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Old 06-12-2012, 05:53 AM   #11
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Re: Atheist parents?

Dh and I are atheists. Religion has come up a lot lately since moving to Okinawa, our neighbors are all church going Christians. As we speak our downstairs neighbors are holding a bible study. Faith has been allowed to go to church with them a couple times and I kid you not that's all it takes...she came home saying she had Jesus in her heart and singing praise music. So it raised questions about religion and Christianity with my older boys. I really try not to "indoctrinate" with my beliefs but to explain that this is what Christianity means and this is what Christians believe. I tell them things about the bible and ask them if that makes sense to them...is it something they can believe in? I want them to make logical, informed decisions...so I try very hard to be unbiased. I also want them to be realistic and live the life they have now, the one we know exists... I always tell them I love them no matter what they believe, if they want to believe in God and that Jesus died to save us from our sins then they can. We will spend time learning about different religions as well.

ETA: DH and I were high school sweethearts and went to church together. We even went to bible study as a couple, lol!

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Old 06-12-2012, 01:27 PM   #12
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Re: Atheist parents?

We're atheists. We live in a part of the country with a lot of hippy liberals so I don't worry much about bullying or anything like that.

It seems like most atheist families are open to their children exploring religion and that's what I'm not sure about. We do a lot of education about various belief systems but we treat them all purely as myth. DH and I are atheist to the core it would be...difficult...if one/both of the kids became religious.
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Old 06-13-2012, 03:13 PM   #13
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Re: Atheist parents?

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We're atheists. We live in a part of the country with a lot of hippy liberals so I don't worry much about bullying or anything like that.

It seems like most atheist families are open to their children exploring religion and that's what I'm not sure about. We do a lot of education about various belief systems but we treat them all purely as myth. DH and I are atheist to the core it would be...difficult...if one/both of the kids became religious.
I will admit that while I allow my children to explore religion we explain them as being myth. I am much more friendly towards Polytheistic religions than I am towards "the big three". My children know exactly what dh and I believe. Here there is a lot of pressure to conform and that means accept the popular belief system. It does not help that our families are religious as well. My father has tried to convert my youngest (there is no hope with my oldest, the whole "man in the sky" thing is too abstract for him) so I take a hard line.
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Old 06-13-2012, 03:36 PM   #14
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Me & DH are atheist, but ex-DH is strict Catholic. ODS gets 2 ends of the spectrum, although, he only sees ex-DH every other weekend and a month in the summer.
I am raising ODS to research and learn about all religions, including none at all, and to decide what makes the most sense to him when he is older. I have always told him that he has the right to choose what will be best for him and that our way may or may not be his way, and that this is okay. The important thing is that he research the options, evaluate whether they are logical, and go from there. We are very big on critical thinking. He has asked why his dad is "so Catholic" (lol) and I simply said that it was a belief that made the most sense to him for HIS life, but that this did not mean it would be right for ODS' life.
As for others harrassing him, so far it hasn't happened, but if it does, he has been advised to say that he doesn't discuss religion or politics.
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Old 06-13-2012, 06:02 PM   #15
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Re: Atheist parents?

DH is athiest and I'm not sure what exactly I am. But, we will be raising our DD without religion. She can choose what she wants to believe when she is old enough.
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Old 06-14-2012, 01:48 AM   #16
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Re: Atheist parents?

DH and I are hard line athiests, and are raising our girls as such. My oldest DD was about 12 I think when one of her friends found out that dd didn't believe in God. The little girl told dd that she could never be friends with her, and dd lost that friendship. I'm so proud of my dd because in the face of that persecution she stood up for herself, she didn't bow down to the masses. It has really made her stronger. Eventually that girl missed my dd and wanted to be her friend again, but dd said "no thank you, I don't want to be friends with someone that doesn't like parts of me". My heart was bursting with pride. My mother did try to "save" ODD once, by sending her to a religious camp. DD came home telling me that she knows God's real because Grandma says so and that daddy and I are going to hell and why do we want to go to hell??? I had it out with my mother then and there, and now my mother is awesome, she totally respects me and my parenting and does not try to come between me and my kids religious upbringing anymore. She even apologized. Stand your ground, teach your kids to stand theirs, and to believe in themselves and their strength.
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Old 06-14-2012, 12:31 PM   #17
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Re: Atheist parents?

