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Anyone have an adult child who is struggling to figure out what they believe? I have one, in her 30's who actually seems to slightly resent the fact that I raised her without telling her god was real. She feels like life is easier for her friends who have always believed. I love my only child dearly and try to respect her feelings but now she's started taking my 5 &8 year old grandchildren to church and it makes me sad to know they're being indoctrinated. I've had a couple conversations with the 8 year old about how nobody can have all the answers and people believe a variety of things but now my sweet granddaughter is being TOLD what to believe! I hate it!

onewithnature 5 Oct 12
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34 comments

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11

Does she also resent you for not telling her unicorns or leprechauns were real? Ridiculous! She should be thanking you! I’m grateful for my mother that she never filled our heads with such nonsense.

I agree with this sentiment. I would unpack the statement that life would have been easier. Sounds like an admission that the belief is of convenience rather than a logical assessment of the evidence. My experience suggests that my life would have been far easier without the cloud of religious speculation muddying the waters.

8

Stand your ground. Be authentic. Live and speak your truth. You (and I) know that gods and the religions surrounding them are make-believe. Since you're not the parent of your grandchildren, one of the best things you can do is be a living example of a truthful, intelligent, authentic person.

Thank you for your response. I try to be exactly that.

6

I think your daughter seems to want to "fit in" with the crowd. It is not about God or Jesus but about a connection to others for her. She doesn't want to be the odd one out. Just talk to your grandchildren, they will make up their own minds one day.

I think you may be right about her wanting to fit in and she likes the sense of community she gets from the church.

@onewithnature We all like the sense of community even if that community is not good for us.

I was thinking the same thing. She may not be as independent minded as her mum...

6

Two of the hardest lessons to learn are 1. Not everyone has the same needs as me, and 2. I don't have to control everything.

skado Level 9 Oct 12, 2019
5

I was raised by parents that never told me god was real. It was a great thing in my view. Your daughter should be thanking you.

5

Reading assignments for the kids:

  1. The Bible (The whole thing)
  2. "God is Not Great" by Chris Hitchens

If they're not an atheist by the time they give up on or finish the first, they will be after the second.
🙂

  1. The Atheist Primer
    [atheists.org]
    Assumed we’d stop at 2, so bought two before they were born. Worked as well as life-lessons.. Mine colored the pages in theirs 🙂
4

So, your,daughter is unhappy because you chose not to lie to her. Fascinating.

4

I have three daughters that were raised IN the church, dad is still in the church. Two oldest are atheists, youngest is laying low, she's living with her dad and doesn't want to have that discussion.

3

Interesting. My daughter does not go to church. My kids were not raised to believe. Her in laws are very involved in their church, do prison ministry etc. They take my granddaughters to church. I have a video of them singing Jesus loves me and learning the sign language that goes with it. I assume that as my grands get older I can have discussions with them and they will make their decisions. Science and exposure to all the world's religions will help. It was sweet to see her learning sign language and singing. Yes it can be easier to be a believer because people see that as normal. All we can do is expose them and hope they see the truth.

My 13 yr old son tries to have the discussion with me already. I wanted to wait until he was an adult. He attends catholic school because its the school everyone on his moms side of the family attended growing up. His moms claims to be catholic but doesnt attend church lol. His grandparents on her side are dedicated Catholics who attend mass regularly. I never try to force him to believe one way or the other. If he asks me questions I try to keep my answers limited to the facts. I don't want to force my beliefs on him and have him regurgitating them at school and have that affect his educational experience negatively. I am hoping when he gets older he will take the journey down the wormhole of religious history and infirnation like I did. Whatever he decides to do after that Ill respect it...

3

I never demanded anything from my children. Just simply explained my thoughts and told them to explore whatever their friends, cousins or others (dad) had to say. Both atheists as 20+ year olds.

That's what I did with her, growing up. I told her how I felt about it and let her know that she was free to explore and find her own path.

@onewithnature Then how can she come back and blame you? I didn't teach my kids that 1+1=8 or to put a question mark at the end of a sentence. I didn't teach them that there were unicorns or a Santa Claus. Always told them that I had never actually seen Santa so it was up to them to decide if they thought there was. Once they came of age they learned on their own that there wasn't.

3

I agree with you and I sympathize. My grown daughters tell me they "believe in their own way" even though they can see where I'm coming from. The youngest must feel that she has to believe because her oldest son was murdered. Only by believing will she get to see him again. It's things like this that sets a course for others to follow. Some of us wake up and some do not. The important thing to remember for all of us is that when you are dead it doesn't matter. Nobody is in heaven.

3

I think we have to respect each other's right to believe as we choose, whether we agree or not. I raised my two daughters with them knowing that I do not believe in any god. I allowed them to go to church with friends when they asked. Both have turned out to be agnostics or atheists. I believe that you have to accept your daughter's choice, but you also need to insist that she respect yours.

