Ask Richard: Call-Out: Any Atheists Who Were Religiously Homeschooled?

Hi Richard,

I was home-schooled in a fundamentalist home from K-12. After being out on my own as an adult and going to secular university, I’ve learned to think for myself. It’s been a long and difficult personal journey but I’ve become an atheist.

There are quite a few people who have come from fundamentalist settings and become atheists but I have never heard of a home schooler from a fundamentalist home turn atheist like myself. I feel alone like no one really knows what it’s like to go through the exact kind of circumstances I’ve been going through, especially with family.

I’d like to know what your thoughts are on this.

–Homeschooler Turned Atheist

Dear Homeschooler,

First of all, you have my admiration and congratulations for your very unlikely emancipation. I’m sure it was very difficult in many ways.

Homeschooled people are a small fraction of the general population. Fundamentalist homeschooled people are a fraction of that fraction, and of course atheists who come from fundamentalist homeschooled backgrounds such as yourself are a very small fraction of that fraction. Pretty rare, I’d say.

I searched the Friendly Atheist site using the Google Custom Search feature at the top right corner of this page. There have been many, many posts and discussions here about the merits and drawbacks of homeschooling, or about how not all homeschooling is being practiced by fundamentalists. Several comments were by atheists who are homeschooling their kids.

But after two hours of searching Friendly Atheist posts, I had found only three comments by atheists who mentioned that they themselves had been homeschooled in fundamentalist or very religious homes. They are:

Jeremy, March 15th, 2009 at 8:15 pm
Kai, August 10th, 2010 at 6:34 pm
Seabhag, September 6th 2010 at 11:33 am

So I realized I needed to broaden my criteria. I used the all-the-web Google, looking for “deconversion stories homeschool” (without the quotes) and variations of that. I found two more, interestingly also on Friendly Atheist:

John Frost, December 21, 2009 at 5:41 pm
AJ, August 27th 2010 at 11:50 pm

Other sites mentioned homeschooling, but they didn’t seem to be about atheists from that background. A great deal of reading would be necessary to glean other appropriate stories from the 20,100 results.

So my main advice would be to broaden your criteria too. Look for similar emotions, similar inner conflicts, and similar relationship conflicts rather than looking for similar circumstances that caused those emotions and conflicts. The essence of empathy is to recognize in other people the same feelings that you have had, without being distracted by the details of how you or they got those feelings.

However, I still understand your desire to find people with more exact similarities, so let’s see if we can find you some. We can use this post to call out to the readers who have been homeschooled in fundamentalist or heavily religious homes, or who by some other means have had experiences that might be of help, encouragement and guidance for you.

LET’S HEAR FROM THOSE OF YOU WHO RECOGNIZE SOMETHING IN “HOMESCHOOLER’S” STORY. Thank you for your help.

Richard

You may send your questions for Richard to AskRichard. Please keep your letters concise. They may be edited. There is a very large number of letters. I am sorry if I am unable to respond in a timely manner.

About Richard Wade

Richard Wade is a retired Marriage and Family Therapist living in California.

  • http://criticallyskeptic.blogspot.com Kevin, Critically Skeptic

    I was homeschooled from 8-12 by fundie parents. I am now an atheist – and not only did I turn atheist, but I turned atheist, bisexual, and quite possibly genderqueer.

    The hardest thing I had to deal with is the fact that, at 26, I am so completely ignorant to biology, science, and the reality of the world that I’m playing catch-up. My love for science keeps me sustained and happy, and learning more now in my last year of atheism is making me more complete than the 13 years of fundamentalism I had.

  • MJatheist

    I was homeschooled (along with my older brother) until 5th grade by very religious, pretty fundamentalist parents. Although when I say parents, I really mean my mother. After my parents divorce, when my mom again started to become the woman she had been before “getting religion” (which included a christian cult), I began to question god and religion. I’ve been an atheist since at least the age of 19, but I was leaning that way earlier.
    I was lucky enough to be taught by an incredibly smart woman (she has a degree in electrical engineering from one of the top engineering schools in the country), so I was actually ahead in almost all subjects when I entered public school. Also, my mom and step-dad now are at least agnostic if not atheist, so living with them I didn’t have to struggle keeping my beliefs closeted. It is very tough to try to explain to people my background, however, but I think my experiences have led me to a better understanding of myself as a person and my parents, although my father is still very fundamental.

  • http://thevillageheathen.wordpress.com The Village Heathen

    I was homeschooled in a very religious house too. Everything I know of real science I had to learn on my own by reading Darwin and Dawkins.

  • Viggo the Carpathian

    I was home schooled until 6th grade by extremely religious parents. It took years to break the mental cycle of guilt and misery but I did. I would be happy to talk to anyone needing an ear.

  • http://www.zazzle.com/atheist_tees The Godless Monster

    @Kevin, Critically Skeptic,
    Good for you! Good luck to you in your (hopefully) ongoing search for knowledge.
    @Richard,

    “Homeschooled people are a small fraction of the general population. Fundamentalist homeschooled people are a fraction of that fraction”

    I’m sure that’s the case, but it seems that the fundies have their claws deeply sunk into the whole homeschooling movement. I’m of the understanding that much of the available homeschooling materials are either tainted with religious overtones or are hostile to the teaching of real science…specifically real biology.

  • Tuesday82

    I was homeschooled for a while. My parents also raised me as a young earth creationist.

    Now I’m an Athiest. My family completly disagrees with my choice to be an Athiest and because of that we hardly speak. My parents don’t speak to me at all and my Aunts religiously berate me on facebook every so often. My mother tells people I’m demon posessed.

    Luckily I am independent enough to not need them, although I do miss family events and my son being able to know his grandparents, I still feel that I have made the right choices in my life. Not to knock them, but I, by far, have my life more together than my Christian relatives. My husband and I even make more $ than my parents. God Bless the Athiest I guess.

    Your not alone.

  • http://twitter.com/cpillsbury CharlesP

    I was one-room (SDA) church-school’ed from 1-8th grade, my parents tried to homeschool me for 9th grade, but it didn’t work (one year, A Beka video courses, and I only got half of them done), so I did 9-12th grade in 3 years at an SDA boarding academy after that. So I guess I would count as somebody who was, at least partially, homeschooled.

    AND we homeschool our three kids (well, mainly the 13yo, and in the last year the 7yo, the 5yo is getting K stuff now part time). My wife is still moderately fundamentalist in her religious beliefs, but after 30 years of being YEC, I auto-didacted myself into a skeptic & atheist in the last 5 years.

