Yesterday, while helping my great-nephew (aged 9) with homework, I ran across a "10 Commandments" worksheet. I asked him if he was studying this in school, or in Scouts? He told me "Scouts" (which I have my own opinions about, but keep to myself). Then, he made a really disturbing, disparaging remark about people who don't follow the 10 Commandments. I saw this as an opportunity to explain a few things, without imposing my own views, which run counter to what his parents are teaching him. I told him not everyone believes in the 10 Commandments, just like not everyone believes in the same god he does. Used examples of a child in India believing in Hindu gods, and child in Japan believing in Shintoism. I further explained to him that there are also people who don't believe in any gods at all, and they, as well as everyone else, deserve respect. Not believing the same things as he does, doesn't make anyone else "bad" or "wrong", just different. I didn't tell him I'm an atheist and I didn't say anything negative about christianity. I'm waiting until he's older, and asks me directly. I don't like lying to anyone, especially children. However, keeping the peace is also a serious consideration. I've yet to hear any backlash from this exchange, but that doesn't mean there won't be any. Anyone else dealing with this kind of issue? How do you walk that fine line?
Good job with the nephew. .. a nephew of mine at age 5 before kindergarten walks up to me at my dad's house his babysitting granpa and declares to me : "you're a bad man like the devil" ....I get this childish vile from adults running Dial An Atheist in Des Moines 1985 so unsurprised and kindly replied: " bad gods and good gods are like pretend television shows " pointing at my dad's tv. ...the poor brainwashed child of my Evangelical Vocalist sister blankly looked out the window then trotted outside to play
I have never been there but I think you where right to open his eyes to the wider world. You where brave to do so. It's not about right or wrong. It's about view points and ideas. The world is full of ideas and views. The more we understand each other the better we can respect and get along even if we done agree with there view or idea. It's life.
My friends and family know I’m Agnostic. If their children start to ask me questions it will be no surprise to their parents that I answer those questions from my point of view.
Again, to me being Agnostic means “I don’t know”. Where I have a problem is with people who say they know!
I think you handled it very well. I had similar conversations with my nephews and nieces and told them the exact things that you did. When two of them were 15 and 17 they asked me if I believed in god. I believed they were old enough and told them no and explained why. They had some of the same questions about the bible that did not make sense to me when I was a child. I was honest with them and i told them to keep an open mind and to always strive to learn about different cultures and beliefs and they will come to their own decisions on religions as they get older.
In Scouts they have a badge for “God and me” so indoctrination is key to the scouting life. My boy has been a Cub Scout for the last four years and he loves camping, etc., but it is often hard for me to be at Scout events because of all the praying, etc. Some scout troops are very religious, like my son’s, i just wish he was in one of the less religious troups. Dib, dib!