3

I wish I could be more helpful, but education and critical thinking and a curious mindset is critical to sound decision-making. None of this is news to you I'm sure. There's a difficult balance you need to perform, stay in good graces with your daughter and help her understand that even though those religious people make life look easier they're not actually making rational choices. The wonder and beauty of the natural world and our place in it is only enhanced by the realization that we only have this one chance to make others lives more pleasant. The only afterlife we have is in the memories of those who have known us and if we are remembered fondly by those who have known us this will be our reward.
The smile of most religious people masks a bitterness that shows up under pressure. I feel as though we, as realist atheists, can cope with adverse situations because we know that we must rely on each other and our own attitude and compassion to work towards making life better.
All this is probably not too helpful but just don't alienate your daughter and grandchildren, and show them that you don't have to believe in God to be a good mother, grandmother and friend.
Best regards, Don Schneider

Thank you. Very well said.

The bitterness that shows up under pressure. I have observed this too...

2

PLEASE... Let your grandchildren be exposed to religion. It will make them more well rounded in life and will, perhaps, give them the answers that your daughter doesn't seem to have now.

Life is a struggle at times. For the religious it is easier to feel that someone else is in control. Then they can back off being responsible for their own life and have a ready element to blame if things don't work out.

Alas, it was god's will!

I feel a person needs to be mentally stronger to be Agnostic/Atheist as they know that life is all up to them! Of course it is still easier to blame a parent, sibling, ex-spouse, etc. But still... You know that your life is up to you to create and, at times, enjoy!

2

My late partner (from Iran) from early childhood thought religion was stupid. She and her husband did not have religion in the house and her 2 oldest took up S. Baptists. She couldn't figure that out but then realized that one actively needs to promote questioning and critical think. It doesn't come naturally to most. However, her son and his wife had 3 kids and the wife saw her mother-in-law as being harmful to the kids religious upbringing and shunned her. One thing she was able to do was plant a few seeds. Perhaps they will sprout and grow.

2

I hope you will not allow the religion to come between you and her.

You did a fine job of raising with how you thought was good for her. We cannot control children in their adult lives. I believe that if the core of of our upbringing is strong, it will direct them properly in life sooner or later.

I raised my only daughter atheist, although my wife was religious. The wife did not oppose I bringing the daughter up atheist because we both put the choices in front of her and asked her to think about it. We took her to temples, churches, synagogues and mosques. Never hid anything from her. We talked openly. I believe her atheism is strong and I would not be disturbed if she decides to accept any faith later although I personally believe it is unlikely.

Every generation tries to launch the next generation the best they know how to. The choices adults make is about how they want to lead their lives later on. We have to continue to love and accept them.

Two human beings can also be in love forever and make a great family together irrespective of their religious and political outlooks if their heads are in the right place. This is a big world and no two people are going to be similar in most things. We have to figure how to maximize the positives.

2

I'm sorry. That must be very hard to take. My daughter got mad when I told her Santa wasn't real. Her younger brother had already figured it out.

1

Some of the publications the FFRF offers: [ffrf.org]

I highly recommend Douglas Adams (Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy) for slightly older kids maybe age 10 to 12). It just points out the ridiculousness of god a time or two. It's not the main point of the book - but it certainly let me know it was okay to think that way - and that others did too.

1

I think it could be equally annoying for both religious and nonbelievers to influence each others kids. I just would maybe start with some philosophical questions critical questions on why thing are the way they are and briefing her in history. I am considering doing the same with my mother because she is telling my 6 year old about jesus and I don't want her to influence him until he starts to have critical thinking on a different level. will teach him acceptance or tolerance for both religious people and non believers. I feel like that the far right and left, look at each other as aliens and that is troublesome, people need to learn to have conversation and learn to tolerate even if topics get uncomfortable. Compromise with her and don't turn her son away from her religion just you know once he gets older then the child will start asking you why.

There are actually atheist books available for kids now. Check out Amazon! (All by age appropriateness).

1

The curse of knowledge...

1

My Mom was deeply religious. My Dad not at all. Mom saw that I had no interest in church, but made me go anyway -- I had a lot of fun with friends in church. And she also took my sister and I to different faiths, especially when we were on the road. So I learned a lot. As we live in a world where religion (of all faiths) have domain, it is very important for children to see different things. If they go that way, doesn't mean you failed. The drive to belong is very large in us. All one can do is 'teach your children well'.

1

It may seem that life is easier, but they're terrified. Afraid they'll incur God's wrath, afraid that Satan will get hold of them, afraid that secularists are taking over, afraid of the end of times, and afraid that science is going to prove God doesn't exist. And after something bad happens, rape, loss of a loved one, illness... they want... they need... to question God, but they're terrified of what that means. Your daughter is a lot better off because she's learned how to deal with life without 'selling her soul' to something that doesn't seem to care all that much about how life turns out here.

1

Those kids have their own minds. They will decide for themselves. At least be a safe supportive place for them. It sounds like the mom is having a hard time mentally/emotionally and that can be very hard on children.

1

Both my daughters were raised free from indoctrination of any way, shape or form. However, I always told them that they would have freedom to chose whatever some day if that would be their desire. I have let them conduct themselves as adults and I don't have a problem. They even know/understand that they don't have the slightest obligation to explain themselves to me. If they chose to believe then at least I did my part to let them do that as an informed adult, as opposed to have had something imposed on them. They both appreciate that.

1

Nothing you can do her kids

bobwjr Level 10 Oct 12, 2019
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