Surviving (Your Child's) Adolescence

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When Adolescents Renounce the Family Faith

For many parents, religious training of children is a central part of family life. When in adolescence a young person questions the family faith or even rejects it, parents need to keep faith with the faith they have taught, giving the young person time to recover her or his own. Read More

In practice, Christmas is

In practice, Christmas is about Santa Claus, not Christianity. Atheists put up trees and exchange gifts, just like everyone else. "Christmas" originated as a non-religious celebration of the winter solstice, so it's a time of year that everyone can celebrate.

A celebration for many reasons

Christmas is celebrated as a religious and a secular occasion depending on the family.

I laughed my arse off.

Full of shite.

This article makes the

This article makes the assumption that Atheism is somehow a bad thing and perhaps even a product of teenage rebellion instead of sincere nonbelief. Why are you so threatened by Atheism, Carl?

No censure of atheism intended

There are many belief systems, atheism is just one, and as "good" as any other.

Atheism isn't a system of belief

Atheism isn't a system of belief with the adherents "believing in nothing". Atheism is the rejection of a claim that is unsupported by evidence. In the face of this lack of evidence, the null hypothesis is the only rational alternative.

Seriously, Carl... you need to get informed before writing an article such as this.

Atheism a belief system?

Atheism is a rational belief system that rejects beliefs that do not have evidence to support them. Thanks for the correction.

No Carl... that's not how it works.

No Carl, you're still not getting it. Atheism IS NOT A SYSTEM OF BELIEF; IT IS THE REJECTION OF A CLAIM. What are the tenets of Atheism? There are none, because Atheism is just the rejection of deities. Secular Humanism could be regarded as a "belief system" or ideology, but not Atheism.


Recommend a text for me to read.

The God Delusion by Richard


This is going to be a very educational blog for me.

Here's some stuff on the interwebz for you...

But first, just think about it for a minute. What is Atheism? At its foundation, what is it exactly? It is the *lack* of belief in deities. How can a lack of belief be a belief system? That is contradictory nonsense.

Secondly, I think we need to stop being fast and loose in our discourse, and define our terms clearly. What do you think a "belief system" is?

Is Atheism an Ism?

Is Atheism a belief?

Countering the claim that "Atheism is a religion"


Will read up.

Not an "A-Theist"

I do not use the word "atheist" do define myself, because that would mean defining myself in relation to theism.
I am a "Rationalist" because I only believe what has evidence to support it. Feel free to show me scientific evidence for a deity and I will give the evidence genuine consideration.


Personally, I make difference between "religion" and "philosophy." I see atheism more as a philosophy than a religion (like some forms of Buddhism which don't accept existence of Gods). Maybe it's just a matter of taste but to call an atheism to be a religion doesn't seem to me to be logical as it was already pointed out.


Maybe a belief in not believing.

IN this age of information it

IN this age of information it isn't surprising that children are being exposed to many different beliefs and practices and no longer accept their parents choices and beliefs, blindly.
I agree that many of my friends that " left" church and went a little crazy in their teens and 20's went back later in life. It may be that they didn't stop believing altogether but felt constricted by the rules and used Atheism as a scape goat to go crazy or assert their independence without the guilt.
I am not a believer, I never have been. My parents were what I call armchair Christians. They talked the talked but didn't walk the walk. They forced me to attend confirmation classes but they never went to church. Once old enough to choose I gave up the charade of belief and my mother is beside herself. The hypocrisy seen as a child probably opened my eyes to another way of life.

Example matters

When non-church going parents send children to church, their action can speak louder than words.

As if its a bad thing

I notice the article uses the word "faith" without really defining it. Functionally, people express faith when they pretend to know things that they don't really know. After all, who *really* knows what got the universe started? But a faithful follower of Judaism, Christianity or Islam will tell you they know 100% for sure that a supernatural entity spoke it into existence with the words "Let there be light". An atheist will tell you that's highly unlikely, to put it mildly, and the Christian is just pretending that they know for sure.

For an adolescent to reject faith may simply be saying, "I've just realised I've been pretending to know that all this stuff I've been taught in church is true, when really I don't know because there's not enough evidence, and I don't want to pretend any more". A bit of teen rebellion helps them along. Maybe they'll decide to start pretending again later, or maybe they'll make a habit of requiring justification before claiming to know things.

Religious Faith

Microsoft Word's definition of delusion captures religious faith almost perfectly. It is defined as 'a persistent false belief held in the face of strong contradictory evidence, especially as a symptom of psychiatric disorder'.

When one person suffers form a delusion, it is called insanity. When many people suffer from a delusion it is called Religion.
-Robert M. Pirsig


Great line. Thanks.


Nice statement. Part of the human dilemma -- how can we truly know what we know is true? Some base it on reasonable evidence, some take it on faith, some rely on a mix of both.


What a fascinating definition of faith: "when people pretend to know things they really don't know."


I am disappointed. :\ I was hopping for an unbiased, educational piece. It is difficult to go along with family to weekly religious outings when your views do not correlate with the specified religious affiliation. You should not have to make a deal on how many times you attend the religious event with the other party. If anything, the other party should learn more about evolution, facts not stories. If you grew up in a religious home, then you have already been introduced to this realm. Since, you have grown and have became more educated, you should not have to go backwards to satisfy family members. If anything the atheist could educate the "believer".

Conflicts of belief

That sounds very hard, being a non-believer in a family of believers. Having to go along with what you don't believe.

The only time I go into a

The only time I go into a church is for weddings and funerals, unfortunately these days it is mostly funerals. It is possible to attend without taking an active part in any service.
But I pointedly refuse to attend christenings as that would involve supporting the corruption of minors.

Oscar Wilde would appreciate

Great line: "I pointedly refuse to attend christenings as that would involve supporting the corruption of minors."

I realised christianity was a

I realised christianity was a made up religion too just like greek myths and legends and gensis couldn't be true because of dinosaurs. I was a nine year old girl. My parents thought I'd grow out of being an atheist at 47 I still haven't.


When what one is taught doesn't seem to make sense, it is reasonable to rely on reason.

Adolescents and Religion

Funny this showed up, I have raised my children in the church, and just the other day (right on time) my 14 year old told me he does not think he should have to attend church if he is not sure what he believes, and I actually ended up quoting Tony Soprano telling his son "you might not believe it but you are still going to kiss His a*& until you are 18". I remember thinking it was all a joke when I was his age, and later on went back. Just part of growing up.......... He can make his own choices later on, but I made a promise to do it a certain way until he is an adult.

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Carl Pickhardt, Ph.D., is a psychologist in Austin, Texas. His most recent books are: The Connected Father, The Future of Your Only Child, and Stop Screaming.


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