My Dad Is A Priest, But Surprise, I'm An Atheist

My Dad Is A Priest, But Surprise, I'm An Atheist

After 19 years of being raised as a believer, the only thing I am sure about is that there is no God at all.

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I feel like every high school has that guy who is always super active, always makes stupid jokes, and is always ready to party. My friend was like that. He was always down for any stupid or fun thing. And I remember one time hanging out we had a discussion about parents when suddenly he goes: "Oh, my dad is actually a priest."

What?

He told us that although he was raised in a religious family, he didn't believe in God at all. He said his parents have dedicated all their lives to the Orthodox Church, and tried to educate him the same way and make him a faithful believer. But after these 19 years, the only thing that he is sure about now is that there is no God.

"Every little thing that was happening in this world was a God's plan in my parents' eyes. Every day would start with a prayer where we thank God for life, food, and anything good that's going to happen to us. Growing up in the atmosphere of endless fasts, commandments, and attending church services, little me didn't have time even to doubt this kind of life's arrangements.

"I was always supervised by my parents at those times. My mom used to be a principal of a Sunday school, which I, of course, attended. The Sunday school's mission is to teach children how to be faithful. It works just like the normal schools do, but the subjects do vary. We were taught the Church Slavic language, the Laws of God, the Old and the New Testament, the orchestra. We even had a gospel class, where we were taught to sing in a choir at the church. Basically, we were taught everything that young churchmen need to know.

"I was playing with all the kids after and between classes like in normal schools, but most of the non-religious themes were prohibited. We all were scared that if we talk about something else we will be punished by the 'powers from the above'. I did really believe in that.

"Teachers were pretty good in persuading us that God is everywhere. The whole class would repeat in unison that God sees everything, knows everything – he is charitable and sinless.

"As a result, we were scared even to think about breaking any rules. We were obligated to pray before every meal, we couldn't miss any of the church services, couldn't condemn our parents or teachers, be aggressive any time, even to protect ourselves, because 'The Lord Jesus says if you're struck on your right cheek, you offer your left' (Holy Bible).

"It was perfect for handling kids. We were scared of punishment even when we knew no one could see us. We remembered – God knows everything.

"As time went by and we became the grown-ups, we started to notice our parents' or other adults' flaws. None of them were following all of the commandments as we did; they didn't have that fear of the 'Supreme.' Even my parents that were iconic to me allowed themselves to have their hands in their pockets while being at church or leave the services to talk on the phone. They could eat all they wanted, skip fasts, or even smoke. Watching them, I lost my aspiration in following all the rules perfectly. It seemed unfair that they could be freer but I couldn't. So I started giving myself indulgences…

"For example, one of the real orthodox believer's obligations was the oblation in front of Him every Sunday morning. Every single person had to come to the church early with an empty stomach and tell all of his/her sins in order to be forgiven. And it made me sick how many 'faithful' adults used it as the excuse for not following God's rules. Not to mention how many times the money donated to the church was stolen. They would sin and then just ask for forgiveness and become sinless again.

"When I started realizing all those things, my life started changing."

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To Everyone Who Hasn't Had Sex Yet, Wait For Marriage, It's The Right Move

If you have not had sex yet, wait.

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Premarital sex is not a new concept, no matter how much people like to pretend it is. You can trace scripture and historical texts back thousands of year to see that lust and fornication have been a problem since… well, since we humans have been problems.

They tell you in sex ed that sex causes you to form a bond with someone. They throw some big chemical names at you that are apparently in your body and cause that emotional attachment to happen, then you move on (or back to) how important condoms are and why STDs are so scary.

As a middle schooler or teenager, you can't understand what it means to become permanently connected to someone as a result of a quick, physical act.

If you haven't even had your first kiss, you really can't imagine what it's like to develop such a complex and intimate connection with someone because you have yet to feel the butterflies in your stomach from a kiss. So you really don't know what it's like to have a whole different type of feeling in your stomach.

You never forget your first love. It's one of the most cliche things you consistently hear, but it's true. Ask anyone. I guarantee your parents can still spurt out their first love's name in a few seconds. And most people never forget their first time. I know all my friends can recount that often awkward and slightly terrifying moment as if it happened an hour ago. When you mix those two, especially if you are in your teens, oh boy.

You never forget that. No matter how hard you try.

Everything you hear about sex is true: it's amazing, fantastic, life-changing, etc. There's a reason people have done it as frequently as they do, for as long as they have. But every time you sleep with someone, you leave a piece of yourself with them. Every time you choose to take that final physical step with someone, you cannot go back and collect that piece of your dignity and soul that you left with someone.

So, imagine what happens when you break up with someone you've slept with. Or that you just hooked up with. You have given someone a little slice of yourself forever. And you can never get it back. And imagine what happens when you do that multiple times. You give a piece of yourself to five, 10, 15, 20 or more people. Then you meet the person that you want to spend forever with. And you no longer have that whole part of you. You've given pieces away, and you can no longer give those to the love of your life.

So, save those pieces for your future spouse.

If you have not had sex yet, wait. If you have, consider not giving more pieces of yourself away to people who are not your spouse. Sex was created to be between two spouses, nobody else. So we need to try to maintain its integrity.

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I'm An Atheist

The separation of Church and State is a thing for a reason...

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Growing up in a Catholic family is rough. Now, my family was not a strict Catholic family that you would see in the movies, we barely even went to church. But when I was in the church, even with my young eyes I could see the corruption unfolding before me. I was forced to go to "CCD" or Sunday School as most people know it. I don't even know what CCD stood for but I just went with it. I was the only kid in my class that had no clue what the Bible said or meant but all I really knew was that I didn't care. My mind was always cluttered with, "anyone could've written that" or "that doesn't even sound like it could physically happen in the world".

My final straw with Catholicism was when I was criticized by one of my peers who also went to my church for believing evolution. If a church couldn't even accept what was going on in front of them, I wanted no part of it. I was in 7th grade when I finally learned what I was, Atheist. Finally, someone put a label on it, I was very confused by the reaction from people when I said that. Growing up in a small town with a bunch of bible busters didn't help my case at all. I was told, "just go to church and God will find you", or "it's just a phase, you will find Him soon". But truth is, I don't want to find Him, or Him to find me. I have been berated over and over again about my choice of "religion". Like I said, I lived in a small town where everyone is religious except for a select few.

When I played volleyball, my team would pray before every game and I would stand to the side because I wanted no part of it. Or when my senior class decided to pray after the bus accident we endured, I choose to step to the back and play on my phone. Going to a public school you would think that there was the separation of church and state, NOPE. Going to a small school made it so much worse. There were church services at the school and religion would be tied to the lessons that were taught. I was absolutely appalled at what I was seeing, now that I am at college, I ask others if their high schools were like that and they said absolutely not.

So please, if we could respect those that do not have a religion or a religion other than Christianity, that would be great. Just recently, I revealed to my mother that I was an atheist, we were going through a very rough patch in my mental health journey and I felt like it was the right time to tell her. With all the support she has been getting from her posts about me, I would like to say thank you, but instead of praying for me, pray for those in your own life that are too scared to come forward about their mental health; I am slowly making progress, and that doesn't mean that I won't slip back down the hill. If you feel like you must do something for me, pray for yourselves and the loved ones in your life with mental health issues.

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