Author Topic: Is it right for parents to push atheism on their children?  (Read 1197 times)

Tank

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Re: Is it right for parents to push atheism on their childre
« Reply #15 on: October 26, 2010, 10:46:55 AM »
Quote from: "AnimatedDirt"
Quote from: "The Magic Pudding"
Tank's post seems reasonable to me.
But what happens if you live in a barking mad god bothering community?
Do you teach your children to pretend?
I find this thread quite interesting in light of this being an Atheist forum.

How could any professing Atheist parent think twice whether to teach their child about Atheism or not?  It just seems odd and out of place.  Maybe someone can explain the reason(s) to better understand.
One doesn't have to teach atheism, it's the natural state of a child. One has to protect them from people who would corrupt their world view by telling them stories about mythology and suggesting that those stories are facts, not wishful thinking inherited from their parents or some other authority figure like Billy Graham.
If religions were TV channels atheism is turning the TV off.
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TheJackel

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Re: Is it right for parents to push atheism on their childre
« Reply #16 on: October 26, 2010, 11:48:57 AM »
Quote from: "AnimatedDirt"
I'm assuming you mean that within religion there are fanatics/extremists and you wouldn't want them to go THAT far into religion and not that simply to believe in god(s) is to be a fanatic or an extremist.  Yes?

What loving parent would want their children to become extremists, or fanatics? Even if I were still a devout Christian I wouldn't want my kids (should I ever have any) to become extremists, or fanatics. This is speaking in terms where they become dangerous to society and themselves. I wouldn't want them to become Atheist extremists or fanatics either. There is a difference between fanatical extremism and practicing a religion, or not practicing a religion. This is why you teach your kids to respect other people and their beliefs even if you disagree with them. It's fine to have conflicting arguments, but when people start threatening and killing each other it's gone way beyond civility.

AnimatedDirt

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Re: Is it right for parents to push atheism on their childre
« Reply #17 on: October 26, 2010, 12:26:49 PM »
Quote from: "TheJackel"
Quote from: "AnimatedDirt"
I'm assuming you mean that within religion there are fanatics/extremists and you wouldn't want them to go THAT far into religion and not that simply to believe in god(s) is to be a fanatic or an extremist.  Yes?

What loving parent would want their children to become extremists, or fanatics? Even if I were still a devout Christian I wouldn't want my kids (should I ever have any) to become extremists, or fanatics. This is speaking in terms where they become dangerous to society and themselves. I wouldn't want them to become Atheist extremists or fanatics either. There is a difference between fanatical extremism and practicing a religion, or not practicing a religion. This is why you teach your kids to respect other people and their beliefs even if you disagree with them. It's fine to have conflicting arguments, but when people start threatening and killing each other it's gone way beyond civility.
That's what I thought.  :)

LarryS

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Re: Is it right for parents to push atheism on their childre
« Reply #18 on: October 28, 2010, 06:46:42 AM »
i think you shouldnt push him towards anything and let him/her decide.
growing up i wasnt pushed towards anything. sure i did go to church like grandma and sunday school with my aunt but just over time with logic i was pushed towards non religion. i had no outside factors persuading me. if your child really wants to be an atheist then they will become one. but i dont think it should be pushed.

Whitney

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Re: Is it right for parents to push atheism on their childre
« Reply #19 on: October 28, 2010, 08:16:28 AM »
People who have written books and given talks on how to parent as an atheist tend to lean towards complete openness on religion including allowing the child to attend church.  I definately agree with this approach for many reasons:

1)  Do we as freethinkers want to restrict our children's freedom of thought?  I think not.  It is better to expose them to all information so that they too can come to an informed decision.  

2) We complain about religious parents not allowing their children to learn about other religions.  Why would we want to commit the same wrong?

3)  Kids tend to do what their parents tell them not to do.  Telling a kid they can't go to church is likely to have them running to the pew when they rebel in their teenage years.

4)  Reading the bible and going to church armed with a skeptical background naturally creates atheist.

DropLogic

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Re: Is it right for parents to push atheism on their childre
« Reply #20 on: October 28, 2010, 08:38:44 AM »
Quote from: "Whitney"
People who have written books and given talks on how to parent as an atheist tend to lean towards complete openness on religion including allowing the child to attend church.  I definately agree with this approach for many reasons:

1)  Do we as freethinkers want to restrict our children's freedom of thought?  I think not.  It is better to expose them to all information so that they too can come to an informed decision.  

2) We complain about religious parents not allowing their children to learn about other religions.  Why would we want to commit the same wrong?

3)  Kids tend to do what their parents tell them not to do.  Telling a kid they can't go to church is likely to have them running to the pew when they rebel in their teenage years.

4)  Reading the bible and going to church armed with a skeptical background naturally creates atheist.
Wholeheartedly agree.

metaed

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Re: Is it right for parents to push atheism on their childre
« Reply #21 on: October 28, 2010, 01:34:46 PM »
We are free thinkers with an free thinking child. We reject authority as a sound basis for beliefs. We do not interfere with our child's initiatives to search for truth. We would supervise attendance of obviously dangerous churches, such as snake handlers. Otherwise, we would not forbid it. To forbid our child to attend church would be hypocritical. But I admit this is easy for me to say because we suffer from an embarrassment of riches when it comes to church. We have several area free thinking churches and fellowships. We are welcomed and respected and have the society of like minded adults and children.
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TheJackel

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Re: Is it right for parents to push atheism on their childre
« Reply #22 on: October 28, 2010, 08:08:49 PM »
Quote from: "DropLogic"
Quote from: "Whitney"
People who have written books and given talks on how to parent as an atheist tend to lean towards complete openness on religion including allowing the child to attend church.  I definately agree with this approach for many reasons:

1)  Do we as freethinkers want to restrict our children's freedom of thought?  I think not.  It is better to expose them to all information so that they too can come to an informed decision.  

