Need advice...my 16 yo daughter just told me she doesn't believe in God anymore


#1

I didn't see this one coming...I have raised our two kids in the Catholic faith, with the support of my Protestant dh. They've had 10 years of Catholic school, and are now in the public school system. My dd just made her Confirmation a couple of months ago. We go to Church as often as we can (I work nights and every other weekend).

We live our faith daily, are prayerful and faith-filled. And then my dd dropped this on me. My dh suffers from depression, and was having a talk with our dh about how he is looking forward to heaven, where he knows he will be healed. All of a sudden dd leaves the room, so I followed her. She burst into tears, stating that "I feel bad for Dad, he sounds so happy thinking that everything will be perfect in heaven, when really, there's nothing. We just die, and that's it". She then told me she doesn't believe in God, that that's just our way of explaining things, when really there's no proof. She says she understands things from a scientific point of view--evolution etc... everything else is just stories. She compared Christianity to the early Greeks, and their devotion to the ancient gods, as something they used to explain things they couldn't understand.

She went on to say that Buddha, Allah, all the other gods of different faiths are all made up too, questioning how everyone (people of different faiths) could claim their god as the one true God. So she has concluded that there is just no God at all.

I am crushed, and really at a loss for how to deal with this. I tried to explain that we take the things we cannot understand in faith. I really don't know what to do here...any suggestions? My heart is broken...I'm hoping it's just a phase.


#2

Umh, I lost a lot of faith in Catholicism in highschool due to a semester of studying (with intricate detail the Greek and Roman gods and goddesses). I’m 50. That should tell you how destructive public school can be for so many young lives.

Granted Christianity can not be taught in highschool, but pagans can have their fictional deities detailed out in all their affairs ( including the sexual).

If you don’t know, modern day pagans pray to the Greek and Roman goddesses. And yes, most will only pray to the female goddesses, because this is what a women does when she choices sex, contraception and abortion over Jesus.

I would suggest that you and your daughter begin exploring the Old Testament and get into biblical archeology. Find truth.

Explore astrophysics and cosmology. Take walks in nature. Find beauty.

Work out a list of how unique the Earth and the Universe are.

Divide out the Trinity. Explore each Person. God the Father. God the Son. God the Holy Spirit.

Ask the RCIA instructor if you and she can sit in on several classes. We often discuss in class how we once lost our faith and then we talk about the circumstances that brought us back.

Find good.


#3

Wow, that is very sad, are there any high school bible studies or youth groups in the area?

You must explain to her that Christianity woulld be a completely made up story IF it wasn't for the resurrection of Jesus, and his apostles who died over a lie. If you are unfamiliar with this theory, please look into it, It basically proves that Jesus must have rose from the dead and that the Apostles did not steal his body.

I would also take it to prayer. Sit with her, and pray. There is a very good video, called "A Case for a Creator" you MUST look into this if your daughter is doubting God. This video explains from science how a God MUST exist..

Also, do not be afraid to tell her that doubts are normal, and even the greatest catholics have doubts, but that is just the devil pulling us away. Surely,(I hope) she has found happiness in God through prayer, this in itself is "proof"


