when should I tell my kid religion is BS. she goes to a catholic school :(

This is a really weird situation to explain. I live in the city, like downtown in the city. Public schools here are awful. I live in a nice neighborhood, but the school my daughter would have to go to is so ghetto. I made the decision to send her to a …..catholic school. It went against every fiber of my being. I even lied to a nun and said I was catholic. (That’s what us atheists do right? We lie, cheat, steal, murder). I live here because its very close to school for me and makes my life oh so much easier. When I move to and area with decent schools this WILL NOT continue. There aren’t other private schools that aren’t religious anywhere close. Not even new charter schools. I wouldn’t home school her, if I wasn’t so busy with school myself.

Whenever she speaks about god I always tell her other options. I have talked to her about so many different religions and taught her that its fine and people can believe whatever they want. That there is no right and wrong (yes there is). She is 6 ½, but I think she is pretty bright (yes everyone thinks their child is). I have told her about gay people. I pretty much told her there are some boys that like to kiss boys and girls that kiss girls, and they even get married. She said “that’s gross” and I told her “yeah well then don’t kiss girls, but there isn’t anything wrong with people who do.” I really want her to be a well rounded decent little person.  

She is really my mini me. She loves science so much its makes me so proud. We go to the book store and instead of getting books with stickers and shiny covers she opts for books about space and insects. I really have gotten to the point where I want to tell her what I believe and why. When I explain anything to her she is so interested in it. She is so inquisitive I feel like this is holding her back in a way. I think she has the mental capacity to understand it. I don’t want my daughter to be some brainwashed Christian. I feel like I’m harming her in some weird way by not telling her. I really just want to know what other people think about what I should do. I can’t exactly ask anyone I know they all think I’m an abomination. Is there any harm in waiting? I don’t think my daughter would say anything in school. I guess I think if she knew, when she was learning about religion in school it would really make her understand better. The more you learn about religion the more it sounds like crap if you listen in the right way ya know? Ughhh perplexed

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Comment by Stephen Walski on July 12, 2011 at 4:06pm

Never told mine religion was BS. I told him what people believe and why. I answered all his questions honestly and only talked about it when he asked questions. I told him what i felt and why it was my own opinion. I told him why people believe the way they do.


Eventually he told me it was BS i didn't have to tell him.

Comment by Shelley Furgason on July 12, 2011 at 4:20pm

First of all I agree you shouldn't feel bad about wanting what's best for your child. However that is exactly what you have to decide. What YOU feel is best for your child.

It sounds like you have a strong relationship, the fact that she expresses sincere interest and asks questions and you have talks with her. Tha's good and you should in my opinion take advantage of that and be real with her. I raised 3 boys who are grown now my youngest just turned 21. I never took them to church once ever though I was raised to go  3 times a week. I never told them they were sinners, I think it's wrong to do so.

Keep in mind who she will become is being formed right now. And right now the formation is being laced with catholicism. I would not underestimate what that is really doing to her psyche. She goes to a place every day where along with reading writing and arithmetic she learns about sin and heaven and hell and how they impact her choices in life. ALL of her choices!

The way that she views you plays into to it as well. Believe me you want your children to be able to talk to you about anything and know you are honest with them. You don't want to stop coming to you eventually because you don't see eye-to-eye. And trust me, in the teen years you don't want anything but an open, honest relationship with her in order to help her grow and be happy ;-) Treasure every second they grow up so fast and good luck, Shelley

Comment by Shelley Furgason on July 12, 2011 at 4:40pm
Comment by MikeLong on July 12, 2011 at 5:40pm

AKICKTOTHEEYE: Could you please expand on your claim that kids "need" fairy tales. You can't stop them from pretending as part of play, but I can't see how it helps to feed them conceptual baloney. I'm willing to be convinced but, to me, when they look up from play, they should experience the real world.

As to the question at hand, I think I would tell her EVERYTHING - including why she's going to a school where they teach fairy tales as fact, and why it's best if she played along for the time being.

Comment by Patti Pender on July 12, 2011 at 7:17pm

I was raised Catholic, and not all the kids in Catholic school with me were Catholic.  Are you sure you needed to lie to the nun?  When I was growing up, anyone who was willing to pay the (quite high) tuition for Catholic school could attend, and non-Catholic kids were not required to take religion classes.  I'm really sorry to say this, and I KNOW you want to give your child best possible education, but lying because you believe you had to to get your child into this school sends the wrong message to both her and the Christians who might learn of it.  Fess up to the school and ask them not to require religion classes for your daughter.  Never lie to your daughter or pretend to believe something you do not.  If you lie, she learns to lie--if it's, you know, important.  THEY say morality comes from religion.  Please don't make them right.  The end, no matter how important it is, never, ever justifies the means.  NEVER.

Comment by MikeLong on July 12, 2011 at 8:42pm

I, too, was raised a Catholic so I can recognise the origin of such firm and dogmatic views. :-)

People lie all the time - and for the purest of reasons. ("Don't you just love my new hair color?")

One very good reason to lie is to prevent harm to oneself and family. Starting at the extreme, if someone held a gun to your child's head and said they'd pull the trigger unless you dropped to your knees and said, "I love the Lord Jesus", obviously even you would lie.

As far as I'm concerned, if someone were trying to cause harm to my family because of their bigotry and outrageous beliefs, I would not OWE them anything - including an accurate summary of my private opinions on the Cosmos. If it would make them treat my family fairly, I would, if necessary, tell such people whatever they wanted to hear.

Comment by Suzanne Olson-Hyde on July 12, 2011 at 9:07pm

Meaghan, as her Mum, you are the best one to know what is right for your child. I took my kids out of secular school, and sent them to a catholic school, as it was the next closest school. I was not the frothing at the mouth, full on atheist that I am now, BUT the school was also not full on like the catholic schools that now abound. I think that religious schools of all persuaions are changing tack, because of Atheists becoming more vocal and teaming up. My children are now all Atheists, but the same dilemma has now arisen. My daughter sends her daughter to catholic school, but the system has changed.


Say that there are a lot of people who don't believe, and that is okay, there are many religions, and that is okay, just don't tell her at this stage, that you are an atheist. She has to get through school. Subtle is the key.


What I do with my granddaughter, she is six, is give her age appropriate science books, and there are a lot around, send her dinasours to paint, teach her about the universe, just keep sliding things in. I am also really big on fairies and goblins, and have sent some fabulous books on this stuff, then ask her, is this a story or is it true. The only things that fly, are birds and airplanes.


I have also sent her prehistoric giant shark teeth - Megalodon Teeth, around 5,00 years old, embedded in rock, also some Prehistoric Invertebrate embedded in rock. Slide in the Science.

But I wouldn't be telling her about the fact that you are an Atheist - she has to survive a full on catholic school.

And keep an eye on the priest.

She will become a critical thinker in the long run.


Comment by Kairan Nierde on July 12, 2011 at 9:36pm
Arcus, I could see that cookie thing getting a bit out of hand...  You're going to have fat, happy kids.  :-)
Comment by Chris on July 12, 2011 at 10:37pm
It sounds like you are to protective.
Comment by Meghan McWilliams on July 12, 2011 at 10:48pm

Oh no I deleted my comment grr. Anyway. Thanks for all the great advice and making me laugh. This was my deep dark secret. :) I think being subtle is the key. She loves learning. I have always made it fun for her. She asks so many questions maybe she will figure it out. I did. My brothers did. 

I know my daughter will probably get kicked out of school for asking how many light years away heaven is or what galaxy it is in. She has asked me that and I say that i don't know. I never want her to apologize for being smart.   


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