Atheistic children and a Lay Low tactic

Their exists a popular social media site that shall remain nameless which features a sub forum of a secularism that will not be directly stated in which the topic of coming out as atheist is discussed. It says come out as atheists when you are financially independent and under your own roof. It then references more than 20 posts of coming out as an atheists from large quantities of religions.

We as Catholics see the moves of atheists and they see our own moves. Atheists have adapted to our economic and physical control of our young. This is the tactic the Catholic family unit must adapt to.

Maybe this is common understanding under the parental community?

I don’t understand your question.


I have 3 teenagers and it makes me appreciate the adage that you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.

Hopefully our influence over our children goes deeper than economic and physical control. We teach the faith in words and actions, we show it by our love/charity, and maybe we make it look attractive in some way. We prepare the soil and plant seeds, some of which may sprout years later.

Now what’s this about a Lay Low tactic (as you wrote in your title)?


Using financial and physical control of children to force them into the church is a terrible plan. Yes, we should push a limited amount of behaviors of things we already participate in (prayers at meals, weekly mass, etc) but that should not be done at the end of a financial stick. If they’ve adapted to that tactic, great, we should never have been using it anyways.


The idea though is correct. One probably shouldn’t “come out” as gay, atheist, a Democrat, a fan of Lizzo, a crack addict, etc until one is ready to be financially independent.

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I think if we are a Christian parent, we should strive for a relationship where our children have confidence to talk about feelings of doubt, or ss attraction, etc.

When they see that we arent just a hammer to come down on them for unintentional feelings, then they can be open to listening to us express our faith.


I’m still confused. Obviously no parent is going to have “economic and physical control” of their offspring once the kids become old enough to go out on their own. Furthermore, no good parent tries to maintain this control. Instead a good parent will be pushing kids out of the nest like the momma birds do, so the kids can become self-sustaining adults and won’t be continually dependent on a parent who will likely predecease them.

Once a child becomes an adult living on his or her own, then s/he is free to make choices regarding religion, lifestyle and everything else that the parent doesn’t necessarily agree with or promote. The atheist subforum is simply saying the same thing we say on here when a minor posts and says, “I’d like to be Catholic but my parents won’t let me”. We say, “For now, obey your parents. Once you’re an adult living independently you can choose to be Catholic.” Sounds just like what the atheists are saying.

Parents get maybe about 18-20 years to pass on their values and views to their children and basically form them. Sometimes despite good formation, a kid will still reject the parental teaching. This isn’t news.


I for one am fan of Lizzo and she’s currently here in Australia :partying_face::heart:.

I can only speak for where in live and my culture, but I personally don’t know of many atheists. Most people would describe themselves as agnostic or simply not following a religion or indifferent etc but maybe this is different in USA?

Parents have economic control of child when young and I’m not really understanding what you are suggest about atheists have adapted to economic control?

From what little I have seen about people who really call themselves “atheist” and strongly against religion is that sometimes they seem like hurting people? Maybe hurt because they feel they are gay or that they grew up in household that was too “religious strict” or something?

I have met a handful of atheists, but it’s much more common to meet agnostics.

In the past in USA, “atheist” suggested someone like Madalyn Murray O’Hair, who went around actively announcing she was an atheist and crusading against religion. (And ultimately met a very bad end at the hands of one of her fellow atheists.) Nowadays there are still some people like that, especially those who are angry at organized religion for perceived oppression of gays, women etc but there are also a lot of atheists for whom atheism is just their own personal belief system and they’re not really into being a big activist about it, and want to leave their neighbors (who may be “spiritual but not religious”, or may be non-Christian) alone and be left alone themselves.

I guess it depend on what one means by “come out as atheist”. If you’re talking, “Mom, don’t be mad, but I really don’t believe God is real,” this is a conversations most parents and children can have. If you’re talking, “God is fake. You’re an idiot and I hate you for ‘stuffing’ religion down my throat,” then yeah, save that for when you get grown and move out.

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I think there is a severe problem in many evangelical homes where a child declaring he’s atheist or doesn’t believe in God, that child will be kicked out of the house. Of course many don’t go to that extreme but they are often threatened with not paying for college. Some parents will only pay for Christian colleges. So, many atheists advise the kids to remain silent or wait until they can arrange their own finances rather than lose all hope of education or even a place to live.

Often, people don’t realize how severely some kids are treated!


Is a parent obligated to pay for any college?

I’m not saying I would do that, but perhaps under certain circumstances. That is, offer funding for a particular college. But I would likely fund wherever they chose.

I happen to believe that Confirmation is a point where a young person has an obligation to decline or receive. In my diocese, Confirmation is given at 17 yrs. And I strongly believe that a confirmation candidate should NOT be coerced to receive! They should be allowed complete freedom to do so, or to decline.

In fact, if my child had reservations in belief, I would recommend they do NOT receive Confirmation.

Parents aren’t obligated, but often it is very difficult for children to attend if parents don’t provide at least some support. Could be financial, could be allowing the child free room and board at home while they go to school.

I know at some schools in the past, the financial aid planners have calculated financial aid just expecting parents to make some contribution, and in order to get out of having that factored in, the kid had to be a certain older age or living on his or her own for X number of years. This caused problems for some girls I knew whose parents refused to contribute any money towards their college. One girl had to go to community college for several years until she met the requirements to not have her parents’ “expected contribution” factored in. I would hope that has maybe changed.

That was the case when I was in school. My parents made no contribution to my college and I was not given much in need-based aid because of their income. I did get some substantial academic scholarships though. My mother told me that was going to be the case, so I focused my efforts on getting “bright flight” and similar scholarships.

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I do not propose parents are or are not obligated to pay for college, rather the young are watching and will act accordingly.

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