So we quit the church and began "the talk"
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04-12-2013, 09:06 AM
So we quit the church and began "the talk"
I flirted with non belief for years. It wasn't until I found TTA and read Hitchens, Harris, and Dawkins that I really decided I was an ATHEIST.

My wife flirted with belief but not dogma. She wasn't a literalist, but really stayed with the church mainly because it was all she knew and was afraid to let go. Recently she's been more and more open to actually being openly hostile to the idea of church and religion.

We went to a church for reasons outlined above, and haven't gone in months for various reasons primarily because of her dissatisfaction in the dogma (6 thousand year old earth, "fags" are bad, yoga is devil worship, etc.) Then we got a letter from the church asking us to come back. Saying they needed us in the church for our prayers, tithes, and offerings. The firmly requested our answer and gave us a deadline of December 15th.

We wrote a very strongly worded letter that I know will destroy some friendships. But so be it. I told my 6 year old son that we are quitting church. He asked if we are going somewhere else. I told him probably no. He asked why, and I told him that some people don't believe in god. He was, in typical 6 year old fashion, a bit dumbfounded and asked if there is no God, who created the whole universe.

Now, I am wary to strongly push my non belief on him, wanting him to make up his mind, though I hope he sees it the way I do. I told him of the bible being stories people made up to tell people how to live and that they aren't real. I told him some stories are good, and some are outdated. And that other people believe in different gods entirely!

How else can I proceed to tell a young mind this? It's very heavy topic area. Thoughts?


Also, as a post script the letter I wrote to the church is below if you care to read on.

We would respectfully ask to be removed from church membership. Our family has been members for about 7 years. Why hasn’t anyone from the church called in the past 6 months to see if we needed assistance, counseling, or support?

This letter should have been written to make us want to come back to church. Instead, it has had the opposite effect. We no longer wish to remain members of this church. We are offended that the letter seems to be more concerned with tithes you would like from members. We found the letter cold and uncaring.

Furthermore, we feel that Pastor Adams should have been the first line signer on the letter. Putting members of the church above the pastor illustrates where the leadership lies.

Leaving the church has nothing to do with Pastor Adams. He and his wife have been steadfast spiritual leaders of the church community. They should be commended for their efforts.

Our decision is final and should take effect immediately.

Why are you still reading this line when it is obviously my signature line?
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04-12-2013, 09:27 AM
RE: So we quit the church and began "the talk"
Your letter addresses exactly the same issues I would have had. Doesn't appear that anyone at the church was worried about anything more than what you could do for them.

As for your son...kids that young are pretty resilient when it comes to change. Answer his questions and go buy him some books to replace the Bible stories he has heard.

There is nothing wrong with starting now to teach your son that not everyone believes the same things, it's time to learn that people are different from one another in many, many ways.

I'm not anti-social. I'm pro-solitude. Sleepy
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04-12-2013, 09:40 AM (This post was last modified: 04-12-2013 09:44 AM by Jasozz.)
RE: So we quit the church and began "the talk"
(04-12-2013 09:27 AM)Anjele Wrote:  Your letter addresses exactly the same issues I would have had. Doesn't appear that anyone at the church was worried about anything more than what you could do for them.

As for your son...kids that young are pretty resilient when it comes to change. Answer his questions and go buy him some books to replace the Bible stories he has heard.

There is nothing wrong with starting now to teach your son that not everyone believes the same things, it's time to learn that people are different from one another in many, many ways.

Oh man, this so reminds me of my final effort to reconnect with the church...

About a year and a half ago, following a nasty breakup with my high school sweetheart, I was in a pretty scary place, very deep in depression, and after the suicidal thoughts showed up, I decided it was time to seek some help, but not being able to afford any kind of therapy, and with parents being hyper religious, all I got from anyone was "I'll pray for you" and "find a church", so I was basically just like "Fine, I'll try it"

The church they recommended I try going to (because they knew people there or something) wound up being full of all of the wealthy people in town. Basically I just wound up being scoffed at for not dressing up to par, getting disgusted looks when I passed on the tithing bowl without contributing (mind you, this was while i was paying for college and rent out of my own pocket, so at any given time I had less than 50 dollars to my name for food and gas), and it only took about two Sundays for me to be so thoroughly disgusted with the church that I left.

Evidently no one cared when they saw my "prayer card" in the tithing bowl that said "Contemplating suicide. Need help' with my phone number an email address on it.
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04-12-2013, 09:41 AM
RE: So we quit the church and began "the talk"
As for parenting, I like this approach. There are more videos on youtube, he was a guest on TTA podcast, he has a couple books out there too.

