Do children need religion in their lives?

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Lindsay - posted on 09/20/2010

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Children need morals and values. They need to learn respect. They need role models that show by example how to be a good person. I don't think religion hurts children but I don't think they "need" it either. Having religion doesn't make one a good person and not having religion doesn't make one bad. I grew up in a religious household and surprisingly enough, we were taught the same manners and morals as the kids next door that didn't go to church. Kids need to learn tolerance, repsect, and free-thinking whether they have religion in their lives or not.

Jenni - posted on 09/20/2010

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Nobody "needs" religion. Human needs consist of water, food and shelter. People can survive without religion. Religion is a want so therefore children don't *need* religion.

Perhaps a better way to phrase the question would have been: "Do you feel it's important for your children to have religion in their lives?"

Then I could answer: No, I don't believe it's important for *my* children to have religion in their lives. I don't believe there is a supernatural power with a grand design for our world any more than a religious person does believe there is. You can say, fair enough... but don't you at least want to teach them about religion so they can make up their own mind? Not anymore than most religious people would want to teach their kids that a supernatural power does not exist.

I don't *believe* in anything. I only *know* facts. I don't believe blind faith is essential, I think it can sometimes be detrimental. I question everything and I want my children to question everything. I may teach them what I value and what my morals are but when they are grown I'd like them to decide for themselves by knowing how to ask the right questions. That is what I value.

I think respect, values and morals should be earned and taught, not forced with fear of eternal damnation.

Jessica said it best (hope you don't mind me quoting you but you covered my sentiments exactly): "Religion, however, is not about morals or ethics or virtues or anything of that sort. It is about holding onto archaic practices, ancient ideas and trying to prevent social morals and ethics from evolving naturally and without their control over it and it is about squeezing as much money from it's followers as possible. So no."

Adding: I think religion is a business... maybe it didn't start out that way but it's what it has become.

Also I don't understand the underlying sentiments that parents who don't teach their children through religion are raising moral-less, value-less sociopaths.

Krista - posted on 09/20/2010

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As for letting a child decide when they are old enough that is just silly.

No, Maria. It is not silly. And were I not in such a good mood, I'd be really quite offended by you saying that.

Being brought up to believe in one particular faith is completely different from being made to study math or spelling. The very comparison is inane.

Faith is something that is INCREDIBLY personal. Each person has to decide what it is that speaks to them. I would no sooner choose my child's faith for him than I would choose his spouse.

I do not think there is ANYTHING silly about raising your children to educate themselves, to question that which they do not understand, and to trust their instincts, so that if they DO choose a faith later on, they are doing so of their own free will and because they came to that decision independently, and not simply because they were raised that way and have never explored other options.

Jessica - posted on 09/21/2010

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Quoting Maria-Yes, there are moral lessons that can be taught outside the context of faith and religion but there is greater meaning when it is backed by a life a faith.

I'm sorry, but I find this line to be offensive. Your basically saying, yes, you can be moral and good outside of religion but it doesn't mean anything without religion patting you on the back and saying well done. The very idea is abhorrent to me. Your essentially saying that your being good because your religion is telling you to be good. Why can't people be good for the sake of being good. For the sake of helping those around you, making life enjoyable and to make this world a better place. NO-ONE needs god or religion to do this and having a god and religion does NOT make what you do for good better than what an atheist or agnostic does for good. One of the teensy (and very last) little pieces of string holding the catholic/christian religion in place is the idea that you need religion to be a good and moral person. It's BULLSHIT!!!!

I am an atheist, I donate blood every four months, why? because I can and because it saves lives. I volunteer at a vulnerable adults home once a week, why? because I can and because it betters lives. I donate absolutely EVERYTHING I can, why? because I can and because it saves and betters lives. NOT because religion tells me to and NOT because some dude in the sky wants me to. I do it because it is the right thing to do and because I am able to provide that support for my community.

Another thing that I absolutely despise religion for. It takes away the sense of social responsibility. It detracts from the value of life and allows normally innocent and good people to do immoral and evil things. But despite overwhelming evidence people just don't see religion as the fraudulent, immoral and sadistic working men's club that it is.

