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Sunday School?


kazza
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I'm in the UK and am intending on Homeschooling my kids - 2 boys 3 1/2 and a baby - i go to some HS stuff but its nowhere near as organised as in the US and so his social outlets are not as varied as there - we probably go to 2 HS social things per wk sometimes 1. Anyway, i currently still attend a local church - its small - me and DH met and got married there - have been going to it on and off since teenagers.

 

DS enjoys the sunday school - its really small about 6 - 8 kids and i think in a social sense its good for him to go and be there without me and do the little acivities and stories and stuff, DH wants him to go cos he says even if the god thing isnt really true at least the people there are trying to be good/decent people and the kids are nice kids - it is a nice church the people are friendly and caring although i had some bullying experiences there with some of the church kids when i was a young teenager - the main propergator is still there and does missionary work - it was many years ago when we were kids so i try not to let it bother me although sometimes i would still like to give her a sly kick lol!

 

ANyway - i dont know what to do - shall i continue to go and debrief my kids but then have them get into trouble possibly for asking too many awkward questions in sunday school and obviously take the chance that they will be indocrinated like i was and think that they are worthless pieces of s**t - or just have faith that they will raise above it cos it happened to me cos i was a sensitive kid with the a very bible bashing mum and family?

 

Any thoughts anyone?

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I personally would pull them out. I'm not sure how liberal the church is, and it seems like things are a lot different in the UK compared to the US when it comes to religion, but I wouldn't want to take the chance of my son getting indoctrinated. I was indoctrinated into xianity at a very young age (just to give an idea, I remember getting "saved" for the first time when I was 2) and I would never wish my childhood on my son, or on anyone, for that matter. If he's going through the program while being able to think critically and not accept everything that's being told to him, though, that's a totally different story. If it's just for the socialization, though, maybe you could try to find some secular groups for him to join.

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Your childhood sounds just like mine - i was heavily indoctrinated and remember repeating the sinners prayer with my mums guidance at age 4 - I have also always said i would never wish my childhood on anyone and can see how much the role of religion had to play in that! Religion is a bit more laid back here than the US on the whole although there are plenty of fanaticals here too - this church i go to is middle of the road i guess, not fundamental although it may have some elemets of it - i'm not sure... I am inclined to agree with you about leaving - dont know why i'm having such a dilemma about it - its such a big statement and I think i feel kinda guilty leavin too! ha!! oooo what to do!!

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Any thoughts anyone?

 

I think I'd pull them out. You have to remember that, once you teach a child something at a young age, it's very, very difficult for them to overcome it as they get older. It can completely control their life, as it did mine for nearly 30 years. It sounds like your main goal is to teach your children to think, not teach them WHAT to think. That's exactly what they'll get in a church, and it can dominate their lives for a very, very long time.

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Debrief them? What kind of message is this? I don't mean to be harsh so forgive me if it comes across that way. But what kind of message does this send? Kids, never mind what you just heard. It's just indoctrination. Don't take it seriously. It seems the kids will come away with a mixed lesson in hypocrisy at most and contradictory nonsense at least.

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Ha! Yes Vigile - when you put it like that it does sound rather bizarrre!! ha!! I think i was thinking that in some way i want them to know the bible stories and have an awareness of 'christian culture' so they are not wowed by it at some point in the future and converted - like i want them to know about it but be able to critique it too with some insiders knowledge - BUT the way you put it makes sense - how very confusing it would be for them!

 

Scott i agree its controlled my life to varying degrees for the last 32years and i definately dont want that for them - just wanna handle it right at the moment when ther young so they're not sucked in later.

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I think i was thinking that in some way i want them to know the bible stories and have an awareness of 'christian culture' so they are not wowed by it at some point in the future and converted - like i want them to know about it but be able to critique it too with some insiders knowledge - BUT the way you put it makes sense - how very confusing it would be for them!

 

I want to do this with my son, too, but I'm not planning to do it until he's much older, like 6 or 7, and I'm not taking him to a church to have them do it. I'm planning to read the real bible over with him or tell him what xians believe and have him think critically about it. I'm not sure if they do this at your church, but when I was little, they used the watered-down childrens' bibles and twisted a lot of the bible stories to make them seem moral. This caused me to have a warped sense of morality. I heard so much in church about Jesus' crucifixion and the deaths of people in the bible that I became desensitized to it. It wasn't until I started considering leaving xianity that I realized that these stories were gruesome and horrible, not something that should be praised.

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Ha! Yes Vigile - when you put it like that it does sound rather bizarrre!! ha!! I think i was thinking that in some way i want them to know the bible stories and have an awareness of 'christian culture' so they are not wowed by it at some point in the future and converted - like i want them to know about it but be able to critique it too with some insiders knowledge - BUT the way you put it makes sense - how very confusing it would be for them!

 

The problem is this is why people in Western society grow up and are vulnerable to the old yarn "you have a Jesus shaped hole in your heart." Sunday school may seem rather innocuous but it, IMO, plays a great role in establishing the Christian meme, which later in life causes emotional triggers in people. I don't think people naturally feel that they are sinners in need of redemption. Children are taught this. Later on, when they meet someone who asks them "have you ever lied?" and then concludes "well, then you're a liar deserving of punishment" that emotional trigger is pulled and they end up feeling remorseful even though they shouldn't.

