Atheists not raising their kids as atheists
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03-12-2014, 12:04 PM (This post was last modified: 03-12-2014 12:09 PM by Tomasia.)
RE: Atheists not raising their kids as atheists
(03-12-2014 11:08 AM)Impulse Wrote:  There isn't much difference between "because I said so" and not wanting to disappoint. Either way, it's merely obedience to authority. So, when the authority is no longer an issue (for example, the child grows up and moves to another state), there's no more need for obedience. Then it depends on what the child him/herself wants to do and it's why the critical thinking is key.

Well, morality when all is said and done, is always an appeal to authority, though that appeal doesn't have to be a person, it can be to some abstract concept such as society, humanity, the state, god, the voice of one's conscious etc......

Quote:Part of their education can certainly include your opinion on what's right and wrong

This is something that I find a lot of atheist have trouble understanding, that there is a difference between deciding what is right and wrong, and deciding that we should pursue what is right, that we have a duty an obligation to pursue what is moral. The latter is not a choice, in fact we want others, including our own children to be predisposed to pursuing the moral life. And we steer our children in this direction, rather than allow them to decide on their own.
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03-12-2014, 12:06 PM
RE: Atheists not raising their kids as atheists
(03-12-2014 12:01 PM)The Q Continuum Wrote:  Has anyone here left their kids to think it through on their own and then been startled by the questions they ask about God? Do you really think kids are born atheist and that when five-year-olds ask about a creator or creation or a supreme being, that they picked it up in the schoolyard or via the media? For those of you who seem gung-ho on this thread to raise kids either atheist or without presuppositions, what does the fact that EVERY kid eventually comes up with God questions tell you? Smile
Most likely, seeing that the pledge has the phrase "under God," the phrase "In God We Trust" in money, etc. Also churches are virtually omnipresent in America.
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03-12-2014, 12:20 PM
RE: Atheists not raising their kids as atheists
(03-12-2014 12:04 PM)Tomasia Wrote:  Well, morality when all is said and done, is always an appeal to authority, though that appeal doesn't have to be a person, it can be to some abstract concept such as society, humanity, the state, god, the voice of one's conscious etc......

You missed the point again.

(03-12-2014 12:04 PM)Tomasia Wrote:  This is something that I find a lot of atheist have trouble understanding, that there is a difference between deciding what is right and wrong, and deciding that we should pursue what is right, that we have a duty an obligation to pursue what is moral. The latter is not a choice, in fact we want others, including our own children to be predisposed to pursuing the moral life. And we steer our children in this direction, rather than allow them to decide on their own.

There is no duty or obligation to pursue what is moral. We do what's moral (at least most of us) because it makes sense in terms of our well-being and the well-being of our families and society in general. But doing so certainly is a choice as is proven by those who don't follow the path that most of us agree is the moral one.

@DonaldTrump, Patriotism is not honoring your flag no matter what your country/leader does. It's doing whatever it takes to make your country the best it can be as long as its not violent.
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03-12-2014, 12:21 PM
RE: Atheists not raising their kids as atheists
(03-12-2014 12:01 PM)The Q Continuum Wrote:  Do you really think kids are born atheist and that when five-year-olds ask about a creator or creation or a supreme being, that they picked it up in the schoolyard or via the media?

Yes, or else from some other social context.

@DonaldTrump, Patriotism is not honoring your flag no matter what your country/leader does. It's doing whatever it takes to make your country the best it can be as long as its not violent.
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03-12-2014, 12:27 PM (This post was last modified: 03-12-2014 12:35 PM by Mr. Boston.)
RE: Atheists not raising their kids as atheists
My wife is agnostic, but she's ethnically half Jewish; her dad's Jewish, her mother's Irish. It's not important to her that our kids believe in God, or practice the Jewish faith, but she DOES want them to understand Jewish culture and what it means to "be Jewish," and to understand the history of their people. She wants our kids to understand HOW Jews pray, and how they practice their faith even if they ultimately, like her, don't practice it themselves. Her family has always been philosophically secular and culturally Jewish, i.e. they vote Democrat, march for civil rights when there's a need, eat too many carbs, donate to NPR, and REALLY enjoy Jon Stewart. If that's as Jewish as my kids ever get, cool with me. If they take it further and actually become practicing Jews, I don't mind that either, but they're going to get my opinions on "faith" and the "creator," and all that stuff as well. I think of it almost like if our kids were part Sioux or Cherokee or Eskimo. I wouldn't necessarily encourage them to "believe" in the same creation myths and ideas about higher powers, but I'd want them to know the stories and the history.

One thing that I think many of us are missing here is that parenting is a constant compromise, an on-going strategic reevaluation - between the parents and the kids, and between the parents themselves. You don't end up sticking to your best-laid plans. You experiment, you dabble, you figure out the best way to reach YOUR kid; while acknowledging (unless you're pigheaded) that your ways might not work for other families, and that other families' ways might not work for yours. My wife and I both want the same things for our kids, that they'll be happy, self-confident, curious, truth-seekers. We'll let them know what our experiences have been and see where they go with that. I think the best you can really do for a kid, once they reach an age of reason, is to give them the best tools you can, then mostly get out of their way.
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03-12-2014, 12:31 PM
RE: Atheists not raising their kids as atheists
(03-12-2014 12:27 PM)Mr. Boston Wrote:  My wife is agnostic, but she's ethnically half Jewish; her dad's Jewish, her mother's Irish. It's not important to her that our kids believe in God, or practice the Jewish faith, but she DOES want them to understand Jewish culture and what it means to "be Jewish," and to understand the history of their people. She wants our kids to understand HOW Jews pray, and how they practice their faith even if they ultimately, like her, don't practice it themselves. Her family has always been philosophically secular and culturally Jewish, i.e. they vote Democrat, march for civil rights when there's a need, eat too many carbs, donate to NPR, and REALLY enjoy Jon Stewart. If that's as Jewish as my kids ever get, cool with me. If they take it further and actually become practicing Jews, I don't mind that either, but they're going to get my opinions on "faith" and the "creator," and all that stuff as well. I think of it almost like if our kids were part Sioux or Cherokee or Eskimo. I wouldn't necessarily encourage them to "believe" in the same creation myths and ideas about higher powers, but I'd want them to know the stories and the history.

