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Old 06-29-2012, 07:35 AM   #31
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Re: Atheist parents?

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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 feel the same way. In the same way Christian parents may feel if their child/children didn't choose their religion, I'd be a little disappointed if my kids chose to be religious.

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Old 07-13-2012, 08:34 PM   #32
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Re: Atheist parents?

I had a pretty rough childhood and converted to Islam in 2006 when I was a 20 yr old college sophomore and immediately was dumped by all (and I mean ALL) my friends and even acquaintances. I don't think they dropped me because of religious belief since they weren't religious AT ALL (even though we were in a Jesuit university) a good number were atheist, agnostics and a few who were experimenting. I think they just didn't see how I fit in to their lives now that I refused to go clubbing or drinking with them. Honestly though, they didn't know me very well to begin with since I would have to be dragged to a club and was always the designated driver/person when alcohol came out. While it hurt it was eye opening and I just restarted and continued on with my life over the years those closest to me have come around and while I'm all for giving people second chances I don't think I can allow myself to let them in to my inner circle again. Maybe I'll feel differently as I get older, mature and laugh at my behavior over the years. I have love for them so I keep in touch and help out when possible but to let them back in will take time and effort on their part.

Prior to this the issues I dealt with were FAR bigger, life threatening and way more serious than bullying so I don't remember dealing with child bullies or school bullies. And if I had I probably discounted them as I was trying to survive.

I do get dirty looks once in a blue moon (I cover completely except for the eyes) and for the most part no one really takes a second look at me and I think its because of living in the tri-state area and 10 mins from NYC. My children are too young to be bullied due to religion or lack of one.

When I arrived int his country my area was a melting pot of races and I was introduced to a lot of different people, lifestyles and beliefs that it never occurred to me to make fun of someone because they were different than me. When I became Muslim it didn't change how I treated people either and I'm still involved with a variety of people so my children are exposed to that and are accepting of it. My family still criticizes me and I've become the black sheep but they stood by me and are somewhat accepting now. They avoid religious talks with my children as they don't see it as appropriate and I share the same belief I don't think its appropriate for me to approach anyone's child and talk about religion. I leave that to the parents.

For my kids though I want to work on their self-esteem and confidence to stand by what they believe even if its not popular and like a PP mentioned I would be disappointed if they chose a different path than mine but I wouldn't abandon or disown them. I'm constantly asked how I can be friends with people from x, y or z belief and I don't see a problem. I don't need to agree with someone 100% of the time on 100% of their beliefs or actions or how they chose to live their lives. My only exception would be rapists, child abusers and pedophiles that I just can't wrap my mind around and as a survivor I refuse to even go there.

btw I haven't had a debate/fight or whatever about religion with anyone but I have been dragged into crazy parenting fights. To me parenting styles and methods (I'm an attached baby wearer, homebirther etc) have been far more controversial in my circles than differences of lifestyle or religion. I still keep my distance and whenever these hot button issues arise I steer clear and if they become belligerent then I immediately put a stop to it and tell them to back off.
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Old 07-13-2012, 08:55 PM   #33
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Re: Atheist parents?

I grew up in an Atheist household. I started a relationship with Jesus in high school. I can't say that either of those situations led to bullying to me or me to others. My parents expressed their beliefs and allowed me to explore mine. I think you address bullying for what it is. Any time a person is belittled for their thoughts the way they look their etc it is not ok. Address it the same way if someone bullied your child for wearing new balance instead of nike. As for "saving" I feel strongly that we each have a story about how we feel about "God". Encourage your children to embrace their story and be willing to listen to others story. You never have to change your story because of someone else's. We all have the right to choose.
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Old 07-17-2012, 12:17 PM   #34
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Re: Atheist parents?

DH and I are atheists and scientists, so we have little patience or room in our lives for religion of any sorts. His parents are also atheists, while my parents probably are (they don't talk about religion or go to church.) Bullying was never an issue, and religion rarely came up in school (public school.) On one occasion, a christian girl was going around telling kids they were going to hell, while she was going to heaven to wear a crown; she got suspended for 3 days and it never happened again.

