Forum For Parents

Although we are using Facebook as our platform to discuss issues facing raising children beyond belief, please click here to join the discussion. We would still love the opportunity to connect with you here. Once again, all those believers in the different gods, please use the section “Hate Mail and Hell-Wishing” to voice your opinions. ONLY there will they been shown to the public. This section is reserved for people who choose not to join in your particular god of the month club (on a space-time level, that is a really funny joke). If you have a serious question or an event, political or religious that we can help you stop or protest, or you require signatures from fellow atheists, then here is your chance to organize those who share your beliefs.

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Comments: 68

  • #1

    A Mum (Saturday, 21 January 2012 17:33)

    Question: Hi, Glad I found the site, hope it really takes off because I for one could really do with the support. For your information please see;



    http://www.openthebook.net/home.php



    A recent newsletter told me that an evangelical church has been attending my daughters school and telling these stories. I was not happy. On approaching the school and asking for more information they seemed quite taken aback and shockingly didn't even seem to know what and how this group were going to present these stories.



    I have had doubts about my beliefs and recently believed a Pagan path maybe right for me but now I'm not so sure. I have always be honest with my daughter and tried to teach her that beliefs are individual and that not believing or being unsure or changing your mind is absolutely fine and perfectly normal. I've explained that exploring different viewpoints can be exciting and can help you look at things differently but no-one should ever tell you what to believe



    That's why I am so upset with the way her school have been teaching RE and 'collective worship' I have at her request removed her. But it's 2012 I shouldn't have to do this. The head has written to me saying they teach a broad RE curriculum in an inclusive way, but this is NOT what my 9yr old has told me.



    'I am expected to pray mummy and I feel silly if I do and silly if I don't.'



    'They don't say Christians believe this and then say it, they just say it and everyone believes it and I don't.'



    'I'm sick of us talking about Jesus, mummy you're the only one who has ever told me about other beliefs.'



    I know I CAN remove my daughter BUT her friends and peers are now being taught that Jesus walked on water as though it's an undeniable fact. If they are not taught they have choices how can they make their own or learn to respect my daughter's or anyone else's for that matter?



    Sorry for the rant. Lol



    Emma, Mum to one 9yr old.

  • #2

    Daniel (Saturday, 21 January 2012 18:30)

    Hello Emma,

    you are not alone, My wife and I are atheists and my 2 children attend a normal school who ONLY teach religion 1 hour a week, with my tax dollars! During that hour we told the school we didnt want are children to attend, so our kids and the 2 muslim kids are asked to leave the class and go into the hallway. This is like those kids who were not allowed to learn sex-ed 30 years ago! What is amazing though is that when the other religious kids ask my kids about why they dont attend the class my kids are more articulate then I could ever be and they asking questions whiich teachers cannot answer like " if it says in the ten commandments that thou shalt not kill, why does god tell Mosses to kill people?" Or when my kids ask teachers what religion they would believe in if they lived 4000 year ago in egypt or if they were born in india or Japan today instead of where they were born what god would they believe in then? My children have better answers then I could ever dream of, and your will too. You are doing the right thing, and you are an amazing mother who we all respect, your daughter will respect you and thank you forever for that what you have taught her.

  • #3

    Jason (Saturday, 21 January 2012 18:54)

    Emma, you are doing the right think thing! but get some books to help you explain to your daughter that she is right, the one from Lance Gregorchuk is great and there are a bunch more, reading to and with your children and having the discussion is so important.

  • #4

    Emma (Saturday, 21 January 2012 22:33)

    Thank you for your support. She does seem happier now she's not taking part in RE, she came out of school beaming and saying she had comprehension instead of RE. So it seems it is the best choice for her. But I am going to (politely of course) explain to the school why I chose to do it and how much happier she is now as a result. It just might give them cause to check how other children feel about it and make sure that they are not feeling silly or pressured. It sounds as though your kids are really clued up Daniel.

  • #5

    Cindy (Thursday, 29 March 2012 16:45)

    Sorry, not much of a Facebooker....
    As a self-reliant resourceful woman, I never thought I'd need support on this topic - but I'm so weary.

    My 9 year old daughter attends public school. There are 24 children in her class, 23 of which are Christian, as is her teacher. Though we live in central Tx - not far from the impressively progressive city of Austin - tolerance,reason, and evidence-based thinking is in shorter supply here. My daughter made the social faux pas of declaring that her family doesn't go to church, and that she isn't sure what she believes, including whether there is a god.

    This happened several months ago, and since that time she has been enduring regular commentary from fellow students on how her family is going to burn, how she should pray for her parents who are wrong, having cross necklaces waved around her etc. etc.

    After having my fill, I corresponded with her teacher, who immediately visited with my daughter, lead a short class discussion on tolerance and offered to talk with individual children if needed.

    Now, my daughter is very mature for her age, operating on a 11-12 yr old level in most areas. We've discussed these type of things several times, choosing to guide her along the lines of critical thinking, reason, science etc. Ironically, we place great value on tolerance. Depending on her mood, these regular events of "Christian bullying" are either brushed aside or, taken to heart. The latter is causing her a great deal of conflict and pain. She even has started saying "but how do we know?".... If you are 9 years old and everyone around you is saying that something is true....

    I am so sick of dealing with this. This morning I told her that she will have to suffer fools for the rest of her life, so "get over it and move on"! While I don't think this to be bad advice - I really am more warm & fuzzy than that. My own knee-jerk reaction is to visit sites like this, pick up my Dawkins' books and fight urges to become an activist ( I really prefer more peaceful pursuits, not to mention wanting to keep my house from being torched, tires slashed etc.) If anyone has suggestions that might help our situation, I would appreciate hearing them.

    Thanks for your time, so sorry about the length.

  • #6

    Jason (Friday, 30 March 2012 09:44)

    Cindy, it sounds like you are doing everything right. My son also had trouble dealing with his, our, atheism in the beginning. He is only 7 now, my wife and I discuss things with him like the stories in the bible which christians take as fact like Noah's Ark, we came together to the conclusion that if the story is true how did the Kangeroos get to Australia? There is also that great book by Dale Mcgowan, my favorite is the letter that Dawkins wrote to his daughter.

  • #7

    Chelsea Ribbon (Wednesday, 11 April 2012 05:30)

    There are many atheists who believe the best way to approach religion with their children is to explain a little bit about all religions, including mythology, and present them all as equal and the child will hopefully learn no single religion is better than another.

    I just want to say to my child (who will be born in October) that there is no God or gods and that our family is proud to be atheist. If my child wants to research religions of the world, he can go ahead and I will help him, but right from birth I want the message to be that he comes from an atheist family, not a passive, non-religious family.

    If a deeply religious family can teach their child from birth that "we are Jewish/Muslim/Catholic" why can't I teach my child we are atheist and leave it at that?

    My child will be bombarded by religious crap throughout life and I'll debunk the folklore as we go along, but when my child is young and impressionable, I want him to identify as being atheist and know he comes from an atheist background.

    Do any atheists out there disagree with this parenting method? What would you do differently? The baby isn't born yet, so I've got some time to really think it through.

