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Conversations with my Daughter
#1

Conversations with my Daughter
OK, so I think I did this on the old forum as well, so sorry if it's boring:

Generally speaking, my daughter often asks me questions about religion, [mainly Christianity] and my wife is a believer [a soft one, IE believes there is a god.....but doesn't go to church/take it literally]. With that I take a fairly neutral stance on things, although give her the information to process herself. Shes 9 years old but I'm happy that she has enough sense to ask questions about this sort of thing.

Right now she's still learning things herself, so I'm not going to overwhelm her with information but it's nice to know she's starting to get a grip of why Christianity itself is dumb ass, without me openly saying so in her presence at least.

This mornings conversation, on route to school: She asked me about why she wasn't christened, but why she was "blessed" by the church instead. I mentioned how it was a compromise between her mother and I, as her mother and my wifes mothers wanted her christened for no other reason other than "It's tradition", which to me is a backwards way of thinking when ultimately that act, regardless of what others think about it's meaning in societal tradition, means that you are now a part of the church......even though you are a baby and have NO say in it what so ever. I also understand that some religions won't admit you if they find out you've been christened also, so for that and many other reasons I said no. My main point of it all was: Its not my place to tell her what to believe/not to believe. I'll give her that information but if she believes in whatever religion [or lack there of] I want her to choose for herself.

The latter sparked an interesting note from her: "I thought if you/mummy believe it god, I have too as well?" , which of course is crazy, but shows a child's way of thinking/the world we live in. My answer was obviously "I'm here to show/tell you things, but what you decide to think/believe in is ultimately up to you"

So yeah. She's still growing/learning things, and currently she doesn't quite grasp how while the UK has a "christian" kind of thing going on, it's not the only religion in the country/the world. She knows of other religions but only really encounters Christianity on a large scale from day to day, so it's hard for her to understand why we're not bringing all things into the conversation ("why is one god better than any other gods?" etc), but that's something I imagine we'll cover later down the line.

anyway, does anybody else have experience with this? Anything we should cover or topics that people think may be of interest? I'll update here when I can as well.
"Ah, we’re not going to church today. Fuck that. Ah, it’s all a bunch of bullshit. God’s everywhere, but I gotta go down there to see him? Really? And he’s mad at me down there, and I owe ya money? Go fuck yourself." - Bill Burr
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#2

Conversations with my Daughter
I agree with your approach with your daughter, and I can understand that the religion scenario is further
complicated by your wife's apparent(?) theism.  But I have several friend couples with one believer and
one atheist, and it causes no ongoing issues—although none of them have young children.

I've never had kids, so I can't offer you any meaningful, first-hand advice.

I'd probably be pushing the line that the biblical stories of gods and angels and devils is sort of like a
fairy story for grown-ups, say like Peter Pan, or Little Red Riding Hood or Jack and the Beanstalk is for
kids. I think you need to make it clear that the Christian god is not a real person who's watching over
us, nor are there places like heaven (a land of milk and honey)  or hell (a place of eternal fire and
brimstone) anywhere in the real world.

As she's only nine years of age, she has only a partially developed senses of discernment and logic, so
I'm thinking it's perfectly acceptable for you to gently guide her away from the notions of religious belief
and instead direct her to the notions of humanism, science, rationalism and logic.  I'm nor sure how this
approach will gel with your wife, and I obviously don't know of she's yet shown any signs of religious
"indoctrination" with your daughter.  Have you yet spoken with your wife regarding the religious "question"
regarding your daughter's upbringing?  Is she actively on the offensive as far as atheism goes, or on the
defensive of (her) religion?

I'm also a little confused when you say that your wife is a soft believer, but she believes there is a god,
but does not take it literally.  I see some internal self-contradictions in that.  I can only presume she's
agnostic?
I'm a creationist;   I believe that man created God.
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#3

Conversations with my Daughter
I was raised without parental opinions about religion. Surrounded by catholic culture, I went to church with the other kids. When I was 10 I read the bible and decided it was a fairy tale book, and a gross one at that. Filed it away with the Brother Grim stories. Done and done.
[Image: dobie.png]Science is the process we've designed to be responsible for generating our best guess as to what the fuck is going on. Girly Man
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#4

Conversations with my Daughter
(09-11-2019, 02:09 PM)SYZ Wrote: I'm also a little confused when you say that your wife is a soft believer, but she believes there is a god,
but does not take it literally.  I see some internal self-contradictions in that.  I can only presume she's
agnostic?

