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Interesting Conversation With My Son....


andyjj
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This morning, as I was making his breakfast, out of nowhere my 8-year old son says to me "Dad, are parts of the Bible mythical?" I said "yes, which parts were you thinking of" and he mentioned the story of Jonah and the whale, and God looking after Adam & Eve in the garden. I told him that these were just stories and weren't real. So he says "so the people who wrote the Old Testament just made it up then?" He then started quizzing me over whether some of the NT stories were real like the story of the tax collector in the tree, and also about the identities of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. I was about to embark on an explanation of the historicity or otherwise of the NT when I realised I was going to be late for work and had to leave.

 

This is the same kid who said to me when he was six "does the fact that there were dinosaurs mean that God isn't real?"

 

He's a smart lad and I'm proud of him. Despite attending a Catholic school and going through the whole "First Holy Communion" thing he is able to think for himself and not believe everything he's told.

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I read a comment somewhere. one mom asked how does she teach her child Atheism, the commenter replied, there is nothing to teach. Children are born Atheists you can only "teach" them religion :)

 

I guess I never thought of it like that before. I'd like to ask why your son goes to a Catholic school though. Were I live all schools have bible study, so we don't have much choice. It is possible to ask for a child to be excluded from the bible study, but I am worried that would cause her social issues. I'm lucky my daughter is only 4 and even though she loves "bible songs" She refuses to pray. :)

 

I've found it challenging to deal with others regarding raising her non theist though, but would wish she turns into a free thinker like Your boy :D

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Hi Elaine

 

I live in the UK - most schools in the UK are secular with Christianity only taught in Religious Education classes - which are more about information rather than indoctrination.

 

 

I started out as an evangelical christian, later converting to Catholicism - so it was natural to send my children to Catholic schools - mind you all of my kids are agnostic anyway!

 

I deconverted about 6 months ago - I wouldn't want to disrupt there education by getting them out of catholic schools

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Hi Elaine

 

I live in the UK - most schools in the UK are secular with Christianity only taught in Religious Education classes - which are more about information rather than indoctrination.

 

 

I started out as an evangelical christian, later converting to Catholicism - so it was natural to send my children to Catholic schools - mind you all of my kids are agnostic anyway!

 

I deconverted about 6 months ago - I wouldn't want to disrupt there education by getting them out of catholic schools

 

Oh Ok I understand. I guess I would do the same in that case. I have also heard that the Catholic schools in the UK are very good as far as quality of education goes.

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Yes - the school our children go to is the one of the best in the city. I strongly suspect the family Mass at the local Catholic Churches are packed with families whose only reason for going is that you need to be a regular attender to get into the Catholic schools

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he now tells me he has had debates about the veracity of Genesis with his classmates - I should point out that I have not attempted to indoctrinate him with atheism. I'd rather he made up his own mind about these issues by thinking critically

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he now tells me he has had debates about the veracity of Genesis with his classmates - I should point out that I have not attempted to indoctrinate him with atheism. I'd rather he made up his own mind about these issues by thinking critically

 

LOL That's GREAT!! I'm really glad to hear that. So there is hope for my daughter then. Was kind of worried about the amount of religion she'd get exposed to in school. At this stage it's more singing songs etc. Not sure if they tell stories, but if so not much difference than Fairy tales.

 

What I'm worried about is primary school. On the application to the school ( one of the best in our aria) They ask if you give permission for your child to attend Bible study, and if not you need to give a reason.

I'm very familiar with the kind of judgement cast by people in my society when one admits to not being Christian so I don't want her to be labelled at her young age.

 

So I guess I have 3 choices.

1. Not grant permission - risk would be she is ostracised by her peers, and labelled

2. Grant conditional permission - Discuss this with school before hand, make sure the bible study is based on the book and not on the religious teachings inspired by the book ( so more of a history kind of thing)

3. Grant permission, and see what she comes home with from that class. Not influence her in any way other to have discussions about things she would like to discuss.