    It is hella hard with the family, I don’t address it with my parents/sister/etc. My wife is aware of my atheism, disagrees with it/me pretty vehemently, and we struggle to compromise re: the kids’ education (amongst many other struggles). We have two boys with great love of science, though both still go to church with my wife and are still (I think) believers, and I have some hope my daughter (the 5yo) will grow out of her credulity.

    I also understand it’s pretty hard if you’ve grown up in the Homeschool community as well. My family is quite involved with other local homeschoolers and the larger groups here in suburban Atlanta are quite fundamentalist (we do have some HS friends who aren’t though) and it can be hard to be around friends who still hold to that belief system.

  • Synapse

    At least here in Texas, fundamentalists are not a “fraction of that fraction”, but a large majority of that fraction.

    The materials are all geared toward people removing their children for religious reasons.

    When my wife was looking for homeschooling groups to network with other parents – only Austin had a more secular group that was not overflowing with fundamentalists.

    I’d argue you’re pretty safe in using Texas Atheist Homeschool as criteria.

    I found this using such criteria:
    Home School Survivor

  • Allison

    I was homeschooled in a very religious home, and am now an atheist. I’m still trying to recover. I’m working on relearning things that were left out or taught wrong.

  • Lady Copper

    I was homeschooled and am now an atheist. So is my sister now, actually – 2 out of 5 kids so far. It was extremely difficult, being that our parents have also always been in ministry – we are not yet out to anyone. If the person who emailed wants someone to email with let me know and I’ll give my email address.

  • cb

    I was homeschooled by religious parents. And just last week, I got a letter from my mom telling me that when we watched Christopher Hitchens debate a Christianist on CSPAN over Thanksgiving, his critiques of Christianity “resonated” with her. So the highly unexpected can happen. Stay strong.

  • Danny Wuvs Kittens

    I’m currently being homeschooled(17 years old). My parents weren’t quite as hardcore as some(I was allowed to engage in pokemon, yugioh, harry potter, etc.) but I still had heavily religious curriculum, particularly in science, and I read several books(the case for Christ in particular, and several other books by Josh McDowell, James Dobson, etc.).

    I went to a Christian school until 4th grade, which was when my parents started homeschooling.

    I think people are genetically predisposed to skepticism, or it develops in early childhood, as well as the opposite. I was always a skeptic; I would walk under ladders, break mirrors, say bloody mary, etc, in front of my friends to get their reactions.

    On the other hand, some people will just not change their position when presented with evidence. It takes gentle prodding from a longtime trusted friend to get them to accept the truth.

    I think skepticism/dogma is taught in early childhood, now that I think more about it. That’s the way both my parents were, and my grandmother(with the exception of Christianity). I think they could really make atheism rates soar in schools if they taught kids against superstition and show people why someone might believe in luck. Show that you don’t have to throw salt over your shoulder when you spill salt, and show the likely origins of that myth. I think if you teach people to be skeptical about everything except their religion, then they’ll eventually become atheist on their own, as soon as they spot a single discrepancy in their theology, then another, then another.

  • Lex

    I was homeschooled K-12 in a fairly conservative (contextually for them–super conservative by normal standards) SDA household followed temporarily by SDA university, at which point I simply couldn’t take all of the contradictions anymore and launched myself into a quest for the truth that led me to my current atheism.

    Like others have noted, my knowledge of biology and evolution specifically has been self-taught. My lone sibling left the church as a teenager, but remains a Christian of the more progressive variety.

    Perhaps the oddest lasting result of all this is that I never ever meet peoples’ preconceptions of me, and most people find my background unimaginably bizarre.

  • Catie

    I was homeschooled through 10th grade, but my situation was a bit unique as my parents are religious but my curriculum was completely secular- go figure. However, since in my experience the majority of homeschoolers are religious fundamentalists, I spent a lot of time hanging out with them (homeschool groups) so I have a bit of insight into their culture.

  • Marie T

    My husband went through religious home-schooling for part of his school years and is now an atheist. I grew up in a home that only vaguely defined religion but had a very strong interest in science. I’m still amazed at times at the completely bogus information my husband was taught. It makes him angry because it leaves him unsure of his general knowledge of anything outside his chosen profession of electronic engineering and computer science. We recently had an argument about inheritance that we didn’t resolve until I finally realized that what he’d been taught about how genes are passed on to offspring was completely incorrect.

  • Liberty

    I’m a secular homeschooler, but I’ve never been religious, nor has my mother ever been interested in teaching me about religion in my school. The area where I live, however, is densely populated with fundamentalist religious homeschoolers, so I’ve always wondered whether any of the children end up escaping and thinking for themselves.

  • http://chunkymonkeymind.blogspot.com/ Palaverer

    My brother and I were raised as Jehovah’s Witnesses. I homeschooled off and on, he did it from 1st grade on. We are both atheists now (as is our mother).

  • Silent Service

    WOW! I am so glad that I got to endure public school after just the barest comments on what home schooling was like. Learning to adjust to the wider world after my very small town rural background was hard enough. I can’t imagine how I would have managed it had I not learned at least a few basic relationship skills in school.

    Good luck Homeschooler

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/CommanderSquidlet CommanderSquidlet

    Present and accounted for!

    I was homeschooled by parents – particularly a mother – whom I recall complaining about how those schools were doing horrible things like “teaching kids it’s okay to be gay.” Oh, and you know, evolution.

    However, I was inclined to question and dig deeper into things from the start, as far as I remember. As a child and teenager, I was pondering things, always comparing reality to my parents’ religious teachings – for example, if it was true that you couldn’t go until it was “your time,” why did people who received medical attention survive more often than those who didn’t?

    As a teenager, it struck me that the scientists who were doing the research probably knew more what they were talking about than my mother, who dismissed uncomfortable things as “just a guess.” It’s not like she was involved in the process, so how would she know?

    However, for various reasons I’m not quite a strict atheist. I don’t believe that a divine force had anything to do with the actual creation of the universe, but that there may be forces roaming around our universe that play the role of the god now and then for kicks. Of course it’s not really testable or falsifiable, so I don’t exactly expect everyone to jump on my bandwagon. Neither do I have any particular urge to keep insisting that the things science has shown to be not magic really are. (Anyone out there familiar with the New Age take on evolution? In a nutshell, it’s largely about magic DNA.)

  • cb

    Silent Service – Don’t unfairly generalize, please.

  • Beck

    @ Kevin:

    The hardest thing I had to deal with is the fact that, at 26, I am so completely ignorant to biology, science, and the reality of the world that I’m playing catch-up. My love for science keeps me sustained and happy, and learning more now in my last year of atheism is making me more complete than the 13 years of fundamentalism I had.

