What can I do if my son says he is an atheist?

Talking to children and teenagers about religion can be difficult. How do you respond to a child who says they are atheist?

40  Answers

0 16

Reading these posts it obviously hugely depends on where you live. For Americans it seems a negative, threatening choice. For us Brits the concept of atheism and agnosticism is usually the norm, especially during the experimentary teen years. It's not feared here but generally embraced as it shows your child is inquisitive and is bothering to think about and question their existence.

Any thought process that challenges the dominant religion and opens debate is a good thing. Throughout life we all learn and develop. Encourage questions and reserach, don't hinder it.

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0 9

I was raised by my English grandmother who does believe in God and taught my to as well. She took me to church, on occasion, and was adamant that I make no judgements without knowledge. When I told her I was atheist, she respected my belief. I do see that it is a major difference between Brits and Americans. Somewhat ironic isn't it?

8 14

I feel the British way in regard to freedoms is best. Most Americans shove their beliefs down their childrens throats. I believe that knowledge is power and power is self possessed.

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I agree - there is definately a difference between us Brits and Americans when it comes to religion. My two eldest attend catholic school and go to church most Thursday mornings with the school - I go with them too. The school mass is written specifically with children in mind. I also attend church at the weekend. My eldest daughter, who is 9, has a strong belief and is an altar server. My 6 year old finds mass at the weekend rather boring and chooses not to go. To be honest, an hour mass can be pretty hard going for a child of 6. Maybe she'll change her mind when she's older, and I will always ask if she wants to come with us, but the choice will always be hers. My 1 year old loves church because people sing and she loves singing. I don't always take her as she isn't walking yet and my arthritis makes it difficult for me to hold her for an hour. Again though, she will be allowed to choose when she's older.

2 0

The main point I see here is the difference between indoctrination, and allowing your child to make their own choice from the beginning. We are more similar here in Canada to England than the US when it comes to this ideology.

11 0

For most Americans who live in urban or suburban areas on the coasts, it's much more like the UK in terms of dealing with religion. Once you leave the coasts and head into the 'Bible Belt,' or the southern states, you start to encounter people who look at you weird if you mention that you don't go to church. The more educated people are, the more they tend toward agnosticism or atheism, so attitudes change according to your cohort, of course. Honestly, I think I'd have a serious problem if any of my children started to profess a belief in a deity--I'd wonder where they heard such nonsense, because it wouldn't have been under my roof.

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I would be happy. It means my child does not only chose logic over blind faith, but he also researched something enough to make an educated decision.

I was raised with a Jewish mother, and a Christian father. Neither of which were very religious, but their parents were religious enough that I learned much of both. I realized before my teenage years that they seemed more like tales than reality. I still questioned where I had come from, or why I was here, and what happened after I die, but I did not believe in either of the religions. Later I looked up wiccan, Buddhism, Hinduism. I still was not content. They all seemed so man made.

It was well into my 20's when I realized I really did not care. I am agnostic, and through that I researched that it is technically considered atheism. I believe that it is quite possible there is a god, but that I will most likely not know for sure in my life time. I also believe that if there is a god, he/she/they will not care if I was sitting in an uncomfortable chair every Sunday, making my Arthritis I've had since birth worse, and praying to an empty void, internally hoping it was not all for nothing.

If my son comes to me as a teenager, and has already figured all of this out. I will be ecstatic, and put him into gifted classes.

The important thing is, if he decides if he does believe in a religion, I will still be supportive. Because I believe whole heartedly that everyone is free to believe what ever they want. I think that as long as you are a good person, treat others better than how you expect to be treated, and don't hurt anyone, in any way, it does not matter what you believe, or who you wish/pray to/rely on. I will ask him questions though. Because I believe it is important not to just believe things because you were told to.

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Well said,there are very few people in this world who think in this way,If every human start thinking like this I am sure there would be no war on religion or between countries.

0 0

I agree, I went through a similar path. Even though I consider myself an atheist/agnostic, I lean towards Buddhism more than anything else (philosophy rather than the myths). I have told my daughter that the most important think is to think for herself, rather than repeating or believing things because she is told. In our home there really are no rules/dogma/church/commandments...for only one rule is paramount in our home: "Treat (respect) others the way you want to be treated," and this includes even the planet in which we live (treat it well so it can treat us well too).

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I feel the same way, I dont deny theres a possibility that their is a God, but I dont know! If my kids want to go to church when they are bigger I will drive them, no problem...but I dont go. Im not sure what/who created the world, but something did, everything had to have a beginning, but how? ... I wonder if God created everything, then who created God? I wonder if their is a God and he can control everything, then why are babies born sick and child molestors are born at all? I believe in things I can see, but I also believe in miracles. If my child told me "Mommy, Im just not sure what to believe" I'll tell them Mommy dont know either! And be proud that my child thought about it and didnt just say its so cause other people say it is.

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I am an agnostic/atheist and was raised that way. I am in complete agreement that "maybe" there is a God. . . but I am highly doubtful. How could some of the horrific things happen to us as humans and our planet if there truly was a God? I will be open to allowing my children to explore different paths but hope that they don't get brainwashed like so many Christians. Take a look at the Middle East. . thats what religious brainwashing causes. . .

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See the important thing is, because I'm not indoctrinating him as a youth, he will have the choice when he is an adult, so if he wishes to fall for their brainwashing, I will not love him any less, just question everything he tells me, so he can see the scientific side of what most Christians believe. The thing is, because I am Jewish by heritage (so non practising) he might go that route. Either way, any tale he decides to believe in (or not) is up to him, because I did my part to make him realize that he does not have to do anything because someone else tells him he does. :)

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you congratulate him on his intelligence and his ability to recognise facts and proof.... obvious, no??

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what do you mean?

4 17

what do you mean?

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I'm confused by your question, I didn't think there was anything ambiguous in my answer, can you elaborate on what you are asking me to explain? Cheers :)

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paula,love your comment and there s nothing ambiguous about it

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By asking what do you mean I am sure that person was wondering, as I am as well, what do you mean when you say congratulate him because in my household that was something was not questioned. I was raised in the church and I am a baptist. Granted I don't go to church as I use to be I do in all ways believe in God. My son I am not sure he never said he was an atheist but he did tell me that he does have his doubts in the fact of rather or not God is real or not but I take the full blame for that because it is not something that was discussed that much in my home, but he knows how I feel about the atheist thing. If he decides to say that he is one I won't disown him but I won't be very happy about it either... Ms. Therapy

0 0

ok then.... what i meant was there is evidence that there is no god, science has again and again proven religious writings to be false.... over time religions have tried to adapt and change their minds to excuse their falseness - religion has for years been a way of controlling people and has set science back centuries, condemning intelligent scientists who were only in search of the truth. Plus, Earth is a mere scrap - there are more stars than there are grains of sand on all the beaches in the world, a god wouldn't give a rat's about little old us anyways lol :)

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Also, why not question it?? If somebody tells you something, do you just take their word for it?? I think if you make the choice to be religious then it should be an educated decision whereby you have studied not only other religions but also the facts that a god does not exist.

0 0

This so you aren't happy he decided that a fairy tale book isn't real how dare him how dare he not be life a pile of rubish that I have tried to brainwash him into thinking I wonyt disown him? I would like to think any person wouldn't listen to yourself you need help your child should be taken away and giving to a parent he doesn't abuse a child.

