Please, No Asshole Replies.. I Just... Need Help Here

..ok, so its suddenly dawned on me that my 5 yr old daughter, veda, has sidled into a rather unnervingly consistant routine of attending sunday evening services with her gram cracker (my mother in law) every sunday, followed by mexican for dinner and sonic drive-thru dessert. I let her go for 2 good reasons and 1 fairly bad one. If you're a tired mama, you'll understand the latter and if not, I'll ask you to just overlook it entirely and move right along to the good reasons. 1] Veda and I have open communication about the unlikelihood of there being a "god". (Please note that I use the word unlikelihood because I refuse to outright tell her there isn't one.. I chose to let her reach the conclusion on her own.. and, to a very definitive extent, she has already done so; questions germane to the dinosaurs alone cast enough doubt in her mind to render her immune to casual brainwashing. 2] This 1,500 seat ampitheatre 'compound' of a church boasts a children's "wing" that features a 500 foot bubble wall, tandem bicycles that are connected, back to front, in a circle, and a host of other play things that make her gush with soulful deliniation. She doesn't go to church for the message.. unless she just pays no attention whatsoever and misses it, there IS no message that I can detect. They play and color pictures of ruth and such.. no more.

Now.. my problem is this: I could tell Veda was struggling with inner turmoil last monday morning while we waited on this bus. Finally, she told me she had a question to ask me and that she knew I wouldn't be mad, but she didn't want me to be upset either. "..shoot" i replied.. and she went on to tell me that gram asked her to ask me if I still knew where the cute lil pink 'new testament' bible is that she gave her when she was born.. fucking hell, I don't.. but, even if I did? I think I'd prefer, very much, to go out and (ugh) BUY her one.. with both the new testy AND the gory old one. If she's gonna have one, it's gonna be the full monte.. blood and hellfire and ruthlessness of the big man himself included. 

How am I to navigate this sticky situation? Gram is aware of my belief (or lack thereof) and knows that I'm determined to let Veda decide whats what on her own. She means well.. I know.. and I don't want to drive a wedge between us.. but I need to be firm about this goddamned bible situation. I'd hoped to read it to her, chapter by chapter, as a complete book.. but she's too little right now.. she'd have freakin' nightmares!!! Any thoughts?

Views: 753

Comment by Reg The Fronkey Farmer on September 21, 2013 at 5:13am

I would also explain to her that most people in the world believe in other gods. It is a cultural thing. This may help her understand that we are not all the same. Diversity is good and an appreciation of it will lead to a more inclusive society.

Rather than being dogmatic (unless you are forced to be) on the subject, it might be worth taking an “oh by the way” approach. If you were to say “Oh Veda has her children’s Bible and she also is learning about other religions too. I want to her to be broadminded and knowledgeable about every belief. When she is older she can decide for herself what she wants to do but for now the general idea of god is more important than any one specific dogma.”

Comment by kOrsan on September 21, 2013 at 7:24am

Don't let that shameless old liar brainwash your kid. You may not think much of it, but you shouldn't give her an inch. She clearly already knows how to brainwash kids (cute pink bible). Next thing you know she has her thinking people rode dinosaurs.

I also honestly don't know what it is with you people and this "I don't want to tell my kids there is no god, they should figure it out themselves" stuff. It sounds like a good concept, but do you apply the same agnostic teaching approach to, say, gravity or the motion of planets? Come on. The word "know" can mean different things and people like to avoid it, but when we atheists use the word and say "We know there is no god," we're much closer to the correct meaning than when a theists says "we know there is." The difference is worlds apart. We know there is no santa, we know there is no easter bunny, we know there is no god. And we know the odds are on our side. You guys could just be honest with your kids instead of being PC and pretending like the chance of there being a god is equal to there not being one, when it's quite obviously far from the truth. It's not 50-50.

Comment by _Robert_ on September 21, 2013 at 7:50am

Kids are like sponges and believe what adults tell them. I remember my JW aunt trying to educate us with Witness coloring books. Be careful, because someone is trying to save their souls, that's the motivation and it is intense.

.As kOrsan points out....these people are experts at indoctrination.


Comment by Reverand Jim on September 21, 2013 at 9:09am

Personally I agree with the childrens bible idea. 

On the church thing, you have to think they are in some way teaching her to beleive in "God" and all that nonsense.  On the other hand, they are also instilling good values in her as a person as well.  Other than the whole religion aspect of a church, they do bring a certain "good person" foundation to our children and we as parents are supposed to foster and build on that foundation as they grow.  I beleive whole heartedly in teaching our children how to be good poeople, I just wish they would do it without forcing the whole "God" aspect of it on them as well. 

