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My mother wants to take my daughter to church every sunday. It makes her feel good and my daughter has fun in the Sunday School. But I feel like it's brainwashing child abuse. I also feel like if you are going to brainwash somebody that you would do it when they're very young, so am I allowing my daughter to be brainwashed by letting her go? I've stopped letting her go recently and it is upsetting my mother. But should I be forced to allow my daughter to do something just to make my mother feel more comfortable in her beliefs?

By Rawreality
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61 comments

8

I agree with what most folks have said in this thread. You have implied your daughter is very young and her age would be a factor in that decision for me. My daughter is now 16. She was raised in an Atheist household, but I have always told her that she needs to do her own research on this and decide for herself what she believes. I want her to think critically. Sunday school-aged children are most definitely being brainwashed. I don't care about the moral lessons being taught. They come in the context of "God says you have to do this to be a good person so you'd better do it." And it is being presented by adults as fact. In this situation, children do not have the option to question or challenge. I hope this is helpful.

IAMGROOT Level 7 Aug 4, 2018
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5

As a grandmother, the 1 thing I won't do is undermine the decisions made by my grandkids' parents (unlike my mother did to me). If mom & dad say no sweets, I make sure I understand what falls under the 'sweets' heading as in, "ok, no candy, pastry & such. What about natural sweets like fruit & smoothies"?

I always put the expected event past mom & dad first before I offer it to my grandkid. Its called respecting parental authority.

SallyInStitches Level 7 Aug 4, 2018
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Your grand parenting strategy is the most sound course of action. It minimizes friction with your own child and especially with your in-law family.

Well done, grandmother!

4

Your instincts are good. And correct. Tell Mom no more church and point her to the park instead.
There is zero need for your daughter to be indoctrinated. Perhaps remind Mom how precious her time and love are to your girl - without the gods.

AmiSue Level 8 Aug 4, 2018
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4

No it is your responsibility to see that your daughter be taught to make her own decisions.

Marine Level 8 Aug 4, 2018
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4

As her father, she will come to you with questions. Give her honest answers. The church won’t. Experience tells me she will come to trust you even more, and others less..

Varn Level 7 Aug 4, 2018
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3

Even though I was agnostic at the time I made the mistake of letting my babysitter take my daughter to church. My thinking at the time was if it wasn't helpful it was at least harmless. I was wrong. It's not harmless, like the easter bunny that they outgrow, it fixes a picture of a being who is capable of knowing your every thought. And torturing people who doubt that in a fiery hell for all eternity. That's a lot to put on a small child. Any child for that matter.

freeofgod Level 7 Aug 6, 2018
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3

You might consider asking your daughter what she'd prefer. That's how I handled my two (now grown atheist) sons. My wife at the time was mildly religious. We taught our kids both views, and let them decide. Somehow, reason prevailed. smile001.gif

MollyBell Level 7 Aug 6, 2018
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This sounds good on the surface, but children are literally lured into church because Sunday School is fun; I know as I taught "fun" Sunday school for years. It is the same premise that the Salvation Army used and uses: the people whom they help get a sermon along with a cracker.

@Gwendolyn2018 Lol I always hated Sunday School. And yeah I give a lot to charity, but the Salvation Army bell ringers get a side eye as I walk right past them. 😂

Edited

@MollyBell I hated Sunday school as a child, but hey, I made it interesting when I taught SS! I also received some highly incorrect info in SS . When I was in 4th or 5th grade, someone asked the SS teacher exactly IS a "Jew." She told us that Jews were and are people who do not believe in Jesus. She did not qualify that with Jews were an ethnic and religious set and we took it as ALL people who did not believe in Jesus.

We all said, "Oh! Ok!" and because she said it, we automatically accepted it.

3

@Rawreality
You are absolutely right! It IS brainwashing your child, and yes, it's most effective when they are very young. Your mother was probably brainwashed at an early age, and feels strongly compelled to do the same. I wouldn't allow it!

