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Is it possible for an atheist parent to not force the same belief on their children?

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posted on Sep, 7 2012 @ 01:32 PM
reply to post by Gwampo

What a perfect example of why religion is now and always will be the foundation of most of this worlds evils.

Like morality is the sole possetion of the self important religious nut jobs. Most of the people murdered in the history of man, have been murdered for religious reasons.

Most nonbelievers, are actually very moral, as there is need to find a reason to hate others, as we don't care what beliefs they hold. To each his own.

posted on Sep, 7 2012 @ 02:08 PM
reply to post by RedParrotHead

Children of Christians often rebel against their parent's beliefs at some time during their upbringing. Many turn to athiesm or the occult in an effort to upset their parents. Some stay in their newly chosen lifestyle but, many return to their Christian upbringing as their attitude matures and they learn the value of their Christian upbringing (usually about the time they settle down to have some kids of their own).

I don't see why children of atheists wouldn't be any different; dabbling in religion to cheese off their parents at some point in their lives or at least educating themselves on religion so they could decide for themselves whether or not there was any merit in it.

I say; raise your kid in your belief system. Once they reach their rebellious stage, they will experiment with other things and learn for themselves wheather religion is right for them or not.

Isn't that what most atheists preach after all; gathering all the available information to make an informed decision?

Raise you kids to have good judgement and search for the truth and trust in them to make the right life decisions.

edit on 9/7/12 by FortAnthem because:
_________ extra DIV

posted on Sep, 7 2012 @ 02:34 PM
Hey Red-

I'll throw in my two cents as a believer who doesn't force religion on my kids. Now to clarify things, I make them go to church. That's an activity that I feel is an important family 'bonding' ritual. As for their participation, I only expect them to be polite and respectful of others.

In my religion, children may be baptized at 8 years old. By and large most every member's kid gets dunked on or near their 8th birthday. My first son wanted to be baptized at that age. We sat down and really explained what it meant, that it was an act of promising to God. We wanted him to have a clear (for an 8 y.o.) grasp of his choice. He now has the opportunity to hold the priesthood, but has waited almost two years now. A decision we have supported, and will continue to support. We ask how he feels about it, if he has come to any long term choice, but we never slant our words or emotions.

My middle son however wasn't ready at 8. He thought about it for about a year. He threw some curveball questions at us as well. "So why do I have to be baptized now, if Jesus was baptized at 30?" Our response was honest- That you can choose this course at anytime in your life, you don't have to be baptized now. He finally did choose to be baptized which of course made us happy. But more importantly HE chose, of his own free will what HE wanted to do, spiritually, in his life.

Anyone who is following a religious path correctly (IMO) ought to see that at some point early on their child will begin to grasp and question spiritual things. In this arena parents aren't supposed to dominate or dictate or command...That goes against the very core ideas of so many world religions. If we are to find God for ourselves, can one find Him while being pressed into belief?

So that is the goal of my parenting, to avoid 'making' my kids believe this or that faith. If my teen has an honest and open discussion with me about not believing in God and not attending church, I wouldn't force him too. I would be sad to not share that time with him, but I hold his free will above my wants.


So for your dilemma, I would encourage you to hold your child's free-will paramount in any decisions you make on the subject. Respect that they are entering a facet of life in which personal experience, and nothing else, is the only true factor that will decide their beliefs.
Heck, look here on ATS. Atheists and Believers type till our fingers ball up with carpal-tunnel, and no one ever "wins" the argument. No one wins over the opposition (OK occasionally both sides have a convert from time to time). But by and large, it is our personal experiences that forge our belief or disbelief in a higher power.

It's OK to allow you child to talk to a believer. I am sure there are people in your life that believe in religion that are rational, calm, intelligent human beings. You probably know someone whose faith intertwines quite closely with science. Engage those folks, find out if they are "sane", if they would be interested in mentoring/teaching your child a different point of view. Have them over for dinner, sit back and let your kids amaze you with their questions and ability to wrestle with pretty deep concepts.

It's also OK to explain science to your child as a counterpoint to religious beliefs. I do that with my kids as well. But just as I can't hide the science from my kids, you shouldn't hide the religion from yours. They will be exposed to it in their lives, and the most noble outcome of your guidance should be to prepare them to analyze the whole of the data, both measurable and intangible, and come to a mature and peaceful conclusion.

posted on Sep, 7 2012 @ 02:35 PM
Do you believe the sky is blue? Or do you know it's blue. Do you need faith and hope that it's blue? No. If all you have is belief, then you are admitting to yourself that you know absolutely nothing about it. In that regard, believing in God is the same as believing in No God. Same coin. Both require the same type of faith and hope to maintain.

Teach your kids to know themselves deep within, it will gradually replace belief with Knowing. The truth of God and the kingdom is within, it can not be preached or taught. But enforcing a bunch of ideas, beliefs and philosophies on your children , won't help the slightest.

edit on 7-9-2012 by Visitor2012 because: (no reason given)

posted on Sep, 7 2012 @ 02:41 PM

Originally posted by Gwampo
I pity the child with atheist parents.