It is a great thing that your Mother in Law understands your views on all of this and I do hope there isn't any conflict between the 2 of you over this.  That would be only harmfull to your daughter.  I do want to wish you good luck in your descision.  I know it must be hard.  If you need any advice or just want to discuss things, I'm here.

Comment by Thomas Blood on September 21, 2013 at 5:51pm

I wouldn't worry too much. If at 5 (really, only 5years old!!!?) the existence of dinosaurs has her critically questioning religion, it is unlikely that she is a ripe target for indoctrination. Her greatest strength is you; you have given her permission to disbelieve. Teaching her about other religions is a great idea. It kicks the legs out of the primary message she is likely to receive (we have special knowledge about god) Remember that your ultimate goal is not to raise a little atheist. It is to raise an adult who is a critical thinker and who can recognize the value in peer reviewed science. I know Christians who are like that. I was like that myself for almost a dozens years until I finally let go of the last of my belief. Agnostics who believe in pseudo-sciene (homeopathy, UFO's, Bigfoot, etc.) are just as pathetic - and dangerous - as most fundamentalist religious persons. Small children are insatiably curious. She will easily recognize that the answers to her questions are much more genuine and interesting when they come from science than from religion.

Comment by Pope Beanie on September 21, 2013 at 9:32pm

I liked reading world creation stories of different cultures to my kids. I read them all respectfully, pointing out how people really believe them. I liked showing that "people believe in their local, cultural stories".

Their mother is Catholic, and I didn't tell them I was an atheist until they had already made up their own minds. They chose atheism (and science!). It seems--well, in addition to good luck--that they understood early on the similarity between religious beliefs and fairy tale beliefs, and how most of the world's people only believe what their culture tells them to.

Comment by MikeLong on September 21, 2013 at 10:34pm

@kOrsan: YES! - But, @Reg: brilliant idea. I would quote that verbatim to Gram Cracker except I would change the word "religions" to "myths".

Saying something like this nicely to Gram Cracker shows her a) where you stand on religious indoctrination, b) where you stand regarding your kid (you want her to have access and good relations with Gram Cracker, and c) where (under which category) you place religion in the realm of things she needs to know. She needs to know how to deal with the belief systems carried by the vast majority of humans.

Comment by MikeLong on September 22, 2013 at 12:16am

Thank you. I'm not about to let people of that calibre have any effect on me. I've set my email system to filter out their message so they'll never even see my in-box.

Comment by Melvinotis on September 22, 2013 at 12:30am
When I was just nonreligious, not yet atheist, my stepson was consistently targeted by some of our evangelical neighbors. I would let him go to events and even sleepovers, but the following Sundays we would go to some other alternative religious services to give him different perspectives.

I agree with Thomas Blood, and since you have someone who is attempting to indoctrinate your child in your family, I recommend fighting fire with fire.

Let your son experience a Buddhist ceremony, a roman catholic mass, a southern Baptist revival. His brain will realize they can't all be right. With your help and guidance, you can show him how they could ( and are) be all wrong.
Comment by Natalie on September 22, 2013 at 5:21pm

Ha, I let my daughter go to Sunday school and youth group just so I can get a moments peace too. My daughter just turned 5 and is speech delayed so I know what they tell her wont do any harm. But even if it did lets face it, my daughter is going to church 2-3 hours a week and she's with her atheist mother and agnostic father the rest of the time. My husband is quit admit on her making her own decisions about it later and I think that's just fine. It just gives me more justification to let her go that 2-3 hours. When she can understand what they are telling her, she can understand what I'll be telling her. I'll be sure to give her a good education and the knowledge that she capable of free thinking. Kids believe in lots of things at a young age Easter bunny, Santa, the tooth fairy & gods. They'll tell her about god I'll tell her about the gods and show her what parts of the would believe them. I don't believe in scare tactics but a child had a special type a curiosity that you can wiggle facts into without even telling them out right. They figure it out when they age. I went to church from the age 10 and unknown to my father the newly born again type he had planted these seeding of curiosity when I was around 5 or six with fun science and astronomy facts. lol
Don't worry about getting her the large book right now get it for her later when she's ready to handle more, but at the same time help her understand your side too. I do at least one fun science experiment with my daughter a week in the kitchen. Her favorite is the food coloring and milk trick. Never bring god into that fun time, bring nature into it.
Whatever you do, everything will be fine.


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