â€˜My daughter’s turned atheist – her dad wants to hand her over to the FBI!’
Our daughter started college a year ago, and we’ve noticed during her visits home that she’s not the sweet, innocent girl we sent away for higher learning. We raised her with strong Christian beliefs, but lately she’s saying that she’s joined an atheist club on campus and is questioning everything we taught her. Now my husband refuses to let her in the house and is threatening to turn her in to the FBI. I’ve tried to cure our daughter and reconcile with her, but nothing seems to work. I’ve prayed over her at night while she sleeps, enlisted friends in a phone prayer tree and even spoken to my priest about the possibility of an exorcism. I’m at my wits’ end. How can I recover my daughter and keep her from hell? â€” God-fearing.
While I am sympathetic to anyone’s devotion to their religion, you need to realize that your daughter is a sentient being with the right to reject your religious views if she so chooses. Your husband is pathetically misguided if he thinks he can call the FBI to report the “crime” of your daughter joining an atheists club. Ditto for the exorcism. This young woman is not possessed, demonic or doing weird things; she is merely thinking and questioning the religion she grew up with. I would encourage you to understand that all people, your daughter included, have the right to think for themselves, particularly about something as meaningful as religion. As for hell, well, she appears willing to take her chances.
Commments P Z Myers, over at Pharyngula:
There’s a regular stampede of young people doing exactly what “God-fearing” describes – isn’t it wonderful? This is exactly what happens when you send your kids off to college: if it works, they start thinking for themselves, develop surprising new opinions, and aren’t afraid to share them with other people. Hooray for college students, some of my favorite people!
As for these poor parents, they shipped their daughter off to college with the wrong idea. They thought college would just confirm them in their same old traditional beliefs. We really ought to send little information packets to the parents of our students, carefully explaining that there will be little shocks like this, because their kids will come back as smart, independent human beings.