One thing that I think many of us are missing here is that parenting is a constant compromise - between the parents and the kids, and between the parents themselves. My wife and I both want the same things for our kids, that they'll be happy, self-confident, curious, truth-seekers. We'll let them know what our experiences have been and see where they go with that. I think the best you can really do for a kid, once they reach an age of reason, is to give them the best tools you can, then mostly get out of their way.

This.

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03-12-2014, 12:46 PM
RE: Atheists not raising their kids as atheists
(03-12-2014 12:01 PM)The Q Continuum Wrote:  Has anyone here left their kids to think it through on their own and then been startled by the questions they ask about God? Do you really think kids are born atheist and that when five-year-olds ask about a creator or creation or a supreme being, that they picked it up in the schoolyard or via the media? For those of you who seem gung-ho on this thread to raise kids either atheist or without presuppositions, what does the fact that EVERY kid eventually comes up with God questions tell you? Smile

Yes I honestly believe that kids are born atheist.

They are exposed to religion in the media their friends, even driving around town. Your last sentence fails as you have not been able to prove causation but simply mention correlation.

I imagine it would be very hard to accomplish but are there any studies in which children are raised in environments in which there are ZERO religious references? In the absence of such studies I'd imagine that when you grow up in a rainforest and worship what your parents tell you to worship. Same thing growing up in India or Saudi Arabia. You absorb what is around you. That in itself is much better evidence for kids being sponges rather than having "built in " curiosity about some sort of sky faerie.

Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored- Aldous Huxley
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03-12-2014, 12:57 PM
RE: Atheists not raising their kids as atheists
(03-12-2014 12:01 PM)The Q Continuum Wrote:  Do you really think kids are born atheist...

What reason do you have to believe that children are born with a belief in gods? There's no evidence this is the case.


(03-12-2014 12:01 PM)The Q Continuum Wrote:  ...and that when five-year-olds ask about a creator or creation or a supreme being, that they picked it up in the schoolyard or via the media? For those of you who seem gung-ho on this thread to raise kids either atheist or without presuppositions, what does the fact that EVERY kid eventually comes up with God questions tell you? Smile

I see where you're going with this. You're trying to hint that the idea is so fundamentally correct that kids instinctively know it. I suppose that is one possible way to interpret that, although it involves a bit of presupposition. Given how ubiquitous the idea of gods are, I'd be surprised if some kid didn't hear about it from elsewhere. I mean, I don't swear in front of my kids, but they're going to pick those words up from somewhere. Is swearing so fundamentally true that all kids are born with knowledge of it?

Also, as long as we're on looking at ways to interpret kids asking about God with some presupposition involved: could this also hint that the idea of God is childish? I'm not saying it's true, but I suppose I could spit-ball that idea out there with equal credibility to your interpretation.
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03-12-2014, 12:59 PM
RE: Atheists not raising their kids as atheists
(03-12-2014 12:01 PM)The Q Continuum Wrote:  Do you really think kids are born atheist and that when five-year-olds ask about a creator or creation or a supreme being, that they picked it up in the schoolyard or via the media?

I'm not a big proponent of the 'kids are born atheist' idea because I'm not sure it is fair to describe the state of not having any concept of a god as being the same as not believing one exists. I do understand that "no concept" includes "not believing" but I find the "no concept" part to be more important.

That said, I do think most kids pick up the idea of god from their culture but I could see it arising anyway even without any external influence. Kids are naturally curious about the world and prone to make up stories to explain things. If you don't teach them how to think critically and provide a good education they might repeat the mistakes of the past and invent a god as an explanation. When you teach them how science works and that "I don't know" is sometimes the best answer you help prevent them from backsliding like that.

Atheism: it's not just for communists any more!
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03-12-2014, 01:09 PM
RE: Atheists not raising their kids as atheists
(03-12-2014 12:01 PM)The Q Continuum Wrote:  Has anyone here left their kids to think it through on their own and then been startled by the questions they ask about God? Do you really think kids are born atheist and that when five-year-olds ask about a creator or creation or a supreme being, that they picked it up in the schoolyard or via the media? For those of you who seem gung-ho on this thread to raise kids either atheist or without presuppositions, what does the fact that EVERY kid eventually comes up with God questions tell you? Smile

The biggest determination of a persons faith is that of their parents. 5 year olds ask about a lot of things, god, thor, santa, tooth fairy, etc. They hear about these thing from family and friends. If a kids grew up never hears about them they would never ask or have any concept.

As far as being born an atheist, technically it is true, but IMO it is due to lack of exposure/concept not as actively identifying as an atheist.
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