I need some serious help
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12-10-2016, 10:51 AM
RE: I need some serious help
(11-10-2016 04:48 PM)Minimalist Wrote:  
Quote:That was a mistake but I did it because I knew he has a lot of bible knowledge and no doubt an "impressive" array of tactics to pin me down.


Only if you accept the preposterous notion that a collection of late Iron Age fairy tales have validity. Once you dismiss that - or challenge him to produce non-biblical evidence for his assertions - you'll have him on the ropes.

Thank you for the words of advice, very helpful. Especially non-biblical evidence. Never thought of that.
I need to do some research on the actual historical claims that Jesus even existed. Would be a dagger to the heart.
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12-10-2016, 10:56 AM
RE: I need some serious help
Hi CmBradley01, good to have you here!

Your family is your family: You, your wife, your children, (possibly pets) - that's it. In-laws don't get a say in what happens with that set up. If the siblings need to be reminded of this then, calmly and politely do so. You don't have to be shitty about it. They don't approve of how you raise your kids? Well, same to them.

Also, when asked point blank if you are atheist, you might ask what happens if you are. You might get a clearer idea of their fears and misunderstandings of what exactly an atheist is to them.

For an atheist, there just isn't anything supernatural about the world we live in - that's all. It isn't that difficult. The really fearful and complicated stuff seems to come, not so much from belief but from religion. Belief is just belief but religion is manipulative and that is what gets people into trouble.

People can believe whatever they want to believe but, religion is quite precise about what someone believes. This is what can pervert and twist a simple thought or idea. A belief is just an idea, and an idea can be shared, discussed and agreed upon, or refuted and even laughed about. But religion has no leeway.
***

As for your children, I have no doubt they've already had bible stories read to them. It might not be that big of a deal at their ages but, very soon we will all be in the glittery throng of Xmas with all the other attractive, unbelievable plushy stuff.

My bet is that if they are natural thinkers at all (and what child isn't?), they could become confused about the reality of Jesus, Santa, God and "Why does Aunt Sis think we're all going to someplace called Hell?!?". Keep your mind ready for this confusion and make certain to answer all their questions completely and to their satisfaction. Keep it simple, don't over explain. As long as they are coming to you for answers, they will be in good and reasonable hands. Shy

Your kids are pretty small but growing fast. If you hang with them daily, you will be able to observe their thought processes more intimately. Right now, they are just beginning to form their own personalities, figuring out what is what - what is real and what is pretend. It's a good time for you to become more of an influence in their lives, regardless of your belief or lack thereof. It's good to get a good stable family/home foundation before they go off to public school - so now is a really good time.

Unfortunately, I don't see a ubiquitous demise of religion happening in this country or even the world, certainly not in my lifetime, anyway. Your kids will be living very much as we do - in a very transitional world. If they can think for themselves, they will be fine. Thumbsup

Again, welcome to the forum. Smile

A new type of thinking is essential if mankind is to survive and move to higher levels. ~ Albert Einstein
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12-10-2016, 11:04 AM
RE: I need some serious help
It may have already been said. But you can turn this around in your favor.
Ask your kids questions. Find out what they were told. Then ether demonstrate the opposite, or educate them in the truth. The more exposure to the variate of beliefs the more well-rounded they will become.

Don't Live each day like it's your last. Live each day like you have 541 days after that one where every choice you make will have lasting implications to you and the world around you. ~ Tim Minchin
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12-10-2016, 11:06 AM
RE: I need some serious help
(11-10-2016 08:27 PM)Paleophyte Wrote:  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.

Priorities:

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.

Wow thank you for the words of wisdom. I will be taking all points of your advice and applying it when the time is right.
Ok, so here is a brief synopsis of my marriage:
Yes she is a christian but fair weather at best. Attends on the most 'important' holidays.
She is a liberal politically and is for gay marriage etc.
I have had a major influence on her because her arguments were very very weak.
She will never get over her traditional upbringing so for her to become atheist is most likely not going to happen. If she was anything like her parents. I would have high tailed it outta there quickly.
I knew before I met them that they were fundamental in the scary way so I prepared accordingly. I was asked about church attendance but decoyed the conversation in a way that was satisfactory to them.
Having been a fundamentalist through high school I knew exactly what to expect.
Honestly I can not see them becoming hostile over the idea of my non-belief.
They all know now and I see them everyday and nothing has changed so far as I can tell at least.
You said:

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.
That is brilliant about it not being free thank you!!

So my wife and I agree (after much talk ) that the children are entitled to make their own decision and nothing should be forced on them. They should have the freedom to choose. She agreed.
So that's what I will tell them. I have to talk and influence wife in regards to other topics before I state them as law. Which honestly I should have no issue with. At least she listens and has a pretty open mind.