    This is a pretty accurate summation. I was raised by fundamentalist, YEC Christians (try reading the Wikipedia entry for the Old German Baptist Brethren sometime) who homeschooled me K-12.

    At almost 17, I finally was able to attend our local community college and was exposed to the real world for the first time. I was horrified and appalled by how completely I had been retarded in my social skills, biology, science, history, mathematics, etc.

    I failed out of the science/math portion of my college entry exam because my science knowledge was, at 17, at 3rd grade level. I knew almost nothing of biology & the only history I knew was some (heavily skewed) early American history and lots and lots of ancient church history.

    Now, at 20, I have come to terms with my bisexuality. I am an “out” atheist and am studying as much as possible while holding down a 8-5 job so that I can return to school.

    As Kevin said, the hardest part was realizing that I was lied to and misled for my entire childhood, and as a result was completely unprepared to become a functioning adult member of society. It’s a testament to my fiance’s wonderful spirit that after I asked her, completely seriously, “What’s abiogenesis?” she still agreed to marry me.

    I have 7 siblings. One is also atheist, one is a “questioning semi-agnostic” who hasn’t quite settled in an opinion. Of the remainder, one is (at 26) perfectly happy to live at home until someone comes to marry her and she can live the rest of her life barefoot and pregnant, and the other 4 are underage.

    I think it’s difficult for others to understand where those of us who were raised this way are coming from. I literally had no concept of any opinion on *anything* that was different from what my parents told me. All our reading material was hand-selected and full of YEC misinformation. I recall being taught “science” using a book that described men living with dinosaurs during the Ice Age.

    I also had little to none outside contact until I was 16 or so. We played at home, schooled at home, went to church a couple times a week where we socialized with people who believed and thought the same way as we did, and on the rare occasion that we were able to join some extra-curricular activity, it was always with “approved” children who wouldn’t “poison” our minds.

    In my own opinion, homeschooling of this kind could very nearly be classified as child abuse. It reminds me of a story I once heard about a man who taught his son that potatoes were tomatoes and vice versa, “for fun”. These parents, whether they believe what they’re doing or not, are brainwashing children and are NOT educating them. After 15 years of homeschooling, my education consisted of reading, writing, limited knowledge of Greek & Hebrew, and a hell of a lot of bad theology. In almost every other subject, my knowledge wasn’t above a 3rd grade level.

    I’m building a life for myself, and educating myself as best as I can. I’m also doing everything in my power to ensure that my younger siblings are exposed to real information. If the letter-writer is interested, please provide my contact info.

  • http://criticallyskeptic.blogspot.com Kevin, Critically Skeptic

    @Silent Service:

    The ‘homeschoolers don’t have socialization skills’ canard is really dumb.

  • Steph

    I was homeschooled by my fundamentalist baptist mother from kindergarten to the second grade.

    Then I went to hellish unregulated private Christian schools (where as a bisexual atheist tomboy I was bullied to the point of attempting suicide) until I was a sophomore in high school.

    My mom feels bad about the private schools now and has apologized. She blames them as the reason I “lost my faith.”

  • http://Thenaturalbuddhist.blogspot.com JohnFrost

    I’m still here! And there’s no need to post my story–it’s scarily similar to everyone else’s on here. It is good to know that others made it out too, though.

  • Francis

    @Marie T

    I was homeschooled in a secular environment, though my parents are occasional church-goers I’ve always been relatively skeptical and have, since college, “come out” as an atheist (wasn’t a big deal, nobody really cared). Being homeschooled I’ve always had vague uneasiness about my education; despite doing well in college and getting a fine job thereafter there’s always been a certain amount of discomfort associated with having a different upbringing than everyone around me. Combine that with the fear that many of the things you take for granted may not be true at all and I can only imagine what that must be like.

    He should take heart, however, because as homeschoolers we are (frequently) quite good at being lifelong learners. Being ignorant of any subject, as long as you’re interested in learning it and learning in general, is nothing to be ashamed of. President Bartlet once said, regarding the phone in the Oval Office, “It’s not that I don’t know how to use it. It’s just that I haven’t learned yet.” I think this is very good outlook to have.


    Francis

  • dc

    I was homeschooled for K and 1rst grade, then went to SDA schools (like Charles, above)after that, all the way through college. My father was a conservative/traditional SDA minister.

    My husband and I have homeschooled our three kids with a fundamentalist approach. Three years ago we left adventism, and one year ago we stopped attending the non denominational christian church we had transitioned out to.

    Our 18 year old and I are now atheist. My husband and 15 year old are agnostic theists, and our 11 year old still clings a bit to christianity.

    We are still homeschooling, but the oldest two have been taking college classes at our local university and the youngest is going through a secular science curriculum this year.

    It’s been a difficult change, as we’ve had to largely rebuild our social base twice now. This is further difficult, because although my husband questions whether there is a god, he still retains conservative views regarding homosexuality, the environment, abortion, divorce, etc. and so it’s hard for us to form mutual friendships with other people.

    I still can’t believe that I escaped the cultish views I was raised with. It’s amazing to have the world opening up to you and really making sense for the first time. I mourn having raised my kids so conservatively. Fortunately we know a group of homeschoolers here who are not Christian, although they tend towards Waldorf views, which are also religious based. (Though not limited to Christianity.)

    I occasionally visit a small Unitarian fellowship, as it seems to mostly focus on social issues.

    I wish you well. You’re not alone!

  • http://www.correntewire.com chicago dyke

    i’m actually a big fan of homeschooling. not the religious, “we just won’t tell you about evolution or non-christian religions” type. but i work in education and college admissions, and i’m frankly horrified by the conditions in many public schools. so while i don’t agree with the reasons why most religious homeschooling families choose to keep their kids out of the public school environment, i can at least sympathize with part of their logic. at the same time, i’m greatly disturbed by the “alternative reality” that the religious homeschooling community has created for itself. separate textbooks, separate colleges, separate communities… it’s all very neofascist and frightening; the public commonweal is what keeps democracy functioning, and we’re witnessing the break down of that.

    i know quite a few “alternative” left/liberal/progressive families that homeschool their children. as an admissions officer, some of the most impressive applicants i’ve interviewed were homeschooled. it doesn’t have to be about keeping children ignorant and sometimes can mean a better, more comprehensive education for the kids. and i agree with the notion that it’s silly to think homeschooled kids are “poorly socialized.” only someone ignorant of how homeschooling really works would make that claim.

    my sympathies to the letter writer. i can only imagine how it must feel; i am the product of secular private schooling and if it makes you feel any better: atheists are shunned and mocked in that environment as well.

