A Mother Now

Sent in by Athey

My whole family is Christian. Some stronger then others. My mom has told me stories about a short stint in her youth where she decided she was catholic, but primarily because the sermon was in Latin and that was really cool. Haha. Once the church she was going to switched to English and she could understand what they were saying, she lost interested and gave it up.

I was baptized. Had god parents. Was occasionally taken to church (but only really when my grandparents were visiting or some relative or family friend had died). And grew up knowing the basics of the kid-friendly bible stories. My mom never really pushed any serious religion onto me, but I never knew about any other options. I didn't realize that there was an option to Not believe in god. I never heard anyone even mention that.

I remember being young and hearing the term Jewish and knowing enough to realize it was something different then what everyone I knew believed, but that was all I knew. No one ever really educated me about religions. It wasn't a topic that was discussed.

I loved science fiction and history. My mom and I watched tons of Star Trek. I remember my science classes in 3rd grade, and doing little experiments with batteries, copper wire, and light bulbs and how awesome that was. Electricity was so freaking cool to me as a 3rd grader. And the cabbage juice experiments we did! Taking this stinky yellowish liquid and adding various different liquids to it and each one would change it to a different color. Bases and Acids. Really simple introduction to chemistry, but it was fascinating.

I loved watching the discovery channel and the learning channel, and Nova on PBS. Anything on the stars, or ancient Egypt, Greece, china - it was all fascinating.

But most strongly, I remember in 4th grade when I first heard the term "Evolution". It was like an amazing light bulb suddenly came on! It was like "Wow!! Here's something that makes sense!" Something that's real! Something that you can see evidence of. Something that doesn't sound like a child's fairy tale.

One of my cousins was very... VERY religious and she stayed with my mom and I a couple times through the years when she needed help and no other family member offered to take her in. It just so happened that she was staying with us the year I discovered Charles Darwin and had my little revelation.

Imagine an 8-year old girl having a VERY LOUD argument with a 29-year old evangelist about evolution in a Burger King at 9pm at night - haha. It really happened. I don't remember exactly how it started. I'm pretty sure she said something that just dumbfounded me. Something that seemed so ridiculous to me, but she honestly believed it with every bit of her. I was astounded into an argument.

But I was 8 years old. I'd never even heard the term Atheist. I honestly didn't even realize that there were people who didn't believe in god. But in my mind I honestly didn't see how any of it (Christianity) could make sense to anyone. I mean, how was any of this different from the Egyptians believing in Isis and Ra? Or the Greeks with Zeus and Aphrodite? But I thought my disbelief was something to be afraid to admit. That I'd get in trouble if I let anyone know that I didn't believe any of it.

I remember one day when I was 10 and I got up the courage to tell my mom I didn't believe in god, and... nothing. No big deal. In fact... she didn't really believe in it either. Not so strongly anyway. She told me that she was 'Agnostic". I'd never even heard that word before.

Many years later when I was in high school my mom and I had a discussion about religion and she was telling me what she did believe and I told her she was a Buddhist. She thought that was funny.

For most of my life religion (or my lack there of) didn't play any role in my life. I rarely even gave it a thought at all. My husband isn't very religious, but I don't honestly know where he stands on belief in god simply because we Never talk about it.

And then I had Kaya. My little baby girl. She was born in May 2006, and suddenly I realized that I was going to have to teach this little girl something about religion.

My mom didn't really believe in Christianity for much of any of my life, but she never discussed it with me. I guess she figured I could make up my own mind on the matter, but I was never given anything to work with. I don't want to do that to Kaya. I want her to know about everything. But what does that mean? What do I tell her?

I was talking with another woman who is an atheist and has two children, an 11 year old and an 8 year old. She told me that one day her 8-year old daughter came home crying, saying that the kids at school had told her she was going to go to hell for not believing in god.

