Christmas Family Predicament
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24-12-2014, 11:25 AM
Christmas Family Predicament
I am a married atheist male with 2 kids (3 and 6mos) & recently moved in with my grandparents for financial reasons after doing great for 3.5yrs on our own out of state. My wife is a nominal Christian who has been very accepting of my newfound atheism (as of Dec 2013.) We both work retail positions and about 3-4 times a week have family watching our kids for free. I am grateful for the many things my family is providing for us and my wife and I are doing our best to show that gratitude.

My family, however, are extremely passionate about their Evangelical Christian faith and believe in the "Great Commission". As of late they have introduced my 3yr old to the concept of prayer before every meal. I feel allowing this is a slippery slope towards indoctrination of my children at a young age which is not something I agreed to before moving back in with my family. I also don't know if my son will understand the concept of atheism at the age of 3 so countering my family's influence will be extremely difficult and at the very least I will be taking away his "fun" holding-hands-at-dinner experience and will seem like the bad guy. This is not the precedent I want to set. My grandfather is the primary encourager of these activities so with him providing shelter for my family I think it would be exceedingly hard to confront him about this as he is a conservative Christian Fox News extremist who is close-minded to any and all opinions contrary to traditional conservate Christianity.

Can anyone provide some advise as to how to confront or at least counter my family's growing influence and indoctrination of my son? Much help is GREATLY appreciated! (My wife would also like to hear from everyone on this site on this subject.) Thanks!
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24-12-2014, 12:28 PM
RE: Christmas Family Predicament
Don't take take this as 'gospel' - oops! - because I have not been in your situation but from discussion with others, the best approach seems to be to allow exposure to faiths (plural) and encourage critical thinking.

For example, talk to your child afterwards and ask the what the thought about it (e.g. praying) and say things like "some people believe... others believe... what do you think?"

No need to teach the "concept of atheism" but useful to stimulate the use of 'thinking tools'.

Good luck with it.

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24-12-2014, 12:40 PM
RE: Christmas Family Predicament
Thread moved to Personal Issues and Support


But as if to knock me down, reality came around
And without so much as a mere touch, cut me into little pieces

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24-12-2014, 01:45 PM
RE: Christmas Family Predicament
at age 3 I wouldnt worry too much, right now you nailed it on the head when you referred to it as hand holding, that is most likely all your chikd is getting from it. warm, happy fuzzy family time.

Look up on youtube videos from Dale McGowan, specifically from the Free OK event. It runs about 45 minutes but he is a good speaker and it seems to go quick.

My husband is a mild believer, I am atheist, so we parent with "some people believe this, some people believe that, other people believe this 3rd choice, some people don't believe any of it, etc".

We tell our kids where we stand and why, but they know they get to choose for themselves, and its ok to say that you don't know the answer. And its ok to change your answer.

we are also good at questioning the kids, trying to get them to look for clues and evidence in all they encounter, in the everyday mundane stuff.

I will say that after about age 5 or so, I would have my child spend less and less time in that environment. Especially if they are the type to discuss hell and gods punishments, etc. Those things put fear into children, create anxieties and worries - if a child is in that environment often it can start to screw with their thinking, it moves from a logical, evidence based thinking to fear based. Choices are made based on fear rather than what they know.


"Life is a daring adventure or it is nothing"--Helen Keller
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25-12-2014, 02:16 AM
RE: Christmas Family Predicament
Well, if you're going to live off your grandparents, then I guess you're going to have to accept their way of life. I don't think it does any good to ask a three-year-old what they believe, since they will believe anything you tell them to believe.

Good thing God provided a way to keep you and your family off the streets. Sounds to me like you don't have the luxury of being an atheist at this time. Once you can provide for your family, then I suppose you can dictate what your family believes. Right?
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25-12-2014, 03:10 AM
RE: Christmas Family Predicament
Our friend Gordon seems to making a point about assimilation vs. diversity.

It's certainly a tricky one. I have a similar problem because I am moving to an officially muslim country next week. Am I going to convert to Islam? No. Am I going to set up the first and only atheist meetup group / society to enable fellow dissidents to illegally assemble? I'm tempted.

Gordon, as implied from his reply to you, would immediately convert until he is in a position of political power so that he can dictate his version of god onto everyone else.

Personally, I do not find that to be a morally defensible course of action but it is certainly expedient.

One thing can be said of my future home... they would not force me to raise my children in their faith. So there's that. There is hope.

Yes

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25-12-2014, 07:43 AM
RE: Christmas Family Predicament
(25-12-2014 02:16 AM)Gordon Wrote:  I don't think it does any good to ask a three-year-old what they believe, since they will believe anything you tell them to believe.

Which is why I didn't believe in Santa when I was that age despite everyone telling me he existed? I recognized the stories as similar enough to the Three Little Pigs to make no difference. Just *telling* a three year old to believe doesn't necessarily make them believe.

Now, telling a three year old repeatedly and not showing them an alternate belief system is much more likely to work. But then, indoctrination is a slow process.

It reminds me of a conversation in Naruto Abridged Abridged by LittleKuriboh

"Believe It!"
"I don't believe it."
"But I just said to believe it."
"I still don't believe it."
"Just F:censored:ing believe it!"

Knights who say NI!
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25-12-2014, 07:48 AM
RE: Christmas Family Predicament
(24-12-2014 11:25 AM)leesan87 Wrote:  I am a married atheist male with 2 kids (3 and 6mos) & recently moved in with my grandparents for financial reasons after doing great for 3.5yrs on our own out of state.

Apologies but, their house, their rules. The only solution is to solve the financial issues and be on your way again.

Til then, all I can suggest is that you beg them for mercy. Not a debate, actual begging. If you're humble enough, it might fly.
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25-12-2014, 09:47 AM
RE: Christmas Family Predicament
(25-12-2014 03:10 AM)DLJ Wrote:  Our friend Gordon seems to making a point about assimilation vs. diversity.

It's certainly a tricky one. I have a similar problem because I am moving to an officially muslim country next week. Am I going to convert to Islam? No. Am I going to set up the first and only atheist meetup group / society to enable fellow dissidents to illegally assemble? I'm tempted.

Gordon, as implied from his reply to you, would immediately convert until he is in a position of political power so that he can dictate his version of god onto everyone else.

Personally, I do not find that to be a morally defensible course of action but it is certainly expedient.

One thing can be said of my future home... they would not force me to raise my children in their faith. So there's that. There is hope.

Yes

In the 1980's, I spent a great deal of time in Saudi Arabia. 20 3-week trips over the course of 8 years. When I walked through the mall or the downtown markets, they knew I was a Christian, because I was American. If they had known I was an atheist (if I had been one), I think I would have been killed, one way or another.

No one's saying convert. But going there to flaunt your disrespect for Allah is going to get you killed--by someone, somewhere. So, I suggest not holding illegal atheist meetings in Indonesia, or wherever you're going. No
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25-12-2014, 09:57 AM
RE: Christmas Family Predicament
You could just tell your kid that grandma and grandpa are getting old and addle-brained.

Atheism is NOT a Religion. It's A Personal Relationship With Reality!
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