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My comment was addressing tysie David

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My 16 yr old just recently told me he wasn't a Christian. My husband and I are very active at our church and I spend daily time in prayer and devotion, so I was immediately shocked and upset. But God revealed to me that he is only 16, and as part of growing up he needs to make his own choice and come to his own conclusions. So we sat and talked about what being a Christian means to him, and I told him that I accepted what he is saying as part of his grwoing and trying to figure life out for himself. All I can do is be the best and honest example of a Christian to him and trust God to do the rest.

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My husband told his very religious mother the same thing at about age 13. He is now 39 and is still an atheist. He is also a wonderful man, husband, father, and son. He had to go to church until he graduated from high school, and after that, his mother made no further religious demands on him. She raised him well, gave him the skills he needed to be a productive, responsible member of society, and set him wonderful examples. Then she stepped back and let him make his own decisions. It is one of the things I most respect about her. Would she prefer that he is a Christian? No doubt, but she doesn't make an issue of it, nor does she hide her beliefs and Christian actions. There is mutual respect and love between them. In contrast, I told my mother I am agnostic in high school. It wasn't a huge issue at the time, but my mother is now heavily involved in a Christian church. My failure to believe as she does has, at times, caused difficulty in an otherwise healthy relationship. Her fervency also pushes me towards atheism, which I recognize is a rebellious response and resist. You cannot force your beliefs on your son and expect to have a good relationship with him, particularly as he matures. If this isn't a phase with him, but a legitimately held belief and set of values that will guide his life, respect that. If you still want to pray for him to believe as you do, feel free to do so privately, but please don't tell him you are praying for him. Showing lack of respect in his beliefs may damage your relationship with him. At the same time, raise him to also respect your beliefs.

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Well said Dina...very well said

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Remember the Surrender and then God is in charge! It isn't hard then to have your answer. Love, njoy

0 9

Perfectly said Dina!

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Dina, I'm just curious. So, do you celebrate any of the Christian holidays?

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Wow! Interesting all the different views! A better word might be Paradigm’s(http://amyhauer.com/our-belief-system-drives-us/). As a believer, I say...relax Mom! I am an open believer in relationship with Jesus Christ. I believe we teach morals, values and our faith. Studies show that when children hit this age, they are figuring out who they are and how they relate to the world around them outside of the family unit. I have 6 children. Two of them told me the same thing around that age. One said it out of "smart curiosity", the other to "hurt me". Regardless, I told them the same thing. "It is only my job to teach you. What you do with it is up to you. If you are thinking that, then it is God's way of asking you if you accepted Him, outside of my relationship with Him. And that means my job is done. I am not responsible for your relationship with Jesus." I will report, all 6 of my children believe and are followers of Jesus. So... you that question or cry brainwashing... you tell me if that is honesty and truth spoken, or brainwashing?!

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anova....what christian holidays.......they are all based on pagan beliefs first....then when the church was trying to convert pagans ,they took their origins and added a christian twist to win them over and keep the peace.............

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Dina, Your dear sweet mother-in-law is walking with the ord and she has not stopped praying for your husband. What you make take for acceptance is really her complete trust in God who loves your son more than her or you, and He wants none to be lost. Your husband is only 39 , God's timing is perfect. For me or your mother-inlaw to push or think we can change our sones minds is telling God we don't think He can do it and He needs our help. Your mom will learn to Trust Him more and turn you over to Him. Scripture says, "If the tree is holy the branches will be holy" I claim that everyday.Thanks for your honesty and I promise I won't tell you again but your mother-in -law just got a partner in her prayers LOL.

0 0

For Joyce Mejia....I was raised in a Christian home,and accepted Him as a child.By 12,I was headed for deep rebellion,and "succeeded"! My parents and their friends NEVER stopped praying for me! By 43,the Lord got my attention! I have been serving Him with a glad heart and Very thankful for His patience and parents persistence,in prayer! Prayer is our best weapon,in this battle.Ephesians 6:10-! Stay on your knees! Don't allow negative feed back to persuade you.God is in control!

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I think you are right in allowing him to make his own decision with this. If you try and force christianity on him he will probably be more adamant that he is an athiest. Hopefully this is just a phase he is going through and, as he gets older, comes back to the church but, if he doesn't, it won't necessarily make him a bad person.

8 0

t here are reasons people grow into their own beliefs, become their authentic selves.Some 'beliefs" that were presented to us as children were bizarre. I grew up; I said WHAT ? I chose Buddhism; it's gentle and kind. Some family members laugh, some respect. It doesn't change me. Namaste

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Remember that God gives us freedom to choose to believe in Him or not. Keep loving your son no matter what. My atheist son is now 30, and although now and then we share articles with each other about our respective viewpoints, we have unconditional love for each other. I am keeping the door open and praying for him daily. Faith is not a matter of just being persuaded by facts, although I am convinced the facts support the Bible. Faith is a matter of the heart, and I trust that God will speak to my son's heart at the right time for him. It's sad that he's currently missing out on the wondrous relationship he could be having with Jesus, and also sad that I can't tell Bible stories to my delightful granddaughter, but I do not panic. My son is in God's hands.

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Continue to pray for as I know you do. God will call him soon enough and he'll come back with open arms.

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Prayer is your best option. In reading the responses within this column, I am struck by the emptiness of the arguments FOR atheism and/or choosing a non-religious life. A very important point to make is the difference between following a rule-oriented, works-related religion and a faith-based, grace-oriented relationship with Jesus. The statistics are not in his favor, if his heart is hardened and he has no Christian mentor. I have taught teens for the past 19 years, and I am confident that not many have "figured out" the atheism thing on their own. I believe a parent who discourages a child's exploration of the gospel will be held accountable in a big way, one day. Life is short - for some, VERY short. These are eternal decisions, and not to be taken lightly.

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amen, carol :) susan

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I agree with Vikki Carr - what do kids know they have no experience in life to know what God is my son is basing his decison on the bad things that are going on and why and if there was a God then this kind of incidents would not occur all I can do is pray for him that he will soon have and understanding

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i ve been an atheist half my long life....my kids always believed in god...i ve always given them both sides...it s up to them

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A parent who teachers their child to be respectful, loving and honest will suffice. There will be no "accountability" for a parent who doesn't support exploration of the "gospel" (whatever that is) or are you implying that those who are born out of Christianity will be "held accountable" say our Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist parents. You are sadly deceived that Jesus -if he was who you believe-God's son-would ever condemn parents for such nonsense! Children should be guided towards being themselves-inquisitive about all!

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emptiness for arguing atheism? you mean science,intelligence....wow

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you can pray and not be a Chistian. Leading a non-religious life is no different than leading a religious one. . . we still have to teach values, morals, etc!!! We don't read and follow books that are full of fictitious materials. .. . immaculate conception, walking on water, rising from the dead. . . .hmmmm. The list goes on. Like I mentioned in a different post. .. . look whats happened and continues to happen in the Middle East!! Open your eyes and brain to see the TRUTH!

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"sad that I can't tell Bible stories to my delightful granddaughter, but I do not panic. My son is in God's hands. Andrea Wimberly - commented on Aug 9, 2011 " You mean like Numbers 31? Or do we ignore that one?

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isn't this stating you are absolutely right? Children should be trusted to move towards what feels right for them, as you could very well be not right.

