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FunnyFelipa's avatar

Atheist stuck in Christian circles?

Asked by FunnyFelipa (36 points ) 4 weeks ago

Hiya Fluther!
I consider myself an atheist but was raised by concervative Christian parents, whom I still live with. I am attending a private Christian college, which bothers the heck out of me.

Do you folks have suggestions on how to stay sane while I finish my degree, or advice on finding like-minded friends? Please do not suggest moving out because, as much as I would love to make that happen, it is absolutely not a feasible option at this point. (I’m 17.)

Thanks!

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23 Answers

Buttonstc's avatar

Welcome to Fluther, BTW.

In order to determine which advice would be the most appropos to your situation, I just have a few quick questions.
Can I presume that your
parents, church and college
you attend would fall under the
broad category of
Fundamentalist? The particular
denomination is less
significant than the overall
category.

Are you looking for real life
connections or groups or
would online suffice?

Like you, there are many
thinking Christians who are
increasingly becoming
dismayed by the rigidity of the
most judgemental believers,
the Fundamentalists, so you’re
definitely not alone.

If those you’re surrounded by
are more on the open minded
side of Christianity (even tho
conservative) that’s not as
difficult as the Fundies.

So, you’re response to these
two questions will have a lot to
do with my answer.

KNOWITALL's avatar

If you were raised theist you should be convicted enough in your own beliefs to shrug God off easily right?

dappled_leaves's avatar

That’s a really tough position to be in! I know that, as an atheist, I would find it very difficult.

First, know that you are not alone. There are a lot of young people in your position. The internet makes it possible to reach out and find others going through the same experiences you will.

A lot of people on Fluther are atheist; some are religious. Discussion is welcome here, but attacks of people’s personal faiths are not. You can find a lot of old questions discussing faith (or lack thereof), and showing how people react to a rejection of their deeply-held beliefs (or lack thereof). It can be a way to learn how to discuss these ideas with others (i.e., to learn both what to do and what not to do).

If you have no control over being there, you will simply have to accept it, get the most out of your studies, and work toward being in charge of your next academic steps. Good luck and keep us posted!

kritiper's avatar

In my opinion, there is nothing wrong with being an Atheist and living the “Golden Rule,” which kind of makes you a Christian in an applicable sense, if not a believing sense. Some don’t agree with my POV, but it might help you to think in that way.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Welcome to Fluther.

To apply the best solution let’s see if I understand the facts right:
• You were raised in a Christian home, but you never believed or you did and now reject God, and now live as an atheist.
• You now attend a Christian college (most likely on your parent’s dime), that you can’t stand not because you are not learning anything but what your classmates and instructors speak of and believe.
• You feel you have no option to move out because you are 17 and really have no money.

If those are the facts they have solutions, it is just a matter how badly you wish to take them.
• Get a grant secure a loan and go to a secular college of your choosing, if that is not plausible, go part-time and get a job.
• Go to the ballgame, the club, or anywhere else you can find where people without God go and mingle there.
• You can move, you can get married to another atheist or just live together as married and thus, you are out of your parent’s house. You are not trapped unless you want to feel trapped, some of the options to alleviate your problems may take more of a sacrifice than you are willing to spend, but hey, welcome to the adult world.

FunnyFelipa's avatar

I’m sorry if this is a display of my ignorance @KNOWITALL but I don’t fully understand your question/statement.

@Buttonstc Yes, in fact the majority of the people that I know would fall into the fundie category, although I do have some acquaintance and a few out of state friends that are not religious.

I would really like to develop some real-life connections, but obviously the internet is better than nothing.

Thank you guys!

syz's avatar

Living in the bible belt, I find myself an oppressed minority (slightly tongue-in-cheek) and all I can say is “Get used to it”. I do a lot of internal eye rolling. You’ll find that there are others like you, just just have to pick your friends carefully.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

I’m agnostic surrounded by christians, they are generally respectful though and none are fanatical about it. I have it relatively easy in that respect. Your situation sounds a little different. Just be respectful to them but be yourself and don’t feel like you have to hide your beliefs don’t be too vocal about them either Just keep your head high and get what you need done, done. You’ll get your chance to live your life the way you want to soon enough.

KNOWITALL's avatar

Funny It just seems that growing up theist, you can probably pretend pretty well. Stick to online atheism.

FunnyFelipa's avatar

May I ask how you were raised?

zenvelo's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central Gave the best answer so far. You want to live by your own principles, then stand up for yourself and get away from the family strictures. You are away at college, you can be declared an emancipated minor now, no need to wait until you are 18.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@FUnny Me? Southern Baptist. Coverted to Catholicism at 17. Religion/God fascinates me.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@FUNNY whom are you asking? Use your @ to address specific people here.

