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If Your Kids Were Christians ...


darwinfish
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Hey, guys.

 

I just listened to the Reasonable Doubts podcast, and it got me thinking. In the latest episode they talked about a study that showed the huge difference between atheists and Christian parents and allowing their kids to pursue other religions. I've been fine with the idea of my kids going to Christian school and church, thinking to myself. If they are going to think critically then they should be exposed to religious ideas and see the irrationality for themselves. Plus, I'm going to be open about my disbelief of religion, and maybe they'll want to understand my reasoning. How does everyone else feel on the topic? I'm curious if most atheists would allow their kids to go to church.

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I'm not an atheist, but I would let my (future hypothetical) kids go to church if they wanted.

 

However, because of my own experience in a private christian school OH FUCK NO, NOT EVER, NOT ONCE, BURN IT DOWN.

 

But I consider school too fucking important to trust to christards. And I was groped freely in a christian school, and blamed for it. Not the boy, ME. Fuck christian schools, they're fucking pits of despair.

 

But if my (maybe one day) child wanted to experience a church service, or any other religious service, I'd allow them. I'd be on alert for cultish vibes, but other than that, I'd trust that my flesh and blood has a good bullshit detector and can find her own way to happiness, inside or outside any religious tradition.

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I'm not an atheist, but I would let my (future hypothetical) kids go to church if they wanted.

 

Really, Luna? I thought you'd be opposed to it, based on past conversations. I get the school issue, though. I'm sorry you were abused like that. I've got some pent up anger over things like that from my childhood. I'm on super alert with my kids. The school my son's going to is a little more liberal than the schools I went to as a kid. He is being indoctrinated, and I get that. But, well, so was I, and I found my way out of that, and I didn't have anyone to help me. At least, I'll be there to show them another way to think about it.

 

On the other hand, if they do go full on Christian, I am ok with that. As a Christian, I didn't feel the need to try to force everyone around me to see things my way. And, now that I'm an atheist, I still feel the same. My issue with my wife isn't that she is a Christian, it's that she won't give me the same freedom of belief, that I give her. But, even with my kids, I still feel like they have to explore the world for themselves.

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If you raise your children with love they'd see how unjust it would be for their atheist daddy to go to Hell. If they became Christian I'm sure at the very least they'd be cool liberal type Christians.

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As long as it is made sure the kids get to know both sides, not much can happen. Let's face it, how much power would a cult have without successfully isolating its sheeple from opposing viewpoints?

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I think my wife is by now completely done with religion, so I wouldn't expect anything to be initiated from her end. So I can imagine the only requests to go to church would come from friends. I would let my son go, but at a minimum we would talk about everything that was said so that I can clarify and/or correct anything that's not 100% true. I'd probably just end up going with him so I'd know exactly what was said, though that would be weird for sure.

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My son is 8. He goes to a christian summer camp and we go to church with my family if we happen to be visiting on a church day. We can't afford any of the private schools in my area, but I don't think I'd be open to a christian one. That would just be too much. If he wants to persue christianity when he is older I will allow it, but not without having a broad secular religious education first.

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I'm not an atheist, but I would let my (future hypothetical) kids go to church if they wanted.

 

My issue with my wife isn't that she is a Christian, it's that she won't give me the same freedom of belief, that I give her. But, even with my kids, I still feel like they have to explore the world for themselves.

 

I have that same issue. I let her listen to Christian radio when we drive, let her tell me about the Christian books she is reading, and she just put a Christian "fish" on the back of our new mini-van! (I am looking for something to cover it with when I drive - any ideas?) But she makes cracks if I am watching a program about the universe or chat too much with my atheist neighbor. Thanks goodness I have a Kindle! I can read anything I want.

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As long as it is made sure the kids get to know both sides, not much can happen. Let's face it, how much power would a cult have without successfully isolating its sheeple from opposing viewpoints?

 

This.

 

Keeping kids from any worldview on purpose also just makes it taboo, therefore, mysterious and appealing. I wouldn't give christianity that much power. Let them look. I will just be a better example of human, and let my kids see who is actually the more moral and kind person.

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I'm not sure I'd want them going to a Christian school but going to church is okay as long as they are old enough to think about what they are hearing. I keep thinking about the possibility that my parents would try to indoctrinate them (I mean it wouldn't be out of spite or anything just who my parents are). It's a fine line to walk especially if one's parents are Christian. I'm hoping that I can tell my parents about my lack of belief soon since I'm planning on moving out in a few months.

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I want religion to be completely up to my kids if they want it, i will not do what my parents did and shove it down their throat, i will in fact expose them to many different ideas and let them choose.

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I am so glad I am getting my kids away from Church. Maybe there are religions that are not harmful but I don't have any experience with them. I don't want my kids having their brains warped by Christianity. If you want to see what the process stamps out then look at how people think after decades in the Church. I see one of those people in the mirror every time I shave. I still struggle with all the ways I was blocked from thinking. I want my kids to have a chance to be rational . . . right from the start.

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My two are grown. I gave complete liberty on religion buy grandma encouraged it when she kept them. End result: one southern baptist, one agnostic.

I am regrettably closer to my agnostic daughter who is also politically liberal than my religious-right son.

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Thought about this the other day. I'd like to raise kids to be open to a lot of ideas. I'll probably try to educate them on a variety of world religions and celebrate random holidays with them just for fun.

Christianity? Yeah I'd let them try it out, but I'd tell them my experiences with it also.

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This question is not black and white. If you live in a major metro area that is multicultural, then fine, let them go, they will have enough data all around them to make more intelligent decisions. If you live in the rural US, then no way!