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He isn't In gods hands because he isn't real.

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Congratulate them! They obviously have all their neurons intact,

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I am confused, who doesn't have their neurons intact?

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you,kaycee

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Yes Heather! Toni- LOL!

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yep, many of us generous, loving, happy folks simply do not care to believe in the supernatural. At one time, greeks had to believe in the various gods/goddesses of sun, love,war, celery. now, we have had discoveries and......drum roll.....SCIENCE !!!

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He obviously does! GO SCIENCE!

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Let make up thier own minds. no one has the right to force thier beliefs on others. Iam an atheist but never forced my belief onmy children.

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cheer and say thank goodness you're not sucked in by all that religious make-believe.

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amen...lol....to that

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first off, i find nothing wrong with the word 'atheist' it has been a beleagured word that instantly inspires negativism.

my son is 15 and has begun seriously reconsidering his default religion which is christianity. In a country that's 80 percent catholic, that created ripples within the family. I highly encouraged him to research all religions of the world, the observance of faiths in how that religion is lived, it's weight on positive change and issues related to them. my personal belief is that religion is a way of life and not just a name you put in a box on a piece of paper. it is his basic human right to choose for himself which religion he will live his life. I, as parent, is just a steward, guiding him through the murky waters of over information and ignorance. To say this is just a phase makes light of a weighty issue. adults still search for meaning and spirituality all their lives.

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I found this quote online and it sums up my beliefs pretty well: "Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones. I am not afraid. - Marcus Aurelius --- Religion is not essential to becoming a good person. If he is truly an atheist, no amount of pressure from you will change his mind. It will only push him further away. I have gone through this with my own father. He became overly religious after nearly dieing from Alcoholism about six years ago and now refuses to accept the fact that I do not hold his same beliefs. The unrelenting pressure from him to go to church and his constant preaching have since pushed a wedge between us and we are no longer on speaking terms. Please do not allow this to happen to your relationship with your son. Let him make his own decisions and learn to respect them, no matter how much they go against your beliefs. Acceptance and tolerance is necessary, no matter what the circumstances.

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great quote

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Love it :)

2,551 1

Marcus Aurelius wasn't my favorite Roman but he was rght on the money with this one.

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Each person is right in his own eyes..and justifies his belief. There's a "group joke" that's gone around saying "the earth is flat"..no discussion changes their minds! History reminds us a few men sincerely believed this.. of course it was proven false. Many books talk about supernatural, experiences of going into the celestial sphere, or heaven as they call it and how wonderfully mind changing it was. Many from that time on believe there is a god because no man could create all of that. "Some" of those stories were no doubt from God, and that's good. I take it a step further. People whose minds are dead set there is No God, and..No Hell..and multitudes of other false beliefs saying "their way" is better than God's Way..need a supernatural experience also. A visionary trip to Hell. There is a way that seems right to man, but the end of that is destruction. God loved the world so much He gave His only Son... who was crucified on the cross. He arose from the dead and lives today. He is offering LIFE to each one of us, if we will only believe and accept HIM. A personal relationship with Jesus, changes your whole life now and forever more.

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AMEN!!!! I think a lot of teenagers like to use words or make a statement to see their parents reaction. Not all but some. I think at 16 your son probably does not have a real clear understanding of being an athiest. If it were my son I would try not to react and then I would pray and try to leave it in God's hands. I would rather be Christian while I am here on earth and when I die find out I was wrong than be an athiest here on earth and when I die find out I was wrong. God bless you and your son.

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Jeanne, my thoughts exactly! Here in Africa, its almost a taboo/ abormination to say that you are atheist. You have to believe in GOD..or have some form of faith. Thats just the way it is .

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so jeanne your only a christian "just in case?'

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2 0

Why does it have to be a negative supernatural experience. Why can it not be a positive one? Why a trip to hell and not to heaven? I am not trying to put holes in your ideas by any means, I just wonder why every theist I have talked to believes people who are against the word of god should be shown the "right" way through suffering, and not peace. I do not particularly wish to teach my child that if they do not agree with something, to be condescending, and hope for the person who does not agree to go to a place as horrifying as our depiction of hell. I have taken child psychology, and it has been a proven study that teaching a child through positive reinforcement is much more effective than negative. And ruling by fear is a tactic used by tyrants. To note. This is not an attack on anyone. I am just curious as to the line of thinking that brings this upon. I said it to be informative, and inquisitive. Like I said previously, I respect everyone's right to believe what they wish.

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19 13

and supposed enlightened men imprisoned galileo for his scientific findings that the earth was not the center of the universe,and forced him to recant....and yes.....most folks did believe the world was flat,the same folks who believed in hebrew folktales

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Like Jeanne said, i would rather be a christian..believing in God and what HE offers us through HIS SON Jesus Christ and choose that life style while here on earth...rather than take the popular style thinking and find out to my horror....one second in hell....OH My GOD please take me out of here...i believe YOU ARE FOR REAL. Too late!! By then...it's a done deal. When people say they are atheistic they are putting themselves into the position of GOD...that basically covers it. Eternity is forever...it is very scary to play with that. You are not GOD......don't gamble....its not worth it. Lay the pride of man aside and say...with an open heart....Oh Father in Heaven....please show me YOUR WAY...so my soul is not lost. AFTER THOUGHT..Many religious leaders have died for the cause....BUT...only ONE actually rose from the dead and lives today.....that's the difference between true christianity and religion. May God and HIS mercy touch your life today.

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"just in case" is still the crappiest form of faith

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So Lois, you believe in Jesus just in case? Thats' rather sad Ma'am. Nor is it an honest expression of faith by any standard. Why exactly is "too late" to have proof? Why?

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if there is a god, he is sadistic. Died for my sins ? Like, at age 8 I copped a stick of gum from my sister's stash. Jesus should die a miserable death for that. It was the times, folks,the Romans were quite intense with their punishments, no? Wrong place, wrong time that scene. Can't build my life on it. I carry good intentions. Have a wonderful adopted daughter from a Buddhist Country revaged by bad men who think they are better. I am 71 now, raising a teen. No need for the supernatural. Humans helped me bring her to this family. If a sadistic god permitted the bad guys to kill innocents like my daughter in the slaughters in Cambodia, I'd sure like to slap him hard.

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Chamberlen ignorance is bliss I have a degree in religious education. You are completley wrong nearly all teens that go towards atheism stay that way and if you done research you would find they no better than. You.

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You just support him. If you try to force any type of belief on him he will pull farther away. We are taught to be tolerant of each others beliefs and if you can't do that with your son he'll never be able to do that with others. :) I hope that helps

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I stated in my initial post that God intended for us to raise children in the way they should go and not the way the world wants them to go. I think that she should continue making him attend sunday sermons, bible study, and sunday school so he can get to know who God is. If he rebels then so be it. She has to look after him not only physically and emotionally but as well as spiritually. As long as she prays and keep the faith GOd will take care of it all. I hope you understand what I mean.

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So what you're saying is that he should be MADE to believe in god?? I have never heard anything so pathetic in my life. How would she feel if he MADE HER go to meetings and studies about NOT believing in god?? Works both ways. My parents are very religious..... I on the other hand am not. I have 4 children whom I love with all my heart and would die keeping them safe..... Not believing in god does not make me a bad person. My son was diagnosed with a brain tumour at age 2. He is now 8 and as well as can be expected. Did my parents prays help him? No they didn't.... The very talented surgeon and 18 months of chemotherapy helped him. If there was a god then he wouldn't have let him suffer, if there was a god then he's not worth an ounce. You are all talking as if this poor boy was a pedophile or a murderer.... He is a young man who has decided not to believe in god. For the love of life itself give him a break and respect his wishes.

