I’m a 15 y/o agnostic Baptist who has wished to devout himself to the Church, but I’m not sure how to ask my parents. I’ve prayed many times to try and get an answer, but I think this is a thing that’s too personal for God to get involved.
My immediate family aren’t devout but my mom and my sister go to church here and there. So I figured I should ask my dad and then he can spread it or at least someone knows before I tell my mom.
I just want someone to help me out and maybe give me ideas. I’m kind of scared, I guess. Sort of irrational but it’s a new step and I’m more of introvert when it comes to personal stuff.
If anyone who has gone through this, something like it, or can just help out, it would be much obliged.
Dude! Blessings to you! So, I guess advice on what to say to them depends on why. Why are you converting? Is it because you’re convinced of the truths of the Catholic faith? Or are your mom and sister Catholic? Or do you have friends who are Catholic? Or do you have a boyfriend or girlfriend who’s Catholic? Or have you met some kind Catholics who made an impression?
Also, are your parents agnostic, too? Or are they born again Baptists? Or are they something else? That is, do they believe what their denomination teaches, or are they just going through the motions?
Don’t worry, God is a personal God. He can get involved.
Can you elaborate on the “agnostic Baptist” part? What does that mean, exactly?
Also, do you mean you want to devout yourself to the Catholic Church specifically or no? Sorry for so many questions!
I was raised in a Baptist church but with a nondenominational approach to the faith. We were not super devout growing up. We usually went to church twice on Sunday and once on Wednesday, and we prayed before meals for about the first 10-12 years of my life (we soon stopped eating meals together due to busy schedules and therefore stopped praying before meals). So we were not super devout, but at least there was some effort. There was also a bit of “anti-Catholicism” in the air. I grew up believing that Catholicism was demonic and a trick of the Devil because that’s what my family and church believed. Long story short, at 17 years old I decided that I wanted to convert to Catholicism after doing research which proved me wrong and convinced me of the Catholic position. Here’s where I messed up: I kept it from my parents until I moved off to college. I did this because I was afraid. Although I know they wouldn’t have allowed me to become Catholic until I was 18 anyways, I should not have kept it from them. And unless you’re in a situation where your parents will literally disown you or hurt you because of it, neither should you. I strongly suggest telling them about your feelings and desire, and don’t be afraid to get “deep” and emotional if you do. They are your parents, which means they are likely a big part of your life, and because of that I think it’s pretty important that they know about what should be the biggest part of your life - your religion. Discuss it with them. Unless you are in a dangerous situation, the worst they could say is “no”, right? (And if they do, obey them until you are an adult. It might be hard, but minors should obey their parents.) My parents, although they did not like my decision, did not make as big a deal as I thought they would. My fears were irrational.
I am also an introvert, and I have never been one to share my true feelings, desires or emotions with anyone. I just thought it was gross and weird to do that. But now that I’m in college, I’m learning that that’s how you make lasting and true friendships. We should be willing to share our deeper burdens with those we love. If you want your relationship with someone to be any more than superficial, you’ll have to get deep.
We can give you general advice, but if you’re looking for a word-for-word, pre-written confession, we can’t give that to you. Use your own words.
Some general advice:
Don’t be pushy about it. If they say, “no, you cannot become Catholic”, don’t continue to insist or beg or whatever. Obey your parents.
Don’t attack their faith. Even if you think their faith is wrong, do not voice it. “You’re wrong” usually doesn’t result in positive feelings or edifying/effective discussion.
You might want to talk about how you appreciate your upbringing.
One of the things my mom said when I first told her was this (paraphrased): “So now I’m a horrible parent for bringing you to a Protestant church?” Even though I did not say anything like that or even imply it (in fact I was explicitly saying the opposite), she was emotionally hurt and so she was getting defensive. First, if your parents get defensive, back down a little bit even if you’re not trying to offend them. Sometimes it’s good to say, “let’s wait to talk about this until we’re not so emotionally charged.” Second, if your parents are hurt about your decision, it would probably help them to know that you do not resent them or how they raised you.
Remember not to argue. Even if your parents are the ones who start it, refuse to argue. Walk away from the phone if you’re telling them over the phone and they keep trying to argue. Or tell them you love them and suggest a topic change.
And really, it’s quite possible that your parents will not be hurt or defensive or feel offended. (Even if they are, and even if they say things that hurt you in response, remember that they still love you anyways and they’re probably speaking through their emotions.) You won’t know until you tell them.
Oh, and as a final note, don’t try to wait until you’re fully prepared to tell them. Don’t wait until you think you’ve got the perfect confession. Just tell them. Sometimes you need to take a deep breath and jump into the cold waters, even if you don’t feel 100% ready. If you’re scared of telling them, you won’t ever feel 100% ready or prepared. So just tell them.
I’ve spent several years thinking and researching but it’s only now that I believe that I should or shouldn’t, and I chose I should. I’ve heard good stories and I just think it’s the best way to repay my debt to god for neglecting him for so long.
