The first thing I must acknowledge is the fact that I don't have children. There are many reasons why but the most obvious would be the fact that I consider myself too young, despite what my mother says, and I haven't found anyone whose DNA I want to mix with mine.
I adore children's books and the other day I found The Story of Everything, a pop-up book about evolution, at Ross. I was reading it to my 8 year old niece and 3 month old nephew. My nephew didn't seem to care for it but my niece was incredibly interested. She's being raised Catholic and is familiar with their story of creation but she was very accepting of the fact that there was a big bang 15 million years ago and life started in the sea 365 million years ago. In fact, she summed up the entire book when we were done with, "So there was a big bang, then there were fishes, then the fish grew legs and turned into dinosaurs. There was a boom (the sound I made for the meteorite), most of them died, mammals took over and smart monkeys turned into humans? Then the humans made cities and in another million years we might turn into something else?"
The entire event made me wonder... what books do atheists read to their children? How do atheists raise children in a theistic world? And does anyone else try to influence the children of their family to question the religion of their parents?
I'm sorry if this has been asked before. I searched the first five pages in the forums I thought most likely to have it and didn't find anything so I started my own discussion.
I think children would preferably believe their parents rather than another family member that says
that the statement of their parents is wrong, or just telling them another story about the same subject. (Here: Evolution)
The reaction of the children is, of course, biological. Mom and Dad always know best, huh?
Explaining the creation of earth itself to children in a child-like manner, is a good thing to start off with,
but, of course, children might go with the fairytales. (Christianity/denial of evolution)
But, i hope that grows out of them over time.
I'm not sure how much my point of view is going to help because I too am too young for children (Im an opinionated teenager). Anyhoo, My parents did not raise me to be an atheist but they did not raise me to be religious. I know that my parents (maybe just my mom) hold belife in a god but she have never inforced it on me. My mom is what she calls a 'recovering catholic' and was determined not to raise me in the way she was. I was taken to a sunday school when I was little (it was not christian or jewish, it was Baha'i) but it never stuck so we just stopped going.
I guess what im trying to say is just raise them to question things but find the answers themselves
I have three daughters and I raised the youngest from one yr old to twelve. As she was growing up she was very smart and curious. She went to a lot of different churches with friends and even had an interest in Buddism.
As she moved through the years she would come up with questions and I always had the feeling she was asking after things other kids had told her. I always tried not to answer directly but to give bits of opinions and ask questions I thought she should be asking. The kinds of things used to increase critical thinking skills. She reached her own conclusions and she is now an atheist and claims none of the religions she knows makes any sense.
I was raised Catholic, am now Athiest, and want to let you know that the Catholic Church does not believe in Creationism. That was the one thing I could cling to back in those days. You may not have been the first person to expose your niece to the Big Bang Theory. From grade school through high school my classmates and I were taught that Genesis was a symbolic story of God's power but Catholics weren't so naive to think it could happen in seven days. Just wanted to let you know. You can check it out. Catholics believe in evolution. There were no Catholics or even Jesus riding dinosaurs. :)
I have that book. My 1 year old doesn't quite get it. :)
Most of his books so far are pretty basic facts. This is red, this is blue.
Remember, we are all born Atheist. But don't piss off the parents.
This reminds me of my young nephew (he is between 3 and 4 years of age) who asked me one day, "what makes thunder?"
I told him, "Lightning makes thunder." To which he responds, "No, God makes thunder. And Thor makes thunder."
Then, I told him, "Well, lightning makes thunder, too." To which he responds, "No, God and Thor make thunder."
I asked him, "Well, if two can make thunder, then why can't a third?" So, he looks at me for a few seconds where he is clearly thinking about what I've just told him, then says, "So, God, Thor, and lightning make thunder? Yeah. God, Thor, and lightning can all make thunder."
(To provide some brief background info, my sister and brother-in-law take my nephew to church frequently, so my nephew believes there is a god. My brother-in-law is also a comic book fanatic, so the "Thor" in question is the one from the comics. Also, it is fascinating to hear my nephew say the name of every major comic book character and every character from He-Man, and Thundercats.)
I read my kids Robert Munsch and Dr. Seuss. They love it.
The questions of where did we come from etc are ones we can talk about when they are doing Science homework but they're not there yet.
Never lie to them, questions about science and nature are always going to come up. Answer even if you think it's over their heads. They'll understand more than you realize.
This is an interesting quick read.
I am in the same boat with my 9 year old, aside from all the reading everyone else does. ha My son will ask me questions both for and not about god, and my honest answer is that it is something he needs to decide. The one thing i try to do is ask my son logical questions that force him to think past god. ie aliens I really don't think it is that hard to raise your child as you see fit, and most of his friends that belive in god don't even know why.