  • #8

    sandra (Thursday, 31 May 2012 13:22)

    My 3year old is going around every day talking about heaven and god, prayers etc. its driving me nuts!! im an open atheist, my children go to a non-catholic school. I live in a catholic dominated society, everyone is catholic. I feel like im fighting every step of the way to raise my children as free-thinkers and not to be conditioned to worship a 'god'. It is hard, especially with interfering grandparents who can not accept my way of life. Now my 3year old is been brain washed into learning all these stupid prayers (mind she be thought something educational)by hypocrites who never set foot inside a church themselves, but feel the need to 'teach' my child religion at the tender age of 3 who is young and impressionable!! I have already gone trough this with my son (different grandparents), wasn't easy and it resulted in a dragged out argument that was later resolved, but do i have to constantly go trough life defending my beliefs. All religions are respected and have there own rights.. but the Atheist doesn't have any!

  • #9

    Jen (Monday, 25 June 2012 05:34)

    We struggle with religious bombardment on a daily basis - we live in Kansas, so I know how Cindy feels. My kids are 7 and 8, but they are pretty clear on what is real and what's made up. When they were little, we were really worried about how we would broach the subject of religion with them, but it was done for us. D1, age 3.5 at the time, came home and said someone at her preschool told her about God living up in the sky on a cloud. While I struggled to come up with a response, she said, "But I told him that couldn't happen, because clouds are just made of gas and anyone sitting up there would fall right through!" Teach your kids the science, and the critical thinking will follow. :-)

  • #10

    maria (Thursday, 16 August 2012 18:27)

    Really Jen? at age 3.5? that's amazing! you may have a budding scientist!!

  • #11

    Ben Alves (Monday, 27 August 2012 10:54)

    Hi,
    First sorry for my for my English.
    I’m an Atheist married to a Christian
    My wife used to follow this religion but due some stuffs she left and this happened before we meet. We are married for 7 years and we have a boy with almost 5 years. I knew that she left her religion and she was still a believer and for respect of her I tried not to speak about anything related to religion (only happened once and the result wasn't pretty). We have 2 rules that we try to always follow:
    1- Never fight, discuss
    2- We always talk about our son education and we will always support each other decision.

    A couple years ago she said that our kid should have some religious education and she suggest Sunday school (I am from a deeply Catholic family)and some orientation from her part and I replied:" He is to young and he doesn't need any religious orientation, let him be".

    Recently, she decided to follow her religion again, It was a shock for me because after all the issue she had in the past with them and she was willing to return and I had to accept her decision because it’s her life and her choice.
    But for the first time in our marriage we are have a problem that we cannot solve: She decided to pass her believes to our kid. When I first notice it, I ask her why was she doing it and she said that is was her duty as a parent to pass it to her hit:
    -“He is just a kid he doesn’t need a religion education and when he is ready he will decided what will he wants to believe”
    -“That’s why I should pass something to him, so he can decided, I even suggest you that he could go to Sunday school”
    -“My family is Catholic, not me. If you are going to teach him about your religion and Sunday school, why don’t we teach him about Hindy, Islam…!” I said
    - “Are you going to teach something to him? Like God doenst exist?”
    -“I respect your believes and because in this subject our way of thinking is so extreme and to prevent any confusion on his head I believe neither should talk to him about Religion/atheisms.”
    She made a huge silence and a few days I saw my kid with a book about the Bible stories and I tried to talk to her again and She quote the Bible about Why a parent should teach their kids about God… I had to make this huge control to prevent a huge discussion because if I start talking about religion I never stop and don’t have anything pleasant to say.
    We had same talk several times because she still hasn’t gave up to teach him about god. This is getting in my nerves, 7 years marriage and 1 fight and in last few weeks several because she doesn’t understand that the only middle ground is to let him be and neither of us should impose believes or lack of to our son.
    She always used my past as a Catholic to justify why he could learn and when his ready he would chose his path. I told her:”I wish no one had decided for me what I had to believe because it was so hard to “clean myself”.
    For her the only way to do things is that she indoctrinates him and tried to do the opposite but for me that’s not logical, I still believe in not teach him about anything and find a neutral way to do things.
    She won’t change her him so I have only one choice:”to be the devil” and hope that things wont turn ugly.

    Anyone here married with a believer and how did you solve this problem? There’s any way to convince your partner to step back and find another way? If not, how do can you educate your kid when the other part things that this is for the salvation of his eternal soul?
    I need a suggestion because I don’t have any…


    Once again sorry for the bad English and wall of text but I had to take this out of my chest.















  • #12

    Amy Kerr (Monday, 03 September 2012 21:19)

    Hi Ben Alves.
    My advice would be that if your wife wants to teach your son about jesus and catholicism, it is only fair to your son that you also teach him about EVERY other religion and non religion, so that he can decide for himself. Clearly your wife is not going to respect your preference of waiting until your son is older, so now is the time to let him know the facts. At 7 years old he is old enough to understand science vs. myth and right vs. wrong.

  • #13

    Chris (Thursday, 20 September 2012 05:25)

    My wife and I had twins in May. My parents, who are christian conservatives, have already tried getting me to let them bring the babies to church for a "dedication". I told them no.

    A bit of background:
    My parents "found" religion when I was two (I'm now 30). I got to celebrate halloween twice. looking at home videos from back then, we all seemed very happy. then all the home videos turned into "me at church" videos. i went to private christian school until sixth grade, was home schooled seventh and eighth, and then was flung to the wolves in public high school. Needless to say, i did not fit in.

    Overcoming my religious background has been the biggest challenge of my life, and I struggle to this day with what i can only describe as hardwired guilt for being an atheist (or post-theist). But this isn't about me anymore.

    I don't want my parents, my kids grandparents, to do to them what they did to me. My parents are kind, loving people, but they will attempt to fill my kids heads with theology and Jesus and church and all that nonsense if I give them the chance.

    How do I draw the line without making them hate me more than they probably already do? I want my kids to think critically and objectively about the world, but I also want them to have a good relationship with their grandparents, which is something else I never had.

    How do I do this?

  • #14

    Lance (Thursday, 20 September 2012 18:59)

    @Chris. I actually had the same problem. My parents didnt like it, but I told them the truth, it was very hard for them and still is, but these are my kids and those are yours! Celebrate christmas, easter, halloween, and new years, birthdays and the tooth fairy. Bringing up atheist children is so much fun, wait until they ask you if santa is real and you have to lie because the other one still believes, but it is OK. You have made the right decision, when you explain Jesus like Santa when they are 6 or 7 they will get it dont worry, kids are smarter then parents!

  • #15

    Coryn (Sunday, 30 September 2012 05:20)

    I think the main important thing that we have taught our six girls (technically five, 1 is only one so she doesn't chat with us yet about religion, lol) is that people believe magical things because its fun and safe to believe them but that we need to separate that from reality. We teach them about all of the holidays and where they came from, where its origin is, but we don't believe in any gods and we surely don't pray. We teach them that some people do and that if others want to believe that, it's their prerogative. I think it is the same as a positive affirmation, and that is always a good thing. I tell them sometimes even grown ups gets scared and that it makes them feel safer thinking that is true even if it isn't. Some of the harder ones to explain were actually the non religious traditions. We don't tell them there is a Santa or a tooth fairy, but we teach them that other people like to pretend with their kids that it IS real, and that they think its fun, but that I don't support telling the kids things that aren't true, and that goes for all areas. It might take away from some of the magical stuff as children, but I think we more than make up for it by reading stories about magic, flying, etc so that we get that type of imaginative play without teaching them the wrong things, like fantastical things being real and true.

