Raising your children to follow your religious views...

Ashley - posted on 12/06/2009 ( 143 moms have responded )

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I am Agnostic and my husband is Atheist. We would never think of pushing what we believe onto our son (and future children). I was raised that you can believe in whatever you want to believe and that no one should decide for you. That is how we plan on teaching our children. We feel it is a personal choice that we have no right to force our kids to make.

Thoughts?

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?? - posted on 09/21/2010

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I wouldn't be happy about it, means just that. I just wouldn't be happy about it. I'd be confused, I'd be a lil concerned, I'd be wondering why he chose that path (or that path chose him - as most people I know who are believers in God don't think they choose to believe, they feel that they were shown that God exists) and I'd be asking a billion questions but I wouldn't be sad or disappointed in him.



I would be sad and disappointed in MYSELF if he truly believed God existed but wouldn't tell me or was scared to tell me because he thought I would be sad and disappointed about him choosing to follow a religion.



I would be sad and disappointed if he chose to join a religion for any reason other than his truest feelings have led him to believe that religion is the truth and the path to his happiness. Ex: If some girl was a Christian and he became a Christian to make her happy, I'd be sad and disappointed in the sense that he is being put in the position to not be himself.



I'd be sad and disappointed if he joined a religion and turned into a complete schmuck.



If he genuinely believes he found faith after learning and exploring and being true to himself, I am the last person that would feel sad for him or disappointed in him - all while continuing to be true to MYSELF by asking him a billion more questions and continuing to try and keep his mind open to learning more...

[deleted account]

I just wanted to pipe in here that I AM in favor of comprehensive sex ed in school, I think forcing anyone to get married is stupid, I'm not homophobic, and I'm not trying to save anyone (share the Truth, sure, but the saving part is God's job). ;)

Signed... a Christian ;)

Krista - posted on 01/30/2010

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Rules, marriage, family, and government are biblical ideas.


I have a bit of a quibble with this particular statement, as it makes it sound as though you're saying that rules, marriage, family and government originated with the Bible, when it's pretty blatantly obvious that this isn't the case. If you meant to say that all of those concepts are included in the Bible, then yes, that is true. There's a lot of good and a lot of not-so-good in that particular book. And if you want to use the good bits of it as a teaching aid for your kid, then that's great. My beef is when certain people (and I'm not saying you're doing this) believe that those concepts cannot be taught without the aid of the Bible.

Amy - posted on 12/08/2009

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My husband and I are both Christian, however neither of us like going to church. We do plan on getting our son baptized and bring him to Sunday school. We do also plan to explain other religions and make sure that our children have the chance to learn about what everyone believes in and allow them to make there own choice.

We have a few reasons that we plan on doing Sunday School and Church with our children.

1. It's a good place to teach children about morals, regardless of what religion, classes for the young USUALLY teach them how to be a good person. Things they won't learn in public school.

2. we want them to learn about what we believe in and understand what and why we believe in. We won't force them to believe in it, and as they get older and understand more let them know about the different religions and teach them to also tolerate everyone's choice.

I know it may *sound* like were pushing our religion on our children but before they can make the choice we feel they should at least experience one religion that way as they get older and understand more they can know if they want to find something else or stick with it. They need a base point to decide from, and we figured we would start with what we believe in, and as they get older inform them about others and encourage them to figure out what they believe in.

In high school my church did a thing on other religions, explaining what the differences are and had an open discussion about everything, also included going to other churches to experience first hand what it's like. This only lasted a year and I wish they had continued it as I was really interested in learning about everything.

?? - posted on 09/22/2010

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I suppose I have an interest in history as well that leads me to want my son to know about the origins of aspects of life that we come in contact with a lot.

The history of our species is fascinating to me. The insanity and the strength and the qualities that humans have are shown in learning about different religions and the histories of how it was started, how it has evolved and how it's participated in today.

Because I have learned about different religions, Christianity, Buddism, Islam, Wicca... I have a better understanding of people, of history and an even better understanding of who *I* am.

I can't imagine not teaching my son about all of these things... I think he deserves and will appreciate the knowledge. If he comes a man of faith or if he becomes an atheist......... I know that he will be given every opportunity to learn about being a HUMAN.

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Schmoopy - posted on 09/23/2010

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First of all, I'm an Athiest, too. I agree - it's their right to make a personal choice when they're old enough to do so.



That said, it's hard to introduce yourself to a religious culture when you're unfamiliar with the lifestyle on a personal level. Firsthand experience with religion is the only way to truly teach a child what it means. And for a child, I believe that means immersion - it has to be a big part of your life, not an occasional trip to Church, Temple, or whatever.