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i agree cheryl,my son was in wreck and is paralyzed and brain injured,he s christian ,i m not,he wanted prayers,he got them,i didn t but people keep pushing it on me.....leave me out of it.his neurosurgeons are the "miracle workers".

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I aree with Andrea. As long as your under my roof, you will go to church with the rest of the family. It doesnt mean you have to like it or believe in God, but as a parent I want my children to be raised with a solid foundation and understanding of what the Lord has done for us, and not be raised just wondering what hes all about. When my children are 18 and old enough to make thier own decisions, they can decide whether or not they believe and I will love them either way. My oldest is 13, very open minded and has tons of questions. 'The evolution handbook' is a good tool for unanswered questions for one side, and as for the other there are great teen versions of study bibles that are easy to understand. I have purchased both for him, and leave it up to him. Even if I do pray he still believes in Christianity, he has made his own decision and formed himself.

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omg,Jenni Kline!!!i gotta blast you !!!!the evolution handbook,that you tried to pass off as a representation of evolution and that side,is a book about creationism and intelligent design.you just helped prove my case against either christian ignorance or dangerous lies ,trying to brainwash children....shame on you for trying to push that crap here....BOO

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It is not our job to create clones of ourselves, but to nurture our children to become individuals able to forge their own way in the world and make their own decisions. Teach your children the truths you know, but be happy when they have grown to find their own way, even if their path diverges from yours. Be joyful when they make their own choices for it means that you have done your job as a parent.

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Religion, if not used rigidly, is a wonderful way - but not the only way - to re-enforce values and responsible behavior. But you will damage your relationship and create resent for the religion if you force it upon him. Respect his choice and encourage him to explore and think freely. Our end-goal as parents should simply be to raise thoughtful, open-minded and good people.

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uhm... support him? guide him? offer him information on atheistic views. It's his life, he's allowed to believe in whatever he wants.

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You support them. I told my mom the same thing whe i was a teen. I went to a religious high school and learned about many different relegions in college. IMO there is nothing wrong or bad about being atheist. My parents were good teaches to me. Religion did not make me who I am now my parents did.

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As someone who has studied biology from a creation standpoint I would try to give him the facts- When I talk to a room full of teens and try to get them to believe that a coke can just materialized they think I'm silly- yet we ask them to believe that the human body (which is infinately more complex) did just that. Help get to the root of what he means by athiest- it could be that he is agnostic-

As the mother of a 16 year old- I would continue to keep the discussion open- If you truly believe the Christian faith then the road of "oh well I'll let him believe what he wants to believe" is like saying, "I really believe if he dies he will go to hell and burn for all eternity, but oh well itf that's what he wants". As a mother who loves my son- I would not be able to be so cavalier.

As a Christian who truly believes there is one way to heaven I would be remiss in not trying all I could to explain that to my son. Definately continue behaving like a Christian, have him go to church (you never know when God will open his heart, pray and love him. (in other words exactly what you are doing) Our children are only on loan from God and the best we can do is steward them well.

I will add my prayers to yours that your prodigal son, lost sheep will return.

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You're a biologist yet you think the human body 'just materialised'?? Ever came across a fella called Darwin during your studies?? Back to school! ;)

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Don't know if you are aware of this but on his deathbed, Darwin rejected all of his own theories of evolution as false.

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Lynn- the story you are talking about was said to be untrue by his whole family. You are speaking of the Lady Hope Story. I would generally take the commentary of the people standing by his deathbed over someone who reportedly never saw him.

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1) This is not true. Lifted from Dale McGowan's Blog: The distortion of Darwin’s views continued for years. One of the most galling attempts was by Lady Elizabeth Hope, an evangelist who published a fabricated story in 1915 claiming to have heard Darwin renounce evolution and embrace Jesus on his deathbed. Francis redeemed his editorial self brilliantly. “Lady Hope’s account of my father’s views on religion is quite untrue. I have publicly accused her of falsehood, but have not seen any reply. My father’s agnostic point of view is given in my Life and Letters of Charles Darwin, Vol. I., pp. 304–317,” he wrote to a publisher in 1918. “I was present at his deathbed,” said Charles’s daughter Etty. “Lady Hope was not present during his last illness, or any illness. I believe he never even saw her, but in any case she had no influence over him in any department of thought or belief. He never recanted any of his scientific views, either then or earlier. We think the story of his conversion was fabricated in the U.S.A. …The whole story has no foundation what-so-ever.” 2) Even if he did, what does it matter? The Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection is rock solid. It is supported by the same method of science that brings you all the medical care you put your confidence in. 3) Darwin's wife, Anna was devoutly religious, and he adored her. She adored him despite his lack of religiosity. ALL of his writings were read, edited and influenced by his respect for her.

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Lori~ How narrow minded, selfish and disrespectfull can you be to maintain this process of thought ?!! How dare you or any other person to asume that another person is condemed to spend eternity in "Hell" simply because they denounce the cult of christianity/catholicism that is ever faltering in its own foundation ! Religion is a method used for centuries by man to control lesser man by their primal fears of the unknown, death and the after life. People, like yourself who cling to their relious cliques are scared and seemingly uncapable of chosing for themselves to recognise the obvious. What angers me to my core is when you fearfull masses start to climb upon "soap boxes" if you will to declare any "non believer" less than you and certainly hell bound. <calling your own flesh and blood a "lost sheep" because they dare to question their existance and feel strongly different than you, how much more concieted can you be Lori !~!~!>

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We now have evidence to prove evolution beyond all reasonable doubt (try watching carl sagan's cosmos, brilliant man). I just find it strange that people can have such faith in something that not only is there no evidence to suggest is true, but also evidence on the contrary - the mind boggles!! :)

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Biology is a science. Standing from a "biology from a creation standpoint" point of view, is in it's self an oxymoron.

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very true robin...in fact DARWIN NEVER REJECTED THOSE IDEAS OF EVOLUTION!!!!! just another case of religious myth making

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Oh and by the way, if God decides to "call" him, He can do it anywhere, a church is not the only place God can call on someone.

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Lynn - that story about Darwin is 100% false. He ever recanted. Not even close.

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yes, Darwin knew he had not discovered DNA. Knew he had reached the beginning of Science; not that he was wrong, but would not be there for the Scientific Theories. Not instant, like Coke (bad analogy) but billions of cells changing through Natural Selection over millions of years.What a relief ! What worse than a life lived in fear of an after hell? Gee, kinda takes the joyfullness out of living. Not for me, not for my Buddha baby either. Oh, if you do see your god,please ask her to put Cambodia back together. And get those orphanages a few water tanks? Thanks !

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I agree. Teenagers are often exploring what the world and limiting their reach will only harbor resentment. Do we tolerate this as a phase? No. Rather we show our teenagers that their beliefs are worthy of respect, and if they want to start making grown up decisions you're there for them.