  • #16

    Cindy (Friday, 12 October 2012 14:42)

    Where can I find information on the rights afforded to atheist parents re: what their child is exposed to at school? My son is 3 and in a christian nursery school and I have pulled him out of RE. This means he doesn't get to be in any school plays,they pull him away during practices and before saying a prayer at mealtime- but as he gets older I am sure that he will object from being pulled away. How can I handle this? Am I allowed to get a group of parents together to create an "ethics and philosphy" class instead or send my own tutor to his school? What is the school required to do with him when he is alone (as he is only 3!!) ie can they put him with another class or activity and do I have to be notified or consent? What about storytime? Should he be forced to miss out like that? Should our kids face such educational deficit because of the level of RE integrated in the school? So I need to know what to do with the exclusion bit and how to equip my son for weathering friendships and teasing when absent from various things. I think, too many atheists in the UK are too group oriented to stand their ground but I am not! Thanks.

  • #17

    Sarah (Monday, 05 November 2012 18:04)

    My husband and I are trying to have children for the first time, well, we're not preventing it anymore. For various reasons we're both atheists. His belief stems strongly that it's a financial racket, and if they were really all about doing good they'd be preaching in warehouses, not mega-churches. Mine is based on the principles that there have been many religions throughout history and people have found it necessary to understand the unexplainable. They find comfort in believing in deities that may or may not exist. Since I'm not Stephen Hawking I also cannot 100% deny the possibility of a creator either, I just don't follow any or believe in any that humans have created.

    Anyway, I digress.

    Lately I've been looking at online conception forums and such trying to get the best ideas and advice about the state my body should be in, food and health tips, worries, etc... basically a community of folks in the same boat. The forums are so absolutely flooded with things like "I'm so sorry you had a miscarriage. It's not God's plan for you right now," or "All the glory of my pregnancy this month to God," that I feel unbelievably uncomfortable. I believe that copulation and/or IVF, conditions not being quite right in utero, etc... are the reasons for pregnancy/miscarriage.

    One could say, "Sarah, just don't go to those sites." That seams reasonable enough, but when it doesn't involve awkward exclamations about God I really like the wealth of knowledge these women impart. Are there any sites that have atheist forums talking about pregnancy? I certainly would not want a person, under any circumstances, as kindly intended as they think it is meant, to tell me that it was God's plan if I had a loss.

    I guess I'm also nervous that we live about 1 mile from a mega-church that has a free gym too. It's like they're drawing everyone in with fun stuff, and then will be preachy. Yikes. Note: mega-church is next door to the Middle School. Oh well, I have years to worry about that.

  • #18

    Diana (Tuesday, 27 November 2012 19:47)

    Hi out there!
    I am about to start homeschooling and am having a heck of a time finding non-religious groups in San Jose. I thought that It would be no problem. Am I just barking up the wrong trees? Do you know of any here?

  • #19

    Wendy (Thursday, 06 December 2012 06:01)

    My 6th grader just brought to our attention that he is being tought religion in history class. He is very uncomfortable and we are not sure what to do about it. He goes to a public school and we were shocked to see it in a history book. Please advise.

  • JimdoPro
    #20

    Lance Gregorchuk (Thursday, 06 December 2012 08:11)

    @Wendy: I think religion has a place in history class but it is important that your son or daughter is loaded with the facts. My son was once asked to draw a picture of what he thought heaven looked like in art class he raised his hand and said he cant do that and nor should anyone else because of the 3rd commandment.

  • #21

    Susan (Friday, 21 December 2012 15:19)

    Hello :) I need some advice. My daughter's (very christian) paternal Grandmother sent her a bible for Christmas. I don't mind letting her open it for Christmas since she's three and will just think it's another book, but it won't get any use here. I can't stand for such a nice book (even a bible) to just sit around collecting dust. Should I send it back with a "Thanks, but no thanks" type note, or just donate it? I'm not sure what the polite thing to do here is.

  • #22

    Libby (Saturday, 29 December 2012 12:55)

    Hi!

    I knew someday I would have to tackle the issue of my family's atheism in regard to our daughter - well, the time has come. She's 3.5 now, and people are starting to talk.

    I've been looking for some advice online, and I thought maybe I could find some help here! The issue is not "what to do" in regard to myself - I'm a grown woman, unashamed of my lack of religious beliefs. I prefer not to argue/debate about it, but if it comes down to it, I am a well-rounded adult and I can handle it.

    I'm worried about my child. She's just a kid! At the moment, since she's so young, I'm only having to deal with other adults bothering me about the issue. Things like, "Why won't you send her to a church preschool?" "Why didn't you tell her the story of Jesus at Christmas?" "Why isn't she baptised?"

    But like I said, I am an adult and I can handle it. In a year or so, my daughter is the one who is going to have to handle it and I won't be around to intervene.

    When she starts school, visiting playmates, etc., those questions are going to be posed to her..."Where do you go to church?" "Do you know Jesus is your lord and savior?"

    I just don't know what to do - what to tell her to do. The poor thing is just a child, she doesn't have debating skills yet and I don't expect her to. But what especially worries me is when an adult is doing this to her (say, a friend's parent). There is an element of authority there, and I have no doubt that a child wouldn't feel comfortable saying, "Mind your own business and let me play in peace."

    I've thought about telling her to tell others, "I don't wish to talk about it." But deep down I know the response will be (because it always is), "Why?"

    In addition, a line such as that almost sounds like there must be something to be ashamed of if you don't wish to speak about it.

    I just don't know what to do. I, like many other atheists, grew up believing in God and know all of the stories by heart. I deconverted at 14, but I was never really good at defending myself or debating until I was well into my 20s. Now I'm in my 30s and I'm a pro at it. I can shut down a conversion attempt in seconds flat.

    But for a child who was never raised on it to begin with, having to learn to defend herself in single-digit age...I just don't know what to do. Please help!

  • #23

    Heidi (Monday, 14 January 2013 22:40)

    Libby,
    My daughter is 4 (5 in April) and I know just what you mean about feeling scared that she will not be prepared at such a young age to defend herself against pushy people and their religious talk. What has made it difficult recently, is that my mother, who I have specifically instructed NOT to discuss religion with my child until she is old enough to understand what it all is and make her own decisions, has been teaching my daughter about God and Jesus and how to pray behind my back. We now are questioning if sleepovers at Grammy's will have to be a thing of the past, which is so sad at 4 years old. Luckily my daughter knows that she is "too young to talk about that stuff" because "it makes her feel confused and sad" which is what she has said to my mom when confronted, but somehow even this doesn't stop the religious discussion with my preschooler, so the visiting will have to be limited until boundaries can remain in tact. My daughter doesn't like it when people talk about God to her, and she is verbal enough to tell them so, thankfully. She says that she's too young to talk about that stuff and asks for them to stop. We talk about lots of people thinking lots of things about religion and God and that when she is older she can try to figure it all out for herself if she wants, or not worry about it if she'd rather, but she is much too young to do that now, just like she's much too young to drive a car. That seems to help her understand that God-talk is only for grown-ups and anyone who talks to little kids about this kind of thing to confuse them is doing something wrong. Hope that helps a little! Now, if I could just get my mom on the same page, everything would be peachy. :/

  • #24

    Libby (Wednesday, 16 January 2013 12:23)

    Heidi - Thank you so much! I love the line, "I'm too young to talk about it!" That is going to help a lot!