Krista - posted on 09/20/2010

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It all depends on how you define "need", and who defines it.

Objectively, does a child need religion to become an upstanding, productive, moral member of society? No.

But to someone who is religious, religion is considered just as vital a necessity as food and water, and without it, they feel that their child's soul is being starved, basically.

So, it all depends on where you're coming from on this one, I guess. I certainly don't think that kids need religion, and would be royally pissed if anybody suggested that my OWN kid needed religion. But if someone thinks that their own child needs religion -- well, that's their business.

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Ava - posted on 09/30/2010

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While this is true, you would still expect a higher rate than there is existent of Atheists in prison if Atheism led directly to crime, as a lot of Christians I know theorize. The point of the figure was to show religion obviously has no bearing on morals, because it isn't keeping Christians from breaking the law. That is, there are 2.1 billion Christians in the world; if religion had bearing on moral, almost one of them would be in prison, meaning by default the percentage of Atheists in prison would probably go up by a lot. The idea here is that morals have nothing to do with religion, and everything to do with the type of person. It is just as easy for a Christian to be "evil" as an Atheist, therefore what we see in prisons is that the number of Christians in prison versus Atheists fits the statistic of how many there are in the US total for each. If morality was determined by religion, it wouldn't matter how many Christians there were the US, almost none of them would be in jail. But this isn't the case, making the reflection of regular US populus to prison populus reflect pretty equally.

Jodi - posted on 09/30/2010

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I didn't know that Carol, thanks for the insight! I apologize for the misinformation, well, the percentages are right...but I jumped to a false conclusion! Oops! :)

Johnny - posted on 09/30/2010

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On a per capita basis (relative to the numbers in the general population) the prison population of atheists is way below all other groups. It's not just that there are less atheists, those that exist in the population commit less crimes even when you factor in their percentage in the population as a whole.

Jodi - posted on 09/30/2010

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Ava, while I do agree with you that children don't need religion and in some cases can be harmful, I don't agree with your reasoning on prison inmates. In the United stated, just under 80% of the population is Christian, so it makes sense that more inmates would be Christians rather than Atheist, Atheists rank low on the charts at only 15%. Obviously, with those staggering differences in numbers, there are bound to be more Christians in prisons. But I do agree, being religious, of any kind, does not make you better than anyone else. I myself an Agnostic, leaning towards Atheism. (But I have several parking tickets!! ;) )

Ava - posted on 09/30/2010

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Absolutely not. Religion does more bad than good in my eyes. A child can easily live a moral and virtuous life without religious intervention. I'm an Atheist and I've never gotten so much as a parking ticket. 95% of prisoners in lockup in the US admit to being religious and reading the Bible, with only .2% being Atheist, meaning that there's no correlation between being Atheist and misbehaving or breaking laws. Being a Christian or Catholic or Luthern or Muslim or Jew doesn't mean you have moral superiority over anyone. I think a parent with faith can encourage their child to have faith, but not religion. They're two different things. I will raise my daughter as an Atheist with a strong religious reading background so that she is not an ignorant Atheist. I will never be able to tell her that "God might exist", I could only tell her that some people believe there is a higher power for which there is no evidence for, and try to emphasize the beauty of *reality*, instead of fantasy. Why would it be silly to let a child decide when they're old enough? Does anyone ever think that kids can't ever actually be Christian because they have no reasoning to know why they're following Christ and aren't Atheists or Muslims or Jews? Does anyone ever consider that them being Christian as children is just a label their parents stamp onto their forehead with no backing and that if God did exist, they probably wouldn't make it to heaven because they don't actually believe in Christ, they're just following what their parents are telling them? A person who is truly faithful studies, tests their faith against other religions, tests it against adversity, understands and embraces it as a life choice. Children don't have that choice. My foster dad used to take me to church and I converted to Atheism when I was eight years old, but I was an advanced child. A lot of my friends didn't hit that stage until just recently, in their twenties, because of their ability to reason being fully developed. As it is said 'The greatest enemy of faith is reason,', so a faith can't truly be tested until a person can choose it *for themselves* without parental influence. There are also a lot of teens who walk around following Pascal's wager (they'd rather be Theist than Atheist because if they die and God isn't real, nothing will happen; if he is, they'll go to heaven) and that isn't real faith either-- if God was real, he'd see right through that idiotic logic as well.

