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Atheist Children


Yrth
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Has anyone ever told you that if you raise your children as atheists, they'll be more likely to lie, cheat, and renege on commitments? Just tonight I received that warning. Idk what to do about it. It makes me consider avoiding having kids, can you believe that? > <

 

 

Edit: I am fucking pissed off about this. For the record, my dad was the one to offer this to me as one of his genuine worries for me, and while I believe he didn't say it out of malice I think that he is going to make a huge fucking apology if we are going to be civil over the next 30 years. Its really, really not OK to tell me that my kids - who DON'T EVEN EXIST YET - are more likely 'in his experience' to cheat, steal, and go back on promises. It's a dirty thing to say about people who don't even exist, its a dirty emotional move on myself to get me to worry about how what I think might adversely affect my kids, and its dirty subversive way of blackening the future I am building with my fiance. Fucking hell

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Guest nonreligiousbelieverinGod

I have heard that but I don't think that is true. I think people are good despite what they believe or don't believe about God.

 

Believing in a God always just reinforced my own conscience however. It is empowering to me but it is humiliating when religious people falsely accuse you of all kinds of things as a nonreligious person.

 

Atheists I tend to think of as the S option in the four-letter MyersBriggs peronality. They are fact and sense-oriented, rather than the N or intuitive-oriented. I could be wrong but I tend to think of an atheist as something to do with personality rather than morality.

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I'm guessing anyone that makes that wild claim really hasn't encountered "Atheist children" and is just making a stupid ass assumption. "Christian children" don't even learn their morals from the bible. They just learn the consequences. Morals are very much taught by parents and society, both of which would find a lot of the happenings in the bible abhorant. Without God to scare the living shit of kids, I guess the Atheist parent would just have to *gasp* have real-life consequences that actually fit the crime. My SO was raised by non-believers (I don't think they're quite as skeptical and Atheistic as he is though) and he's a very well-balanced and moral person. He doesn't have the insecurities that come with the territory of Christianity and he doesn't feel the need to harm anyone. So I guess I'd call him a successful case. ;)

 

But I do have to admit that in the overly Christian state of our country I do feel hesitant to have children myself. It's still a big question in my mind.

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Has anyone ever told you that if you raise your children as atheists, they'll be more likely to lie, cheat, and renege on commitments? Just tonight I received that warning. Idk what to do about it. It makes me consider avoiding having kids, can you believe that? > <

This is a lie. Atheists eat their young. As such how can anything you've said be true?

 

Atheists see pregnancies as free meals. I believe it is known as "Atheist Passover" though don't quote me on that. <wink wink>

 

mwc

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Re pockets: Of course that's absolute rubbish, misinformation, and part of the more general widespread brazen fallacy that atheists are evil (...baby eating monsters, so untrustworthy that only 45% of the population would vote for as a presidential candidate, etc.).

 

Re nonreligiousbeliveringod: There have been threads here where people on this forum have self reported their Myers-Briggs types. It's a small sample of course, very non-random, and a sampling of ex-christians, and not necessarily atheists (though a great many of us are). I'm too lazy and short on time to search the forums now--I could be wrong, but I vaguely recall not seeing a pattern on the N-S spectrum. I's (introverts), as I recall, were well represented. Anyway, I am an N and I am also an atheist, nice to meet you. Remember that N does not at all necessarily indicate someone who relies on unsupported hunches rather than fact, but also indicates somebody focused on the abstract, the theoretical, the hypothetical, analogies, and analysis.

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Has anyone ever told you that if you raise your children as atheists, they'll be more likely to lie, cheat, and renege on commitments? Just tonight I received that warning. Idk what to do about it. It makes me consider avoiding having kids, can you believe that? > <

 

I attack the argument this way, it sounds good on paper, but reality is quite different. Christians sin every day, and many will admit this. Some sin rather grievously to the point of committing crime. I say this to show that there is no fundamental born-again "transformation" that separates a Christian from an Atheist. Each has to make a choice whether to do good or to do evil. The Christian chooses, but has the ooga-booga threats from an invisible deity that never seems to punish, though guilt may follow a decision to do evil. As a Christian, I was often caught in a cycle of choice-failure-repentance-normality-temptation-choice, further demonstrating that the moral code of Christianity and the claimed "born again" experience do little to change the person, but create a huge imaginary framework of temptation, guilt, and redemption. The Atheist makes his or her choice based on internal decisions based on feedback from others (culture), on whatever ethics have been absorbed, and on what the law of the land requires.

 

To summarize, there is no real difference. Each group chooses to do good or evil.

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Well -- I, being INTP, am Atheist -- BUT I do believe that your personality opinion is definitely a viable theory.

I believe personality dictates a LOT of our decisions, especially religious. Although -- No matter what personality traits you may contain, you are all well receptable to conditioning from the religiously indoctrinated.

A real indicator would be a group of personality types coupled with an education -- and than see the results.

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/bump

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Right on pockets. There is absolutely no proof that without religion you become less moral. In fact, I've read countless moments where the religious are the least moral of all. god Is Not GREAT by Christopher Hitchens, Read this and you'll see what I mean :)

 

It is up to you to properly raise your children -- not a book.

