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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Unfortunatly, things like these are hard to determine considering the hidden curriculum. There are many things that teachers are forced to teach upon children. Depending on the situation of the work place for you it may be okay to actually question god to your students. I don't see why in the curriculum we are told to teach about god and the bible and what it means for the most part yet we cannot raise questions and disbeliefs about it. It really all depends on your work environment and if those types of things will be allowed in the classroom... which they definatly should be.

This is where we differ '. It really all depends on your work environment and if those types of things will be allowed in the classroom... which they definatly should be."

I don't think it should be allowed in public school systems unless it's a class on theology as an elective. Religion has no place in public schools and government.

Well that's exactly what I was getting at. Of course religion should not be inforced in a public school system. It should be something of a choice, and not forced upon children. I was referring to atheisim in school systems. If our children are forced to learn about religion they should learn the contrasting views about it, and not just what the bible teaches.I do agree with you that religion should not be in the public school system or the government because yes it has no place.

What are your feelings on teaching evolution? I mean.. a theory, disproved over 4 decades ago... countless modern discoveries that lead to intelligent design.... The acknowledgment of people like Dawkins who say,"It appears that everything has intelligent design," I mean.. don't you feel sickened that you are teaching these kids a bunch of false theories that are only kept around to not stir up trouble? 

Yes it appears that everything has an intelligent design--like a "Blind Watchmaker"----The problem is that when we {the intelligent ones) create something, the product, when mass produced all work alike and are rarely defective. Take a look at Nature and you will not see precise replication -- we see lots of errors, some see better than others, some are not as smart as others, nor as good looking, or as functional etc etc.

An intelligent design is us who has evolved carrying a lot of miscues.  And God is us--we made him (it) up in order to explain the unexplainable.  

And what trouble is one stirring up when teaching evolution? I think I know--someone may ask why did Jesus not tell us about atoms, our universe, or even why cleaning prevents infections--would he not have known this?

If  you think -- "thinking and questioning is stirring up trouble" you are in trouble. 

AMEN

Can you really be fired for sharing the fact you are an atheist? They wouldn't fire you for being a christian or muslim though?

This is ... sick.

I am glad to have met a few teachers that were open about who they were and authentic, for good or for worse, but it made them "real" and they left an impression. 

It is a sick world out there. Just try to acknowledge you are an Atheist among the masses.Sit in a local diner "Other than in Woodstock, VT or Yachats, OR with people you know. let me know how you fare.

I must admit though that as a health care provider, I have never had a problem when asked what my religious preference was in the event of a Medical emergency. 

Lying is what priests do. The child here was asking if you believed, not whether there was a God.If the child was asking about the latter, then there may be some things to consider.

I just had the same experience from a fellow volunteer following a conversation about something that lead to her saying "God Looks after us" I politely disagreed with her pointing out that God has looked over a lot of terrible things without doing a thing. She was a very sincere person and we had an adult conversation that culminated in a warm good night and understanding. This would not work with a child.

That is really tough for me because I am only one in the family who is an atheist, telling my nieces not to pray would spell trouble.

I would tell the truth but then i am in the UK. My 7 year old daughter's teacher is an atheist and has to teach religious education which has to be mostly Christian. I had spoken to her about RE as I always do. She told me that she is always very careful to say 'This is what Christians believe' and then she mentions other religions and the fact that some people do not believe in any of it.

Having seen questions on Yahoo Answers where American parents have been concerned that their child's teacher was an atheist andwere thinking about moving their child I understand your reticence. Could you not be evasive and say that your opinion is less relevant than her own? You could say that your own standpoint is best kept to yourself because children are encouraged to believe that their teachers know everything and you want to encourage them to come to their own conclusions? A get out without endangering your relationships with parents or feeling that you are contributing to the indoctrination of children?

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