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Well said, Lindsay! Kids do not need to be indoctrinated in order to learn morals and build good character. : )

Kimberly - posted on 09/29/2010

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Love the response on the question. I phrased it as a "need" because I knew it would draw out more detail.

Here's my take: I grew up as a Catholic in my youth. I do think it helped form my conscience at a young age which I think is a good thing. Sure I had discipline from my family as well but God and the Devil keep a kid in line. That's a joke by the way. It taught me about the religion's community, charity, prayer, faith, comfort, the Bible, traditions and celebrations and many other things. I could have learned those things without religion, but it worked for me. You can also teach all of those things as a parent without having any religious beliefs or experience but I personally liked experiencing the religion first hand. It's all a personal choice and even if you believe in God and the Bible then you know it is all FREE WILL. And that is why God "allows" bad things happen. If bad things didn't happen, how would we measure the good? As an adult, I do not actively attend mass and view myself as more of a Spiritualist than a Catholic. I do visit other denominations and accept the beliefs of others whether they are atheist, Muslim, Jewish, Wiccan, Baptist or what have you as long as it promotes Good. I actually enjoy learning about other beliefs and religions and quite enjoy dipping my foot in their pools. I think that for ME, I don't need religion per se but I do need my belief in God. My faith is strong. Since the birth of my daughter, my relationship with Christ has only strengthened. I want to teach her what I was taught, share what I've learned about other beliefs, laugh about the things that I now find silly and instill the things I find important and then let her decide the rest. I do intend on having her baptized - only out of respect for my Grandmother and the family tradition. I do not see the harm in keeping the peace over the want or need to say prayers and blessings for her. Or to my making the commitment to train her in the practice of faith. I do not intend to have the ceremony in a Catholic church as my husband is not Catholic nor were we married in the Catholic church. I just don't feel like hearing anything condescending. We struck a compromise- I found a priest that will officiate the ceremony at a location of my choice.

And personally, I don't think My God would punish someone for not believing in him/her knowing that they have lived a life that would make anyone proud. You can't punish ignorance. If you don't know you don't know. No harm no foul. :) Peace be with you.

P.S. And if I'm ignorant for believing- than I won't be any the wiser in the end- it'll be lights out and that's all she wrote.

Stifler's - posted on 09/28/2010

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Oh Gemma I get you. My boyfriend's mum is always harassing me to have my son "christened" or 'baptised". We are different religions and neither of us go to church and have very different views on baptism and christening so both just decided no. People who aren't even religious that christen their kids are a bit ignorant IMHO. It's dedicating the baby to the church and god and if you're not even going to raise the child a christian it's pointless.

Cat - posted on 09/28/2010

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my kids wont have religion in their lives until they're old enough to actively research it themselves... they can do the legwork, and put in the time, learning about different faiths and belief systems... I'd like for them to be able to make an educated decision about it, rather than me, who was forced to grow up Christian, without any input, being forced to go to church, to bible studies, to listen to someone preach on and on about stuff that didnt make a lick of sense to me... So when I was old enough to stand up to my parents, I got to stop going... And then I started looking at more religious beliefs than just Christian, and at some point I ended up completely Athiest... I'm not going to raise my kids Athiest, but I'm not going to drill any specific religion in my head either, I'll answer questions as they come up, openly and honestly, and if they ever show an interest in the bible, I'll buy one, and we can do our own reading about it, discussing it along the way...

Krista - posted on 09/28/2010

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Exactly, Iris. And I think that's WHY a lot of people view organized religion as a cult -- because the biggest taboo is being a disbeliever.

