Raising free thinking children with religious family
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16-03-2012, 10:03 AM
RE: Raising free thinking children with religious family
If the child goes to a school were most are religious, encouraging atheism might not be the way to go.

As long as you avoid all kinds of strict indoctrination (such as from your parents), children will grow up to think for themselves.

Telling children that "well, grandma is in heaven now" or such stuff is in my opinion good, regardless whether you believe it or not. That should take away many depressing feelings that a child might experience about death.

Ditch the Hell part though.

Just try to avoid ALL kinds of religious/atheist indoctrination as much as possible (this could be hard though) and respect whatever belief your child ends up with.
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16-03-2012, 11:33 AM
RE: Raising free thinking children with religious family
(16-03-2012 07:06 AM)Vipa Wrote:  
(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

Good post Vipa, I agree. I wish more people had a household where they were encouraged to think for themselves and think critically.
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16-03-2012, 12:59 PM
RE: Raising free thinking children with religious family
This is a neverending battle in my household. I am atheist and my parents are Christian. Just the other night we were having dinner together with my 5-year-old daughter and they encouraged her to say "Amen" with them after the meal. I said "you don't like it when Christians do or say things ritualistically without meaning it, and she doesn't know the meaning. In fact, you guys probably don't know what it means."

While it annoys me to no end that they keep pushing this bullshit on her even before she can understand any of it, I don't think she'll become Christian. It's because she knows that her Daddy is not, and she wants to be just like her Daddy (we're very close). I guess I'm just lucky that way.

My girlfriend is mad at me. Perhaps I shouldn't have tried cooking a stick in her non-stick pan.
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16-03-2012, 01:00 PM
RE: Raising free thinking children with religious family
As others have said, just give alternative opinions and allow her to think for herself. Have discussions, let her know what you think about religion and don't let your parents force religion down her throat. Even if you need to be assertive about it.

Also, when hell is mentioned I recommend getting a bit more up front to your parents about it because all it'll do is scare her into belief. That's generally how Christianity spreads, it just prevents people from thinking for themselves because they are paralysed by the fear of eternal torture.

I hope things manage to go well Smile

Sapere aude! Have courage to use your own understanding!
Take the risk of thinking for yourself, much more happiness, truth, beauty, and wisdom will come to you that way.


Enlightenment is liberating.
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16-03-2012, 01:06 PM
RE: Raising free thinking children with religious family
(16-03-2012 10:03 AM)Dust Wrote:  Telling children that "well, grandma is in heaven now" or such stuff is in my opinion good, regardless whether you believe it or not. That should take away many depressing feelings that a child might experience about death.

Good-intentioned lies are still lies. If you believed in Santa Claus as a kid, you probably remember when you found out it was false. It's a traumatic thing for nearly every Santa Claus-indoctrinated child.

Children will grieve over death no matter how you paint it. So why pile on that with something worthless? Is it so you can feel like you actively did something?

"That should take away many depressing feelings that a child might experience about death" is just an assertion, and I doubt it's a valid one that's backed with evidence. But prove me wrong by citing something that demonstrates that stories about Heaven actually reduce the time involved in the grieving process, or reduce the pain of it (assuming that such a thing is objectively measurable).

My girlfriend is mad at me. Perhaps I shouldn't have tried cooking a stick in her non-stick pan.
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16-03-2012, 01:13 PM
 
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?


A teacher has credentials and Jesus didn’t. He was an uneducated man from a poor rural background and was probably illiterate."

You have some serious issues, don't you? You really want the work you've done in your life to matter and it must really bug you that, as you say, an uneducated man from a poor background has become the most important human being in all of recorded history. I would imagine that really pulls right at your nose hairs.


Quote:Most of his teachings lack the detail that would make them meaningful.

They've been pretty meaningful for the last 2000 years to a vast number of people. I would imagine that you feel you have a better system, a better way. Well what is it?


Quote:We should never expose our children to anyone who promotes Jeebus as the truth!