I still have no idea how to handle this the best way. But suddenly it's important. Where in the past I could laugh off some religious extremist, now I worry about my daughter. When can I explain things so that she'll understand it? What will the kids at her school say to her? How do I protect her from the ignorance of blind faith?

I don't have the answers, but I'm still looking. I guess I can just do my best and hope it works out.

Bend
Oregon
USA
Joined: 1
Left: 9
Was: Catholic Methodist
Now: Agnostic / Atheist
Converted because: Born into it
De-converted because: Realized it was ridiculous

35 comments:

Anonymous said...

Evolution is theory, not fact.

Whatever you do tell your children, whether you want them to know the "truth" or not. Don't feed them lies or unproven ideas based upon your opinion. Let them think and believe upon what they want like you did. If children laugh at them-so what? Will you have them growing up being some kind of follower-doing what the other kids in todays society are doing?

Children reflect upon their parents. Thats all. Don't go telling them Evolution is fact and the only true answer when its not even proven true. It's still the Evolution theory.

J. C. Samuelson said...

Athey,

Sounds like you grew up in an average family, culturally Christian but not really religious. I'm amazed though, that you were courageous and insightful enough to challenge religious ideas about science at such a young age. That's fantastic! Always think critically. That's the sieve for ideas.

The best thing you can do is teach her to think critically, and be supportive. You don't have to tell her they're wrong. She'll figure that out on her own. Discuss their beliefs with her. Explain what they believe, and where they get their ideas. Reassure her that not everyone believes the way they do, and that she should think for herself.

Keep your chin up, and your standards high!

Now, to the fundanonymous troll who had the audacity to spew "Evolution is theory, not fact."

Correction - evolution is a theory and a fact. See this article. As time goes by our knowledge of the mechanisms and processes will improve, and we'll someday likely have a workable theory of abiogenesis as well. As yet there has been no serious challenger to evolution.

"Don't feed them lies or unproven ideas based upon your opinion."

Scientific theories are not based on opinion. And as for proven, evolution is presently supported by an overwhelming body of evidence. The same cannot be said of creationism or its current manifestation, intelligent design.

Follow where the evidence leads.

"Let them think and believe upon what they want like you did."

Good idea.

"Will you have them growing up being some kind of follower-doing what the other kids in todays society are doing?"

Considering that 80% of the U.S. is Christian that's precisely what she shouldn't do - follow the crowd. Conforming to religious ideas about how the world works has become the chief inhibitor to our growth scientifically and culturally, and causes harm to innumerable people.

"Don't go telling them Evolution is fact and the only true answer when its not even proven true. It's still the Evolution theory."

I repeat, evolution is a fact and a theory. See my remarks above, but if you don't understand this do some research. I'm really getting tired of doing Christians' homework for them.

xrayman said...

Lovely post. I remember as a child religion didn't make a damn bit of sense to me either. I had a few religious friends, but didn't pay a too much attention to the matter. I guess I kind of believed in God as I became an adult probably just because almost everyone else did. I was locked into this wishy washy religious limbo up until early this year. Thank God(just kidding) for the internet. For some odd reason I did a search for atheism. Not a damn thing about religion ever made any sense to me, where everything about atheism made perfect sense. I became immersed in books and websites. At 43 I became a total born again atheist. It's funny because I reacently came out to my 72 year old father, and found out he pretty much feels the same way. My wife grew up Catholic, and I truly don't have a clue what's in her heart about the God thing. I almost feel that she doesn't believe in it much either, but would never admit it. We have two kids 12 and 16. I am open to them about my non belief, but I invite them to explore for themselves to reach their own truths, but if they do ever get into religion I will do my best to talk them out of it.

Elder Norm said...

To Anonymous:

It is very clear that you are just mouthing what you have been told.

Actually Evolution is a real scientific fact, verified in the lab. Cells, bacteria, and fast breeding animals have been verified to have evolved or had their genetic code altered over time.

