it’s okay. I think it just means that I’m too smart to get shitfaced. I don’t really like the taste of alcohol, and I have way too many secrets to allow myself to get hammered. And my friends have dudes try to rape them while they’re drunk on a weekly basis, so yeah, I don’t think I’m missing out on much.

My boring life? Consists of me studying a lot and having boring (awesome) friends and chatting with Holy Prepuce in English class. Hee, that was fun. They forced us to watch The 6th Day (that Schwarzenegger flick about cloning), which was like pulling teeth, although this Rod Rowland dude is hot. After the movie, we discussed cloning, and since I go to a Catholic university (not the one I wanted, not the one my parents wanted — the other one), the debate ended with my professor concluding, “Clones have no souls, therefore cloning is bad, the end.” Bah.

I’m also forced to take four Theology classes, FML. Last week, my professor expressed shock and disgust that OMG, there are actually places in the world where they treat those dang homosexuals like human beings! I wanted to cry. I hate my country, sometimes.

Moving on: You’d think that studying in a uni with such a high Hot Guy Ratio would mean that I’ve found someone new to help me forget about Lyle, but no luck so far. They’re hot, just…not my type. Nobody’s half as witty or endearingly nerdtastic. Sigh.

Religion and boy drought aside, I actually love this place, and I’m glad I ended up here serendipitously. I think my studying is paying off, too! I never expected to be the topnotcher in my Math class. Awesomeee.

“A new world calls across the ocean…”

It’s official: I’m moving to the States next year! I want Seattle, my parents are considering New York or Maryland, but I’m happy either way. Yay!

Christmas

The holidays are here again! And if there’s anybody reading this at all, I’m in a Christmassy mood, so if you want a handwritten greeting card from me, just email me (teenatheist@rocketmail.com) with your mailing address and I’ll send you one! And I would also appreciate some e-cards, too. 😀

How do you greet someone on Kwanzaa? Because if it were me, I’d wave my arms wildly in the air and just yell “KWANZAAAAAAAAA!” It’s such an awesome holiday name, why waste it?

So, that wraps up the new, dorky, boring, awesome chapter of my life! See you all around, maybe here or on Twitter if I decide to make one. And until next time: KWANZAAAAAAAAAAAAA!

Ask Teen Atheist, #3 July 16, 2008

Posted by Teen Atheist in Ask Teen Atheist, family, issues, teen angst.
Tags: , , , , ,
15 comments

Alissa writes:

Hey. Okay, so I recently found your website and was reading around and I really want to talk to you. I’m 13 years old and I’m in the 9th grade. I know, some may think thats really young but I know that I don’t believe in god and I think I may be an atheist. I went to church for a couple of years with my father and believed strongly in the Roman Catholic religion. I live with my mother and she is Christian but we don’t go to church and during that time period (when I believed in God), I asked my mom if we could go to church, but we never went. I started thinking more about the religion. It just doesn’t make sense at all and I disagree with just about everything in the religion. I recently told my mom and my 18 year old sister how I feel and they we’re shocked and confused. Naturally they wanted me to go to church A.S.A.P. It’s not going to help though. I have a friend that goes to church every Sunday, takes religion classes every Monday, and is going to a catholic school next year, but doesn’t believe in God. I took it to offense that they didn’t try and accept it and they tried to convert me instead. It turned into a fight. They are not taking me seriously, they think I don’t know enough about the religion to not believe in it. I would just like your help as to what to say to them or what ever you think will help me.

Thank you.

I think it’s wonderful that at such a young age, you’ve found the intellectual bravery to question the religion you’d been indoctrinated in. It’s very rare, even among adults — they can question anything else (their credit card bill, their boyfriend, their college professor, their salary), but religion tends to be the “untouchable” topic for most people. So kudos, Alissa!

Sadly, your family’s reaction is very common, at least in my experience. I pretty much had to go through the same thing that you did, and even now, after almost a year, they still don’t really accept it. Even if your family is not the most devout, they’ll go on “You heathen! Repent nowwww” autopilot once they’ve discovered a threat to the foundation of their beliefs (read: your newfound atheism). The first thing they’re going to want to try to do is to convert you back in order to “correct” your “mistake.”

Of anybody you’re going to have to deal with about your atheism, your parents will be the most difficult hurdle because they will always see that part of you as a disappointment, as a failure on their part. The best that you can do is to reaffirm your belief in yourself. Don’t let what they say affect you. Don’t put so much power in their words. I know they’re your parents and they’re an important part of your life, but they can’t dictate who you are and what you can and can’t do. You already have a strong sense of self, Alissa — hold on to that.

