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Raising Kids Without Religion... A cop-out?

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posted on Aug, 7 2008 @ 11:36 AM
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Some background. When I had my kids I talked to my mom, who is a very devout, and very evangelical, Christain, and explained that I did not want her to attempt to witness to the children. I was very careful to explain that I was not trying to exclude them from her own religious beleifs but to prevent them from learnign to follow a beleif system dogmatically. If they were to follow any religion, I want it to be because they have a conviction to do so, not because some family member follows it or someone has pressured or scared them into it.

Her opinion is that this is a cop-out because I do not intend to teach them moral values in accordance with any religious values (specifically, hers.) I beleive it is more of a cop-out to attempt to force children to beleive as you do, instead of allowing them the opportunity to live a bit and form a sincere dedication to their faith. I would think that God would want true converts, not drones.

Thoughts?




posted on Aug, 7 2008 @ 11:49 AM
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reply to post by asmeone2
 


If you want to instill values and give them a rough idea, I'd suggest a Unitarian Church. They don't really push anyone into any one belief. If your children decide they want to become born again Baptists, it would be their decision and not your mothers. My mother wants me to get back with the Catholic Church. Being a Pagan myself, it ain't going to happen.
Morality does not need religion, but religion needs morality. The golden rule is the best rule that should guide one's life.



posted on Aug, 7 2008 @ 11:51 AM
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Originally posted by kidflash2008
reply to post by asmeone2
 


If you want to instill values and give them a rough idea, I'd suggest a Unitarian Church. They don't really push anyone into any one belief. If your children decide they want to become born again Baptists, it would be their decision and not your mothers. My mother wants me to get back with the Catholic Church. Being a Pagan myself, it ain't going to happen.
Morality does not need religion, but religion needs morality. The golden rule is the best rule that should guide one's life.


Thanks for the advice!

I don't go much for my local Uni church; I feel like there's a competition there to see who can follow the most out-there beleifs...

I just think that the best way to instil morality in a child is to make it tangible, instead of saying they have to do it because a book says that should.



posted on Aug, 7 2008 @ 11:54 AM
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reply to post by asmeone2
 


I think that's a very brave decision and I agree with you wholeheartedly. I don't have kids yet, but when I do I plan to do the exact same thing. So many people don't realize that they are only an adherent to a particular religion just because "that's the way they were raised."

There's nothing wrong with following religion per se, but it's so wrong to try to scare others into believing anything. Has your mother said anything about the kids going to hell if they don't believe in Jesus, etc? In other words, has she pulled out the big guns?



posted on Aug, 7 2008 @ 11:56 AM
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I agree. I do not bring religion into my home. I bring spirituality and some history into the raising of my daughter, who can ask any question she would like an answer to and I'll do my best to answer with morality and honesty.
For example- She went through a phase where she was saying "God!" all the time. Same with "Jesus!". She'd use them everytime she got frustrated or mad. We had a tough time trying to tell her that a lot of people hear that as blasphemous or impolite and persuaded her to use "sheesh" and "gosh" as an alternative. It wasn't that we were worried about God or Jesus having to look up everytime she said it, it was just because to us, we figured it was a politeness lesson she needed to learn.

Our children will reflect what we instill upon them. (organized) Religion is a distraction, we think, to the message that most religions supposedly adhere to.
I saw a siggy or something the other day that read- "My God doesn't need cash". Hilarious!

Cuhail



posted on Aug, 7 2008 @ 11:56 AM
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You do NOT need church to have morals. Anyone that thinks otherwise has severely diminished mental capacity. I have stronger morals than most of the people I know, and I have been agnostic my entire life. It's not how you're taught, it's what you're taught.



posted on Aug, 7 2008 @ 12:19 PM
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I commend you on your decision. Most religion is passed on only because parents dont explain option to a child.

You could try an overview of major religions with your child. If you do it from a historical perspective, a child will get a much clearer idea of what they believe in.

You will get a similar reaction from most anyone who is devout. Most cannot seperate the ideas of morality and religion. I always do find it funny, though, when someone hiding behind a religion calls someone else weak or says its a cop-out. As if believing that there is some mythical being who will make it all better once you die and therefore make all hardships of life worth it is not a total and complete cop-out.



posted on Aug, 7 2008 @ 12:19 PM
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I went to church by choice as a kid...and stopped when the paddle was threatened (as I could just get that at home).