Evolution is also a term that relates to things that man can change for the better. IE Programmers evolve their software to better function with new hardware.

Evolution theory is a theory that has LOTS of backing, way more than ID or creationism. This theory states creatures change and develop over long long long periods of time and that the better the change, the more likely it is to be passed on to the youth of that species.

Nothing mumbo jumbo, nothing magical or mystical or confused, unlike your jumping into a site that you do not believe in, attacking people at random,and running away.

Elder Norm

Anonymous said...

I posted to give my 2 cents, not start a debate-nor will I proceed in starting one.

However; to reply to your 80% of America being Christian "fact"-well-thats false. Then again, if your definition of a Christian is "Someone who goes to church each Sunday", then I could see how you got that idea. America being 80% Christian is nowhere close to the truth.

I guess I should also apologize for trying to give my helpful, honest reply to Ashley. Somehow I its Trollish-though I meant to not annoy you in any way possible. My apologies Ashley.

Anonymous said...

*Athey

Bentley said...

xrayman,
A born again Atheist! I like that term..:-) Very lucky to have an open minded father too!

I'm not sure we can be located in this corner of the universe so alone and declare evolution a theory nor a fact. We're grasping at straws here. One must consider we can only theorize our existance, our beginnings.

When we discovered that the world was not flat and that there are over 125 billion galaxies similar to our own and the nearest galaxie to us is 4.5 million light years, we cannot rightly claim to know how we got here and became to evolve from dinosaurs or sea creatures, we can only speculate our existance.

Over 2000 years ago, the only logical choice was "God did it!"

But now, having discovered the speed of light, God created the universe in just six days, yet it takes 4.5 million years for light from the nearest galaxie, Alpha Centaury, to reach us, yet we know nothing about Alpha Centaury, perhaps there is intelligent life there, since there appears to be very little of it here in on Earth...lol

Perhaps the universe was seeded by a higher intelligence, not a low-life stinking Bible God, no one can rightly say, we can only speculate, because no one can say for 100% certainity.

I have no doubt in my mind, that we are not the only people's or humans or living creatures in the universe, we are so secluded in space by distance, that we cannot examine other worlds or galaxies.

My biggest fear and worry is that I will not live long enough to find out how we got here, since no one can say for 100% certainty.

There's more to it all than our ability to conger (theorize) from our minds, how we all got here, why we exist.

It appears that the more we learn, we see how little we really know.

We're just grasping for straws, thats all we can do, we're stuck with theories and concepts, we have nothing we can pin down with 100% certainity.

So many people are satisfied with the Bible as the answer for all things, because they no longer have to think about anything except a fear of a hell, I do not think about a hell, because I do not believe the Bible, it cannot be trusted, it's old useless primitive thinking.

.:webmaster:. said...

Anonymous posters who are obviously some form of Christian fundamentalist, who then avoid answering questions or addressing issues, who respond instead by trying to start arguments about different topics, are generally considered trolls on this site.

You posted a comment intended to denigrate Evolution as being "only a theory." You were answered quite soundly, but you completely ignored the information, and instead tried to start a fight about another fact: that 80% of the population in the US consider themselves to be Christian.

Undoubtedly few of them are "True Christians™" like you. You are the example by which any good Christian can be easily recognized, I'm sure.

Regardless, this article says 83% of Americans are Christian.

Now, having been a mega-fundie myself, I realize that you probably believe the news media is unreliable, controlled by Satan and his minions, but I've offered documentation backing up the 80% figure. JC offered documentation showing that Evolution is a fact.

Where is your documentation on either Evolution or the percent of Americans who are Christian? You made dogmatic statements. Surely you have something to back up those claims beyond your opinion -- right?

Anony, we were all Christians at one time. I know I was. I believed with all my mind, soul and heart for many years.

I only woke up once I really started studying the issues. I suggest you do the same.

skeptic griggsy naturalist said...

