Parents raise their children as little mini-mes, instilling their worldviews and values in the hope that their kids will carry on their traditions into eternity.
Many parents seek to “shelter” their children from anything that would tarnish their beliefs. Some homeschool their kids to hide the truth about the world, teaching creationism instead of evolution and “protecting” them from the harsh realities of racism, misogyny, and scientific discovery during their crucial developmental years.
Others use emotional blackmail to twist their kids into what they want, showing love only when they follow the “right” path (which means whatever the parents want) and harshly punishing any deviation – even going so far as to disown their kids if they don’t do as their told.
On Coming Out
Members of the LGBTQ community know these harsh truths all too well. Far too many LGBTQ youth have suffered at the hands of their parents for loving the wrong person. Some were thrust into poverty after being kicked out of the house, and far too many lost their lives over it.
The stories from the LGBTQ community about emotional manipulation, blackmail, and abandonment are far too many, but we often see the reports in the media. We know it’s a problem.
Another type of coming out gets far less fanfare, though it’s just as dangerous.
An Atheist in a Religious Household
In today’s interconnected world, it’s easier than ever for children growing up in deeply religious households to connect with folks with different beliefs. Despite the parent’s best efforts to keep their child brainwashed, they make friends with people from other religions and *gasp* even atheists.
These kids, who are still developing their own sense of identity, sometimes think critically about their parent’s religious beliefs and sometimes question them.
Some become their parent’s worst nightmares. They become atheists.
Hatred for Atheists
Atheists rank as the most hated group in America. A 2012 study shows less than 50% of American voters would vote for a well-qualified atheist presidential candidate. Parents cringe at the thought of an atheist son or daughter-in-law.
Americans hate atheists and always assume the worst of them, saying atheists are the least trustworthy and the most likely to commit crimes (though statistics show this belief is blatantly false).
Telling Your Parents You’re an Atheist
Telling your parents you’re an atheist can be just as dangerous and devastating as coming out as a member of the LGBTQ community.
One young person came to Reddit describing the emotional turmoil their confession caused.
Their mom “spent the next 2 hours crying on the floor in the kitchen while my father kept showing me some clips of a scientist who believes in creation,” they reported, adding that they don’t know how to deal with this emotional turmoil, especially as they rely on their parents for survival.
A Common Problem
The original poster was lucky – their parents didn’t kick them out. Loving Christian parents so commonly kick their atheist children to the curb that a religious website had to write an article telling parents not to kick their kids out.
Many Atheists Fake It
Many atheist children pretend they’re religious to avoid their parent’s wrath. They go to Church, participate in prayer, and go through the motions to avoid the guaranteed conflict that will arise if the parents discover the truth.
In this way, atheists have it far easier than their LGBTQ counterparts. They don’t have to hide who they love and only have to play pretend a few times per week, not their entire lives.
Why Do Some Christian Parents Shun Their Children?
If Christianity is a religion of love and forgiveness, why do so many Christian parents disown their children over differences in belief, whether atheism or sexual orientation?
It’s also striking that only certain sects of Christianity behave this way. Other sects embody Christ’s teachings, creating loving, welcoming environments for everyone, regardless of their beliefs, values, background, or sexual orientation.
Others seem antithetical to everything Jesus stood for.
We can’t fathom what goes through someone’s mind when they reject someone they purport to love for living a life true to themselves. It boggles the mind that a religion based on love and forgiveness would support and condone such atrocious behavior, yet here we are.
These hateful Christians should think long and hard about how their beloved savior would act before turning on their children.
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