It guess it depends on how important it is for your child to have religion be a part of his future. If it's unimportant, then don't introduce it.

Isobel - posted on 09/22/2010

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sorry to go back so far, but the Jews in question were Jesus, Mary and Joseph. :D

and I must agree with Jo, in order to make any sense of this world you need to have understanding of as many people, cultures, religions and the history of these groups as possible.

Those who don't understand history are doomed to repeat it (is that how it goes?)

[deleted account]

"That does fit into why I despise religion... it calls for it's followers to be blind and ignorant of the world around them."- Jo

I'm glad you said that Jo, I couldnt think of a nice way to put what I was thinking so I didnt say it at all. But that sums it up nicely.

[deleted account]

"It is the only book of History I read or have read since I graduated. I guess I know all about history that I care to know. I keep more uptodate with current events(and only some that I actually find interesting) " - Starr

How can you even fully understand current events if you don't know and aren't even willing to find out about their histories? I don't think there is any current issue which doesn't have a long involved history. That makes no sense to me.

"Extremely biased?! Well I guess thats I like my biased information. I have enough knowledge."-Starr

I guess that's one of our major differences. Whilst I think I am quite knowledgeable, I still don't presume to know everything out there, not even a little bit. I strive to learn one new thing every day. How boring your life most be if you think you already know everything important.

"Just because I don't care enough about another religion to study it doesn't mean I don't know what is going on. DO you not UNDERSTAND that I am a PROUD CHRISTIAN? My God is all I need. I don't need to learn about another religion nor does my GOD want me too."-Starr

How can you even know what/who you are if you don't even have a clear picture of what you're not?

?? - posted on 09/22/2010

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Starr: "I don't need to learn about another religion nor does my GOD want me too."



Your God doesn't want you to be an educated woman?



That's not very nice of your God :\





Then again, I'm not surprised in the least. That does fit into why I despise religion... it calls for it's followers to be blind and ignorant of the world around them.

Charlie - posted on 09/22/2010

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Starr i do not believe in god , gods or a goddess , however i do find many different religions fascinating from a societal and historical point of view nothing more , nothing less .

Krista - posted on 09/22/2010

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Starr, not to pile on, but in one breath you say, ".If my children come to me and ask me about another religion then I will tell them the good and bad about it. " And in the next breath you say, " I don't need to learn about another religion nor does my GOD want me too."

So how do you plan to tell your children about other religions if you don't know anything about them yourself?

As well, I guess I'm just a little baffled -- you seem to be operating under the assumption that being a proud Christian means having no need to learn about other religions. Maybe I just think differently from you, but wouldn't you be MORE proud of your religion if you DID have knowledge of the other ones out there, and that knowledge confirmed that Christianity is the right fit for you?

I guess I just don't understand why you aren't at all curious about anything that ever happened in the world, outside of what you read in your Bible, and why you're not at all curious about what other people believe and why they believe it.

Starr - posted on 09/22/2010

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. How can you get all your history information from one, extremely biased book? And how are you going to talk about it with your children when they're older and ask if you have limited knowledge yourself
It is the only book of History I read or have read since I graduated. I guess I know all about history that I care to know. I keep more uptodate with current events(and only some that I actually find interesting)
Extremely biased?! Well I guess thats I like my biased information.
I have enough knowledge. I said they could go research it. I even said it's a good thing there is this thing called the internet. Just because I don't care enough about another religion to study it doesn't mean I don't know what is going on. DO you not UNDERSTAND that I am a PROUD CHRISTIAN? My God is all I need. I don't need to learn about another religion nor does my GOD want me too.

[deleted account]

Well, there you go Jo and Anika... I hate history and have absolutely no interest in it whatsoever... never have. I did history subjects that were required in school and passed them. That was enough for me. My love is for reading (not history books, mostly fiction ones) and math. That may be part of why my girls were starting to read and do simple addition by 3.5 though... ;)

[deleted account]

LOL Jo, you said weird, I say crazy. I mean, Starr, this comment of yours....

"I can honestly say I never watch the history channel. I guess the only history book I read is my Bible. It may be differently when my children get older. If they like history in school and have questions than sure we can talk about it."

....is complete crazy talk to me. How can you get all your history information from one, extremely biased book? And how are you going to talk about it with your children when they're older and ask if you have limited knowledge yourself?

I love history. Hell, my degree is in history and anthropology. I can't wait to take my daughter to museums and art galleries and other sites of cultural significance. And I'm not going to wait until she's a teenager. I'd be surprised if I haven't taken her to a museum before her 2nd birthday. Why would you want to limit your child's knowledge and understanding of the world like that?

