Atheist mom looking for help

Tanya - posted on 04/28/2010 ( 109 moms have responded )

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I am a new mother. I am also an Atheist. My problem is that his father and I are both from religious families and they keep buying my child toy and books having to do with their beliefs. I have never bought any of them book explaining why you should be a atheist and I am sure it would offend them. I don't understand why they would think that it doesn't offend me. I have tried to talk to them and tell them that my husband and I are planning to raise our son as an atheist, but they don't seem to respect that. Should I start giving these gifts back?

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Jenny - posted on 04/29/2010

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Sharina, that was totally uncalled for. Tanya has made it clear she is an athiest. I think you should respect her as being intelligent enough to come to her own conclusions thank you.



I am not "afraid" to have religious materials around my children. I just don't want them being introduced to indoctrination tools at such a young age. I have explained to my oldest what different people believe and that she is entitled to come to her own conclusions. I have also been hammering home the point that she is not to belittle others for their beliefs such as calling them not true if one of her friends is talking about heaven or something as it is bad manners.



When my grandmother came to visit she asked my daughter to say grace before dinner. My daughter looked at her weird because that is her name lol. I said she doesn't know what that means as we are athiests. She said "we'll do it anyway" and began to pray. I just stood uncomfortably until she was done and my daughter sat in silence chewing her chicken. I found it rude as this is my home. If you want to pray, fine, but don't force it on the rest of us. It is perfectly acceptable to pray in your head.



I don't beleive in religion, I don't support religion and I don't want it in my home. We can teach religion to children without giving them marketing material.

[deleted account]

Two GREAT books for atheist parents: "Parenting Beyond Belief" and "Raising Free Thinkers: A Practical Guide for Parenting Beyond Belief" (the links to buy the books are listed below) they absolutely amazing! I have a copy of both and I look at them almost everyday for advice and tips!!! You can also join the blog at www.parentingbeyondbelief.com Its spectacular and has AMAZING video tutorials about how to talk to family and friends about all the questions they may have...you can also join their subscribers on Youtube at: http://www.youtube.com/user/PBBChannel



I recommended it to all atheist parents!



http://www.amazon.com/Parenting-Beyond-B...



http://www.amazon.com/Raising-Freethinke...

Celia - posted on 05/02/2010

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I am a strict Agnostic so yes I think that anyone who believes they have the answers to the universe are delusional. That is my way of thinking. On the right side of Agnostics are Relifious who think they know the key to the Universe is some almighty power, on the left side of Agnostics are Athiests who are positive that no such power exist. I am secure in my unknowing and dont even want the conversation as I've had it enough to know that nothing can be proven and there are mysteries that have yet to be solved. I am a strictly scientific thinker and do not like to close doors and settle on the side that has the most proof, I want every mystery solved or I want no part of it.
In this argument for or against some "thing" that created the smallest parts of the atoms and the nothing space in between electrons no proof on either end can be made so I opt to admit my defeat and stay nutral till further proof comes forward.
Anyone who thinks they can know something that can not be proven is delusional, and yes you call it faith but to me faith is just hoping that there is not some nothing because nothing is too scary for people of faith to imagine. And as for Athiesm its just another group of scientific thinkers that are more opt than Agnostics to close the door when the scale of proof tips in the no "god" favor. They settle for the balance being on their side and are fine with some mysteries left on the table.
check out the psychiatric definition and you'll see that I am useing the term corectly -certainty not changable by proof to the contrary (evolution), impossibility of content (burning bush that speaks for example)
Not meant as a personal insult just trying to show the difference in thought between the Religious and the Athiests, often religious people treat Athiesm as something equal to another religion albeit one they would put on the bottom of the favorites list. But it is not another religious organization its people who think religions are make believe on the same level as Barney or Dora the explorer only stranger because adults believe it enough to die for their beliefs.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delusion

