Raising free thinking children with religious family
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12-03-2012, 06:36 PM
RE: Raising free thinking children with religious family
(08-03-2012 03:10 PM)JLMomma Wrote:  I don't know how to approach my mother about this. It may not have been her to talk to her but either way she slips things into conversation all of the time and it really bothers me. I need to tell talk to her about it soon. Religion has always been a touchy subject between us and though I value our relationship it's very fragile. I don't want to jeopardize it because I've spent so long trying to rebuild it.

You could tell her to shut the fuck up. Angry

Seriously, though, she is over-stepping by a mile. Firmly tell her to stop.

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13-03-2012, 05:40 PM
RE: Raising free thinking children with religious family
Unless you plan to keep your child in a bubble, she will be exposed to things that you wouldn't present to her. What is done and said in your home are things you have control over. You can require your family to desist when in your home...you, however, have little control over what they do in theirs even where your child is concerned. If they simply won't respect your wishes as a parent you may simply have to reduce or stop their contact with your child.

My kids had a lot of friends from various religious backgrounds, they attended church services, Christian concerts, and even revivals. They are grown now...two atheist and one undecided.

Limiting information is the trick of the religions to keep their faithful in the flock.

Spend more time living and presenting what you believe and less nullifying the beliefs of others. No matter what, you have the most influence in your child's life (I assume).

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13-03-2012, 06:07 PM
RE: Raising free thinking children with religious family
My 9 year old already has an excellent bullshit detector. Thankfully he also has tact. My younger daughter is yet to learn the tact part.

For me personally the key is education. Children should be taught about all the religions. They should be taught as the myths that they are. When dealing with creationist stuff the job is so much easier, because lets face it, even 5 year olds can detect the bullshit in that with minimum encouragement.

I suppose the most important thing is to encourage critical thinking and none acceptance of assertions on the basis of anything other than rational thinking and facts. That applies to everything in life though, not just religion.

The other important thing with kids of course is just to let them be kids and have fun. If your families concern for them ever encroaches on their childhood in a negative way that oversteps the mark, it is your duty as a parent to step in. At this point everything else goes out of the window and it would just be a good old fashioned "fuck off" from me, followed by something like "if you ever want to see your grandchildren again then religion is a completely taboo subject. You had your chance with me, this is my child and he/she will be raised as i see fit. Anyhting else undermines me as a parent."

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13-03-2012, 08:57 PM
RE: Raising free thinking children with religious family
I am what most would consider a "tolerant atheist." But this is where I draw a very definite line. PARENTS should be their childs main teacher. NOT grandparents. These grandparents are way over the line, and should be told that indoctrination will not be tolerated in any way. I mean holly shitballs!!

I was suprised that some have given advice that sounds like, "your parents will have a role in raising your kid, so just ignore the indoctrination and hopefully your kid will grow up to be a "free thinker." Teaching about Jesus, as though he is real, isn't teaching a kid about christianity, it's indoctrination. It's teaching the kid that zombies are real. It's teaching that the bible isn't a book full of stories, but an actual historical account, and that god is real. How is it ok for someone to tell your kid that god is real?? To me, this isn't a "play nice" situation. Your parents are gonna be pissed, but it's your responsibility as a good parent to set the boundaries.

Try this:
"mom and dad, I am aware that you are christians. I accept that about you. You are aware that I am an atheist. You may choose whether you accept that about me, but accept it or not, it's a fact. You MAY NOT teach my child that christianity, the bible, God, Jeebus or any other religious nonsense is reality. If you want to share your beliefs with my child, you may, in my presence. Since you have demonstrated complete disrespect for my way of thinking, you may no longer discuss anything of a religious nature with my child until I decide otherwise."

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15-03-2012, 11:44 AM
RE: Raising free thinking children with religious family
I am dissapoint.

So let's look at the problem.

1)You do not want you kid being exposed to Christianity in fear that your child will choose it by default.

So the causes of the problem.