Ok, what I mean by that is: She believes there is a god + heaven, but also understands the bible is not literal as well. I presume Agnostic is more likely to describe her overall, although I'm not 100% sure what she beleives and what she doesnt. For example: she fully understands/knows that Science is correct, evolution is correct, big bang etc etc, but that god is real to her in some way or another. Hence the "Soft believe" in my wording.

Either way: a lot of stuff my wife mentions is more based upon "tradition" as in: Its tradition to be married in a church [which we were, although I voiced my opinion about making the vows less 'praise the lord' which was taken into consideration], it's tradition to be christened, which to an extent it is in the UK, but the lack of thinking behind it is what worries me a little. Her mother, my MIL, also was on that train of thought but we spoke about it and all agree'd it was ok to be "blessed" by the church [which means 0 things really] and ultimately involves the same ceremony that everybody else was interested in because "tradition" or whatever.

But yes, thank you for the words of advice. Right now, nothing is pushed on her atheist or religious, she asks me things of her own accord and I happily point out the problems with it. I always mention to be respectful of other peoples beliefs as well, [to a certain extent anyway]. 

Funnily enough we spoke this morning about Jesus, as some kid she knows mentioned how she believes in Jesus or something, and she instantly was against the idea of Jesus/son of god and all that, but what was funny about it was [with her limited knowledge of human history so far] she also believed that crucifixion was completely made up because "why you you nail somebody to a giant cross" haha. Did have to point of that this was actually a punishment at one time, but otherwise there are still flaws in that story......mainly if he existed at all and that people don't return from the dead....ever.

Anyway, it's a work in progress and I'm happy that she wants to talk about this stuff as well.
"Ah, we’re not going to church today. Fuck that. Ah, it’s all a bunch of bullshit. God’s everywhere, but I gotta go down there to see him? Really? And he’s mad at me down there, and I owe ya money? Go fuck yourself." - Bill Burr
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#5

Conversations with my Daughter
Every child is different.

I was not an unbeliever in any self-aware or outed way until my children were, respectively, about 10 and 17, but neither of them ever really drank the Kool Aid and both of them always saw the notion that god was real as just self-evident bullshit. They saw my embrace of atheism as finally getting a clue.

My stepchildren are both atheists today, the stepson from the cradle basically and the daughter had an early fascination with religion and church attendance and wanted children's picture Bibles and so on. Then in her senior year of high school she suddenly decided, in catechism class no less (she attended her biological father's Presbyterian church) that god didn't exist, and she's never looked back.

I think her mother's policy of letting them do their own explorations worked out, but I say that with the caveat that both her kids were VERY strong independent thinkers by nature. The way you describe your daughter thinking she "had to" believe the same as Mum and Dad tells me she is probably rather more vulnerable to indoctrination at least at this point in her life (it's common for children under about age 10 having some difficulty telling fantasy apart from reality anyway).

I think you know your daughter and probably have her pretty well dialed.
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#6

Conversations with my Daughter
(09-11-2019, 09:12 AM)OakTree500 Wrote: OK, so I think I did this on the old forum as well, so sorry if it's boring:

Generally speaking, my daughter often asks me questions about religion, [mainly Christianity] and my wife is a believer [a soft one, IE believes there is a god.....but doesn't go to church/take it literally]. With that I take a fairly neutral stance on things, although give her the information to process herself. Shes 9 years old but I'm happy that she has enough sense to ask questions about this sort of thing.

Right now she's still learning things herself, so I'm not going to overwhelm her with information but it's nice to know she's starting to get a grip of why Christianity itself is dumb ass, without me openly saying so in her presence at least.

This mornings conversation, on route to school: She asked me about why she wasn't christened, but why she was "blessed" by the church instead. I mentioned how it was a compromise between her mother and I, as her mother and my wifes mothers wanted her christened for no other reason other than "It's tradition", which to me is a backwards way of thinking when ultimately that act, regardless of what others think about it's meaning in societal tradition, means that you are now a part of the church......even though you are a baby and have NO say in it what so ever. I also understand that some religions won't admit you if they find out you've been christened also, so for that and many other reasons I said no. My main point of it all was: Its not my place to tell her what to believe/not to believe. I'll give her that information but if she believes in whatever religion [or lack there of] I want her to choose for herself.