My dad is more agnostic than my mom, they were raised baptists but it sort of diluted itself over a long time. My dad never really did church stuff but he still calls himself a baptist, and my mom was more into it but either busy schedule or just a slow conversion to agnosticism after I was born happened.
By “agnostic Baptist” I mean I was born to a baptist family and went to church as a baptist.
Yes, I would love to devout myself to the Church, I’ve spent many years in an argument with myself on whether or not to do it, the catholic approach won.
I’m not in the same situation you were in, but I can see several likenesses. No one in this neck of the woods believe Catholicism is “the devil”, as I hear some people put it, but it’s sort of not a thing here. I have a church that I might go to if and when I decide to convert and get permission from my parents, but it’s up to how it is.
I recognize that my fears are irrational, but I’m a 15 year old boy who fears the worst. I’m sure they won’t get mad at my decision, but it’s more the change that I’m scared about. I’ve never even experienced what it’s like to be catholic outside of movies, books, or stories. I just know what it is and how it is through research.
I’m not scared to get emotional because of it’s “gross and weirdness”, but just because I believe that life should be spent enjoying and not crying over the small things. It’s more of a neglect for showing emotions than purposefully steering away from it.
Thanks for sharing your story and helping me out,
My parents know that I’m an easy-going man who avoids hatred over anything. I’ve got it easier than you because of the whole “hatred for Catholicism” thing. I know how to deal with moral things, I’m prepared for things like that naturally. I never hated any other religion for being the “wrong” religion because I believe in freedom to do whatever you want as long as it doesn’t harm anyone.
Hopefully I don’t pull out of a perfect situation to just tell them, I’m not 100% ready and I probably will never be. I’ve thought about what to talk about, now I just need to know how to talk about it.
So, when I think of an agnostic, what comes to mind is someone who doesn’t know if God exists or not. If that describes your mom and dad, they might not have any worries about you exploring Catholicism, such as concerns about whether you are “saved” or not.
But if you mean by agnostic that they are not committed to living as they should, but they still believe Christ is their Lord and savior, then they might have concern for your eternal security by considering becoming a Catholic, and they might be prone to argue with you or even forbid you from considering it.
Then again, even if they are true agnostics who don’t know if God exists, they might still not support your decision, for cultural reasons. For example, if you live in a community where most people are Southern Baptists, your parents might be embarrassed if they learn that their teen is a Catholic. They might also be concerned that people in the community look down on you for being Catholic.
Agnosticism, more or less, to me means you don’t care. You neither denounce or devout yourself to god or a god. It’s not a religion so they wouldn’t get mad for someone being another religion, just don’t care.
Christopher, talk to a priest at a Catholic Church. They have email addresses and telephone numbers on their websites or on the printed newsletter. You don’t need to ask permission to visit a Church, I did that when I was younger as I loved the buildings and how peaceful they were inside.
Outstanding! I think going to dad first is a great idea. Here is my suggestion.
Dad, I have something serious to talk about. You and mom have done a great job, I feel, raising me and teaching me about Jesus and how to live my life and knowing right from wrong. I love you guys very much and am thankful for all you do for me. You have also given me to space to do my own thinking because each of us has too hear God’s call in our heart and respond. I am being called to look into the Catholic Church. I don’t feel at all this is a turning away from what you and mom taught me but really a continuation. I need your help explaining this to mom as I think she may be upset and feel in some way she failed.
Of course, you have to put it in your own words. If I were you I would write it out and read it to your father. Then, listen and obey whatever your dad tells you. My guess this will have to take some time, Don’t be in a hurry. God will be in control of the timing. Your goal is to remain on the best of terms with your parents and begin studying the Catholic faith. You have my prayers.
Thanks! I mean, it’s probably best not to use he word agnostic to describe them, as the common definition of the word is this:
Agnostic. A person who holds that the existence of the ultimate cause, as God, and the essential nature of things are unknown and unknowable, or that human knowledge is limited to experience.
The word non-devout might be more clear.
So, when you say they don’t care, do you mean they don’t believe it’s unimportant that you be “saved” and become a “born-again” Christian? Or do you think this is important to them but devoting themselves to live for Christ is not? Or do you think neither salvation nor sanctification is important to them? Or do you mean something else? (I’m trying to understand what they believe, so I can better know what advice to give you.)
Your age shouldn’t be a problem imho. It is somehow easier to break new things to parents while you are a teen than later on when you are a grownup but yoir parents are also older and their patience has worn out due to life struggles.
They might think or even tell you that you might change your mind later in life and see how religion doesn’t help. And they would be right to do so. Starting up is an effort. But staying on is the real effort.
If I were you, from what you describe I would talk with both parents at the same time. Not scheme and try to get the nicer one to accept it first.
They seem pretty cool and probably will laugh it out because they feared yoir anouncement was about something more serious and grave than a change of religion.