Iris - posted on 09/28/2010

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I actually think that the more you read about other religions, the less religious you become.
For a long time I was very confused about the religion I was born into (Lutheran). The more I read about my religion and others the more I felt it was all bogus. It is to keep people in line, if the law didn't get you to be the good abiding citizen, then the man in the sky should be able to keep them in line and all the books people wrote about him/them. Because if you don't believe in him and go by his rules there is no salvation for you.
Now we are back to the Pascal Wager. If there is a God and you believe in him, you'll get to heaven. If there is a God and you don´t believe, you´ll go to Hell (very convenient for the Christian church..). But why is doubting that God exists the Ultimate sin? I can commit a murder and still get to heaven? A man can rape a child continuously but regret it and get God into his life and still go to heaven? While all I´m doing is going on with my life as a law abiding citizen, doubting that there is a God, and living my life without religion.... So I´m the ULTIMATE sinner and if there is a heaven and hell, I get hell?
Tell me how that makes sense??

LaCi - posted on 09/28/2010

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Some people need religion, some people don't. Children should be free to explore religion if they want, but no, they don't need religion thrust upon them.

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Gemma I know what you mean, I am religious but my hubby isn't so we had a naming ceremony in a function room for our son and EVERYBODY asked us why we were not having a Christianing. I suppose it is so ingrained in society that it is just expected, people kept asking what kind of gifts to get him, is it like a Christening, what happens at a naming ceremony - I had to tell every guest that it is like a Christening with no religious aspect simple as. We were even given gifts with on my Christening and a few people got us Christening cards (my grandparents because they just couldn't understand). Maybe when we have another child they will understand as they have been to a naming ceremony now.

Gemma - posted on 09/28/2010

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My mum had religion pushed onto her as a child, and brought us up to make up our own mind. When I was a kid I went to sunday school, i had religious studies at school, and took a gcse in the subject....but I am not religious. I had read the bible, old and new testament from cover to cover. My grandad on my dads side had his own views on religion which he shared with whoever tried to preach to him. He believed in some higher power, but was certian that the catholic church had re-writen the bible in order to control the people in thier own way.
My own opinions that I now have are that religion is the route of all evil. Churches are nothing but a cult...and the people who run them break most of these commandments they say thier so called god had set for them.

Those are just my opinions....and I mean no direct offence to anyone who has a faith....that is thier choice if they wish to follow it.

To answer the above question..... I will not be putting a religious book into my daughters hand once she is old enough to read.

I also just nees to make this point.... I do have to laugh at the amount of people I know who are not religious, but choose to have thier child baptised or christened.... When my daughter was born, I was in hospital for a few days, and in the ward was another 2 young new mothers. They were chatting to ne of the nurses, and they mentioned that they couldnt wait thier babies christened...the nurse then asked me when id be having my little on christened.... and when I said I wouldnt as im not religius, they were all shocked! I mean...why would I do that!

Stifler's - posted on 09/27/2010

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It depends whether or not the parents are religious. If people are sending their kids off to Sunday school every week and not going to church themselves it's a bit pointless IMO.

Jessica - posted on 09/25/2010

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Quoting Lynette-First of all, children do need to know that there is a God. A God who created them, loves them & gave His life for all of us.

So what would you say to parents like me, who have no intention of raising their child with a belief in a god? I am an atheist and when my son is old enough to ask questions about religion/faith/god-s then I will answer them fully and FACTUALLY. I will NOT, however, raise my son to believe in something that has almost no probability of existence except in the mind of mankind. My son will be raised to be a good, honest and moral individual with a desire to help, not because of a fear of some imagined place of torture, but because it is the right thing to do and because he WANTS to.

Johnny - posted on 09/24/2010

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My answer would be no. But then I'm an agnostic and couldn't give a hoot about religion (except to be horrified by the way it allows people to excuse their terrible behavior). I've seen religion do wonderful things for people, but that's generally because they were raised with strong morals and just happen to be good people by nature. I don't think the religion really makes the difference.

Although, given how often I see religious people on here incredulous at the idea that those without religion or faith could possess a moral compass of their own (without God's guidance) I actually sometimes wonder if religion (rather than faith) is a tool people use when they can't tell right from wrong for themselves.

I also do not think that faith is a necessity. I'm a satisfied, happy, moral, optimist without it. It is undoubtedly important to most, but not to all. My daughter will be free to explore her own beliefs, faith, and religious choices when she is old enough to really understand what they mean, but I don't plan on purposefully instructing her in it, since I find it perfectly pointless.

