I need some serious help
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11-10-2016, 07:11 PM
RE: I need some serious help
Hoping you'll come back and share what the children's father wants to do. It is most important, IMO.
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11-10-2016, 08:27 PM
RE: I need some serious help
Sorry to hear that you're having problems with religious in-laws. First things first:

[Image: dont-panic.jpg]

At their age your kids have little to fear in the way of indoctrination. Your youngest won't even comprehend it. Your eldest might be starting to get a bit of it but will be a long way from devout belief and disowning you. Even in an absolute worst case scenario, which this isn't, the bond between parent and child runs so deep that you'd have years to counter any attempt. Most likely it would backfire netting you two budding atheists who didn't think much of their SIL.


1) Your husband/wife/partner: Are they still in the picture? Do they know? What's their position on the matter? This is your immediate problem.

2) In-laws: If they get frothingly rabid about your atheism then you may need to find a new daycare. That may become a problem down the line anyway if your kids become a "bad influence" on their little home-schooled victims.

If they're ammenable to reason then explain your position and remind them that you're the parent and they are your children. Let them know that you appreciate the morality but would prefer that they laid off the religion. You would prefer that you children weren't raised that way in much the same way that they wouldn't be happy if you were to explain to their children why they shouldn't believe.

Don't debate it, just state it. You're the parent and they have zero rights to indoctrinate your children. That might cost you your free daycare but if that's the case then it wasn't really free.

3) Kids: They're the most important but they make the bottom of the priorities because you have plenty of time. The matters with the adults may be less important but they'll be more immediate.

- Let them know what you (don't) believe. Your youngest is too young for any of that yet but your eldest might have questions. Once they've got that, anybody trying to tell them that you're wrong is likely to suffer the unalloyed scorn that only a small child can muster. You may have to tell them to keep a lid on things especially with their cousins because other people believe different things and we all have to get along.

- Give them a sense of wonder. Show them the amazing things that exist in the real world and nothing in scripture can hold a candle to it. The more questions they want to ask the better. An inquisitive mind is extremely difficult to indoctrinate. Bugs, butterflies, dinosaurs, stars... Whatever they latch on to. At this point that's more for your eldest. This is a perennial favorite for the younger set though:

Youtube is full of brilliant videos like that.

Your eldest might be more up for something like this: The Carnivorous Plant FAQ though interests vary. You'll have to do most of the reading but Barry Rice takes some great photos. Again, the internet has a lot of great material and real life can provide actual examples that kids can poke. The subject is unimportant, it's the fascination that you want to cultivate.

- Bedtime stories. Show them what good fiction is and the bad, poorly contrived fiction of the Bible is bo-ring! It shows them the difference between fantasy and reality, hones the critical thinking and it's fun. Roald Dahl, CS Lewis, AA Milne and the like are good for your ages. Especially CS Lewis. That man did atheism a huge favour the day he reduced Christianity to a witch and talking animals. Greek, Norse, Native American, etc. mythology can be great fun too and gets them laughing at gods. You'll have to do the reading for now but it's a good foundation for them to start reading on their own in a few years.

All in all you don't need to teach them what to think, you just need to show them how and show them that it can be fun. Once that's done they're pretty thoroughly innoculated against the myths of religion.

Flesh and blood of a dead star, slain in the apocalypse of supernova, resurrected by four billion years of continuous autocatalytic reaction and crowned with the emergent property of sentience in the dream that the universe might one day understand itself.
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12-10-2016, 08:10 AM
RE: I need some serious help
(11-10-2016 04:47 PM)skyking Wrote:  It won't come to that. What are your husband's desires, beliefs?

My wife is a part-time christian. She is much more liberal and open minded than her family. We agree to disagree and it works out fine for us. For now.
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12-10-2016, 08:12 AM
RE: I need some serious help
(11-10-2016 04:56 PM)bemore Wrote:  Welcome to the forum. If you do feel unprepared to argue and defend your atheism, then this place, the members here will be able to give you lots of help. Help with knowledge, empathy, experience.

Please stick around, your more than welcome here.

Thanks for the welcoming response. I'm looking forward to it. Also I will be scouring the forums looking for similar situations so as not to be lazy.
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12-10-2016, 08:18 AM
RE: I need some serious help
(11-10-2016 05:11 PM)jennybee Wrote:  I think gradually easing kids into ideas and other ways of thinking can help. I can see your fear about it just coming out that you are an atheist if the only exposure your kids have to atheism is through religious eyes. There are a few good books that are geared toward children: The Book of Gods and The Belief Book by David McAfee and Chuck Harrison.They are books designed to plant seeds of reason and to cultivate free thinking in children. I think if you read these books with your kids, it may help them understand atheism a little better--that it is not something bad or scary. I also think if it at all possible, it would be a good idea to find another day care option. Even if you gently tell your s-i-l to let your kids be religion free--that could propel her to go full force with getting them to know Jesus because of your lack of belief and her fear of your corrupting them.