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DH and I are hard line athiests, and are raising our girls as such. My oldest DD was about 12 I think when one of her friends found out that dd didn't believe in God. The little girl told dd that she could never be friends with her, and dd lost that friendship. I'm so proud of my dd because in the face of that persecution she stood up for herself, she didn't bow down to the masses. It has really made her stronger. Eventually that girl missed my dd and wanted to be her friend again, but dd said "no thank you, I don't want to be friends with someone that doesn't like parts of me". My heart was bursting with pride. My mother did try to "save" ODD once, by sending her to a religious camp. DD came home telling me that she knows God's real because Grandma says so and that daddy and I are going to hell and why do we want to go to hell??? I had it out with my mother then and there, and now my mother is awesome, she totally respects me and my parenting and does not try to come between me and my kids religious upbringing anymore. She even apologized. Stand your ground, teach your kids to stand theirs, and to believe in themselves and their strength.
My father tried to convert my youngest this way (well not through a camp, I pity the camp that would wind up with Tharen). Tharen came home to me and we had this conversation

Tharen: God must be real
Me: Why?
Tharen: Because Pepaw told me so.
Me: Do you believe God is real?
Tharen: Pepaw had a book about God and there was a man on TV talking about God and Jesus so that makes it real right?
Me: What do you think?
Tharen: If God is in a book that means he is real doesn't it?
Me: Scooby Doo is in a book and on TV, is Scooby Doo real?
Tharen: No, he isn't real. That's silly Mommy!
Me: Do you think God is real?
Tharen: It seems pretty fake, but why does Pepaw believe something like that?
Me: Is Zeus real?
Tharen: I like Zeus
Me: I know you do, but is he real?
Tharen: No, Zeus isn't real
Me: People used to believe Zeus was real and there are lots of books about him. Now most people don't believe in him. He is a God too.
Tharen: Gods are fake like Scooby Doo.
Me: Yeah they are.
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Old 06-14-2012, 12:37 PM   #18
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Re: Atheist parents?

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Kind of. I'm technically a pantheist, but as far as most people (who don't understand the difference and hear "i don't believer in a self aware deity" and stop listening) are concerned, they might as well be the same thing.

My plan is actually not to raise the boys to my beliefs. (Though I've slowly converted DH :O!) I was raised Catholic from day 1, and then was discouraged from seeking my own beliefs. I don't think that's fair - everyone should have their own level of faith. So my plan is to tech the boys every religion (and learn more myself at the same time! I love learning about religions.) and let them decide what feels right. If they want to check out a church, fine. We've already taken them to multiple Jewish shabat (sabbath) meals.

I would rather, instead of prepping them with a thick skin against bullies, prep them with confidence in what they belief against them.Personally, after Catholic school, I ran less into bullying over religion, and more people constantly trying to challenge and prove me wrong. It made me constantly consider every angle before I settled on a belief.
I agree with this. We are also not atheist. I don't think it really matters what your beliefs are some one will take exception to them.

When my husband mentioned to someone we don't celebrate the holidays he was told they were going to call DCFS on us to have our children taken away. They were serious not joking.
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Old 06-15-2012, 01:06 PM   #19
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We are athiests but our kids are too young for us to have had to deal with any harassment. We celebrate xmas and allow the family to do easter stuff bc we feel the family time is important. As the kids get older we will explain our beliefs to them and teach them about different religions. If our boys grow up to be religious we might ne a little disappointed on the inside but we will be 100% supportive.
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Old 06-15-2012, 01:48 PM   #20
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Re: Atheist parents?

We're pretty hardcore anti-theists here, but we homeschool so we haven't really had to deal with any bullying. Any problems we have in this area come directly from family. My FIL and his mother both baptized my DD (at separate times) so she wouldn't go to hell. We had to lay down some pretty harsh rules for them to understand that if they did not respect our beliefs, they would not ever see our children.

Usually when my kids are playing with other kids religion doesn't come up, more like "you said stupid, stupid is a bad word" lol. My family is pretty good about letting their kids know that some people (including us) believe different things about jesus and god and heaven.

It really does piss me off though, when people say that my DD is in heaven, around my children. I hate having to talk about that with my kids. My DS never even met his sister and is already confused, he doesn't need more confusion.

I think my kids have witnessed me being bullied (I guess you could call it that) by complete strangers more than they've ever discussed god with another child. Somehow in these situations I was able to remain calm (NOT easy for me, let me tell ya) so hopefully my kids are learning from that.

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