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i don't believe in god...

I was born and raised a Jehovah's Witness. From a young age I was taught about god. But now at the age of 12, I'm having serious questions about my faith. After extensive research and a gut-wrenchingly emotional moral view at god, I have come to the conclusion that i do not believe in god. No big deal right? It should be my own opinion, but instead I have to, at some point, go through the emotional door of telling my parents of my atheism. And there's so many strings attatched to this problem. I am one of the most loved young ones in the congregation that all the older ones cherish. If I leave the religion, I'd bring shame on the family name. My parents would be ashamed of me, and my religious friends and aquantinces would leave me stranded in a desert of depression.

Please help me Sam, I dont know what to do... :-(

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Sam

Hi there,

Faith is one of the most personal things that we have as it is often connected with a lot of emotion. Often we are brought up with the faith of our parents, but at some point we develop our own views. It’s okay if our views are different to the views our family and friends have.

When our beliefs change it can be difficult to talk about with people we are close to. Faith is so often tied to our identity that it can feel like we are becoming a different person — and in some ways, that might be true. As we get older we also grow as a person, so it’s expected that we change.

Sometimes when we learn something new about ourselves — be it our sexuality, our morals or our religious views — we might keep that to ourselves at first. It can take time for us to fully understand it before we feel ready to tell anyone else.

When it comes to your beliefs, you might find that people react negatively but some may also react positively. The way they react says more about them than it does  about you.

Nobody chooses their beliefs. That might sound odd, but it’s true. You didn’t choose not to believe in God any more, you’re just not convinced. For someone else they may still feel very convinced. Neither of you are choosing that, it just happens.

People can choose to say they believe something, even if deep down they don’t really, and they may even convince themselves of that for a long time. Pretending to be something you're not can make people very unhappy.

You now have to decide whether you are going to be happier being open about your beliefs or keeping them to yourself and avoiding any potential confrontation. The first step of that is feeling confident enough in yourself to know that you’re doing nothing wrong by changing your mind about God, one way or the other.

I hope these thoughts help you to figure out what you’d like to do next. You might want to talk about this with other young people on our faith and religion board, to see other people’s views on it. Remember, you can always talk to a ChildLine counsellor to get more advice on this.

Take care,
Sam

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