Now I have kids I also agree it should be thier choice not something forced upon them. Grandma has tried to push them into her religion, it hasnt worked they just dont believe.

Its thier choice!



posted on Aug, 7 2008 @ 12:42 PM
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my wife and i aren't religious. we do generally believe that there may be a higher being of sorts. we actually plan on teaching our son about all religions and what they believe. sort of turn it into a social studies lesson rather than a "we believe in this and so do you." if he decides he wants to gravitate to one of them and follow it then we won't stop him.

i grew up believing that god would hate me if i broke any of our religious rules. i have to say it was really a social impairment for me. i wasn't supposed to date girls that weren't of the same religion, but at the same time i felt i would just drag them down to my level (of not really believing in it anyway) so i never dated them either. eventually i decided that it wasn't for me.

bottom line is you need to decide how to raise your own kid. as long as there's plenty of love, discipline, education, and fun then you'll have nothing to worry about.

i'm reminded of an episode of Malcom In the Middle - the youngest brother was talking religion with his bible school teacher:


Dewey: Like Pastor Roy said, how God is so much bigger and wiser than us, and trying to see what He's thinking would be like an ant trying to see what I'm thinking.
Teacher: Yes, exactly. But we can trust in His wisdom, and have faith that He is watching over us.
Dewey: Like me with the anthill in my backyard. I spent days watching the ants, trying to figure out which ones were good, and which ones were bad, but they all just looked like ants, so I started smiting all of them.
Teacher: Well that's not --
Dewey: I was smiting them with the garden hose, and with lighter fluid, and with the lawnmower, and to be perfectly honest, I think I went a little crazy with the shovel. Those ants could have been praying to me all day, I wouldn't have heard them.
*ponders*
Dewey: There was nothing they could do about it.
Teacher: But, I don't think --
Dewey: Really, it's the same with us. There's nothing we can do about anything either, so why worry about it? Hey, this is making me feel better.
Teacher: Well, that's good, but --
Dewey: I guess all we can do is live our lives with as much kindness and decency as possible, and try not to dwell on God standing over us with a giant shovel. Bye!


[edit on 7-8-2008 by an0maly33]



posted on Aug, 7 2008 @ 12:58 PM
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teach them morals, and then bring them to several different churches, monasteries, and temples and explain to them the different religions of the world from a non bias perspective, then they can decide for themselves.



posted on Aug, 7 2008 @ 01:13 PM
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There's nothing wrong with following religion per se, but it's so wrong to try to scare others into believing anything. Has your mother said anything about the kids going to hell if they don't believe in Jesus, etc? In other words, has she pulled out the big guns?


Sort of.

I'm not a Christian any more and normally I make no bones about it, but since I live with her now I've put on a pretense that I still follow the faith, in the interest of keeping the faith. I haven't lied to her, just sort of smiled and nodded through the things I don't agree with.

She approaches it in a sort of passive-agressive way, the details of which I don't want to get into. Her attitude, when we talk about this, is generally that I know that her faith is the right one, and after I get through my young-adult spiritual crisis, (her words) I'll come around again.

I don't want to just bash her, because I think she has a very strong faith in her beleifs. I don't want to challenge that at all, I just don't want it to extend to the point of compromising how the kiddos grow up.

For example she wanted to teach them to pray before meals (which hasn't actually happened, since she isn't normally home at this time.) I said that was okay but said that I wanted them to direct the prayers to God and not Jesus, since the former is not specific to any one religion.

It hasn't been that much of a problem but if she does pull out 'the big guns' I'm more then comefortable standing my ground. I just don't want to have that kind of conflict within our personal dynamic.

[edit on 7-8-2008 by asmeone2]



posted on Aug, 7 2008 @ 01:15 PM
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It's pointless to force belief on someone. If someone chooses for them, they never get the chance to choose for themself, which pretty much defeats the purpose.



posted on Aug, 7 2008 @ 01:17 PM
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reply to post by Cuhail
 


One of my main motivations in making the decision was realizing that religiouns do not create morality, they merely reflect it.

I remember that being raised in a good Christian home made me feel very inconfident in my parents. I never saw them make a decision on their own--it was always consulting the book.

I think it is better to teach children why their actions are bad, not just that God says they are. For example, don't just say don't lie, give them an example of how lying hurts other people.



posted on Aug, 7 2008 @ 01:22 PM
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reply to post by an0maly33
 


I love that script.