We still celebrate Christmas and Easter, since who doesn't love Santa and the Easter bunny, and all that holiday food, but there is never any mention of god or religion. We do take ethics very seriously and discuss that with DH, but I don't feel the need to explain religion or expose DS to it. Religion just seems crazy to us, and we would prefer to teach him about science and fact.
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Old 07-17-2012, 09:28 PM   #35
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Re: Atheist parents?

This is an interesting thread. My hubby is non-religious. I say non-religious instead of agnostic or atheist because he just doesn't ever talk about that stuff. He says he just doesn't think it's that important. I don't push him because I know he has a spiritual side so I have no problem with whatever he believes (or doesn't). I am a neo-pagan though, and while I don't see my beliefs as anything approaching 'religion' but more 'spirituality' I suppose I identify just fine with my atheist and agnostic buddies.
Here is my take on raising children 'in the faith', whatever your spirituality/religion/non-religion. We are all spiritual beings. If you believe in a soul or a spirit or a universal consiousness or even just the good old fashioned circle of life, we all have a greater awareness to attain. Exposing our children to spirituality through whatever means available to us, in my mind, is simply a way to facilitate their growth in that area. As parents I believe it is our job to foster growth in our children in all ways (mental/physical/spiritual). In this manner I think it is appropriate to allow our children exposure to different ways and belief systems as much as possible without practicing indoctrination. In other words it is entirely possible for my son to go to sunday school with his grandfather and hear about the things that Christians believe without hearing 'you are going to burn in hell!' but instead hearing 'this is what we believe'. He can also come with me to a Sabbat festival and gain an understanding of his mothers belief system without declaring 'I am going to be a pagan!'
Some people will argue that this confuses children. I say BAH! In the same way that teaching them to be bilingual confuses them? No- they take a few months longer to learn but their world is opened up to them because they can do what so many others can not.
So I guess to answer your question, stand your ground if you think they are being indoctrinated on the sly, but also don't let opportunities to educate them pass you by.
Just my take on it.
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Old 07-17-2012, 09:53 PM   #36
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Re: Atheist parents?

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Originally Posted by Kaci View Post
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 09-06-2012, 07:08 PM   #37
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Re: Atheist parents?

As a family we attend a Unitarian Universalist church and I guess you could describe our religion as "UU" which has about a million different combinations of beliefs.
Our congregation is full of agnostics, atheists, zen buddhist, christians, jews, humanists, etc.
It is really nice to be part of a community where spiritual/religious difference is not only accepted, but encouraged.

I wish you the best of luck in raising your children to accept and love who they are and stick with what is right for them.
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Old 09-07-2012, 08:31 AM   #38
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Re: Atheist parents?

I'm rather agnostic. Or at least, that is the closest thing that I can come up with.

The difference between me and many of the nonreligious that I chat with online is that I wish I had faith. I value reason and science as the only meaningful, rigorously proven elements in our world; those standards won't allow me to "choose to believe." But I wish that I could.

If I encountered some piece of evidence was not easily debunked, some objective proof of a deity? I'd be the devoutest ___________ you ever saw!

So when it comes to my kids, I'll teach them about the big 3, and particularly the Bible - you must be familiar with Biblical themes and legends to be at all well read. They'll also learn about pre Christian European religions, as that is a big piece of where we came from. But it will be in as neutral a manner as possible. And logic, reason, and humanism will be the most important teachings.
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Old 09-14-2012, 12:31 PM   #39
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Re: Atheist parents?

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Originally Posted by rohirette View Post
I'm rather agnostic. Or at least, that is the closest thing that I can come up with.

The difference between me and many of the nonreligious that I chat with online is that I wish I had faith. I value reason and science as the only meaningful, rigorously proven elements in our world; those standards won't allow me to "choose to believe." But I wish that I could.
This is so me.
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Old 09-27-2012, 11:05 PM   #40
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