I intend to have children, even though I don't have any yet. I live in the US... so it will be impossible not to have my children exposed by outside sources to Christianity.

 

As much as I want to protect them from this evil institution... I know I have to in some way prepare them for it. I have read of some horrible stories from atheist parents.

 

One parent said that she had to file a restraining order against an evangelical neighbor who pulled her children aside and told them to "run away" because their home "was evil."

 

Another reported that her 7 year old little boy came home from school sobbing after a bunch of his classmates backed him into a corner and demanded that he believe in Jesus while the teacher did nothing.

 

It goes on and on.

 

I REFUSE to expose my children to the holy porn that is the bible before they are at least 12. I can't justify showing them the horrors in that book when they have made ME as a 22 year old adult shiver and have to put the book down after an hour or less sometimes wanting a drink more badly than ever. I am a horror fanatic... but the bible is sometimes too much for even me. HOW can I expose my child to that before they are ready to handle it?!

 

Furthermore... what should I say when the inevitable question comes... "What's God, Mommy?"

There are a couple of difficulties with this...

1. God is a concept that is difficult to define even with adults

2. The Christian God is an evil tyrant that I don't know how to explain to a child without scaring him/her

3. How do I teach the child not to say things about the non-existence of god when they could get into serious trouble for doing so.

 

 

Furthermore... I don't know if I'm ready to handle the persecution my child will probably recieve as a non-christian child in this society.

 

I have worried about this for a while.

 

What age do you think I should expose my child to religion? And how should I go about doing it? When are they ready to be exposed to the bible?

 

You guys don't have to answer all of these questions... but some help and reassurance is much obliged.

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My sister is a holy roller, so my kids have questions pertaining to her beliefs.  I tell them (they are seven and five) that she believes there is a magic man in the sky watching them so they behave.  My daughters find this a little hard to fathom, which amuses me.  If they don't even think that's feasible, why do adults?  I try to just encourage their questions, teach them lots about how exciting and awesome science is, and hope for the best.

Tough debate indeed!  Here's my question on it.  IF one chooses to expose children to religion at some point in their lives, shouldn't that child be exposed to EVERY religion?  That way they have all the 'facts'. 

 

Obviously, I wouldn't want my child to be religious, but it is important to be informed.  I tell them religion is like a fairy tale for adults, it isn't real, but there are lessons that can be applied to daily life, although one does not need it be a good person and have a positive impact on society, or make decisions (for that all we need is a brain).

question 1 and 2: this is what we did in regards to that, u can go about these questions in a different way and explain to the kid about different gods that people believe in the world, just stick to the main stream gods, and tell them that these beliefs in different gods makes them fight with them all the time. this usually happened to us when our daughter was 4. but santa helped, she figured out their is no santa, as she saw a different one everywhere we went, god followed. 

question 3: u should not tell the child anything, by the time they are done with kindergarten they usually know. the more u can tell about the existence of different gods, the better ur chances are. i have heard my daughter tell her religious friends that their is no god and also god did not make us, we made god. by teaching ur child about various beliefs of gods in the world, the child understands and does not press the friends too much. 

It's really not as terrifying as you might think. All you have to do is tell the truth. My son asks me what god is, and I say god is something people believe in, they think he created the world we live in and the people and animals that are here, etc. Some people believe and some don't, it's up to that person. And then he asks me what I believe and I say no, I do not. He's only 7 so he hasn't had too many questions, but it's not as hard as I thought it would be.

I would say "god" is an imaginary friend people create when they are afraid to take responsibility for their own lives.

3. How do I teach the child not to say things about the non-existence of god when they could get into serious trouble for doing so.

This you shouldn't worry about. They won't learn to stay quiet about some subjects until they've alienated you from a few "friends" anyway. Just take it as a source of entertainment.

As others have posted, it is not necessary to indoctrinate our children with atheism. How would that be any different than the Xtian mom's and dad's? Yeah, I know it is not fiction what your telling them.

Your child will respect and love you for helping them to develop critical thinking skills and for having the desire to know why things are from a scientific basis. As their mind develops the outdated notions of religion will be properly comprehended as myth and fiction.

 

I have a 2 year old.. Currently, it's not an issue. But I know in the next couple of years it may be. So I plan on taking the tact someone else mentioned here and that is explaining that it is a concept that some people believe. Along with that, I will be as truthful about it as I can. Now, as he gets older I'm sure he'll have more complex answers to ask me.. 


The key for me is to be sure he has the right tools to think critically for himself.. That, above all else, is my main goal. That way he can assess things, no matter what they may be, on his own and come to his own conclusions. That's all we can ever really hope to do as a parent. 

  

I don't want my children to believe there is a God because I do not want them to go through all the inner turmoil that I did growing up and still do now (even being long gone from the Church).

I think if I want to ask my child first, "Did you believe what you heard in class today about God?" Most kids think everything is true. I will want to explain, "Something someone says isn't the truth just because you like the person, and even if everyone says it's true it's still not without something called proof and evidence. If you keep studying in science you will learn that there are ways to prove why a tree grows or a bird flies. People use God to explain these things. And there is no proof or evidence that there is a God. Just keep studying in school."

Wow I thought I would keep that short for the kid but I probably lost him. 

It's so hard to answer this question for a child I think.

Child: Mommy what's God?

You: God is an idea people believe in and some people don't.

What's God, Mommy?

God is what Christians worship and pray to. Just like the ancient Romans prayed to their gods. I don't believe in God because... etc. etc.

It's probably a good idea to go through a few different culture's myths including who are the deities, what those deities were supposed to do, afterlife, any other differences.

 

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