?? - posted on 09/22/2010

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My son will be 2 on Oct 31, so I don't have those conversations yet either, Starr. But I sure am looking forward to them. I also have friends that I see on a regular basis that are of different religions and belief systems so I know my son will be exposed to them often... and because of that, I will teach him about our friends religions and beliefs so that he can understand and appreciate them for every wonderful aspect of who they are. From the clothes they wear, to the way they eat dinner, to the things they say and don't say... I'd rather him learn from me, than specifically from school.

When I was in highschool - my grade 9 history text book was wrong. When we went to study the chapter (I can't remember what exactly it was now - but it was about the Native Americans and the British), the 'story' didn't sound right to me. I went to the public library and I found half a dozen independant books that said something completely different from the text book.

I think we do too, Anika. Very similar :)

[deleted account]

No worries Jo. I am aware that I was being vague. I too am dealing with kiddie issues. My daughter has had diarrhoea for the last 2 weeks! I really do think we have very similar views. Not exact obviously but quite similar.

Starr - posted on 09/22/2010

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My oldest is not even 3 yet. So no, I don;t have history conversations with her. I can honestly say I never watch the history channel. I guess the only history book I read is my Bible. It may be differently when my children get older. If they like history in school and have questions than sure we can talk about it. I guess it's a good think they have the internet now days =) You can find plenty of history on here.

?? - posted on 09/22/2010

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So you don't talk about history at all? What about ancient civilizations or the Romans or American history? Religion, organized and otherwise, is a huge part of many aspects of our history... do you never talk about any of it?

I can't wait for the time when I turn on the discovery channel (for example) and it's Egypt week, or about the Mayans, or about the Native Americans, or about Nostradomus, or the Pope, or the tribes of Papau New Guinea, or any era in history!... and I ask my son to watch it with me... so that we can learn about the history, about the religions that the people were involved in that time period, about the craziness and how religion, humanity and nature all molded our life now...

Not initiating these educational conversations seems so... weird... to me and expecting your child to discover these things on thier own seems even more weird.

Starr - posted on 09/22/2010

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Jo, this is how I feel..If my children come to me and ask me about another religion then I will tell them the good and bad about it. There is no need for me to lie or leave anything out. BUT, they will have to come to me first. If they decide they want to do research then I will allow them to and will help them. I'm just not going to initiate it.

?? - posted on 09/22/2010

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Anika, I re-read back and read that part over again as I was typing that question, which is why I redirected the question to everyone :) I kept your name in there because even though you did say that, it doesn't really say that you will teach your children about the entirity (sp?) of a religion - and you said you would say why you don't agree with the religion but didn't say in whole - so I figured I'd just ask for clarification while directing the question to others as well :p



sorry, kind of all over the place, teething crankasaurus toddler = brain on a bit of a melt down lol

[deleted account]

@Jo Of course I will teach them the good parts. I've already said that I believe each religion has good parts...

"I think ALL organised Religions are equal. They have their bad parts and they do have their good parts. I don't think you can say one religious group is worse than another or one is better than another. "

I said I would give them a thorough religious education. BUT whilst I will teach them that Christians (for example) preach 'Love thy neighbour', I will also point out that throughout history, they have definitely NOT practiced what they preach.

@Starr, I will teach my children about different religions so they can understand history and what other people believe. I'm not going to say "They're wrong" and leave it at that. I'm going to tell them, "This is what these people believe. This is why. This is what I like/agree with. This is what I don't like/disagree with. This is what I believe".

@Teresa - it's true, I will never completely respect a religious person. But I feel respect is on a spectrum and I've never actually met someone I completely respect. They have attributes that I respect and that I'd aspire to emulate but, as Christians keep saying on these things, no one is perfect.
So, when I say I respect a religious person and their beliefs (even if I think they're stupid), I mean, I would never belittle someone or not follow their rules in their establishments. For example, when I've visited buddist temples, I've removed my shoes because that is their custom. When I've visited mosques I've covered my hair because that is their custom. When I've been with Christians and they've said a prayer before a meal, I haven't said the words but I have stood there, quietly. And I've done all this without scoffing, or complaining or being rude. That is what I mean by being respectful.

[deleted account]

My children are free to research any religion that they wish to find out about. If they want help w/ their research I would be happy to help them look for the answers that they are trying to find, but I agree w/ Starr. I won't be initiating the teaching on any other religions. They already know that not everyone believes as we do, but that EVERY person on the planet deserves the same amount of respect regardless of anything and everything. I don't have to know anything about another person's belief to love and respect THEM.

?? - posted on 09/22/2010

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Every religion has a history. History holds the answers to many of todays problems and issues. Knowledge is power.



