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Old 06-29-2014, 09:31 PM
 
100 posts, read 71,999 times
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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....
Was very good to not lie to your son. Congrats°
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Old 06-30-2014, 03:39 AM
 
39,207 posts, read 10,887,543 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vic 2.0 View Post
I think I touched on that earlier. I would tell my son there was no hell or no god that was trying to hurt him. Even some Christians debate that there is no such place as hell, so it would be easy to introduce a fuller perspective on that. I see no need to go further than just to alleviate his fear because, though you may not believe it, that is my #1 concern - him.
Ours is telling it like it is. We are as sure there is no no God just as you are sure there is no hell.

Quote:
If I believed there were monsters under his bed, he wouldn't be sleeping in there in the first place...?
You can do nothing about imaginary monsters. They change beds.

Quote:
Well that makes two people who supposedly did this. The other guy never gave me a post number or summary of the defense he supposedly made. Can you do one or the other please? Because I cannot find any evidence that a belief in a deity in and of itself is harmful.
It is not about the harm that belief in a god does but about telling the truth about what we think. We see no reason to tell a pointless lie to our kids for no better reason than it probably wouldn't hurt him to believe it.

The defence of 'no God' has been given above. It is as justified as the belief in no hell. Neither of us can be 100% sure, and yet we are sure enough that to say we thought otherwise because some preacher at school might be annoyed if we contradicted the beliefs he was indoctrinating into our kids would be dishonest and poor parenting.

That belief in hell is harmful is not the point. It is about telling the truth about what we think.
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Old 06-30-2014, 05:40 AM
 
Location: The backwoods of Pennsylvania ... unfortunately.
5,846 posts, read 3,359,734 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vic 2.0 View Post
Well that makes two people who supposedly did this. The other guy never gave me a post number or summary of the defense he supposedly made. Can you do one or the other please? Because I cannot find any evidence that a belief in a deity in and of itself is harmful.
Well, given the number of posts in this thread, I'm not going to trudge through them all to find my post.

So I will summarize it by saying this:

I'm the one who brought up the "monster under the bed" scenario for a very specific reason.

This is the "atheist and agnostic" forum which means most of us here are atheists. That means we don't believe that gods exist.

An agnostic might tell their children, "I don't know if there is a god." An atheist is likely to tell their children, "There is no God.

Now ... if my child were to ever ask, I would tell them, "No there are no dragons. No, there are no trolls living under bridges. No, Peter Pan isn't a real person. No, the moon is not made out of green cheese. No, storks don't really bring babies. No, there are no monsters under your bed.

For the same reason, I would tell my kid that there isn't a god. I refuse to play into that religious conceit that says even atheists have to make room for the -possibility- of there being a god. Why should we when we don't claim ignorance when asked about the existence of other things for which there is no evidence. Why should we treat religious gods differently?

"Yes, son, even though there's no evidence for the existence of either gods or dragons, it's okay to believe that gods exist, but believing in dragons is rather silly."

Of course I wouldn't keep clubbing my kid over the head with the idea that there are no gods. I would simply say what I believed and explain why should my child ask. But I'm not going to sit him down every Sunday and give him a lecture on how there are no gods. He would be free to explore the issue further on his own should he wish.

As for whether believing in a deity is harmful, well, that really depends on the deity and how strong the belief is. I won't lie and say I wouldn't be very disappointed if any child of mine became a religious fanatic. Families have been torn apart by that before. Ultimately, it would be his choice, but if I thought my child was getting in too deep, you bet I would discourage deity-worship.
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Old 06-30-2014, 06:18 AM
 
39,207 posts, read 10,887,543 times
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That is a darn good post and, Vic, if you don't now see our case for telling the kid honestly what we think, then further discussion is probably futile.
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Old 06-30-2014, 06:53 PM
 