  • Aimster

    Godless Monster: “I’m sure that’s the case, but it seems that the fundies have their claws deeply sunk into the whole homeschooling movement. I’m of the understanding that much of the available homeschooling materials are either tainted with religious overtones or are hostile to the teaching of real science…specifically real biology.”

    I’m currently homeschooling my daughters in a completely secular manner and am giving them a non-religious upbringing. I’m an atheist myself, and I’m giving them a strictly-scientific view of the world. They are perfectly welcome to investigate fairy tales and mystical beliefs on their own, later in life, if they want, but they won’t learn it from me.

    You are absolutely correct in your assertion, GM, that even though “statistics” show that religious homeschoolers are a minority, those statistics seem frighteningly off-base when a secular homeschooler like myself gets “out there” trying to meet people. Yahoo groups for any locations are usually primarily “Christian” groups, or “secular” groups that, when I meet them in real life, are fundie homeschoolers who welcome anyone in…for the purpose of proselytizing. Search any homeschooling curriculum shop online, like “Rainbow Resources,” and you’ll likely find TONS of faith-based stuff. The secular materials are there, but you really have to wade through the other stuff. And forget finding a “boxed,” all in one curriculum for convenience’s sake. A secular homeschooler is one who has become proficient at cobbling together many different resources.

  • LeAnne

    not me, but i have a good friend who was homeschooled in a fundamentalist home and now is atheist.

  • dc

    In response to Silent Service:

    I appreciate your sympathetic comment and there’s a lot of truth in it.

    My kids socialized with other homeschoolers and neighbors a lot, but it would still be difficult for them to be thrust in to a full time public school situation. More so because of the sheltered/skewed “education”/world view they received, then because of their lack of social skills.

    There is some remedial work/healing that needs to take place in more than just the sciences, before they could confidently assimilate into public school.

    They need to re learn/be caught up to speed in social studies/history and rethink attitudes towards music/media/literature that was once deemed worldly. We were raising them with a bias to “courtship” rather than dating, and I’m still a stay at home mom, so there’s a lot of re-educating about gender roles and women’s issues that they need. (I always emphasized that my husband was the head of the home, etc.)

    We’re making a lot of progress, and I’m thankful to be in a position where I am able to remain at home, devoting myself to helping them through the shift in perspectives.

  • Josh

    I was home-schooled for half of 9th grade by my fundamentalist parents and am now an atheist. Although I wasn’t home-schooled for my entire life, I met lots of kids who were. I can tell you that those kids have a real hard time adjusting to the great big world!

  • dc

    @Beck and Silent Service,

    I really appreciated and identified with your response, Beck. Much of what you described, is why there is some validity to Silent Service’s comments. When your entire life has been lived in a controlled bubble/sub culture, it can be difficult to assimilate into the mainstream.

    Most of my experience with homeschoolers is that the bulk of them are fundamentalist Chrisitian. Thankfully, we are now in that minority that Chicago Dyke described so favorably. Yes, we’re still odd, but in a much healthier way! :)

  • Daniel

    Hello,

    I too was homeschooled by my then-fundamentalist mother. There are five kids in my family and so far, two of them are professed Atheists, with at least two others soon to follow.

    My journey away from faith was by no means easy. It happened in college and I lost most of my high school friends in the process. My church, homeschooling community, and personal friends were all interconnected. As soon as a few people found out I had “lost my faith,” everyone knew. I cannot even go to my old job (garden supply store) without being preached to by former coworkers who must have heard through at a chain of communication at least 3 people long.

    The shift has been hard on my family as well. My mother is an intellectual, rational person so my older brother and I eventually helped her realize the error in her beliefs. My Father had the opposite reaction, clinging to his more fiercely now than ever before. Naturally, this has caused even more strife within the family in the last few years. The lashback from the community against my family has been as strong as it is saddening.

    Long story short, you are not alone. I still struggle with feelings of guilt and self loathing from time to time but I enjoy being certain of my beliefs (or lack thereof). Be proud of your convictions and the guts it takes to stick with them. Time heals all wounds, so hang in there and focus on the things you find rewarding in life.

    Peace and love and all that.

  • Godless Steve

    I was home schooled throughout high school after graduating from an elementary school run by the Unification Church. My parents were usually busy teaching my younger siblings so I was mostly left to study on my own. As such I didn’t get the level of religious indoctrination that they did and got a somewhat decent science education.

    The bigger problem was the collapse of my social life and the deterioration of my social skills. It didn’t help that the only people I knew were in the church, whom I felt increasingly ostracized from for not being “holy” enough.

    I came to be convinced I was going to hell due to my growing doubt over the accuracy of the church’s dogma. As I continued my studies, it became clear that key articles of the faith could not possibly be true. Though this knowledge would eventually lead me to reject my faith, that would only occur after years of painfully trying to reconcile my faith with the truth.

    So in the end, I spent most of those years alone in my room, chronically depressed, and obsessed with the idea that I was going to burn in hell for all eternity.

  • Lael

    Home schooled by jw patents with my older brother and younger sister. My story iss much like the others. Keep learning and make the best choices you can. And know that you’re not alone. For me, if my parents had wanted my to stay religious, they never should have let me learn to read:p

  • Trace

    Hi Homeschooler:

    I am glad to see others are sharing their experiences with you. You obviously are not as alone as you think, and that is a good thing.

    We are secular homeschoolers/unschoolers (my wife and I don’t homeschool our child for religious reasons). We live, as my mother in law enjoys reminding us, in the boonies. Our choices to associate with “likeminded” homeschoolers are somewhat limited.

    We belong to several HS groups and co-ops. One of the co-ops is sectarian (YEC fundamentalist), another is “inclusive” (YEC fundamentalist families are in the majority). We have recently joined a third (secular) one, in the burbs of a “nearby” city.

    Having taught science classes in one of the religious co-ops, I am well aware of the level of mistrust and animosity among some fundamentalists towards science.

    Biology, geology, astronomy (to name a few) are…. lets say….somewhat “difficult’ subjects to teach in this environment. Social sciences are also extremely difficult to teach given the political atmosphere prevalent in these groups.

    It got to the point that, following Richard’s advice, I approached some HS families who entertain “theistic evolution” and who are at least amiable to the teaching of a more standardized version of science and decided to start a new “group”. I now teach children of a subset of Catholic and Presbyterian HS families outside the “inclusive” co-op. What a different (and rewarding) experience.

    My son and I love science. I have always tried to present the natural world to HS children (no matter their family’s religious background) in a manner that makes it relevant to their experience and/or interests. Who knows….maybe this will make a difference in their lives?