“They think [you] don’t know enough about the religion to not believe in it” is one of the first arguments my parents tried to throw my way. I directed them to an About.com page on atheism. It didn’t work, and beyond that, it got ugly. They’re really never going to listen, at least mine didn’t; the best I could hope for is their silence about it. Hopefully you’ll be luckier, and they’ll learn to accept your beliefs over time.

I also regret to inform you that since both you and I are teenagers, there are going to be a hell of a lot of people who won’t take us seriously, especially when it comes to things like this. Remind yourself: it’s NOT “just a phase.” You’re an individual, too, free to believe in whatever you want to believe. Surround yourself with friends who accept you for who you are, and adults who actually do take you seriously (perhaps a freethinking and openminded teacher, if you have one?). Also, the atheist web community is full of friendly, accepting people who would be more than glad to talk to you about your problems, and share their knowledge about atheism with you. When I was going through that big fight with my family after being outed by my brother as an atheist, a lot of the online atheists dropped by my blog and left encouraging words. Not only did I feel accepted, but I also learned a lot about my beliefs.

As for what to say to your family, I don’t think anything can change their mind about this, but you can at least assure them that nothing they say or do will convert you back, but despite your lack of belief in a god, you are still fundamentally a good person, and that you hope they still accept and love you as a daughter despite your differences.

I hope it turns out well! More power to you!

Wordy ruminations July 9, 2008

Posted by Teen Atheist in career, family, friends, issues, teen angst.
Tags: , , , , , , , ,
4 comments

T.A. – sleep + unlimited internet access + 1 week paid leave = tedious, lengthy diatribe on “my thoughts, let me show you them.”

Taken from an e-mail exchange with Holy Prepuce:

If at some point in your upbringing you bought into the Catholic idea of a heaven or resurrection (i.e. that our conscious selves survive death and perhaps even live forever), was it difficult to come to terms with the loss of this belief?

It wasn’t difficult for me, I found it to be a breath of fresh air. I’ve always been a very inquisitive and imaginative child, so even at a very young age, I’d read the Bible (Revelations was my favorite part; I’m weird that way) and think, “What if this is just really tedious fiction?” The more I thought about it over the years, the more absurd I found the whole concept. Virgin births, talking bushes, life after death? Really?

I remember going through a very difficult time when nobody in the house would even speak to me, and I thought, “Well, at least God’s there for me. If I just keep praying, He’ll help me through this.” I realized much, much later on that God wasn’t doing shit, because what help did he provide, other than maybe sitting there, hearing my prayer and going “Mm-hmm”? I pray, and nothing happens. Nothing’s ever happened my whole life that was a result of a strong faith. It wasn’t God that helped me through that time, it was my own imagination.

Religious leaders scare people into remaining faithful with talk of eternal damnation and other horrific consequences. And the more you devote to the religion, the more you want it to be real, because you grow increasingly reliant on it, and it does seem like such a nice concept. So, despite a lack of evidence that what they believe in is real, religious people don’t want to question it because they don’t want to open up another can of worms when the alternative, turning a blind eye, is so much easier, especially when everyone around you is just as blind as you are.

As for my Predominantly Catholic Country in general, most atheists here come to that realization in college (I have yet to meet anyone who was raised atheist over here!). For instance, Carl became an atheist in the middle of a college course dissecting creation versus evolution. I think this trend exists because in college, the power of influence shifts from the parents to the peers and teachers, so people start to consider all sorts of options — beliefs, orientations, what-have-you.

The whole “college self-discovery” thing is a transition I never experienced or had to experience, probably as a result of my poor relationship with my parents, my natural inquisitiveness, my rebellious nature, and a hefty dose of introspection.

In short, I’m really weird.

But it’s always seemed to me that denial of mortality was one of the primary motivators for religious belief, even in the face of strong contrary evidence for the claims made–so finally accepting that we are not immortal has to be one of the defining moments of a a theist’s “conversion” to atheism.

That’s definitely true for a lot of Catholics. My philosophy about it has always been, I want to live in the now, and live the way I want to. Why would I be banished to hell or thought of as an evil person or a bad follower if I decided to eat a cheeseburger in Lent? It’s my life, and that cheeseburger looks pretty damn tasty!

