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January 19, 2013
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I don't know how much of an issue this is here, but just in case it is I think it's important to give some information and encouragement.  I saw a recent post by The Thinking Atheist about a 17 year old who was outed as being an atheist to Christian parents.  Since I don't have permission to post their story here, and it's pretty personal, I will just say check out The Thinking Atheist facebook page for details, but essentially this lead to both physical and emotional abuse by a rather intense religious father.  This is by no means an isolated incident, for teens or young people still dependent on religious parents, coming out as nonChristian or nonreligious can be a real risk.  Everything from abuse to being kicked out on the street to losing college funding or other financial stability, as well as the obvious risk of emotional turmoil amongst family.  When previous safe havens like church suddenly aren't an option, and religious friends might turn their back, it can be very isolating and scary.  

So to play off of my last post, look to nonChristian sources of support.  Find a more accepting group, whether it's a shared common interest like gaming or model airplanes or music, or specifically a nonreligious/secular/skeptic group.  If you're a young person then look to school, there are excellent such groups budding in schools all over the place.  Also if you are in a hostile environment, consider reaching out to people in places like school where counselors or teachers are in a possible position to help you.  Or reach out to other adults, people you can trust who have the means to offer reality based support.  Recovering from Religion recoveringfromreligion.org/ has their new Secular Therapist Project www.seculartherapy.org/ which goes through a vetting process to ensure that you find a therapist who won't try to convert you.  There are also other atheist/nonreligious groups and organizations all over, meetup.com is a good place to find one nearby.

I really want to emphasize that if you are in immediate danger, if you fear for your physical well being in any way, do not stick around.  You should not put yourself in a overtly threatening situation, you should never feel your safety is in real jeopardy, and no one has the right to threaten you or make you feel that uncomfortable.  If you're planning on coming out to extremely religious people, or think you might find yourself in a potential explosive situation, let a trusted friend or three know about it so you have a safety line if you need it or have them there with you as you come out for support.  If things get out of hand, if you feel scared, please don't hesitate to leave and find support.  If needed call 911, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE (7233), call someone.  Even if it turns out to be for nothing, if you over reacted, that's fine, better safe than sorry and you should never feel embarrassed or that you shouldn't reach out for help and support.  Don't think you have to take any amount of abuse from anyone, even if they're family or you're living under their roof.  One interesting site I found is called Atheist Havens on reddit www.reddit.com/r/AtheistHavens , it's literally a network "to assist young adults that are kicked out or disowned by their family due to their atheism", offering not only physical shelter if needed but also just someone to talk to (if you're an independent adult, consider offering your services to young people in need).

Apostates usually face some sort of backlash for their leaving, some religions even call for killing those who leave the faith.  Atheists especially get a lot of shit.  Religion in general is a sensitive topic that can have people on edge in the blink of an eye.  So you should always expect some pushback and venom from the religious, even those who you may consider close or even those not extremely religious.  But know your boundaries, make them clear and be very firm about them, and by all means don't be afraid to stand up for yourself.  But be smart about it, pick your battles.  If you can't afford to come out right now, then don't, no one is pressuring you (or if they are tell them to shut it, you're the one who has to live with the consequences so it is your decision).  When your lines are being crossed, and you realize this is going far beyond the bounds of rational discourse, don't let yourself become a punching bag (figurative or literal).  Taking abuse and screaming and bashing from Christians that are obviously not open to having any sort of constructive dialogue in the first place is not doing you any favors anyways.  And remember, you can always wait to come out (or really opening any can of worms with the religious), you don't have the luxury of going back in the closet once you do.