2) We complain about religious parents not allowing their children to learn about other religions.  Why would we want to commit the same wrong?

3)  Kids tend to do what their parents tell them not to do.  Telling a kid they can't go to church is likely to have them running to the pew when they rebel in their teenage years.

4)  Reading the bible and going to church armed with a skeptical background naturally creates atheist.
Wholeheartedly agree.

Ditto! :hail:

pinkocommie

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Re: Is it right for parents to push atheism on their childre
« Reply #23 on: October 28, 2010, 10:13:26 PM »
I have a 7 year old.  We talk about religion sometimes and the afterlife a lot too since my dad died.  My son was told by a lot of people that his grandpa was in heaven and it was a difficult thing to deal with.  Who wants to tell their kid that heaven most likely isn't real?  That the promise of seeing your grandpa again probably isn't going to happen?  Sucked, but I when he asked me about it I told him what I thought, what Christians believe (since that was the story he was getting from others) and then I went over what some other cultures believed as well.  I told him he could believe or not believe anything he wanted, but that if he wanted to talk to me about god and religion, he needed to understand that my position on the whole thing was that it wasn't real and that I would challenge him on anything I didn't agree with.  He's taken me up on that a few times and it's been interesting.  I also make sure he knowns that there's no reason why he needs to even have any beliefs if he's not totally sure of them and that even if he's sure of something, he should question it because things that are true can handle being questioned and things that are false tend to fall apart under questioning.

At this point he seems to switch from being religious to not religious almost daily.  I just kind of go with it, always asking him questions.

If he asked me to take him to church I would, but I'm secretly dreading that day.  Church sucked for me as a kid because I just kind of went without getting it drilled into me that religion was true, so it was just long and boring and smelled weird.  Also, I myself was raised atheist so going to church, praying, all of that has always been alien to me.  Even having been exposed to it quite a bit as a kid, it always made me a little uncomfortable.  But, for the boy, that's a small price to pay to help him become a well rounded person.

I also make sure he knows that he doesn't have to believe the same thing as me, and that his belief or non belief isn't a point of pride/embarrassment to me.  It's a personal belief he needs to consider on his own - but that I'll always be there to answer any questions he might have.
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jduster

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Re: Is it right for parents to push atheism on their childre
« Reply #24 on: October 29, 2010, 04:57:44 PM »
I am rethinking my stance on this.  If my future child asked me if 2 + 2 = 5 or if a giant rabbit created the universe, I'd feel really stupid telling him he may be correct.

Velma

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Re: Is it right for parents to push atheism on their childre
« Reply #25 on: October 29, 2010, 05:11:51 PM »
Quote from: "jduster"
I am rethinking my stance on this.  If my future child asked me if 2 + 2 = 5 or if a giant rabbit created the universe, I'd feel really stupid telling him he may be correct.
That's why the atheist parents I know don't just tell their children what christianty teaches, but what religions around the world teach.  I know one atheist father who reads religious tales from around the world to his children as bedtime stories.  He found a book of them, but I'm sure with a bit of research online you could find plenty of them.
Life is but a momentary glimpse of the wonder of the astonishing universe, and it is sad to see so many dreaming it away on spiritual fantasy.~Carl Sagan

MrsV

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Re: Is it right for parents to push atheism on their childre
« Reply #26 on: November 27, 2010, 04:32:53 AM »
My three year old recently had the following conversation with her Dad;

Dad: Where does milk come from?
Kat: Cows
Dad: Where does butter come from?
Kat: Milk
Dad: Where does cheese come from?
Kat: Cheeses come from Bethlehem

Very funny - and we realised that it had come from nursery as they are doing the story in the build up to Christmas and we have never mentioned Jesus as a word before so she made a different association. At home Kat asks questions about how the world works - where food comes from, why can't she see the moon during the day etc shes naturally atheist. She even loves Doctor Who but she knows monsters aren't real. She doesn't accept that's the way it is, she wants to know why and how.

I'm actually really glad she's getting some grounding in different religions at nursery, the way they handle it is great - they are aware of all the family backgrounds and teach the children about all the different festivals in a neutral way. She came home with a lovely candle holder and card for Diwali recently.

The main thing we focus on at home is developing her critical thought and making her aware that actions have consequences that you have to take responsibility for. With that we hope to raise in a way that she can make her own decisions. They may not be the same as our own but at least we should be able to have a rational discussion about it.

DJAkuma

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Re: Is it right for parents to push atheism on their childre
« Reply #27 on: December 06, 2010, 11:56:12 PM »
My daughter is only 3 now but I plan to teach her to think critically and will encourage her to go to church events with her friends from school so she can see for herself what it's all about as well as encourage her to check out a wide variety of religions and philosophies so she can make up her own mind about. She'll already get exposed to some if it since she's got grandparents that are jewish and mormon as well as my mom who's baptist.

Willow

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Re: Is it right for parents to push atheism on their children?
« Reply #28 on: June 14, 2011, 01:59:28 PM »
The religious stories don't worry us, and we play with our Xian neighbour's Noah's Ark.  We also read stories with gods in from around the world.
I sometimes struggle to explain Xian references out of context such as reading a dancing rhyme which rhymes seven with heaven, and my 5 year old asks me what heaven is.  I think I said it was a magical land in the sky.  But we haven't really discussed the idea that some people really, really believe it.

Troll god

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Re: Is it right for parents to push atheism on their children?
« Reply #29 on: October 28, 2011, 03:52:36 PM »
How can atheism be told?

Atheism doesn't teach anything. Just don't let your children to be victims of religious propaganda, teach them how to use their brain.
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