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So I am new at all this. I am going through a phase where I am unsure if I am still a Christian or not. I don't believe in the bible but I believe in a higher power... I just so happen to stumble across this and was curios. I always thought that atheist were the ones who worships the devil and wore black and danced around at night casting spells on people. That is what I was taught. Boy was I wrong. I have been friends with an atheist for like 10 years and just found out LOL.

Anyways, I have 3 amazing children. They are not baptized because I want them to make that decision for themselves. Yes, it did throw a big rock in the water when I put my foot down on that. But they believe in God and Jesus. When asked how babies are made I told them God took a little of mommies heart and a little of daddies heart and made a baby and put it in my belly. When my nephew died 1 day shy of being 3 months I was asked, mommy why did he die? As hurt as I was I said well sometimes God needs baby angels. So every year we write messages Happy Birthday, Merry Christmas, etc. on balloons and let them go in the sky so he can see them in Heaven.

Now that I am on the fence on if I am still a Christian or not, I have no idea what to do about my children. Do I pull them away from it all? We don't go to church because I don't believe I HAVE to go to a church to praise God. But how do I interfere with what my children believe? Should I just keep doing what i'm doing and let them decided when they get a little older or what? My whole family are Christians and God comes up a lot. My family stays out of religious discussions with me because I always have something to say to contradict what they are talking about.

 

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I hope the site helps you figure out where you stand.

As for the kids, I think our job as parents is to teach our kids how to think critically, but not what to think. This isn't just when it comes to religion. We live in a world with a constant barrage of information. Children need the ability to distinguish fact from fiction. Too many people bend the truth and we'd all be a lot better off if the next generation wasn't so easily mislead.

I try my best to be completely honest with my kids about everything. It isn't always easy, but I've been rewarded with well-informed kids that know how the world works. 

I second the Raising Freethinkers recommendation. Hope this helps. :)

I am going through the same thing with my young daughters.  In my opinion, you give all the rope they want to explore everything.  Give them access to all sides of the information, but don't force them in one direction or another.  They will eventually make up their own minds, and you won't love them any less whatever they decide.

When asked how babies are made I told them God took a little of mommies heart and a little of daddies heart and made a baby and put it in my belly.

Savannah, for several years (three hours a week) at San Francisco Sex Information (1-415-989-7374) I answered kids' questions.

Five-year-olds asked "How do people make babies?"

We (25-30 volunteers each week) told them our versions of "A woman's body makes tiny eggs and a man's body makes tiny sperms. When a sperm meets an egg they might become a baby."

We asked if they would like to know more and they replied "No."

We asked them to call at any time and they said "Okay."

During my several years there I took maybe 600 such calls and exactly two calls from six- and seven-year-olds.

Eight-year-olds asked questions more varied than any adult can imagine.

Many volunteers said they hadn't been told anything. Probably as I did, they imagined themselves as callers and told kids what they had wanted to know.

The training for the work was much like what local colleges taught in their semester-long courses on human sexuality. The training differed in that colleges included more psychological and sociological findings and SFSI included more of what people asked. Local colleges gave undergraduate credit to students who completed the program. Registered nurses could get continuing education credits.

For me, the work was a wonderful remedy for twelve years in Catholic schools.

And this, some out-of-town parents saw our number on their phone bills and called. They asked what we did and we told them. They thanked us for doing what they didn't know how to do.

Savannah:

[Your boys] just walked off after [you answered their guestion]. 

That's so like the loss of interest that we at SFSI encountered after we'd answered kids' questions. We joked about their being young Joe Fridays, the TV detective famous for wanting "just the facts".

Questioning your faith is a brave thing to do. Most theists are afraid to do so or of the implications if they are to admit to themselves that they have doubts, never mind saying “No, I don’t believe there is a God”. If you get to a place where you can say those words to yourself, then you are an Atheist. Simple as that. Then a new journey of discovery will begin for you; one where your view of the reality of life will be much more meaningful and enjoyable than anything religion can offer. Bear in mind that you are not losing anything by discarding religion. Dropping its dead weight will free you from its mental slavery.

You might find something in this video by Dan Dennett who I referenced earlier in the post.

I'll second spending time on any presentation of Dennett's!

Hello Savannah! Full disclosure, I'm a Catholic Christian, and only an occasional guest here. I think it's a fine and good thing to have doubts, and to be "on the fence" sometimes. I expect if I lived in the south where people in some areas seem to be subject to the worst of our fundamentalist evangelical brethren, I might be on the fence, too ! They are tiresome. As Pope Francis says, the only people who don't have occasional doubts aren't really Christians.

I'm sorry someone told you atheists are doing strange dances in the woods. That's a bit silly.

As far as your kids go, you have to judge for yourself their maturity, but I don't think it ever hurts kids to see adults model being good adults. That includes letting them see that you have questions, and doubts, and yet also still have strong convictions. I think we want adults who have strong convictions, but also have a sense of questioning and doubt... A sense of humility.

I'm sorry someone told you atheists are doing strange dances in the woods. That's a bit silly.

Be sure to listen to Bob, Savannah.

Bob might tell you atheists are morally and intellectually bankrupt, that we're mass murderers, or that we're a hate group like Westboro Bapist Church.

But rest assured, Bob would never, ever tell you atheists are doing strange dances in the woods. He's really sorry that someone did, because that's just silly.

I might be on the fence, too!

Bob, be careful where you do your guesting, or in a few years you will be one of us.

You first have to deal with a contradiction; Catholic humility allows neither questioning nor doubt. I dealt with it and today can look into a mirror and see a bit of atheist narcissism.

Hi @Tom.   I'm always willing to be convinced.  Catholicism is hardly without its institutional inanities and its long history of corrupt or corruptible individuals and leaders. 

To be convincing, though, you can't begin with statements like "Catholic humility allows neither questioning or doubt."  That's just nonsense.  Questioning is a fine thing.  Doubt is a normal thing.  Both are deeply imbedded in Catholic literature and tradition from Jesus' cry of "Eli Eli lama sabachthani?" and Peter's denials on. 

Bob, thank you for acknowledging the institutional inanity of:

  • the nun who told the kids in her religion class that doubt is a mortal sin, and
  • the nun who described in detail what the fires of Hell do to human flesh.

They and a few more who told less exciting stories made lasting impressions.

Years later I opined that the Church takes women who need psychiatric care and gives them rooms full of children.

BTW, what is it about atheists or atheism that brings you here so often?

Nope, doubt is not a mortal sin.  The nun just got that wrong.

I hope the fires of Hell burning human flesh at least made for a good campfire yarn.

BTW, what is it about atheists or atheism that brings you here so often?

Periodically when I have a few minutes of loose time I visit interesting sites of different communities.  That helps keep me from being myopic, and perhaps it helps others to hear an authentic perspective that differs from their own.

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