I have a 4 year old daughter and have a small battle on my hands to protect her from her mother's 'spirituality' and loose association with a church. I recently discovered that approximately only 25% of atheists are women.

Away from clichés about lonely middle aged women finding god, I've been pondering what are the other pitfalls that snare women in to the grips of organised religion or having independent spiritual faith?

Without wanting to brainwash my daughter myself, in what ways can I help her avoid others doing that to her? Or is there something maternally unavoidable about a women's increased tendency to be drawn to a god?

Intelligent people, please help to guide me along this difficult path.

Views: 1944

Comment by luvtheheaven on January 7, 2013 at 11:09am

Kairan, you make a lot of great points. I too was raised to be religious but also raised to be empathethic, think of myself as completely equal to males, intelligence and education were greatly valued in my house growing up, etc. I had a favorite dinosaur lol, and well I had a brother so I participated in plenty of somewhat boy-ish activities like playing with matchbox cars and legos and k-nex and pokemon, and while I was never a tomboy and still had girly things, liked the colors pink and purple and still do, played with dolls a bit, etc, I was never pressured to be too girly. So that perhaps helped lead me on my path to atheism.

Comment by Brazillian atheist on January 7, 2013 at 12:07pm

This is a good post, i sometimes get concerned on how am i gonna raise atheist kids if i marry a theist woman, so far i haven't even told my parents that i am an atheist, they are from 2 different religions. But they agree on some spots: Alfterlife, jesus and that there must be a god who is behind the bigbang, the evolution, the laws of physics... Because to them, everything needs a cause. But if you ask them "Then where did god came from?" my mother say "The human race is too young to know these things" an my father say "That is one of the many things that we don't know"

So it kind of bothers me that i might have to deal with these answers from my future wife and kids

Comment by Gavin Martin on January 8, 2013 at 8:06am

Atheist Census - This was the statistical source. Thanks for the wit Jason, 11% of readers found that hilarious! It's a censor by atheists for atheists, but could be a very imperfect survey for many reasons. I picked up the link from a female friend of mine, so that is good enough for me to believe it is not completely flawed.

Thanks also to Heather for her post, I like women to be opinionated. Half my adult life I struggled to meet someone like that. I'm not sure about the biological 'need to be wanted' theory though, I believe those instincts are conditioned as much as any.

Thanks also Jerry, I know I have a big influence and therefore responsibility. I know there will be questions coming and will deal with them as I have with death; not be reaching for easy religious answers about better places.

To all the dinosaur fans out there, she love the prehistorically incorrect book, but inspiring 'Dinosaurs love underpants'.

Comment by Gavin Martin on January 8, 2013 at 8:20am

iprefertostayanonnymous, My wife's religion is not a great concern, I am more opinionated and will probably apply more influence in the area of theism/atheism. My daughter will make her own mind up and may change it several times, either way she will still be loved equally and it is not a measure of my success as a father.

What more do we want for that the happiness and health of our children? I hope we can have long open minded conversations about important world issues. I hope she follows my love for sporting activity. I hope she is not poisoned by the constant analysis of female bodies by the media. I hope she is not shallow or materialistic. The list goes on and it's nice to dream that she might grown up to be this perfect person, but it can't and won't be forced.

I will worry, but this is being a parent. It is absolutely wonderful!

Comment by Tom Sarbeck on January 8, 2013 at 1:23pm

Gavin and all, I see a lot of wisdom in the posts here, though I too am unsure about the biological 'need to be wanted' theory.

When I (a straight, white male) reached the age of frustration with how men and women differed socially and became able to verbalize my frustration, I remarked that the women I knew had been taught a low self-esteem and it became a man's responsibility, via frequent compliments, to raise that self-esteem.

With additional time, I realized that my frustration was due to having been born to parents who themselves had been born to parents (etc, etc and etc) who did not know the value of compliments. I did once in a while from non-family hear compliments and cynically asked myself "What do they want?"

While in college I met a fellow student's family who changed my life for the better, and for about half a century I've never forgotten an opportunity I missed. I was walking past a small (really small, with just a door and a narrow window facing the street) women's clothing shop. In the window I saw a saleswoman with a customer who was trying on a dress. I'd gone a few more steps when I wished I had told the customer she made the dress look attractive.

Too soon old and too late smart.

Comment by Gavin Martin on January 9, 2013 at 12:16am
Tom, I'm from a similar family, but I am concerned my daughter is over complimented and this may give her false expectations. On the other hand I like to tell her how strong or clever she is so that she know these are values too, not just being pretty (everyone tells her that all the time).
You know, our world is changing more rapidly then we realise, but there is a clear divide between the reality TV types and the critical thinkers. Some of us know we have influence and will use it!
Comment by Gavin Martin on January 9, 2013 at 12:18am
but Tom would you want your daughter's self esteem dictated by the opinions of others?
Comment by Tom Sarbeck on January 9, 2013 at 2:31am

Gavin, I doubt that self esteem can be dictated by anyone.


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