2) Your mother and other family members are religious and naturally want to expose your child.

Possible solution and consequences.

3) Telling your mother to stop trying to influence your child will lead to family destabilization.

So from what I've gathered....You are unsure what to do and people here haven't been much help in providing a solution that appeals to all parties.

I have an answer.


Go ahead and let your child be exposed to Christianity...then expose her to a plethora of other religions as well. Expose her to so many that Christianity will drown in the torrent of the other religions. Do not give definitive answers to like yes or no, rather take time to explain things. It will take time but this way everybody wins.

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15-03-2012, 03:44 PM
RE: Raising free thinking children with religious family
I have 3 Children. My girl is 15, son 14, son 10. They are all atheists. I give them information almost daily. I refuse to allow them the opportunity to be prepared for the nonsense religious propaganda out there. If later their logic fails them and they choose to be religious then I can say that I at least kept them clear of it while it was on my watch.

My whole family are baptists, some are penticostals. I am the shield for my kids when it come to the family religious bullcrap. They have to come through me if they want to mindf**k my kids and they know it!!!

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15-03-2012, 08:00 PM (This post was last modified: 15-03-2012 08:04 PM by GirlyMan.)
RE: Raising free thinking children with religious family
(15-03-2012 03:44 PM)Clint Barnett Wrote:  I have 3 Children. My girl is 15, son 14, son 10. They are all atheists. I give them information almost daily. I refuse to allow them the opportunity to be prepared for the nonsense religious propaganda out there. If later their logic fails them and they choose to be religious then I can say that I at least kept them clear of it while it was on my watch.

I got 4. My sons are 26, 24, and 17, my daughter 20. I made a promise to the Catholic Church 26 years ago today that this atheist would not interfere with their Catholic upbringing in order to marry my wife in a Catholic Church. I kept my promise. All I did was make sure they were well versed in logic. They're all fine young atheists now. ... And so's the wife. Wink

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16-03-2012, 01:56 AM
 
RE: Raising free thinking children with religious family
(08-03-2012 03:10 PM)JLMomma Wrote:  After growing up in a devoutly religious family and being heavily indoctrinated in Christianity I want my children to be able to make their own choice.

How's a five-year-old going to do that? And if they grow up without religious instruction, how are they going to be free to make any choice beyond agnosticisim?

Quote:I'm finding though that my relatives are pushing their own beliefs.

One night, my 5 yr old started telling me about Jesus loving her and how when she does bad things it makes him sad and that she has to pray to say sorry to him. She is a very advanced reader soon after this little bed time revelation she started reading a children's bible that was a gift from a family member.

Yeah, you should change that behavior right away.

Quote:I'm upset because I don't want her thinking there's some imaginary being is watching her or that she owes this being anything much less an apology. I was so scared of hell and demons when I was growing up. I don't want my kids to think that anything like that is even remotely real.

So can't you just let her believe in Jesus? Why do you have to rip that away from her?

Quote:I feel like the whole Jesus topic is not even age appropriate for her. I wouldn't let her watch a show as scary and violent as the jesus story so why if it's someone religion is it appropriate?

2000 years of passion plays and suddenly they're not appropriate for children. Imagine that.

Quote:I feel like I'm being forced to bias her because other people can't mind their own business and have to push their beliefs on my child. It's so overbearing to teach my child something they know I don't believe. It's ridiculous.

But you still want them to babysit, right? I mean for as terrible as it all is that your daughter recognizes fault in herself and wants to be better in the future, we don't want Grandma to stop watching her.

Quote:So far I've been countering this by reading through the children's bible with her and discussing the stories. Pointing out obvious things like in the creation story when god separated the light from the darkness two days before he made the sun. I asked her where she thought the light came from before there was sun or stars.


Wait...I got this one...I think I know what she said, now I'm going out on a limb here: "I don't know, Mommy."