I just wanted to know if there were a god and I never have thought about a future state.At sixteen,I became an atheist. Now I am a strong atheist.anti-theist , blogging all over about atheism .Read the "The God Delusion" to see why theistic evolution is nothing.Thanks for the remarks!

Anonymous said...

While of course you want to protect your daughter, I'm sure you know that kids will be cruel anywhere; all they need is an excuse, as in the case of your friend's child, where "god" was the excuse.

There's always home schooling. I think you're plenty smart enough to guide your daughter's learning process. A lot of home-school curriculum is religion-based, of course, so you'll have to search for something better, or cobble a curriculum together yourself. I'm told that if you think it through and approach your local school officials with a detailed plan, they will often co-operate better than you might expect.

So start thinking about this now, before she starts school. Lots of luck to both of you.

Angie said...

Now that you are free from Christianity you will give your child the best advantage of being able to view it all from a much broader perspective which will give her the freedom to choose for herself. Talk to her about it all and let her know there is nothing wrong with each individual path that everyone is 'right' in their individual path. You don't have to make anyone wrong or the bad guy. If she asks just let her know what's out there for the choosing.
The other day my mother proceeded to tell my 9 year old son that the devil had a hold of him, because I told her he is going through a potty mouth phase. She told him if he didn’t change his ways he’d go to hell. He said “Nana there is no Hell and prove to me that there is a devil”. LOL! 9 years old and debating religion with his grandma! I LOVE IT.
My son also told me that my mom keeps threatening him with not coming back out here to the house to stay with him when he acts up (like all 9 year old boys do). I confronted my mom and said “Just because your GOD threatens to send you to hell and never see you again don’t give you the right to threaten your grandson with never seeing him again. This is just plain cruel mom!”

Raise your daughter to love and give her the freedom of choice. That is the best you can do for her.

Silverseale said...

What a great story. One thing really stands out between your story and mine: growing up first conservative Catholic and then Baptist fundie, the "missing link" in my own life is that I was always taught *what* to think--I was not taught *how* to think (i.e., critical thinking skills). A lot of years of emotional and intellectual pain and suffering passed before the difference became clear to me.

Religious fundamentalists of all ilks are actually the ones at a disadvantage, in that they have to keep *fighting hard* to convince others that their worldview is the only accurate one, in the face of staggering evidence to the contrary. Your mom reared you right, and you already have a pattern that you know works. Give your child as much access to information as possible and is appropriate, and *talk, talk, and talk some more* about what she is learning. Most people don't even bother to question what other persons and the mythical so-called "liberal media" are feeding them. Your own little girl is so fortunate to have a mom who cares about teaching what's true, rather than teaching her the alternately feel-good and punitive aspects of a religion whose people have to fight so hard to keep it--and themselves--from becoming irrelevant.

Alan said...

Athey:

You ask a tough question, how do you protect your daughter from the blind ignorance that religion promotes, since even as adults we can't get away from it. Your daughter will have an advantage however, she won't be raised to believe in something that doesn't make sense, so she won't be mentally handicapped by religion at an early age. Make sure she gets the best education you can provide, and teach her to use her brain.

Anonymous:

There is a difference between the common usage of the word "theory" and how it is used in science. A scientific theory is supported by evidence and is testable. So you are contradicting yourself when you give the good advice to avoid unproven ideas (such as religion) then go on to ignore the huge body of evidence supporting evolution.

Anonymous said...

THEORY:

The word theory, properly used does not mean a guess or a supposition. Often people contrast Theory & Fact as in the dismissive statement, "Oh , that,s just a theory, but that is incorrect. A theory is not something waiting to be proven or to grow up into a fact. A theory is far greater than a fact could ever be. A theory is a well supported, explanatory structure capable of explaining and predicting a range of phenomena. A fact is just an isolated tid bit of knowledge, but a theory organizes facts, concepts and predictions into a functional, scientific framework.

.:webmaster:. said...