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How old is your son? Do he really understand what an atheist is? I believe research is the best bet. As parents, we are responsible for protecting, teaching, leading and guiding our children in the right way. He probably heard someone else say that and now he is just repeating it. So ask more questions and sit down with him and pull of different difinitions of what an atheist is and help him reach the final decision if that is really what he want to be? Thanks.

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definition of atheist.....only one....not believing in god

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I was raised Catholic. Dragged to church ever Sunday. As I left home, and learned to think for myself I educated myself on religion, mythology and history. I came to the conclusion that religion was invented by humans to provide some guidelines as to how to live. It is also a means for controlling people and a cause for many wars.

I would never tell this to my mother since it would hurt her. She very firmly believes in God and due to the fact that she is uneducated and has anxiety issues, I think it is good for her since she can 'Put it in God's hands.' I do not choose it for myself.

If you want to respect your child, as you would want to be respected, you would need to respect their belief system as you would want them to respect yours. You may want to ask them how they came to this conclusion and listen honestly and respectfully to their opinion. If they are sharing this with you, be proud, because you obviously have a good relationship.

I wish I could share my belief system with my parents, but as I know they cannot handle it, I protect them from the things in my life that they wouldn't understand. If you push the issue, I am sure your kids would take the same road. I know a lot of kids that go to church to please mommy and daddy then go their own way anyway. Religion is a personal thing and everybody deserves the right to make up their own mind about it. If you ostracize them, judge them and don't respect them, you may not only loose their trust and their respect, but loose them altogether.

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Thank God that he is able to think for himself.

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I am amazed at the responses to this question. Most of the responses indicate unbelief on the part of the adult responding - or at least apathy. Of course, if you don't believe in God, heaven, or hell then this choice is no more threatening than choosing one college over another, or choosing one career over another. However, as Christians, we know that this choice is MUCH more important than anything else in life. Yes, it is choosing a lifestyle here on earth, but it is also making a choice for eternity. I have a dear friend who had been a missionary for many years whose daughter, Mary, told her a few years ago that she was not a Christian and wasn't interested in becoming one. My friend was, of course, heartbroken. She could just envision her sweet daughter dying and spending eternity in hell. She talked to her daughter often about her condition but always in a kind, loving way. The daughter is friends with my daughter who IS a Christian and loves Jesus with all her heart. My daughter continued to invite her to spend the night and be her friend. Mary loved our family. We were always kind and loving to her. We talked to her about things of God only when she brought them up. We continued to pray for her. Mary continued to attend church and spoke openly with the youth pastor and her Sunday school teacher about her beliefs. They both answered her questions without judging her and continued to show her love. In July Mary went with the youth from our church, including my family, on a mission trip. One one occasion she was in my car while we were driving around praying for the people of this town. She made a comment about how tired she was of her mom always preaching at her. I told her that I knew she didn't believe all this stuff but , "What if your mom is right? If she is then it would be like you sitting watching TV on the top floor of a wood building. Your mom discovers the building is on fire and if you don't get out you are going to die. You have no idea the building is on fire. Your mom is not going to walk into the room and say, 'Mary dear, how about coming for a walk with your mom.' No! She is going to come in and grab you by the hand and do whatever she can to get you out of there alive." I told her that she needed to understand that her mom's conversations with her about God were because her Mom loved her desperately and she only wanted her to be ok. The next day Mary wound up on the team that visited the homeless. On this occasion she happened to be paired with the youth pastor and asked him lots of questions. Before that day was over, she had decided to become a Christian. The advice you can draw from this story is:
1. Offer unconditional love to your child - not agreeing with beliefs or actions - but always affirming your love for him.
2. Surround him with Godly, loving friends and mentors who can honestly answer his questions when they arise.
3. Have people close to you pray for him.
4. You become familiar with apologetics so you will know how to answer his questions intelligently when they arise. Summit ministries out of Colorado has a LOT of resources for this. Anything written by Sean or Josh McDowell are good places to start.
I'm praying for you my friend.

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Get to know some atheists yourself. My atheist friends teach me tons about critical thinking, physics, and most of all I appreciate their acceptance of me as a person.

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Tracie - I love everything you wrote! YES I am a Christian and proud of it! Katie - I am very confused on how you state that Christians need to get to know atheists so they can teach me critical thinking . . . I am a teacher. . . a mother. . . a wife . . . I KNOW CRITICAL THINKING . . and so do my children to whom are in the gifted and talented classes at school b/c you DON"T have to KNOW any atheists to be smart, critical thinking human beings. . . . doesn't really matter WHO or WHAT you are to be critical thinkers!

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Those who believe in God are by far some of the most critical thinkers on the planet; think: C.S. Lewis, Tolstein, Einstein, etc. It's sad to see faith-based thinking aligned with ignorance and intellectual blindness. Tracie, I commend your post. It is very intelligent and well thought....Apologetics is a great place to start when dialoguing with our children and others. :)

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EINSTEIN DIDN T BELIEVE IN GOD>>>GET OVER IT>>>THE REST ARE NOT SCIENTISTS<JUST WRITERS>>>ANYONE CAN MAKE UP FAIRY TALES AND WRITE THEM DOWN...i.e. the bible and sorry,i don t know how you can call christians critical thinkers....they get to a certain point and then SHUT DOWN,don t want to learn anymore

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I really can't understand why you are all getting so defensive. If you believe in god that's up to you but why do you insist that everyone else has to?? You are telling me that I'm going to burn in hell and that I'm not able to think rationally. I find it quite amusing that so-called educated people can have their whole life revolve around something that has no possible way of being proved as true and yet if anyone questions it then THEY MUST BE WRONG?? it's very much 'everyone is allowed to have their own opinion as long as it's the same as yours'. All you have is a book full of stories which had been edited more times than I've had hot dinners. If I started to worship Cinderella or Snow White, you would say I was mad!!!!!!! Please don't pray for me..... I don't want to go to your heaven..... I am a strong minded rebelious fun loving individual and the thought of spending eternity surrounded by perfect know-it-alls would be my idea of hell.

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well said,cheryl

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I have a GREAT PITTY for all of you bible thumpers who are sincerely terrified to your core that you have to submit to the strict and rediculous bylaws of the bible or you and everyone you ever loved, liked, or encounterd will be condemed to misery and mire in a fatasy place called hell. How ignorant and blind do you all need to continue to be? There is evidence that when you die you don't evaporate into either the golden gates or fire and brimstone. Our spirits, the magical essence of each human, animal, and plant alike lives on and has oportunities to regain birth into another life form...over, and over, and over again for as long and as many times as they can. It is disgusting to hear religious people call these bodyless spectors demons! Just because religious people say "it is so" doesn't make "it" so! Not every one decided to drink the Kool-Aide!

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Kaycee....you seem very easily confused...almost every post I have read of yours states that you are confused. Do you have trouble opening your mind to others' opinions? and Tracie...seriously...you called that girl's non-belief status a "condition"...that kind of attitude is precisely why I steer away from religion and "faith".

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CS LEWIS was hardly a critical thinker and Einstein did NOT believe in a personal god and that makes all the difference. He said that a personal god was a silly concept. Apologetics can only get one so far but they only get that far by not asking questions. I've read some of the best apologetics and they still miss vitally important questions or they make assuptions that aren't even based in scripture. Read the apologetics, yes! Then, read their criticisms. Then read the apologetics for Islam and whatever questions you find appearing in your mind, apply to Christianity as well.