Quote:I don't know how to approach my mother about this. It may not have been her to talk to her but either way she slips things into conversation all of the time and it really bothers me. I need to tell talk to her about it soon. Religion has always been a touchy subject between us and though I value our relationship it's very fragile. I don't want to jeopardize it because I've spent so long trying to rebuild it.

So step aside. If you have no faith, then step aside and let your mother handle that part. She'd probably be glad to. All you have to do is nothing. Or maybe you could fake it if your kid wants you to read the Bible to her.

I'll tell you something: You think the the light and sun question was hard. Just wait until she's 13 and screaming "Why the hell should I listen to you!" You'll wish you hadn't made her an atheist then.
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16-03-2012, 02:03 AM (This post was last modified: 16-03-2012 02:39 AM by Mark Fulton.)
RE: Raising free thinking children with religious family
Wow the commentary on this very important topic has been great to date.

Allow me to add my perspective. I think we should regard all churches as evil and out to get our kids. That may sound paranoid and outlandish, yet I think not....

Churches and Children
“We’ve been got at, and our principal spiritual battle is waking up to that fact”
(Douglas Lockhart, Dark Side of God, 233).

It is a free world, so churches have the right to interpret history to their own advantage and to advertise to adults, but when they impose their beliefs on young children they are playing dirty. Churches have always made school children their key target because it is much easier to sell mythical nonsense to a youngster than to a rational adult, and they are well aware that youthful beliefs become deeply ingrained. The uncritical, sensitive, and trusting mind of the child is usually where the Christian seed is first planted. Churches own and run schools for this very purpose. Children’s heads are filled with exorbitant amounts of propaganda in the form of prayers, hymns, and stories about death, heaven, hell, Jesus, sins, angels and devils. Good and bad behavior is described in Christian terms, and juniors are told God is watching them, can read their thoughts and that the devil is trying to tempt them. Churches deliberately create distress, then appeal directly to the child’s primitive security fears to relieve it by offering them safety in Jesus’ bosom.

Christmas toys and chocolate Easter eggs, obviously designed to enthrall children, are associated with Jesus’ birth and resurrection.

Well-meaning Christian teachers and parents fail to realize they are being used by churches to fill children’s minds with so much superstitious nonsense it makes the advertising on television look small time. This unrelenting blitz has one aim - to develop brand loyalty to a church. Brainwashed kids become compliant adults, people willing to part with their cash. They help indoctrinate the next generation and the cycle continues. Churches have refined the system of keeping themselves powerful by targeting youngsters. They make the corporations of the commercial world look like amateurs in comparison.

Does this damage the developing child? Oh yes. I believe a fundamental feature of an exceptional education is to help children construct a mental landscape in tune with reality. Children need to be made aware of their own unlimited potential and that they control their own destiny. The premises of Christianity undermine this. Convincing a minor he or she is inherently bad, which is an integral Christian idea, can cause untold harm to basic self-esteem. Then there is the devil. To children, Satan can be a very real identity, waiting to devour them. Early childhood convictions can be so embedded in the subconscious that children have recurrent troubling thoughts and nightmares. Then there are a myriad of other issues including paranoia, poor self-esteem, poor self-expression, guilt about sexuality, and hurt due to exposure to hypocrisy and noxious prejudices. Problems sometimes don’t become apparent until later in life.

If Christians disagree with me and genuinely believe their agenda is so wonderful, why the pressing need to indoctrinate and prejudice young minds with so much of it? Why not teach Christianity to children when they are old enough to better think for themselves? Geography, trigonometry, and economics are universally regarded as valuable, but no one thinks a five-year-old needs to be saturated with them. Churches know it is vital to get inside children’s heads as early as possible. Clearly, their agenda is their own advancement, not the good of the child. That is not excusable from an organization claiming to preach social harmony and morality.

Why should parents allow churches to use psychological ploys such as repetition in prayer and messages in songs and hymns on their innocent children? If the dogma is that valuable, it should be self-evident, and taught without trickery.