 

So far I'm thinking 3 would be appropriate for us for now. (there is always a chance she doesn't get accepted into the school if I do either 1 or 2 ) :D. Also when I hear about kids like your son it makes me feel better. I would never want to indoctrinate my child or force her to believe what I do. That said I'd hate for her to walk my path first, so hope she gets to the critical thinking stage way earlier than her mom did :)

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So I guess I have 3 choices.

1. Not grant permission - risk would be she is ostracised by her peers, and labelled

2. Grant conditional permission - Discuss this with school before hand, make sure the bible study is based on the book and not on the religious teachings inspired by the book ( so more of a history kind of thing)

3. Grant permission, and see what she comes home with from that class. Not influence her in any way other to have discussions about things she would like to discuss.

 

My view on this is that whatever you do should not serve to isolate her from her peers - so I would go for 3 - I'm sure that many would disagree. The key is to get her to think critically about what she is told - the key things being

  1. The age of the earth - not 6000yrs but 4.5 billion years. Be prepared to back this up with evidence (strata, lake sediments - these are like tree rings appearing in seasonal layers, some going back 10,000 years or more etc)
  2. Evolution - this is key to refuting the genesis myths of creation
  3. The difference between History & Myth
  4. To not believe everything she is told by adults, just because they are adults. If it doesn't make sense, it should be questioned

No 4. may get her into trouble with teachers - they don't like being contradicted in front of their class!

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Guest I Love Dog

I read a comment somewhere. one mom asked how does she teach her child Atheism, the commenter replied, there is nothing to teach. Children are born Atheists you can only "teach" them religion :)

 

Gf, I am always stating this! Everyone is born an atheist. We would remain as an atheist without the influence of people who have a belief, whatever that belief. If there was truly a god then he/she/it would let us know soon enough to the contrary. We wouldn't need to be told.

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Guest I Love Dog

I have also heard that the Catholic schools in the UK are very good as far as quality of education goes.

 

The indoctrination is the major problem. I'd rather have a lesser education standard than a gross indoctrination of my child.

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The indoctrination is the major problem. I'd rather have a lesser education standard than a gross indoctrination of my child.

 

Not one of my children is a "Christian Believer" - despite the fact that one of them goes to a youth club run by a local megachurch- my point of view is that they will get a sound grounding in Christian Doctrine coupled with a decent scientific education - barring the opinions of a few oddball RE teachers. They don't get indoctrinated in every single lesson.

 

Biology is not taught in a creationist or ID fashion. It is just Biology - part of the national science curriculum.

 

I think that my major gripe is that if they want to study Philosophy at Advanced Level (age 16-18) what they get is "Philosophy and Ethics" - which has a heavy Christian context.

 

I'd rather they were knowledgeable about the christian religion and it logical flaws rather than completely ignorant leaving them open to the wiles of passing evangelists....

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So I guess I have 3 choices.

1. Not grant permission - risk would be she is ostracised by her peers, and labelled

2. Grant conditional permission - Discuss this with school before hand, make sure the bible study is based on the book and not on the religious teachings inspired by the book ( so more of a history kind of thing)

3. Grant permission, and see what she comes home with from that class. Not influence her in any way other to have discussions about things she would like to discuss.

 

My view on this is that whatever you do should not serve to isolate her from her peers - so I would go for 3 - I'm sure that many would disagree. The key is to get her to think critically about what she is told - the key things being

  1. The age of the earth - not 6000yrs but 4.5 billion years. Be prepared to back this up with evidence (strata, lake sediments - these are like tree rings appearing in seasonal layers, some going back 10,000 years or more etc)
  2. Evolution - this is key to refuting the genesis myths of creation
  3. The difference between History & Myth
  4. To not believe everything she is told by adults, just because they are adults. If it doesn't make sense, it should be questioned

No 4. may get her into trouble with teachers - they don't like being contradicted in front of their class!

with t

Well at the moment she is 4 and has no trouble with not taking adult's "guidence" at face value HAHAHA But I'm busy reading Raising Freethinkers with the hope that we can develop this.