    My mother is wanting to start indoctrinating as well. Ugh! Her excuse is that kids will talk about it at school so my daughter might as well learn about it now so she'll be educated about the subject when it comes up. Sheesh!

    I do somewhat agree with that so my daughter can stay on the offensive, but I'm really not concerned about "offensive tactics" until she's much older. Let's at least wait until the poor girl can understand the principle that "some people believe this...some people believe that..."

    Luckily, my mother has a unique ideal going on. She believes that religion is the only way to teach morality - and that's it. You go to church until you're 9 or so and that's that. She doesn't believe the Bible stories, she doesn't attend church herself, she doesn't practice whatsoever. Unfortunately for me, I can't shake her off that thinking that church is the ONLY way to teach morality, though. I was raised the same way - strict Catholic up until 9 years old, then all of a sudden, "Never mind, you don't need to go to church anymore."

    Its funny to note that you spend years in church as a child, hours on all the Bible stories, endless youth groups, just to set up a foundation for morality....and yet all I ever tell my child is, "How would YOU like it if...." One line - I taught morality.

    So here's another question regarding helping your children stay on a good defense - do you wait until a situation arises or do you tell them what to do BEFORE it happens?

    I would rather wait for the situation because they are all so different and require different responses - but I guess that doesn't help my daughter at the time it happens, now does it?

    But on the other hand, if I tell her what to say in preparation, I don't know...I don't want to give her a complex. Thinking that people are going to be hounding her from all sides (we live in the Bible Belt, so this is true) but I still don't want her to be paranoid about it.

    The way it appears now, she's a very bright, intelligent, beautiful, middle-class girl. All things considered, her lack of religion is going to be THE "thing" that will pose a real, possibly dangerous, social challenge. I'm not looking for my daughter to be popular with millions of friends - I simply want her to develop as socially well-adjusted as possible.

    And this is a really big hurdle considering all of the myths about atheism.

  • #25

    seth (Friday, 18 January 2013 06:48)

    I'm writing this note in utter desperation. I broke from my religious faith 7 years ago before marrying my wife. My wife maintains her Christian faith though she hasn't a clue as to why. She and her mother regularly reinforce a belief in Christ and the god of the bible to our children. I've begged her to talk with me privately about coming to some agreement on how best to approach the topic of teaching our kids about faith. She refuses on the basis of the anxiety it raises in her. I have gone about teaching my kids about the scientific process and answering questions about god only when asked by them. However, my almost 6 yr old is wise and understands mom and dad don't agree. Additionally, he has begun to side with my wife and her mother. He pressed me tonight with a dozen well thought out questions in rapid fire. I answered them using reasonable arguements excusing his logical falacies. But, I went a step further and tread on ground that is almost certain to cause upheaval in my marriage. I went to the source. I opened the Bible and began to read the savagery and schizophrenic passages from judges and genesis. By the time I finished paraphrasing the story of Lot putting his two daughters out of his house in order for them to be raped and brutalized by the crowd in order to save gods angel messengers--he was in tears and begged me to stop reading. I calmed him down and explained to him that his fear was the fear I had spent the first 25 years of my life experiencing. My son went on to express anger towards this god but more specifically anger at the god of the bible. I felt reassurred by this gesture but was alarmed when he asked to only hear the "good" stories from his bible story books from now on. It left me wondering if I'd accomplished anything at all. My wife will no doubt hear of this saga and will want answers. I suppose if this begins a conversation between us-this event might be a small victory. However, my fear is it will only serve to alienate her. I'm in a bad spot as I see it. I don't want to lose my family but I even more so don't want to lose my kids minds. Can anyone direct me to resources? Are their specialists in counselling who deal with this type of situation? Please help

  • #26

    Adrian (Saturday, 19 January 2013 00:00)

    Seth,

    Man, I feel for you. While I can't empathize with your situation. I've imagined it, and it is horrible. I have thought long and hard and come to the decision that I cannot marry a woman who does not beforehand agree to not raise (or try to raise) my children with religion. I don't mind her teaching about religion anthropologically, but my heart could not stand the thought of my own children's minds being stolen, lied to, and lead down a path of dependence that is too too similar to drug use.

    That being said, I understand that your situation is present, and cannot be changed by my own decisions. What I would recommend is telling your wife that you HAVE to have the talk. Seriously, as a couple, you can't tiptoe around an issue that means so much to both of you and avoid it. No matter how painful it is, no matter how scary the result is, no matter how anxious it makes her, it needs to happen. You two need to be open and explain your viewpoints and come to an understanding of what you both want and need regarding your children and religion. I don't think the war should be waged through your children. I think as parents you should come to an agreement on "this is how we will raise our children." And it is an important agreement to make. Because if you don't make it, this will probably not end in a way you like.

    As a small "warring" method, that I don't necessarilly recommend, you could use this as an opportunity to teach about many mythologies. You could teach your kids about greek gods, norse gods, egyptian gods, islam, judaism. Teach them about hindiusm and buddhism. Let your kids know that "this is what mommy believes, and here are different things that people all around the world believe, or have believed in the past!" And "This is what daddy believes." I say if your wife is opening up the topic of magic being real to your kid, don't confine it to christianity. Show them all the magic that people have imagined throughout history.

    But regardless you really shouldn't let your kids go to church. No matter what. Not until they are old enough to have critical thinking skills. Like teenagers.

    Like I said, what I really think you should do is talk to your wife, make your decision (as parents) clear. Don't let her avoid the topic. Tell her that it is very important to you and you are suffering emotionally because of it, and you NEED to talk about it.

    I hope all goes well.

  • #27

    Salma (Monday, 21 January 2013 13:42)

    Hello,

    I read some of your entries, but couldn't read them all!

    I'm about to have my first baby, me and my husband are atheists, but we're from Egypt, and here it's really not that optional as it might be in Europe or even the US.
    It's more like impossible to declare that we're not muslims, and that we won't allow our kid to attend Islamic classes at school.

    I want my baby boy to understand well before he attend school how and why his parents are different, but my Question and concern is that, how to make him understand while he's; say 2 to 5 years old "before going to school"??

    Thanks,

  • #28

    miss holly (Friday, 15 February 2013 19:43)

    hi there.
    its so nice to find a place with like minded people!

    I'm from a catholic family, and the only non believer. I'm divorced, and have two daughters, 5 and 3, they go to a catholic preschool. my husband made the decision without me to put them in catholic school because he feels the education is better, and i can relate because i went to catholic school and was way ahead of everyone else when i finally did go to public school in 10th grade. I'm still not happy about it.

    they are starting to say things about "jesus" and "god" and every time i hear those words come out of their mouths, i cringe. they spend a considerable amount of time at my parents house and i know my parents make them say grace, bedtime prayers, which drives me insane because they know I'm a non believer (we never talked about it) yet they still make my kids pray. we even had the girls baptized in their church just to make them happy.
    i don't know what I'm supposed to be saying to my kids right now. they're so young, and i don't know if i should just let it go until they're old enough to understand, or what? i want to let them know its just one out of many beliefs. anyone know of any good books? ugh!