I find it to be a terrible waste of life not to enjoy yourself because you’re waiting for the next life, which God promises will be much better. I see my life the same way I see my job, I suppose: I don’t ever want to fall out of love with it. I don’t want to settle just because there’s going to be something better later on, because I don’t want to be looking for something better in the first place.

I found this wonderful quote from Lance Armstrong that sums it up pretty nicely: “Quite simply, I believed I had a responsibility to be a good person, and that meant fair, honest, hardworking, and honorable. If I did that, if I was good to my family, true to my friends, if I gave back to my community or to some cause, if I wasn’t a liar, a cheat, or a thief, then I believed that should be enough. At the end of the day, if there was indeed some Body or presence standing there to judge me, I hoped I would be judged on whether I had lived a true life, not on whther I believed in a certain book, or whether I’d been baptized. If there was indeed a God at the end of my days, I hoped he didn’t say, ‘But you were never a Christian, so you’re going the other way from heaven.’ If so, I was going to reply, ‘You know what? You’re right. Fine.'”

Also, tell me about life as a teenage atheist in your country…

I’m getting more comfortable with it now, as compared to back in September when I started the blog. 🙂 I don’t proclaim my godlessness to everyone, but I can reply honestly to anyone who asks without even batting an eyelash. Reactions vary (it’s usually a polite smile, followed by a change of topic), though thankfully none as violent as my parents’ reaction. It’ll always be the pink elephant in the room with them. I wonder what it’ll be like when my brother goes to college… 😉

Mixed messages April 6, 2008

Posted by Teen Atheist in family, issues, rants.
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16 comments

Watched Horton Hears a Who with my Mother Dearest last Thursday. The animation was downright stupefying, the characters were likable (slightly emo son Jojo was so cute, and my favorite would have to be that weird sheep-porcupine-looking thing that goes “aaaah”), and the story was really good. And Seth Rogen. That’s my future husband, right there.

At dinner with the rest of the family after the show, my father asked about the movie. “The message was very nice,” my mother answered. “He believed in the Whos, even though they were invisible.”

God fucking damn it.

Seriously, I can’t watch anything with my mother without it turning into some metaphor for the virtues of theism/Catholicism. The paranoia hampered my enjoyment of the movie, especially in scenes where the antagonist kangaroo is like “If you can’t see it, hear it, smell it, or feel it, then it isn’t there.” (Which I agree with, by the way, but I’ll get to that later.) My atheism will always be the elephant in the room — hee, get it, “elephant.”

I was seething inside, but I managed to maintain an only mildly irritated-looking facade. “But he could hear them,” I retorted, trying to restrain myself from getting too snarly.

“Yeah, well.” Typical Catholic response.

As for me, I actually like the message I got from Horton Hears a Who, which is obviously a different interpretation from my mother’s. And it goes as such:

The tyrannical kangaroo was angered upon finding out that Horton held a belief (that there were little people living in the speck) that was radically different from hers or the rest of the jungle’s. Fearing that the propagation of this new belief would encourage people to start thinking outside the box and cause her to lose her vice-grip on the kingdom (the kangaroo was the self-appointed leader), she ordered her minions to persecute Horton and force him to admit that what he said he believed in was absolute hooey. She also managed to convince everyone that Horton was a nutjob for believing in this shit.

Sound familiar yet?

Horton stuck to his principles, and luckily for him, the Whos of Whoville managed to make themselves heard in time to be saved. The animals embraced Horton and his beliefs, and blah blah happily ever after.

So, from what I can see of this story, it’s not pro-theist at all. It’s anti-narrow-mindedness. I feel like we atheists are the Hortons in this picture, persecuted and stigmatized for choosing to think outside the box and seek an answer that makes more sense.

Unfortunately, while our Whos in Whoville are loud and clear (read: logic and tangible evidence are in our favor), most choose to turn a blind ear. ‘Cause, you know, they might go to hell for even considering it. What’s important, though, is that like Horton, we shouldn’t give in to the pressure of fitting in.

I’d share this with Mother Dearest, but as I’ve mentioned before, I refuse to argue with anti-atheist theists. It’s just not worth the effort.

I think I’m in love. January 16, 2008

Posted by Teen Atheist in anecdotes, family.
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Just watched Detroit Rock City last night on HBO, and I’ve decided that Jam (Sam Huntington) is officially my dream boyfriend. Besides, as far as I’m concerned, anyone ballsy (or horny) enough to lose their virginity in a confessional booth is a real fuckin’ inspiration.