In our house we often say things like:
"well, how do think that happened?'
"what would cause that?'
" some people think _______, other people think _______, what do you think?"
" I think its ______ and here's why I think that"


Basically-teach your child how to ask questions, how to look for evidence and to reason his way thru questions. This skill will help not only in areas of religion and dogma but in everything……..advertising, scammers, etc





"Life is a daring adventure or it is nothing"--Helen Keller
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04-12-2013, 09:46 AM
RE: So we quit the church and began "the talk"
I feel for you there. I have a 5 year old who I myself tried to catechize (indoctrinate) heavily until a year ago when I suffered psychosis. In my case the church is just like yours but its small and more of a tighter community, they have been more supportive to me and my wife than we were ever to them in tithes and so on. We have missed a few months and the pastor seems to be a bit upset and concerned at the same time. My 5 year old still has some remains of her indoctrination, talks about God randomly sometimes though less so lately. I for one am relieved of not having to go to church with 3 kids under 5 without a nursery. It used to get very uncomfortable. My wife is still a believer of sorts but she's never been too enthused about religion anyways. I've heard people say that the best thing you can do for your kids is make them religiously literate and teach them about the different religions in ways they can understand them and at their own pace.
Good luck

“The reason people use a crucifix against vampires is because vampires are allergic to bullshit.” ― Richard Pryor
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04-12-2013, 09:50 AM
RE: So we quit the church and began "the talk"
I don't see a problem in telling him god does not exist. Don't think in terms of "forcing" non belief on him, but more along the lines of teaching him good use of logic and reasoning skills. That should keep him at a minimum more likely to not fly off the deep end in the future and become a fundy.

Certainly I wouldn't disown a child for a future where they might say "I do believe". I'd still love them. But don't be afraid to teach them to ask questions. And I don't mean questioning in the sense to "find something", but questioning in the context of "is there credible evidence that can universally be tested and falsified" to insure quality of data.

I think if you do that they will come out more well adjusted no matter where they end up.

Poetry by Brian37(poems by an atheist) Also on Facebook as BrianJames Rational Poet and Twitter Brianrrs37
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04-12-2013, 10:09 AM
RE: So we quit the church and began "the talk"
(04-12-2013 09:40 AM)Jasozz Wrote:  Evidently no one cared when they saw my "prayer card" in the tithing bowl that said "Contemplating suicide. Need help' with my phone number an email address on it.

Wow. That actually got me upset. That just goes to show where their priorities are. Good on you for leaving. Wow thats just unbelievable. I'm floored by your post. I wish I could show my family members your post but I know they'll never concede.

8000 years before Jesus, the Egyptian god Horus said, "I am the way, the truth, the life."
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04-12-2013, 10:12 AM
RE: So we quit the church and began "the talk"
Personally, I try to teach my kids about various beliefs to the best of my ability and also atheism. I try to avoid stressing my non-belief, but I am careful to say nothing inconsistent with it when speaking about myself. I ask questions to get my kids to think about religions to help facilitate their coming to their own decisions. What a mainly don't want is for them not to think about it and just toss the religion subject aside as something not important. As long as religions continue to cause harm, it's too important to be ignored.

"Religion has caused more misery to all of mankind in every stage of human history than any other single idea." --Madalyn Murray O'Hair
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04-12-2013, 10:14 AM
RE: So we quit the church and began "the talk"
(04-12-2013 09:27 AM)Anjele Wrote:  Your letter addresses exactly the same issues I would have had. Doesn't appear that anyone at the church was worried about anything more than what you could do for them.

As for your son...kids that young are pretty resilient when it comes to change. Answer his questions and go buy him some books to replace the Bible stories he has heard.

There is nothing wrong with starting now to teach your son that not everyone believes the same things, it's time to learn that people are different from one another in many, many ways.

It's tough. We still have a lot of people who are deep deep christians. As I said, we went mainly for social reasons. We are developing new friends, though, with people who will not judge us for what we believe, are younger, and more open minded.

I know his surrogate grandparents (my second cousins) who are very good to our kids would hit the roof if they knew our true beliefs. We'll have to keep that quiet for now.

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04-12-2013, 10:46 AM (This post was last modified: 04-12-2013 10:58 AM by kim.)
RE: So we quit the church and began "the talk"
Really, this new situation will probably pull your family much closer and you will find and develop deeper friendships as you expand your social circle beyond the church crowd.

Also, your son will be better off spending time with you and his Mum reading the comics on Sunday morning or maybe Just So Stories. He's becoming a big boy and he'll be able to get his share of socializing at school. Another great place you might introduce him to, is the public library. They have wonderful children's programs always going on there and of course, the books. Heart

As a very special treat, take him to one of those really big bookstores that has a kid section and let him run wild. Help him pick out a couple of books you can read together. You will need a couple of hours, great patience with hordes of screaming children, and some negotiating skills so you don't buy every book he wants. Maybe keep an eye on what he wants for future gifts - xmas, birthday, etc.,. Honestly, if he were my kid... I'd make sure he's loaded down with dinosaur and astronomy coloring books. Wink

Dawkins recently put out a kid's book, The Magic of Reality: How We Know What's Really True, which explains about cultural stories and mythology. It might be a teeny bit beyond your son, but it might help you and your wife to get into the mind frame to better answer his questions. Also, there is a kid's version of Bill Bryson's, A Short History of Nearly Everything - fantastic book. These could be books for you to read to him but, make sure he also gets a couple of books that spark just his interests.

Help him to build his own little library; when I was a tot, I was so proud of my one bookshelf with all my little golden books all lined up. It eventually became so crowded, my Dad had to build a whole bookcase just for me! Good thing too... I distinctly recall moving on to "books with chapters" - it was quite a big deal.

Belief is just a part of the imagination; it is not a bad part, it's actually very necessary. Belief just has to be understood as being the not real part of imagination. By feeding the imagination and making sure he knows what's real and what's not, you shouldn't have to worry about him being able to figure anything out. Shy

A new type of thinking is essential if mankind is to survive and move to higher levels. ~ Albert Einstein
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