To DanDare: Being an atheist father
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25-01-2011, 02:48 PM (This post was last modified: 25-01-2011 03:28 PM by Observer.)
To DanDare: Being an atheist father
Hi
In your Introduction you profile yourself as husband and father.
Do you mind if i ask you a question about that? Feel free to not to answer or to answer in a PM if you think it is a private matter.

Other forum members who are reading this are, of course, free to reply as well.

I will soon become a father for the first time. (And with soon, I mean upcoming weeks. Exiting times... Look at my avatar... 3D echo... isn't she cute. :heartSmile

Both my parents where roman-catholic Christians and as a kid, I went to the whole, baptism, communion stuff. But the older I became, the more skeptic my approach became until I realized the way the church pictures the world is not the way it really works. Also, I don't want to subscribe my daughter into an institution where she will be considered "less" only because she is female.
You understand I can't reflect on the way my parents have raised me. I'm going to have to find my own way.

But...
Peer pressure is a strong thing. Not for me, as an adult I can stand my ground. It's my choice and I can defend myself. But I am wondering how this will affect her. Can you, for example, tell her that she can't have that "special treatment" in class that is given to kids who are doing their communion?
How do you, as a father, deal with these things?
Are there tips you would like to share? Books? Websites? Anything you think that is important?

Observer

Agnostic atheist
Secular humanist
Emotional rationalist
Disclaimer: Don’t mix the personal opinion above with the absolute and objective truth. Remember to think for yourself. Thank you.
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25-01-2011, 03:13 PM
 
RE: To DanDare: Being an atheist father
Hmm... I am a father of two boys. I'm not sure I 100% get your question. Are you attending church? Are you planning on sending her to Catholic school? If neither of these are true then the problem is much simpler. I don't shield my kids from religion (they are 12 and 7), but we don't attend church, and they go to public school. My neighbors are sending their 7 year old to Catholic school for educational reason (not religous), and they are not Catholic and do not attend church. Now they are not atheists so the questions they get about religion do not make then uncomfortable, but the sure would me. Let's just say I would have been called into the Priests office a few times by now. My kids are aware of Jesus, and God, heaven etc.. but just in vague terms. I let it lie they can work out the details when they are a bit older. Oh well not sure I answered any of your questions, but I'd be happy to try again after some clarification. Oh and much congratultions!! Very exciting!
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25-01-2011, 03:13 PM
 
RE: To DanDare: Being an atheist father
As I will be a father in time, I would like to know as well.. I have an idea, but love to hear experiences from it.
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25-01-2011, 03:26 PM
RE: To DanDaBeing an atheist father
(25-01-2011 03:13 PM)Dregs Wrote:  Are you planning on sending her to Catholic school?
That could be happening. The quality of catholic schools is much better then that of other schools over here. If she will be send to a catholic school it would be out of practical reasons. Not religious reasons. Be said that I am not going to be the ONLY one deciding where she will go. Confused
Belgium is largely a secular country. You can send your kid to catholic schools without really being a catholic. (I spend classes with Muslims for years).

Getting sent to the school-chiefs office does not bother me (nothing new to me Big Grin) But I am concerned about how that would affect her.

Observer

Agnostic atheist
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Disclaimer: Don’t mix the personal opinion above with the absolute and objective truth. Remember to think for yourself. Thank you.
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25-01-2011, 04:37 PM
 
RE: To DanDare: Being an atheist father
OK well it is similar here in that several people send their kids to Catholic Schools because they are a higher quality education, or safer in many cases. I don't think the not getting first communion thing will be a huge issue, but every kid is different so prepare all possibilities. However at least here religion is a "required" school topic in Catholic schools. So there will be questions and what not, and sarcasm from Mom and Dad will find its way back to the religion teacher. I'm a little easier going that a few people here so it wouldn't even be a big deal to me if my son wanted his first communion, because Catholic school will end eventually and the kid will eventually evaluate the religion situation as an adult, an you will have your say then.
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25-01-2011, 05:19 PM
RE: To DanDare: Being an atheist father
I am a father of three and have only one thing to add. However you ultimately choose to raise your children, that will be what they consider a normal upbringing. You'll make mistakes. You'll get praise and accusations. Welcome to the club.
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25-01-2011, 06:27 PM (This post was last modified: 25-01-2011 06:32 PM by ashley.hunt60.)
RE: To DanDare: Being an atheist father
Just because I feel that it's relevant to this topic, I'd like you to watch TTA video, "Welcome To This World", if you have not already. It talks about raising children to be religious, and it's very touching. I know that when a baby is born, the life is already considered created, but making the person has just begun.

Also, congratulations Big Grin Your daughter is adorable in vitro, I'm sure she'll be even better after her birth.

I don't believe Jesus is the son of God until I see the long form birth certificate!
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25-01-2011, 07:23 PM
RE: To DanDaBeing an atheist father
(25-01-2011 05:19 PM)gamutman Wrote:  I am a father of three and have only one thing to add. However you ultimately choose to raise your children, that will be what they consider a normal upbringing. You'll make mistakes. You'll get praise and accusations. Welcome to the club.

I think this is excellent advice. I have two sons, ages 7 and 9 and we struggle with some of this as well. But, I think as long as you love your kids, teach them right from wrong, what your values are, etc. , my experience to date is the rest just sort of takes care of itself. I wouldn't get overly hung up on the religion thing. If they are exposed to it, then they are exposed to it. At least that way they know what is and are not surprised when they encounter it later.

Shackle their minds when they're bent on the cross
When ignorance reigns, life is lost
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25-01-2011, 07:27 PM
 
RE: To DanDare: Being an atheist father
Hi,

The story of your upbringing is very similar to mine. I would only had that part of mine was spent in a very catholic part of my country, where no criticism of religion was heard of.

Having said that, I am now the father of the most loving 2-year old boy you can imagine, as well as much of an unbeliever and critic of the metaphysical and moral claims of religion as one can be.

I had a talk with the people at the kindergarten to make sure that the place was free of religious symbols or staff likely to try any form of indoctrination.

In four years time, finances permitting, I plan to send him to a private school with strong secular values and policies - they do exist! I also plan (actually looking forward to), when his understanding skills mature, to engage in activities that encourage him to understand the world as it is and to ask the right questions about reality, moral and ethics and seek answers from adequate sources and to confront them when they oppose each other or experience.

The only trouble so far has been the part of my family who are still strong believers, namely my grandmother who is really the only one I regret to be distressing with this matter. The old lady just can't come to terms with the fact that I am not baptising the kid. But I expect that to subside as time goes by.
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28-01-2011, 03:04 PM
RE: To DanDaBeing an atheist father
A thanks to everyone. I feel this will pay off in time.
(25-01-2011 05:19 PM)gamutman Wrote:  However you ultimately choose to raise your children, that will be what they consider a normal upbringing.
This is very reassuring.


Come to think of it, I never hated my parents for raising me a theist. I assume they where just trying to do what was good using the information they had at that time.

Observer

Agnostic atheist
Secular humanist
Emotional rationalist
Disclaimer: Don’t mix the personal opinion above with the absolute and objective truth. Remember to think for yourself. Thank you.
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