So, I considered myself agnostic for most of my life...slipping into atheism in my early 40's (I'm 61 now). I read the bible beginning at age 8 and just could not buy into it...Even then, I thought it was the stupidest, nastiest bunch of crap ever.I'd go to church with my dad, go through the motions, but he stopped making me go when I was about age 11.
My husband (deceased July 2017) was a very firm believer in christianity. Yes, we had a wonderful marriage (43 years) despite our differing opinions.My son slipped into atheism in his 20s...he's 44 now. My daughter (age 34) believes in god although neither she nor her husband are church goers.
So here's my problem.
Her child, my grandson (the only grandchild I will ever have) is three. With my daughter being a believer, how do I handle his eventual questions regarding religion and god?
On one hand, I feel I need to mind my own business about what they raise him to believe. On the other, it galls me that they are going to brainwash this beautiful, smart little mind with all this hogwash. It absolutely makes me sick to think of it.
If he does ask my views, would it be all right if I told him that I have never seen any actual proof or evidence of the existence of a god, or is that going too far. I do not want to pretend to believe in something I do not believe in for the sake of his parents' beliefs. At the same time, I do not want to piss his parents off.
I like how the cosmos handled religion. They never flat out said religion is bullshit but they told enough stories how religions have squashed science, logic, reason since they were invented. And they told you as a scientist always question authority and don’t believe in things that aren’t scientifically possible. Question your elders.
I would watch the cosmos with him and say nothing. Just explain the science.
Do you agree that you wouldn’t tell someone else’s kid that Santa isn’t real? Then it’s not your place to tell their kid god isn’t real.
You should dare them to let him know that some people, like gramma, don’t believe in gods. Why not? Why not fully inform him. And some people believe in other gods. Why are Christians cowards and lying to their kids? Brainwashing at a young age is bad.
P.s. you weren’t able to convince your daughter that god doesn’t exist? How did you mess up? How did your kid become a theist? Didn’t you educate them?
Be open and set a good example, (which I am sure you were going to anyway ), he will always remember his grandmother who was good and kind, and he will always remember that she did not need god to tell her to be so. That will be enough to plant questions in his mind, and if he asks questions that is all you can hope for.
Although an atheist I was brought up with a religious involvement. I will never disparage the beliefs of another person. But religion has its place as a source of fundamental socializing principles in an en environment where [a] parent[s] are not firmly established in their reasoning of the whys and where-for of social principles. I the parental input to the 's upbringing is to be critical in the 's thinking, he/she will find the answers in the religious dogmas will not be compatable with rational thought..
Tell the simple truth: "I don't believe that." If he questions you as to why, just say, "For a lot of reasons, but they're grown-up reasons and you don't have to worry about them right now. I'll explain when you're older if you still want to know and ask me later."
My mother was a firm believer, while I am not. When my first wife died, my mother told my 6-year old son not to be sad because his mommy was in heaven and happy. When he asked me about it, I just said, "Well, I don't believe that. You can be sad if you need to. It's okay; I'm sad, too. But we'll always remember mommy and always love her, so that's good."
Your grandson is quite young, and since his parents are believers, it may be best to respect their wishes on how he is raised. There will come a time when you can truthfully tell him your true feelings.
I waited until my grandkids were older to reveal my opinions and non-belief about god. It's a tough place to be in when your kids believe and you don't, especially when there are grandchildren. I never volunteered my opinions about god to my grandkids at the request of my son's. My grandkids simply saw that I did not go to church, did not pray at family functions, didn't deck the house out for xmas, and they saw that I celebrate the Winter Solstice instead. They eventually will ask their own questions and you simply tell them your truth when you think they are old enough to understand on their own. My older grandkids (22, 18,17) know I am an unbeliever, and we have had many wonderful discussions about religion since they seem to be comfortable asking me question's about my beliefs.
Not your place. They’ll notice grandmother never goes to church or talks about god. That’s enough for now.
If you suggest god doesn’t exist he will ask his parents and they’ll get mad at you. Imagine if someone told your 5 year old Santa doesn’t exist. Right?
something like this, in your own words:
honey, your nana doesn't think there are any gods. your mama thinks there is one. we're not mad at each other. we just don't agree about this. do what your mama tells you, but remember, you have a brain and you can make your own decisions about what to believe. if you decide you believe the same way as your mama, my feelings won't be hurt, and if you decide you believe the same way i do, my feelings won't be hurt, and it's okay to think about it and talk about it now, but until you're old enough to do your own thing, do what your mama tells you. if you want to talk about it with me, any old time, i am here.