VBS Wars - Should I Start One?
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12-07-2011, 11:02 AM
RE: VBS Wars - Should I Start One?
Ugh... why do women get all mushy when they have children (this is one of my many reasons for not wanting to have them).

I'm going to tell my husband tomorrow that if any of us starts to get sentimental about religion, we are going to Carl Sagan and Dawkins until our eyes bleed.

You should also look and see if there is any free thinker associations around your community, since I'm sure a few members have children, maybe they have a program for children as well.

Like I said before, expose your children to science, they love it, get them science books and lab kits. Kids have a natural BS meter, they know who is having them on and who isn't.

This theory isn't tested, but I'm willing to bet that between religion and science, kids will choose science 100% of the time, because dinosaurs are way cooler then boring sermons.

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12-07-2011, 11:41 AM
RE: VBS Wars - Should I Start One?
Yeah, my 7 year old loves "Science" as a vague concept of lab experiments and stuff - we have a science experiment book we bought her and need to get into reading from it. It's time to start getting into it more. Things have just been crazy with the move and the new baby, but it's starting to settle. My wife is not opposed to scientific thought either, she just has problems when the science disagrees with her theology. I'm not quite sure how she gets around it, but it's good that she's not a fanatic.

My 5 year old is extremely skeptically minded and I nurture that when I can. She's a huge Scooby-Doo fan. She also likes horror (just like her old man) so we watched the original House on Haunted Hill one night (the old Vincent Price one). As soon as the ghosts starting showing up, she was all "hmmm, what's really going on and who's behind it?" It was awesome.

This is why it doesn't bother me so much about the church stuff - if it were up to me they wouldn't be in church, but I do have to compromise. I know I'm there as another voice and another view, basically someone who says "it's ok not to believe these things." And they are not forced to go on Sundays if they don't want to, and sometimes they do stay home with me. Smile

Our brains deceive us on a regular basis, so we have to find ways to fight back.
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12-07-2011, 11:47 AM
RE: VBS Wars - Should I Start One?
My wife is also a theist... so I can relate. She would agree with whatever the church camp said. She actually is proud of the fact that she has "blind faith"... thus reasoning with her or finding "common ground" is next to impossible. She does not know I am a atheist.... however, I am sure she suspects. At one point in our past, when she found out I did not think Noah's Ark existed, I was sure she was going to divorce me. Like your relationship, there are items that do not get brought up.

I think ghost has a great point. I can't help but notice that in each case in your post you used "my kids" not "our kids"... This could be just how you refer to your kids... I don't know. but ghost is right, the best thing is to form some sort of "truce" with your spouse so the kids are not caught in the middle of your argument.

My wife considers her worldview to be the only "right" worldview. Presenting to her any other worldview is shutdown quickly as an attack on her faith. If this is how your wife is then the simplest advice I can give you is teach your children knowledge and skepticism. Both of these are healthy and do not require any direct conversation about "God". The more knowledge you give your children the less likely religious ideas will stick or go unchallenged. You did this with your oldest when she claimed there was a God in heaven... You forced her to use her knowledge of the sky to analyse the claim.... cognitive dissonance will take care of the rest. A healthy dose of skepticism will help clinch the deal. As long as you give them the "tools" to analyse life they will come to the same conclusion you did... without you having to put down a bread crumb trail.

Fighting it directly will get you nothing... At best it will just get your kids ostracized. Just give them the tools... then have a little "faith" in science and reason. Tongue

“We're born alone, we live alone, we die alone. Only through our love and friendship can we create the illusion for the moment that we're not alone.” Orson Welles
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13-07-2011, 04:21 AM
RE: VBS Wars - Should I Start One?
Yeah if i find out a possible love interest is religious I rub, way too much to deal with. Not a sex friend but something long term =p People talking about god makes me feel distant with them. It's good that you're being cautious here Glass, because the way for you to help your kids is by keeping things together so you can talk with them. If a divorce happened obviously she'd get all the say, so that option not only hurts you but it also condemns your kids to the fate you want to avoid. If I were in a relationship with someone religious I'd never have that problem though since I'm infertile >.> But any kids that are raised by us would most likely be awarded to them not me (the freak). So I would be excessively careful in laying out what we're going to do before children are even a real option.