/sarcasm//: That'll give those kids the ethic/moral background they need. /end_sarcasm

Wow, just wow.

You're what’s wrong with organized religions. I know so many religious people that walk around with this type of attitude it is sickening. I don't think ethics and morals have ANYTHING to do with religion. Growing up, we never went to church, yet I'm not running around being an awful person. Religious people blow up abortion clinics. Religious people do suicide bombings. Are these things ethical or moral? (I'm not saying all religious people are bad or do these things) I think I remember reading somewhere that most serial killers have religion. Ethical or moral?

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate religious people or religion, to each their own. I go to church on occasion (my husband was raised going to church), and have met many nice religious people. The nice ones tend to be more open minded and understand that people will have different beliefs than they do, and they are ok with that. In my life I have studied Native American religion, witchcraft (not Wicca but old world witchcraft), and Christianity. I consider myself Spiritual but not part of any religion.

There is nothing wrong with being an Atheist or raising children while being an Atheist. At least the OP is letting their children decide for themselves what to believe or not believe.

posted on Sep, 7 2012 @ 02:46 PM
reply to post by RedParrotHead

My daughter is an Atheist, but she allows me to teach my grandchild about Jesus and stories from the Bible. We've discussed it at length. Seeing as how she was raised in a Christian home but was brought up to have her own mind she came to her own conclusions when she grew up. She doesn't have a problem with her child being taught as she was. The grandkid can decide for herself what she believes or doesn't when she gets older.

posted on Sep, 7 2012 @ 02:52 PM
reply to post by SpearMint

he fact is the Bible is just as credible as a Dr Seuss book

Would that by chance be "Jesus Hears a Who?"

posted on Sep, 7 2012 @ 02:53 PM
When it comes to religion I tell my children that I don't care what they believe, what I care about is how they came to that belief. If they want to be christian, buddhist, atheist muslim, pagan hindu whatever, as long as they research that belief first along with a minimum of 3 other religions first. I want them to go into it with a full understanding and be able to make comparisons with other ways of believing.

I was raised christian and was taught a very distorted view of the other belief systems. I was flat out lied to when it came to the theory of evolution.

What should be taught though is a strong moral belief despite religion.
You do not need religion to be moral.
edit on 7-9-2012 by calstorm because: (no reason given)

posted on Sep, 7 2012 @ 03:00 PM
reply to post by RedParrotHead

Originally posted by RedParrotHead
For example...

"Dad, how did that guy on the boat keep tigers and alligators alive for 40 days? Don't they eat zebras?"

As an atheist, you don't have to explain religious beliefs to her. I would just say, "I don't know... I don't believe that really happened. I think it's just a story. A fairy tale. Some people really believe it, though."

posted on Sep, 7 2012 @ 03:04 PM
reply to post by Gwampo

Originally posted by Gwampo
I pity the child with atheist parents.

/sarcasm//: That'll give those kids the ethic/moral background they need. /end_sarcasm

- A moral (from Latin morālis) is a message conveyed or a lesson to be learned from a story or event. The moral may be left to the hearer, reader or viewer to determine for themselves, or may be explicitly encapsulated in a maxim.

- Ethics, also known as moral philosophy, is a branch of philosophy that involves systematizing, defending, and recommending concepts of right and wrong behavior

So, you're saying I'm a bad person, and my wife as well. You're assuming that we don't know right from wrong because of a story we haven't heard or read. Great.

Not that it matters if you know it but I'm a damn good person, so is my wife. My children are respectful and hard workers, just like me and my wife. They're friendly and outgoing - not to mention they never had any cavities.

But, I don't think that's what you meant at all. I think you meant to state that I don't fear God or teach my kids to fear God like you - therefore I'm a bad person in your eyes. I'm OK with that. I don't need the threat of eternal suffering to help out someone in need.

posted on Sep, 7 2012 @ 03:07 PM

Originally posted by RedParrotHead

Not that it matters if you know it but I'm a damn good person, so is my wife. My children are respectful and hard workers, just like me and my wife. They're friendly and outgoing - not to mention they never had any cavities.

I was believing you up until you said your kids didn't have any cavities!
Now I know you're a godless heathen hell-bent on destroying the very fabric of the universe!

[makes evil eye sign towards monitor]

Oh wait, I don't even know what the 'evil eye' sign is...

posted on Sep, 7 2012 @ 03:12 PM
If i were to have kids in the future, i would never say be an Atheist.. because that does not make sense... i will say "think about something before you believe in it, do not believe in anything without evidence, question everything, be spiritual(not the same as religion)".

Who knows if there was prove that god does exist then the person will make their own decision on what to believe.

But to believe in a god some guy 2000yrs ago thought about does not mean everyone should believe in it.

