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I am curious as to how all of you with children, or thinking about having kids, feel about teaching your beliefs or any to them. I have 2 boys, 15 and 2and a half, I'm all for helping them learn as much as they can about various religions, and deciding for themselves. My oldest, Ronan, is an atheist, my youngest hasn't expressed any opinions one way or another yet. But I do let his paternal grandparents take him to church. At home, when it is brought up, I make sure to show him other options, and remind him its up to him. So, what do you do?

Byrd 7 Mar 25

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We're all born atheists.
Anything else must be taught.


See if you can find a Unitarian Universalist Church. Most of them are Aetheist and they have a really good religous education program and it will offer a sense of community.

marym Level 4 Apr 1, 2018

I admit I haven't actually checked yet, but I live in a tiny cow town... I doubt they will have one...but it can't hurt 2 look! Thank u!


My children went to a church-funded primary school and at home I made a point of discussing with them the doctrine they came across in school and helping them to look at issues logically and rationally. They have all grown up atheists. One of my grandchildren now goes to the same school but since he is autistic, the religious teaching seems to him to be just as strange as everything else! The important thing is to teach your children to think and question and look for evidence.


I taught my son all along that there are lots of religions. This pretty well summarizes it:

"Some people believe this and some people believe that, and some believe in this other stuff. I don't agree with any of them. It is important that we learn about their beliefs so that we can better understand who they are, and learn to get along with people better, as neighbors and as friends." By the time he was 12, he was certain that he is an atheist.


I wouldn’t sugarcoat anything. I mean, I’m not going to tell them the various weapons used to torture Jesus and how long he agonized in pain on a wooden pole and suffocating before being stabbed in the stomach. No, kids have emotions, but that doesn't mean you (general) should keep things from them just because you think they’ll be scared about it. Teach them things that go along with what they won’t be scared with. With religion, teach them to be a lot more open with what is out there in the world, not what they should believe or consequences for not believing that specific thing.

Adam7 Level 4 Mar 26, 2018

It's not usually a topic of conversation. If she talks about a god or jesus I just tell her that not everyone believes in the same thing.


As a single parent it was fairly easy for me to do what I wanted in raising my son. I let his grandparents repost him to Christianity and I encouraged him to do his own research. He is now a professing Catholic even though he has never been to a service. He wants to believe in something to answer the death questions, but that is really it.


I went to a Unitarian Universalist Church when by children were young and the youth classes have something like world religions, when the child reaches an certain age they have a coming of age ceramony and they kids tell what they have decided. It was really nice. Both my sons are aetheist.

marym Level 4 Mar 25, 2018

Children are people, they have brains. I exposed mine to a few different religions to friends, I always told them that I personally did not believe. I let them decide.


I have children

I teach both of them who live with their mothers that when they come to visit, RELIGION GETS LEFT on the front door-step.

My son has naturally grown up (this is his own opinion and had nothing to do with me) that he is not only anti-religious he HATES ANY religion!


My daughters were raised as non-believers. My older daughter Becky has special needs and her father baptized her behind my back. Given a Hebrew name to make my parents happy. She personally got a Wica tatoo and goes to psychic fairs. My younger daughter Jesse is a conspiracy theorists who is pro guns.Her father belongs to NRA and is a trumpster/libertarian. Go figure..LOL

Different fathers.

My daughter Jesse's Dad was a rock n roller - drummer in a new metal band going on tour w/ Aerosmith when I met him 24 years ago. Harry Nilssons son was keyboardplayer in the band and his godfather Ringo named the album. Didn't care about politics back then.


That's a toughie.

Show them everything there is and let them make up their own minds?


I give my kids the many different kinds of stimulation so as that they will grow up worldly. They know that I do not believe. I just tell them it is their choice to make. I, however, do try to present logical scenarios for them to draw an informed conclusion.


I did the same thing with my children. I let them go to church with different family members (one side was baptist, the other side has catholics, and I was raised protestant). I let them make their own choice. Now one is wiccan and the other is satanist. They are wonderful people who are empathetic, caring and are very socially conscious. To me, that's all that really matters anyway.