Celia - posted on 05/01/2010

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Karen, I understand you being able to tolerate and admire your athiest husband who dosent go to church with you, but you are religious... period. You have no issue letting your children look at all religions equally and you say you wouldent have an issue teaching them the Athiesm so I find it strange that your children go to a Catholic School and church and yet you dont equally put forth your husbands point of view on a daily basis regardless what a bishop says (I find that part silly... is the priest really going to quiz your kids to see how you are raising them?). So they are weighed heavily to the religious path regardless of how open you feel you are being with them.
You believe there is a magical being that watches over them as they sleep and go about their daily lives, you make that a part of them by involving school and a once a week sermon. You are indocterinating your child no matter how you spin it.
You have to understand that to an Athiest you are delusional. Its like letting a crazy person tell your child that a big watermellon in the sky spits seeds of happiness that grow into elephants who make water come out of their trunks to fill the oceans. To them its as likely a story as your God and Jesus and walking on the water and hanging out with a burning bush that speaks then lighting bolts make a few words on stone tablets that make the world a better place. Any religion is crazy making. Your husband may be passive about religion so I suspect he's Agnostic rather than Athiest (SO many people confuse the two and call themselves Athiest when they are not)
I am not as passive an Agnostic and would not let my child be raised either Athiest or Religious. But I respect both ways of thinking as people have their own little things going on and for the most part dont hurt anyone with their stories.

Celia - posted on 05/01/2010

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I am Agnostic, and I find it very strange how Religious people fail to understand the Athiest point of view, as they are both alot alike really! Both the religious and the athiest have a definite point of view as to how the world and spirit works... they have both come to a conclusion based on some mix of fact and fairytale and dug their heels in.
Yet only the Athiests truely respect the religious by not sending conversion material to their children, because lets be honest thats what we are talking about here.
What would happen if she were religious with athiest parents sending her kids books about how there is no god and once you die life is over? I dont think we'd be getting any posts about how we should respect that those are the beliefs of the grandparents and let the child be taught both ways of thinking.
The parents decide... period.
All parents should be allowed to brainwash their children as they see fit without someone else interfering!! lol

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Lacye - posted on 01/06/2011

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I just joined this post, very late I might add, and all I have to say is I'm disappointed at some of the Christians that answered this post. The Bible teaches you to NOT judge, that God is the only one who can judge, and to be tolerant of others. I am a Christian, but how dare you tell some one that you feel sorry for them because they believe something different. Let's try the old saying, "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all."

BTW Tonya, if you really don't want the books, sell them on eBay, donate them to a church that might want them, or just throw them away if you decide you just don't want them. I'm glad that you are keeping them to use as a learning tool. That is just a wonderful idea!

Amy - posted on 01/06/2011

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Although I think that it is overstepping their place a bit, it is ultimately your child's choice on what beliefs will be. And if you try and push atheism as much as they push religion...kid's going to go running the other way from whatever is pushed the most. Maybe ask if they are going to give him stories on religion to next time include some hindu, wiccan, buddhism, shinto, islam etc because you feel kids need a well rounded education on what's out there. :) Sorry, just had to. Maybe they'll just stop.

Alexis - posted on 01/05/2011

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I personally am raising our son without religion, however i am not opposed to him being introduced to it. I know that as he gets older he will make his own mind up but he can not do that if he only has one side of things. If it is getting a little much then yes, I would start giving them back.

Mandi - posted on 10/21/2010

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YES. My inlaws are johova witness and if tehy did the same thing, I would wait until we came to their home and give them all back. If tehy are coming to your house and not respecting your wishes than they should have no problem doing teh same in theirs. Fortunately my inlaws are not like that in the least. Just a little stubborn and stuck in their ways :)

Barb - posted on 10/21/2010

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What a challenge you have taken on Tanya but i sure applaud you for it. Some interesting incites and good points all the way around.

Before reading posts my gut reaction was to suggest for every christian/conversion gift they give to your child, you give them an atheist one. Point for point until they get the point, since you have tried talking to them and that didn't work.