Why NOT teach them? What's the harm in teaching a child about the beliefs held by any religion, or the history of any religion? They will have a better understanding of different people and different ways of life, different religions and over all have more tolerance for people because they understand their beliefs.



The only reason I think anyone wouldn't want to teach their child about other religions, is if they're afraid that their child will make their own choices by learning something new that they find interest and truth in - outside of what their parents believe in.

Starr - posted on 09/22/2010

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So my question now is ....If you(whoever decides to answer) don't believe in religion or follow religious beliefs, why would you want to teach your children them? I am a Christian(duh =0) not a Jew or a Muslim or a Wiccan. So I am not going to teach my children about these religions because I don't believe in them. I will teach them that there are numerous religions out there and to respect everyone's beliefs, but I am not going to actually teach them what everyone believs in. It just kinda boggles my mind why you would want to teach your children of all thece religions so I would like to hear an honest respnse.

?? - posted on 09/22/2010

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Anika, I'm curious, will you teach your children the good things about a religion, the history of it, explain how it's a set of beliefs or a faith system? Or would you ONLY tell them why you disagree with it?

Actually, I don't want to address that question to JUST Anika, Sherri, Starr... everyone? Will you address all of those things with your children, or do you / will you only address why you disagree with any religion other than what you believe in?

When my son asks me about any specific religion, I will tell him all about it. I will help my son learn about the history of each religion, I will introduce him to people and information that believe in that religion and I will let him make up his own mind about the religion. That is how I intend on teaching him in an 'unbiased' way.

[deleted account]

I have a question... how can you be respecting a person's beliefs by calling them crazy and stupid? That doesn't compute in my brain. Could that be because I'm stupid? ;)

?? - posted on 09/22/2010

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I only brought that paragraph up, Anika, because I was going off of that statement, not the statement that you quoted.



I will teach my son in an unbiased fashion simply by utilizing every option and opportunity I can. I know people, and trust people, who are of all religions. I have books, I have unlimited information via the internet, library and human experience of friends and family. He will learn about all religions - when he's old enough to understand what they represent, mean and he has the ability to interpret them to reflect his true feelings.



He will learn about MY beliefs and I will explain to him why I believe what I do. He will learn about his dads beliefs and why he believes what he does. Same with my Aunt who is a Christian, my cousin who is a Buddist, my friends who are Jewish, Mormons, Muslims, Christians, Buddists, my brother's fiance who is a Wiccan........... and the people that I don't know personally, who can teach him about their religion, I will be getting information for him from the library and online...



If he finds his faith in a religion, then he does. If he finds support in a Church, then he does. Those are things I can support.. I can appreciate that, I can accept that level of "organized" religion.



If he decides to be a jerkoff about his beliefs, or decides to go to other countries to spread the word of his faith... I'll have to wonder what happened to my sweet little boy that was full of questions and looking for answers... I'll have to wonder where he got the idea it was ok to press his beliefs on others cause it sure as hell wouldn't be something he learned from me.

[deleted account]

LOL Jo, I knew you'd bring that up. I still didn't mean I'd be saddened and disappointed in them. But yes, on some level I'd think they were crazy or stupid. It would be deep down but I can't deny that it wouldn't be there. Like you, I intend to teach my children about religions. I won't deny that it won't be unbiased because I don't believe you can have an honest and frank discussion about something without being biased. I wont be saying "Look at those muslims, looks how stupid they are!" But I will tell them why we disagree and if they push further (which I would hope because my husband and I do value debate), we would have to tell them its because we think they're wrong etc etc. We will also teach our children to respect peoples beliefs (the ones that aren't harmful) and to never belittle someones beliefs (unless they're getting in your face with them). After all that's been said, and I'm talking thorough exposure and teaching, if they still went ahead and joined an organised religion, well, what else would I think? When they've been presented with all that we know (or presume) how could you then go and join an organised religion? WHY would you? I'm not talking about choosing to be agnostic or believing in some unidentified high power. I'm talking about organised religion.

?? - posted on 09/22/2010

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Anika, you also said;

"As an Atheist I do not believe in any religion. They are all illogical to me. And quite frankly, I believe that if you believe in something that isn't real, well then you're either crazy or stupid. Therefore, I would be saddened and disappointed if my child grew up to be religious because in my mind, that would make her crazy or stupid."

[deleted account]

My beliefs are not harmful though, Anika. I'm not out petitioning against gay marriage and I will never vote against it. The only reason you even KNOW about my belief on that is from these debate boards because the question was asked. If a simple opinion/belief is going to harm someone... than a debate board would probably be the wrong place to be. Especially since I've repeatedly placed my feelings towards homosexualtiy being a sin on the same level as ANY sin... including my own, so if I am harming/against others by my beliefs... I'm also harming/against myself.