The latter sparked an interesting note from her: "I thought if you/mummy believe it god, I have too as well?" , which of course is crazy, but shows a child's way of thinking/the world we live in. My answer was obviously "I'm here to show/tell you things, but what you decide to think/believe in is ultimately up to you"

So yeah. She's still growing/learning things, and currently she doesn't quite grasp how while the UK has a "christian" kind of thing going on, it's not the only religion in the country/the world. She knows of other religions but only really encounters Christianity on a large scale from day to day, so it's hard for her to understand why we're not bringing all things into the conversation ("why is one god better than any other gods?" etc), but that's something I imagine we'll cover later down the line.

anyway, does anybody else have experience with this? Anything we should cover or topics that people think may be of interest? I'll update here when I can as well.

You did everything correctly. Well done.
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#7

Conversations with my Daughter
I'm mean enough to tell a kid there's no Santa, so telling the kid there's no god is a walk in the park.
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#8

Conversations with my Daughter
(09-13-2019, 01:45 AM)Phaedrus Wrote: I'm mean enough to tell a kid there's no Santa, so telling the kid there's no god is a walk in the park.

I wouldn't tell a child there's no Santa. Let the children have their harmless fun. They will grow out of it soon enough.
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#9

Conversations with my Daughter
My son's mother and I agreed agreed mutually on a non-indoctrination pact. We were allowed to answer questions honestly (she was at the time Catholic, I was and am ag ath), but neither allowed to push our belief or lack thereof.

I proposed this before he was born simply to get fair footing, trusting that reason would works its way, and it did.

I don't care about his beliefs either way so long as he doesn't hurt others with them.
<Insert intelligent thought here>
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#10

Conversations with my Daughter
(09-13-2019, 01:49 AM)Free Wrote:
(09-13-2019, 01:45 AM)Phaedrus Wrote: I'm mean enough to tell a kid there's no Santa, so telling the kid there's no god is a walk in the park.

I wouldn't tell a child there's no Santa. Let the children have their harmless fun. They will grow out of it soon enough.

I agree.

There's something fundamentally different in how people spin the Santa myth and how theists indoctrinate children about their deity of choice.

As a child, I always felt a sort of "nudge-wink" vibe about Santa that I was having my leg pulled for the purpose of mutual enjoyment.

There was no such lack of seriousness around god. With god, you have grown men and women still believing fantasies, and even demonizing (or killing!) each other over them.

So I don't see an equivalence such that participating in the traditions about Santa or the Tooth Fairy means you are opening your children's minds up to theism specifically or to magical thinking generally. That's rather like fundamentalists claiming that Harry Potter opens children up to the occult and the Satanic.
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#11

Conversations with my Daughter
(09-13-2019, 02:16 AM)mordant Wrote: I agree.

There's something fundamentally different in how people spin the Santa myth and how theists indoctrinate children about their deity of choice.

As a child, I always felt a sort of "nudge-wink" vibe about Santa that I was having my leg pulled for the purpose of mutual enjoyment.

There was no such lack of seriousness around god. With god, you have grown men and women still believing fantasies, and even demonizing (or killing!) each other over them.

So I don't see an equivalence such that participating in the traditions about Santa or the Tooth Fairy means you are opening your children's minds up to theism specifically or to magical thinking generally. That's rather like fundamentalists claiming that Harry Potter opens children up to the occult and the Satanic.

Well said. I'd agree with all this.      Thumbs Up
I'm a creationist;   I believe that man created God.
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#12

Conversations with my Daughter
I told my daughter that there was no Santa, Easter Bunny, tooth fairy, or Jesus when she was about six or seven. She put her hands on her hips, gave me a stern look, and said "You're ruining my childhood!"

There was no meltdown, and she went back to playing with her toys in about two minutes.
Don't mistake me for those nice folks from Give-A-Shit county.
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#13

Conversations with my Daughter
"As a child, I always felt a sort of "nudge-wink" vibe about Santa that I was having my leg pulled for the purpose of mutual enjoyment."

Me too. Using a child's logic, I kept 'believing' in Father Christmas until I was 8. I reasoned be that because Father Christmas brought the presents, no father Christmas =no presents. Turned out I'm the oldest of four. That meant I could conspire with mum and and to keep the secrets for the sake of the little l kids.

Childish logic can of course be smidge flawed ; I had gained the firm belief that a man with a moustache could not be a crook . From comics I think. I was shocked to the core to discover, from Batman, I think, that a man with a moustache could in fact be a bad un.

Funny what kids will believe. When I was 10, I started having the shit beaten out of me by De La Salle brothers. Until then I had the firm belief that all clergy were special people whose job it was to teach and help me. If there was any sexual abuse, I was oblivious. Looking back, a couple of our parish priests seemed a bit strange to me, so who knows. .
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