JustKip Level 7 Aug 5, 2018
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3

My mom took my son to her Bible study once. He was off playing but I let her know that I wasn't comfortable with it because he is too young. They are too easily influenced. I want my kids to be able to learn about religion AFTER they have reasoning skills.

Doraz Level 5 Aug 4, 2018
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My mom was very respectful and continues to ask about any activities that are put on by churches. Now my kids are old enough so it's usually OK.

3

My atheist mother allowed me to go to church. She wanted me to find my beliefs completely on my own, and supported whatever I came to.

LadyAlyxandrea Level 8 Aug 4, 2018
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3

In my opinion you are the parent so it should be up to you. I can offer my experience for what it's worth. I did nothing to stop my son from continuing to go to JW meetings and he hasn't spoken to me in nearly 20 years because of that decision on my part. I remarried with a Catholic lady and agreed to let her send our daughter to CCD but my daughter and I discussed what she was learning. She decided on her own to quit going and because it was her decision we had no problem with my wife. My wife has even become very secular. At the least I would certainly be discussing the things that are being discussed with my daughter and the problems with them. I assume you spend a lot more time with your daughter than you mother does and now is the time to teach your daughter how to think more than what to think. It's still, of course, your decision.

gearl Level 7 Aug 4, 2018
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3

Young kids are not equipped to comprehend these big ideas.

My kid would mimic me and say he didn't believe in God. .. I told him that we could talk about belief vs nonbelief but he couldn't claim to not believe until he could tell me why in his own words.

Kept reminding him to focus on being a kid and let the big concepts come in their own time

Teter Level 4 Aug 4, 2018
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3

How old? And yes it is brainwashing. Don't let your parent guilt you into something you don't believe is right.

Sirena Level 7 Aug 4, 2018
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I remember when I met the Pope, when I was 3. I remember not knowing or hearing anything about god or religion before that. My mom shoved this crucifix with Jesus nailed to it and told me how he died for our sins. Man killed him for my sins. I was three, what sins did I make for someone to be murdered FOR me? I met him, he was very nice. Then I went back to the crucifix my mom showed me and I cried. I cried for something I did not do and my heart broke for some irrational belief.

I was trying to exsplain it to her and she said "i thought you wanted to show her both sides and let her decide". I said i do but.... I don't talk to my 6 year old about there not being a god yet. If she asked a Question i will gladly give her my take on things. But if i let her go to church while she is this age it is not fair. At this stage of learning she is the most susceptible to believe what she is told to. But if i wait till she asks and show her both sides i can let her decide.

@Rawreality I live in a very conservative area, when my oldest started K she heard "Jesus loves you" from a classmate. I found some helpful books.

Older than The Stars [amazon.com]

What Do You Believe? (Big Questions) [amazon.com]

If you can't avoid the subject, it's better to educate 📖

2

My grandparents took me to church with them every Sunday from the time I was a toddler up through about age 12. It was a fundamentalist Christian church, so even pre-school Sunday school was fraught with fire and brimstone. Some of the stories were the stuff of nightmares for my little psyche, such as Lot's wife being turned into a pillar of salt for breaking a rule that wasn't even a wrongdoing. I think the whole experience did a number on my self esteem, even though my agnostic parents periodically reminded me that the stories were just stories and that I could believe or reject them as I wished. I was being told by the powers-that-be in church that even questioning anything I was told was a sin that could send me to hell. Maybe it depends on what flavor of religion your mother is inflicting on your child, but I would never subject my child to what I was put through. I know my indifferent parents had no idea what conflict it was creating inside my little head, and simply thought they were successfully bypassing a confrontation with my mother's parents by allowing them free reign over my theological upbringing. You owe it to your kid to protect her.

Deb57 Level 7 Aug 4, 2018
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2

Your mother has no right, no reason to insist or complain. It's like sending her to Disneyland and telling her everything there is real and it's how the world actually works.

josh_is_exciting Level 6 Aug 4, 2018
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2

I agree with you, it is brainwashing. I just hope it isn't too late to undo any damage to your daughter.

bingst Level 8 Aug 4, 2018
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I have stopped letting her go. And i wonder the same thing. She has only gone 10 times round about. But she has said thing's like. "Yes Jesus is real dady" and i hate that she believed anything they taught her.