All the replies here have been so great and helpful. Thanks for yours!
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12-10-2016, 11:14 AM
RE: I need some serious help
(12-10-2016 09:25 AM)skyking Wrote:  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.

Great Points.
I am diligently working on the removal part. It won't be too much longer and the influence will be degraded exponentially. Its sad honestly they get to be with my kids 8+ hours a day except weekends. It really sucks regardless of the dilemma.

Once we get moved it will make a huge difference.
Thank you so much for your wisdom!
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12-10-2016, 02:19 PM
RE: I need some serious help
It seems that you and your wife need to get on the same page about what you want for your children and how you want to raise them. From there, tackling the extended family as a united front should be much easier.
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12-10-2016, 03:50 PM
RE: I need some serious help
(12-10-2016 11:06 AM)cmbradley01 Wrote:  Yes she is a christian but fair weather at best. Attends on the most 'important' holidays.
She is a liberal politically and is for gay marriage etc.

Sounds like you have a good one there. The two of you should sit down and discuss how you want to bring the kids up. Now's a good time since the influence of the in-laws has come up. That way you can present a united front. Possibly easiest if you let her handle the fall-out with the in-laws if there is any. They're her family so she's likely to be able to deal with them easier and any problems won't be your fault as much.

If she isn't demonizing you to the kids then you have little to worry about. Between the two of you they'll quickly get the message that you aren't actually hell-spawned regardless of anything else they might be told.

Right now your biggest concern sounds like the in-laws. You don't want the tension of them pulling your wife one way and you pulling the other. Probably safest to avoid certain topics around the. You're unlikely to make any converts and any strife will come back to haunt you.

And I forgot Dr. Seuss on the book list! He's brilliant for silly and deep simultaneously.

Good luck!

---
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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13-10-2016, 12:19 AM
RE: I need some serious help
(12-10-2016 10:51 AM)cmbradley01 Wrote:  
(11-10-2016 04:48 PM)Minimalist Wrote:  Only if you accept the preposterous notion that a collection of late Iron Age fairy tales have validity. Once you dismiss that - or challenge him to produce non-biblical evidence for his assertions - you'll have him on the ropes.

Thank you for the words of advice, very helpful. Especially non-biblical evidence. Never thought of that.
I need to do some research on the actual historical claims that Jesus even existed. Would be a dagger to the heart.

Richard Carrier's "On The Historicity of Jesus." Some of his Bayes Theorem stuff seems pointless and at the end it really is pointless but his demolition of all the evidentiary claims that xtians make is priceless. He also firmly demonstrates the age which gave rise to this Mystery Cult bullshit ( and early xtianity was assuredly such a cult in the beginning) and how different cultures merged with Hellenistic thought to create them.

Atheism is NOT a Religion. It's A Personal Relationship With Reality!
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17-10-2016, 09:39 PM
RE: I need some serious help
(11-10-2016 04:32 PM)cmbradley01 Wrote:  Time is short to post this so I'll be brief.

I got married a six years ago and have two children ages 2 and 4.
My in laws are very nice people albeit fundamentalist baptists. However they have always been kind and never preachy. I used to be a fundamentalist baptist so I guess I fit in...kinda.
Anyhow Sunday night I got to talking with my brother in law about foreign policy and as i predicted wound up talking about end times. He now knows (as does the rest of the inlaws) that I am a non believer. I panicked when he asked if I was an athiest and I said no. That was a mistake but I did it because I knew he has a lot of bible knowledge and no doubt an "impressive" array of tactics to pin me down. So I balked because I was afraid of being unprepared.
So without having to have the knowledge of the late great Hitchens, how do I go about this? Honestly I feel like I will be talking to a brick wall.
But wait there's more!! =|
Also my sister in law who home schools her kids (poor kids) watches my kids for no charge. And I know the indoctrination has begun.
I have no clue what to do.
How do I gently tell them to let my kids decide on their own?
I have no idea how to approach this.
I tend to lose my temper with these types of people.
They do teach good morals (I know you can be good without god and so on and so forth) but its the supernatural BS that Im worried about.
I need serious advice on what to do.
I have often told myself to bide my time and when the time is right with my kids I can influence them with reason. Or have thought of letting the kids decide on their own.
Seriously please help me.
I am terrified of my kids disowning me because of my Atheism.
Thank you.

As for the situation with the sister in law and the indoctrination I'd, without fail, sit your kids down and ask them what stories your sister in law told them, what they talked about, then make it very clear that while some people do believe those stories not everyone, like their mom, does not and that that is OK.

Don't let it be a one sided education. You can also do other things while they are young like get them interested in science with telescopes, or children's chemistry sets or books with lots of pictures of animals in them that talk about evolution for children.

Make sure they know that the religious world view is not the only one.

When valour preys on reason, it eats the sword it fights with.
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