Enough about me though this is about you. I was really hoping she wasn't into YEC, was she into YEC back when she was a kid? (probably not it wasn't really a big deal then). The best way to combat such trite thinking is to help her realize she deliberated on this and does not blindly follow it. Since you're in a relationship you have to convince her that her faith is not all just faith. Make it clear that she has made decisions, she wasn't like this before the kids. The easiest way to combat little kids "learning" YEC to me, would be to have some sit down time with them and watch land of the lost =p Let them see some of this dinosaurs and humans together stuff and get a laugh out of how stupid it all seems =p A TV show will be easier for them to deal with than complex ideas.

Don't bother discussing things with the church, what will most likely happen is that the pastor will have a meeting with your wife explaining how she needs to be more vigilant of her child's well being. If you go to them yourself it will only lead to a huge conflict, let her ask her questions. If your family is getting too involved in this tell them that you want your kids raised with one foot in the church, say they can have some experiences but they should not be forced into it all, and that if they are then you will discuss things with their kids as well since they can't respect your wishes. That's if the family is an issue, otherwise don't bother making an argument out of it.

Unfortunately if you convince your kids too well that YEC is bullshit they will start seeing their mother as unintelligent. Make sure that they make the decisions, or she is going to be excessively angry with you. As long as they deliberate it then they won't give a hard line to her.

And to monkeyshine, falling into religion while pregnant is primarily a fault of the friends you keep. When you're in a highly emotional state you're more susceptible to emotional traps, but really from what I've heard of your circles I don't see who is going to give you this grief. As long as it's not really brought up there's almost no chance, christianity comes with social indoctrination no matter what age. No one would stay a christian very long if not for the fact so many people agree, too many doubts would go unresolved.

And for my last statement here, It's good of him to use the phrase "my" kids, and I don't see it as being angry with his wife. Child-rearing is one of the many parts of having children the man is usually pushed away from. He should be firm in the fact that their upbringing matters greatly to him.

I'm not a non believer, I believe in the possibility of anything. I just don't let the actuality of something be determined by a 3rd party.
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13-07-2011, 07:39 AM
RE: VBS Wars - Should I Start One?
The reason that contacting the church is an option is because this is not taking place at my wife's church - this is more of a "sister" organization of her church. Therefore it might have some type of benefit somewhere as a complaint... unlikely, but you never know.

I think what bothers me the most about this is all I hear about is how good church is for people - how it teaches proper morals and all that junk. Yet the emphasis never seems to be on morals or good works, it's always about how the Bible is true no matter what.

Thanks again for everyone's input. I would also like to note, regarding the use of "my" or "our" - it changes depending on the situation. I in no way regard the children as mine only - I am well aware that it is a shared responsibility. However I have no qualms about using "my" as, as Lilith pointed out - I take it pretty seriously that I have a great responsibility in their upbringing.

Our brains deceive us on a regular basis, so we have to find ways to fight back.
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13-07-2011, 07:59 AM
RE: VBS Wars - Should I Start One?
Did you have any troubles due to church as a kid? that would help her to see your side. I've never seen church as morals, it just teaches the children to conform to the congregation so they seem well behaved. Still often they have horrid morals. I've not seen that many saints among christian teenagers =p Morals can be taught to children but they really come into effect with responsibility. Until your child has to take care of something it's just words.

i really think that convincing her of the fact that she decided to believe what she believes on her own will help though. If she wasn't raised in a strongly religious family she should be able to see that she shouldn't raise her children so much harsher than herself. And if she was why did she take a step back for a while? Discuss her religion away from the faith part so that she can understand what you're wanting to discuss. If you just don't want them being indoctrinated she'll see that as you don't want them to have faith. Make sure she understands that this is about their choices and free will, and not about convincing them you're right. And that pushing them into this environment impacts their ability to make choices.