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You must be joking! CS Lewis a critical thinker? Apologetics isa great place to learn how to excuse evil because such as Infant Genetical Mutiiation and all sorts of other evil. Start reading the book of Numbers for a starrts;

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CS Lewis ? A critical thinkier? You must be joking. BUT let's assume you're correct on this and he was a great critical thinking. It doesn't prove a damn thing. All the desire and belief in the world would have UTTERLY NO IMPACT on those beleifs. I taught my son from an early age that Christianity was false. He now follows me and my beliefs. Or he could follow his own religion after doing his own studying (he's 16 now). I switched from Christianity (Episcopalianism specifically) to hardcore atheist when he was not more than 3. He's quite happy with it. I have several books on the topic that he is free to read. Ex. Mere Christianity I can'tt hink of the others off the top of my head but my son made his own decision to disbelieve. I never once told him that he was wrong to believe in any deity. I challenge the concept that non-Christians approach the subject from a chritical POV.Because if you did, you wouldn't just accept certain concepts for example the virgin birth or other concepts that require the believe in the fantastical.

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Thank you, Tracie. That was very encouraging. It is so true that our choices have eternal consequences.

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I was Christian child of an atheist step parent and mother who didn't really care for religion. I wish I could say I was shocked at the atheists being so negative, but I'm not. My step father were beside themselves when I chose Christianity and later a Christian college. Atheists like to say they aren't judgmental like Christians, but the responses to this question show that is not true. A Christian woman is asking the question, respect her belief and treat her as respectfully as you'd like to be treated. She is worried for her son's soul. If you don't believe how she does, that's fine. But, it is rude to sit and mock her beliefs the way a few people have. My children are told to attend church while they live in my home. When they are on their own, they may do what they please. I have done my part and shown them the way. They must choose it. I've noticed that the children of Christian parents often do turn away in the teen years. However, as adults, when they have children of their own, they often come back. I was beside myself when my son chose not to participate in youth group and all of the things that made my childhood somewhat bareable. But, he does go to church. I love my children, no matter what they believe. It is my role to be the example.

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I think that religion is so personal and you don't just simply inherit your parents.....let him own his journey and trust that you have raised him up in such an environment that this is fine....You must have raised a strong will son who is confident of himself to explore such a different direction. Educate, listen and talk...oh! and Respect your kids for the people they are!! That goes a long way!

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When I was about 13, I began researching a particular Christian religion that at first I thought would be a "weird" one. The more I researched in my school library, the more I learned they taught the beliefs I already held. My mother is atheist and my father does not believe in organized religion, but when I told them at the age of 14 that I wanted to be baptized into that religion, my parents allowed it. They do not understand what I see in the religion; however, I love them all the more for allowing me to make my own choice. I plan to do the same for my children. I do not always agree with their choices, but I always love them.

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So your current t religion before that condone rape and murdur you clearly didn't research enough

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What can you do if your son says he is an atheist? Nothing. Love him and include him in your life and don't let something that neither of you have proof of get in the way of your relationship. I guess I don't find atheism very disturbing. Nihilism on the other side, I'd be worried about. Not atheism.

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Born into Catholic home, hit by nuns, told atrocities by nuns, athiest at 14. Believe in athiesm fervently after all the lectures and praying by family, now 44. Love my life, husband, children. Funny at 15, 12 and 9, the elder 2 now believe in god and like church! We are open, loving and supportive. Good vs. evil, golden rule, is where it is, as long as your children are physically and mentally healthy and happy in their heart, isn't that untimately important?

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"As long as your children are physically and mentally healthy and happy in their heart, isn't that ultimately important?" I think that needs to be at the top of every thread and discussion on this site! Too many of us are nit-picky at the details and forget this very point.

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I told my sister I had come to point in my life where I didn't know if there was a God. She was so grieved that without telling me, she had a handful of large churches praying for me, hundreds of miles away. I had no idea. HUNDREDS of people were praying for God to open my eyes, and less than 2 years later, I began to CRAVE Truth. If you are looking for religion, you will find it anywhere. But if you are looking for Truth, you will run smack face to Face with Jesus Christ- it's unavoidable because He is the Truth. My testimony is incredible and supernatural, a testimony that is impossible to deny God.

I know there are many people here on this forum that are still at the place I was- never having encountered God. Their only opinions are based on things they've "heard" about God or merely things they've resolved to believe about God. I came to the place where choosing what to believe in was no longer good enough- I wanted the Truth and nothing but the Truth and I am living the most incredible life as a Christian (by the Bible's Standard of a Christian, not just a so called Christian).
The reason? PRAYER. Pray that God will bring him out of darkness into His marvelous light.

Anyone who denies God does so out of an anger they can't even explain themselves, or simply out of ignorance of the Truth because they have not encountered Him.

God is not willing that any should perish. He can take all the lies people believe about Him- it doesn't make it true, and He is not threatened by anyone's unbelief.

Just pray for your son with all the fervency of someone pulling him out of hellfire, and do not try to force a blind man to see- it will frustrate both of you. Only God can open his eyes.

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I have a GREAT PITTY for all of you bible thumpers who are sincerely terrified to your core that you have to submit to the strict and rediculous bylaws of the bible or you and everyone you ever loved, liked, or encounterd will be condemed to misery and mire in a fatasy place called hell. How ignorant and blind do you all need to continue to be? There is evidence that when you die you don't evaporate into either the golden gates or fire and brimstone. Our spirits, the magical essence of each human, animal, and plant alike lives on and has oportunities to regain birth into another life form...over, and over, and over again for as long and as many times as they can. It is disgusting to hear religious people call these bodyless spectors demons! Just because religious people say "it is so" doesn't make "it" so! Not every one decided to drink the Kool-Aide!

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I strongly believe that kids should make up their own minds, and parents have a responsibility to give their children the space and reassurance to do so, rather than condemning them or even threatening them if they do not conform. Kids do change their minds .... one of mine was fervently atheist and now a confirmed christian, attending weekly (we do not attend very often more high days and holidays). Religion is a personal matter of conscience that each young person needs to evaluate, and the more you press the issue, they more they are likely to be driven away. During the atheist phase we simply introduced the concept of being agnostic as an in between state .... you can be unsure.

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hopefully,he ll continue to question the hebrew folktales and it won t be an "ATHEIST PHASE"

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I'm an atheist myself, so I'd applaud.

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I'd say "Fantastic!" and move on. :)

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I had something similar to this situation with a few differences. First of all, I was that child. And secondly, I was not announcing that I believe I am atheist. I told my family that I am Wiccan. Wiccan parents believe in allowing their children to choose their own religious paths. I grew up with a Catholic mother and a Lutheran father. My father only attended church for holidays and my mother is very active in the Lutheran church. (The Catholic church was upset that she married a Lutheran and baptized her children Lutheran) My little sister was baptized, raised and still is a praticing Lutheran as is her son. I, on the other hand, was baptized and raised Lutheran but chose Wicca after heavy research and many public rituals. I had my son baptized Lutheran to appease my family but did his Wiccaning with Wiccan friends. If Zachary comes up to me one day and says that he wants to be Muslim, I will take him to a mosque and help him with his studies. If he decides to be Jewish, I would do the same. I expose my son to many different religious expierences (church with my mother, public rituals with other pagans, discussions about different faiths, Wiccan rites at home, etc) so that when he is older, he will have a treasure trove of knowledge to choose his own path. Even if he decideds that there is no higher power, I cannot change what he believes. His beliefs are his own. Since we are each unique, is it not reasonable that no one religious path is right for all? I did not feel any connection with the Lutheran church or their practices. I felt nothing other than boredom and confusion. Wicca fit my existing beliefs and showed me that diversity is perfectly natural and good. I saw an interesting take on religion. In a crude and humorous way, it basically said that we should not cram religion down anyone's throat. So, with that said if this should happen to me, I would embrace my child finding his own spiritual niche and help him to reach his spiritual potential if I could.