 

I think you can teach your kids the basics of Christianity yourself without accompanying it with singing (emotional transference) and emotional appeal and your kids will be both informed and not made vulnerable. Christianity appeals to the basics of the human psychological makeup using what amounts to parlor tricks. Kids are just too young and trusting to see through the farce.

 

I don't mean to scare you. Frankly I think your kids will probably be just fine if you are balancing out what they learn in Sunday School with reason but again, it has to be confusing for them and exposing them to it at a young age is a risk even if that risk is small don't you think?

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Vigile - i really like the idea of yours about the christian meme - makes a lot of sense - i told my dh for his consideration - he argues that he went to sunday school (sparodically) as a child and he didnt end up affected by it like me - he came from a nominally christian home -his mum is not really sure what she believes and his dad is not bothered by faith matters - and he got 'saved' as a teenager - but was never a holy roller type - i think he liked the social life and the girls best - ha!!

 

Anyway, he thinks our kids should go for the social life aspect and that it doesnt harm to learn about christianity in the traditions of our culture type way, he believes we can offset it because we are...well..not my pushy fundamentalist mother - ha! I have grave reservations because of my own experience and also losing some of my friends to quite an extreme movement over here called the Jesus Army when i was a teenager - they went from either moderate christian and one not christian at all to raving jesus freaks - some are still involved to this day. Their families kinda lost them really - i will always feel so sorry for my friends mum - they were so close - then my firiend became involved in the JA and off she went to live communally with them miles from home when she was about 18 and that was that - i hate the thought of that happening to my kids though i cant do nothing to stop it if thats what they decide i guess in the future....

 

Skeptic - yes i totally love the way you explained what you are going to do - that is exactly right and thinking about we have already done some of this - i love this from the other day with my son - he asked me to read his kids bible to him and it was the story of adam and eve - after i finished he asked 'why couldnt they eat the apples?' and i thought wow of course how silly and replied - yes that is really wierd aint it why would God make a tree and apples and then tell them they couldnt eat the apples - he thought this was ridiculous - so do I !!! If he had asked that in sunday school or of my mum he would have got the whole god said so, we must be obeidiant, sinful nature talk - oh dear - then he thinks he is a worthless sinner like all humanity - hmmm things are looking clearer!

 

Thanks for the link too Shallow - that was really interesting!

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Hi Kazza,

 

There has already been a lot of good advice, but there's one aspect that I hope you'll consider.

 

If the Sunday School teaches that everyone is a sinner who deserves to go to hell for eternal punishment I'd say you should pull your children out immediately. In my opinion this is a form of child abuse. I know I spent many sleepless nights as a child being terrified that I was going to hell. I went forward to be "saved" twice (at ages 9 and 14) because I wanted to make sure that I wasn't going to be tortured endlessly.

 

Many of the people who visit this site after leaving christianity still write about the nagging feeling that they are going to end up in hell. It's a horrible teaching that seems to grab hold of many children (and adults). I can't help wondering how many people's self-esteem problems arise from being repeatedly told that they are so bad they need to be burned eternally.

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Hi Texasfreethinker - you know i'm not sure exactly what they teach in the sunday school - i know since hes been going (a few months - though we've not been for about 3weeks now) they have been doing old testement stories but I suppose at some point the whole 'worthless sinner' thing has gotta come into it - how we're all bad and gods all good etc etc

 

I think you are right - the whole fear of hell thing is kinda where dh is at right now - he's not sure what to believe - he leaves most of the thinking up to me lol!!! He keeps looking all sad and then has said to me - 'what if its true and you go to hell' very sad face. I guess i still have some fears too lurking back there. He wants us to go this wkend to church cos its easter - hes a kinda occasional easter and christmas type attender anyway and usually works sundays but wants me to keep taking the boys to church by myself - ha!! He is so funny!! Like - i want them to go to church but i cant be bothered going regularly myself so you take them wifey dear - ha ha!! :grin:

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He keeps looking all sad and then has said to me - 'what if its true and you go to hell' very sad face.

 

There's an easy answer. Just ask him "What if Islam is true?" The problem with his question is that it can be asked about any religion that threatens unbelievers.

 

I guess i still have some fears too lurking back there.

 

This is what I hope your children can avoid. Where do you think the lurking feelings started in both of you guys? In particular your husband, who came from a very moderate family.

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Yes, the islam thing is an interesting one - actually meeting some lovely muslim women in our homeschool group was part of the 'nail in the coffin' for christianity for me - i really will have to get time to do my deconversion story posted - bit hard with 2 kids in toe though!! I guess once the fears are there they run very deep - they are probably easily picked up i suppose with religion being such an intergral part of our culture and with nothing much to outright deny them - i guess even though DHs family were very moderate they accepted the basic teachings so there was nothing there to encourage DH to doubt or do anything but accept what he was told when he got sucked in by the more evangelical/fundy element....all very interesting how this works...this questioning is getting bigger and bigger and has more implications as time goes by - i feel another post coming on!!

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