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?

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Why? Some books are most definitely 'dumb'. Here are some examples: The Secret, The Eye of Argon, The Complete Book of Homeopathy, The World Before (a book on Atlantis and the lost continent of Mu), the Malleus Maleficarum, and so forth.

I'd say that your position of uncritical defense is more of a unconscionable position than William's.

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.  

Hi Benny, I wish I had a dollar for every 'dumb' book that has been published.   I could fill a library with the money derived - of 'good'[ books

I teach in elementary schools, and I have not lied to my students on this topic. Were it in other classes I would answer that the question is off topic. But since you're discussing religion, I think being honest is fine. The  whole 'religion is a personal thing' I have always disapproved of. Ones value system make up who we are as humans, IMO religious status is no more private than the clothing or hairdo one chooses.

Tell the truth, I think it's important for kids to experience different opinions while they are young so they keep an open mind in the future, keep Santa a secret though I love that guy.

Lying to children is what got us into this mess in the first place. Are you kidding?

You should most certainly tell the truth, with the obvious explanation that it is an opinion that some disagree with. Children look up to you as not just an educator but as one to "trust" how does their willingness to trust you fit into your deception? I understand why you chose to respond as you did and I also understand the ramifications of telling the truth, that does not mean it is the wrong thing to do.


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