Youngsters deserve a lot better. Human love, fun, gentle discipline, stimulation, and truthful facts about their world are what makes them happy and gives real meaning to their lives, as shown by the happily radiant little children found in many close-knit communities who have never heard of God or Jesus. Person to person love and stimulation are real. Nonsense about an ancient God with odd ideas whom they can’t see, touch, or understand is not.

Church authorities may accuse me of being cynical. These people have probably never objectively thought about church greed and the reality of indoctrination. Brand loyalty has been so heavily stamped into their minds that they can’t fathom the idea of their church losing its grip on the market, even without them realizing, and I can prove it. Consider what they would think about a Christian denomination other than their own educating their children. The teachings are almost identical, yet many would be horrified because, for them, a “Christian education” is all about shoring up the power of their own church.

(16-03-2012 01:56 AM)Egor Wrote:  
(08-03-2012 03:10 PM)JLMomma Wrote:  After growing up in a devoutly religious family and being heavily indoctrinated in Christianity I want my children to be able to make their own choice.

How's a five-year-old going to do that? And if they grow up without religious instruction, how are they going to be free to make any choice beyond agnosticisim?

Quote:I'm finding though that my relatives are pushing their own beliefs.

One night, my 5 yr old started telling me about Jesus loving her and how when she does bad things it makes him sad and that she has to pray to say sorry to him. She is a very advanced reader soon after this little bed time revelation she started reading a children's bible that was a gift from a family member.

Yeah, you should change that behavior right away.


Quote:I'm upset because I don't want her thinking there's some imaginary being is watching her or that she owes this being anything much less an apology. I was so scared of hell and demons when I was growing up. I don't want my kids to think that anything like that is even remotely real.

So can't you just let her believe in Jesus? Why do you have to rip that away from her?

Quote:I feel like the whole Jesus topic is not even age appropriate for her. I wouldn't let her watch a show as scary and violent as the jesus story so why if it's someone religion is it appropriate?

2000 years of passion plays and suddenly they're not appropriate for children. Imagine that.

Quote:I feel like I'm being forced to bias her because other people can't mind their own business and have to push their beliefs on my child. It's so overbearing to teach my child something they know I don't believe. It's ridiculous.

But you still want them to babysit, right? I mean for as terrible as it all is that your daughter recognizes fault in herself and wants to be better in the future, we don't want Grandma to stop watching her.

Quote:So far I've been countering this by reading through the children's bible with her and discussing the stories. Pointing out obvious things like in the creation story when god separated the light from the darkness two days before he made the sun. I asked her where she thought the light came from before there was sun or stars.


Wait...I got this one...I think I know what she said, now I'm going out on a limb here: "I don't know, Mommy."

Quote:I don't know how to approach my mother about this. It may not have been her to talk to her but either way she slips things into conversation all of the time and it really bothers me. I need to tell talk to her about it soon. Religion has always been a touchy subject between us and though I value our relationship it's very fragile. I don't want to jeopardize it because I've spent so long trying to rebuild it.

So step aside. If you have no faith, then step aside and let your mother handle that part. She'd probably be glad to. All you have to do is nothing. Or maybe you could fake it if your kid wants you to read the Bible to her.

I'll tell you something: You think the the light and sun question was hard. Just wait until she's 13 and screaming "Why the hell should I listen to you!" You'll wish you hadn't made her an atheist then.

Re "So can't you just let her believe in Jesus? Why do you have to rip that away from her?" I'll tell you why......Jeebus SUCKS! He's PATHETIC! He's IMMORAL! Why should any rational parent expose their child to his drivel?


A teacher has credentials and Jesus didn’t. He was an uneducated man from a poor rural background and was probably illiterate. Galilean peasant society was insular and primitive, even by the standards of the times. He might have been clever and charismatic, yet he knew nothing of the philosophy and science of the Greek and Roman world. Non-Jewish law, history, art and literature were a mystery to him. Such an uninformed person was not qualified to be a teacher of philosophy.

