My wife is a Christian (I'm working on it) and my kids know that she is and that I am not. I can no longer go to church with them. I was thinking of giving my children an option to come with me and fill that time with other things such as discussing art, or philosophy, or science, or just any better conversation.
I would like some suggestion as to replacements for Sunday morning church that I could do with my children to help show a fulfilled mind without believing in an imaginary friend. Please help me with some suggestions.
Unless they really like church, you'll be their hero.
yeah, just spend time together. You know they're almost at that age where they are too cool for their parents. So yeah, can go anywhere pretty much. fishing- day camping- any events thats happening in the city
Shucks, Gary, I saw your topic and immediately wanted to suggest the alternative my wife and I used when we lived in Austin, Texas: the nearby nudist camp. There were lots of children there with their parents.
Then I saw that your wife wouldn't be going with you.
BTW #1. We learned about the nudist camp from a speaker at the U-U Church. We didn't visit the church again.
BTW #2. The camp's owners required full nudity only in the large swim pool.
BTW #3. I chuckled when a teen boy in the pool area asked me if I wanted to look at the pix of naked women he had.
Wow. That is just the kind of thing I'm interested in too and I wish I could help you with the link to an organization in your area. I kind of agree with Dan Dennett that we need to put together replacements for religious institutions if we really want those things to go away. Um.
Society of Ethical Culture is what a bunch of humanists in NYC have founded:
Maybe those folks could at least connect you with something closer to you than New York City in terms of community activities.
As far as stuff that you and your family could do together to replace going to Church the first place I'd look to is volunteer opportunities. Everything from soup kitchens to meals on wheels to Habitat for Humanity. Start your very own family chapter of Amnesty International and have everyone write a letter every week to help save someone from prison and torture. As a parent (I'm not) I'm sure you could even select the volunteer work with your children's personalities and learning needs in mind. If I were you I would not shy at all from volunteering for a church soup kitchen or help the homeless drive or whatever if that was the best way to get that work done. This could even involve educating some of the theists that even a godless heathen like you can join them in good works if you wanted to do that too. As well it would show the kids that you may have left the church but not the community.
And as per some of the previous comments, museums and other enrichment stuff I'm completely in favor of but you can take all of it a step further. One week go to a museum and the next week have sculpting clay, water colors, whatever, for everyone--parents too--to take their hand in. One week go to a paper mill the next week have one of those paper making kits. The week after, send friends and family cards on paper you made yourselves. The week after that, show up with origami paper and set everyone to folding. And don't even get me started on all the science stuff out there for kids. (AND mom and dad. My guess is that its very important that mom and dad be getting paper mache all over their hands too and I'm not exactly sure why.) How about this one: Go to the museum's Egyptology exhibit. Then go to a churchyard and make those charcoal and paper impressions of the stones. Same with dinosaurs. Astronomy: Find out when the meteor showers are in August. What kind of memory would it be if mom and dad woke them up at 2AM one night to show them the falling stars?
I was made to go to church every Sunday until I was 16 and told my parents that enough was enough. I have no happy memories associated with going to church except for the occasional hymn I enjoyed singing. I have a lot of happy memories of doing other stuff with my parents. Church just cut into it.
The folks at the Society For Ethical Culture have taken it one step further than any of this and even provide rites of passage for adolescents, weddings, funerals, etc. There's better stuff out there than what the Churches have to offer (though it may not be setting the bar too high to say so.)
Thanks for the suggestions I'm sure they'd be interested in some of that.
Or how about simply asking them what they want to do. If you drag them to the zoo but they just want to chill, you're just another adult forcing his will on them. Treat it like it's their day off and they can do what they want to do as long as it's safe, within reason, within your budget, and won't get them (or you) in trouble.
I think the kids should experience Sundays as the absence of what their mother wants to force on them, not just another curriculum, because that's what atheism is: the absence of God-related beliefs and activities.
Good suggestions. I really respect Sam Harris when he discusses removing religion to make room for "better conversation." I think all these suggestions would be considered "better conversation." thx
My alternative to 'church', gardening...
Teenage boys (and probably most girls, too) would appreciate some additional masturbation time. Gotta have an outlet for those hormones.
When my kids were young I was a committed Christian, but I still could barely sit through a sermon. I found myself going to McDonald's or Burger King during the sermon to read the local newspaper, and on the occasion when my kids were having trouble in the church nursery, I would take them with me.
Eventually they figured out that Dad wasn't staying in 'big church' and they wanted to come with me every week. It didn't take long for them to ask for the cartoons while I read the newspaper, and as they became more proficient at reading, they wanted to discuss the other stories in the newspaper.
I guess my kids were doomed to leave the church as they witnessed their father learn more about how the world worked, and their friends were clueless. Today, I'm proud to report my family is entirely Atheist, and we're all doing our part to make the world a better place, which is much more than we'd be doing if we had remained Christians.