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Old 05-03-2014, 05:21 AM
 
Location: Northeastern US
14,197 posts, read 9,102,293 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Marcinkiewicz View Post
All subjective. Dawkins made some claim that escapes me now, but I want to say it was that he preferred being sexually abused as a child to being religiously indoctrinated. Forget if it was a perhaps-ill-advised hypothetical or if he actually experienced both firsthand.
He experienced both. The sexual abuse was what he described as "mild" and consisted of inappropriate touching by, IIRC, a teacher. I do not remember whether he found religious indoctrination more harmful or just as harmful, but you are correct as to his general point, which is that sexual abuse can be less harmful and religious abuse can be more harmful than most people tend to think.

Of course he was then accused of minimizing the harm of all sexual abuse, which wasn't his point at all. And of being in denial about the severity of the sexual abuse he experienced, which may or may not be true and is still beside the point.

One thing I've learned over the years is never to try to have a nuanced discussion of anything people prefer to not be nuanced about, but Dawkins, for better or worse, doesn't seem to give a fig, he just says what's on his mind.
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Old 05-03-2014, 05:50 AM
 
Location: New Jersey, USA
618 posts, read 453,111 times
Reputation: 216
Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Marcinkiewicz View Post
also worth mentioning that you might've decided not to have a kid, given the meaninglessness of all of this...
Hello Matt Marcinkiewicz.

Given the belief that there is no divine purpose, he could have chosen not to have a child - but then again there would be no reason not to (if he so desired) so I'm not sure what you are driving at here.

Regardless of my beliefs, I have made it a point to exclude religious instruction from my daughter's life (my child is about the same age as the OP's). She can make up her own mind when she is old enough, and it's unclear to me why more people don't take this approach. If one really believes his/her god to be true, then he/ she should be confident that his/her child will see this in time.

Thanks.
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Old 05-03-2014, 08:55 AM
 
8,343 posts, read 9,815,780 times
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OP, you did the right thing on both issues.
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Old 05-03-2014, 09:17 AM
 
Location: On the Edge of the Fringe
4,891 posts, read 3,982,300 times
Reputation: 4138
Quote:
Originally Posted by WSPHXPELON View Post
My son is 5 years old. Ever since he was born I have been asking myself how I am going to educate him in regard to religion...My wife's side of the family are fairly Catholic. My mother-in-law had my son baptized when he was a baby (I did not protest). Well, I had finally decided that what I would tell my son regarding "God" would be that I would just avoid the subject and/or "play it off" like I was a believer when the subject came up...

Well, today, for the first time ever, my son started asking me questions about God. I just couldn't make myself betray my son by feeding him lies. I told him the truth, that God, "is not real"; and I explained that some people believe very strongly that God does exist but that my personal belief which I feel to be true is that God does not exist.

Well, he was okay with it. He said, "Okay, God isn't real. Only Santa Claus is real and he is the one that takes care of us, right?" So, I had already broken the news to him about God (the big lie), so I broke the news to him about Santa Claus as well. I told him that Santa Claus is not real either and that the presents are from me and my wife. I told him that the only people that will "take care of us", are us; and that is why we must be good people and value and appreciate each other and our families. He seemed very understanding and none of it seemed to upset him the slightest.

Long story short, did I just mess up?? Should I have let the facade carried on for years??

What do you think? How have you handled raising children being an Atheist? Please just share some thoughts on this topic because it has really been bothering me....
WOW my friend. We have all been in this situation in some way or another.
I broke it to my oldest son years ago when I figured out for certain why god does not exist, and cannot exist. My youngest who is 11 and very science oriented, does not believe in god as taught by religions (ie christianity) because there is simply no evidence or indication of it. But teaching the reasons that we do not need it has been more of a challenge. Just recently, my older son made a disparaging comment about church/Christians, and I pointed out that
...some people are not as smart as him and cannot rationalize the mysteries of life as we can. Some are very unhappy, and are not smart enough to see choices that would improve their lives. They cannot go to college, or make more money to improve themselves, so they flock to religion to give them some hope and some peace of mind. For them, church is all they have. For the rest of us, we have life to enjoy to the fullest with out it. ......

