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traceyjohnson 06-07-2012 07:42 PM

Atheist parents?
Anyone else trying to raise their children in an Atheist household? My husband and I both come from religious families, but it just isn't part of our beliefs and lives anymore. We decided to raise our kids this way, but I'm still kind of clueless about how to handle those tough situations that inevitably arise (bullying, "saving", whathaveyou) Anyone else in the same boat?

KaleidoscopeEyes 06-07-2012 08:29 PM

Re: Atheist parents?
dh and i are atheist. we dont really talk about it a ton. ds1 knows what we believe and he also knows about other religions. i really dont like it when other parents push their beliefs as truth on their kids, i just feel like it's brainwashing so i dont do it either.

we homeschool anyway but we have never had an issue really. everyone that i know knows that i am an atheist and i have never felt judged, only accepted. i think the only problem really is getting nagged by x's family about not celebrating xmas. i know a lot of atheists do but we choose not to.

Palooka 06-07-2012 08:34 PM

Re: Atheist parents?
We're atheists and just try to handle things with reason and compassion, no matter the situation. :)

SkyeSpade 06-07-2012 08:43 PM

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.

triplomom 06-08-2012 02:40 AM

Re: Atheist parents?
I'm not an atheist, but probably "worse" in the eyes of certain types of Christians: I'm Muslim. ;)

Having faced a lot of the stuff you described with regard to bullying, etc., I must say it's probably true that your kid(s) will be harassed. However, having emerged as a confident, competent adult with friends of all stripes, I'd say that they'll still be OK in the end. ;)

GrazieGirl 06-08-2012 04:07 AM

Re: Atheist parents?
When DS1 was younger it rarely came up. There was one time a kid at school asked him if he believed in God and my son asked "Which one?" because at that point the only "gods" he had heard about were the Greek ones. Now that he is older if asked he just tells people, kids and adults, that he believes in science and doesn't get into a discussion about it, which is hard to do where we live right now because religion is so intertwined with life in India.

pepperann 06-11-2012 01:32 PM

Re: Atheist parents?
Growing up atheist on the East Coast wasn't too out there. No one really seemed to care what religion you were, or weren't. Recently moving to the Mid West and starting a family has been a HUGE change. It seems everyone here is religious and looks down at you if you aren't affiliated with some God. We have found it had to make adult friends here because of it and I can't imagine what the kids are like. We all have to be ourselves though. I just want to give my kids the option to believe what they want.

Boheme 06-11-2012 08:46 PM

Re: Atheist parents?
DH and I are atheist. We both come from very religious backgrounds (we're in the Bible Belt, big time) and it's almost unheard of here. We homeschool so our biggest problems come from our family members, although we've never used the "a-word" with them so they probably choose to believe we're just backsliders or home-churchers or something.

We have had to insist on a change of subject when one of our kids was being cornered. I would just say something like "that's a discussion for him to have with his parents."

We do talk about it a lot around our kids, mostly because it was a big deal for both DH and I, being able to let go of decades of indoctrination. Religion still hurts me sometimes when I think about it. I think that it wouldn't be discussed as much if I had converted (reverted?) before I had kids.

raymark 06-11-2012 09:12 PM

Re: Atheist parents?
We're atheist too. So far not too many problems, but our oldest didn't decide she was atheist until after grade school and our youngest DDs are not yet in school. Because we are also in the Midwest I predict there will be issues we will need to face. We do X-Mas because it's fun family togetherness, but we don't do Easter.

iris0110 06-11-2012 11:00 PM

Re: Atheist parents?
Dh and I are atheist in TX so it is interesting. I was actually Celtic Pagan when the kids were born but the deal we had was that while I could raise the boys involved in my faith I couldn't indoctrinate them. Kearnan went to circle with me when I practiced with a big group of families and I used to attend a local UU church that I took both of them to. It has been very important to Dh and I to expose the boys to all religions and they are well versed in world religion and mythology. We were both raised Christian (dh far more strictly than I was) but I broke from the religion at 11 and converted to Paganism. I will admit to having very negative feelings toward Christianity probably at least partially because of where we live. It is always just assumed that you are Christian here. It is not uncommon for people to ask my boys "where do you go to church?" right after meeting them. My boys say fun things like "we don't go to church but we go to cemeteries sometimes."

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