[deleted account]

Jo, I never said I would be sad and disappointed in her. I said

"If they grew up to choose any organised religion we would be surprised and disappointed. Doesn't mean we wouldn't love them just as much, but I wouldn't be happy. "

I agree 100% with your last post. I feel the same.

[deleted account]

@Teresa, I was very careful to say most not all in my comment about the comprehensive sex ed. And you may not be homophobic but you are against gay marriage. I don't know if that's much better. I know you're not coming from a place of hatred or malicious, I don't think most religious people believe what they do in a hateful way, but that doesn't mean it's not harmful IMO. Gay marriage being an excellent example.

[deleted account]

@Jo - you said "I wouldn't be sad or disappointed if he decided to join an organized religion or if he found faith in any particular religious belief system"

That statement was what confused me. In your last post you said "If he chooses to follow a religion, that's his choice. I'm not going to be happy about it, I'm not going to chastise him about it, I'm not going to belittle his faith or his beliefs."
To me, 'sad and disappointed' and 'not happy about' are pretty much the same thing. See, I totally agree with the latter statement. I think we're actually on the same page.

@Kati, I don't think I'm lumping all Christians together. In regards to their actions, of course they're not all the same. But I do believe that their core beliefs are the same, otherwise they wouldn't be Christians, and I do believe some of their core beliefs can be harmful.

?? - posted on 09/21/2010

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Anika said: "You said you thought organized religion is dangerous. Why would you want your son to be a part of some thing dangerous?"


I never said that I want him to be apart of anything. I actually said the complete opposite. I do believe that organized religion is dangerous and I will tell him that I think as much. I will show him and educate him about why I think that way. But like I said before, I don't think that religion and faith are the same thing.

If he chooses to follow a religion, that's his choice. I'm not going to be happy about it, I'm not going to chastise him about it, I'm not going to belittle his faith or his beliefs - because that makes me just as bad as the religious people that use their beliefs to look down on others.

I've already explained all of this though, so I'm not too sure what you're expecting me to say. You can twist it around as much as you like, I'll still give you the same answer lol

Rosie - posted on 09/21/2010

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each one of us has stated that we wouldn't like it if our child had become the "typical" christian. but we have also stated that if they simply believed in god, but didn't follow all the homophobic crap, nor try to "save" everyone, or whatever, that would be perfectly acceptable to us. sure they would believe in something that isn't there, but i wouldn't care. how can something that isn't there hurt them or others?

i've been agreeing with you all the way-it just seems like you keep on lumping ALL christians together. that i don't agree with. :)

[deleted account]

@Kati - I think you've misinterpreted my comment. When I said people's beliefs in imaginary things DO hurt people, I didn't mean all religious people. I do not think religious people, including Christians are evil. I don't think I said anything like that. But I do think that their beliefs can cause harm. Let's look at the Christians stance on comprehensive sex education in schools debate. They're mostly all against mandatory comprehensive sex education in schools. I think that attitude is harmful to the health of our society. Look at unmarried couples who are forced to marry when the woman get's pregnant. I think that is harmful.

And regards to those questions, what if they didn't join the KKK, but they didn't like people of a different race and didn't want to associate with them. If they're not actually hurting them, would you care? Would you like them teaching your grandchildren that view? I know I wouldn't.

[deleted account]

@Kati - See, I think ALL organised Religions are equal. They have their bad parts and they do have their good parts. I don't think you can say one religious group is worse than another or one is better than another.
Remember that in the Bible they have some pretty terrible sexist things, it's just due to cultural ideologies against sexism that those bits aren't focused on so much anymore.

Rosie - posted on 09/21/2010

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not everybody that is religious DOES those horrific things though anika. i was a christian up until recently. i had no clue how gays were viewed by christians as a whole until my earlier 20's.apparantly my church didn't discuss those things with children, or not at all-not sure. my mom said i could stop attending church when i was 16.
when i had heard that i just decided to not follow that part of the bibles teachings, and thought i could carry on like that for the rest of my life. but it made me question things, and i saw things i didn't like when i was looking at it differently. however, i personally was never involved in anything remotely like you have described. so it is VERY possible, and very real that there are many out there like i was that still believe in god.

and as for the questions you had at the end. no i wouldn't be upset at all if my child was pro-life (i'm pro-choice). that's his decision to make. i'd think he was wrong, but i wouldn't really care too much cause he's not hurting anybody. the kkk, and the homophobic examples HURT people, so yes i would be upset with those. but like i said before, there are PLENTY of christians out there that don't hurt anybody. they just believe, and theres nothing wrong with that AT ALL. it kindof saddens me that you see ALL christians as evil, because they really all aren't.