Update: Christmas January 4, 2008

Posted by Teen Atheist in anecdotes, family, teen angst.
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I’m not sure why I haven’t updated recently. I don’t think it’s because I’ve run out of things to say, but because I’m starting to worry that my parents might find this blog and ream me. I really should work on finding a job and moving out. My mother (we’re on speaking terms now, more on that later) is sending me job advertisments now; can’t decide if that’s an un-subtle way to say “Get off your lazy ass” (because she’s made that quite clear already), or if she’s actually trying to be helpful. In any case, I’ll take it.

I didn’t want to write about Christmas, because while it was better than I’d expected — having my cousins over cushioned the blow a little bit — I still think I would’ve had more fun by myself in a hotel, getting wasted and stuffing myself with chips. After a week of the cold shoulder, Mother Dearest started talking to me again. I played along, but this certainly doesn’t make everything okay. I hate it when people expect a free pass for the shitty things they’ve done “just because it’s Christmas.” A holiday should not be enough to excuse a person for hurting someone else. So, yeah, still hate her very much, but I guess I’ll try to hide it until I can get out of this place.

On Christmas Eve, I accidentally outed myself to my cousin, John*. He was on my laptop, logging on to Radio Blog Club and for some reason, the username form said “teenatheist.” I don’t know how it happened, since I’ve never visited Radio Blog Club before. In any case, he was like, “Are you an atheist?” And I’m like “Yeah, but you weren’t supposed to know.” He asked me a few questions about it, but he was pretty okay with it.

I wish I could say more, but I’m feeling particularly numb at the moment. I’ll leave the comments section of this entry as a “Q and A with Teen Atheist” kind of thing, so if you have anything at all that you want to know about me (favorite color? actor? movie? Do you really think that ECW’s John Morrison is hot?), fire away.

12 Things I’m Thankful For December 25, 2007

Posted by Teen Atheist in family, friends, issues.
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So, it’s Christmas, and despite all the shit I’ve been put through recently, I still think that it’s a time to be happy and to reflect on the things that made 2007 a spectacular year for me. I figured that 12 was a Christmassy enough number, so here are the top 12 things I’m thankful for this year:

 

12. My 18th birthday celebration (best birthday ever)
It was the first birthday I got to spend with just me and my friends, because in previous years I’d tried to ask but would invariably have my father try to guilt-trip me, all “she doesn’t want to spend it with us.” This year, I guess I’d finally earned it. I had an amazing time, being with people I loved who treated me like a queen. I was smiling the whole time.

 

11. Scrubs
For a sitcom, this one sure makes me cry an awful lot (damn you, John C. McGinley and your out-of-this-world acting skills!). I’m especially thankful for this line by Dr. Kelso:

“Nothing in this world that is worth having comes easy.”

It’s become my personal motto, and it’s helped me through a lot of the challenges I’ve faced this year.

 

10. Clothes shopping and spa trips
Shallow as it may sound, shopping and getting my hands and feet pampered never fails to brighten my day no matter how down in the dumps I’m feeling. They’re my favorite vices.

 

9. Fred
I still refuse to apologize for standing up for gay people, but it’s not like Fred was a horrible friend otherwise. I do owe him for being one of the few friends who could truly empathize with me and be there for me whenever I was in a bad place emotionally. We’re still on bad terms with each other (and I still think he’s a little off his rocker), but I am still thankful for what he’s done for me over the years.

 

8. The LGBT Pride March
Special thanks to everyone who encouraged me and gave me the testicular fortitude to go through with it. Through the march, I met a lot of amazing LGBT people, like Justin and Emmett, who truly inspire me. I felt so proud of myself for standing up for others’ rights, and I would gladly do it again next year. In fact, I’ve already signed up for a couple of local gay-straight alliances, and I plan to be an even louder voice in support of LGBT rights in college.

 

7. Greg Berlanti
This TV wunderkind, the creator of Everwood, Brothers & Sisters, Dirty Sexy Money and Eli Stone, is exactly the kind of person I aspire to be like when I’m older. It’s my personal ambition to become a television screenwriter (and clearly, I’m siding with the WGA on the writer’s strike), and if I ever achieve the dream of creating my own drama series, I hope mine could be as significant as his shows, which are not only well-written and entertaining, but are a huge step forward in terms of LGBT visibility on television. (more…)