  • #29

    Adrian (Wednesday, 20 February 2013 19:04)

    Stand up to your parents! Don't let them raise your children for you! Especially not in a way that you don't approve of. If your parents were teaching your kids racism, would you allow it? If your parents were teaching your kids creationism would you allow it? If your parents were taching your kids that women are the property of men would you allow it?

    I recommend having the talk with you parents about what is and is not acceptable with your children.

  • #30

    jo (Friday, 15 March 2013 14:21)

    we have an evangelical woman at our public school. she volunteers at the school a lot - on an above average basis and despite attending the church two streets away, which has a kindy, primary and secondary school, she insists on sending her 2 children to the public school. she brings her church branded stationery to the p'n'c (pta) meetings and is there on such a frequent basis it actually feels like its an attempt to keep other people away.

    she really reminds me of the character from the first chapter of 'good news club' in that she is deliberately always there, always pushing her brand.

    she found out i was an atheist and began coming up to me on a daily basis, reminding me that parents aren't supposed to be standing on the grass (while there are forty people doing it & i'm talking to someone, she singled me out for about two weeks.) "make sure you send the right amount of money for 'tuckshop' because some parents never send the right money.." ie: i'm an atheist so now i can't count? i always send the right money. "make sure you're kids have the right uniform, etc, etc "i can't even remember it was so petty

    but then her child comes to school and says to my six year old "god told me you hate me" - which i'm sorry, can only have been coached. i feel sorry for her kids. the same child used to punch my daughter (atleast 8 or 9 different occasions, unprovoked & without retaliation) she used to tell her she couldn't be friends with other girls in the class. i have complained to the school but their response isn't going to be of any surprise to anyone around the world..

    these people can be very nasty pieces of work & act like wolves in sheep's clothing. i empathise with the woman from texas who is afraid of having her tyres slashed. this woman has followed me around the school holding up her smart phone looking like she's filming me. she even waited for me one day & literally jumped out from behind a pole to surprise me into some kind of weird situation?
    luckily it was right near my son's classroom & he called out to me that day that he wanted me to stay, so i had to go back & say goodbye & hug him. then a friend also turned up so she hung around for 10 minutes but we waited her out & she left..

    she's brought a toy gun to school & had her kid hand it to mine to play with (we don't have toy guns at our house + i'm not in the u.s. so there's a very different gun culture in my country, and my child playing with a toy gun did not go down well at the school - as intended..) she told me her eldest child attended 6 different kindergardens in an 18 month period - could it have been for bullying??

    she really has one rule for herself, above the rules as 'god's elect' allowed to decide for herself what applies, but hypocritically there to bully everyone else.
    she may actually be mentally ill. i've seen her walking along and talking to herself/praying & she sometimes looks like she is in a daze. i guess she attends church to deal with this issue but i don't know if it's working for her anymore

    scapegoating seems to be her latest attempt at therapy??

  • #31

    ADMIN (Friday, 15 March 2013 15:35)

    What a wonderful Story Jo! Believe it or not I actually have one that matches your’s a lot, only it includes my Muslim neighbours. This is more of a situation of you against her and not her against your kids, so my advice is that you have fun with it. Read "Born Again Atheist" and "God is not great" and then at every meeting start asking her questions like you are interested now in religion. Start with simple things in the bible, like the third commandment and move on to more fun stuff later like evolutions, Noahs flood, the earth being 7000 years old etc. When a child says something to mine like "god told me", my kid asks if he actually hears voices in his head and if he needs to take medication? My 8 year old likes to ask kids of religious belief if they like something of his, like his Star Wars figure or his new baseball glove, and then he asks them if they "want it!" and when they say yes he says "you know you’re going to hell right... thou shall not covet, you're not allowed to want things, that is what thou shall not covet means!!! So every time you want something that someone else has you are going to hell... you know it is a commandment and it is just as bad as killing someone!” Educations is a wonderful toy in the hands of the educated.

  • #32

    Jo (Monday, 18 March 2013 03:00)

    Thankx for posting this & the reply. I'm actually in the middle of 'God is Not Great' at the moment, and am a huge fan of the late Christopher Hitchens - his debates are amazing to watch & great fuel for discussions.

    I do feel sad that this xtian has brought her & my children into it - they're 6 & 7 !! - but I guess it's just an effective way to try to push people's buttons. I like the idea of asking if they actually do hear voices in their heads, because I think it is a case of fighting fire with fire so to speak. Maybe by pointing out the ridiculous nature of what they're saying & doing they'll come to their senses or atleast give up/get lost..

    I have no intention of backing down to any religious bullies, which means my children can't either!! I guess my kids just have to learn early that they need to stand up for their intellectual rights as a human being.

    And that some people cannot cope with freedom or responsibility in a democracy..


  • #33

    Atheist EDU (Monday, 18 March 2013 17:34)

    I love this site, and I'd like to link to it from my own with your permission. I just finished with the design, and now I'm working on creating content. I have a few discussions I'll be posting on raising freethinking children, but would love to include information about this site as it is a wonderful resource for parents.

  • #34

    Frustrated mom (Wednesday, 03 April 2013 04:32)

    I have a 5 year old who goes to public kindergarten and a private daycare after school. She has gone to this same daycare since she was 10wks old. They have always taught the kids little blessings to sing before they eat and we have just over looked it but now the teacher my daughter has is causing some issues. My daughter came home last week crying b/c the teacher was asking the students what easter was about and questions about Jesus and his "friends" and my daughter was upset b/c she didn't know the answers. Then today she got into trouble and was crying and was sent to her room and I heard her upstairs praying. And when she came downstairs she told me that when people get mad they make Jesus mad too. So when I started asking her about it she said she learned this from this same daycare teacher. How do I try and explain things to her?

  • #35

    MH (Thursday, 25 April 2013 22:41)

    My husband and I are the proud parents of a new baby girl. She has had a rough time of it so far in her life, and is recovering from surgery to correct a life threatening birth defect. For months now many of our friends have been offering their support to us in the form of, "We're praying for you and your little one!" Which is very kind and sweet, because I know they mean well and are trying to show they care in their own way. But at the same time I feel a disconnect. We are athiests and as such don't look to a god or other supernatural being for answers or support. Instead we trust science, which has provided us with much more strength and hope than any empty prayer. Our daughter is going to make it because she's a strong little human with amazing doctors and technology on her side. Anyone else experience this feeling of not knowing how to respond to barrages of prayer from well meaning people?

  • #36

    Deveril (Sunday, 19 May 2013 21:58)

    *Deep sigh...*
    I live in Ireland, although I'm British and my wife is Spanish. We are both long time atheists, and in many ways antitheists. We have a 5 year old daughter who goes to school where religion isn't massively pushed (although I had to make it clear that I wasn't in favour of her doing the religious-based Alive-O book exercises). They do a nativity play and other catholic-influences seem to permeate the school (as they do most of Ireland). She has come home singing hymns or carols or songs about Jesus and Mary etc., and they make me feel uncomfortable, but today a new thing came up.

    She has a recent best friend, and it turns out that her family (from India) are devout christians, and attend church on Sunday. After spending the afternoon playing round their home, my daughter has come home this evening asking to go to church. As I type this she is there singing how she wants to go to the church but that I don't like it... :-(

    I am not sure how best to react or respond, and my default is to get frustrated and snappy. I don't want to get angry and cause a fuss, as that might make her even more resolute to go.

