Now, there are many different topics that come to mind when seeing a title such as "Family". However, this is more of a focus on my own future family, and my own future children. I finally told my very christian mom I was an atheist a couple of month's ago, and as most would expect she didn't take it well...as a matter of fact, her next words out of her mouth were "Well, are you gay too? Might as well throw that out." Needless to say, that was not enjoyable at all, as I have had a steady girlfriend for a while and plan to keep her :)

Anyways, the topic of my future children came up one day when she was asking me how I would raise them, and if I was going to raise them just on my beliefs alone. I was honestly slightly appalled that she would even consider me to be a hypocritical fool by claiming that everyone has a right to their own ideas, but force my own on my offspring.

So I told her that I was going to give them the choice, just as I wish I had been given. And more so, I want them to be able to explain to me why it is that they feel the way they do if they choose religion or not, as well as explain to them why I don't believe in some omnipresent, omniscient, all-powerful deity wrecking havoc on peoples lives. (That last bit may be my prejudice about it, but ah well haha)

But I was wondering if this would even be the right way to go about it? Should I consider it to be my child's decision to possibly be brainwashed into some bigoted religion? Or should I explain right away that there is no need for a god, and that there isn't one? Its something that has honestly been bugging me for a while, and now that I'm part of this community of free-thinkers, I don't have to worry about being told how myself and my children will burn for all eternity, yada yada yada, insert towering inferno remark here.

Suggestions?

Views: 152

Comment by Mabel on April 6, 2012 at 11:54am

So I told her that I was going to give them the choice, just as I wish I had been given. And more so, I want them to be able to explain to me why it is that they feel the way they do if they choose religion or not, as well as explain to them why I don't believe in some omnipresent, omniscient, all-powerful deity wrecking havoc on peoples lives. (That last bit may be my prejudice about it, but ah well haha)

@ Jeremy - Sounds good to me.

Comment by Jeremy Jenkins on April 6, 2012 at 1:42pm

Thank you haha I was just making sure I wasn't being "closed-minded" although I am sure that to her it would seem that way

Comment by Mabel on April 6, 2012 at 2:01pm

Thank you haha I was just making sure I wasn't being "closed-minded" although I am sure that to her it would seem that way

@ Jeremy - I know what you mean. Christians say God is all about "believing in him is a matter of choice" but since when is choosing to pray for Jesus to come into your heart out of fear from ending up in eternal fire a true choice? lol

When a robber puts a gun to your head and demands your wallet, would you say you chose to give it to him? I think not. I would say that is a situation where you had no choice.

I think it is terrible that parents teach their children hell is real but then again, they are only doing what they were brainwashed to do. It is a terrible cycle. I'm glad you broke away from the cycle and intend to give your future children a path free thinking. Bravo!

Comment by Ed on April 6, 2012 at 9:11pm

Teaching a fellow human being, young or old, how to think independently of others is one of the greatest gifts. Your future kids should only need your love and the tools for critical thinking to make informed decisions on how to lead their lives.

Comment by Scott Howard on April 6, 2012 at 10:31pm
I think you're both overlooking the fact that kids will make their own decisions. Especially if the are raised in a home that encourages thinking and honest inquiry. Sooner or later they will ask why grandma goes to church and you don't. They'll intuitively know who is giving them a straight answer.
Comment by Helen Pluckrose on April 7, 2012 at 7:14am

I chose to teach my daughter about the six major religions, a lot of creation myths all together, evolution and secular Humanism. I did not prioritise any of them. We did it when she was 7 and made it fun by looking up and writing down all the main tenets of each religion (one a week on a saturday)  then reading a non gory story from each and then playing some music from each and dancing to it. The creation myths were like fantasy stories and she enjoyed them and I found some excellent cartoons and games about evolution and she really enjoyed them. Then when I showed her some information about secular Humanism and the three main commonly held ideals - 1) Gods are man made 2) The purpose of life is to live it to the full. 3) We have a responsibility to actively support human rights and humanitarian aid ,my daughter instantly said she was a secular Humanist - with the religions she had been interested in Hinduism but not accepted any of them the way she did instantly with secular Humanism. She is only 7 so she may still change her mind but I feel the reason she did not believe any of the religions was because I presented several of them to her and the man-made nature of them, especially the creation stories, became obvious.

Comment by Atheist Exile on April 7, 2012 at 10:08am

I told my kids that it's up to them what they choose to believe and never discussed religion or atheism with them unless to answer (on rare occasions) their questions. They asked what I believed, of course, I told them that there's no evidence of anything supernatural: ghosts, leprechauns, magic, or God; so I see no reason to believe in them.

In high school they both attended Christian youth events and wore WWJD bracelets. I didn't like it but kept my mouth shut. They seemed to lose interest in religion after living on their own. But to tell you the truth, I don't really think they care one way or the other.

Comment by Virginia Templeton on April 7, 2012 at 12:02pm

I am raising my daughter to make her own choice. Beliefs are personal and should only be made by the one who will believe them. I'm just going to provide tools and resources so she can make an educated decision on the matter. I will never make her feel bad about what she wants to believe in. If I can put up with her belief that Peter Pan will come whisk her away to Neverland any night now, I can face any other belief.

Comment by Cristynfaye on April 7, 2012 at 1:50pm

I personally don't believe that it is good to shelter your kids from any kind of world view.  I think it creates a well balanced and empathetic person when you allow them to understand the experiences of others.  I plan on allowing my kids to know about other religions and cultures, and exposing them to those things (as long as they are appropriate, of course).  And since mine and my husband's families are both pretty religious, I know they'll grow up hearing about Jesus anyway.  But I'm not worried, because my husband and I are both open minded and critically thinking people.  Kids model their parents, and if we model an attitude of empathy, open mindedness, and critical thinking, then hopefully our kids will do the same.  I'm not afraid that exposing them to Christianity or any other religion will turn them religious, any more than talking to them about homosexuality would turn them gay.  I want my children to have autonomy, and to be confident in being who they are, no matter what.  And even if they turned out to be Kirk Cameron clones, I'd still love them, because to do anything else would be to become the people that I hate.

Comment by Kairan Nierde on April 7, 2012 at 5:05pm

I wouldn't want my kids to believe in a religion.  I'm not sorry about it.  Religion can do great things and terrible things to people, so it's just not a risk I would like to take--that they may become involved in a religion which could stifle them or lead them to harm others. 

You can't control what people believe but you can guide them to their truth (hopefully it's the truth, too) by teaching them to think.  Perhaps, like my parents, I wouldn't like their conclusions.  That would be disappointing--but you accept those you love.  I would attempt to balance the great deal of information they'll get anyway about supernatural belief systems with its secular equivalent.  Religion would be taught from a cultural standpoint and I'd make sure that we had our critical thinking caps on the whole time.  But I would raise them with as much of a scientific worldview as my liberal arts major self could manage.

Comment

You need to be a member of Think Atheist to add comments!

Join Think Atheist

Services we love!

We are in love with our Amazon

Book Store!

Gadget Nerd? Check out Giz Gad!

Advertise with ThinkAtheist.com

In need a of a professional web site? Check out the good folks at Clear Space Media

© 2014   Created by umar.

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service