    For all I know, Homeschooler, some of them will follow a path of discovery similar to yours? Perhaps one day you could help other HS children in your community to learn to think by themselves.

    I wish you luck, and remember, you are not alone.

    Trace.

  • Harold

    Ye’ve got an unclosed italic tag at the end of this article.

    [from Richard] Thank you, Harold. Fixed, I hope.

  • http://mydesitnationunknown.blogspot.com/ Abby

    I was raised and homeschooled by fundies from k-12. I was never capable of believing what they taught, and by the 3rd grade began an all out rebellion against the Bob Jones curriculum that was being forced into my brain… For months I refused to even touch the books, I sat for hours each day doing nothing. That, my mother saw, was the beginning of the end.
    By the age of 9 I not only questioned, but flat out stated disbelief, which was met will painful consequence. The only thing I learned from my “discipline” was to hide my truth, to keep my head down, play the game and win. Perhaps that is what sparked my deviant nature, and the depth of understanding I have for their religion only furthers my desire to play games with them- Ah, I got side tracked. :)
    In short, I’ve always been an Atheist at heart. I truly believe that we are wired differently, for the joy that delusion brings the masses, hardened reality brings me. Playing make believe is for children, and adults who maintain working relationships with their imaginary friends are inherently dangerous. My parents still fit that category, along with the majority of my family ties.
    Anyone who hasn’t lived through it can not truly understand the horrors of having grown up in a fundie HS household. But there are a lot more of us out there than we could have imagined.

  • Jeremy

    My [Summarized] Story:

    Homeschooled extreme fundie, 4th – 8th. Dropped out of highschool in 10th, graduated college, and am now 26.

    My twin brother and I both became atheists around 19, the progression was something like this:

    age 17: Deist: Moved out, realized Christianity was a bunch of bull, was in a rebellious state.

    age 18: Agnostic: Started studying other religions and my parents’. Brother came out as being gay and struggling with it (no easy task) during our upbringing.

    age 19: Atheist: Further studying and watching debates and finally pulling free from my upbringing.

    age 26: Married, happy, and thinking for myself.

  • Beck

    @dc,

    I still can’t believe that I escaped the cultish views I was raised with. It’s amazing to have the world opening up to you and really making sense for the first time.

    This is exactly how I feel. :) I look back and wonder how I could have believed so much of what I was told, but the truth is that parents have a huge, huge influence on a child’s mind and mindset. It’s great to hear that you’re helping your kids make the same discoveries you have.

    @chicago dyke and kevin,

    While it is certainly true that not all homeschoolers lack social skills, we are discussing fundamentalist Christian homeschoolers. I’ve never met or heard of someone who was homeschooled by fundamentalists and wasn’t lacking social skills.

    In my personal experience (which is admittedly only around 300-400 families), fundamentalist homeschoolers lack social skills and real-world knowledge. As Godless Monster said, the curriculum is hugely skewed and lacks most sciences, especially biology and natural history. And it’s very difficult to find secular materials. Most groups & clubs (at least in the red states) are organized by the fundies — as I recall, my mother attended one group that discussed how to cheat the required state tests so no one found out you weren’t teaching your kids science.

    Maybe most homeschoolers have a totally different experience. I think that’s fantastic. But the problem of fundamentalist homeschooling is very very real.

  • http://www.correntewire.com chicago dyke

    beck, that’s entirely fair. but i have met some religiously homeschooled applicants who didn’t seem maladjusted. i suppose they were the exceptional ones, because their parents were allowing them to apply to an academically competitive secular college. i met one homeschooled (although in his case it would be more appropriate to call it church-schooled; the classes took place in a church) applicant who was one of the strongest and most intelligent applicants i’ve met in 15+ years in the biz. his father was a fundie minister and i was so sad for this kid; his family pressured him to eventually attend a little xtian college instead of the top 20 school where i was working at the time. this kid had the academic chops to handle it, and socially, was probably closer to jesus than jesus himself is supposed to have been. friendly, kind, compassionate… not at all a social freak.

  • Liberty

    And it’s very difficult to find secular materials. Most groups & clubs (at least in the red states) are organized by the fundies — as I recall, my mother attended one group that discussed how to cheat the required state tests so no one found out you weren’t teaching your kids science.

    I can testify for that statement. In my area, all “umbrella” groups that are not run by the county (it might be like this statewide, but I’m not sure) have to be religiously affiliated. Not only that, but if I wanted to transfer to the public high school, I would have to take a science certification course the year before, and this said science course is taught by a religious group.

  • Heidi

    Wow. Fundamentalist homeschool brainwashing scares me. Congratulations to all of you who survived it and found reality.

  • Frances

    I find that there are two big groups of homeschoolers, the religious ones and the Montessori-type ones. Most of the kids I knew who were religiously homeschooled ended up severely socially inept and are still extremely religious, but the few Montessori-type kids I know are typically very well-adjusted and their parents are atheists for the most part.

    I am sure the person who wrote to Richard will have a harder time than most in overcoming a religious upbringing. Even though I grew up in a quasi-fundamentalist religious home, I went to public school in a suburban area that had lots of different kids. I suppose I was lucky in that respect. Hang in there, it will get easier the farther you remove yourself from that lifestyle.

  • Rick

    Just wanted to say I’ve been there too. Fundamentalist parents, homeschooled K-12. They are so conservative that they do not approve of my brother becoming a Presbyterian minister.

    Back on topic: It was awful. It still is. I have a guilt complex a mile high, but the positive side is that I am now skeptical of everything, no matter who the source is.

  • Doug

    I was homeschooled for 6 years, and part-time homeschooled for another 4, followed by 2 of full-time public school. This on top of an inherited shyness means that I have trouble maintaining the few friendships that I have had, so I feel for you, man.

    Partly out of anger, I sought truth outside of the faith of my parents, and about a year and a half ago, I decided that faith was not my thing. Now, I’ve been reading Harris, Hitchens, and Dawkins in secret. I feel like a coward for not having the courage to come out to my parents.

    Keep your courage up, and I’ll try to do likewise.

  • Luna Moth

    Hey!

    I was homeschooled, went to a Catholic school and am now an atheist.

    You might want to check out the forums at nolongerquivering.com–even if your fam wasn’t quiverfull, you’ll find lots of former homeschoolers-turned-atheists on the site. :) And it’s a great community.

    If you wanna get in touch you can send me an email. anarielsun at gmail dot com.