Location: TX
6,491 posts, read 5,245,374 times
Reputation: 2619
Quote:
Originally Posted by AREQUIPA View Post
Ours is telling it like it is. We are as sure there is no no God just as you are sure there is no hell.
Well let's be honest with ourselves and each other here - we are telling it as we see it, not necessarily like it is, when we say there is no hell or no god. And I'm not going to argue that point, that I'm not sure there is no hell. As I've been saying all along, my number one concern is doing what's best for my son and not extending into unnecessary indoctrination for no other apparent reason than some prejudice I may have against theists/theism.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AREQUIPA View Post
You can do nothing about imaginary monsters. They change beds.
Umm, ok.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AREQUIPA View Post
It is not about the harm that belief in a god does but about telling the truth about what we think. We see no reason to tell a pointless lie to our kids
And no one asked you to. In fact, what I've been advocating is going a step further in telling the truth. Instead of saying "There is no god", saying "I don't believe there is a god" or even "I believe there is no god" would be more honest. My other point was, while telling a kid "There is no god" is not morally wrong per se, it's no less senseless indoctrination than what most Christian fundamentalist parents tell theirs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AREQUIPA View Post
Neither of us can be 100% sure, and yet we are sure enough that to say we thought otherwise because some preacher at school might be annoyed if we contradicted the beliefs he was indoctrinating into our kids would be dishonest and poor parenting.
I'm trying to make sense of this one. No, no one should change their beliefs or pretend to have changed them because someone else disagrees, no.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AREQUIPA View Post
That belief in hell is harmful is not the point.
To this parent, what is and isn't harmful is the whole point. I don't understand the need for any other aim, than to keep my child away from what may harm him and let him have freedom to choose for himself on all else.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shirina View Post
I'm the one who brought up the "monster under the bed" scenario for a very specific reason.

This is the "atheist and agnostic" forum which means most of us here are atheists. That means we don't believe that gods exist.
I'm with ya so far.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shirina View Post
An agnostic might tell their children, "I don't know if there is a god." An atheist is likely to tell their children, "There is no God."
I'm not so sure. There's positive/"hard" atheism and then there's negative/"weak", who simply lack a belief in a god. Agnosticism has nothing to do with what your faith is or isn't. There are tons of agnostic theists, for example.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shirina View Post
Now ... if my child were to ever ask, I would tell them, "No there are no dragons. No, there are no trolls living under bridges. No, Peter Pan isn't a real person. No, the moon is not made out of green cheese. No, storks don't really bring babies. No, there are no monsters under your bed.

For the same reason, I would tell my kid that there isn't a god.

I refuse to play into that religious conceit that says even atheists have to make room for the -possibility- of there being a god. Why should we when we don't claim ignorance when asked about the existence of other things for which there is no evidence. Why should we treat religious gods differently?
You're mentioning religion a lot here. But assuming your argument would be the exact same if your child was just asking about deities in general, I would say this is where a parent must think like a parent. What harms will the other beliefs do this child if he holds onto them in adulthood? We can list them down. Most of them are social consequences - being made fun of (by virtually everyone) for actually believing in Peter Pan, trolls, or dragons, etc. And of course some could have practical consequences. Thinking storks (and not sex) bring babies could lead to some serious trouble! But what harm is there in believing in a god, in and of itself? In this way, I think it is more comparable to believing in a finite/infinite universe, which is also something we have no evidence on in either direction.

I would have to have reason to make a statement of fact (that I do not know is factual), I guess is what I'm saying, not just lack an answer to the question "Why not?"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shirina View Post
Of course I wouldn't keep clubbing my kid over the head with the idea that there are no gods. I would simply say what I believed and explain why should my child ask. But I'm not going to sit him down every Sunday and give him a lecture on how there are no gods. He would be free to explore the issue further on his own should he wish.
Well that's great! And hopefully most of the people on this board are the same way... But...

Since you already declared "There is no god" to him... don't you think he'd be reluctant to "explore", because you'd both know he was suggesting you... lied to him?

I agree with you on religious fanaticism. Heck, I'd probably undermine specific religious teachings I didn't consider fanatic (just wrong). But a belief in a deity in the general sense? No way. Not even once would I pretend to have some sort of higher understanding on that question. And it's because I see no purpose in that, save to make me feel happy my son's growing up to be "just like dad"?
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Old 06-30-2014, 09:08 PM
 
40,117 posts, read 26,779,715 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AREQUIPA View Post
That is a darn good post and, Vic, if you don't now see our case for telling the kid honestly what we think, then further discussion is probably futile.
It always was futile because you do not see the arrogance and hubris of positively asserting the non-existence of God without any basis whatsoever. There is a huge difference between "I do not believe there is a God" and "There is no God." Moderator cut: deleted Vic understands it perfectly.

Last edited by june 7th; 07-01-2014 at 08:31 AM.. Reason: Insults within posts are deleted.
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Old 07-01-2014, 02:54 AM
 
7,802 posts, read 5,286,683 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vic 2.0 View Post
qualifies as an attack on the person and not the behavior?
Please re-read again what I wrote. I just told you I WAS commenting on the context and the behavior, not the person and here you are again claiming it to be the exact opposite. Are you so contriving to take offence that you literally have to manufacture some even in the face of constant and consistent clarification?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vic 2.0 View Post
You don't have a point to make.
I know me. You do not know me. I know what my point is. I have been making it and I am sticking to it. Pretending I do not have one is just another part of your usual MO of ignoring what I am saying in favor of attacking things I did not.