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Brava! You are a great MOm!!!

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BE SUPPORTIVE!! Have an open dialog and see why he feels that way and explain with love and understanding why you feel the way you do. He is taking responsiblity for his own thoughts and own beliefs and we want our kids to do that in every aspect of life, including spirituality. Do not judge or tell him he is wrong. We all have our own set of belief or non-belief and live in a country that allows religious or non-religious freedom. Accept him and his belief or non-belief and everything else will work out just fine:)

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I think it all depends on the age and the kind of example the child has been given. I am a Christian and I am not afraid to discuss it openly. However, knowing God is a relationship...a relationship that is built on knowledge and understanding. That child could go to church every Sunday, participate in all kinds of events with the church and still have no idea who God is. As a young girl I was not as versed in the Bible as I am today and the reason is because there is a tendency on relying solely on the Bible to understand the Bible. Let's face it...the Bible is not an easy read for adults and children are less likely to understand it even more. It was on the shoulders of others who had the same questions I once had that I learned to develop a relationship with God. By realizing the Bible is a History Lesson, Literature Lesson, Science Lesson all at once did it become much more understood. The context under which the Bible was written is just as important as the words themselves. It is then that we learn Who God is and understand how much we are like him...so that we can relate to Him and feel His presence so much clearer. Finally, it's important to understand the first step is to know God first...the rules and laws of the Bible are not the first priority...those come naturally as we become transformed internally.

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This is so true. I accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior at a young age but truly knowing Him comes by developing a relationship with Him through prayer and reading the Bible. I live my life by example to my kids and they have both acccepted Him. I love Him with all my heart and I feel sad for people who don't know Him. I pray for my children every day and I know that if they ever turned from God then it is between them and I know they are in the most perfect, loving and patient hands they could ever be in.

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Lorraine & Angela, well said. I remember when I was pregnant with my first child, someone told me I have never known the kind love that you will have for your child. I thought, "yea, yea, I know I'll love my baby beyond belief," they were so right It's the kind of thing you cannot describe, you have to experience to understand. The same is true with my relationship, trust and belief of the Lord, I can't find the right or enough words to describe the kind of peace I feel knowing and loving Him. I have no judgement for other's beliefs, but my heart BREAKS that they might not ever know, experience or love and be loved, in the way only God can. I too live by example for my 4 teenagers/early 20's, and they have all given their hearts to the Lord. Are we perfect, never make mistakes? No way! But our hearts are full, and we know, as sure as we are alive, that we are never alone and we are loved in ways we just cannot describe.

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the bible as SCIENCE.....you gotta be kidding????

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HERE HERE Toni !!! There isn't any "science" in the Bible. If you have done your reading and research the bible is a compound of choice folk lore by men in authority to again control lesser man. Interesting how there isn't any account in the bible by women; even though we have tangible evidence that women did write about the life and times of the bible's era. The "god" portraied in the stories of the holy bible is a figment of what man wants him to be. There isn't any supreme being who can create without the aid of science and tangible tools. It is alarming to me the blind fellowship these religious cliques have created. Has anyone with in them ever steped back to examine the stories objectively? For example...the virginal conception of christ. HELLO>>>it is a medical procedure practiced daily by thousands of women on this planet....invitro fertalization! Just so happend that young Mary was still actually a virgin. That doesn't mean that the "gods" or in my personal opinion, aliens of a more advanced race, didn't come and practice this method upon her...It certainly makes more clear sense to me. Think about it.

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Don't make a big fuss over it. Teens are more likely to do the opposite of what you want if you push them. Set a good example of how you believe an adult should behave especially in regards to their personal relationships and being a productive member of society. It may just be a temporary view on life or it may be that this is how they will view things until they are old and gray. Ask your son what being an atheist means to him. Keep the lines of communication open and the love unconditional.

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"Don't make a big fuss over it. Teens are more likely to do the opposite of what you want if you push them" Does that mean if your child chooses Christianity and goes for it hard -core, you'd be all into it? Of would you still not make a fuss over it.

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Accept him , let it go . If he really is then there is nothing but grief waiting for you both if you try to change his mind. Lead by example. If he is not then he will willingly come back to the fold. It is crucile keep the animosity out of your relationship at a time like this.

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I believe that once a child reaches a curtain age, we need to hand them over to God and continue to pray for them. God doesn't want any of us to be robots - but rather that we would come to him with a desire for relationship with him. It is about relationship with our heavenly father not religion. It is also ok to remind God of his promises ~ Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. It is extremely hard to trust God with our greatest treasures (our children), but ultimately they were a gift from him to us and by releasing them back to the Lord God Almighty is the only thing we can do - it is not by our convincing people come into relationship with God but by the power of his Holy Spirit. Continue to love your son - unconditionally, pray and work on your own relationship with God and let God deal with your son.

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I have a Granddaughter who says she is an stheist. All her 21 years I have taught her about Jesus and she has seen first hand God answering prayers for her when she was small. Our daughter also taught her about Jesus. She knows the truth and some day it will set her free from Satan's grasp.
Scripture says
Prov 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.
Phil 2:12-13 ... work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.
Psa 102:18 This will be written for the generation to come, That a people yet to be created may praise the LORD.
Al your life God has been there for you in little ways and big ways. Write a book about your spiritual history. Include little testimonies. IE different things God showed you and how He helped you.
It doesn't have to be large or professional.
There are tastefully bound books that have blank pages in them. Get one and write your story. Pray for the Holy Spirit to help you write; Inclued stories about your child when he/she was young and the prayers you prayed for them.
Pray for the Holy Spirit to go before you and prepare the way and Bless the book so it will reach him for Jesus. Give it to your unbelieving child. Let him know that you just want him to know about your life.
How many times did Jesus say it is written? The written word carries a lot of weight. I pray this will help you.
My story is on line so my granddaughter can read it any time she wants. God bless you.

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i d say she has already been set free by her knowledge that there is no god

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Frances, I am not under anyone's grasp. I'v been a hard atheist for 12 years. Trust me, if I say Ol' Scratch, I'd tell him to piss off. Besides I have friends ihn all dffferent religions. Everything from Wicca to Judaism to various Christianities.

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Like many who answered here, I applaud the young person with a thinking mind. Raised in Christian foster homes, I learned only fear. Now I still believe to a certain degree, but have had conversations with my God in which I say I cannot possibly love that which I fear. We are working it out. I run fast from those who wish to tell me how wrong my thinking is, or that God, in HIS great Wisdom, disciplines those who don't do what has been laid down as "Chrisitanity."

Religion has been a matter of contention in our family at times, but, thankfully, my children, and "steps," all loving adults, have mellowed with age and realize that each is charged with responsibilityfor his own spirituality/religon.