If you picture an existing god(jesus, buddha, etc etc) talking to you in your head, you already failed and became a follower of someone else's agenda..

posted on Sep, 7 2012 @ 06:01 PM
just tell Your kid: never stop questioning! one day U may find the truth i miss, overlook! U are the future and i am the past...

posted on Sep, 7 2012 @ 06:28 PM
reply to post by RedParrotHead

My parents are atheists I am not...

There ya go.

Course they were hippies, and hippies don't force anything.

I was allowed to think whatever I wanted.

posted on Sep, 7 2012 @ 06:40 PM
Excellent thread, a subject that is of great interest to me. Im 28 and i have a 2 yr old and ive started asking myself these questions recently. Now im a definate non-believer/aethiest whatever you want to label me, and my wife isnt religeous in any way but she does have a sort of spiritualistic belief in something, the topic came up while we were driving on a long trip one day and we just couldnt come to an agreement. now im a qualified earth scientist, and i have a very logical and critical thinking approach to any subject i encounter, and ive always found it hard to swallow religeous dogma and practice, having had to attend catholic church as a child with my grandparents which i absolutely despised and found boring and a waste of my time. Now i only had to attend church irregularly as a favour for my parents, who were both raised catholic but never displayed and kind of faith or religeous practice while i was growing up. But one thing my Dad said was he was forced to attend church with his parents his whole childhood and it made him hate it and he never wanted me to be forced to do anything i didnt want to do.

I will teach my son about science and what it means and the tools it provides us to analyse our surroundings and how to critically analyse things and form his own conclusions. i will never stop him from pursuing religeon, but i feel if i can try not to lie about the way things in the world really are too much and give him to tools to make rational decisions, im sure he'll probably come to the same conclusions i have about religeon. you cant help but influence your childrens beliefs, but you sound like you will probably come to the same conclusion that i have about educating my son on religeon

posted on Sep, 7 2012 @ 06:55 PM
reply to post by RedParrotHead

i only read the name of the post but my answer would be yes. difficult, maybe. impossible, no.

posted on Sep, 7 2012 @ 07:57 PM
The goal of education is not to limit the mind, but to remove limitation.

Here is my highly successful approach:

Just educate them about what you know, and propose what you suppose as a supposition.
Try to avoid painting speculation as if it were factual, make sure you address the fact some ideas are controversial and expose your child to the various sides.

When they want to know what the word "God" means or represents, look up the word in the dictionary and give them the list of definitions. Talk about each one and discuss which ones are more realistic and which ones are unrealistic.

Open the encyclopedia and reveal to them (and possibly yourself), the diversity and history of the subject matter. Attempt to answer their questions but at the same time, learn to recognize when you aren't exactly sure what the accurate answer is, and then seek to educate yourself when applicable.

Seek knowledge and share it. Try not to limit the scope of discussion.

These basic tenants have proven highly successful and effective for me. I home school my children personally and my kids are pretty well informed considering their young age. You can have a kid reading novels by age 6 if you work at teaching them reading skills, and most important of all, reading is fun and should be always talked about as if it is really fun.

Condition them towards open mindedness and growth. Be patient when they are struggling and seek to address each problem and keep working at it. Remember there is no stupid questions, only stupid answers. Try to avoid them.

posted on Sep, 7 2012 @ 08:00 PM
reply to post by RedParrotHead

My dad was an atheist - my mom a sentimentally religious agnostic

Neither one ever taught me to believe anything - one way or another. They let me figure things out for myself

My dad expected me to ask questions and then try to answer my own questions. If I had an opinion - he would respect it - but I had to be able to back it up. He'd always play devil's advocate - and he demanded I keep up my end of the argument. If I asked a direct question - he would give me a direct (and sometimes way too honest) answer

Dad... :shk:


My mom was pretty much the same - just less of a debater. And she loved holidays :-)

But they were just days - special days

I thank them both for not only allowing me to use my own mind - but absolutely insisting on it

And just to be clear - not only was I never told to believe in god - I was also never told not to believe

I of course didn't appreciate any of that until I was much older - you have no idea how much I appreciate it now

I hope that helps :-)

posted on Sep, 7 2012 @ 08:13 PM
reply to post by RedParrotHead

Interesting dilemma. I'm a teacher, and I'm often faced with questions I don't know how to answer, because I don't want to say anything that conflicts with my various parents' beliefs It may sound glib, but my response usually is "What do you think?'" The children seen happy to give their answer, even processing it as they do so, and then all is (temporarily) good. Not sure if it would work for a parent, but it works in my profession.

posted on Sep, 7 2012 @ 08:55 PM
Whether to beleive or not to beleive is a very personal decision. I am atheist, my 25 yr old son considers himself agnostic, and my daughter is simply dis-interested in it all. I let them go to church when young. I let their religous friends come over any time. I never pushed my beleifs onto my kids. Time, maturity and life expereince will guide them to where they need to be. I did always tell them, listen to the logic & reason voices in your head. Logic & reason, can't go wrong with logic & reason guiding your way.

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