It sounds like we had a similar upbringing.



posted on Aug, 7 2008 @ 01:24 PM
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Children are usually very in touch with their spirituality!
If you don't teach them about God, you will go against reality.
You have to get YOURSELF straight, before you can teach them by example.
By 'straight', I don't mean moral. There's more to belief than that.
But, it's a big part.

Expose them to faith and see.



posted on Aug, 7 2008 @ 01:29 PM
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Well, being a "new ager" I'd recommend the Unitarian Church. However, I tend to think that having some kind of spiritual foundation, regardless of the flavor, is important.

Now, with that being said, I don't think anything should be forced on anyone. As anyone who follows my posts know, one of the things I have against "Christains" and Muslims is that they tend to think everyone should follow their beliefs. I wholeheartedly disagree.

I believe in God and Jesus, but I'm not orthodox in any sense of the word. :shk:

[edit on 7-8-2008 by SpeakerofTruth]



posted on Aug, 7 2008 @ 01:34 PM
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Originally posted by Clearskies
Children are usually very in touch with their spirituality!
If you don't teach them about God, you will go against reality.
You have to get YOURSELF straight, before you can teach them by example.
By 'straight', I don't mean moral. There's more to belief than that.
But, it's a big part.

Expose them to faith and see.


They are indeed in touch, which is why I do not want that to be clouded with any dogmatic nonsense.

I don't intend them to prevent them from learning about God, my earlier posts reflect that. I want them to understand that God reacts to a person's truest desires to imrove and be close to him, instead of how closely they follow a set of rituals or how much they know about a scripture.

It took me a lot of straightening to learn that



posted on Aug, 7 2008 @ 01:38 PM
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You know, I resented the heck out of my parents growing up. They didn't spoil me, treat me like a little princess, give me a credit card to go shopping like all my girlfriends had, they cut me no slack when I acted up like my friends received from their parents, etc.

I bought my own first car, paid for my own college, bought my own clothes starting at the age of 14, etc.

The one thing my parents gave me, though, is a spiritual inheritance and upbringing my friends never received from their parents. As jealous as I was of my friends at the time who were traveling to Cancun on spring break at the expense of their parents while I was scraping grease out of the pits at my father's barbecue restaurant, I thank God for my parents who were more concerned about my spiritual walk over the superficial luxuries my friends parents indulged them in.

Today, I wouldn't change a thing and am eternally grateful to my mother for getting my behind out of bed on Sunday mornings to take me to church (even on the days it took being sprayed with a bottle of ice water), not giving up on me when I strayed from the faith in my late teens and early twenties, and realizing that being a parent also meant being a spiritual leader and not just a provider of physical provision. I thank God, literally, for the spiritual inheritance and instruction given to me by my parents.

My son will be raised the same. In my opinion, when you truly believe what you do, you will raise your children in that path without shame of being labeled a heavy or a brainwasher. If I told my son to figure it out for himself or to find his own path without any solid guidance from my end, it would be a very poor indicator of my own faith or placing 'coolness' over being a spiritual leader.



posted on Aug, 7 2008 @ 01:45 PM
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reply to post by asmeone2
 

I have three children over the age of three.
I don't force them to perform rituals.
They don't have to tithe or learn scriptures, although they pick it up at church.

My 8 year old wrote; "I love Jesus" in chalk on our front step this spring.
I didn't reprimand him. It was beautiful.
Following God's ways are pretty much just 'common sense' to children, but, at the age of accountability, they should have knowledge of how to discipline their lives
to live in accord with spiritual reality in God.



posted on Aug, 7 2008 @ 01:48 PM
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In my opinion, when you truly believe what you do, you will raise your children in that path without shame of being labeled a heavy or a brainwasher. If I told my son to figure it out for himself or to find his own path without any solid guidance from my end, it would be a very poor indicator of my own faith or placing 'coolness' over being a spiritual leader.



That's a common misconception I hear from Christians when this issue comes up.

The goal of my descision isn't to be "cool" and it isn't "providing zero guidence." It's simply guiding into understanding the difference between god, as he is, and god as man makes him out to be.

I truly beleive in that, so I don't have any shame in raising them that way. It doesn't matter how poor someone things my faith is, or how insubstantial they think that guidance to be.

And also, I don't know if you were trying to imply this or just how I interpreted your post: That sense of discipline your mom put in you as far as material values isn't central to any one religion, either. That's simply good sense in child rearing.





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