Jesus was a deluded dreamer who made wild promises. He failed to give consistent or comprehensive solutions to life’s conundrums. He was judgmental, egocentric, intolerant, inconsistent and ethnocentric. Most of his teachings lack the detail that would make them meaningful. Dogma without reasoning and explanation doesn’t cut the mustard as philosophy.

Philosophers are seekers of truth and lovers of wisdom who yearn to discover answers to the mysteries of life and the universe after a reasoned analysis. They see through gloss to discover substance. They may come up with profound one-liners such as “E=mc squared” or “I think, therefore I am,” but these are the products of a lot of elaborate reasoning. Jesus’ one-liners only proposed simplistic solutions to complex problems, and he rarely gave good reasons for his conclusions.

Good philosophers have open minds and are genuinely interested in the opinions of others. They don’t assume or pretend they alone have all the answers. They usually care enough about their audience to document their ideas with precision and detail. They are aware that one day their ideas may appear outdated. Jesus failed to do any of this.

Truly meaningful and inspiring words in great books, poetry, or speeches have an almost timeless coherency and consistency to them. Jesus’ teachings don’t, even when we make allowances for the difficulties of translation. If they were sent to a publisher who had never read the Bible, they would garner a pink slip. The publisher would assume Jesus was a dunce.

Many Christians argue that because Jesus was god everything he said was perfect. Yet in the 21st century blind faith cannot rescue Jesus from the world’s critical appraisal.
Some Christians avoid analytically discussing his teachings by claiming it was the fact he became a man that is what matters. They say Jesus’ primary purpose was to save the world from its sins. Paul was responsible for these ideas. It is a fact that Paul ignored Jesus’ teachings. Christians might wonder why Paul, the founder of Christian theology, did not consider Christ a philosopher, yet wrote volumes propounding his own philosophy.

We should never expose our children to anyone who promotes Jeebus as the truth!
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16-03-2012, 07:06 AM (This post was last modified: 16-03-2012 07:12 AM by Vipa.)
RE: Raising free thinking children with religious family
(16-03-2012 02:03 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  Re "So can't you just let her believe in Jesus? Why do you have to rip that away from her?" I'll tell you why......Jeebus SUCKS! He's PATHETIC! He's IMMORAL! Why should any rational parent expose their child to his drivel?

You shouldn't give Egor as much credit as citing him in your own very good post... It almost hurts to see.

BTT:
I don't know anymore who said it (some here did too in a sense) but:

I think the best way to counter those indoctrination tactics is probably

- reading the bible with your child, as you're doing it already

- reading other religious books

- reading children stories like the Brothers Grimm as equal to the rest

Simply present her a mix of all of them, make sure she understands they have (at best) the same value with the difference that some people believe in those stories...


So I guess you are already doing the right thing. Discussing and questioning these believes should shatter them easily enough. You shouldn't forget that you are her rolemodel. Whatever the others may say at the end how you behave (what you say is only part of that) will have the bigger impact on your child.
If you are rational, if you think critically that behaviour already sunk deep into her and you probably don't have to fear for her.

My parents are into new age stuff. Yet they almost always left me out of it. What they lived was a completely normal and open life. They always satisfied my curiosity no matter what the question was and encouraged me to think for myself (and lived it themselves).
I had (and have) two christian fundamentalist friends (which is seriously rare around here) and some muslim friends which unconsciously allowed me to check culture differences. They were some of my best childhood friends and I spent much time with them. I realised what gift it is to have understanding parents with little boundaries. And I never got hit or anything while my friends got all kinds of punishment for disobeying or answering back...

My point: Children understand and will copy the ideals you live as their parent. Even more so if the alternatives they see are grim in comparison. Within your child, living how you are will most likely easily defeat the delusions of your family on the long run. Dom's post is a good example of that.

p.s. I know I'm mixing humanism with atheism in my second argument
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