Do you realize that when you skew the name of Christ that way, it makes you look antisocial. People have come to expect demons to act like that (We have been raised on "The Exorcist" after all). I shudder to think what you might do next with a crucifix if you don't get some recognition in life.

Why do you spew hate at the name of Jesus like that? Why do you hate Jesus so much? Is it because you're in competition with him? After all if an uneducated poor man can do it, imagine what you should have been able to do.
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16-03-2012, 01:14 PM
RE: Raising free thinking children with religious family
I have a 10 and 9 year old. My daughter seems a bit facinated with the bible (her classmates talked about it). My wife wanted to get her her a children's bible and I went along with it. You can't shut out information about religion as it is just as wrong as religious types restricting access to truth. My daughter tried to read the children's bible for about a month and gave up on it. I told her she could come to me with questions but she never did. It now sits on the floor beneath a pile of other stuff. I read 3-5 pages of The Magic of Reality with my son every week. He loves it and has no interest in the bible. If however he wants to read it, I am fine with it. I will never force either viewpoint on them because I am quite confident they'll both turn out right having made whatever decision they make from a position of strength instead of indoctrination. I want to be a bit more open with my views but I also don't want them spouting off in school when at their age, they can't have made an informed decision and some kids/parents can be quite unreasonable.
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16-03-2012, 05:28 PM (This post was last modified: 16-03-2012 11:07 PM by ShirubaDangan.)
RE: Raising free thinking children with religious family
(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?

So you agree that religious indoctrination should continue with our children and that critical thinking should be completely nonexistent in our modern world. Makes sense if you want blind followers.

I don't agree with this statement at all because it blatantly reveals how some theist understand that if a child isn't brainwashed with their current ideals that they will not follow. Why? Because adults are not easily swayed as children are. If you truly wanted an open minded child reveal to them others beliefs and why they follow them. Don't reveal to them just a single idea and push that forward.

Egor: choice beyond agnosticisim?

Who cares if the child chooses agnosticism? Isn't it better for the child too choose rather than force it down their throat?





(16-03-2012 01:56 AM)Egor Wrote:  
(08-03-2012 03:10 PM)JLMomma Wrote:  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.

Definitely, it seems we agree Egor. Your five year old should realize that she shouldn't do it because of some supernatural being. She shouldn't do it because she knows it is the wrong thing to do. It isn't Jesus who is feeling sad but its her pang of guilt she feels for what she has done. She shouldn't pray that she is sorry but try to make it right.

"I once prayed to God for a bike, but quickly found out he didn't work that way... So I stole a bike and prayed for his forgiveness."

(16-03-2012 01:56 AM)Egor Wrote:  
(08-03-2012 03:10 PM)JLMomma Wrote:  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?

She can believe in Jesus if she chooses too. I'm not forcing her to be an Atheist, Veridican, Pastafarian or Scientologist. I just believe JL is right that they shouldn't use scare tactics to force this thought into her. Believing in heaven can calm children during stressful times of death within a family or among friends. Like Santa Claus, it can become a good excuse to make children happy.

(16-03-2012 01:56 AM)Egor Wrote:  
(08-03-2012 03:10 PM)JLMomma Wrote:  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.

Yes!! I say we try to use the electric chair or guillotine as the next symbol of religion. Torture devices are the best way of cleansing the mind. If you haven't realized I'm being sarcastic by now than I have lost all hope.

Jesus is actually not a bad topic because their are good stories that you can learn from the bible. I just don't believe revealing how this man died a gruesome death can be very satisfying especially since God had to sacrifice his son because he simply couldn't forgive which reveals a flaw of this so called perfect being.

"Susy, God couldn't forgive us so he killed his son for us." I don't know about you but I wasn't very satisfied with this answer and was a crack in religion that eventually led me away from it.





(16-03-2012 01:56 AM)Egor Wrote:  
(08-03-2012 03:10 PM)JLMomma Wrote:  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.

She doesn't recognize her fault. She recognizes that some being is watching her and she has to say sorry to this being for her mistake. She doesn't try to solve what she has done and instead makes herself feel better by saying a few words to herself.