What is a theory? Click here.

IM or email you, anonymous? Uh, I'm not psychic, so I won't be able to do that.

boomSLANG said...

Anonymous disappearing fundy: "I'm not going to debate you here, so IM or email me"(paraphrased because actual post was scrapped)

Anon, why debate in email?...you'll be just as wrong in Yahoo, gmail, MSN, or anywhere else, as you are here. If you are going to come in here and spew "statistics" and state it as "fact", then give your references and there should be no "debate", right?

Anonymous said...

dfusion@gmail.com

s/n-Kenro90

Deacon Barry said...

Dear Stanley, your sentiments are sound, but your astronomy is not. The Alpha Centauri system are the nearest stars to us after our sun - not a galaxy. They are only 4.3 light years away, which means that light takes just over four years to get here. The nearest galaxy is the Greater Magellanic Cloud which is 168,000 light years away. The Andromeda galaxy which is the most distant object which can be seen with the naked eye is about 2 million light years away, but is moving rapidly towards us and will collide with our galaxy in about 2 billion years time. Sorry to be so picky, but you are right to think there may be other worlds with sentient beings, but they are so far away that it would be difficult to contact them. When you understand how incredibly vast the universe is, you realise that the god of the bible is such a small insignificant being, unworthy to be considered a creator.
The best defence children have against the christian mindset is a love of dinosaurs. Once they've memorised every long latin name and exactly how many millions of years ago they lived, they'll easily see the condradictions in Genesis, and once that's relegated to the area of myth, the rest of the bible is open for questioning.

Leonard said...

Hello Athey :)

First up, congrats on becoming a mother. And lots of strength.

Well... maybe you should wait for the religion problem to come up. Always answer their questions honestly. And if they tell you someone assured them that it was very important they became Christian / Muslim / whatever, explain that beliefs are just that, beliefs, and most likely have nothing to do with reality.

But ultimately the most important thing is that you should love them to death.

Sarge said...

A hint for the future! I am (of course) atheist, my wife (of now 38 years) a methodist, also agrees with this: don't forbid your children from going to church. Forbidden fruit and all that. My now grown sons would sometimes express an interest in practicing religeon or attending a certain church. When they displayed signs of religeous excitation I just sighed and asked, "What's her name?" Surprise how much time and anxiety that saved on all sides, they all admit it.

Bentley said...

Hey thanks Deacon Barry for the correction, it was around 2:00 am in the morning in US and I awoke in the middle of the night and my mind just could not place the names of the galaxies and star systems...lol dohhhh, anyway I used to remember all those statistics, but forgot most of them since I have no one to bounce the info off of, since most xtians refuse to discuss astronomy, so I forgot most of it.

I just thought it interesting that God created the whole universe in just six days and the nearest star system is 168,000 light years away and the nearest galaxie (Andromeda)is 2 million light years away, this would mean that God creates and thinks at a speed (180,000 x 100,000,000,000,000,000,000,000, 000,000th power, miles per sec.) + or - a few billion light years, yet the Bible writers knew nothing about the planet they lived on, but they knew all there was about a God that no one has ever seen, in exact detail.

I liked your funeral requests, one fellow Jim, who posts here said he was making a tape to be played during his funeral denouncing all religions beliefs...lol not a bad idea, it might be the only time a fundy would half way listen to what someone had to say, I doubt it tho.
TC

Deacon Barry said...

I think it's a shame that the christians in your neck of the woods don't discuss astronomy. Along with dinosaurs, it's the other subject that children are fascinated by. Once they realise that most of the objects in the sky were shining long before the official date of creation (4004BC) they'll take Genesis less seriously.

.:webmaster:. said...

My daughter was close friends with another girl at high school last year who was a Charismatic Christian. She was a very nice young woman, and she'd come over to the house frequently.

My daughter asked about going to church with her for youth meetings, and I gave her my full permission.

