Atheist/Non-believing Parents/Christian Grandparents- What to do?

My parents and my boyfriends parents are all four Christians, raised in the South. We live together (before we are married) 20 minutes from both sets of them. (My boyfriend and I grew up in the same place). 

I am wondering what we are going to do when we have children, because I don't want the grandparents telling my kids things that aren't true when they are so impressionable and scaring them into believing there is a place where Mommy and Daddy can burn forever for not believing in God. As you all know there are many other things I don't want them learning either- like thanking God for accomplishments, luck, and food, discrimination against gays and racism, ect. 

All four grandparents don't know I am atheist. I want to sit down with them and tell them that I am Atheist and I think that Christians brainwash small children. I want them to know that I don't want them reading them bible stories, singing bible songs, or scaring them into believing there is a hell. What do you all think about my confronting the parents like this? 

Do you think I should leave my kids with either set un-supervised? I won't leave them with my parents because they are alcoholics anyways.

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No, but I'm getting the answer that I expected.  I'm not the one going black and white here though - as in declaring that one must respect religious beliefs.  It's not a black and white issue, for me, at all.  There is a point where I draw a line - a wavy line, in a big gray middle ground; meaning I won't respect beliefs simply for the idealism of doing so.

Maybe I worded my statement wrong then, because you misunderstood me.  I never ever meant to imply that you should always respect anyone's beliefs all the time.  That would be ridiculous.  However, using my own family as an example, I understand that they have certain beliefs that I do not have.  I expect them to respect the fact that I don't share these beliefs anymore.  So I respect the fact that they believe, as well.  It's common decency, and it's the way that loved ones treat each other.  I accept them for who they are, and they do the same for me.  We don't like that we hold different belief and value systems, but it is what it is.  Some day, my parents will take my kids to church, I'm sure, and I'm ok with that, because I know that it is a safe environment for them, and I'm comfortable explaining things to them about religion, both about what people believe, and what science and history say about it.  I'm going to give them both sides of the story, and let them make up their own minds.  But what I *don't* want to do, is make my kids distrustful or hateful towards their grandparents, because I know that in my family, my parents respect my boundaries. If the OP's parents do not, or if they are part of an extreme denomination or something, then she'll have to use precaution and discernment for what is best for her family.

To sum it up, I guess my main point is that some people think that the grandparents are going to teach them scary stuff about hell and make the kids think their parents are evil.  And what I am saying is that you don't want to go the other way, and make your kids think that their grandparents are insane or evil, either.

Sure - a wavy line drawn in a big grey area.

I have a 5 year old, and my grandma likes to take her to church every so often (at least once a month). I really don't mind so much because as impressionable as children are, they are also far more clever than most adults like to give them credit for, especially when the children are given the tools and resources necessary to be as smart as they truly can be. That's where we the parents step in, we are the ultimate teachers. We are the ones to provide these tools and resources.

So when my child does go what do I do? I enjoy the down time. My kid is a social butterfly and this gives her a chance to improve on her social skills. Am I worried that some type of mythical belief will take hold of her? Not really because I am here to give her books, I am here to nurture her curiosity and other natural talents (not just the creative kind either). As long as I do this, I know she will see it all for what it is.

Plus, She has still yet to let go of her belief that Peter Pan is going to come and take her away.

You should really talk to them about your atheism, as for the hell thing, not much that you can do other than prevent them from seeing your child, hope you have good luck with bringing them up

Thanks for all the responses. My boyfriend is on the fence about Christianity. He doesn't want to believe in God but then he says there is a chance there could be a hell and so he is not saying God doesn't exist. My boyfriend doesn't have a college education though. And a lot of my conversion to Atheism happened while I was in college science and history classes. 

My parents are definitely not getting the kids for the weekend but my boyfriend's parents don't drink at all. My boyfriend told me since I posted this discussion that if I tell his mom that I am Atheist that she will hate me. She and I get along so well so it's sad to me but I will take his word for it. I guess she will hate me for not taking her grandchildren to church.

I was thinking the other day that I would almost rather take my kids to church every now and then so I can be there for all their questions after church, than announce that I am Atheist and have the grandparents picking them up EVERY Sunday morning.

My mother is very religious (Jehovah's Witness) and my husband's parents are also religious (Lutheran and Catholic, strangely), though his mother is much more so than his father. My baby is due in November. I'm already stressing out about when this is going to come up, because it will. In fact, it's more MY mom that I'm concerned about. There's no Hell to burn in with Jehovah's Witnesses, but I'm sure she could scare my little one into believing God is gonna smite her off the face of the planet with Tribulation comes along. It'll no doubt be Hell with my husband's parents, though.

Thing is, I haven't said anything about my stance to my mother. When this can of worms opens, because it IS a matter of when and not if, it's gonna be pretty ugly. I can see it now...

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Posted by Quincy Maxwell on July 20, 2014 at 9:37pm 28 Comments

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