In the United States, 83% of the population identify as Christians. This is quite obviously a massive portion of the population. However, there is a belief system that has seen massive growth over the past couple hundred years known as atheism, or the lack of a belief in a god. Atheists currently make up 13% of the United States population. This belief system is becoming more popular as time goes on, but it’s often viewed as evil or sinful by Christians. Therefore, when you have atheist children in religious homes, it can cause many issues. Parents may make their children feel unloved, either accidentally or purposefully. This can lead to some very abrasive home relationships, or even fear for children in the household.
Atheist children in religious homes often face a constant fear of discrimination from their parents. Nobody wants to be rejected, and especially not by their own parents. It is often a terrifying thought to even think about telling their parents that they aren’t Christian. They often believe that their parents may reject them, punish them, or in the worst cases disown them. Growing up with the idea that your parents may stop loving you simply because you don’t believe the same thing they do is not only unfair to the child, but may cause them to show signs of depression or other mental disorders. Parents may also force their child to continue going to religious services, which may have similar effects. Forcing a child to attend a religious service makes them feel as though their current lifestyle is wrong, and they could even feel as though they have no worth. It is unhealthy for the child to live in fear that their parents may find out that they are an atheist or feel as though they are worthless, and no child should have to live through that.
There are obviously some very negative effects of religious parents being oppressive to atheist children, but that doesn’t mean all religious people are oppressive. There are also many parents who are accepting, and make sure their children know they are loved no matter what. This is the most positive thing an atheist child can hear from their religious parents. When a religious parent assures their child that they are always going to love them regardless of their beliefs, that is a very strong bonding factor and contributes to a high amount of trust between parent and child. Not every religious parent is oppressive and mean.
The bottom line is being an atheist child with religious parents can be tough. They may not always know what the outcome is going to be if they tell their parents they aren’t religious. It is easy to get scared or feel threatened. Often times, the parents can be oppressive and judgmental, which could make the child feel unloved and abandoned. However, there are always going to be kind and loving religious parents who will assure their child they are there for them. The outcome of being an atheist in a religious home all depends on the love of the parents. It is important to remember to love your child, regardless of their religious decisions.