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Sacramento Freethinkers Atheists & Nonbelievers (FAN) Message Board › teen wants to go to church

teen wants to go to church

A former member
Post #: 31
We have 4 daughters. We are a blended family. They have a wonderful father and step father and of course extended family. My now 13 year old is struggling with identity issues. From what I am seeing and feeling and hearing, she wants to explore her heritage and with that, her Mexican, Catholic side.
I will say...she wants very much to have a quincenera with a friend. This I believe is what is fueling her hunger. It Of course means she is not interested in faith, its a technicality to allow her to have a coming of age party.
She knows my views on religion and that I study world religion. also that I am taking steps to a degree in Philosophy. I have been open to her feelings about faith, but always with my "two cents". I wonder if I should allow her to figure this all out on her own. I may feel that I am right and my feelings and beliefs are justified but I think I may be denying her the right to have know for herself.

I hear the response, give her the bible and she'll find out for herself. This is a thought. I also want to ask her why do you pick Catholicism or Christianity? Why is it you assume you believe in Jesus? (because we live in the Us?) Should I give her a list of religions, have her read through and pick?

I also do not mind taking her to church. But which one? Ultimately I will have to donate my money and I don't want to do this because I don't want to fund and organization that I don't agree with.

Do I just pick one? Make her pick one? Make her study?

Being spiritual is one thing, she can pray at home. I am sensing that if it isn't about her "party" it's because she wants to "see" what this community is all about.

On another note, I was reading "Good without God" I relate more to the spiritual atheist or humanist where I still feel the need for community with the secular population. Same as a church but without God. Im sad we don't have anything like this. If we did I am thinking it would assist many families with the same issues. Wanting to be surrounded with others of the same values and community. Giving back, volunteering etc, without worship....
grrrrr. I have a side of me that wants to volunteer and help others, give charity. Unfortunately I I am learning to be a part of a group, the are typically a religious group. That is frustrating me. I am considering starting our own group...

Any suggestions?
Sacramento, CA
Post #: 107
First of all, there is a community for nonbelievers in Sacramento, this meetup!! That's the point of our group. We do occasionally do volunteering (it's been too long, but yesterday we were discussion 2 opportunities for the near future). We have presentations, and fun activities, we even started a singing group. Though it's more centered around adults, so not necessarily the best fit for your daughter. (There are several other groups in the area, which are a part of the Sacramento area Coalition of Reason:, but they are also adult focused.)

Also, there is a church, Unitarian Universalist, that is open to people of all religious and nonreligious beliefs. From their website: "We have historic roots in the Jewish and Christian traditions, but today individual Unitarian Universalists may identify with Atheism, Agnosticism, Buddhism, Humanism, Paganism, or with other philosophical or religious traditions. Interfaith families often find that Unitarian Universalist congregations are a good fit for them."­

There are 3 congregations in our area...
local UU churches

Good luck!
A former member
Post #: 32
Thank you! I will look them up biggrin
Sacramento, CA
Post #: 108
To expand upon my point that this group is a community for nonbelievers, if there are any types of meetings that you'd like to see that we aren't doing (such as specific volunteering and family event ideas, both of which we've done, but not as often as I'd like), PLEASE suggest them to me!

We love to have people step forward to host events. And they don't have to be atheist centered... they can be just fun social events to hang out with other nonbelievers.
A former member
Post #: 26
Definitely let her go. There is nothing wrong with allowing her to explore the world and it's various traditions on her own.

There is a powerful effect of being a parent which is, even when you don't think so, your kids are modeling themselves after you. There is no harm in allowing her to have this experience I think. As a fellow philosophy major, you are well equipped to ask the critical questions after the fact. I think that giving a person a bible is not inherently dangerous. Giving them the bible without the critical questioning attitude is dangerous.

There is definitely a strong desire as a parent to protect your children from everything you think is dangerous. There's definitely nothing wrong with this desire. I think in this circumstance you are well prepared to discuss with her the things she is studying in a larger concept. "Which god?" "What's the problem of evil?" etc. I wouldn't worry about it. I think the taste of learning and education is much stronger than the taste of dogma every day. I think the possibly alienation from her friends is a more critical issue at the moment. A 13 yr old should not be deprived of the social interactions that bind us all together.