  • Luna Moth

    errr I went to a catholic college. :)

  • http://thesecretatheist.wordpress.com/ TheSecretAtheist

    I was homeschooled from grade 1 through 12 (I attended a public school for kindergarten). My family isn’t really what you would call fundamentalist (though there are some fundamentalist leanings in my father’s theology, and they are definitely conservative) but they are religious (my father is a Southern Baptist pastor, I lived on the campus of a Southern Baptist seminary from the age of 10 until I went to a Southern Baptist college).

    Most of the curriculum we used in the early years was A Beka (published by Pensacola Christian College). Later my mom began to pick and chose different things (some was from Bob Jones). There were always Christian undertones to everything (except math, we used Saxon). Science, history and literature were all “bible centric” versions.

    We did, however, make fun of the “crazy homeschoolers” who followed Bill Gothard and his “Institute in Basic Life Principles” so we weren’t THAT conservative fundamentalist.

    I was, however, taught that evolution is a myth and that the world was created 6000 years ago, though at the time I think my parents were just learning the basics of this. Now they are MUCH more into the AiG lies, subscribe to their magazine and everything.

    However, they taught me to answer my questions for myself. My father’s favorite annoying activity was to tell me to look up the answer to some question I’d asked him (even if it was about things of which I knew he knew like electronic circuits). This was highly annoying when I was a child, but I am very glad that he taught me to learn instead of just teaching me the information.

    So, not quite fundamentalist homeschooler, but pretty far to the right on most things. Somehow they missed the lesson the conservatives teach about not letting real learning happen and I escaped. :)

    I apologize for this long rambly response…

  • http://criticallyskeptic.blogspot.com Kevin, Critically Skeptic

    Re: Homeschooling Socialization:

    Hate to break up the actual topic, but here’s my view on it.

    When I was homeschooled, my sister and I went out to do things besides sitting around the house – on Tuesdays we went to the Church Bible Study which was largely filled with older people. We also went to the Library where they had lectures on Shakespeare and to the Adult Education center where we learned some foreign languages.

    We weren’t coddled, and in fact could communicate with adults. I regret I couldn’t have engaged said adults in really important discussion and learned more, but that’s because I was fundie YEC.

  • Jay

    I was part homeschooled, and part sent to private Christian school, so it wasn’t until university that I found out how much I’d been lied to. And then man, was I ever angry! However, it still took me 3 years before I considered myself an atheist, and then I also came out as a gender-queer lesbian, so…

    It’s funny though, it’s still the atheism that my parent’s can’t stand.

  • Jon

    I was homeschooled K-10 until I started attending community college.

    My mom taught my brother and I using Beka, Saxon, and Bob Jones. I think we even used Ken Ham’s textbook at one point. Literalist, Fundamentalist, Conservative, Young-Earth Creationist. We went to church 2-3 times a week and were involved in every program. My parents and brother are still Christians and thank God for every blessing in every birthday card.

    I actually left public university with my bachelor’s still accepting YEC, but I’d started to notice that preachers weren’t always right and seemed confused on basic science and logic points.

    Two years ago I saw a modern dinosaur book with 10 or more varieties of each basic type and realized there was too much variation to fit on an ark. I started reading books on evolution and books on biblical criticism, and the christian responses, but found that the skeptics knew what they were talking about and the Christians didn’t seem to understand the questions.

    A year ago I realized I had no use for blind faith and that I was already an atheist.

  • http://thebrunettesblog.wordpress.com Ginny

    I and my three siblings were all homeschooled. Now my sister and I are atheists (we have a blog together) and our two brothers are fairly non-religious.

    We were luckier than many; our parents did a fairly decent job of teaching us critical thinking, we had active social lives (though mostly through the church) and my dad thought creationism was ridiculous. Through our various homeschool groups (all of which were somewhat religion-centered), I met a lot of other families that were somewhat more conservative and sheltering than ours, a few that were more liberal, a very few that seemed downright cultish, and one whose kids seemed to have no social skills whatsoever.

    When I was young I was sure I’d homeschool my own kids. Now I’m thinking some kind of mixed approach. It’s definitely a mixed bag, even without the religious indoctrination. But I’m proud of the independence and iconoclastic mindset it gave me.

    My parents are pretty good about dealing with our atheism; I think they hope we’ll get over it, but it’s not a big deal. Now when our various “alternative lifestyle” choices come to light (I’m polyamorous, she’s genderqueer) it might be a different story.

  • http://criticallyskeptic.blogspot.com Kevin, Critically Skeptic

    @Ginny:

    I’ll have to start reading your blog. Mental note to self – add Ginny’s blog to home bookmarks!

  • Hazor

    I was homeschooled, K-12, by parents who became missionaries between 6th and 7th grades. The curriculum was certainly religious. My highschool biology textbook didn’t cover anything on the cellular or molecular level until the very end on the grounds that it would confuse students, and throughout were comments and tidbits about how stuff obviously wasn’t evolutionary in nature but had to be created, and the chapter on evolution was laden with poor arguments by people who, in retrospect, didn’t know what they were talking about. My favorite part had to be how it explained that rock music is sinful and I shouldn’t want to listen to it, and that it’s harmful because of “nerve jamming,” which was explained as a mental state comparable to hypnosis. The exact origin of the concept of nerve jamming I never could determine, only that it was put forward by someone from Bob Jones University, a protestant Christian university in South Carolina. In college, I’m majoring in psychology and minoring in biology (Yay neurobiology!) and have not heard of a similar concept in my 3.5 years of study, nor in any of my classes have I learned of anything that would give the concept a reasonable basis. I also sit in the camp of hypnosis being crock, but I digress.

    In my homeschooling I rarely interacted with other kids. The church I attended had few boys around my age, especially as I got older. I have 7 siblings, but the immediate older and younger are both 3 years distant from me, so interaction with them was never on a common level. As a result, I had no social skills by the time I finished highschool. Over time they’ve improved (I think being in college has helped dramatically) but it has been difficult and I still struggle having conversations, especially with people I perceive as authority figures or deserving of awe or respect.

    It was around 15 that I started doubting my faith. Some things stopped making sense to me – like how everyone said God answered prayers and claimed he had answered theirs while obstinately refusing to answer my prayers for help with social awkwardness. The realization that it was only through my own efforts that I was developing social competency was a factor in my eventual rejection of religion. Shortly after turning 18, God was remaining silent and absent, and I decided in light of this that he probably didn’t exist. It was not the most enjoyable 3 years, but I’m better off for it. Since then I’ve developed adequate social confidence to suffice for most things and have become the secretary for my school’s Secular Student Alliance affiliate group.

    Perhaps not all of that is relevant, but my intention is to say, Homeschooler, that you aren’t alone in your situation. I experienced something similar and had my struggles as well, but life’s struggles and how we choose to handle them are what makes us who we are.