Re: end of times/b-i-l, I would just let him rant. I don't think you are going to change him and your taking him on could end in a fight and awkwardness. I would just limit my (and my kids) time around him as much as I could.

Thank you! I appreciate your advice.
The day care situation is, unfortunately, something I can't afford to change. The good news is that I just have to hold out until they are in school full-time and we relocate to that part of the city. Once that happens the interaction will drop significantly.
Thankfully my wife and I both agree that home schooling is NOT going to happen.
Honestly if she wanted them to home school with her sister, we would get a divorce. Its that simple. It's an interesting relationship we have. But we do love each other and despite the opposite opinions on the subject of religion we have a great relationship.
I will be purchasing those books asap! Thank you so much for pointing them out to me!
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12-10-2016, 08:24 AM
RE: I need some serious help
(11-10-2016 06:44 PM)Fireball Wrote:  Besides what JennyBee gave as resources, find logic games to play with them. With enough critical thinking skills under their belts, they'll be able to sort through the chaff better. They may end up questioning your SIL about what she is saying, but hopefully she doesn't go berserk if they question her dogma. Something to watch out for. There may come a time when "free" baby sitting is worse than the alternative.

Thanks so much for your reply.
Logic games is an awesome idea!! I will be actively searching for those.
I totally understand the free babysitting idea is worse than the alternative. Frankly we just can not afford it. I am very torn about that. We are barely holding on right now. Yet honestly I'm making excuses to not have to find a solution to that. I will do my due diligence and try and find a way for that to happen.
Thanks for pointing that out!
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12-10-2016, 08:31 AM
RE: I need some serious help
(11-10-2016 06:49 PM)Full Circle Wrote:  Your children are much too young to differentiate between Pokemon and gods at the moment. The real problem is your SIL. With her you have to be very direct and tell her that any and all religious teachings are your responsibility and not hers. If she has any issue with that then off to daycare with your children.

Good luck.

You're absolutely right and thank you for your reply.
My problem is how to bring it up. My SIL is the gossip master and it would literally be minutes before the whole family knew. I personally could care less and believe me I have wanted to say that on many occasions. I need to step up and let it be known.
I have successfully convinced my wife of the importance of the kids making their own decisions in this matter.
I honestly do think they would respect my views I just have to be careful not to come off as arrogant. I will do more research on this. Surely I can find something to help.
Thank you so much for your response!
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12-10-2016, 08:37 AM
RE: I need some serious help
(11-10-2016 06:52 PM)julep Wrote:  At 2 and 4 I don't think your kids are going to disown you. I would avoid religious discussions, though, with your relatives--I think the only thing that that does with very religious people is set a target on you and your kids' backs.

Over the longer term, in your situation, I would carefully consider whether free childcare is worth your kids' being indoctrinated with vile ideas...If you need the care, then it might be worth it to keep your irreligious beliefs deep under cover. If you can do that, then your kids won't be seen as a prize for Jeebus and they'll get just the normal amount of religious radiation from your SIL rather than lethal doses.

Your kids are probably too young to decide things for themselves at this point. My recommendation: as they get older, answer their questions as honestly as you can, don't censor, and let them explore and experience religions and philosophies without limiting them too much, while making sure that they learn to think critically. I think you'll be happy with the results of that approach. That's what we did with my son, who has explored Christianity and various other mythologies and belief systems and still wound up an atheist (to our delight and our fundamentalist relatives' dismay).

Oh this is a great reply and invaluable advice!
Honestly we cannot afford daycare. It would be a financial apocalypse.
I prefer the subtle approach since I think that is my strong point.
I think I will weather the storm and continue to build up my arsenal in regards to teaching critical thinking.
Again thanks so much for the reply. In Oklahoma atheists like me usually only come out at night! =)
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12-10-2016, 08:41 AM
RE: I need some serious help
(11-10-2016 07:11 PM)skyking Wrote:  Hoping you'll come back and share what the children's father wants to do. It is most important, IMO.

I actually am the father. My wife is interesting she is pretty liberal and goes to church maybe once or twice a year. I'm not worried about her.
Our relationship is great despite the opposite religious views. She does read some bedtime books that involve god but that is quite rare as my children are not interested in them. She wants public school for the kids and when they both are in school full time
and we finally move to that area of the state (next spring).
She agrees that our children should be allowed to choose for themselves but will not oppose her family. She is deathly afraid of that.
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12-10-2016, 09:25 AM
RE: I need some serious help
That's the dance you have to dance right now.
I'd make it a priority to remove yourselves from this influence. You ( collectively ) need to be a family in every sense, and her relatives are:
1) not going to allow that.
2) will eagerly manipulate her to their views. It is the 'christian' thing to do.
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