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Here is my new standard line whenever the god talk comes up with my son (which has been getting more common):

 

"Some people believe in god/heaven, some people don't. No one really knows for sure."

 

Everything I say is 100% truth with no slant at all. At 5 he's already smart enough to ask, "well who made god?"; when he's older we can talk about more complex issues but yes to wrap it up even as an atheist I am firmly against dogmatic ideology of ANY type and believe an open questioning mind is the best way to raise a child.

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I agree with everyone else here. If/when I have children, I just want them to know love and support and they can do what they want as long as they learn to think critically about it. I like to think that I will encourage their questions... as a child my questions were always answered with 'god did it' and when you're raised that way why would you think any differently?

I hope to be able to share with them a variety of religions and multicultural experiences and let them shape their own lives.... and give them enough love, encouragement and honesty so that they won't want to seek a religion to fill their lives. I have a feeling that if my children spent 5 seconds with my fundy family, they'd be like, "nope, we much prefer watching cartoons and playing outside on sundays than going to church with the grandparents!" :)

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I'd make them sleep outside and pray for a roof over their head.

 

As much as I have a slight bitterness toward xianity, I would still accept my kids if they were christians. They are so vulnerable I hate to pump lies into their head. They put all their trust in you and they dont know what to believe yet. my kids are 2 and 4 so its important to me. but I dont want to be guilty of the same thing my parents did in dragging me to church and making up my mind for me.Even if it means making up their mind that there is no god. I just want them to start with 0 and arrive at their own conclusion. Using this method, any scientifically literate person SHOULD end up at least agnostic since god isnt needed for anything at that point.

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I'm not an atheist, but I would let my (future hypothetical) kids go to church if they wanted.

 

My issue with my wife isn't that she is a Christian, it's that she won't give me the same freedom of belief, that I give her. But, even with my kids, I still feel like they have to explore the world for themselves.

 

I have that same issue. I let her listen to Christian radio when we drive, let her tell me about the Christian books she is reading, and she just put a Christian "fish" on the back of our new mini-van! (I am looking for something to cover it with when I drive - any ideas?) But she makes cracks if I am watching a program about the universe or chat too much with my atheist neighbor. Thanks goodness I have a Kindle! I can read anything I want.

 

Put another sticker next to the fish sticker that says something along the lines of "This fish is actually a vagina."

 

I don't have any human kids, so I can't say for sure, but honestly, if they wanted to go to church with a friend or something once in awhile, sure, they can go. Honestly though, if my kid became some sort of devout Christian I would NOT be okay with it. I would lie and tell them to do whatever they wanted, but inside, I would be dying.

 

Christian school of any sort is an absolute NO. My child will learn REAL science, not the bullshit people try to extrapolate from the Buybull.

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If my kids were Christian (depending on which kind) I would be disappointed and surprised but they would be loved of course, no matter what.

 

I have two teens and what we are doing is raising them in a Unitarian community. Living in the South, though, the fundagelicals are after them, and we had a most interesting experience with my older kid. Her best friend was a Baptist and eventually got her going to Young Life with her. It was not a happy time for us, her Unitarian atheist parents, but we felt she needed to experience some things on her own and we would discuss whatever came up (BTW Unitarian religious education set up a great rapport between us - other than her brief YL time, we have had great dialog going).

 

After it was all said and done, she feels like she experienced quite a bit of emotional manipulation, as well as weird skewed priorities (that strange Xtian preoccupation with sex) and general creepiness of Young Life adults hanging around schools luring kids to some to their get togethers.

 

It turned out to be a great learning experience, but it was a little hair-raising for her parents.

 

Learning about the world, about other cultures and about science are priorities in our family. The Unitarian church teaches a great course about other religions. Highly recommend it, as well as their sex ed course.

 

My son is quite outspoken atheist. I have to remind him to keep that on the down low.

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I don't have any human kids, so I can't say for sure, but honestly, if they wanted to go to church with a friend or something once in awhile, sure, they can go. Honestly though, if my kid became some sort of devout Christian I would NOT be okay with it. I would lie and tell them to do whatever they wanted, but inside, I would be dying.

 

Christian school of any sort is an absolute NO. My child will learn REAL science, not the bullshit people try to extrapolate from the Buybull.

 

I agree with this. A Christian school puts children in a cultural situation where ALL of their peers either accept Christianity as truth or probably no nothing else but accept the culture. Culture is everything! That is the hardest thing to pull out of! I know, been there and regret it. Of course it all depends on the kid, but if you have any other choice, any other choice is way better, regardless.

 

Church is a bit different. If you are raising your kids to ask questions and think critically about life and the world, then going to church once in a while probably isn't going to hurt them. Again, if they are doing it every single Sunday and Wednesday, it's a culture thing again. Hell to drag yourself back out of when you DO figure it out. Why would you do that to a child KNOWING they're going to have to deal with that and may, or may NOT get back out?

 

But I do think it can be harmful to protect them from church. If you don't talk to your kids about religion they're going to find out about it. If you are telling them they shouldn't do it, they're going to be curious.

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Guest Valk0010

I wouldn't care what my kids(if i had any) religion was as long as it was not fundamentalist anything(or something awful rotten like jehovah's witness, mormons, scientology etc). There are even respectable liberal muslims like Irshad Manji. So i would respect them even if they decided to become a muslim.

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I would. My parents absolutely refused to let me attend any church but an Xian one. It left me with the feeling that Xians are controlling and afraid that any exposure to another faith would make children want to ditch X. Therefore, they try to strangle children's critical thinking. Even though Xianity is horrible, not allowing my hypothetical kids to attend its rituals would be stooping to the Xian level.

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