However, I think you should let your parents know how telling you your grandfather was going to hell and their beliefs in the rapture affected you and you don't want your child to be tormented like you were.

Best of luck to you

Laura - posted on 10/21/2010

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I'm sorry that you find yourself in this position. I, too, was Atheist at one point in my life and have since chosen a non-Christian spiritual path (which might be even more difficult to explain to family than the Atheism!). I have a sister-in-law, whom I love, that is a devout Baptist Christian. Early on she gave my daughter a Biblical story book that I graciously accepted. I thanked her for the gift. I then donated it to Goodwill where I'm sure it found a new home! She has since given up on trying to "convert" me and my family and we get along just fine by NOT discussing religion.

The thing is, you need to at least understand their perspective: Your family loves you and your family and part of how they feel they need to show that love is through their religious beliefs. These are folks who are actually frightened that your beliefs will seperate you from them forever (after death)! Part of being a good Christian is trying to save souls from damnation and it becomes even more paramount when the soul in (perceived) jeopardy is a loved family member! That all being said, you are also correct in that your family is showing you and yours very little respect when it comes to religious beliefs. It's hard, but try and remember that their offences and disrespect are not intentional--they are acting out of fear for your soul and out of love for you and, unfortunately, there just isn't a respectful way to behave when religious beliefs are on the line! : (

Allow me to make a suggestion (or two): First, accept the gifts as they are--gifts given out of love. Do not make a big deal out of them, you will have more important battles to fight over this issue of religion. Take the gifts and donate them to Goodwill, a women's shelter, a local church, etc. You know what you believe and you know what you will teach your child and that really is all that matters. If your family asks about them, be honest: You appreciated the sentiment of the gift but found it didn't convey the message you want for your child so you gave it to (someone, an organization, etc) that would appreciate the message of the gift. Suggest an appropriate toy or book that your child (and you) would actually appreciate. Be consistant and respectful in your message to your family and after a few "rejections" of their gifts they may start to get the hint. While I know their behavior is frustrating and even angering, it is important for you to remain respectful of them--remember that the root of it is fear!

Finally, see if their is a support group for Atheists in your area that you can join! I recommend checking at a local Unitarian Universalist church--UU's are PLURALISTIC and many congregations have active Atheists! My husband is Agnostic, I'm a Pagan and we are raising our daughter as a UU. Talk about pluralism! The point is we found a place where we could find support for our beliefs that was safe and nurturing. I think that when the family found out we belonged to a "church" it took some of the pressure off of us, too, while allowing us to maintain our beliefs. It can't hurt and might actually help. Good luck to you and your family!

Pamela - posted on 10/20/2010

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I would have a serious sit-down with them - it is so NOT okay to do that to any child. When my husband's parents died (they were what I would call "practical atheists"), all we said was they're in the hands of God and there is no safer place than that. Which I actually believe. But to tell a child that someone they love is going to hell (complete with fire and brimstone) is cruel - perhaps well intentioned but not terribly wise. Though honestly, I don't know what anyone hopes to achieve in it...

Also, I'm not sure it's biblically accurate anyway...(another topic I suppose for another day). Anyway, I'm sorry that's been your experience...

Tanya - posted on 10/20/2010

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My biggest fear in all of this is that they will tell him that he and his parents are going to hell.

When I was about 6 my parents told me that my grand father was going to hell because he did not believe in Jesus. I remember running up to hi crying and begging him to come to church.

I can also remember waking up as a small child and checking to make the cars where gone if my parents were gone. The reason being if the cars were still there and they were gone than the rapture had happened and I was now alone.

Thats why I don't want to open the door for my parents to teach him about religion.

Maybe if my parents shared some of the same christian beliefs as you Pamela I wouldn't have a problem.