And remember, you always have here if you need anything, whether it's me or someone else or the group as a whole :)

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"Suppose a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who will not obey his father or mother, even though they discipline him. In such a case, the father and mother must take the son to the elders as they hold court at the town gate. The parents must say to the elders, 'This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious and refuses to obey. He is a glutton and a drunkard.' Then all the men of his town must stone him to death. In this way, you will purge this evil from among you, and all Israel will hear about it and be afraid." Deuteronomy 21:18-21
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:iconspeakthroughfingers:
SpeakThroughFingers Feb 18, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Ugh. THis is horrible. I know a guy who's an atheist, but still goes to church because if he doesn't then his mom won't help with college or something. I can't remember the details exactly, but yeah.
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:iconmephistophilez:
Mephistophilez Feb 20, 2013   Traditional Artist
That's awful! Threatening people to get them to go to church, it really demonstrates how little respect they not only have for people's desire to live their own lives but also how insecure they are. If the only way to get people to church is to threaten them, then what that church is teaching isn't worth hearing. And bullying someone into belief is not just wrong, it's stupid, no freethinking person is going to be persuaded by such tactics and belief is not something that can be forced onto someone. Sadly I hear similar things from others, for young people (who are more likely to leave the religion of their family) the one big thing they can be threatened with is college so that's a common piece of ammunition against atheists. It also tells me, besides the religious bullshit, that the US needs to fix its student debt problem. Parents forcing their children to do what they want using school as leverage is something I read about in Afghanistan, I thought the US was supposed to be the land of opportunity where one could pursue their dreams, and no society can grow without a well educated population (hence the reason to invest in education rather than hinder).
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:iconspeakthroughfingers:
SpeakThroughFingers Feb 20, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I don't know how it was said or anything, but either way, I'm glad my mom is accepting of the fact that my brother and I are atheists. It makes me feel really lucky. And it's not just America though. I live in Canada, as does my friend. Canada is definitely a lot better off when it comes to keeping religion out of things, but it then it's my American mom who's more accepting of her children's atheism than my friend's Canadian mom. I really don't know the details, it was mentioned kind of briefly when I asked why he went to church when it was brought up, but he at least will be leaving for university in a year, and his mom won't really know if he goes to church or not, and he can always say he's just too busy with school. Still, I wish it wasn't necessary.

That being said, I'm proud to be a dual citizen of Canada and America, but America needs to get with the times. :/ I put a lot of value in education, and seeing people trying to obstruct it because it goes against their personal beliefs just makes me really sad, and really terrified.
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:iconmadprincefeanor:
MadPrinceFeanor Jan 22, 2013  Professional Writer
It's a little tangential, but as a drug/alcohol counselor, I urge anyone who is or knows someone who is secular and struggling with addiction to check out Smart Recovery: [link]

It's been a great group for a lot of the atheist/agnostic/alternatively spiritual people who I see, considering they don't want to go to NA/AA/Celebrate Recovery meetings where it's all about how Jaysus helped them.
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:iconthe-pragmatist:
Nothing tangential. Religion IS the drug of the masses. The WORST DRUG of all.
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:iconmadprincefeanor:
MadPrinceFeanor Feb 1, 2013  Professional Writer
Wholly agreed. :) Thanks!
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:iconsotkettu:
Sotkettu Jan 20, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
People that have problems wirth Christianity can always move to the Nordic countries (Finland, Denmark, Iceland, Norway and Sweden). Here atheism is not a problem. 8-)
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:iconmoneyistruth:
Does North Europe has no religion at all? i mean,Christianity

in East Asia and Southeastern Asia,most countries are secular and atheist,except the Philippines,South Korea,Malaysia,Indonesia.

most people immigrate to another country,not for religion,but poverty.

I guess foreigners could get a visa only for 30 days or 90 days in North Europe
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:iconsotkettu:
Sotkettu Jan 21, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Christianity is the main religion here and most of the people are members of the different churches. But the most important thing is that here is not much fundamentalists. Most of the people don't care what your religion is or are you an atheist. Life is here easy for people that are hated because of their atheism. 8-)
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:iconvomitbear:
Yeah but we need to learn the local language and that stuff is hard.
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