I am 14. How do I tell my evangelical family I am a Buddhist?

First of all, as a Buddhist to a Buddhist, I would like to tell you I am impressed that you are consciously choosing your religion, especially at your age. I was 16 when I did. I told my mom and sister, but my Dad believed only Christians go to heaven, so I never told him.

I know what it is like to have Christianity crammed down your throat your entire life. My Dad did it to me until the day he died. That being said, I would like you to meditate and let go of all of your frustrations with your family before reading any further.

Compassion is important in Buddhism. When you are compassionate, you see the hopes, fears, dreams, desires, etc. of other people. Putting aside your thoughts and feelings for a moment, realize that they are concerned for your salvation. In their world, salvation is everything. That is how much they love you.

Staying in touch with any feelings of love and compassion you may have, ask yourself:

  • What do you want them to know?
  • Why do you want them to know that?

Are you still in touch with those feeling? If not, perhaps your reasons for telling them aren’t kind or loving. You can start again with the feelings and try different answers to the questions until you find answers that support your love and compassion for them.

Buddhist don’t set out to prove anything. If you feel you must prove something, you acting from one of the three poisons, the one that pushes away, usually called hatred, anger or ill will. Its antidote is loving-kindness.

If you are a Mahayana Buddhist, you could make Jesus a Bodhisattva. My teacher said he saw both Avalokiteshvara and Jesus in the energetic realm. My friend who is a Pastor knows a Christian Zen Buddhist.

I hope this is helpful. Please ask questions anytime.

©2017 Stephen L. Martin

Photo: Girl meditates in Thailand.  CC0 Public Domain

6 thoughts on “I am 14. How do I tell my evangelical family I am a Buddhist?

  1. You could also consider getting it over with – if your parents are anything like mine, anything less than total honesty is disrespectful. In your newfound faith – I’m pretty sure it agrees with the Christian value of not telling lies.
    When you tell them about your decision, back it up with the reason why you’ve made this decision so they know that it’s deeper than “everybody else is doing it”, but has a deep spiritual meaning to you. Tell them that it’s not their fault that you’re not into Christianity, odds are you gave it a fair shake and it just didn’t connect. Tell them that you’ll always love them and would be glad to teach them about your faith just as they so lovingly taught you about theirs. Maybe a little information will go a long way.

    1. That will work in some cases. I bet there are extreme cases where the child is disowned. In case, it would have hurt my father unnecessarily and he would have been pushing 10 times as hard for me to accept Jesus.

      1. I come from evangelical background and understand a lot about the way our minds were programmed to work. It’s a pretty big umbrella and there’s no easy way to guess what a parent’s reaction might be. Some believe in the concept of being ‘elect’ for salvation, in which case they have to get comfortable with the idea that God might not elect all of their children to be saved and there’s nothing they can do about it. Some are loving parents who only want their children to be happy, and so will be understanding if their kids choose another religion. Others won’t be happy no matter what you do, so you might as well do what’s right for you and hold to your beliefs the best way you can. Sometimes putting on a mask that you still believe and living a lie eats away at you though – so you can’t always hide it.

  2. “Before you speak, ask yourself: Is it kind, is it necessary, is it true, does it improve upon the silence?” Sai Baba of Shirdi

    I believe it is cruel to hurt people unnecessarily in the name of honesty. Nothing good would have come out of my telling my late dad I am a Buddhist.

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