FunnyFelipa's avatar

@KNOWITALL You may recall a man named Richard Dawkins. Interestingly enough, he was raised Christian.

The idea that someone is required to continue living in their former ignorance simply because they were raised that way seems rather preposterous to me.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@FUNNY Required? I have two atheists in my family & a preacher lol. BTW we still love them & hang out.

Darth_Algar's avatar

Why should the OP pretend to be Christian if she’s not?

JLeslie's avatar

@FunnyFelipa College or high school? Your 17 and a Freshman in college, is that right? I would research colleges to transfer to that have good deeds in the major you are interested in. If you keep your atheism a secret from your parents you can find a school that has a strong religious group on campus to convince your parents. A friend of mine is an ordained Baptis minister, and he always tells kids to apply to good schools with a Christian presence, rather than a Christian college. He knows many Christian colleges are not held in high esteem around the country for some majors and he thinks it puts the student at a disadvantage unless it is Notre Dame or Boston College, which are Catholic colleges, not “Christian” colleges. If you live in the bible belt people might know the college and be ok with it, but move out of the bible belt and maybe not.

Do you have to take a religion class in college? How does that work? I know in K-12 there might be a prayer at the beginning of the day and then religious class one day a week, and religious language used by some faculty, but in a Christian college what is it like?

I see nothing wrong in keeping your atheism to yourself. I’m an atheist and lived in the bible belt and pretty much I didn’t mention to people I was an atheist. If they asked what church I went to, I said I don’t go to church, or that I was not very religious. If they asked my religion I told them I was Jewish and let them assume I believed in God without correcting. Most theists assume other people believe in God, let them assume. Also, the Christians I know who do know I am an atheist are fine with it, because we are all adults, but when I was younger a couple of my holier roller friends were judgemental about it and said some offputting things.

FunnyFelipa's avatar

Thanks @JLeslie. It’s an interesting situation. I’m still in high school but the state pays for me to go to college. The state doesn’t pay for the religious courses so my parents are paying for them, since they are required by the college in order to get your degree.
That’s what I feel really bad about is telling my parents that I don’t actually want to get my degree there after they forked out the money for the religious courses. They really don’t have much money. 4 of my 14 credits are bible classes.

Yeah they pray before class. If only it ended there. Everything that they teach you relates to the bible somehow. Each time I feel like we’re starting to actually learn something, the professors start talking about biblical worldview.

Sigh, it’s good to get this off my chest.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@FUnny iWould they be upset if you told them that you need more facts & less religion for your educational development?

JLeslie's avatar

I’m still confused. You are in high school and college? Or, you are in private Christian high school and next year you are going to Christian college? I know some high schools call themselves “colleges” but it isn’t college level education. If you have been talking about high school all along I recommend not calling it college for the purpose of advice and conversation.

If you are in high school just suck it up and do whatever the high school requires if your parents won’t let you go to public school. If you are post high school then I think you should do something to transfer out of that college as I answered above.

FunnyFelipa's avatar

No I am going to a University but I have not yet graduated high school. It’s called dual-enrollment.

And yes, transferring is what I need to do, as much as I hate to waste my parent’s money.

JLeslie's avatar

@FunnyFelipa In the end you will be saving them money by transferring I think.

Have you told them you aren’t interested in the Christian classes? Would they freak out? You don’t have to say you are an atheist. That you are concerned about them spending the money and think a different school would be better suited for you?

Why do they want you to go to Christian college? I had a friend who really wanted her daughter to go to a Christian school because her daughter had gone to a small private school for k-12 and she was afraid her daughter could not handle a larger university, that the kids there would be too wise to the world, and the big campus would be too overwhelming. It wasn’t so much that they cared about her taking a college level religion class, she had taken religion throughout her education already.

rojo's avatar

@FunnyFelipa Do you live in the same town in which the university is located? Does the dual-enrollment program specify which college or university you have to attend? How much initial input did you have into the school/class selection? What degree will you receive upon completion? Are you living at home? Is there a social life for you outside of school that could fulfill your particular non-religious needs (clubs, groups, dances and the like)?

While having nothing to do with religion, I went through some rough times in college (a flaming liberal in an ultra-conservative setting but hey, my choice, kinda) until I joined the Caving Club. I would be gone every weekend somewhere fulfilling my social needs, my outdoor needs, my adrenalin rush needs, my need to live on refried beans and tortilla because the rest of my cash was for gasoline needs.
And then Sunday evening I would come back to reality and do what was necessary to get the degree. BTW I wanted the degree I was after, do you? Until the next weekend!

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