 

I read a comment somewhere. one mom asked how does she teach her child Atheism, the commenter replied, there is nothing to teach. Children are born Atheists you can only "teach" them religion :)

 

Gf, I am always stating this! Everyone is born an atheist. We would remain as an atheist without the influence of people who have a belief, whatever that belief. If there was truly a god then he/she/it would let us know soon enough to the contrary. We wouldn't need to be told.

 

We are imprinted so much by how we are raised, our parents beliefs, the society and culture we grow up in, it takes a strong person to start recognising these and slwoly try to untangle the web. Although I think it is impossible to raise a child without some imprinting, I hope it's possible to do the least damage and help a child to find their own truths.

 

I have also heard that the Catholic schools in the UK are very good as far as quality of education goes.

 

The indoctrination is the major problem. I'd rather have a lesser education standard than a gross indoctrination of my child.

That's the part that gives me a sick feeling to my stomach. But at the end of the day it's a very personal and individual choice which depends on the specific circumstances of one's situation. In andy's case I don't think he'll have much issue with his son asking the hard questions and hopefully this foundation will also inoculate and desensitise his son against the expected later indoctrinations in life in general.

 

However much I'd like to protect my child from all "bad" influence, teaching them to deal with it in a positive way is maybe much more helpful than trying to keep them away from it completely (sleeping beauty syndrome)

 

In my situation I know of no schools public or private in our area that do not do some kind of bible or religious study, some more than others.

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Guest I Love Dog

This morning, as I was making his breakfast, out of nowhere my 8-year old son says to me "Dad, are parts of the Bible mythical?" I said "yes, which parts were you thinking of" and he mentioned the story of Jonah and the whale, and God looking after Adam & Eve in the garden. I told him that these were just stories and weren't real. So he says "so the people who wrote the Old Testament just made it up then?" He then started quizzing me over whether some of the NT stories were real like the story of the tax collector in the tree, and also about the identities of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. I was about to embark on an explanation of the historicity or otherwise of the NT when I realised I was going to be late for work and had to leave.

 

This is the same kid who said to me when he was six "does the fact that there were dinosaurs mean that God isn't real?"

 

He's a smart lad and I'm proud of him. Despite attending a Catholic school and going through the whole "First Holy Communion" thing he is able to think for himself and not believe everything he's told.

 

As someone who married a product of a Catholic school, I would say pull him out. You are doing your child no favour. The indoctrination is exact, final, insidious and long lasting. However "free-thinking" he is, the Catholic way of teaching is life-threatening.

 

Sexual predation of children is almost defended, deferring it to an act of "Satan", not admitting that it's a result of celibacy, denying its employees a natural, normal life of family love.

 

Whatever he may question, the dogma will be with him forever. Trust me.

 

Even though my wife eventually rejected her Catholicism(she had to, because she divorced to marry me, she was banned for life), her indoctrination has undermined our marriage to the extent that her guilt about her "sins" has crippled her and our marriage to boot.

 

Make no bones about it, Catholicism is an evil, microbicidal system that becomes entrenched deep into the psyche of all that are subject to it.

 

It cripples all that are subject to the teachings, limiting personal growth, self worth and your child will forever believe that he is possessed of "original sin". What a disgusting doctrine! Your beautiful child a nasty, disgusting sinner. In the eyes of the Catholic Church at least. How will you explain away that dogma?

 

There will be the drinking of the blood and the eating of the flesh. Gross in anyone's language.

 

Family planning by way of contraception will be a sin. Sex outside of marriage will be a sin. Homosexuality will be a sin, causing him to judge others in a negative way.

 

Your child is precious. Don't let him become another Catholic victim. The Romans designed Christianity well, masters of power and control.

 

I would have rather married a "dummy" than an intelligent person riddled with guilt all because of her Catholic education.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Elaine, I'm glad you mentioned the "Raising Freethinkers" book. My local library has it. It's a great book! My boys are 17 and 15, but this book is actually practical for any age of a person who is having to learn how to think other thoughts than "fundy" thoughts.

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