Pamela - posted on 10/20/2010

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This is really good for folks like me to read. Excellent post Tanya. It highlights how important it really is to respect other views on this subject. When my oldest has his own children and wants to rear them as free-thinkers and /or atheists, I won't be subjecting them to "Jesus" toys out of respect for my son. I have a real problem with the commodification of Jesus anyway so I won't be buying Jesus toys anyway.

Rebecca - posted on 10/20/2010

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WOW!!! I am going through something very simular. I plan to raise my son to be a free thinking individual, and people keep giving me Jesus things. They give my son teddy bears that pray, books, and other stuffed animals that sing Jesus loves me. I think it could interfere with the way I want to teach my son, so I just give the gifts away. I have had to explain my beliefs so much, that I finally just wrote it in a note and posted it on facebook for all of my relatives and friends to see. I just know that religion influences so much in a person's life, that I want my son to be able to make that choice for himself. I definately do not believe in Christening a child, and my husband's family have asked time and time again when our son is going to get Christened. Each time I tell them that its not going to happen and explain to them that I am not going to force anything upon him. It will be fine with me if one day he chooses to get baptized, but I don't want him to not have a say so in the matter. I have explained to my family and my husband's why I believe the way I do, and why it is so important to me that Ethan remain neutral until he can understand what he's learning. They have backed off alot. My child does not get nearly as many Jesus things (at the moment.. IM DREADING CHRISTMAS THOUGH)

Pamela - posted on 10/20/2010

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My oldest son is an atheist and we are not. But we have made it a point not to force him into our faith (because we can't, to be practical about it. I can't "convert" anybody to what I believe.) We don't make him attend church and we're respectful of his views (while even perhaps disagreeing with him).



Honestly, it's hard for parents who are religious to watch their kids wander off into another religion or into atheism - but it is absolutely necessary to step back from it all and allow for exploration and even rejection of one's faith. This is just something we can't control.



You're parents love you and your family - they don't understand necessarily where you're at, but rest assured, they do love you and care the world for you. I would continue asking them to refrain from religious toys and books because it doesn't reflect who you and your husband are (though it does reflect who your parents are) and it your job to raise your kids as you see fit.



When they don't listen and continue with the religious gifts, I would donate them to the nearest church. When they question why none of the toys are out and about in your home, tell them you donated them - and use that as an opportunity to discuss - again - what your's and your husband's values are...



Now that all said, does it need to be that big of a deal? These toys do reflect your parents and they are a part of your lives - along with their religion. This may be a way of being respectful of their beliefs - the very thing you want from them. Just a thought.

?? - posted on 10/04/2010

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When they give you those gifts, tell them that you'll make sure it goes to a child that will appreciate it. Explain that you've told them repeatedly how you feel about these things and if they insist on giving those gifts, you will donate them to a place where they will be enjoyed by someone who cares about it.

Stifler's - posted on 10/03/2010

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Let's have a rumble. I agree, just give the books and stuff to Lifeline/whatever charity shop you have over there. There's nothing worse than people trying to push their beliefs and parenting ideas onto you.

Tanya - posted on 10/01/2010

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Oh also I used to be an Atheist that thought that some people need religion, but now I am pretty anti-theist. I have been an Atheist since I was 14, but it wasn't until a few years ago that I really got fed up with religion. I think it was around the time the sex scandals broke. That was just over the top.

Tanya - posted on 10/01/2010

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Funny that you guys would bring this back now.

My MIL got my son a Baby's First Bible. We told her we didn't want it. We also ask her not to read it to him when she watches him.

My mom asked me if she could take him to church. I told her no. My mom kind of high jacked my baby shower so that her pastors wife could throw it. While it didn't get religious she does keep telling me that they would love to see him in church. I said no very firmly twice and she hasn't said anything else.

[deleted account]

Whenever you take a road that is less traveled, you're going to have challenges. Being different is tough! Your choice to be an Atheist is clearly different from your families' backgrounds, and you're probably going to find much of the same in the world around you in general.