If you want to ignore my point.... fine. But you ignoring it does not magically mean it is not there.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vic 2.0 View Post
And so naturally, I asked you for a defense of "There is no god" and you could not/would not provide one.
Except I did. You just ignored that TOO. I explained multiple times how it is a comment on the current substantiation and how I see it to be objectively the same statement.... made on the same grounds..... as "there are no monsters under the bed".

It is you manufacturing a difference between the statements by subjectively declaring one good parenting and not the other. And declaring one indoctrination but not the other. All because you are a religious apologist who wants god claims to have different treatment to any other. No surprise at all where the sole support on the thread is coming from for you either. Another religious apologist.
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Old 07-01-2014, 05:48 AM
 
5,462 posts, read 5,942,522 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vic 2.0 View Post
Well let's be honest with ourslves and each other here - we are telling it as we see it, not necessarily like it is, when we say there is no hell or no god.
Just like we do for everything else. So why not be consistent and just use "they don't exist" as we do for everything else where we have a tentative but well-supported reason to believe that claim is true?
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Old 07-01-2014, 05:50 AM
 
5,462 posts, read 5,942,522 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MysticPhD View Post
It always was futile because you do not see the arrogance and hubris of positively asserting the non-existence of God without any basis whatsoever.
Just like the arrogance and hubris of not enjoying the Emperor's New Clothes, I'd guess.

Anyway, your claim ignores the fact that there's lots of reasons to think that gods are imaginary - the lack of evidence, internal contradictions in their descriptions, inability of followers to tell us what those gods actually are, and so on.
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Old 07-01-2014, 07:30 AM
 
Location: The backwoods of Pennsylvania ... unfortunately.
5,846 posts, read 3,359,734 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vic 2.0 View Post
You're mentioning religion a lot here. But assuming your argument would be the exact same if your child was just asking about deities in general, I would say this is where a parent must think like a parent. What harms will the other beliefs do this child if he holds onto them in adulthood? We can list them down. Most of them are social consequences - being made fun of (by virtually everyone) for actually believing in Peter Pan, trolls, or dragons, etc. And of course some could have practical consequences. Thinking storks (and not sex) bring babies could lead to some serious trouble! But what harm is there in believing in a god, in and of itself? In this way, I think it is more comparable to believing in a finite/infinite universe, which is also something we have no evidence on in either direction.
What if my child becomes a Muslim and decides to run off to Syria or Iraq to strap on a suicide vest to take one for the team? What if my child believes that only prayer should be used to treat medical conditions and kills one of my grandkids by refusing to take him to the doctor? What if my kid gets tangled in a cult that might lead to suicide?

Believing in and worshiping deities is frought with danger.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vic 2.0 View Post
I would have to have reason to make a statement of fact (that I do not know is factual), I guess is what I'm saying, not just lack an answer to the question "Why not?"
Why not? Well, because I cannot honestly say that there is no monster under his bed if I tell him that, yes, magical beings really do exist. According to everything we know about the universe, all-powerful deities do not exist and magic is a lousy explanation for anything - including how we all got here. If that changes, then it changes. But I'm not going to encourage my kids to have fanciful notions of deities while simultaneously telling my kid that the rest of the fantasy genre is just that - fantasy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vic 2.0 View Post
Since you already declared "There is no god" to him... don't you think he'd be reluctant to "explore", because you'd both know he was suggesting you... lied to him?
Like I said originally, I'm not going to shed any tears if my kids do not experiment with religion, but given the nature of kids, they probably will. They might heed my words for the first 10-12 years, but after that, they're liable to attend church just because I don't. You know how that goes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vic 2.0 View Post
But a belief in a deity in the general sense? No way. Not even once would I pretend to have some sort of higher understanding on that question. And it's because I see no purpose in that, save to make me feel happy my son's growing up to be "just like dad"?
Sorry, but you seem to think that believing in a deity without an attached religion is commonplace. It's not. Odds are very, very good that my kid's first encounter with deity-belief will be through a religion. Even people who claim they aren't religious usually end up concocting a slight variation on whatever religion is dominant in their culture - so a non-religious deity-worshiper still ends up being -mostly- Christian or -mostly- Muslim, etc.

Since religion is almost guaranteed, it is likely that my kid will get involved with one, and that's when the dogma starts.
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