For me, if one chooses to do something with integrity, not because it is "religiously required,' but because it is simply humane and just, then that ranks high in the kind of human being one "chooses" to be.

Great to read about this.... it is an big part of my daily mental and emotional meanderings.

~JuJuBE~

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There is a common misunderstand about "Fearing God" In biblicial terms to fear God means to be reverent of His authority. Not the trembling fear we us the word to mean today. some times it is difficult to get a full grasp because the language has changed so much through the years.

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My daughter is 15 and we've had discussions about her doubts concerning the existence of my God and the veracity of the Holy Bible. As a very strong Christian Mom, it is difficult for me to acknowledge that she has these doubts and has not automatically adopted my beliefs. All I can do is continue to pray for her and hope that one day she will acknowledge the impact on my life from following Christ as my savior and living per the standards and guidelines presented in the scriptures.

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I have a GREAT PITTY for all of you bible thumpers who are sincerely terrified to your core that you have to submit to the strict and rediculous bylaws of the bible or you and everyone you ever loved, liked, or encounterd will be condemed to misery and mire in a fatasy place called hell. How ignorant and blind do you all need to continue to be? There is evidence that when you die you don't evaporate into either the golden gates or fire and brimstone. Our spirits, the magical essence of each human, animal, and plant alike lives on and has oportunities to regain birth into another life form...over, and over, and over again for as long and as many times as they can. It is disgusting to hear religious people call these bodyless spectors demons! Just because religious people say "it is so" doesn't make "it" so! Not every one decided to drink the Kool-Aide!

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You seem a little confused. Demons are fallen angels; they were never human. Also, getting to Heaven does not depend on submitting to any rules, it results from accepting the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross as a payment for our sins. God is holy. His justice requires that the penalty for sin be paid. But He loves us so much that He paid the penalty himself. All we have to do is say yes to His mercy. If there is no God, if we all got here by accident, where did the "magical essence" of each person come from? Frankly, the idea of reincarnation is horrible to me. This world is full of tragedy and loss. Returned to it over and over is not a joyful thought. But living forever in the presence of God--now that will be true joy.

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atheists don t believe in reincarnation either,but erin has a right to her beliefs ,too.i don t believe in "magic" or invisible gods(or invisible friends).

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Try asking him why he believes that there is no God. Usually, they cannot provide any reasoning. Pray. Talk through any answers he offers, using scripture and logic as your guide. Consider researching the contradictory foundational beliefs of atheists. This will give him lots to consider if he is seriously debating the issue. If this is a choice of his will alone, then no amount of discussion will help at this point in his life. Continue speaking the Word in his presence, but allow him the time to want to have a mature discussion on the matter. Consider reading, "I Don't Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist," by Geisler... very interesting! I hope this helps!

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so if i don t believe in god,i have no reasoning....actually atheists have usually studied MORE,searched LONGER,ASKED MORE QUESTIONS.....and believing in science not myth is the epitome of sound reasoning

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Why so antagonistic, Toni? You seem full of anger in all of your taunting, snide replies.

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Toni, I never said that all have no reasoning... I said that most do not know why they label themselves atheists. You may have researched and thought about why you don't believe in God. That's what we should all do... consider why we believe what we do. In my experience, many atheists, whether well researched or otherwise, don't have answers to the contradictions that atheism requires. And, to the contrary, science requires presuppositions that much of the interpretation is based on. This does not mean that science is bad, only that we must truly examine the starting point assumptions before we agree with the interpretation of the evidence. If the starting points & evidence is observable and repeatable, then I would accept this as true science. I am truly thankful that you have put some honest thought into what you believe and why.

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JAN HERNANDEZ>>>>>i m angry by YEARS of condescending,patronizing,self-righteous attitudes of CHRISTIANS,who have NO REASON to act that way...you are the ones who believe in hebrew folktales written by desert tribesmen when people still thought the world was flat and the sea had sea monsters.there is no science in the bible...i believe in science.i don t talk to an imaginary friend,i read science to get to the bottom of my questions.and yes,science hasn t gotten to the bottom of all the questions i ve asked but they ve gotten me closer than religion ever has,incl. the question of creation of the universe....if the universe came about because of mass and energy and there was NOTHING BEFORE THAT EVENT...before time existed ,than how can there be a god,god can t exist before time ,therefore ,there is NO GOD!!!humans had to invent god to answer their questions about nature,but as we ve grown and learned and built on the knowledge of scientists before us,the consistent laws of nature leave no room for the randomness of a god.

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and barabara,you DID SAY,ask him why,they usually have no reasoning....tell me what that sounds like!!!!!

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Toni, the word "usually" refers to most, not all atheists. However, I'm sorry if this offends you. I am stating the facts just as I have been exposed to them. You stated that you have met many Christians who have been "condescending,patronizing,self-righteous." There are many of those out there! The Bible tells us to, "...Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander." ( I Peter 3:15-16). So, I am sorry for those who have neglected the respect aspect. I would love to to talk to you further on this issue. I have no intentions of being disrespectful, but I assure you that I will respond honestly from the Scripture and reference "science" and the fallibilities therein. What do I need to do to share my email with you, personally? I am willing to discuss rationally and with respect. Are you? I say this, not out of disrespect, rather based on the name-calling you express for Christians. Do you really seek to hear other perspectives or is your atheism based on your will alone?

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Barbara,I m 54 years old and have been an atheist since my 20's.Are you so egotistical that you think i haven t had this discussion with GREATER MINDS than yours,my poor provincial lamb?And "usually" is broad and prejudiced!i ve been on your side of the coin,i ve studied religion in school,i ll argue the points of scripture hear but i ll be damned if i ll give you my personal e-mail.

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Toni, I never claimed to be of a "greater mind" than any other person you have spoken to. I can't help it if you feel that my invitation to discuss eternal life sounds egotistical to you. I don't want to see anyone spend eternity away from God's side. And... to return our focus, the word "usually" was being debated in reference to whether its meaning meant "all" vs "most", not the fact that it may be a broad term or whether it may be interpreted as "prejudiced." As far as your research and history in faith, it sounds as though you expect a discussion on Scripture from the get go. Why would we discuss Scripture, if you have no faith that a God exists at all? It seems like that would be placing the cart before the horse. My intentions were to listen to why you don't believe in a God first. However, if I am too egotistical, a lost lamb, condescending,patronizing,self-righteous, and uneducated, then I suppose you would be wasting your time. That's your prerogative. Please know, though, that there are some Christians who simply want to listen and present the problems with the atheistic belief system without attacking the atheist. I'm sorry that you have spoken to so many who are self-righteous and attacking. I've never claimed to have all the answers. Only God has all the answers. My invitation for discussion via email will always remain open. I will continue praying that one day you simply give God the chance to show you the peace that comes with faith in Christ.

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you are wrong,you keep backpedaling,you said you would" respond honestly from scripture",so i know your agenda.waste your time praying,i don t give a flip about you or how you spend your time.

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I find that when pushed too strongly, it can deter some people from religion. I personally think religion should be something you choose when you are old enough to understand it, but a lot of people heavily immerse their kids in it. I believe in god but am not super religious, but I had a lot of it in my life when I was young, and I do think it was very overwhelming. I think the overly pushy radicals make it harder for the people that kind of don't really know what they believe. Just know that if he has had some teaching, part of that will always be in him despite what he chooses

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