    The subject of god has come up a couple of times, and I have just brushed it off, but this latest thing seems to be a bigger issue as it is very personal, and her best friend is clearly pressuring my daughter to go to church with her.

    I am not sure what to do or say, but I am determined not to let my daughter fall into the religious indoctrination that I foresee happening.

    Any advice?

  • #37

    ADMIN (Lance) (Monday, 20 May 2013 16:49)

    @Deveril... Teach your child! Teach your child everything! Teach your child about all religions! Go to a Mosque, go to a temple, Siek or Jewish, read children books about religion together, talk about Greek gods, Egyptian and Syrian Gods, talk about unicorns and elves and fairy tales. Read Jack and the Beanstock together! And discuss religion at least once a week. Trust me kids are smart and they will thank you for this most amazing lesson.

  • #38

    Deveril (Tuesday, 21 May 2013 10:10)

    Thank you Lance! That's great advice... I'll give it a go.

  • #39

    Adrian (Wednesday, 22 May 2013 20:08)

    Hi Deveril,

    My strategy would be to first tell your kid that there are many different beliefs in the world. Thousands of different beliefs in fact! I'd compare them to story books or fairy tales. I'd say that some people choose to believe some things as true. I'd tell her most of the time people just believe what their parents taught them......I'd also try to teach her about tact in that some people do not want you to say anything bad about their beliefs (just to keep her out of trouble as a kid). And then of course being willing to teach her about all the different beliefs that she wants to learn about. Whatever you do, do not let her only learn about one belief. Also, do not let her only get the "service" for one belief. Service is like a sales pitch, it's meant to persuade people to believe or keep believing. A child shouldn't be exposed to that kind of manipulation, unless you show her many different services so she knows what is out there, and that everybody CANNOT all be right.

  • #40

    jo (Friday, 14 June 2013 03:50)

    This morning I've been handed a flyer outside our school, from the incumbent federal member's team (who is about to lose their seat at the next election.) Said party effectively ignored a High Court Ruling that found School Chaplaincy Funding to be unconstitutional.

    And recently we've had Federal Ministers banned from entering Public Schools due to State Governments (other side of the house) not wanting schools and small children to be overly 'politicised' before the upcoming election.

    I was so tempted to challenge one of these lovely young card-carriers handing me the flyer about the hypocrisy of what they were actually doing, considering the stance their party took on Chaplaincy Funding. But, I decided to let them enjoy their Chai Lattes instead (yum – jealous) and continue with their 'campaign' outside the school grounds.

    I understand their presence and their desire to reach parents on school funding models, etc. But how can you ignore the politicisation, and worse, brainwashing of your children through Special Religious Instruction in schools (in a country where 30% of people in our last census identified as No Religion???) and then cry poor because the conservatives won't let you in? The logical option is to employ trained counsellors, who specialise in youth matters, because they are educated!! The average 'chaplain' only has to do a few days course at most to have access to your kids!!

    It's a sad day when you have to tick the 'opt out' box on an SRI form, when the school is technically supposed to be sending Opt In letters to Everyone!! Thereby, offering genuine choice!! Someone has suggested an Ethics Course at the school as an alternative, but like everything else taught by 3rd parties there, from drama classes, to the national sport, it will attract attendance and complaints from the born-again brigade, because it doesn't comply with some spiritual requirement as outlined in their bible. I've watched this happen twice this year alone.

    What I don't get is this. There are fundamentalist Xtian Schools in our local area, where attendees don't watch TV, listen to 'the devil's music' or engage in any other non-biblical type behaviours – publicly anyway – so it defies logic that these born-again types are not flocking to these schools?? Tailor-made for their every want, down to requiring pastoral reference to be considered for enrolment. But no, every tax dollar that goes towards your child, even in public education, has to have some born-again, 'on a mission' type personality try to influence it in some way, shape or form. And don't get me started on their non tax-paying agendas, and wilful drain on the welfare system.

    When a group of parents is teaching your kids how to read in their second year of school during parent volunteering, and you're pregnant with number 6, or was it 7, you need to question how many you should be having for 'the lord' because I'm not sure you're really doing that great a job!!

  • #41

    Matthew (Monday, 24 June 2013 01:45)

    Are there any resources for atheists parents to talk to kids about death? My 7 year old has started asking me questions about it. Rather suddenly actually, as no one has died in our family.

    Thanks in advance,

    Matthew

  • #42

    Sean (Tuesday, 16 July 2013 22:06)

    Hello all, I am in a difficult situation. I was a cradle-catholic but became atheist a few years ago. I am divorced from a woman who is nominally "Catholic" but does not attend church. Generally speaking we are still very close and still good friends despite the divorce. She and I are very nearly on the same page when it comes to raising our 2 kids. I am open about my lack of faith, mom is open to letting the kids make their own decisions but will "lean" towards Catholicism. As parents, we have been able to find a tolerable middle ground in how we teach the kids about religiosity.

    My problem arises in that I have very religious parents. My mother tries to get the kids to pray with her. I have told my daughter that she can say, with her best manners, "no thank you, grandma." Now, grandma is telling her that I (her own son) am going to "hell" and strongly implying (if not out right saying) that my daughter is going to hell. In large part, this is the very reason why I never had a strong faith and finally embraced atheism as an adult. I remember my mother saying this stuff to me as a kid.

    Am I am in a difficult position because my family is very important to me. I want to confront this situation without having to take the hardline of refusing to let my mother be with her grandkids. however, this is unacceptable on so many levels. Does anyone have any advice on how to approach this subject?

    Thanks in advance.

  • #43

    Ronniec (Friday, 26 July 2013 16:50)

    @sean- any time you hear your mom say that kind of nonsense just turn to the kids and say "...and that's why I'm having Grandma commited to the looney bin."

  • #44

    Jill (Thursday, 15 August 2013 21:44)

    Need Advice Please...

    I recently came "out" as an athiest after disguising myslelf as Catholic my whole life (I am 48). I was raised catholic, so was my husband. Both our parents never questioned anything regarding religion, they just always believed and went along with the usual program. When my kids were born, I did the same...had them baptised, both made thier 1st communion, and we even had a few year stint where we were a regular church going family. I used to sit there and look at everyone and ask myself "What the heck is wrong with these people?" One day I told my husband I had enough, the charade was over, I have never believed and cant relate to "those people", so we stopped going. My kids continued on with thier CCD (Religious ed) in pursuit of making thier confirmations next. Until now. I feel very strongly that they should not go any farther with this. My husband says just let them finish it out, they are so close (They are 10 & 12). Everyone here is Catholic and I dont want my kids to feel different or left out. Ive heard of parents not allowing kids to play with athiest kids, etc etc. My kids dont want to continue with the church (of course!) and say they dont believe "that crap" and they never listen in class anyway, noone does! I have never until very recently discussed my non-belief with them, so they basically figured out on thier own that its all BS. What would you do here? They are signed up and paid for the CCD classes, but I truly dont think they should go. I feel that if they want to get confirmed as adults, they can pursue it then, but for now they would be lying to the priest and wasting all our time promising to be "faithful christians." I guess Im just scared for them, I dont want them to hate me for making them feel different. Being "out" is not as easy as I thought! Thanks for reading!