#4

Hi, well I can say been there and done that…I am 42years old and a cradle Catholic…Alterboy till my Sr. year. In High School I was influenced by MY MUSIC (yes music can be very bad to young kids) I was thinking groups like DIO, Ozzy etc… were talking to me. I left the Catholic Church and stated into WICCA. then moved into (AD&D RPG which turned me on to other things like demons etc
I soon left Wicca found it empty and without truth and started my decent into darkness with I am ashamed to say this but the truth is the truth (Devil Worship) But in my decent I never blasphemed Father,Son Holy Spirit and any Holy ones. I did summon, divination, necromancy etc…Kaballah (Cabalistic stuff) for about 8 years till I found myself in a place that I knew I needed to change. The whole while My Mother devoted to sacred heart and immaculate heart and prayed everyday ( I would put out the candles)
I seen many things in those years things most would scoff at, but there is a Devil and he wants us all trust me. One thing I did is listen to that interview with the Jesuit Priest and the true story of the exorcist. It opened my eyes…
I felt so ashamed I ran to every denomination I could go I was just about every religion under the sun so from 26years old to 39 yars old. My last religion I did was Islam in well prior to 9/11 I tried with a Rabbi but he said no! each time i felt empty in the other places. I did not feel it in AoG, I did not feel it in S.Bapt. Penta. etc… I only felt alive in the place of OUR Risen Lord.
In my trials I found 1310am Immaculate Heart Radio and they were doing a show on the prodigal son and it hit me… Jesus loves me and will forgive me so I tell ya I ran, ran like forest Gump back to our Lord. I picked up the Bible (NKJ all i had =() read Act and found St. Paul was gave us our 1st Martyr and God plucked him from the gutter and made him great. I then started to read the Fathers of the Church I read and love the Didache and the epistle of Pilate, the Shepherd of Hermas, Gospel of Barnabas, Protoevangelium of James everything I could find. My soul was hungry for the Lord and he picked me up from my darkness and like the lost sheep he put me on his shoulders and took me to his mother.
To make it long story really short, My Mother gave me the Family Catholic Bible 1964 before the great change. I been here reading all I can, and reading other Catholic history. I have gone from lost and now found and I have taken it upon myself to bring my family back to the Lord so many are lost or numb. I teach Bible study and I have pointed my family into the right direction… Trust in the Lord and Pray…I will pray and I will get my family to pray ( don’t know your first name but i will use your blog name here I am sure GOD knows) Please trust in Jesus he will love her and you…don’t fear. Listen to EWTN and the radio station and God Bless and God Bless you guys TYVM from a lost sheep who has found his home.


#5

Your daughter is at the stage of child/human development (adolescence) where people start to develop reasoning skills. A lot of people lose faith at that point in their lives. Hopefully, she will grow out of this phase and her mind will mature past this point soon. It is a very dark place to be, and dangerous to the soul to live as though God does not exist. However, this is a journey and can take different lengths of time for different people. Some might take a few weeks, others a few or several decades.

I suggest she read up on Jesus and the evidence that proves He is real, that God is real. He was not made up and people do not die for a lie, or experience mass hallucinations, which happen to only one person at a time. There are both church and secular evidence for Jesus.

There is also more and more evidence that the places and events mentioned in the Bible are true. People once thought Sodom and Gomorrah were made up, but then archaeologists ended up finding the city many thought to be mythical.

Another thing… the stories that are common around the world point to TRUTH. So, yes, there are man-made gods/goddesses and myths about them, but many cultures have stories similar to the Bible, which shows the Bible is true. As the groups of people split off over time, their stories were kept. They sometimes got distorted, but the truth is there. I don’t suggest studying such stories until her faith is stronger, but those can be a great source of faith for many (post-adolescent) people.

I would also suggest she read books by former atheists. She is lost and needs help, and people who used to be in her position can help her through this stage.

She also needs to realize that science should not be the standard by which things are judged. Science is nice, but it is very bad to act as if science teachers are gods of some sort. Science only deals with REPEATABLE things. Historical events cannot be repeated to show they are true. Many atheists doubt and/or try to rewrite history for that very reason. Logic, morality, character, and many other things cannot be measured by science. Science does not replace God, and it never will, since it is bound to only a small area of possible knowledge. God knows all things.

There are many people who experience God’s presence in their daily lives. If she wants to find God, she needs to open her heart and mind. Also, we live in a community for a reason. God reveals Himself to different people in different ways. Just because some people who lived 2,000 years ago got to see Jesus in flesh during their lives, and we do not, doesn’t mean He isn’t real or didn’t exist. A lot of young people (“me” generation) have trouble stepping back and seeing the big picture.

Logically, something cannot come from nothing, as creation is an action and in order for an action to be performed, something has to cause it. And the universe cannot be infinite because an infinite regression of causes is impossible, since it would require an infinite amount of time to be crossed to get here, so we would never be here. God is both inside and outside of time, which is why He doesn’t need a cause and always was. Another logic failure is that because some gods are false, all of them must be. That is not true. There can be some truth in each belief system, but only the true God can bring the fullness of the truth. Perhaps your daughter should take a course in logic to help her think more clearly? :thumbsup:

CHRISTIANITY

  1. Jesus and evidence for Him
  2. Historical/archaelogical evidence for the Bible
    OUT OF ATHEISM
  3. Books by former atheists
  4. Course in logic to help her get out of the trap, and help her peers who are possibly experiencing the same lapse in faith that she is.