Your child is given free will. Let the child choose --after getting an education.

 

God of the bible is one of the least moral beings of its supposed intelligent existence.

 

Your father may be speaking from a stance of living in an uneducated, unfulfilled and lacking place. Maybe he was poor growing up and people acted disgustingly around him, but, this proves nothing.

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I don't know how much influence religion has on childhood morality, but all I can say is that I was raised in an avidly atheist home (I converted in my teens) and I was a very moral kid, and my parents were very strong on ethics, manners, good behaviour, etc. They didn't let me watch The Simpsons till I was 14 or so, and they kept a close eye on the content I was taking in to make sure it fostered good attitudes and sound emotional health (i.e. they wouldn't let me subscribe to teen mags until I was old enough to understand the nature of body image advertising and how it attempts to manipulate young women). I never cheated, was respectful, had a healthy sense of curiosity and excelled at school. I wasn't very popular but that's a different issue I think. But either way, atheism didn't make me into a devil-child.

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I know plenty of people who have never been to a church and they are quite moral. some even have government clearances, which requires a thorough background check.

 

See, morality exists not because of a fear of Hell, but because it makes logical sense for the community. Murder is wrong because we don't want to have to constantly be watching our backs, stealing so we don't have to constantly watch our stuff, etc.

 

Atheists are 15% of the US population, and 1% of the incarcerated population.

 

If anything I'd say atheistic children will be less likely to be criminal, so long as they are properly taught rational thinking of course, because they won't feel the need to take God's justice into their own hands like so many religious people do.

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Well since we are confining this discussion to morality in children I do think it makes sense that Christian children might be better behaved or perhaps more ethical than atheist children. In so far as that it provides an ethical framework taught on a basis that makes sense to children, one might even say that the whole system is devised around the cognitive ethics of a child (ought not to because it will displease or bring punishment). While on the other hand there may be no comparable level of teaching for atheist children, which isn't to say that their parents can't do better.

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Hiya,

 

I'm very worked up about this to be honest with you. I can't even read the replies you've got to this.

 

This used to worry me to death. They did a great job brainwashing me. It was one of my main concerns when I was thinking my way out of Christianity. I bought my kids a lot of "moral" books and tried a kind of Humanist Sunday School for a while. It kept me awake a lot of nights and my family was very concerned, though honestly, they weren't as rude as your dad was about it. (I'm really pissed off on your behalf, I can tell ya!)

 

So now, I'm older. Daughter who is a Jr. in College. a daughter who is a Senior in H.S. and a son who is 13. My kids have been inside a church one time, when their uncle was preaching. Besides that, they've gone to church maybe twice when invited by friends. They are quite godless. All of them are self-described Atheists. How immoral are they? The first kid was described by her 6th grade teacher as "modelling compassion for her peers." She won many scholarships to college, mostly based on her charitable works and community service (100 hours painting a mural at a school for at risk kids). She's now 21 and just informed me that she thinks she and her boyfriend of a year are ready for sex. She's been a virgin up until now, which is kind of shocking to me, but I'm cool either way. No drugs or alcohol at all, which is also kind of weird for me, but it makes her happy. Mostly she is a very loving, very giving person who makes decisions carefully - because there is no "eternal forgiving figure". Second daughter has a similar story. She was very active in Students Against Destructive Decisions and is now on their state board. No drinking, no drugs and all her friends and boyfriends have had excellent character. She marches for gay rights and spends a lot of time on the group Invisible Children which helps African children with schooling. Yadda, yadda, similar story for the 13-year old and I don't wanna sound like I'm bragging but hammering home the point that my Atheist kids are far more moral than I was, as a Christian kid. They're more moral than any of their old christian friends that used to hit them over the head with bibles too. They're moral about the RIGHT things. Not things like being a prude and going to R-rated movies, but things like equal rights for gays and getting good books for kids in African schools.

 

Here is how you'll do it right as an Atheist parent. You'll teach them that this is all we have. Life is precious so make decisions carefully. Spend your time doing things that matter. When you hurt someone, work to make it right (don't pray it away). As an Atheist parent you'll talk to them honestly about sex and drugs and booze. You'll be frank about the mistakes you made. You'll tell them you trust them and show them that they can trust you by being honest about these issues.

 

You'll do all those things differently than your parents did and you'll be amazed at the wonderful, moral Atheist kids you've raised.

 

And point out to your dad that the backer of the largest charitable organization in the US, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, is an Atheist. The founder of the Red Cross, Clara Barton, was an agnostic. We do just fine in the morals department.