  • #45

    Atheist Mom (Friday, 06 September 2013 07:57)

    My children attend a public elementary school and this year, the school is offering a christian after school club to "encourage, inspire, and build christian Character".

    My daughter originally didn't seem to be bothered by the idea too much and she asked me to not make a fuss about it...she said it was no big deal.

    I contacted an attorney to confirm that the school was not allowed to sponsor this type of student club; he agreed and offered to send a letter to the district if that is something we wanted to pursue.

    Today, my daughter informed me the christian club met today...and her no big deal attitude is long gone.

    At this point I think I have two options:
    Talk to the principal personally and ask that she dismantle the group. Which would also bring our family "out" as non-believers and that concerns me quite a bit. (we live in the south)
    -or-
    Ask the attorney to send a letter to the district without naming us specifically as the complaining party. (heavy caseload, will be a few weeks before a letter will go out)

    Either of these options could go surprisingly well, or terribly wrong.

    I am not sure how much longer we can hold out for the attorney. It won't be long before I get a phone call from school because my daughter said something inappropriate to the next kid that says she is going to burn in hell. I also don't want people camped out in my front yard praying for my family either.

    Any other alternatives I may be missing? suggestions on how to approach the principal? suggestions on how I can help my daughter to hold her tongue before we end up on the news?

  • JimdoPro
    #46

    Lance Gregorchuk (Friday, 06 September 2013 08:08)

    Contact the Freedom From Religion Foundation http://ffrf.org/ and tell them your story.

  • #47

    Atheist Mom (Friday, 06 September 2013 22:00)

    Funny thing. I did contact FFRF. They are who I am waiting on to send a letter to the school. I know they are swamped with cases. We will need to be patient.

    Thank you for confirming I started in the right place.

  • #48

    Lee Clark (Thursday, 26 September 2013 21:04)

    Hi guys

    My 5 year old son has come home today with a Bible story to read as his reading practice. I'm in the UK and he is at a state school. I'm pretty astonished about it, as it's from a set of Bible stories for young children - not a one off as part of multi-religious education (which he doesn't do until he's older anyway!)

    It's the story of 'Daniel'.

    I'm an atheist and have specifically not exposed him to any religious (or non religious) views, as I was hoping to bring it up when he was a little older and able to understand.

    This shouldn't happen should it??

    Thanks

    Lee

  • #49

    Kay (Wednesday, 16 October 2013 06:11)

    Hey,
    I am about to have my first child and having been thinking about night time rituals.
    When I was a kid we said a prayer, but it was more about have a signal for " Okay not i's bedtime" My parents where not very religious at all, it was something they used as a trigger saying. I wanted to know if any of your guys on here do a saying before bedtime? I would like to do one, that is a little more than just " I love you"

  • JimdoPro
    #50

    Lance Gregorchuk (Wednesday, 16 October 2013 09:31)

    Sing a goodnight song, the same one every night. That works!

  • #51

    Jaya Jagannath (Tuesday, 22 October 2013 16:41)

    Here is Practical Explanation about Next Life, Purpose of Human Life, philosophical/religious facts, theories etc.
    ________________
    http://jayagauranitai.blogspot.in/

  • #52

    Sharon Galdos (Friday, 06 December 2013 02:08)

    Hello, first sorry for my English. My husband and I are raising our 6 years old daughter in a naturalist and scientific environment. The problem is that she came today from school saying that in her classroom there is an Elf (the Elf on the Shelf) and the toy moves by himself. When I explained to her that toys don't have a life of their own she got pretty upset and told me I don't understand. I am making to big of a deal? How can I deal with the outside influence trying to make her to believe in fairy tales? Thank you.

  • #53

    Jennifer (Friday, 06 December 2013 22:40)

    I was raised Roman Catholic and had doubts as early as age 8 or 9. My husband and I have been raising our children as atheists and so far things have been fine. Now that Christmas is upon us my 6th grade daughter is, for the first time, finding herself constantly confronted by other children her age about Jesus and God. They look at her incredulously when she says she doesn't believe in God, or that historically it is unlikely that Jesus was born on December 25th. I am finding it difficult to find the words to give her to respond. Out of sheer frustration with one particular girls comments I told my daughter, "You tell Thea that if you want to believe there is no God or if you want to worship a coffee cup it is none of her business either way!!!" I am so frustrated I could spit! Any suggestions out there?

  • #54

    nonAtheist (Thursday, 19 December 2013 22:38)

    Sad. Borrowing all your material from that which you refuse to believe. Deep down you believe in a god, even if it is yourself. To even have a brain that can think requires a source outside yourself that has the ability to "CREATE" such a brain.

  • JimdoPro
    #55

    Lance Gregorchuk (Friday, 20 December 2013 08:13)

    @nonAtheist. Why does the brain require a source outside ourselves? That is really the silliest comment I have read for a while now, I hope you will entertain me and elaborate.

  • #56

    Mike (Wednesday, 01 January 2014 01:48)

    I recently found out I'm going to be a father. I am absolutely thrilled and can't wait. Being that my girlfriend and I are atheist/agnostic we don't celebrate the holidays. How would an atheist parent handle Christmas with a child when all their peers will celebrate it. Not to mention the Christmas presents and other traditions. We are completly lost. Any advice would help.

  • #57

    Lance (Saturday, 04 January 2014 18:02)

    @Mike: Are you kidding me??? Christmas is the best holiday EVER and after that... easter!!!! I am not just an atheist but an anti-theist in the "Hitchen's" form of the word and I love christmas... I even send out christmas cards, have a christmas tree, make christmas cakes with my wife, we give each other christmas gifts!!! Look, the christians stole this great holiday from the pegans, just steal it back, my kids love christmas, with santa claus and the waking up on christmas morning, just take the CHEZUS and GAWD thing out of it and it is so much fun! Now is your chance to explain christmas and easter as an atheist! Yet, if your plan was to save money on gifts and food become a JW, but every chance you have to teach your kids about folklore and at the same time eat great food and drink great wine should not be avoided! Atheist celebrate christmas! We celebrate Easter( the first sunday after the first full moon after the spring equinox...how pagen is that?) We love to celebrate holidays! You are not Scrooge and bah-humbug, you are an ATHEIST!!! Take the GAWD out of holidays and enjoy them!

    Lance

  • #58

    Ygor (Friday, 24 January 2014 11:49)

    Sharon Galdos,

    I believe Fairy Tales are typical from childhood, and you should not fight back their fantasy. Instead, you should enter in her fantasy world and feed it with more unreal stuff, because she will drop it sooner than you expect. As she cannot skip the clash with reality, introduce her to mythology and fantasy books.
    I believe someone who wants to give a proper education( and general culture) for someone who will live among 'believers' should present Christianism as Post-Roman Empire/Dark Ages Mythology. I always make clear that if you said something wrong about the "gods" in Egypt, like insulting Horus, or in Assyria, like insulting Tiamat, you would suffer bad experiences. The same occurs with people who follows Dark Ages mythology nowadays, when people will not stop disturbing you until you accept their myths. It is very important to her learn how bad myths can trap the mind in bad mental models, which is another topic everyone should learn.

    My 2 cents

  • #59

    JustGeoff (Sunday, 09 February 2014 13:35)

    Hello,

    Some truly heart felt stories here, I had no idea it was so bad in the USA until recently.

