Ask Sam letter


To Sam

My religion

i am a 13 year old atheist and i live with my brother and sister and my mum the problem is that my mum is christian and cant exept that i am atheist and keeps forcing me to go to church and do chistian things that i dont wont to do and i am starting to feel depressed and trapped in the sence that i cant do what i want what do i do to get my mum to exept im atheist and leave me alone?
Ask Sam


Hi there,

Everyone is entitled to religious and spiritual beliefs – and this includes the right to not have those beliefs too. When a parent and their child disagree about beliefs, it can cause a lot of stress at home. One way to change this is by talking about it so that you can understand each other better.

Whenever we have a different point of view to someone, it can lead to conflict. And usually it’s because each side doesn’t fully understand the other. If someone is an atheist, they may find it hard to understand how someone can believe in a god – and if someone is religious then from their point of view they don’t understand how someone can’t believe.

It isn’t very fair of your mum to force to you take part in spiritual things that you don’t want to do. It might help her to understand if you talked to her about what it feels like when you are being made to do something you don’t believe in. One way of doing this could be to suggest that for a week she tries living as an atheist. If she says she doesn’t want to do that, then you can explain that you feel the same way about doing Christian things.

Listening to someone else’s point of view is really important when trying to work out a conflict. You are entitled to have your say, but it can usually help if you listen first and ask your mum why it’s so important to her that you go to church. It’s likely that from her point of view, she feels like she is doing the right thing so perhaps that’s something you can tell her you appreciate.

If your mum still wants you to go to church and you feel like you don’t have a choice but to go, then maybe there are some positive things about it. Getting to understand something you don’t believe in can help you to feel more secure in your own beliefs. Being exposed to the opposite view can help you to figure out exactly why you believe the things you do.

I hope that helps – but if you need to talk things through some more, there’s always a ChildLine counsellor waiting to talk.

Take care,

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