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RE The statistics about American atheists

 

According to the 2008 American Religious Identification Survey, 0.7% of the population self-identify as atheists, 0.9% as agnostic, and 'Refused' and 'No Religion' as the remaining 13.4%. TABLE03.png

 

While browsing for statistics on crime rates, I found more than a few sites presenting a copy/pasted email from the prison bureau. >.> I then chanced on Adherents.com, a site which specializes in collecting "adherent statistics and religious geography citations." They have an article relating to my search, Prison Incarceration and Religious Preference. This section in particular was very useful:

 

"Theists vs. Nontheists" In Prison Populations: A False Dichotomy

 

There is no sociologically valid basis for comparing "theists to nontheists" with regards to incarceration rates (or any other sociological measure) because "theists" do not constitute an identifiable social group. The fact that non-practicing (functionally nonreligious) people are highly over-represented among prisoners is a separate issue, apart from questions relating to belief and philosophical position.

 

To consider incarceration rates of "atheists" vs. "theists" is like comparing Hispanics to non-Hispanics. While it may be possible to group figures that way, it doesn't make a lot of sense to do so. Non-Hispanics are better broken down into Asians, African-Americans and Whites (if one doesn't further break them down by other factors such as age, education, etc.) Likewise, it makes no sense to group all non-atheists together, as if Amish, Muslims, Quakers, Baha'is, Hindus, Presbyterians, Orthodox Jews, Baptists, Deists, Lutherans, Unitarians, Rastafarians, Wiccans, etc., all exhibited similar behavior. Obviously some of these groups exhibit relatively little criminal behavior, while others would exhibit relatively more criminal behavior. Certain crimes are more prevalent among certain groups. 85% of Americans cite a specific religious affiliation. So if you combine figures for people of all religious affiliations you get essentially the same figure that you would get for the whole U.S. population. The figure would only be different if essentially all religious groups were skewed in one direction, which they are not.

 

A person's philosophical position about the existence of God is distinct from that person's ethical behavior. A person's position on this single point is not a predictor of ethical or criminal behavior, any more than a person's preference for country vs. rock music. Atheism does not necessarily equate to criminal or unethical behavior, just as a professed belief in God does not necessarily preclude criminal or unethical behavior.

 

One problem faced by some religious writers as well as some atheist writers who have tried to equate religious belief or atheism with criminal behavior (and probably a major reason why there is no empirical data to support either contention) is that a person's philosophical position on this one point is not the major factor in determining criminal behavior. Factors such as level of income, employment/non-employment, level of education, race, geographical region, age, sex, etc. are all tracked by the government and other organizations. All of these characteristics correlate more readily to criminal behavior. [...] *edit

 

There is no monolithic group of "theists." This is a term that describes a philosophical position (as identified by atheists), not a self-identifying group of people. People may congregate with other Catholics, other Muslims, other hockey fans at a sports event, other Stephen King fans at a book club, other mothers at a play group, other gays at a bar, etc. but "theists" do not come together as a single group, and do not exhibit an identifiable pattern of social behavior. Likewise, atheists are not a monolithic group, and most atheists are not formally affiliated with any organization based on their atheism. Like theists, atheists are found among all races, ages, levels of income, religions, etc., and those factors are going to correlate far more readily to statistically predictable patterns of social behavior, including levels of incarceration.

 

 

Thank you for your responses, especially the stories supporting what I already thought I knew. I wouldn't normally go into such a panic about some random thing my parents might say, but my dad is a social psychologist and he was attempting to remember some half-remembered study on this topic. So there seemed to be an alarming possibility of legitimacy to what he said, and let me tell you I am still a wreck from having to deal with this. It really helps/helped to have been able to post here, because in this case I don't want to tell my fiance and upset her as well as sour her relationship with my father. He is well meaning, really, it was just extremely upsetting. It's over now anyway, I explained how I felt and he apologized and we hugged it out. I know that he still thinks there is something about an atheist home which is 'generative' of immoral behavior, but he is simply wrong, and if I have to have another conversation down the line then I will.

 

My kids are going to be awesome little people. I'm going to do and be everything possible to make that happen. :]

 

-pockets.

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Has anyone ever told you that if you raise your children as atheists, they'll be more likely to lie, cheat, and renege on commitments?

 

Yes.

 

And a reality check shows that the countries and areas with the most (and most zealous) jebus cultists, funnily, have the highest rates of crime and other crap.

 

Reality bites morontheists in the arse. Again. :fdevil:

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lol, the mentioning of pastor's kids should shut anyone up about that stupid claim.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Guest emdashpoet
Has anyone ever told you that if you raise your children as atheists, they'll be more likely to lie, cheat, and renege on commitments? Just tonight I received that warning. Idk what to do about it. It makes me consider avoiding having kids, can you believe that? > <

 

I'm sorry he's putting you through this. Ask yourself: are you more likely to lie, cheat, etc. since you left religion? You will be the model that your children will base their behavior on. I believe I am more moral since I became an atheist. No one in the sky is going to wash my sins away, so I am responsible for all of my actions. Similar to Puddinhead, my dd (age 10) is often recognized by teachers as the person in her class most likely to go out of her way to help others. She has been raised with the belief that if we want the world to be a better place, we must make it so. We can't just pray and hope for the best. Your children will be fabulous little people. The fact that this comment was so upsetting for you just shows how seriously you take parenthood, and how hard you'll work to do a great job. :)

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