I'm a 6th grade Social Studies teacher. The topic of religion as a part of culture comes up all the time. Today during a discussion of Greek myths, a student (a 12 year-old girl with a sweet smile) asked me if I believed in god. I paused and said, "Well, sure."
I felt that I was having a discussion with a child about Santa or the Easter Bunny. I didn't want to be the one to tell the child that all the adults in her life have been lying to her.
This has been bothering me all day. When this comes up again - I'm sure it will - should I lie as I did today, or should I tell the truth?
FOR TEACHERS in the south it can be dicy, to say the least. My heart goes out to this teacher because I can imagine the fallout. "Mom, I asked the teacher if he believed in god and he said no/evaded the question/etc." some parents can make it a living nightmare for a teacher in that case. I have seen my own wife get fired under dubious circumstances from a school. The nudge-wink-good ol boy connections are stronger than blood. Sewing circle church ladies are more powerful than politicians in some towns. Hate to be so doom and gloom about it, but there you have it from a sincere person in North Carolina anyway. Best of luck to everyone in these difficult situations.
As a Brit, I find that completely and utterly staggering. If a teacher here were sacked under those circumstances, it would be a national scandal, and front page news. But actually, it just wouldn't happen.Even the most religious of parents don't expect their kids' teachers to be religious.
I never fail to be surprised how backward 21st century America can be.
Mike, Religion is mostly a matter of geography.Here in 'the states' & throughout the world. When someone 'comes on strong' about the late J.C., I might ask him / her wghat do they think they'd believe had they been born in the Middle East to Muslim parents. Then quietly wait for an answer. The same for India to Hindus, etc. Slowly but surely, it's changing here in the states. Even in 'the bible belt' there are many younger apostates. I was lucky, I read that dumb book over 66 years ago. It's the best cure for Xianity. I will die rather soon - a proud atheist.
Anyone who calls a book "dumb" deserves to die proud. This is an unconscionable position to take.
It sounded to me like William was referring to the Bible when he said "that dumb book". How is calling the Bible dumb an "unconscionable position to take"?
- Not right or reasonable
- Unreasonably excessive
It doesn't seem unconscionable by definition to refer to that book of fables as 'dumb".
Try living here in the Deep South as an atheist and being force fed Xtian dogma at every turn....
I would not lie to the child. I would have answered ; NO, I don't. But a lot of people do. In other parts of the world people believe in different gods or no gods just as we do in America. It's no big deal. You decide.
I think lying to children is terrible. The prospect of it really accellerated my deconversion. I was an AWANA leader and lots of kids were asking me doctrinal questions...I was twenty years old. By the time I was 22 I was an atheist. I wrote a book called Preacher Boy which is available on Amazon about how all that went down for those who are interested.
I have seen some amazing comments on this thread. I hope we can keep it up. I have a four year old son and i know it can be hard sometimes being honest all the time but we have to do it.
I have had this before in my classroom. I'm honest. I say I'm agnostic and I don't know everything. I add that most people need an explanation or folk story to give their life meaning. All cultures have it and it serves an important purpose. You can say that in kid language of course ;)
Tell the truth. You don't have to get into it. I prefer taking the honest aproach with kids then changing the subject.
Well, you have to answer two questions to answer your first. 1. Do you live and work in a place that tolerates free thought? 2nd, is it better for the discussion within your classroom to make that known? I am always an advocate of the truth, it is not always the easiest road to travel but honesty is, for lack of better expression, the best policy. The kids you teach are at a bit of a crossroads, maybe your candid honesty will open some eyes. If you get blow back let it rest where it is. Of course, it is easy for me to sit in relative comfort and say this. Teaching a room full of 12 year olds would terrify me beyond comprehension.