#6

From my view at 16 I wouldn’t be here. I would rather have died than to continue to this day. I left the Catholic Church for many years having lost my faith in the Catholic Church and its leadership. My journey took me back to the Catholic Church, but this time with my family. If she studied science the way I have she wouldn’t be saying this so confidently. It sounds more like she doubts God because someone planted it in her, friends. I place very little confidence in Catholic schools because it seems to produce more atheists than Christians statistically speaking. I’m not sure why.

One of the things I’ve always done with my children is teach them everyday and we have nightly devotionals. I have a feeling that some, if not all, will go through a phase of doubting and even abandoning the faith as they become pumped up with pride, influenced by the world struggling to take their souls. But, I place them in God’s hands. I’ve done my part and I am not responsible for them rejecting God on their own accord. My spill on this is that there are really truly few “real” atheists in the world but rather agnostics. Studying science proves to me that God must exist. Proof of God’s existence is evident in many things. If you read the bible, Old Testament, you’ll find the author in Job describing the world as a sphere, not a flat object held up by a turtle. There are more. But I found this to be very interesting because most people are oblivious to the reference. Job also contains the description of one of the largest creature to ever swim the earth, what we refer to as a dinosaur. If this doesn’t point to questions about science it points to the evidence that had yet to be uncovered by science of dinosaurs.

Lanoline, is a molecular compound in the body that when unfolded forms a cross. I’ve noticed many “crosses” under a microscope. These are faith builders. It is more logical to at least suspend disbelief and allow God to work in ones life. God will work in you if you allow him. In fact, he’ll work in your life in spite of your rejecting Him. But in order to see Him you must at least doubt your own doubt. To be absolutely sure there is not God is more pompous than to accept that there might be a God. Science is facinating. Newtonian Physics is limited to our solar system. Science has uncovered that the same laws of physics do not necissarily apply to the entire universe outside of our solar system.

Your daught needs you, and though you need to support your family, you have fallen prey to the ways of the world in that the world has backed you into a corner with your profession/job. Spending time with family is very important. They can learn to visualize God through you. Suffering chases people away too. Is she doubting God because she’s mad at him for allowing her father to suffer? These are important things to gently extract over time. Teach her without panicking. Pray for her and try to find evidence in science to show that many scientists actually do believe in God in spite of those that reject Him. BTW: Buddhists are actually atheists. They teach in essence that they become gods. Muslims teach that Jesus is the messiah, but is not the son of God (Allah). My point is that now is the time to explore the existence of God with your daughter. Do it like a science project and keep an open mind so as to help her increase her faith. She is convince that she knows enough to make such a profound claim that most adults who claim it are not qualified to make it. They are typically blindly accepting false evidence that does not mean what people claim.

There are many proofs for the existence of God. However, ultimately God gives us a free will and therefore we must choose. That is where the mind and the heart come together and declare Him as lover of our soul. We call that faith. In the world of logic, one can not prove a negative. BTW: That is we can not logically prove that God does not exist.


#7

If it were me, I would get some materials and start reading with her. Think of it as an opportunity to spend some time with your daughter connecting over your faith before she leaves your house for college or a job after high school.

I’d start with Mere Christianity and the Prove It! books by Amy Welborn.

Take a deep breath, say a prayer to the Holy Spirit, and begin.


#8

Unfortunately, many Catholic schools do not do enough in apologetics, in explaining the faith to our kids, even though they take theology classes. But then again, once you are in public school, all bets are off, and if she’s at all vulnerable to influences outside your family, she will be under heavy, heavy pressure to drop her religion and become as empty as the rest of society.