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My cousin (raised as Southern Baptist as I was) actually DID convert to the Catholic faith in order to marry his bride and I remember being PISSED that he did it. To him, I understand that it was no big deal because the two religions at their core, basically are the same (in that it's the same God, same Jesus, etc) and he just loved this girl and wanted to marry her and did what he had to do. For me though, I was sooo irked that he HAD to because I don't think that he should have changed anything about himself to be acceptable to the church. He didn't marry the church. He married a girl. I always thought that bit was stupid, him having to change religions. What's ironic is that I have no religion so why should I even care? LOL I don't even believe in the religion or the faith that I was raised in. But at the time? Oooohhhh ...anywho.

About the original question? I know I posted a few days ago but I'll say again. Children need to be taught love, morals, values, tolerance, kindness, love for their fellow human beings and a great many other things that can be taught without having faith in ANY God/god. CAN a child benefit from organized religion? Of course. But I don't think it's necessary at all. If I were a devout believer (as most of my family is) of Jesus Christ and I went to church every time the doors were open, then yes, my son would probably follow in my footsteps. But since I'm not and I don't, he doesn't either. But that doesn't mean that he will not be raised to have all the same core values that any decent human being should have.

Charlie - posted on 09/24/2010

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Has anyone ever watched Around the world in 80 faiths its REALLY interesting !! the presenter is a bit of a dickhead but it explores religions from all corners of the world , ive watched some really amazing rituals on this show .
http://www.bbc.co.uk/80faiths/

Lynette - posted on 09/24/2010

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First of all, children do need to know that there is a God. A God who created them, loves them & gave His life for all of us. There are so many religions in this world, which help to shape one's life in society. I think "religion" is NOT needed in a child's life since it is bogus philosophy. ("Religion" is man-made) Children do need to learn about moral values, respecting their parents and elders. And, parents alike, need not to provoke their children, but bring them up in the training, discipline & admonition of the Lord, and when they're old, they will not depart from it. They should be taught how to defend their beliefs when they are challenged. The best defense is always offense.

Meghan - posted on 09/23/2010

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Lindsay I am really surprised to hear that. Good for you! The church did say they would marry us if my husband was baptized and then confirmed catholic. To which he said "f-off". My husband knows more about religion and the bible then most religious friends I know. He was raised mormon and had a really really bad childhood when his parents took it to extremes, even getting themselves kicked out of the mormon church for polygamy. It has been his choice now to not believe in any religion or even have any faith whatsoever. For me, I don't know. I don't have a clue whats going to happen when we die, I don't know if science or religion is correct in the creation of the world. I don't know if there is some woman in the sky that is watching over all of us and listening to our prayers. I don't know if it is a man or a woman. Basically I don't have a clue. I'm ok with my children having the same point of view as well. If they don't know, or aren't sure about religion that leaves them more open for discussion and observations without judgement.

Nicole - posted on 09/22/2010

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again im sorry i did not word it well but my post was not about what happened to my son so i didnt go into full detail about his incident i was just using it as an example.my post was about me not thinking that been religious was important sorry for any confusion on my part.

ME - posted on 09/22/2010

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I was also denied a Catholic Wedding because my husband is an atheist...we were denied baptism because we weren't married in the church...until, like I said, a very wonderful Deacon did it for us with no questions asked (ie, he didn't want to know why we'd been denied, we were honest about having already been turned down...).

Tah - posted on 09/22/2010

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o he's just a rapper from philly that ws in the ROC with Jay-z..but he is muslim and lets you know in his songs..a few of them were....and if getting pregnant at 15 didn't get me kicked out, i'm sure im in it forever...lol...

Lindsay - posted on 09/22/2010

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Meghan, I am really suprised to hear you say that you were denied a catholic wedding. I have never heard of anyone not being able to marry in the church because of their partner being of a different faith, or non at all. Both of my kids have been baptized Catholic and we are not married. The only thing they did was have a meeting with us beforehand so that Josh would know what the different oils, candles and water were symbolizing. He grew up without any sort of religion and the priest also said that if we ever did decide to get married down the road, he would be happy to marry us. Maybe that's an aspect that varies from diocese to diocese or something because I have been to many baptisms where there parents aren't married and many weddings where only one of the people are catholic.