In the interest of keeping the peace in your family, I wouldn't make a big issue of it. I would graciously accept the gifts and then give them to a charity.

Ava - posted on 09/30/2010

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I would actually just start throwing them away. I'm an Atheist. My daughter has one religious book, a cardboard book of the story of Noah, and I strictly tell her it is only a story and there is no truth to it, just like any of her Disney Princess or fairy tale books. I wouldn't suggest donating them because I'm personally also anti-theist. I wouldn't give the church any more books to teach other children to be religious. I would throw them out or give them back, and reject any further religious gifts. You need to be firm about *your* household. "In your house, you can be as religious as you want to. But in this household, I do not permit any religious nonsense whatsoever." That being said, you should keep a copy of different religious books in your house when they get older and ask them to read them, because an educated Atheist who knows *why* they don't believe in God is better prepared to live in this world than one who was just raised that way with no foundation beneath them. That's how I intend to raise my daughter.

Jane - posted on 05/05/2010

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Whilst I am a late joiner to this debate, I must say I have enjoyed reading every post - it's been very interesting, even enlightening! :)

I am an atheist as well. My son, now 10 was christened in order to appease his father's family and I didn't really have a problem with it as I knew his father wouldn't end up with any say whatsoever in how he was brought up on a day to day basis anyway as we had already split up by the time the christening happened. The vicar knew I was an atheist and did not make me take any of the vows or anything - the father did that. As he was completely out of my son's life within 6 months of the ceremony, I don't feel it did my son any harm and at least if later he meets someone who wants to marry in church, he will not have to lie about being christened as I did when I got married!

My son has always known he was christened but other than that I have always just treated god and jesus like Santa Claus - told him the stories and trusted he'd come to his own decisions in his own time. When he was about 6 and they'd started teaching about lots of different religions at school, he just decided that there was no god - and no Santa at about the same time!! We have a bible - but only because we love quizzes and all sorts of reference books so it sits alongside the enclycopedia of Ancient Mythologies and books on paganism and Native American fables (even though we are English and live in the UK!).

Anyway, I guess my point is that I agree with all that has been said and, in particular, the fact that if an atheist were to give a christian family member some atheist literature or artifacts (if there were such a thing!) then they would be upset. It appears to be perfectly acceptable for a christian to try and "convert" an atheist or agnostic, but not the other way around. Atheism and Agnostic beliefs are not even treated as "religions" per se in the schooling system as they are not included in the Religious Education curriculum. This even though the definition of religion is a "collection of practices based on beliefs that are highly valued or sacred". Why the beliefs of Atheists and Agnostics are not deemed to fall in this category is beyond me!

But I digress (as I have want to do!). Use the books as though they were reference books or teaching tools is, I think, a great suggestion, as is donating the other items to your local church.

Brilliant debate ladies!! xx

Jackie - posted on 05/05/2010

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@ Meghan..."Only the Good die young" :). Sorry to hear about your Dad, but I totally agree wit everything you've just said. I will also have to check out that book.

Deborah - posted on 05/04/2010

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You are entitled to your opinion of me.. I am not offended by it. Your personal beliefs do not affect how I feel about you as a fellow human being. I believe you are a wonderful, loving, caring person.

Jenny - posted on 05/04/2010

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I've read it twice. I love that book and highly recommend it. I also have The Greatest Story Ever Told: The Evidence for Evolution which is fantastic.

[deleted account]

THE GOD DELUSION BY: RICHARD DAWKINS...New York Times BEST SELLER for 8 amazing weeks!!!!!

I think this is a book EVERYONE should read Atheists will love Mr. Dawkins incisive logic and rapier wit, and theists will find few better tests of the robustness of their faith. Even agnostics who claim to have no opinion on god, may be persuaded that their position is an untenable waffle...