She needs to know how to counter that anti-faith belief system. Does she have a good youth leader? It would be great if the arguments were coming from someone near to her age. But that takes a special kind of leader. If she hasn’t turned away yet, and it sounds as if she is upset about the new “truth” she’s reached, you can still help her. There are many books by people who didn’t believe and then discovered God in their questioning. Lee Strobel is one author that I like, but “The Case for Christ” is a little dry for a high-schooler. I’m sure others here can make better suggestions.

Don’t panic, but do pray, and do address her concerns. She has had a solid foundation and it’s there to return to. I was away from the church since I was 10 when my mother died and my father never returned to the church. I went through a lot of junk but God never left my side, and finally I was ready for Him to reach me again, when I got pregnant with my first son. It had been a long and rocky road but the return was joyous, like the prodigal son story. Your daughter is going to be an adult and she’s going to make her own decisions. Keep showing her the truth and always pray, pray, pray. I know my mother was always praying for me in Heaven. But I am stubborn and it took another life before I could see the Father who was always there for me. Now I can look back and see His hand in my whole life. I hope that helped a little bit.


#9

Went back to add something and the "edit" function has timed out...

I was just thinking that it would be good to find out at what point your daughter came to the conclusion that there is no God. Who did she talk to? Was it her peers, or some teacher like the biology teacher teaching Darwinism? Then you'd know better how to steer her toward material that supports God's existence. If it's her peers, you can more easily counter those mistaken half-truths. If it's a teacher, say, the bio teacher, you can find accounts of physicists who were committed atheists until they got to the end of what they could explain and found God there in the nano-particles. Yes, it really has happened!

the other poster who mentioned CS Lewis was spot on. Kids know of his fiction writing through the Narnia series, but they don't know the apologetics writing, and it's so clear and logical that few can top him especially for converts and young people.


#10

Please try not to despair. Many of us who have wandered, have come back...some take a bit longer than others though... :o I will say a prayer for your daughter later today.


#11

and you have done nothing wrong by your daughter, you should if nothing else consider yourself a good parent who has taught her daughter to think for themselves, to examine facts on her own, to question authority and to not accept answers simply because thats what everyone says is true.

if you want my advice, my mother spent significant time and resources to bring me back to the faith, including having priests coming out to our home to try and convince me, not only did it not work but i stopped talking to and seeing my mother for a long period after i was able to leave home because i was very angry that she could not simply accept the choices I made that does not hurt anyone(even in christian belief the only person hurt is me when i when go to hell) only recently have I again gotten close to my mom because she now accepts that I am who i am and am not going to change no matter what she says or does.

she thought i had jumped on my dad's bandwagon because he is an agnostic, but what she didn't even realize at the time is that I didn't even know my dad was not a christian until after i had become an atheist.

so if you want advice from your daughter's point of view

if you are willing to completely estrange your daughters over your religion then by all means listen to the other people who reply...it likely won't work, your daughter will resent you, she may even stop talking to you like i did after over a year of harassment from my mother. and she will still be right where she are now a non beleiver


#12

[quote="RHannosh619, post:3, topic:216738"]
Wow, that is very sad, are there any high school bible studies or youth groups in the area?

[/quote]

Its not sad. and wow yeah that won't **** her off at all :rolleyes:

You must explain to her that Christianity woulld be a completely made up story IF it wasn't for the resurrection of Jesus, and his apostles who died over a lie. If you are unfamiliar with this theory, please look into it, It basically proves that Jesus must have rose from the dead and that the Apostles did not steal his body.

So all you need to have to prove a religion is true is to have believers who are willing to die?

I guess you'll become a muslim now, look at all the muslims willing to die for thier faith.

I would also take it to prayer. Sit with her, and pray. There is a very good video, called "A Case for a Creator" you MUST look into this if your daughter is doubting God. This video explains from science how a God MUST exist..

Watched it, it is filled with bad assumptions, and out dated science. This is what happens when you have someone not at all versed in science commenting on it.

Also, do not be afraid to tell her that doubts are normal, and even the greatest catholics have doubts, but that is just the devil pulling us away. Surely,(I hope) she has found happiness in God through prayer, this in itself is "proof"

So if she finds happiness in atheism is that proof that atheism is true?