For us, it is pointing out that we simply do not need a deity as taught by those religions. And clearly, no evidence of such a deity's existence has ever once been demonstrated or proven.

But what of the concept of "The mind of god"? that is far too abstract for children to understand, and they will need a few more years for their brains to evolve into abstract thinking to be able to grapple with that question. I know many religious people who cannot even fathom that question, because it suggests god as an ideal, a concept, and not as an entity or as a being. It is more the realm of deeper philosophy and theoretical physics than it is a question of religion...to ask what is reality, what is god is to take a path away from religions and into the deeper mythology of the human mind, which ultimately is where god exists...
Don't worry about running that by your 5 year old just yet.
Anyway, I do not mean to ramble, but it sounds like you are doing the right thing. Parenting is challenging, and repeating mistake our parents made, the ones that they learned from their parents, is easy, while standing up to what is good and healthy for kids takes courage. We have to learn to break the chains of unhealthy behavior and unhealthy thinking. And we do not need a deity for that.
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Old 05-03-2014, 09:35 AM
 
16,107 posts, read 17,930,802 times
Reputation: 15902
Quote:
Originally Posted by WSPHXPELON View Post
My son is 5 years old. Ever since he was born I have been asking myself how I am going to educate him in regard to religion...My wife's side of the family are fairly Catholic. My mother-in-law had my son baptized when he was a baby (I did not protest). Well, I had finally decided that what I would tell my son regarding "God" would be that I would just avoid the subject and/or "play it off" like I was a believer when the subject came up...

Well, today, for the first time ever, my son started asking me questions about God. I just couldn't make myself betray my son by feeding him lies. I told him the truth, that God, "is not real"; and I explained that some people believe very strongly that God does exist but that my personal belief which I feel to be true is that God does not exist.

Well, he was okay with it. He said, "Okay, God isn't real. Only Santa Claus is real and he is the one that takes care of us, right?" So, I had already broken the news to him about God (the big lie), so I broke the news to him about Santa Claus as well. I told him that Santa Claus is not real either and that the presents are from me and my wife. I told him that the only people that will "take care of us", are us; and that is why we must be good people and value and appreciate each other and our families. He seemed very understanding and none of it seemed to upset him the slightest.

Long story short, did I just mess up?? Should I have let the facade carried on for years??

What do you think? How have you handled raising children being an Atheist? Please just share some thoughts on this topic because it has really been bothering me....
I don't think you messed up, but I do think that you may want to look at asking him leading questions about what he thinks is true.

You may want to take a look at the book Parenting Beyond Belief for more tips on how to do this.

Parenting Beyond Belief: On Raising Ethical, Caring Kids Without Religion: Dale McGowan, Michael Shermer: 9780814474266: Amazon.com: Books
Parenting Beyond Belief: On Raising Ethical, Caring Kids Without Religion

Another good book;
Raising Freethinkers: A Practical Guide for Parenting Beyond Belief: Dale McGowan, Molleen Matsumura, Amanda Metskas, Jan Devor: 9780814410967: Amazon.com: Books
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Old 05-03-2014, 10:54 AM
 
Location: Florida
4,516 posts, read 3,926,429 times
Reputation: 9930
Good for you.

I chose to not lie to my DD about anything. No Santa, no Easter Bunny, no Great Pumpkin. We always told her the truth to the limits of her understanding for her age.

This cause some strife between me and my brother who has kids the same age. He didn't understand how we could not do Santa or such - that he thought it was such an important aspect of a kids magical childhood.

Baloney.

My DD had just as much magic and imagination as any other kid her age. But you know what? She's growing up to be a critical thinker. While her classmates believe just about every internet rumor out there, she takes a step back and thinks about it or checks it out. Why? Because we showed her how the world really was and didn't hide behind stories. Nor did we treat her as too young or stupid to understand the answers to the questions she asked.