I'm not a non believer, I believe in the possibility of anything. I just don't let the actuality of something be determined by a 3rd party.
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13-07-2011, 08:15 AM
RE: VBS Wars - Should I Start One?
I was in a private Christian school for 5 years, and because of that my wife will never put my kids into a private Christian school. She knows firsthand what it did to me - and now I'm an atheist! Big Grin

She was raised with religion, but as such you are taught that resisting "god" is simply you being rebellious or whatever.

Basically what it boils down to is that she stepped away from her faith (though never completely) but never really examined why it might be a good idea to do so, or if Christianity was true, and so on as many of us have. In her case, it might have actually been some "rebellion." Thus it was fairly easy for her to slip back into it.

These hypothetical conversations sound great on the surface but are quite difficult to 1) bring up in the first place and 2) go as I would like them to. If I could get her to see some of these things without all her Christian Rhetoric going bonkers then we wouldn't really be in this situation. But I can keep trying.

Our brains deceive us on a regular basis, so we have to find ways to fight back.
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13-07-2011, 08:51 AM
RE: VBS Wars - Should I Start One?
I understand Glass, I'm not trying to suggest I have a super easy solution. This is just one of those topics you have to keep addressing until it no longer has an alarming result. I trust you've discussed in-depth that they are your kids as well as hers, and that she shouldn't try to have the whole say in how they are raised. Why not mention to her that your 7 year old tried to convert you? She might be a bit shocked, many people dislike the proselytization. Make sure she realizes that if the children do hold a strong view for Jesus it reflects badly on your skills as a parent as much as the opposite holds true to her. Let her realize that right now is the compromising part of your relationship with the children where both of you should feel accepted and loved. since you are interested in fighting this so much prove to her that it is important to you, generally atheism is viewed as an uninterested stance.

You know how to talk to her, keep pressing so she knows this really matters and be aware of her feelings. Don't let this be a quarrel, keep this a civil discussion on your needs here. If it becomes a fight she will just push it the bad way. I'm sure you already know that just going ahead and echoing the fact.

I hope I at least reassured you with something I said, there wont an easy answer to this.

I'm not a non believer, I believe in the possibility of anything. I just don't let the actuality of something be determined by a 3rd party.
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13-07-2011, 10:11 AM
RE: VBS Wars - Should I Start One?
Oh absolutely, even if it is just camaraderie, I certainly feel better talking about it!

But we've still been so busy - even last night, I was going to bring this up with her, but we're working on our house (still clearing things out and cleaning to put it on the market) and by the time we got done I didn't feel like bringing this up. It was late, everyone's getting tired, kids need to be put to bed, etc., and even if this topic doesn't start an actual fight, it will be tense. There's no avoiding that.

And all this as the kids went to another night of VBS... found their handout from last night that begins: "some people think we are just the product of natural processes, but we find the truth in God's word!" blah blah blah Argument from Design blah blah blah.

Ugh. I just have to find a little time and fortitude to approach the subject.

Our brains deceive us on a regular basis, so we have to find ways to fight back.
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13-07-2011, 01:16 PM
RE: VBS Wars - Should I Start One?
Man, I know how you feel, I'm moving off base (I live on an AFB in Okinawa), and it's been hell, and we don't even have to sell the house.

That sucks that the kids are being sucked into creationism at such an impressionable age where everything is very literal. Perhaps you should rent the movie series 'land before time'. It's a very innocent way to get kids to realize that dinosaurs are indeed real, and that humans did not live along side them.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0095489/

Also, I looked into some helpful links for raising skeptical children

http://www.atheists.org/Raising_Children_Without_God
http://atheism.about.com/od/atheistschil...ngKids.htm
http://atheism.about.com/od/bookreviews/...milies.htm

I hope this helps Smile

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