#13

I know exactly how you feel! my DD26 is having a spiritual crisis and for the last year has told me that "God hates me". She has had two heart surgeries and developed pericarditis in the last year in addition to staying in law school full time. This child went to Catholic School for elementary school and a Jesuit University for undergrad school. She was an alter server from the ages of 12 to 15. When I visited her last month in Chicago I just acted like everything was normal and asked which mass we would be attending Sunday morning. She grumbled at me, but went with me to the early mass at the Cathedral of the Holy Name. I tried to be very casual, went inside, pulled down the kneeler and started to pray. When I dared to sneek a look, she was praying too, then when it was time to go up for the Eucharist, there she was, right in front of me in line!!! I think our kids want to "pull our chains" when they are stressed. Keep heart, she will soon come around! I will pray for you!:rolleyes:


#14

[quote="stephe1987, post:5, topic:216738"]

Logically, something cannot come from nothing, as creation is an action and in order for an action to be performed, something has to cause it. And the universe cannot be infinite because an infinite regression of causes is impossible, since it would require an infinite amount of time to be crossed to get here, so we would never be here. God is both inside and outside of time, which is why He doesn't need a cause and always was. Another logic failure is that because some gods are false, all of them must be. That is not true. There can be some truth in each belief system, but only the true God can bring the fullness of the truth. Perhaps your daughter should take a course in logic to help her think more clearly? :thumbsup:
.

[/quote]

Something can't come from nothing..agreed science doesn't say something came from nothing..religion does. Science explains in very clear terms where the universe came from and it has empirical data to back it up.

An infinite regression of causes is not solved by adding an uncaused agent to the beginning, all you do is confound the problem by having to explain god.|

sure you could say he is outside time..but if he does not live in a temporal frame then can not act.and there are numerous levels of temporal existence. so he must be outside even the multiverse.

if you want to have a debate on this though i highly recomend you study Quantum Mechanics and M theory


#15

[quote="kozlosap, post:13, topic:216738"]
I know exactly how you feel! my DD26 is having a spiritual crisis and for the last year has told me that "God hates me". She has had two heart surgeries and developed pericarditis in the last year in addition to staying in law school full time. This child went to Catholic School for elementary school and a Jesuit University for undergrad school. She was an alter server from the ages of 12 to 15. When I visited her last month in Chicago I just acted like everything was normal and asked which mass we would be attending Sunday morning. She grumbled at me, but went with me to the early mass at the Cathedral of the Holy Name. I tried to be very casual, went inside, pulled down the kneeler and started to pray. When I dared to sneek a look, she was praying too, then when it was time to go up for the Eucharist, there she was, right in front of me in line!!! I think our kids want to "pull our chains" when they are stressed. Keep heart, she will soon come around! I will pray for you!:rolleyes:

[/quote]

being angry at god is not at all similar to an educated evalution of the facts and the rejection of religion, belief and faith


#16

What I tell my husband (who thinks that religious ppl are weak) is that there must be a God and how can there not?

I tell him that I don’t know “for sure” if the Catholic church is the true church and perhaps all religions have it right. We won’t know for sure until we die.

I then tell him that all religions teach the same family values…marriage, do not kill, etc. and that we are all praying to the same God.

I say this b/c if I hit him over the head with Jesus, it would just turn him completely off. By telling him gently that God exists, it leaves him open to the idea. KWIM?


#17

How do you know her daughter is thinking on her own? How do you know that she examined facts on her own, questioned authority, and didn’t accept answers because that is what everyone said was true? What if that is exactly what she did to come to the conclusion there is no God? Why is it that you think that whenever someone’s “got religion” that they blindly followed, and when they don’t, they researched and studied and concluded? Nowhere in the OP did the mother say how, why, when, where her daughter lost her faith. Maybe she listened to some song and dance from a history teacher, a depressed friend, or the hottest guy in the school.

And how do you know what her daughter’s point of view is? Maybe she’ll welcome a little debate. After all if she is so sure of herself, is there anything for her to be afraid of?

