Growing Up Atheist
In Honduras

Graphic Rule

From: "Positive Atheism Magazine" <>
To: "Ivan"
Subject: Re: PA-via_Positive_Atheism_ Seeking Your Advice
Date: Wednesday, October 04, 2000 2:39 AM

I have known many parents to require church attendance of both child and adult offspring who live in their homes. Occasionally, what the parent is trying to say is, "Find a way to support yourself" and at times the parent sincerely believes that the religion will do the kid some good. I have even seen one situation where the parent was simply displaying power, but the parent still had a point in that the parent owned the house and paid all the bills, and the offspring could make an effort to be self-supporting.

The best I can give you is that we all make choices once we are adults. I don't know at what age a minor can be emancipated in Honduras, but here you can be on your own in some states at age 16. Usually, though, when a child lives in the house, the child is expected to do what the parent says, unless the parent requires that the child break the law, and then the parent becomes a lawbreaker and the child could end up in a foster home.

If remaining in your parents home has advantages that outweigh having to participate in meaningless rituals (at most, perhaps, a degrading experience), then you do well to play the game. This might include if you are to study at the University, etc., versus leaving to join the work force or the military when you turn 18. Many would gladly pantomime some empty rituals if it meant getting an education, and others wouldn't be untrue to their convictions even at the risk of life and limb. In Oregon where it gets very cold, hundreds of grown men spend an hour singing religious songs and listening to religions sermons just to be able to eat and perhaps sleep at the Rescue Mission. Sure it's degrading, but it all depends on what you want and what you value.

Our forum called "Moving Beyond Just A Polite Response?" involves a young woman who was risking being allowed to see her friend. Some might call this a small risk when compared to risking losing the opportunity to get a college education, but others might call jeopardizing a friendship a high price to pay for dignity. She chose to pursue dignity, and I would not have faulted her if she had made either choice.

Meanwhile, have you pointed out that for you to participate in this ritual is for you to lie? that by forcing you to take the sacraments, etc., they are requiring you to lie to the priest and to the congregation? Does honesty and truthfulness mean anything to them? I realize that some people take their religion much more seriously than most people do, and this colors their perspective when dealing with religious matters.

But, if you can make any headway with the honesty angle, you would do well to keep a spotless behavior record in all other respects. This would mean following all the other rules such as curfews and chores and all things that families expect of the various individual members of the household.

But then, perhaps you are like me and do best to live alone. I live alone and have for twelve years straight, and have lived alone on several occasions before that. Only once did I live with someone else and have a good time at it. To live alone is very costly, but sometimes you really have to pay for what you want or need. Again, almost everything is a choice, and we make choices based upon what we want versus what we can afford to pay. Many of us must live with others because of economic factors or because we have commitments to a family situation. If we live with others, we cannot do whatever we want, but must always take the other family members' quirks into consideration.

Cliff Walker
"Positive Atheism" Magazine
Five years of service to
     people with no reason to believe

Graphic Rule

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