Due to children's minds being so malleable and easily influenced they should be raised ideologically neutral, since it can be difficult to un-learn as an adult what they were taught as a child. Raising a child to believe a certain set of dogmatic ideals has the same effect as brainwashing an adult. What those ideals are is irrelevant - it could be a religion, a philosophy or a political ideology, the effect would be the same. Disagreement over this was one of the main reasons my ex and I parted ways. She became a born again Christian and then insisted the children be raised Christian as well in a Christian household. I objected, she ignored my objections, took them to church (including the 'kids church'😉 filled the house with junior bibles and constantly played Christian radio in the car. The children are now christians and appear to have an issue with me for not being one. I stuck it out for anouther five years of misery - for the sake of the children - but in the end I had to seperate and move away. FYI - this is all in the U.K., which is a 'post-christian' society, which makes an otherwise intelligent well educated adult suddenly becoming religious all the more unusual.

Nomad Level 6 Mar 25, 2018

Surprised to hear of this happening in the 'secular' UK. But i guess it probably happens here too, in 'secular' Australia.

@Coffeo I know it has nothing 2 do with the conversation, but yay Australia! I want 2 go there some day soooo bad! I want 2 see all the critters and all the unique terrain! Also the people and history seem interesting

@Byrd Yes, Australia's not bad. But I have to say, it used to be better (e.g. when I came from the UK in 1973). But there's plenty to see and do.

@Coffeo so random question. Do the aboriginal people really believe they popped out of the mud? And do they really kick u out if u say differently?

@Byrd I find that a very surprising question, because, if it's true, it's something I've never heard of in the 45 years I've lived here. But then, I have little contact with indigenous folk.

@Coffeo I honestly can't remember where I heard it. It was some kind of science show where they were trying 2 trace DNA back 2 the first place people came from. They had gone 2 Australia, and when they told the natives what they were doing, I heard they got kicked out, but I missed the end so Idk if its true lol

@Byrd I suppose it might be true, but I suspect it would be only in some isolated groups.


IN MY OPINION... it's good he gets exposed to it. Being his mother, he'll opt to prefer your thought process more so than anyone else, especially being his mother.
Now, this, to me is the kicker... encourage him to make his own decision, not based on what he's told by competing "philosophies", but by his being able to extrapolate truth from.... (fill in the blank). Clarity in thinking critically, forms a solid base for many other important questions...

Or, do what the xtians do...torture him if he doesn't submit...bwahaha...(jj)

Hutch Level 7 Mar 25, 2018

I'd just teach them about dinosaurs and take them to museums to see fossils and stuff like that which kids tend to find fascinating, so they know how long life has existed on this planet. Then, I'd show them the Bible and say "This book says none of that stuff is real and that the world wasn't even created until six thousand years ago. Lots of people believe it even though, unlike dinosaurs and trilobites and ammonites, there's absolutely no evidence at all that it's real. You can make your own minds up."

Jnei Level 8 Mar 25, 2018

I have three that are various stripes of agnostic. They were well exposed to Christianity, Catholicism thru family, evangelical Christian and Unitarian thru friends, Religious Science (new age) thru my partner, probably some others that I have forgotten.
What you are already doing is what I did. I got young adults that can think and understand that faith is a choice they can make, not a blind obedience to culture.


I think you're handling it well. My kids both know what I think (I don't consider Atheism a "belief," but rather absence of it). Along with that, I have always encouraged them to do their own research on the subject of religion, or anything else for that matter, and then making up their own minds. The result is that the apples have not fallen far from the tree. My son (now age 26) is very "live and let live," and at the very least, is highly skeptical of religion. My daughter is my mini-me and has gotten herself into some minor arguments and controversies at school because she's a bit outspoken. (she's a performance artist, what can I say?)


I've never discussed it unless they did. I've never pushed a certain way on them so they could decide.


I did exactly the same and my 2 boys are none believers.


I was raised by atheist parents. I went to church with a few friends when I was growing up. It was good to get exposure to that part of society, and it never changed how I felt. Honestly, it made me believe stronger that there is no God and religion was fantasy. I think you're doing the right thing.


I did pretty much the same. I have an atheist and a Christian. I love them both with all my heart.

JimG Level 8 Mar 25, 2018
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