The saying goes: Honesty is the best policy. Why do parents, the most important people in a child's life, choose to lie to them from infancy until they are old enough to 'figure it out' for themselves??? Talk about setting up trust issues...
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Old 05-03-2014, 11:51 AM
 
Location: Chicago
38,690 posts, read 89,288,226 times
Reputation: 29451
Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Marcinkiewicz View Post
also worth mentioning that you might've decided not to have a kid, given the meaninglessness of all of this...I'd recommend saving that discussion with "dear offspring" (somewhat city-data-inspired parlance) for age, what, seven? Heh. Part of my fun in deciding to never have kids is I get to watch unwitting nihilists describe nihilism in terms that seem more agreeable than by using that word which is lethal if known...much like "socialism"
Sometimes kids happen whether you plan them or not and/or whether you believe it's all meaningless. And sometimes they're too curious to wait until age 7.


Quote:
Originally Posted by LargeKingCat View Post
...some people are not as smart as him and cannot rationalize the mysteries of life as we can. Some are very unhappy, and are not smart enough to see choices that would improve their lives. They cannot go to college, or make more money to improve themselves, so they flock to religion to give them some hope and some peace of mind. For them, church is all they have. For the rest of us, we have life to enjoy to the fullest with out it. ......
I'd rather send my kid(s) to parochial school than have them grow up believing this pompous bulls*#t. If you're aiming to set your son up to be despised by his peers, this is an excellent way to do it.

Last edited by Drover; 05-03-2014 at 12:23 PM..
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Old 05-03-2014, 08:07 PM
 
101 posts, read 147,876 times
Reputation: 131
Quote:
Originally Posted by nana053 View Post
I don't think you messed up, but I do think that you may want to look at asking him leading questions about what he thinks is true.

You may want to take a look at the book Parenting Beyond Belief for more tips on how to do this.

Parenting Beyond Belief: On Raising Ethical, Caring Kids Without Religion: Dale McGowan, Michael Shermer: 9780814474266: Amazon.com: Books
Parenting Beyond Belief: On Raising Ethical, Caring Kids Without Religion

Another good book;
Raising Freethinkers: A Practical Guide for Parenting Beyond Belief: Dale McGowan, Molleen Matsumura, Amanda Metskas, Jan Devor: 9780814410967: Amazon.com: Books
I second the recommendation to read these books. I was fortunate enough to hear McGowan speak once, and it was truly eye-opening. I recall him sharing discussions with his own children about his thoughts but assuring them it was OK if they believed differently and letting them know it was OK if they changed their minds. He also encourages religious literacy for children (not only the bible but world religions, Paganism, Native American spirituality, etc.). One thing he was adamant about and I completely agree with--I had no qualms telling my children that I do not believe in Hell and that not all religions believe in eternal damnation.

IMHO, tell your children in essence that some people aren't "smart enough" to be atheists is no better that telling your children that some people aren't good or smart enough to be Christians.
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Old 05-04-2014, 01:25 AM
 
34,446 posts, read 41,558,091 times
Reputation: 29910
I never felt the need to tell my kids there is no Santa there is no Easter bunny, there is no God,its the type of issue they figure out for themselves eventually, we certainly had a lot of fun and still do at Christmas and Easter, they are now college grads and IMO perfect young adults, do they still believe in Santa,Easter Bunny or God? i have no idea as i've never asked them its the type of thing they come to their own conclusions on without my input.
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Old 05-04-2014, 01:50 AM
 
887 posts, read 904,723 times
Reputation: 1535
Thanks to everyone that answered and gave input. FYI, I did order one of those book titles and will check it out... And I really think that everyone who replied had some good points. I told my son that God not being "real" is just my belief, and that he is free to believe whatever he chooses. Thanks again everyone.
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