    I feel the only responsible course for raising children (I have 2) is to teach myths from all human times and cultures. This includes religions modern and ancient as well as politics and various ethical systems. As atheists we must strive to open and educate, not counter indoctrinate or shut down opportunities for critical thinking and comparisons.

    My wife is agnostic, and I was shocked to recently discover I scored maximum possible atheistic results on several respected psychological quizzes on belief systems and religions.

    I will be writing a book shortly on a Zen approach to atheist children. We never deny reality and the emphasis is on not wasting time on idle speculation but to engage with our own spiritual reality, which has nothing to do with God and everything to do with our amazing human mind. Frankly God is redundant, no amazing human truth or emotions require it to exist.

    Stay strong and keep calm,
    Geoff

  • #60

    Shwesh (Monday, 17 February 2014 05:45)

    My wife and I are both struggling while grasping the concept of our child being different from all the other kids. We live in Alabama currently, but I am doing EVERYTHING in my power to get us OUT OF HERE! Our son is two years old, and I would appreciate advice tips from people with more experience.

    Thanks!
    Also check out I paper I wrote for school, and let me know what you think.
    http://reasonfaithreconciliation.blogspot.com/

  • JimdoPro
    #61

    Lance Gregorchuk (Wednesday, 26 February 2014 07:41)

    I really liked your paper!!!

  • #62

    Emelia (Wednesday, 12 March 2014 16:55)

    Hi,
    My husband and I are atheists and we raised our daughter as an atheist too. Actually we just didnt give her any religious education and naturally she doesn't have God concept in her mind. She is 11 now and yesterday she had argued about God with her best friends who are religious. She told me her friends couldnt beleive she is not religious and blamed her being a liar and stopped being friends with her.
    She was so sorry and surprised to see how God issue is important in other people's life.
    Now I am feeling terrible because this is a very heavy burden on her shoulders. She started to deal with this discrimination at 11. As adults its even hard for us to fight against it and I can imagine how its harder for her. Do your kids experience same problems with their friends at school? If so what do you do?

  • #63

    bob (Friday, 21 March 2014 13:13)

    Hi all
    I just thought I'd share a tip. In order to help my kids see the light, the first thing I introduce them to around 4yrs on, is Thor, the avengers, superman etc. ( Thor is a great help, because he is a God! ) then when they ask if they are real, we say no they are just stories. It works quite well.

    Of course it becomes more difficult and confusing when they are finally confronted with fully grown adults who appear to be talking to God(s)!!!

    We just say people like the stories and some of them are quite exciting, like Thor!

    My 4yr old said the other day, 'God is real' (from school stuff) and I simply said, 'which one? they are all just stories, like Thor' he was happy with that :-)

  • #64

    Mary (Tuesday, 15 April 2014 10:07)

    What is the best response to a son who is becoming enamored with Evangelical and Pentecostal Christianity? He's gotten interest in it from my parents, who attend an Assemblies of God church, and over the years has become more fanatical in his interest. I'd hoped he would grow out of it with puberty, but now he is an adolescent and I'm worried that this is more than a passing fad.

  • #65

    George (Sunday, 20 April 2014 14:50)

    I'm an atheist, and so is my husband (although he's more of a nothingist). I have been frank with my daughter about my beliefs (or lack of them), who is 8 now. She has decided that she's an atheist too. We recently moved from Massachusetts to Florida, and I'm afraid she's encountering some issues at school and with friends. She's the only atheist child she knows and feels very judged. One of her "friends" started reading the bible to her and telling her to accept god in her life at a sleepover. I'm very worried about the remifications for her, the possible discriminations she'll face, the lack of confidence after being a different, etc.

  • #66

    gemi (Monday, 05 May 2014 18:58)

    My husband and his ex were both Atheists when they had and raised their kids. His ex (while still married) kind of lost her mind and started doing drugs, stealing, etc. She was in jail when he divorced her. He got custody of the kids. When she got out, she got supervised visitation. I came into the picture then. Well, while in jail she 'found god', and in a loud, obnoxious way where she feels the need to preach to everyone.

    Now, a couple of years later, she's kind of back on her feet and has a little more (unsupervised) visitation with the kids who are now 9 & 11. On her weekends, she is forcing the kids to go to church. The 9 year old (girl) says she doesn't want to go, but she's afraid to go against her mom's wishes because she doesn't want her mom to stop loving her. O.o The 11 year old (boy) DOES NOT want to go, and has been very vocal about it. The thing is, these are REALLY good kids. Up to this point, they never had cause to talk back or rebel against anything. Their dad and I literally had to explain to them that their comes a point in life where you have to stand up for what you believe in and sometimes that means talking back to your parent, even us.

    Anyway, our son has been resisting church. He refuses to get dressed, etc. She ended up slapping him in the face with his pants, took his cell phone away so he couldn't call his dad for help, and got her new husband to come in and yell at him until he was crying. They of course eventually physically removed him from bed and MADE him go to church. This happens EVERY SINGLE WEEKEND he's over there (which is every other weekend). I give the boy credit--he's not giving up his fight. We've called the police twice- once to make a report about him being hit in the face, and once for a welfare check, but as you may imagine, they just tell him that while he's with his mom, he has to do what she says to do.

    Do you guys have any advice? I already know the local judge WON'T let us put it in the paperwork that they don't have to go to church. Some judges will, but we had it in the paperwork that since dad is the primary custodian, he gets to make the religious decisions and the judge took that out. The only think I can think of is hiring an Atheist lawyer, but short of that, any tips would be appreciated.

  • JimdoPro
    #67

    Lance Gregorchuk (Monday, 05 May 2014 20:14)

    Wow!!! Well I think it is time for your kids to become anti-theists and not just atheists. My son is an excellent anti-theist. I'll give you an example: This week all the christian kids are getting their first communion, my son loves to ask them what that means (he is 9) and then the kids try to explain it to him that they learn to drink the blood of Jesus and eat his body. This cracks my son up obviously, and then he askes if they get to chose the parts to eat? Does it come with a sauce? My personal opinion is turn it into a game, let your children learn all the crazy things christians say and do, let them go to church and then ask questions ( you might want to brief them a little first). Questions like the ten commandments (free chapter on this web site) obviously the drinking of another persons blood and eating their flesh, how about the fact that outside the bible there is no evidence or writings of or about Jesus...NOTHING. That is like using Harry Potter to prove there was a Prof. Dumbledore. Seriously nothing is better then educated kids, why do you think the JW's dont let theirs go to college? Take the advice from the greatest anti-theist of them all Chris Hitchens, "when they push religion on you, you push back!" And you push back by teaching deductive reasoning and the value of evidence. A kid once asked my son if he would believe in Jesus if Jesus stood right now in front of him and do you know what he said? He said he would go see a doctor and get his head examined if that ever happened because it wouldn't be true, there is no god!

  • #68

    Gemi (Wednesday, 07 May 2014 02:46)

    Thanks Lance. :) My husband is pretty anti-theist as well (a word I just recently learned), so I'd say our son is already well-armed and has done some of the things you've mentioned. You gave us some more ideas though. Websites and resources are always appreciated.

    I just hate the feeling of no control. :( I guess that's just a part of divorce. I think I need to learn to let go, but I just wish there were more tools available to us.

    Thank you again!

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