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Here's my struggle I am trying to figure out. IF I don't believe in anything supernatural, should I encourage my kids to believe in something supernatural? Should I still celebrate things that are supernatural?

TheAlchemist 3 July 29

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We have been conditioned to think that is the only way to express gratitude and awe. That is a fatal flaw with even post enlightenment societies.


why would you want to encourage your kids to believe in something you think is false?



Back at Alchemist. Yo aren't speaking for me. I don't celebrate those things. And I don't believe anything is possible. Of course, that would be a subjective opinion. Something could arise totally unexpected and you could say, thought that was impossible?


Why would you? What good could possible come of it?

To instill that anything is possible? To expand their imagination? If you truly believe that their are no such things as supernatural, then why would we allow our children to believe their are such things? If you believe their is nothing supernatural, then why allow your kids(or yourself) watch movies and tv shows based on supernatural beings? Or to celebrate holidays based on supernatural beings?


Why would you lie to your kids? Just tell them that supernatural things celebrated during holidays are no longer believed by most people but just done for fun, or seen as storybook "magic."

So you believe in magic? Or tricks?


Encourage kids, probably not...celebrate, no...but some objective teaching in prevailing "beliefs" are definitely in order regarding children...


do you mean lie to them but only a little?

weeman Level 7 July 29, 2018

A lie is never good....

@TheAlchemist nope


Encourage them to evaluate the evidence, have a think about it and then make their own minds up. That way, they'll go far in life.

Jnei Level 8 July 29, 2018

So tell them the story about santa but then say its not logically possible for it to happen but they can believe in it if they want? Would they want to believe in something that their parents don't believe in? Probably not. So they will always feel like they are missing out on what other kids have

@TheAlchemist Tell them the story (you may as well, they're going to hear it anyway), and about how he supposedly flies all around the world on a sleigh pulled by reindeer delivering presents to all the children. When they're very young, they may accept that at face value. When they're a little older, they'll start to doubt. Ask them why they doubt it and explore those reasons - teach them to think for themselves. By the time they decide for themselves that Santa, along with other bearded men in the sky who reward you for doing what you're told to do, they'll be old enough not to care if other kids still believe in it... especially if they're still getting the presents every year.

So you let your kid believe in something you don't believe in? Is that right? Youre supposed to be the teacher....

@TheAlchemist I'm not sure exactly how you're getting that, to be quite honest with you, since I've just explained exactly how I wouldn't do that.


Why would you "encourage" them to believe in something you don't think is valid?

I think what you encourage them to do is develop their own views, using critical thinking. Encourage them to explore. Do not try to control their thinking; what you're after is free thinkers, right?

One thing parents sometimes misunderstand is that kids often ask hypotheticals in a sort of overdetermined way that we tend to over-react to. For example, "what is heaven like?" doesn't usually indicate that they've already decided that heaven is real ... they are just imagining that it is, it's a thought experiment. So rather than over-react and blubber about how heaven isn't real, I would answer it with, "well, different religions believe very different things about afterlives. In our country, the Christian view is most common, and a lot of Christians think X, Y and Z. Of course, a lot of people don't think there's an afterlife at all. What do you think? Why?"

This answers their questions but not in some didactic way, it presents heaven for just what it is -- stuff that people think -- and points out that many people think contradictory things, and some do not buy it anyway. All without getting defensive.

Theists will probably try to tell you that you're depriving your children of something important -- or at least, of comforting beliefs. But theists are depriving THEIR children of something far more important than comforting lies. They are depriving them of free inquiry and exploration. And you're not.

If you don't control their thinking when they are young, they won't know the difference between right and wrong and will struggle their entire life...

@TheAlchemist I would say they won't know how to think if you don't teach them how to think (critically and skeptically). But that's not controlling their thinking, it is mentoring and guiding the thought process. No one can control another person's thinking anyway.


Why would you want to fill up their heads with BS? Nature is indinitely variable and fascinating. Belief in things supernatural is like putting on a blindfold. You can't see nature if you are focussed on something beyond nature that does not even exist.

So you would NEVER allow your kids to watch cartoons or watch movies based on supernatural beings?

You asked if I think you should encourage your kids to BELIEVE in the supernatural. My answer is an emphatic NO. This does not preclude them from enjoying cartoons. They don't have to believe cartoons represent reality in order to be entertained by them. In fact, the entertainment value is arguably higher if it is understood that the production is an artistic representation, metaphor, or fable.


Four stages of life:

  1. You believe in Santa Claus
  2. You don't believe in Santa Claus
  3. You are Santa Claus
  4. You look like Santa Claus

NO. Raise them with the truth.
You can have fun with fairy tales, as long as they KNOW those are
only fairy tales.
They don't need lies. Even the "fun" ones.


Is this like a Santa and Easter bunny question? Or god fairy tales?

Sirena Level 7 July 29, 2018

Its about celebrating religious holidays but not being religious. Is that okay?

@TheAlchemist I don't celebrate any religious holidays. I have kids and we all read Santa myths and the Easter bunny comes. These all have pagan origins and we talk about those. We discuss how things are celebrated in other countries, cultures and traditions. They don't believe in god and I have taught them to respect the beliefs of their friends. But my eldest still believes in Santa, not for the same reason as her Christian friends. In a very Christian area a non-believer child can become a target. You must do what fits your life best. My eldest is a social butterfly and with time she's gotten better about not talking about religion with her friends.

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