[deleted account]

@Jo, you referred to the wording I used 'saddened and disappointed' so I thought you were answering me. No worries. On these things its so hard to detect tone and direction. But I see what you mean :)

You said you thought organised religion is dangerous. Why would you want your son to be a part of some thing dangerous?

@Krista- you said

"That's why I described myself as an atheistic agnostic. "I don't believe that there are gods, but I'm willing to admit that ANYTHING is possible, from gods, to aliens, to the Matrix. :) "

That's what I meant by, you are teaching your child your beliefs. You believe anything is possible, therefore you could believe in any religion. It's not likely, but you could.

@Kati- People's beliefs in imaginary things DO hurt people. Just look at Northern Ireland, the Crusades, 9/11, Pro lifers killing doctors, Hitler, people killing gay people etc etc etc. It's all a direct result of organised religion.

I want to point out that I said I would be saddened and disappointed if my child joined an organised religion. If she came to me and said "Mum, you haven't given me any proof that your Atheist beliefs are true, so I've decided to be Agnostic" I'd be totally fine with that. I'd also be surprised but fine with her believing in some thing spiritual, some kind of high being. But if my child came to me and said "Mum, I've decided to become a Catholic. I believe in the Virgin Mary and Christ as our Saviour and I'll pray for you but you're probably going to Hell" Well, yes, I would be saddened and disappointed.

What would you think if you were pro choice and your child decided to be pro life?
Or you are totally against racism and then your child decided to join the KKK?
Or you are anti smacking and your child decided to smack their own child?
Or you're for gay marriage and your child decided to be homophobic and attack gay people?
Yes, they have a choice, but that doesn't mean I have to be happy about it.

Rosie - posted on 09/21/2010

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i guess i should throw in there that i would be ABSOLUTELY horrified if my child wanted to become a jehovahs witness, or a muslim. jehovahs witnesses (imo, and sorry if this offends anyone) are downright crazy and mean, keeping families torn apart and not taking blood when needed? no birthdays? CRAZY. and i'm not too fond of how muslims treat women, and i don't want my sons adopting that attitude.

Rosie - posted on 09/21/2010

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i do think they are wasting their time, but it isn't going to hurt them, so i wouldn't worry. does that make sense? lol! imaginary things can't hurt you. (sorry , had to throw that one in there, hehe)

Krista - posted on 09/21/2010

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@Anika: That's why I described myself as an atheistic agnostic. I don't believe that there are gods, but I'm willing to admit that ANYTHING is possible, from gods, to aliens, to the Matrix. :)

And if Sam wound up believing in the Christian God? I'd be a bit perplexed, and yes, a little disappointed. But if it brought him happiness, and if he did not become judgmental towards us or try to "save" us, then I'd have no big problem with it. I chose my own path -- I have to let my kids do the same thing, right?

?? - posted on 09/21/2010

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I understand and appreciate that you can only speak for yourself. My issue was that you were taking my view and personalizing it to yourself. Since we don't have the same ideas about this, it doesn't make sense for you to apply my thoughts to yourself.

That's all I meant :)

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@Jo, I'm not taking it personally, but I was using myself as an example as I'm the only person I truly know, so I can only use myself as an example for a topic like this.

@Kati, If you're claiming to be a 'hard' atheist (as defined in Krista's post), then I can't understand why you wouldn't mind if your child believed in a god. Wouldn't you think that they were wasting their time and making decisions based on untruths?

@Krista - you're still claiming though that your agnostic, even if you are down the atheist end of the spectrum. You're still in the grey area where anything could be true where as Atheists and religious people believe its all black and white.

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My husband and I are both athiests. I was brought up as Roman Catholic and Steven was brought up with no religion at all. I appreciate my parents bringing em up this way but my feelings have changed. I used to think Catholic people were better people, but it's just not true. Someone's morals makes them a good person. We want Logan to choose religion if he wants to.

Rosie - posted on 09/21/2010

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i see both arguments to this actually. the one thing i have an issue with is anikas belief that everyone else would be horrified if their child was religious, or christian mor specifically. i would not care one bit if my child believed in god, as long as it didn't turn him into a homophobic, judgemental, prostylisizer (sp?), i could care less if he believes in something that makes him feel better. i would care if he chose to use his faith as a reason to spread hate, as i see happening all to much these days.

?? - posted on 09/21/2010

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Anika, I think you're taking my thoughts and opinions about this subject on a personal level that is unnecessary.