I agree Egor that she should recognize her mistake and should try to become a better person in the future. Again, she should do what is good because it is. Not because she has to fear.

(16-03-2012 01:56 AM)Egor Wrote:  
(08-03-2012 03:10 PM)JLMomma Wrote:  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."

You just answered my argument here Egor. She doesn't know(Like many theists) and She should know. She should know about the genocides, war, anger, hate, homophobia, sexism and pure lack of intelligence at parts of the bible. Not all parts of the bible or other holy books are bad but picking and choosing will cause her to remain like so many that always have the unsatisfying answer of: "I don't know."

And like many Atheists, we are tired of theist's not knowing about their own religion.





(16-03-2012 01:56 AM)Egor Wrote:  
(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.

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.

Do nothing? Really? So we have no say? Of course if we said this toward you that you would most likely act in hostility.

Have a say!! Show different opinions, ideologies and thoughts! This is what makes the world so exciting and a person who understands the world will be better off in it.

She should only grow from these differing opinions. I don't believe it can ever be harmful to see things from multiple sides.

(16-03-2012 01:56 AM)Egor Wrote:  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.

I'm a bit confused. I think your trying to use the excuse of teenagers rebelling because of atheism. I know tons of christian parents who have the same problem and it isn't because of a lack of faith in God(Usually its differences in the generations: Music, ideas, fashion, etc.). Also, if it takes fear for a person to listen to you than that isn't necessarily good either.

"If you don't listen to me honey, you will rot in hell for eternity. So please pray for this food that humans have produced and thank God for the Patriots winning the Superbowl."

Using scare tactics is a pitiful way of having a human behave well. A human behaving well because they want too is better than because they fear too.

I would never like for my child to fear me but rather listen because she knows it is for the good.

She herself should decide that and not a thousand year book.

"Mankind must put an end to war, or war will put an end to mankind." -John F Kennedy

The way to see by Faith is to shut the eye of Reason.” -Benjamin Franklin

It has been a long time. How have you been?
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16-03-2012, 07:52 PM (This post was last modified: 16-03-2012 08:04 PM by Mark Fulton.)
RE: Raising free thinking children with religious family
(16-03-2012 01:13 PM)Egor Wrote:  
(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?


A teacher has credentials and Jesus didn’t. He was an uneducated man from a poor rural background and was probably illiterate."

You have some serious issues, don't you? You really want the work you've done in your life to matter and it must really bug you that, as you say, an uneducated man from a poor background has become the most important human being in all of recorded history. I would imagine that really pulls right at your nose hairs.


Quote:Most of his teachings lack the detail that would make them meaningful.

They've been pretty meaningful for the last 2000 years to a vast number of people. I would imagine that you feel you have a better system, a better way. Well what is it?


Quote:We should never expose our children to anyone who promotes Jeebus as the truth!

Do you realize that when you skew the name of Christ that way, it makes you look antisocial. People have come to expect demons to act like that (We have been raised on "The Exorcist" after all). I shudder to think what you might do next with a crucifix if you don't get some recognition in life.

Why do you spew hate at the name of Jesus like that? Why do you hate Jesus so much? Is it because you're in competition with him? After all if an uneducated poor man can do it, imagine what you should have been able to do.

Egor, your arguments are pathetic. This is not about me, it is about Christianity and kids. Your rant about me and a crucifix is out of line. I've got broad shoulders, you can't offend me. But there are some more sensitive people on this forum who may get very upset by your personal attacks. You need to stop this, as you may be banned.

I don't hate "Jesus"...I just know "he" was dim witted and immoral, so "his" ideas shouldn't be promoted to children as the truth. Reread my post. I make it clear why I have this opinion of "him."
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16-03-2012, 08:29 PM (This post was last modified: 16-03-2012 08:44 PM by GirlyMan.)
RE: Raising free thinking children with religious family
(16-03-2012 07:52 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  You need to stop this, as you may be banned.

Nah, I doubt he'll be banned while there's still some play left to him.

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