2

I have had a similar issue with my son. My wife is Christian so wanted to take our son to church. She took him to church and I tought him evolution as a species and the evolution of Christianity. He is now 11 and is now agnostic and leaning towards atheist. I use this tree a lot to show evolution of religion with a point of only one can be correct according to the majority of religions make sure you choose the right one.

Wahker Level 6 Aug 4, 2018
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Do you have a link to a larger version of the diagram?

@RPardoe will try to find tonight after work

@RPardoe [the40foundation.org]?

@Wahker Many thanks!

2

Not knowing how old your daughter is and is of an age to make some of her own decisions, you are the parent and it’s your decision not grandparents. I never forbade my daughter from going to religious services with friends. Wanted her to be informed of others beliefs. We then had discussions about what she heard. She has made up her own mind.

kltuckmn Level 6 Aug 4, 2018
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She is 6. And has said things like "yes god is too real daddy" when she heard me talking to a friend about the issue.

2

I would not allow a kid to be taken to church until they were 13 and asked to go themselves.

Especially for girls religion is very toxic.

Myah Level 6 Aug 4, 2018
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2

Parenting is by definition nurturing and protecting. Your daughter has already been exposed to religious rituals. You didn't mention her age and the duration of those exposures. If she is past 'age of reason' and you have a close relationship with her, sensible discussions about such things can insulate her from indoctrination. In other words, they have their limited time with her and you have your greater time and closer relationship. Most religious notions and teachings can be neutralized by reasoning at home.

If the girl understands the way you see things and you can discuss it with her in free flowing exchanges of ideas, I can't see any harm in the 'fun' she has with grandma. She'll probably out-grow the church/religious aspect of it. Making it into a taboo if she enjoys it, depending on her age, might make it more attractive even if it is fantasy.

Silver1wun Level 7 Aug 4, 2018
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2

Very sound perspective from many. Definitely don’t allow your daughter to believe that: “if you do this , or don’t do that “ god will punish you, one of the worst things that can be put into anyone’s thoughts. I would probably ween her out of that , but also teach to respect others and their way ,but walk your own path.

Outsideit67 Level 5 Aug 4, 2018
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2

I recommend your decision be based on what your gut is telling you. For me, I consented to my ex raising our kids in the Catholic Church since I knew the kids would ultimately decide for themselves at some point. Both of my (now adult) kids are not religious and do not feel they were led astray. I would only be concerned if your mother's Church were fanatically conservative evangelical. That is where I draw the line. While all Churches are distasteful to me, most other non-Bible-thumping ones are sufficiently benign that if your daughter enjoys Sunday School there will be no damage to her. She will see your refusal to attend and learn of your beliefs. At the same time, there will be no mysterious mystique associated with religion. No forbidden fruit.

TheAstroChuck Level 7 Aug 4, 2018
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2

You are right is brainwashing and you should protect your kid from it, it's your reresponsability . Offer other things to your mother, they can go the park every Saturday evening or something like that. And you also should ask your mother not to teach your kid her believes .

RaulPerez Level 6 Aug 4, 2018
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2

Nope. It's your child. Your mother should find another way to bond and spend time with her grandchild.

Don't you let her guilt you into brainwashing your own child.

You're doing absolutely nothing wrong in preventing your kid from being saddled with the mental strain and suffering that comes with religion.

Suggest alternative activities for your mother and child, but be wary. The religious have very little if any respect for other people's beliefs, lack thereof, or opinions. She may sneak that shit in.

Donotbelieve Level 8 Aug 4, 2018
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2

The mental health, care, and welfare of your daughter completely eclipses your mother's hurt feelings. And your position as the actual parent should be respected and final. And yes, religion is brainwashing and is exposing your child to the cruelty of learning that her own mind and intellect is not to be trusted and that what is not true, is to be believed as truth. Horrible.

LilAtheistLady Level 7 Aug 4, 2018
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