Hi. I'm Cristie. A married mother of 3. Kick boxer. Design student. Cynic. etc., etc. I stumbled across this site while on Twitter and thought I'd give it a shot. I'm terribly anxious when it comes to my atheist views. Living in good ole boy type gods country here, where one of the first questions asked is, "where do you go to church". Religion has never been a part of my life. I've attended several churches and read parts of the bible and other holy-type books out of curiosity, but usually would end up irritated. I dislike that the most affordable options for pre-school are all religious based. At the suggestion of friends, I've honestly tried to consider that option, assuming that they couldn't possibly impress too much on my son, but by the end of my thought process I'm angry and wondering "how dare they".
I'm really tired so this is really sloppy and all over the place.
I think religious views are deeply personal and truly try to adhere to "to each, their own." I also think some people are stupid and weak and too lazy to think. That's my own.
Anyway, hi. Thanks for having me.
Welcome, Christie. Hope you heal fast and can get back to muay thai soon. I have watched muay thai on the Fight Channel (Canadian cable), and it looks wicked! If only I were twenty years younger....
Thanks. I love muay thai, but it can be brutal on the body. Over three years straight training and the torn ligament is my only major injury. Bruising and strains galore, but those heal rather quickly. This is gonna take me out for at least a year. I wish I had started the sport in my 20's! I'd totally compete.
Here you will find a lot of support for people like yourself who are surrounded and hounded by the religious. Feel free to jump into a discussion and or post anything you like.Bring up children in a secular environment is difficult. Have you looked into Montessori schools? Generally speaking their are very secular in nature. Anyway it's great to have you.
Thanks for the welcome. I've looked into Montessori schools. There are plenty of non-religious options for schooling. My big complaint is the cost difference of them. My Christian girlfriend sent her son to a Christian preschool for less than $200/month. I'd have to pay about $100-130 per week for three 1/2 days of preschool. It's ridiculous. My daughter just didn't go to preschool because I couldn't justify the cost. My son will probably go because I plan to return to the workforce soon, so I'll have to put him into school/daycare.
I went to a Catholic school and I turned out alright. If worst comes to and your kids are being bombarded with [Christianity I assume] then go crazy and expose them to all kinds of gods. Make it a game, let them have fun with it so they know it's not to be taken seriously. Let them pick their favorite god and pray to him/her at dinner. Explain to them that it's "just pretend" like in the movies. Consider this as simply "weathering the storm" because ultimately they'll be better prepared for the future.
The only problem is when one of them claims Zeus is better than the other's favorite and they declare holy war against each other...
Welcome! I live in "god's country" too - have all my life. Fortunately, my parents at least moved the family from Alabama to the metro Atlanta area when I was a preteen, which was a huge improvement. So there is variation!
I did live in a small, South Georgia town (below the gnat line) for a short time, and absolutely despised it. I am not joking to say that life there contributed to a divorce, because my husband loved the place. (We had agreed that we'd be there no more than five years and move back to Atlanta, but after we got there he decided to stay and retire there--major dealbreaker for me!)
I come from a serious deep-water Southern Baptist family - the kind where you had to be in church every time the doors opened, got spanked for putting anything on top of a Bible or "being sacriligious" (and boy, did that cover a long list of things!), had your mouth washed out for "taking the Lord's name in vain," etc. and while I started questioning by the time I was about 7 (and got in a lot of trouble for it) I really tried to make Christianity work, and in fact my first husband was a youth minister. I also worked in a business capacity for an even more fundamentalist denomination, the Presbyterian Church in America, for about five years. I left Christianity altogether by the time I was 22 or so and refused to make any pretense of believing.
My answer to "Where do you go to church?" is either "I don't" (said in a tone that isn't mean, but makes it VERY clear that I am NOT open to invitations to church). If I'm involved in a Unitarian Universalist congregation, I will give the name of it, but I don't like to lie and don't see a reason to do so. I refuse to listen to "witnessing" and I'm fairly adept and cutting off attempts to do so, especially since I had more training in all of their little "Roman Road" spiels and so on than most people who try that with me have had. I've certainly studied the Bible, Christian theology, and church history more than 99% of them, which is probably why I'm so disenchanted with Christianity. Ignorance truly can be bliss, if you're a person who can stand being ignorant. Every once in a while, I wish that had been one of them, if only for the sake of family peace.
I strongly suggest that you not send your child to a Christian preschool, because children are most impressionable at early ages. The affordable Christian schools, free Vacation Bible schools (with buses that go pick up children from housing projects and the like) count on that impressionability. I was part of the meetings where church people decided where to spend money to get the most effect, so I know these things all too well.
I suggest that you check any preschool very, very carefully to make sure that the teachers don't bring in any religious material, either, even during holiday seasons. Most do, even in the public school systems. I homeschooled my daughter mainly because the schools in our area are abysmal, but also because there is such a pervasive Christian, anti-intellectual influence in all Southern public schools. She's in college now and doing extremely well.
You've got a tough choice, there. I believe that, were I in your circumstance, I would go ahead and send my child to the religious-oriented school and depend upon my own ability to counter any superstitious nonsense they dispense with a well-argued refutation, based on science and reason, of medieval fairy tales. I remember as a child being sent to Lutheran Bible School, then getting a double dose when I went home to my Presbyterian parents. I later attended a Baptist church regularly for five years just to get a clear idea what they were all about (and to meet girls). All of these experiences simply helped me make up my mind between a mystical paradigm that made no sense whatsoever and the humanistic satisfaction that comes from a clear, logical, and satisfying understanding of nature and science.
The core ideas formed in the minds of very young children come more powerfully from their parents than from school, IF those parents are passionate and articulate in their beliefs. In other words, if rational, informed parents devoted as much time and effort into educating their children as religious zealots do with theirs, religion in America would begin to decline, as is rapidly happening in virtually all of the rest of the developed world.
But let me emphasize: you must be diligent about knowing what they are telling your child at school and you must educate yourself to be able to counter it. For instance, if they tell your child that a bearded white male in a white robe, sitting somewhere "out there" created us, judges us, and controls our every action, you must be able to present a convincing case that we just naturally evolved and are evolving, just like all other living things. Of course, that might require you to learn about evolution, since there is very little likelihood that you learned anything profound about it in any American school - religious OR secular. Books like "Climbing Mount Improbable," by Richard Dawkins; "Darwin's Dangerous Idea," by Daniel C. Dennett; "The Demon Haunted World," by Carl Sagan; "The Third Chimpanzee," by Jared Diamond; and "The Panda's Thumb," by Stephen Jay Gould are a good place to start. When your child is old enough, you can hold regular discussions about the ideas in these books and many others by them, as well as Michael Schermer, Lewis Thomas, John L. Casti, Desmond Morris, and Martin Gardener. Then, of course, there's the book that started it all - "Origin of Species," by Charles Darwin. The book is long and repetitive, but it's what changed the world.
You should also discuss with them books by creationists like Ken Ham, Duane Gish, Henry Morris, Richard Bliss, M. Bowden, Percival Davis, Dean Kenyon, Michael Dentin, and Marshall Hall, who believes the earth is not moving - that all the planets and stars revolve around the earth. It is just as important to examine the ludicrous notions of religionists as it is to study the proven scientific theories developed through centuries of dedicated effort by educated men.
I see you as having four choices: the one outlined above; moving to another place; paying whatever it costs to send your child to a public school; and giving your child to the Jesus freaks. Your choice.
One more thing: if you would like a longer list of books, let me know by posting on this blog and I will gladly provide you with a long list.