Asking for help doesn’t mean you’re weak… it means you’re wise.
By Dr. Darrel Ray
For many years I have corresponded with dozens of teenagers all over the world from Morocco to India, the U.S. to England. Many wrote for advice on how to handle religious situations with parents or grandparents. In most cases, they read the Bible, Koran or Book of Mormon and came to the conclusion that it was all a myth. Unfortunately, in discovering this secret, they often learn that their religion strongly discourages questioning. Jesus said, “Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free” but that only applies if you agree with his truth. Genuine truth seeking is not part of any major religion.
If you are still under the influence or control of your parents, grandparents or other authority figure, it can be very difficult to be independent in thought and reason. It can be almost impossible to talk about science and rational thinking to parents who think the earth is 6,000 years old or grandparents who believe a girl should be quiet and learn from her father or husband.
If you are experiencing something like this, I am here to help. I can’t promise that I will have all the answers, but you will be able to ask questions and discuss your problems and concerns.
I don’t believe in invisible friends (well, I confess, I like to believe in the Flying Spaghetti Monster), and I hold no books to be holy. I love science, psychology, history, and anthropology, among other subjects, but most of all, I enjoy helping people escape the chains of religious oppression.
I was raised in a fundamentalist home in Kansas, USA. I went to church 3-5 times a week, sang in the choir, and when I got older, taught Sunday School. I went on to get my Master’s Degree in religion at Scarritt College for Christian Workers because I thought I wanted to be a minister.
The brainwashing and programming in my home and church was deep and difficult to escape. At 13, I found fossil sharks teeth on top of a 500 ft. Mesa in New Mexico. When I asked my Mom and Aunt how they got up there, they told me “god put them there in the flood.” Even at the age of 13 in knew better than that. I loved studying evolution but dared not tell my family that the earth was 4.5 billion years old. I would have gotten a good lecture, and maybe even a good spanking.
In my family, until I went to college, I knew almost no one who understood evolution and could talk about it intelligently. I only wish that I had someone to ask secret questions to. I am excited to be a part of the Kids Without God project and look forward to answering your questions and hearing your stories.
If you have an issue relating to religion but no one to talk to, ask Dr. Ray.
He doesn’t promise that he has all the answers, but hopefully he will be able to provide insight and experience that will be beneficial for both you and for the many other young people in similar situations.