  • Osperus

    My mother “homeschooled” my sisters and I and she is fundamentalist. I started questioning it all at 22, and now at 24 I’m an Atheist but still struggling with the damage she had done when I was a kid.

    Part of the reasons I became Atheist is because I’m far too logical and my mother just couldn’t change that. Another reason is I am bisexual, and I couldn’t wrap my head around God created me just to send my to hell. Lastly, the isolation. I couldn’t figure out how God expected me to marry and have kids if I couldn’t leave the acreage.

    My younger sister is an Atheist as well, and her reasons are very similar to mine. The youngest out of us is a Wiccan.

    My mother didn’t want us ‘corrupted”. We had a very lonely schooling experience. We didn’t even go to church, and since we live on an acreage… well, lets just say, I’m very grateful for the internet. I can talk to people I’m not living with :D

    You aren’t alone.

  • Sarah

    Hi Homeschooler! You are definitely not alone, I was also homeschooled in a very fundamentalist style until I went to community college when I was 16. That was a huge shock to my system, and over the following 5 years I gradually grew out of my faith and became an atheist. The whole process was socially hard but intellectually exhilarating, and it gets so much better over time. Just look at the responses to this one letter- the more you explore your OWN interests and thoughts, you’ll meet more people you can truly relate to.

    Nowadays my childhood and early education seem so surreal to me, like a bad dream. I remember watching “Jesus Camp” a few months ago because a friend of mine said it was so shocking, but I just sat there thinking about analogous experiences from my own childhood and feeling amazed at how different and how much better my life is now.

    I was lucky to have one close friend and two of my brothers also question their faith and leave it with me, but a major source of intellectual and emotional support came from the internet community. Having people you can talk to is invaluable.

    So fundamentalist-homeschooler-turned-atheist might be rare, but we are out here!

  • Almond

    I too was homeschooled in a fundamentalist cult and am now an atheist. I would be willing to share my email address as well. It was tough to adjust at first, but for the first time in my life, I am finally free to be who I truly am.

    Good luck!

  • http://jcreigh.blogspot.com Jason Creighton

    I was homeschooled K-12, and am now an atheist. I started having doubts about Christianity in my late teens and by the time I was 20, I realized that I didn’t believe in god anymore.

    I waited about 6 months before I told my family, but they ended up being pretty cool about it. Granted, it hurts me to know that they probably believe I’m destined for hell, but I still have a good relationship with my siblings and parents, who are all Christians.

    I certainly sympathize with your situation: It feels lonely at times to be at some sort of event or family gathering, look around the room at all the fundies and think “Am I really the only one who doubts this stuff?” Rest assured that you are not alone.

  • Ginger

    Dear Homeschooler and Friends,

    I was also homeshcooled (grades 4-9) with a Fundamentalist Christian Curriculum. It was a very bleak time in my life. I have always been incredibly interested in school and excited about learning, so I managed to keep up academically. However, this period of my life was one of extreme isolation and social deprivation. I started public school in the tenth grade, mainly because my parents feared that I would miss out on higher math and science if they continued to homeschool me. Once I started public school, I was immediately put in honors and AP classes, joined the academic team, mock-trials team, literary competition team, and one-act play crew. However, my childhood spent away from peers, teachers, and popular culture left me socially paralyzed. For weeks, I didn’t eat at all because I had no idea how to buy food in the cafeteria and I was too embarrassed to ask. Fortunately, I am a natural extrovert and made friends quickly (and even began dating a nice boy), but my social backwardness also left me open to bullying. I was also afraid because I had been told lies for years about what public school would be like, in an attempt to convince me that homeschooling was good for me. For years, my parents threatened to send me to public school if I misbehaved. I went in sincerely believing that everyone I met there would be stupid, amoral, and probably addicted to drugs. I was absolutely shocked to learn that most of the students and teachers at my school were Christians, and that many of them were perfectly nice people! After seeing how well I was doing in the “evil,” “secular” public school, my parents began to threaten to homeschool me again if I became too involved with the secular culture of the school. I was constantly accused of being “rebellious” and of associating with “ungodly friends.” Eventually, they began threatening to send me to a fundamentalist boarding school in Florida. My high school career was a careful balancing act of embracing all that public education and peer relationships could offer while convincing my parents I was still a godly, submissive, and obedient daughter. I knew that if I told them that I was beginning to suspect that Christianity was false I would not be allowed to go to college and would certainly be forced to break up with my boyfriend. So, I toed the line until I could go to an all-women’s college in the same city as my boyfriend. There, I quickly became involved with a local church and with the Baptist Student Union. It wasn’t until my senior year of college – after I was engaged to my boyfriend – that I admitted to myself that I didn’t believe in God. I learned that same year that my boyfriend was also an atheist and had just gone along with my religious views because he felt he ought to. After college, I married quickly to avoid moving back home. My life and my marriage are very happy now. I graduated from a good college with high honors, I have a job I love, and I am currently applying to graduate programs.

  • Noble 6

    I was homeschooled for the seventh grade using “A Beka Book” curriculum. It was some of the most ridiculous pseudoscience and pseudohistory ever concocted.

    Just as an example: they tried to recast the Civil War as not about slavery.

    Fortunately I scored very high on the PSAT and was allowed to skip eighth grade and go into a public high school.

    I certainly didn’t get the 12 years of it, but 1 year was enough for me to realize how poor that curriculum is. The only thing that wasn’t tainted and distorted as part of being Christian propaganda was the math.

    Anyway, I am an atheist now and am working on my Master’s doing my thesis on religious rhetoric and religious cognition.

  • http://spackledorfed.wordpress.com spackledorfed

    This is kind of unrelated, but I live in Pensacola and had no idea what A Beka was until I saw it in a lot of comments here and decided to look it up. Now that I know what it is, I’m going to have a really hard time at work (the Post Office) not throwing all of the outgoing A Beka stuff away!

  • Ex-Baptist Daughter

    A Beka!! Joyous curriculum. I wasn’t homeschooled, but I was “church-schooled”–my parents church has a k-12 school in separate rooms in the church, about 60 students. So while I did experience some of the stuff related to being in school, I was in my own class and being lied to…so I think I can relate.

    One of the big issues for me is that I have trouble trusting anything I believe in anymore. I am constantly questioning my stance on atheism, evolution, women’s rights, etc., because I know that I have been trained to swallow things whole just because I’ve been taught them.