Why not? It's not like church really has any power.

She attended those meetings for a few months, really liked the music, and enjoyed being with her friend.

Then one day, she just stopped asking to go. She liked the social aspect of going there, she said, but after awhile all the religious banter became annoying. In time, she and the friend drifted apart, and it was primarily over religion. My daughter came to her decision on her own without Mom or Dad having to say anything.

I suppose my understanding many of the arguments for and against Christianity, and having plenty of easily understood information at her fingertips, helped, however.

Frankly, sometimes I think the fundamentalist lifestyle of home-schooling the kids until 6th Grade, enrolling them in a private fundie school and then a private Catholic school for a couple years, finally public HS, and all the mish-mash of churches we attended gave the kids an immunity to Christian babble. They can still quote the Bible better than most Christians on the street. They know Christianity is bologna, because they got to see it for themselves -- in a variety of settings.

In the end, there is really nothing anyone can do to control what another person thinks. Kids, after all, are just small adults with minds of their own.

All a parent can do is love his or her children and teach them the best way he or she knows how. If people grow up in a loving, happy non-religious home, religion usually doesn't have that much appeal. However, when people live in a fighting, arguing, miserable environment, religion can offer a form of escape.

I wouldn't make religion the forbidden fruit. Christianity underpins the culture of Western Society, is part of our literature, and references to its stories, ideas, and concepts are everywhere. I'd recommend that everyone take a good solid course in Christianity, its history, the way it's changed over the centuries, when certain doctrines that Christians assume have always been believed actually originated -- a real comprehensive course that fully explores the claims of Christianity, the widely diverse beliefs Christians have held, the problems with Bible translation, the contradictions in the texts, comparisons to other ancient literature, the way scientific discover has altered Christian belief...

The more knowledge someone has, the better equipped they are to make a reasonable decision.

My daughter already knew our thoughts on Christianity. We talk quite a bit, and of course she reads the website from time to time. But we started leaving Christianity when she was still young, in JR High. She felt she needed to make her own assessment, and no matter what had happened, I'd have supported her decision.

Today, none of my children have the slightest interest in any kind of religion. And now that they are young adults, I doubt they ever will.

Bentley said...

Thanks for your reply Deacon Barry, but I think most Christians believe that the whole universe is only 6000 years old, also most Christians believe that dinosaur bones are built by Atheists and buried in the ground to dispell the bible, thats what my dad tells everybody, the dinosaur bones are built by Atheists in Hollywood, the Atheist capital of the world. Now is that sick???

Anyone here, ever heard such foolish nonsense????

xrayman said...

Desptie the fact I was never indoctrinated into any religion in my life, I still had enough religion spewed my way to fear hell now and then and that wasn't a good feeling. I remember out of curisousty watching Jimmy Swaggert back in the 80's and he did scare me now and then because I was living the lifestyle(he preached against) worthy of hell. How sweet it was when that cock sucker was caught with his pants down, jerking off with a hooker. Then he cried in front of the nation with his famous "I HAVE SINNED AGAINST YOU MY LORD" speach. I was so super sweet seeing that asshole fall from the pulpit, yet that tired old fuck is still at it, begging stupid shitheads for money. Obviously it was clear he was in it for the cash. This whole discussion is making me rethink how I want to teach my children. I guess I really want to teach them from a strong atheistic side so that they don't ever get the silly notion in their head that a hell exists. How good would that be for someones mental health? It would be nice to have children that would laugh in the faces of those who said they were going to hell.
I work with a guy who is a natural atheist, meaning he absolutely never believed. With him there are no sturggles, no questioning, and no doubting. With him he doesn't even think about religion. He needs no reinforement of any kind. He just lives his life free of religion and all the baggage that would go along with deconverting from it. I want my kids to have this mindset, but I guess I must ultimately let them think for themselves.

muttmutt1978 said...

its good to have knowledge, my three favorite books are ten things i learned wrong from a conservative church by john killinger, the dark side of christian history by helen ellerbe and the book your church doesnt want you to read by tim leedon. ALways teach kids about the dangers of fundamentalism of any kind.