I never said that you, or anyone, said or thought anyone was right, I said that I don't know, so I'm not going to put myself in a mind frame that says I'm 'more right' than someone else by looking down at others for their belief system. I never said that you were using your beliefs to put down, demean or belittle other human beings -- I said that I won't. I didn't even imply that I thought you were doing that, I was stating where I stand. I also never said that you would do any of the other things you said, joking or not.



Everything I said, has nothing to do with you. I'm not too sure why you would want to take it personally either, or apply it to yourself in any sense. Just as you and Starr are on opposite ends of the spectrum - I am not in the same place as either of you. I'm not going to take your stance personally, just as I don't think you should take mine personally.





If my son decided he believed in the bible and all aspects or just some aspects of it - I would question him. I would have the same conversations with him as I do with any other person that believes in the bible. I would have the same debate with him as I have had MANY times on here. I would challenge his views so that he thinks about it and ultimately I'd let him make his own choices.



Just like you and Starr, I don't want my child growing up to believe in something that I don't, but it's not my choice. I don't think my son will grow up to believe in the bible (for example) for one simple reason - he will grow up learning about everything. He won't be subject to the beliefs of ONE religion. He will learn about all religions. [In my experience] children that are raised to learn about varying religions, faiths and practices have every opportunity to find a healthy realistic path in life - with or without faith.



Not all 'religions' and not all faith is based on a fairy tale. I don't see my son - because of his surroundings - committing himself to a religion that (I would say) is formed from ego and make belief in an attempt to comfort the fears of the insignificance of the human race.



If my son finds faith, I am sure it will be in himself, in the earth, in natural occurrences and reality. If he finds and commits himself to any particular religion, I have no doubt it will be something he will truly feel is real. And unless there's some sort of psychotic episode that proves to me that he really should be committed, I will respect his decision, just as I respect many of my relatives and friends and lady's on here who are religious, and I will continue to debate with him.











On a side note, I was watching the show "Into The Unknown with Josh" last night, this (pretty attractive) man goes to remote places to discuss things with old tribes and discover ancient ruins etc etc etc. A modern day Indiana Jones kind of feel. Last nights show he went to Papau New Guinea and went to a place called Koke (Co-Kay) where a tribe was asking help from Josh & a lady that had been there studying the dying tribes.



The chief is the last person in their tribe that knows how to perform the mummification process that their tribe used. The last mummification had been the chiefs father nearly 50 years previously, that the chief himself had performed when he was just a boy. These mummies were placed, in a sitting position, using sticks and logs to prop them up on a cliff above the village looking over the valley.



Those tribe members would go to the mummies and they saw them as real, living people, all while when you or I would look at them, we saw decomposing bodies, skin that was decaying and shedding off, bones, teeth and sticks holding up skeletons.



Just because we (generally) wouldn't ever ever do this, or practice the same rituals of faith as those people do - it doesn't mean they or we are crazy or stupid. As odd and repulsive it is to me to think about going to my mother or fathers rotting skeleton and putting my arm around them to talk to them..... they believe it keeps their village safer and keeps their ancestors a part of their everyday life.



50 years ago, shortly after the last mummification, Christian missionaries showed up in their village and destroyed their religion. They were subject to the same crap the Native American's were subjected too. They were told that in practicing such rituals, they were condemning themselves to an eternity of hell.



It is because of that, the chief wanted help to rebuild their rituals. He wanted the youth of their tribe to learn about their origins - about everything that the missionaries erased from their lives.







I think organized religion is dangerous.

Dawn - posted on 09/21/2010

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Wow, I have been reading this off and on for days and I am still not done!! Great debate though!! Here are my thoughts..... my job as a parent is to teach my child, so of course he will be taught what I believe. But will as be taught what others believe. My main lesson to him will be to be kind to all people despite religious differences. I personally am spiritual and have pushed away from organized religion after experiences in childhood and early adulthood have left me questioning the true intention of religion. I personally need to believe in something and that something is God for me, so I pray to God everynight with my son. When my child gets older, he can decide for himself what he believes. Even though I don't personally believe in a religion, doesn't mean I won't explain it to my son. To those who are saying it is wrong for Christians or Jews or Buddists or Athiests to raise their child with their beliefs, I don't feel bringing your child up with your ideas is forcing them, but teaching them.

Krista - posted on 09/21/2010

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@Krista, I don't want to come off like I'm telling you what you believe, but can you really be both an atheist and an agnostic? Atheists say "There is no God/Gods". Agnostics say "There's no proof either way so I'm neither going to have faith or disbelieve." They're completely different schools of thought in my mind.



Nope. There are varying forms of atheism. A "hard" atheist makes the concrete statement, "There are no gods". It's the explicit affirmation that gods do not exist.



