Some random thoughts not sure if they are worth posting.
We went to the zoo with the kids again this spring, spent hours marveling at all the incredible animals. I love the zoo. Biology, evolution, eco systems, etc right there in front of your face. I know we shouldn’t have the animals in cages, but that’s a whole other debate. How can someone be eye-to-eye with a primate and not see it for themselves?
My teenager has started to ask questions, according to a classmate she’s going to go to hell because we don’t attend church. Kids sure start to emulate their parents early don’t they ?! sigh I give her full marks though; she’s already developed the confidence to understand quacks that spout that nonsense can’t be taken seriously. She doesn’t give it a second thought. She’s also begun to ask the interesting questions : how did we evolve? , is there a god? , is there a heaven and hell? , is there other life in the universe? . I tell her it’s something she will have to decide for herself when she is older. Read about it, use your reason, and question what you read. As a parent, it’s tough watch them grapple with this stuff without adding my two cents worth of sarcasm I m doing a good job of keeping my opinions to myself though. My son is already a science guy, I m predicting he will figure it out for himself fairly early.
Thanks for the humorous website, some of the responses you receive are just plain frightening though. I mean, how dare you express an opinion that conflicts with someone’s faith ! Isn’t it tragic that the postings by those that consider themselves (I assume) to be the most dedicated to their peaceful religion are the most intimidating and violent in nature. I can just feel their hate and disdain for me and my family. It’s so nice to know that there are people out there that would literally like to burn/kill me for not sharing their beliefs. Ironically I think I hold myself to a higher moral standard than the fanatics that want to burn me for not believing in their god. I do feel bad for kids that grow up in homes where they are punished for disobeying a god, Jesus, the lord, the bible, etc. It is total insanity. When will people ever be able to get past this delusional thinking? Seems like they are incapable of considering anything that could contradict the myths they ve b een taught in a church. It’s going to take generations to get past this.
BTW, what’s with all the postings calling you a faggot and stuff ? Is that some kind of supreme insult within religious groups ? It seems juvenile at best to me.
Raising an atheist child in a (mostly) theistic environment can be a challenge. I personally take a bit of a different tact with my offspring than you do. When my child asks about God, Heaven, Santa, or any such thing, I go ahead and say that I don’t believe they exist but that some people believe they do (and we shouldn’t look down on them for their belief). I also encourage my child to question everything, even me.
I don’t tell my child he can make up his mind later because I don’t feel that the two sides of the issue are anything close to equal. For me, saying that there is a decision to be made would be implying that there is some kind of controversy, and in my mind there really isn’t. If he questions my viewpoint or has other ideas later in life, that’s fine.
For example, I tell my child about evolution and don’t attempt to balance it with creationism so that he can choose for himself at a later date. We’ve discussed creationism so he knows it’s out there, and he sometimes asks questions about it, but that’s it.
I know a lot of atheists who walk the “I’ll let them decide” path, and I know some families with mixed-religion parents who do the same thing. I don’t want you to think that I’m condemning your parenting methods, but I think it’s interesting that we are so different on the subject.
Thanks for writing.