Pamela - posted on 09/22/2010

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Children need love and guidance from their families in their lives. They need to know that they have significance and value. These are qualities that can be handed to kids with or without religion.

ME - posted on 09/22/2010

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I agree with that too Tah...I was raised Catholic, and left the Church for quite a while (my experiences certainly informed my choice to leave)...after my son was born, I started going again and taking him...The Church didn't want to baptize him, but I found a wonderful Deacon who did it, no questions asked...I am once again questioning whether or not the Catholic Church is the right place for me and my children...but I do want them to be acquainted with spirituality, in some form...I think that it's a very difficult question to answer...whether or not we involve children in our personal religious faiths...I know that my children will never be forced to participate in anything they do not want to do religiously...I think that is quite harmful...I know enough about most of the major religious dogmas to answer simple questions and point them in the right direction for more in depth answers...but I don't think that they NEED religion...the only necessity is knowledge about it...all of them...

Rebeka - posted on 09/22/2010

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You Can't Force Religion On SomeOne. I Was Baptized At Seven Years Old. I Didn't Understand What It Meant To Be Baptized. I Didn't Understand What Religion Was At That Age. I Will Let My Son Choose When He Is Old Enough To Understand.

Krista - posted on 09/22/2010

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That's really cool, Tah. I'm glad that your folks gave you that broad variety of experiences.

You listen to a Muslim rapper, though? Doesn't that get you kicked out of the club? (I kid, I kid...)

Tah - posted on 09/22/2010

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I think the same is true in some instances for religion, (when you say that experiences can shape a person's views). i read alot from the people on here about how some church refused to baptize their baby, scared them offended them in some manner, and other wild things like that...I have seen christian snobs who forget where they came from but i chalk it up to the humanity in them because i believe the bible when he says that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God, people of all religions and those who don't acknowledge it act poorly..their is a song from a muslim rapper and he gets to a part where he says "i guess you all on your dean and i ain't on mine, stop it aki"..meaning that other muslims have been judging him for what he has and hasn't done as if they are perfect in following the koran and he isn't...aki(just something we say in philly..lol) so you will always find people like that in and out of religion, i hope that it wouldn't be the only reason for doubting.



My father was born catholic, but later became baptist..my mom was jewish..is now baptist...and that was after some time not attending church. My mother actually starting attending before him and used to get up and go while he stayed int he bed sleep..now he is a minister, and we were always open to ask him about religions. he talked to us about muslims, catholics(we went to catholic school during the week but we knew what we believed from the bible and church on sunday) and other religions. So we weren't sheltered from other religions because we were raised christian. It gave us a good basis and allowed us to know what would and wouldn't work for us when we were older and not believing in God just isn't a option for me. I repsect others rights to not believe though.

ME - posted on 09/22/2010

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Tah...I do my best to stay neutral, but I would guess that by the end of the semester, my students know that I support gay rights and women's rights, education reform, universal health care and other liberal causes. I start my class by talking about how a person's experiences inform their opinions...I call it a lens. We read "What Can the White Man Say to the Black Woman?", and discuss how her experiences as an African/Native American in this country probably affected her views on human rights, civil rights, and abortion rights...I make it clear that well reasoned, logical arguments or beliefs are ALL welcome, no matter the subject...I also make it clear that it is never the students right to their point of view that I question, but their REASONS for holding that point of view...I also always present both sides of a particular issue, no matter what it is. SO if I bring in an essay supporting vegetarianism or abortion, I also bring in the opposite view point. I ask the students to evaluate the arguments, and determine which is better. I rarely, if ever, have changed anyone's mind, but I do hope that I teach my students to think critically about what they have been told, and to come to their own conclusions...

Interestingly enough...I find myself fighting relativism and conspiracy theories on a daily basis...not to mention racism, homophobia, and other forms of bigotry...The last two semesters my biggest problem has been with the insulting things people say about muslims in my classes...we have a large population of muslims, and I typically have several such students in my classes...it can be very tedious, but I do not feel that racism is appropriate in the classroom and will "let them have it" for saying such things as "all muslims are terrorists", etc...