Anonymous said...

Hi anonymous, Fact, The theory of evolution is a well supported fact, just like the theory of gravity, Most americans are christians by FAITH not church attendance, IE: they believe that a god named god, sacrificed himself to himself, under the name jesus, to give humans value and worth, This is regardless of church attendance,
I was a christian by FAITH,and beliefe, not church attendance, although most christians do attend church,
But evolution is still a documnted fact, an observed biological process, and its theory makes predictions that are also readily observed,
As for being "the only true answer", you are obviously trying to force biological processes to be a religion like your own sad cult of fear

Anonymous said...

I used to worry about that question a LOT. I worried they'd grow up in a moralless vacuum without Gawd. Now that two are teenagers, I can see that my worries were groundless. My daughters have wonderful moral codes, which they believe in because its the "right thing to do" - not because an Invisible Daddy will punish them if they don't.

At times they caught a bit of grief at school, to be honest. We used to have "practice conversations" at home, so they would feel comfortable when kids asked them the "Which church do you go to question." Generally one replies "agnostic" and the other one likes "non religious."

My two sisters are home-schooling fundies. Now that they are old enough to go into the "Big Bad World" things are falling apart for them and it's a little heart-breaking.

I would encourage you to continue to keep your kids in the public schools - depending on the area you live in, you will likely be happily surprised by the number of other atheist/non-religious students that they will meet up with. Besides, they're sure to be "teacher's favorite" when it comes to science class ;)



Please.

Andrew Hawkins said...

I am glad that someone else has raised this point. For, I too, am a father. I am an ex-Christian atheist who has a semi-Christian wife who has started taking my 17-month-old son to church. Against my wishes he has already been christened.

I have the same fears as the original poster. However, I must partly disagree with the Webmaster when he writes, “Kids, after all, are just small adults with minds of their own”. They may have minds of their own but before a certain age, those minds are incapable of making correct conclusions. I, for one, fervently believed in Santa Claus.

I believe that my son must come to his own conclusions. He can only arrive at those conclusions when he is old enough to understand the plethora of theories, arguments, documents and personal experiences etc. at his disposal. Socrates said, when philosophising on political structures, and I’m paraphrasing here, “Why are we giving the vote to the people – they do not understand the problems we face in managing the economy and the society”. In a way what Socrates is saying is that, Correct conclusions can only come when you have enough knowledge of the problem at hand. The problem is children, because of their age, find it hard to acquire all the knowledge necessary.

Unfortunately for atheists, evolution is a rather complicated theory. Intelligent design on the other hand requires no effort to understand. My fear is this: my son will before a certain age, believe in Christianity because it is easier to understand than the alternatives.

How can I counteract this? I must influence him to be a critical thinker and to aid in this I will use the some of the works of the Institute for the Advancement of Philosophy for Children (IAPC). I must find books on evolution for children. A cursory search has already providing me with some. I must resume my studies of atheism and I must widen my search for knowledge. I, perhaps, should study the history of religion so that I can further understand where they come from. The Webmaster has already urged us to look at these sources. I shall look at his school curriculum and look for gaps in his knowledge that will aid him to understand evolution so that he can come to the correct conclusion. My quest is his quest.

Caretaker said...

"Evolution is theory, not fact."

"Don't go telling them Evolution is fact and the only true answer when its not even proven true. It's still the Evolution theory."

Oh, and I suppose that you have some "Intelligent Falling" theory to counter the THEORY of Gravity?

Scientific Theories are NOT the same as theories that the common man pulls out of his arse.

Caretaker said...

And also, I don't really give a flying rip about how many Americans are True Christians (TM). I don't care if 90% are Christians, or if 10% are Christians. I don't care if you think that half of the 80% of people who claim to be Christians are not True Christians (TM).