Krista - posted on 05/04/2010

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Exactly. It's really kind of insulting to say that the only reason atheists and agnostics don't have faith in a god is because their lives have been cushy. When a loved one dies, we miss them, we mourn their passing, we cherish the memories we have of them, and if they had been sick, we take comfort in the fact that they are no longer suffering. But we certainly don't decide to respond to tragedy by worshiping an invisible sky person who, according to dogma, was omnipotent enough to prevent our tragedy but chose not to.



No offense, but if your kid is dead, he's not safe. He's DEAD. I don't find it at all upsetting to think that when someone dies, they just wink out of existence. Their consciousness is gone, so it's not like THEY care, right?



Would it be nice if there was a happy, sunshiny place where we all go when we die and we see our loved ones again? Sure -- that'd be great! It'd also be great if I woke up tomorrow with superpowers. But as far as I'm concerned, it's just not gonna happen.

[deleted account]

@@@@@@ Deborah Kates

I hope you never have to sit in a hospital room and watch your child die of cancer.. or get a call that your teenager has been killed in an accident..because if things are as you believe there will be no hope that your child is safe in the arms of a loving God.




I have had many tragedies happen in my life...3 years ago my father was killed in a car accident by a semi-truck driver who took a left turn in front of him while he was driving 65mph on the highway...My grandfather recently passed away of lung cancer and was NEVER and smoker the only thing they could guess it was from was when he inhales toxic fumes back when he was younger FIGHTING IN WARS FOR HIS COUNTRY!!!!!! With all of these things that have happened someone would think I would run (back) to religion (as I once was very religious) they actually turned me further away...strengthening my belief that there is no God who sits above everyone deciding what will happen to me or anyone else for that matter...because if some mythical being is deciding who lives and who dies then why do good hearted wonderful people die? Why would he choose my father over the truck driver who blew a blood alcohol level 3 times the legal limit???? Was my father a worse human than a child molester...I THINK NOT! Did my grandfather die of lung cancer so a murder could walk the streets??? NO they didn't...therefor it was just THEIR TIME TO GO...no other reasons needed or necessary!

Jenny - posted on 05/04/2010

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I hope those things don't happen as well Deborah, to any of us.



My mother's brain blew up (anuerysm burst) at the age of 42 and I spent three month sitting by her bedside in ICU while three months pregnant. I did not once even flirt with religion or spirituality, I just don't function that way. My trust was with the nuerologist who did her two brain surgeries and the team of nurses guiding her through each day. Athiests are not the way we are because of a lack of bad things happening in life.

Deborah - posted on 05/04/2010

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I hope you never have to sit in a hospital room and watch your child die of cancer.. or get a call that your teenager has been killed in an accident..because if things are as you believe there will be no hope that your child is safe in the arms of a loving God.

[deleted account]

I would treat the books like any other FICTION book I read to my daughter...explain that they are not real and that there are not really monsters, faries or jesus...

Deborah - posted on 05/04/2010

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Personally I think life rocks....don't mean to demean anybody sorry if you took it that way.. I'm only voicing what I believe and what works for me.. won't be the same for all. Mello out Athiest person!! : )

Celia - posted on 05/04/2010

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What makes me sad is that what the sick, impovrished, abused and neglected people need is not God... its compassion and assistance and empathy. Waiting around and hoping God will take them into his arms and make them better, or find them food, give them hope is just taking the weight of their plight off your shoulders. Feel their plight and do something about it, be the person to give hope, buy a can of food to feed the bellies of the hungry in your own city, protest the wrongdoings of injust governments. Dont pray for it.
And why sit and hope for more? Act to make what we have better!
If there was some big guy who made us all in some strange twist of fate he's be depressed as hell for all the apathy and praying people to for change instead of doing something about it.

Jenny - posted on 05/04/2010

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Thanks for the heads up that life sucks without god Deborah, I best hit the rope store on the way home lol.



Seriously though, do you realise how demeaning the statement is to athiests? We have PLENTY going on in our lives that fulfills us. Think outside the box (bible) for a bit and a whole new world is opened up for ya.