(just my two cents)
A former member
Post #: 33
Thank you both for your help. Im considering all of this....

Rachel, I really like this group. I hope I didn't offend you or anyone by implying we aren't a community. I definitely feel WE are a community here with this group. I think after re reading what I wrote implied the opposite. Im sorry.

I am very excited to meet everyone and RSV'd for a few upcoming events. You guys are doing an awesome job and Im so grateful to have stumbled across this Meet up group. My post was more about my daughter not feeling a sense of belonging and its hard to have the views I have and not know how I can share them with her without her feeling as if Im not respecting her own beliefs. having this group and checking out the websites you mentioned will help me open a door to both a sense of faith on her own and community.

You mentioned helping out in the group. I would LOVE to, i just didn't know if it was to early to ask since I hadn't done much here except read and post a few messages. I honestly would be more than happy to host or organize and event. What about donating cloths blankets, etc to a local organization? I am currently working on 3 major ones right now. If the group would like to be involved I would be so excited to share them with everyone and help promote the group!

Sacramento, CA
Post #: 109
No worries (sorry if i came on too strong in defense of the group. FAN isn't really a solution for your situation anyway)...

And I agree with Matt's comments, though I'm sure easier said than done.

If you have a meeting idea, I am more than happy to post, esp if it's volunteer related. We are going to do a canned food and toy drive at our December meeting... Were you thinking that people could help you with the blankets, or make their own? [Actually, my silver award project for Girl Scouts was getting supplies donated and prepared and getting people to make quilts to donate]

A former member
Post #: 3
Leeanna, I, too, have teens, and we live in a very religious community. Many of their friends are religious. I've had to deal with some of the same issues. My daughter is older than yours now, but when this issue came up, I let my daughter go to the youth groups, etc.. to check them out for herself when she wanted to go with her friends. The only time we said no was when they wanted her to go away for a week during summer to some vacation bible camp. I did not want her to be held captive for such a long time with their indoctrination. She came back with some crazy stories from these youth groups! But she also came back with the views in alignment with ours. But, we talk a lot about the different religions in the world with our kids. We always have. I don't fear for them to learn about religion. I want them to learn all they can, in fact, just with a critical eye, questioning things instead of just taking what's said as truth. I believe it really is up to them to decide for themselves. Although, I believe that growing up within one's own family, they really do pick up on their parents' beliefs. Hope that makes sense:) Also, I completely agree that what those of us are missing by not having a religion to follow is the sense of community one gets from their church. I've gone to one Unity church, and it was too churchie for me -- but that's just me and may just be that one particular Unity church. Good luck!
David D.
Lodi, CA
Post #: 56
Regarding the quincenera, you should totally let her do it.

While it is, technically, a religious party, it doesn't have to be. You can weed out the parts that are overtly religious and still have a pretty awesome party.

Half jewish, I've been to enough bar/bahtmizphas to know that while they practice the traditions of judiasm, there isn't much faith going on.

It's an excuse to party.
A former member
Post #: 34
Wonderful suolutions! I am looking into where she can go. I like the Universal church a little, I may chack that out too!

I can definitley come out to the meeting!

I'm hosting a huge philanthropy project December 11th.
I got local business's and families to come out and support by giving donations to the Childrens Recieving Home of Sacramento, a place where children go when they are removed from the home. We are also supporting The Roseville Home Start, a transitional program for families moving from a life on the street to homes together with their families. the business owners come out to sponser by giving out discounts, free services, raffles etc and so those who donate also walk away with a perk! Local business market for free and they too will market to their own networking circle, so our event gets a larger audience.

I am working on getting good Day Sacramento to come out that day too. there will be a DJ and the restaraunt (AJ's Eatery in roseville is hosting it at their location) will offer huge discounts that day :) Im very excited!

I am sending out the evites and flyers this week. Could I post it here too? I can also spread the info about the groups donation/toy drive :)
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