I'm sure we've all dealt with a situation in which a child who trusts us somehow stumbles across the realization that "wait, you don't go to church?". I work with kids every day, and usually when this comes up I can shake it off pretty well, but when it's one of my favorite kids, the really perceptive ones, I feel like I'm doing them, and the world, a disservice by making so light of something I feel so strongly about. My standard routine in this situation evokes responses that indicate the issue has been swept under the rug, as I intended; not answered, but not to be talked about. I don't really like being so intentionally misleading for any reason, and its even more unpalatable for me because I'd rather be scrubbing their little minds clean of the delusions being seeded in them by their parents while there's still a chance.
The environment in which this happens is not, perhaps, the ideal one for plumbing the depths of society and religion with young minds, so I wonder how I can state my position firmly, without pontificating and without coming across so strongly I provoke a reaction of fear or rejection (or, for that matter, a reaction even strong enough to make its way back to parents' ears). How does one convey the idea, in a way not puzzling or upsetting to religion-soaked kids, that one simply doesn't believe in fairy tales like god?