    Kent Hovind can actually be credited for turning me atheist. I entered college spouting off young earth creationist ideas like they were fact, and just around this time he was imprisoned for tax evasion. This prompted me to research him and his videos and find out that alot of the YEC theory that I had been taught was based on flawed generalizations, crazy ideas, and outright lies. I now have no idea what of my knowledge biology/geology/science/economics/government in general is completely false. I know that feeling of betrayal.

    But just know that you are not the only one out there. The family issues will work themselves out (or not–it is ultimately up to them). For my part, my family is accepting of me, but never misses an opportunity to preach at me if I open the door.

  • Lauren

    I was home schooled with the A Beka Book curriculum like so many other commenters I’ve seen up above. There was the additional SDA spin on it too, so that was fun. …Yeah…

    Luckily I was only home schooled for a few years.

  • Togii

    I wasn’t going to comment, but reading some of the previous comments about homeschooled kids having poor social skills made me laugh.. I was taken out of public school because I had poor social skills to begin with, and my parents thought I’d be better off learning peacefully on my own than in a stressful public school environment.
    Apparently it worked, because I’m plenty well-adjusted now :)
    I’m happy I was homeschooled by my crazy Christian step-mom, though.. reading a few pages of the Bible on my own each morning was always my first assignment, and the things I read in that book horrified me. Fastest way to turn a little girl into an atheist is to have her read the Bible cover-to-cover, for sure, haha. No way I was worshiping that evil god.

  • chompster

    I wasn’t homeschooled, but I found this thread very interesting and the stories not that different from my own upbringing (I was raised Muslim and went to public schools, yet my mind was in a trap and stubbornly refused to accept the truths around me).

    I was actually thinking about this topic of religiosity and homeschooling recently, after reading about how a certain prominent Muslim scholar in the US is homeschooling his kids. (For those who are interested, google Hamza Yusuf; this guy is really popular among American Muslims. Lately his fan club has been growing in other countries as well). I felt a pang of sadness for his young children who will most likely grow up viewing the outside world in a distorted manner.

  • Sarah

    I thought I commented on this long ago, but I guess it didn’t go through.

    @Beck is my sister. I am the other atheist in the family. My experience was, unsurprisingly, very similar to hers. Science education consisted of ‘God did it’ and an extreme misrepresentation of evolution, so that we all thought it was the stupidest idea ever. I remember History as being mostly Bible stories, and a little bit of ancient history. Nothing remotely modern.
    In my state, home-schoolers are required to test their children every year with government-issued tests to ensure that they are getting a proper education. I took 4 of these tests during my entire k-10 education.
    Fortunately, I was able to attend community college during my junior and senior years. It was there that I actually began to learn about the world around me, and realize how completely lacking my home-school education had been.
    I agree with my sister that the type of fundamentalist, home-schooled ‘education’ we received should be classified as child abuse.

  • AnonyMouse

    Yep, homeschooled by fundies. It was a really bad place for me to be, because my mother was able to control an enormous percentage of the information that actually made it to me (and influence how I took in the rest by “educating” me on how wrong everyone else was). I only got out of it thanks to the Internet and my sister. Also thanks to them, I’ve turned into the kind of super-queer-liberal that would make my mother die of fright. :P

    The worst part for me was not having any friends. No one in the church I went to wanted anything to do with me, and I was forbidden from making friends with anyone who didn’t go to that church, so it was basically me, my sister, and a handful of cousins whom I got to see every few months. You might think I could think of something worse about growing up brainwashed and manipulated, but it’s the social contact that I regret not having more than anything else.

    On the upside, this meant that when it came to questioning my faith, I didn’t have a circle of friends to feed me reassuring platitudes and drag me back into the fold. I did that badly enough on my own. XD

  • Natasha

    I was homeschooled until 10th grade in a fundamentalist home. We were told that public schools were bad through and through, and when I finally convinced my parents to let me go to high school, they made me feel terrible about what a horrible person I’d become – never wanting to spend time at home, etc.

    I still find myself making science flubs. I never really learned how evolution worked until 12th grade AP Environmental Science. Most of what we learned was fairly open and undirected, so as a kid I had to take charge of my own education to some extent. My parents also pushed us to start college early, which I chose not to do. Three (and it may soon be four) of my sisters and I are now atheist. My deconversion started at the end of high school. I recently wrote a play about all that unraveling as my senior project in college.

    I would love to hear from you if you want to talk more about it. I also recommend the Facebook group “I Was An Evangelical Poster Child,” where you can post some of the humorous things from your childhood and find some people to commiserate with.

  • Rachel

    Recently a new friend was SHOCKED on discovering that I was homeschooled. Dad was a pastor, mom was a homemaker, and they are fundamentalist like woah. Someone mentioned Bill Gothard above…I went to a workshop of his when I was little. My parents are currently into all kind of tea party conspiracy theories, so that’s fun.

    I stopped being religious pretty soon after I came out as a lesbian. We learned to read Greek and Hebrew when we were little, and by the time I went to college I’d been reading the bible every year since I was seven. Eventually you start realizing what you’re reading…that God of the old testament is kind of an asshole! My parents made the fatal mistake of teaching us to critically analyze. Once I came out (as both gay and atheist), my siblings were soon to follow, at least on the latter. :)

  • http://mildlycompetent.blogspot.com/ Bryan

    I was raised in a fundamentalist home (LCMS), was home schooled for three years, attended Christian schools for another five. I didn’t have the luxury of being taught real critical thinking skills as a child. Rote memorization and trusting authority were highly emphasized. I still struggle with this today.

    I came out to my parents very recently as Agnostic. Despite the fact that I had been obviously questioning the faith for the past six years, my father (who trained to become a pastor) said he was caught entirely off guard. He said that he won’t be okay until I return to the Church. They haven’t talked to me since unless absolutely necessary.

    Having a group of people that I can talk with openly about this issue has been the greatest help to me so far. Seek social outlets– even if only electronic ones. If you’re in college, find the closest Secular Student Alliance (or similar organization). Those friendships can be extremely helpful during the time that your family will be coping.

  • annonomaus (however you spell it)

    lol i agree with the statement that we were taught about the God of the old testement. my dad is a strict babtist preacher, oldest daughter of a large ATI(A) Family. aka Bill gothard, (gonna look and see if there is a recovery site for bill gothard families :) lil bit of abeca in high school and lil bit of bobjones. our social interaction consited of sundays at a small less than 100 people church and once a week homeschool groups in highschool. long story short i am a 30 year old single mother of 2 who is not aitheist but strongly searching for the truth. i definatly belive in the pwer within but have a hard time beliving in myself, having an opinion, dealing with guilt, social interactions ect…sorry for all the gripping but i need help


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