I also think it is interesting that people cite “science” as a reason not to believe, because you know, everything that is true can be proved through science. When I was in college for a degree in a “science” field, I can’t tell you the number of times the professor said something to the effect of, “We can’t prove this theory, but we are going to use it. It seems it happens this way so many times, that we can believe it will continue to behave this way again and again…” which is not proof at all.


#18

[quote="CharlesDarwin, post:11, topic:216738"]
and you have done nothing wrong by your daughter, you should if nothing else consider yourself a good parent who has taught her daughter to think for themselves, to examine facts on her own, to question authority and to not accept answers simply because thats what everyone says is true.

if you want my advice, my mother spent significant time and resources to bring me back to the faith, including having priests coming out to our home to try and convince me, not only did it not work but i stopped talking to and seeing my mother for a long period after i was able to leave home because i was very angry that she could not simply accept the choices I made that does not hurt anyone(even in christian belief the only person hurt is me when i when go to hell) only recently have I again gotten close to my mom because she now accepts that I am who i am and am not going to change no matter what she says or does.

she thought i had jumped on my dad's bandwagon because he is an agnostic, but what she didn't even realize at the time is that I didn't even know my dad was not a christian until after i had become an atheist.

so if you want advice from your daughter's point of view

if you are willing to completely estrange your daughters over your religion then by all means listen to the other people who reply...it likely won't work, your daughter will resent you, she may even stop talking to you like i did after over a year of harassment from my mother. and she will still be right where she are now a non beleiver

[/quote]

You are kinda right. Forcing your belief on her will not work. If she doesn't believe in God, only she alone can change her mind. I myself would not be angry with my daughter, but would have comversations with her about her beliefs. My brother was a complete atheist at 18 and pretty much spewed all the arguments, "fairy tales", "no hell", etc. In time he came back to Catholicism, on his own. IMO, there are very few nihlists in this world, people have a thirst for something, some not even knowing what it is. There's a good chance she might come back, then again maybe she won't. BUt it's her choice, free will.


#19

everything the OP said about her daughter indicated someone who had thought about the issue on their own, although you may be right that she is listening to someone else and not really thinking for herself, the tone she held with her mother doesn’t suggest it to me.

also I don’t believe i ever said everyone with religion is blindly following, nor did I say everyone who is an atheist isn’t. they both come in both forms.

Just because you are sure of yourself doesn’t man you want debate, and in my experience with kids who have come out to their parents none have ever debated their kids, they may have felt they were debating but the key in a debate is

If you can’t accept the other person not accepting your arguments and or refuting what you say with out becoming angered, then it is an argument and not a debate

since religion is such an emotionally charged subject for many parents when it comes to their kids, i doubt many parents are able to debate the subject with their children until the parents have fully accepted that this may really be what their child thinks and that their child may never change their mind.

if a theory can’t be proven…then its not a theory it is a hypothesis. I don’t know what field of science you were going into but if your teacher was using the word theory incorrectly, then it could not have been much of a hard science, or it was not a very good teacher.

and I never said science was a reason to disbelieve, IMO science is a rather weak reason to believe or not believe. though when i was younger and not as willing to go after religious people who were trying to convert me. I often used science because it was the most neutral way to attack their arguments, to explain to a religious person that their logic is bad as well as their science is much more personal IMO


#20

[quote="NE_Catholic, post:18, topic:216738"]
You are kinda right. Forcing your belief on her will not work. If she doesn't believe in God, only she alone can change her mind. I myself would not be angry with my daughter, but would have comversations with her about her beliefs. My brother was a complete atheist at 18 and pretty much spewed all the arguments, "fairy tales", "no hell", etc. In time he came back to Catholicism, on his own. IMO, there are very few nihlists in this world, people have a thirst for something, some not even knowing what it is. There's a good chance she might come back, then again maybe she won't. BUt it's her choice, free will.

[/quote]

Ditto with Charles Darwin. You can't force religion on anyone. Forcing it down their throat will just make them more distant from you.

The best evangalist priest I ever met, never talked religion with anyone unless they asked. He would just befriend the person and be kind to them. It worked like a charm :) I'm sure the priest prayed for them too.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.