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What do you tell very young children when they ask if you believe in God?

My oldest daughter asked me when she was 4 or 5 whether I believed in God. I explained that there were two basic beliefs about the origin of man. I explained evolution and man's evolving from just a single cell through primate stages. I also explained the basic tenets of Christian beliefs starting with Adam and Eve and the garden of eden and Jesus and etc.

When I finished she asked, "What do you believe?" I responded by throwing the question back at her, kinda like "you first". Her exact answer was "That man came from monkeys, of course".

tymtravler 6 Jan 13

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28 comments

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No

3

My niece asked me if Jeebus was real. I told her that some people believe in god and jesus, but I didn't. She told me, "I don't either. Jeebus is fake."

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I don't believe in god. That's my final answer.

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I told them I do not. I also told them most people do and that they should be respectful of other people, and that telling people they don't might make people mad at them.

MsAl Level 7 Jan 25, 2018
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The truth. In terms they'll understand. But, always the truth.

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I always start by throwing the query back at them... it is like a guide to talking with them about stuff... best to know where they are coming from first.

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I tell the truth how I feel about god, which I don’t believe exist.

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Told them what I believed. No god.

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Tell them the truth, with a bit of luck your child would be old enough to fully understand that you no longer believe in fairies.

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But as their parent, I'd wait till I think they're ready, and tell them my thoughts.

DickC Level 2 Apr 13, 2018
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I tell them that that topic is a no no.

DickC Level 2 Apr 13, 2018
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"I used to, but I found that to be incorrect. Some people who believe are sincere, and some are just lying. Do not trust people that are not willing to talk to people who disagree cordially"

I have to give that long answer even though my oldest is 8 because he is already being indoctrinated by the whole family.

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Easy, for me anyway, My wife at that time was a Catholic and it was mandatory , outside of divorce, that the kids are catholic. I took them to CDC and asked the priest a question, I explained to my kids and the group that GOD is purely within and not external. My daughters learned that god is merely having faith in yourself, They know I am disgusted in religion and my I report, both are now adults and NOT Catholic, very much like DADDY

EMC2 Level 8 Jan 26, 2018
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Hi tymtravler,those seemed rather too advanced to tell a 5 year old.I have told my grandaughter that god and heaven are fairy tales like Peter Pan or cindarella.

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Here is an article about a fantastic children's book written by Richard Dawkins that helps explain reality to children.
[google.com]

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I didn't ever have to have that conversation with either of my children as I never talked about a god, because it was of no importance to me , and I was cool with the idea that they might want to be religious as they were exposed to it at school.

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The reason I wanted my daughter to come up with the answer on her own is because I was TOLD what to believe when I was young. If she decided that she believed in God at that young age I wouldn't have said anything to dissuade her nor, of course, anything to encourage those beliefs.

My Mother was a devout Catholic and her belief seemed to help her through life's difficult situations such as the death of my younger sister. I sometimes wished I could believe such nonsense to help me through my wife's lung cancer and my own problems.

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Mostly I twist the question from being about belief into being about knowledge and I answer - I don't know for sure.
If that doesn't work, I say; I don't believe in any gods, but most people do believe in various gods, and I could be wrong, like anyone else, so don't trust anyone who tells you they know for sure, or who tries to tell you what you should believe.

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I always tell children the truth if I can. But I also answer their question and don't add a lot of extra unless they ask more.

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cute, lol i hope you corrected her, i know she is 4, but we are cousins with the monkeys. kids wiill waffle around on this topic, peer pressure and all. i hope she remains a skeptic and a thinker. my son went through a religious phase in his teens, now he is an atheist, he is 26

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I answer "FUCK NO", or words to that effect.

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The reason of indoctrination is exactly this. Humans that are not indoctrinated and taught crazy things, have the innate impuls to connect dots and think rational.

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My parents mostly left me self-educate by providing lots and lots of books - encyclopedias mostly, on all topics imaginable (my favorite read, before I discovered Science Fiction at the age of 8 ), but there was also a children adaption of the bible among them, yet when I started reading it, I was already familiar with the concept of religion (had an encyclopedia, specifically dedicated to religions of the world), thus never took it as "divine writing", but a rather curious read of mostly fairy tale kind - it never looked to me more real than Sleeping beauty or Aladdin.

When I have children, I think I will do the same - provide all the information and let them decide. By the way a read is a better way than a conversation, because this way the child can get the information in pieces he/she is capable to digest. Of course the conversation option is opened for when the child has something to ask.

And if asked to express my believes - I will, specifically pointing, that these are my believes and there may be other opinions.

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