Agnosticism has a broad range (take it away, Wiki):



1. Agnosticist (also called "faithless" or "factual agnosticism"): The Agnosticist is absent of belief, where theism requires faith that there is a deity or deities. An Agnosticist would say, "I neither have a belief in a deity nor do I have a belief in the absence of such a deity."



2. Strong agnosticism (also called "hard," "closed," "strict," or "permanent agnosticism"): The view that the question of the existence or nonexistence of a deity or deities and the nature of ultimate reality is unknowable by reason of our natural inability to verify any experience with anything but another subjective experience. A strong agnostic would say, "I cannot know whether a deity exists or not, and neither can you."



3. Weak agnosticism (also called "soft," "open," "empirical," or "temporal agnosticism"): The view that the existence or nonexistence of any deities is currently unknown but is not necessarily unknowable, therefore one will withhold judgment until/if any evidence is available. A weak agnostic would say, "I don't know whether any deities exist or not, but maybe one day when there is evidence we can find something out."



4. Apathetic agnosticism (also called Pragmatic agnosticism): The view that there is no proof of either the existence or nonexistence of any deity, but since any deity that may exist appears unconcerned for the universe or the welfare of its inhabitants, the question is largely academic.



5. Agnostic atheism: Agnostic atheists are atheistic because they do not have belief in the existence of any deity, and agnostic because they do not claim to know that a deity does not exist.[This is the range that I fall into, with a tinge of hard agnosticism thrown in for good measure, as I think it's impossible for we puny hoomans to even fathom the big answers to life.]



6. Agnostic theism: The view of those who do not claim to know of the existence of any deity, but still believe in such an existence.



Hope this helps!

Corena - posted on 09/21/2010

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My husband and I are Christians and have raised our children as such. But...once they turn 13 it is up to them whether they go to church or not. We do not force anything on them but we also expect them to respect what we believe while living in our house.
As a side note...the people who come to your door are usually Jehova's witnesses or Mormon's, a lot of the Christian community do not consider those particular groups to be Christians.

Starr - posted on 09/21/2010

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Well said Anika, even though I think that you are either "crazy or stupid"LOL! I think that you are really being true to your self. My beliefs and your beliefs are total opposite but we can agree that we are both being honest in this thread and can agree that we both want our lo to grow up with the same beliefs that we have. That doesn't make either one of us a bad person or discriminating against another because of religion. It just makes us honest people who have faith(the first on) in our choices about religion.

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There are two definitions of the word 'Faith'. One is 'complete trust and confidence in someone or something'. The other is 'strong belief in God or in the doctrines of the religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof'. They are different and Loureen, I think you're talking about the first definition whilst I'm talking about the second.

Jo, I don't know that I'm right either. No one does. If we knew for certain then there wouldn't be this debate, would there? And I don't use my beliefs to put down, demean or belittle other human beings. Yes, I said I thought people who were religious were either crazy or stupid, but what else am I to think? If I told you I believed in little invisible cats that talked and made plants grow, well, you'd think I was crazy or stupid wouldn't you? And to me, that scenario is just as likely as the concept of a God in heaven making the world and controlling our fate.
Does that mean I persecute Christians? No. Does that mean I would cause them physical/psychological/emotional harm? No. Does that mean I want them all to be moved to Australia and not allowed off? No. They can do what they like as long as their religion doesn't impact on me. BUT when it comes to my child, I wouldn't want that. I wouldn't want her to believe in little invisible plant growing cats and I don't want her to believe in God or gods.

?? - posted on 09/20/2010

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I don't agree with religion. I don't follow religion - I don't practice religion. I don't think you need a religion to have faith. I know many people who have faith in 'something' but don't follow any religion. I know many people that are spiritual but have never read any manuscript that dictates a religion.

I believe in myself and I have faith in myself. Science isn't my religion but it is the major factor in my conscious choice to believe if something has the possibility of being real or not, being truth or not, being fact or not.

I'm always asking questions, I'm always learning and I have no freakin clue what any of the answers really are - I choose to believe that there is no God.

That doesn't mean I'm right though - and it certainly doesn't give me the right to put down, demean or belittle another human being for their own method to their own madness; that is this life, and whatever they want to believe happens, or doesn't happen, after this life.

For me, to be saddened or disappointed in my son for following his own path, would only mean that I'm expecting him to be something he's not. That would make me just as bad as the religious people that persecute and spread hate and discrimination against the people that they think aren't up to snuff cause of their beliefs.

Charlie - posted on 09/20/2010

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you can still be an atheist and have faith in other things , things that are more likely things that are real to see , touch and smell such as surroundings and certain relationships between people .

I have faith in my family , friends and myself .

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