Hi everybody! I am someone who was raised in a fundamentalist Christian sect where religion was an inescapable part of life. As an adult I was able to move away from that and into a position of nonbelief. My husband is in full agreement. So is my 14-year-old son. We told him that he could make his own decisions, and after going to church for a brief while he decided that he didn't believe in God, either. Awesome, right?
Except for helping my son figure out how to respond when the conversation at school turns to religion. A complicating factor is that my son is autistic, and has not the easiest time negotiating conversations in the first place. I have told him to avoid the subject if possible, not because of a fear that he will be converted, but because I don't want him to give any more material for kids to bully him or leave him out. The number two position I have recommended for him is to say, we aren't really religious at our house. The number three position I have recommended is that he simply ask questions and listen to the answers. He goes to public school and is in eighth grade.
I understand this is kind of a cop out, but I hated so much growing up in a home where we were very pressured to "witness" and evangelize to others. If when he's grown he wants to be more activist about his views, that's fine with me. I'm not worried that someone is going to convert my son. IMO it's fine for him to explore other belief systems, and he will be free to talk about them with me and his dad. I have a strong confidence in his common sense.
What advice do you give your teenage kids about expressing their views to their peers?