All I really care about is that I DO NOT, I repeat DO NOT believe in any supernatural belief, and I am not about to jump onto any religious bandwagon.

jim earl said...

I just read the post and comments and would like to add my two cents worth. I have two sons ages 17 and 21 and both are non-religious. One of my biggest fears raising them was that they would turn out to be religious because their mother insisted on taking them to church. I now am satisfied that the church had little influence on them because their father was atheist and they heard both sides of the story growing up. When children only hear one side, they are at a disadvantage and of course, lean to the side they have heard all their lives. When introduced to another way of life later in life, they generally lack the tools of reason and logic to deal with it. My point is this: When children hear both sides of a debate, they have a good chance of seeing the foolishness of religion. When religion is all they hear, they believe it more readily. So keep the lines of communication open and teach your children reason and critical thinking skills and you should have no problems.

freedy said...

I have four kids under 17 yrs.old.They're all atheist/agnostic,....and I could'nt be happier!
Christianity is child abuse and I believe causes mental illness .Hell,judgement,demons,etc is no way to train up a child,......COME ON AMERICA!

DoesItFlow said...

It seems that the strongest convictions are born from self-examination. They arise at those points in life when we just...GET something. It all comes in a mental mudslide that somehow involves everything that's ever happened and everything that is currently happening. No matter what anyone tries to tell us after that, we remember that GETTING IT moment, and know that there's no going back to before. Some of the factors in that mental mudslide include things we've been told, things we've seen, situations we've experienced, feelings we've had or seen or made others have, and countless other drops of life-water. So many things that seemed to have little to do with each other all of a sudden click together like Legos, and SOMEthing is built. These convictions change, grow, shift, and shake over time, but there is always SOMEthing. Parents play a role. Friends play a role. Enemies too. Teachers, preachers, TV, music, the sun, feathers, wiffle balls, sleepovers, sleep deprivation, promotions, roller coasters, exact change, paper or plastic, EVERYthing has its part. There are too many factors in life that determine our physical/mental/emotional/spiritual course to begin to number them. Eventually, what is true, what is real, what really FLOWS begins to rise to the top of the pile. What really seems to WORK. What doesn't fall when everything else gets together and pushes. When convictions like these are found, there is no one person that can take credit for making them found. Conversely, no one can take the blame for any delay in discovery. If anyone ever tells you that you are truly responsible for the beliefs of anyone, you know that you can never REALLY believe them, no matter how strong their argument. Because deep down, you know that you can't point to one person, place, or thing responsible for your OWN beliefs. So, how can you make yourself responsible for your child's convictions? As awkward as it may feel, take comfort in the idea that you don't have control - that you aren't in charge. Life will happen to your offspring the same way it happened to your parents' offspring. No thought or belief that is forced on an individual will ever have the depth and weight of one that life has slowly built. It is clear that you care for your daughter. You want only the best for her! Let no one ever tell you that you are ruining your child's mind, or leadin her soul astray, or some other garbage. It seels that souls are born astray, and, somewhere along the line, they find their way back home.

Peace...

DoesItFlow said...

Oh, one last thing. Regarding the practical side of your email, a possible response for a daughter facing persecution at school (and many other potential situations):

"Honey (or whatever!), if there is a God, he'll let you know he's there. Don't worry about what other people say. They're busy listening to each other, instead of listening to their hearts (children tend to understand this concept better than we give them credit for). If your heart tells you there's a God, then of course you should believe it. But if it doesn't, or if it stops telling you that, try to figure out what it IS saying. Just don't let other people tell you that your heart is wrong."

Now, of course, the parent is the best judge as to whether/when/how their child should be told this, but it seems to be a decent "free thought" perspective that a child could grasp. Do with it what you will! Hope it helps someone... Now I REALLY need to get some sleep. Sweet dreams, all!

Peace...

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