Meghan - posted on 09/22/2010

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In my belief, religion was concocted by the human race because they couldn't comprehend the fact that maybe when you die, you die. That there is no after life. And also when you think about all the humans that are here on earth and all the humans that had lived here on earth, well how the hell did we get here? Think of everything that we have. Every piece of clothing, every car, every plane, every child. If you think of these things from a non-religious stand point it can blow your freaking mind. Think of evolution. We evolved from one little cell? Wow. Or the big bang theory, where the hell did that first particle that blew up come from? For many people (I believe) this is too much to comprehend. It is so much easier thinking that god is behind all of this. He gave the knowledge to someone so that they can create cars and clothes and everything else that is good in our life. She created us because believing that we might all be on this earth, live for 80 years or so and just freaking die is very depressing. It's easier to believe that the devil is what creates evil things, other then thinking that people are sometimes just bad people.

I was raised Catholic. I married an agnostic (former Mormon). The catholic church, of course, refused to marry us. I can understand that. But when my 1st son was born I asked for him to be baptized. They refused stating that they didn't recognize my marriage in the catholic church, and therefore my son was a bastard. Then the next week they sent me a letter asking for a donation.

I really really really dislike organized religion. I have my own faiths and my own beliefs. And sometimes those change. Sometimes the thought that I might just die when all of this is over is too much for me and I take comfort in believing that there is an afterlife. But then when a child comes in to the ER bleeding and drugged up from abusive parents, I have a very hard time believing that there is a god that would allow that to happen. When people justify their cruel and heartless actions for the sake of religion I have a HUGE problem with that.

I sincerely believe that if you are a good person, a truly good person, that if there is a heaven there is no way you will be kept out. By good I mean, Love your children, be conscientious, respect others, and most of all be happy. Miserable people just want to make other people miserable.

Children will be curious of religion. It's natural. As long as a parent doesn't take to the extremes then when the child grows up he/she should be able to make their own choices. And by extremes I mean, believe as I believe or you go to hell. Or, there is no such thing as god. I like the maybe approach, and the "some people believe this way" approach. Wow, I'm long winded, going to be late for work now.

Krista - posted on 09/22/2010

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Well, I assumed that, because that's what you said. The way you wrote it REALLY made it sound as though he came home with this paper and you immediately threw it away on him, with no discussion as to the contents therein . So I do apologize for offending you, but you really left quite a few details out of that story, so you can't blame people for coming to a different conclusion.

Nicole - posted on 09/22/2010

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dana no offence taken your entitled to your opinion,i didnt word it very well but i did not put his work in the bin infront of him it was a couple of weeks later when i was cleaning out his room.we did have a talk about the passport when he got home i told him that it was not real and not needed.but he insisted that if he didnt have it and he was bad then the gates wouldnt open for him.i think at the age of 10 hes got better things to worry about than some stupid gates opening for him.i think its sad that some (not all) religious people could let a child believe that.however im just reading the post from krista and i do take offence to what your saying.you just assume i put it in the bin infront of him so no wonder he cryed.thats not what happened and im not going to explain myself to you but he was crying because he was scared he wasnt going to get into the gates not because i'd thrown it away and for grown people to make a young child feel the way he did about the so called gates opening should be ashamed of them selves.

Krista - posted on 09/22/2010

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Yeah, I'm with Dana on this one, Nicole. That would have been a really good opportunity to open up a dialogue with him about religion. But to take a picture on which he'd worked hard, and biff it in the trash, just because you didn't agree with what was on it? No wonder he cried -- that was mean.

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Personally, I am Wiccan and proud of it. Will I teach my child about Wicca? Yes. That won't be the only religion I teach my child about though. Do they NEED religion in their lives to be considered a 'good' person? No. Do I think they need an understanding of religion for TOLERANCE? Yes, and that's the only reason why. Seeing the news on France banning burqas, people getting angry about the mosque that's been there for 25 years, and pastors wanting to burn the Koran only make me want to teach my child more about religion. Krista E says everything (except the being Atheist part because I'm not Atheist) as I would like to say it.

