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Unsure of how to proceed

By Andrew ~

I'm eighteen years old and an atheist of several years, and my de-conversion was not a painful one or even a particularly uncomfortable one. Like many former Christians (and current Christians), I was raised to be a Christian. Being born and raised in Tennessee, it was never remotely arduous to be a Christian, but living in a more affluent part of that state meant being exposed to more ideas; people from all over the country and the world moved there, and exposure to this blend of ethnicities and ideas accelerated my path to non-belief along with my own various misgivings of the Church of Christ (which I still attend) and its nonsensical teachings.

For a long time now I've kept my non-belief from my parents, who are zealous fundamentalists that hate gays, believe in a young earth, etc. Ever since I was born, I've had to go to church every Sunday morning and evening and Wednesday evening without my complaint (which I'll go into more detail about) and not a hint of wanting to ask for my consent.

Now, I'm out of high school and in a college called Florida College now. This is the main problem for me right now; just do a quick check on Wikipedia on 'Church of Christ' and in the introductory paragraphs you'll see Florida College (located in Tampa) mentioned. As you'll quickly find out, the “college” is a breeding ground (literally, in some cases) for would-be preachers, a place where concerned parents can leave their precious little girls (safe in the knowledge that they will, ah, “remain pure”), and a dumping ground for the parents of trouble-making, drug-addled kids. Of course, I'm making sweeping generalizations, and I'm at the school now due to the fact my parents want to keep me in a secluded, “spiritual” environment (and where they can keep a close eye on my grades, due to my barely-above-failing GPA.)

Though I'll likely be out of that hellhole by the end of the semester and be going to a secular college, I've got a bit of problem: I haven't been attending church at all, and my parents (still in Tennessee) have a growing sense of this. I know a moment is coming where I'll have to let the cat out of the bag, because I just don't want go to church anymore, because it's becoming tedious to do and it's ultimately useless. My mother is emotionally brittle and my father can, at the worst of times, be a passive-aggressive bully; in other words, they've got good potential to make my life miserable should I reveal my atheism. I need to stop this coercion once and for all and I'm getting tired of constantly deceiving them that I'm a Christian, but I'm financially dependent on them and I can guarantee they'll have a very violent reaction over my atheism. I'm unsure of how to proceed. Help.

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