Deborah - posted on 05/04/2010

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Sometimes for some there is no reason for existence even with God because life can be terribly hard .. the sick, the impoverished, the abused and so omn...so even if there would be no God He gives hope to many for something beyond this short life we have. I need hope.. I need to believe there is more....

Jackie - posted on 05/04/2010

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So are you saying that you really feel there is no reason for existence if there is no God? Hmmm... mind boggling

Deborah - posted on 05/04/2010

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Gottcha... you make some very valid points... I let my personal beliefs and feelings speak.. I do feel sorry for her child because of my personal beliefs...For ME life is hard enough as it is..without God there is no hope... no reason for existence. I do understand that what I think and believe is not the same for everybody and I respect that. I do not belong to any organized religion, nor do I attend church but I do believe. Fortunately I only need to worry about myself and what is right and wrong for me. Every child grows up and will walk the walk they want to.. Athiest, Christian ,Agnostic... whatever..we have one thing in common.. free will..

Tanya - posted on 05/04/2010

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Deborah I feel sorry for you as your reading comprehension skills must be lacking. I also wonder if this debate would have gone or so long or gotten this heated if I would have said that I don't know what to do with ugly toys I have been given.

Jackie - posted on 05/04/2010

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@ Deborah. WHY FEEL SORRY FOR HER CHILD!!!??? If you read this thread, she is keeping the books as a learning tool. If someone told me that they feel sorry for my child because they will not be raised in a church, I'd thrown a bible at them... litteraly. And here is my OTHER point. WHY WOULD SHE NOT "IMPOSE" HER BELIEFS ON HER CHILD?? After all, it is what SHE believes to be the truth. If you are a christian, would you not "impose" your beliefs on YOUR children? Just sayin

That was rediculous! Pssh...

Karen - posted on 05/02/2010

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Tanya - I'm glad you posted this question because I think it was good food for thought for anyone, regardless of our belief system, to consider the impact of our behavior and actions on others. I think that too often we are so enthusiastic about our life experience and how it has helped us that we fail to stop and think that others may not have had the same experience. I was at a dinner the other evening and someone was explaining the reasons why she left the Catholic Church and I was floored because it was so foreign to what I have experienced and that is in the same denomination where people are supposed to approach things relatively the same way. So, I can only imagine who different my experience has been to others who follow a different way. And, for the record, I did not get my feelings hurt by anything that you posted. I think you have been thoughtful, reasoned, and considerate in your arguments. I was just pointing out that this discussion (and all discussions) would be better served by stating our position and backing it with facts and not drawing conclusions as to other people's character. Noone can truly know what is someone else's heart. I also am willing to admit that I might be completely wrong and I won't find out if or if not until the very end. I, for one, want to continue wondering and searching for a very long time, thankyouverymuch. So, thank you for posting this, it was very thought-provoking for me and I'll try to be more considerate of my behavior and actions in the future.

[deleted account]

I didn't say your child was going to hell. I apologize for using my burning building as an analogy. And since I'm a Christian I'd better keep my mouth shut about anything else I was going to say since I'll just be seen as delusional anyway. :(

Tanya - posted on 05/02/2010

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Wow after watching my simple question turned into a religious debate I hope you can now understand why I am not in favor of these toys. It is a very hard subject to talk about and I was not trying to covert anyone but people have gotten their feelings hurt and you don't even know me or my child. I hope you can all understand how touchy a subject this is now. Also I think that it was pretty morbid to tell me that my child is going to hell or to try to make me picture him in a burning building. I think I can end this by saying I am keeping the books. I will keep the toy around long enough for the people to see them. By the way the person who gave him this toy is my SIL not his grandparents. She doesn't even go to church and that was why I was offended by her toy.. Also the books came from his great grand parents so of course I am going to keep them for him. Not b/c of what they are but b/c of who they come from. Thanks to everyone for the suggestions