Ava - posted on 09/22/2010

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I definitely consider religion a poison, especially to children. Morals and values can be instilled without constant fear of an omnipotent father looming over the little dear, or, worse, the impending doom associated with the feeling of terror parents instill in their child by frightening them with the idea of burning in hell forever (one convert to Atheism remarked on a messageboard that when she was only seven years old, she was having anxiety attacks about her behavior because she was so worried she was going to go to hell). I view religion as a way to control people. 'Oneness', 'togetherness', and common feel-good hope in humanity does not require religion as a basis, nor do values. I grew up in a house that didn't preach a religion, and I have never gotten in trouble with the law, nor had I ever gotten in trouble at school. I was a good child that liked to read. Conversely, Hitler was a Roman Catholic (no, he wasn't an Atheist; he was a *devout* follower of the church and had all of their support), so I don't think religion has anything at all to do with effectiveness in enforcing morals.

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Nicole, I really don't want to offend you but I have a feeling I'm about to. I do agree with you for the most part about religion and that's great that you'll "let your kids choose their own path" but don't you think throwing your sons drawing in the garbage right in front of him was a wee bit extreme? Regardless of it's significance in your mind, he was probably really proud of it and to have you throw it away must have been devastating for him. YIKES. Anyhow, couldn't you just have used the opportunity to ask him questions about what he learned and then use that start a dialogue about different religions or lack of religion. In my opinion, it would have been the perfect opportunity to teach and guide him. I'm sorry but I'm sad for your son. You can explain your opinion without squashing his excitement....afterall, do you really think he understood the meaning of the passport? Do you REALLY believe you're allowing him to choose his own path?

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Like I said before children should choose, and I would never force any religion on them. I introduced my children to a church for the simple fact that they are grieving the loss of there baby brother and my step daughter is grieving the loss of her mother, and I didn't know what to do.

Personally I don't know what happens and like Krista said, there are so many more possibilities that people never even consider. But I choose to show my children a option that sounds beautiful at this point, like heaven, because I don't want them to be scared. I have faith in something, but I don't know what it is, I have no designated religion and I never will. I feel many people hide behind there religion and the bible, I have even been told I would never go to heaven if I don't except jesus christ into my heart. REALLY, they must have read a different bible, I have read the bible a few times and I have also studied up on many other religions.
I believe people make there own fate and I have never relied on anyone but myself to make my life what I want it to be. If all 4 of my kids believe 4 different things I will support them.

Nicole - posted on 09/21/2010

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totally agree with jessica.i never have and never will believe in any religion.if believing in god does the things it does to people and countries then i dont wont any part of it.on the other hand i will let my three children choose there own path,we live across the road from a church and the kids often go over to the kids club they hold once a week,they love it.but when my 10 year old son comes home with a peice of paper he drew saying it was his passport to heavan then i have to draw a line especially when he cryed because i put it in the bin and thought he could no longer get into heaven.im a good person i dont steal i respect all people i worked in a rest home,but because i dont beleive in god im not going to heaven? well if thats true then id rather go to the other place.to be a good person you do not need to have religious views.you just need to have morals and respect and to the right thing.

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No. I was brought up Roman Catholic, now athiest and my husband was brought up with no religion and he's no worse a person than I am.

Tah - posted on 09/21/2010

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@mary elizabeth, so when you teach your class do you stay neutral on subjects..just asking because i am taking philosophy this sememster(running outta classes..lol) and my professor says things like.." i never understand the big bang theory because i don't get what got banged together, something had to have existed to be banged..."...and things like that..or on global warming...he said for the most part when he awakes in the morning the globe has always warmed because it starts out one temp and then goes higher....of course his beard comes down to the middle of his chest and he thinks julia roberts is ugly but...he's not crazy..

Iris - posted on 09/21/2010

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No, they don't need religion to be brought up with morals, know the right from wrong and generally wanting to be and do good. The faith I want them to have is in themselves.

Joanna - posted on 09/21/2010

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no, but they need the option to have it in their lives if they want it.

[deleted account]

Marie, if you are not presenting ALL the facts then how can your child make an non-bias decision on what faith/religion, if any, they want to associate themselves with?

[deleted account]

I haven't read the other posts but my first thought is no one NEEDS religion, children included.

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