Christian Angry Birds
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16-08-2011, 10:39 AM
Christian Angry Birds
I had an issue come up several days ago with my 6 year old daughter. My husband is agnostic and I'm atheist. My mother-in-law is a conservative Christian who believes that Jesus is coming back soon and that the "end times" are upon us. My children stay with her sometimes when I'm gone doing my army duties for the reserves and apparently she has been preaching to my daughter to win a convert.

My daughter was playing "Angry Birds" on her iPad and asked me about the birds. "Do the birds go to heaven when they hit the pigs and die?" I told her that it was just a game but she insisted that if the birds weren't Christian that they wouldn't go to heaven. I asked her where she got that from and she said it was from her grandmother (my mother-in-law). She has been working on my daughter when I'm not around telling her about Christianity and how her mother (myself) is going to hell because I don't believe in god. I tried to tell her that it was just her grandmother's opinion and that some people don't believe in god but she insisted that god exists. Her grandmother has been praying with her before bedtime when she stays there as well.

I grew up with anxiety issues due to being raised in a hell fire and brimstone church and it took me 35 years to come out of that system. I don't want my children to have the same fears of hell and damnation that I acquired but my mother-in-law sees this as a mission to save her grandchildren.

My daughter was also upset about the pigs dying in the game so I told her that they believed in god but they're Jewish but not kosher. LOL. That answer seemed to satisfy her but she still keeps asking me questions. Does anyone have any advice on how to deal with my in-laws incessant discipling of my children?
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16-08-2011, 10:54 AM
RE: Christian Angry Birds
I think you need to draw the line. Tell your in-laws in no uncertain terms to keep their noses out of how you raise your child. As for telling your child that you, the mother, is going to hell, that is just so wrong I can't put it into words. You need to sit down with your husband and make clear to him just how psychologically damaging that could be for your daughter and he needs to put her first, before his mother. Then the two of you need to make it clear to his mother how damaging it could be for a young child to believe that her mother is going to hell, explain that that sort of upbringing can lead to a life of therapy. If she still goes against you then perhaps you are going to have to stop her seeing your daughter unless you are there so you know exactly what she's telling your daughter. If she continues with the whole 'damnation' thing consider whether you want someone like that in contact with your child at all. I know it sounds extreme but the main concern needs to be your child's well-being.

Best and worst of Ferdinand .....
Ferdinand: We don't really say 'theist' in Alabama. Here, you're either a Christian, or you're from Afghanistan and we fucking hate you.
Ferdinand: Everyone from British is so, like, fucking retarded.
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16-08-2011, 10:56 AM
RE: Christian Angry Birds
Well I personally would ask your mother in law to stop it. you and your husband want want to raise your kids your way if you don't want them being brought up with the same fear you had, you and your husband should both make that very clear.
I think you should counter what she's doing by explaining to your children why you believe what you do and why you think the ideas being taught to them by their gran are wrong. And by explaining how the world works, How people should be good because it's the right thing to do instead of doing it through the fear of eternal damnation.
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16-08-2011, 11:07 AM
RE: Christian Angry Birds
Short of a complete severence of relations, there is probably no way to stop your in-laws preaching at their grandkids. I'm pretty sure they see it as their duty. Fighting over it will just cause tension and resentment, which can only harm the children caught in the middle.

So, if you're not willing to go all the way, my best alternative is to say nothing to the mother-in-law, but set up a counter-strategy with the kids.
(On both fronts, i would want to avoid, and ask in-laws to avoid, violent games for the very young.)

At home, get non-religious children's books and books about myths and legends (lots of Native American and African stories are available in picture-book form; in a couple of years, you can introduce classical and Oriental lore as well) from all through history and all over the globe. Mix them in with the fairy tales and Winnie the Pooh and nonsense rhymes, the Christian and folk stories, Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny, fairies and pirates, Paul Bunyan and Davy Crockett, giving none more significance than another. Perspective and choice. The kids will eventually sort it out for themselves.

In the meantime, you have to deal with questions of death and heaven and whether animals have souls, one issue at a time, in some coherent, non-confrontational way. This may take careful planning to co-ordinate with your husband, to avoid contradiction. I prefer to go the personal belief route: "I believe this; she believes that; neither of us has ever been there" sort of thing. And don't make a big deal out of it: often, these questions come and go with barely a ripple, as the child moves on to new interests.

It's not the mean god I have trouble with - it's the people who worship a mean god.
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16-08-2011, 11:11 AM
RE: Christian Angry Birds
That is soooooo not cool. I've been anticipating the same issue because me and my wife and daughter are currently staying with the in-laws who are devout mennonites. Luckily this hasn't happened yet that I am aware of.
It's good that it hasn't happened because I would lose my cool. Very badly. Likely to knock out my father in law. I think they know that and that's why they haven't tried grabbing my daughter, because I know they tried convincing my wife to start going to church again and to bring jesus back into her life. The best part of that was when she said "No that's ok, I like spending sundays with my family and rejoicing in our love."
That is a line no one should ever cross.
I don't know what you should do, I only know what I would do, and that's put a stop to visits, until the grandparents understand that it's a no fly zone. Period. No debate. Maybe remind them of a few scriptures they've chosen to ignore about not preaching, and not judging. Or you could always burn down their church and say "If there's a god then what good is he if he isn't smart enough to fireproof his holy temples?"