Karen - posted on 05/02/2010

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I appreciate that you've spelled out your beliefs but next time it would be nice for you to have done so while leaving out the insulting and disrespectful terminology. Whether or not you think my beliefs are wrong, you crossed the boundary of respect when you referred to me as delusional. The debate could have been civil and respectful which I believe that I was but you decided to be insulting. Your comment was unnecessary and your point could have been made without the insult and disrespect. I tried to show you respect and state my case without personal attacks, I regret that you didn't find me worthy of the same level of respect. How you meant the word and what you actually said may or may not be two different things. It's like making a nasty crack to someone and then saying "no offense". That does not make it right. However, this is neither here nor there and is entirely OT. I guess that that is why I rarely contribute to these sorts of things because I have set a higher standard for my discourse and usually find that that standard is not held to by others.

Karen - posted on 05/02/2010

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I understand your point of view but I just wanted to point out that referring to someone with whom you don't agree as delusional is insulting and disrespectful. I was also a bit taken aback to be referred to in a derogatory way when I made every effort to be respectful of other people's points of view and not make a personal attack. Now, had I started it then the attack would have been entirely justified. I think that as a society our level of discourse and debate has gone from a level of respect (remember that Tip O'Neill and Ronald Reagan could disagree vehemently but remain civil and friendly, you think that could happen these days???) to personal attacks when we don't agree with someone. Therefore, my request is that it's OK to disagree and not understand how someone believes how they believe but not turn it into a personal insult. Examine your words and ask if that is how I would like me / my Mother / my child to be referred to. If the answer is no, use another word. Now, if you wanted to call me crazy, I come from a long line but that's a topic for another thread ;-)

Lady - posted on 05/02/2010

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Karen it's really not meant as an insult to refer to religious people as delusional I do understand why you see it that way but it's honestly not meant in a horrible way. We still respect your right to have your faith but when all around you is eveidence that god doesn't exist, when so much of the bible has been proven to be wrong or contradictory, when there is no real evidence of god as far as so many of us can see then to us to be able to still believe in god on some level to us you do look delusional. I'm sure you'll completly disagree with everything I have said but most of us hve been brought up by religious parents and been taught about the bible in church or school yet can see through it to the truth but when you still believe what we have rejected it's just very hard to understand. I really am not trying to insult you or convert you but simply make you understand where Celia's comment has come from.

Karen - posted on 05/02/2010

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And by the way, it is my responsibility to raise my child Catholic as that is the vow that I made. So, no I don't hold a daily class on Dad's beliefs. If he chose to do so, that would be his choice and I would not interfere. So far, he has not chosen to do so. So, there is no dichotomy in my raising my child, I teach her my beliefs and others are free to teach her what they believe. In the end, when she's old enough to make an informed choice it will be what her heart tells her is right, not what may or may not be viewed as "delusional" by some.

Karen - posted on 05/02/2010

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Celia - not trying to pick a fight here, but in the future, if you are going to state that you respect all sides, please do not refer to beliefs that you don't either understand or agree with as delusional. I have never and will never refer to anyone's chosen path as delusional. I feel that everyone has their own path to follow which may or may not change at certain times in their life, but I would not ever dare to refer to them as delusional. That is insulting and antagonistic. I don't agree with everything that everyone believes and would like to learn so I can better understand. However, as long as they are being good to others and themselves and being law-abiding citizens, isn't that the whole point? I would not dare to insult someone for a belief system that I don't understand or follow and would expect the same respect from them.

[deleted account]

I'd be incline to acceot the books, as long as there are lots of other books around the house. Don't make the Christian books "special", but part of your child's collection. Perhaps suggest to your parents that you're aiming to have lots of books in your child's life and that animal books (or whatever) are great too!

Celia - posted on 05/01/2010

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Sorry I got off track, point being books or statues or anything of a religious nature dont fit with an Athiest family. No athiest parent would want their kids to become crazy thinking that some guy with a white beard allways has their eyes on them... Oh unless it's Santa!! Haha!

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