"I think of myself as an intelligent, sensitive human being with the soul of a clown which always forces me to blow it at the most important moments." -Jim Morrison
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16-08-2011, 10:08 PM
RE: Christian Angry Birds
Quote:"If there's a god then what good is he if he isn't smart enough to fireproof his holy temples?"

If only god would just fit a smoke alarm. Or even install a sprinkler system.

But of course god is not bound by the laws of man.

luckily it has a good insurance coverage the more the temple burns the greater the insurance pay out it receives. Of course insurance companies wont pay out for acts of god so it'll have to use its wizard powers to turn insurance fraud into an electrical fault.
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16-08-2011, 10:35 PM
RE: Christian Angry Birds
Hey thankyou for sharing this with us. It is a VERY VERY IMPORTANT topic. Sorry, i can't tell you exactly what I think you should do. Maybe ...the first thing is to make sure your husband is on side. Then I suggest you lay down the rules with grand mum in a way that doesn't demean her. That is easier said than done. At the end of the day, your child's mental health is the priority, not pandering to grand mum.

I have just finished reading Marlene Winell's book "Leaving the Fold" which talks around this very topic. I found it excellent. You can download it from her website for about $12.

Hope this helps....please tell us how you go have a little army of supporters here. Mark
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17-08-2011, 10:38 AM
RE: Christian Angry Birds
Unfortunately I can't just cut off ties with my in-laws as they are the only set of grandparents that interact or really spend time with my children. My parents are extremely religious and spend their weekends going to gospel quartet concerts (I wish I was making that one up). They barely see my children and don't really show an interest so I want the kids to have a relationship with their grandparents in some regard. My husband has spoken to them before but I don't think they took his message to heart as they are continuing to disciple the children. I like the idea of the children's books about fables and religions and myths. I think they need to be exposed to other cultures and other beliefs anyways just to be well rounded. The idea of presenting religion as a story just like Harry Potter or Disney would work with my daughter. My son is still too young to understand these things and I hope he grows up without fear of god and hell fire.
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21-08-2011, 03:14 PM
RE: Christian Angry Birds
I can understand the need to have your children have active grandparents, but remember, that need is not nearly as important as the need to have your children not believe their mother is going to be tortured for eternity after they die. Keep the option of total shut-out on the table.

Now, I don't know much about kids, but here's an idea, and maybe some parents can say what they think.

Kids love to ask 'Why?' USE THIS. If there's one thing that religion can't handle, it's questions. Eventually, you'll get down to "Because God Said So." And I remember how much I hated hearing "Because I said so" as a kid. However, when they ask you 'why?' you'll be able to keep going, providing more satisfactory answers. Religion is easily disproved, that's why indoctrination is needed so badly. Just make sure your daughter questions her grandmother. When she comes to you with questions, you'll be able to provide her with much more satisfactory answers.

Now, your daughter seems vaguely indoctrinated already, as she was unwilling to think critically (i.e. asking 'why') about what her grandmother said, so I'd probably make sure to get in a little bit of vaccination to make sure she'll ask questions and not except "Because" as an answer.

That's an idea anyway. It's based on what I remember about my childhood, but I could be wrong. Hopefully it sounds good enough to try though. Just remember, don't take my word for it just because I said so Big Grin
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21-08-2011, 04:14 PM
Smile RE: Christian Angry Birds
Just offer the truth:

Both the birds and the pigs are merely structures of data including methods (functions) and images. When they are loaded for each level they are loaded into memory on the iPad. When they are destroyed, they are erased from memory. But new ones come along in the next level to replace them.

As for real birds and pigs, when they die their value is in the legacy they leave behind (offspring). When one dies and leaves none, it truly can be a tragedy. Children will need to be prepared to deal with grief at some point in their life. Dealing with grief on a smaller scale (such as with pets or wildlife) can be seen as practice.

As for dealing with in-laws...I feel for you. My mother-in-law lives with us. While she isn't religious, she is prone to "see" and "feel spirit." My son, who has Asperger's does not take well to suggestions of "spirit" within the bedroom he shares with her. I haven't been sleeping well lately.

The easy answer is to thank your in-law for her concern for your child's well-being and then kindly ask her to respect your wishes that she not indoctrinate. However, I'm all too familiar with complicated situations. There may be no simple answer. I know the simple answer, but honestly, I can't picture myself delivering my own suggestion to my own mother-in-law. It's just not that easy.

Good luck. Also, I'll understand perfectly if you find absolutely none of what I've offered here to be useful to you. But I hope that's not the case. Smile

Edit: Reading back over what I've written it seems I was going more for entertainment value than assistance. Copious grains of salt may be required.

He's not the Messiah. He's a very naughty boy! -Brian's mum
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