LittleFokker
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The Role Of Religion In Parenting

Wed Jan 08, 2014 2:35 am

My wife and I are activing trying to have children. Amongst the many things we discussed about our potential child/children was religion. She expressed a desire to join a church and have the children be involved in said church. I was unable to give a good reply.....

My wife was raised Catholic, and while she doesn't reject the Catholic church, she hasn't attended a mass in a while, and neither of us has been to church regularly in quite some time. Neither one of us likes to wake up early, and the idea of committing to a Sunday morning anything isn't that appealing (and with my schedule, I can't commit to any activity that doesn't occur before noon).

As for my religious background, I was raised in the Methodist church by my mother, mostly. My father would attend on very rare occasions (he was baptized Mormon as a child, mostly because they were far and away the largest and most organized church in Las Vegas at the time), but stopped going by the time he reached high school (when my parents moved to the DFW area a few years ago, my dad actually went to the same Methodist church as my mother regularly before he passed away). My mother was always very active and involved in the church, and still is to this day, and it's a very important part of her life. I was active too throughout youth, even getting involved in Chyrsalis and Emmaus walks. I then attended a Lutheran university, and it was there where I began to have my doubts about all things religion. Once I learned about the Bible's history and how it came to be constructed, it got me to thinking "what if the truth is that none of these religions have it right, and all religion is just man's biased and damaged interpretation of what they believe to be experiences with God?"

As I've matured even further and had more life experiences, religion has made less and less sense to me. The rare occassions I have attended a service (and I've been to a small variety of denominations' services), I've felt out of place, and walked out thinking to myself "well, that was silly!" Lately, I've been watching online videos and reading articles trying to understand the atheist viewpoint. People like Christopher HItchens, George Carlin, Bill Maher, and Ricky Gervais (just to name a few notable atheists) - and what they say makes a lot of sense to me. Currently, I don't feel ready to completely reject the idea of a God existing (I've witnessed a number things that make me believe it can't just be coincidence), so I'm content with calling myself Agnostic. My wife has already stated she could never see herself going full blown atheist. If we were to raise our children in a church, it wouldn't necessarily have to be a Catholic church, but we would prefer it to be a church that preaches love and acceptance and not discrimination (and really demonstrates it).

I'm comfortable with how I feel about religion currently (though I do worry I dissapoint my mother some even though she'll never say it), and I know that my exploration is not complete and am still open to more life experiences and viewpoints that could change mine. But to circle around the opening paragraph, I'm curious as to what y'all have to say about the value of raising children with the assistance of a church. To a child, the idea of a God is an easy concept to understand, and can at least provide temporary answers to questions. Ideally, I would love for my children to discover on their own what role religion will have in their own lives, but that will not happen until they reach adulthood. Is it critical that they be exposed to at least one religion to have a foundation to build on? Is it important that I attend with them to validate their experience? If I didn't bring them to church, what would that do to their ability to socialize with their peers?

I don't want this to be about who is more right between my wife and I (my viewpoint is ever evolving), but I would like for as many different viewpoints as possible so that perhaps I can be exposed to information that I wouldn't otherwise consider.
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Francoflier
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RE: The Role Of Religion In Parenting

Wed Jan 08, 2014 2:48 am

Quoting LittleFokker (Thread starter):
I don't want this to be about who is more right between my wife and I

It doesn't matter who is right. What matters is that none of your diverging, or other, opinions and beliefs are forcefully taught as fact to your child while he is young.

Children should be presented to these views, told about them and let them decide what they want to believe when they reach maturity.
Religion is not a necessary tool in teaching someone good manners, behavior, sympathy, empathy, etc...
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rwy04lga
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RE: The Role Of Religion In Parenting

Wed Jan 08, 2014 4:05 am

Quoting LittleFokker (Thread starter):
"what if the truth is that none of these religions have it right, and all religion is just man's biased and damaged interpretation of what they believe to be experiences with God?"

That's always been my belief! I M H O...Your thinking is SPOT ON! The Golden Rule is all your child -or anyone else- needs to know.
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DarkSnowyNight
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RE: The Role Of Religion In Parenting

Wed Jan 08, 2014 4:41 am

Quoting LittleFokker (Thread starter):
To a child, the idea of a God is an easy concept to understand, and can at least provide temporary answers to questions.

Yeah, but so are/do a lot of stories. Tell them that particular one is real is likely to give them a complex of some nature.

Quoting LittleFokker (Thread starter):
She expressed a desire to join a church and have the children be involved in said church

Can she quantify a benefit or is it just some way she feels about some thing?
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Mir
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RE: The Role Of Religion In Parenting

Wed Jan 08, 2014 5:11 am

Quoting LittleFokker (Thread starter):
I'm curious as to what y'all have to say about the value of raising children with the assistance of a church.

The value of a church is in its instillment of values and in the community it offers - those aren't things that you need to be a member of a church for, you can do them secularly if you want to. But if you don't want to that's fine as well - just make sure that you join a church whose values reflect yours and are more interested in guidance than in indoctrination.

Quoting LittleFokker (Thread starter):
To a child, the idea of a God is an easy concept to understand, and can at least provide temporary answers to questions.

I don't necessarily agree with this. What questions couldn't you answer without involving the presence of a higher power?

-Mir
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mandala499
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RE: The Role Of Religion In Parenting

Wed Jan 08, 2014 5:33 am

Religion is man's manifestation of God and what man believes God commands... This is irrespective of God's own existence. It really doesn't matter who's right when it comes to your parenting plans, what matters is that you both agree on what to do... unfortunately, it often bogs down to the little details before the idea breaks to pieces. For a child what's important is the moral values and what's generally good and what's generally bad... religion generally teaches that. The details is a whole different ball game...   
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vikkyvik
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RE: The Role Of Religion In Parenting

Wed Jan 08, 2014 5:53 am

This hits close to home, as it's an issue that my girlfriend and I will have to deal with at some point in the next few years. We had one brief discussion about it, but it went nowhere fast - I don't think either of us were expecting to discuss it just then.

Basically, she's Catholic, I'm atheist. She doesn't go to church every Sunday or anything, and she's pretty progressive (gay rights and all that), but she really wants our (future) kids to attend church and such.

I'm not anti-church at all - I actually like the idea of a spiritual center, where people gather and all that. I've been to some quite nice church masses/ceremonies/whatever (mostly at Protestant churches, but whatever). But I'm terrified of having a kid who's gay, for example, and having him/her go to Catholic church his whole childhood. I just don't feel that's right, and I'd imagine it would be incredibly confusing.

I talked to a Catholic friend about it; he mentioned that church isn't necessarily a bad thing, and that it certainly can provide benefits for kids growing up. I don't disagree with that at all, but still. I also don't really have any objection to having my kids baptized or whatever. No problem here if that's what she wants. But having them raised Catholic, going to church every weekend for however-many years....it just bothers me.

I'm kind of hoping we can find a happy medium, like joining a Unitarian church or some such thing. I'm not exactly optimistic about that.....we'll see. Hopefully that discussion will happen soon. I'm certainly spiritual to an extent, but I don't believe in God and I've never felt the need to join any sort of church.

Wish I had some advice to offer, but I'm dealing with this now too!
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Kiwirob
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RE: The Role Of Religion In Parenting

Wed Jan 08, 2014 7:45 am

Put bluntly religion has no place in the upbringing of children, children need to be children, you shouldn't brainwash them with religion, let them come to it on their own if they are interested.
 
zrs70
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RE: The Role Of Religion In Parenting

Wed Jan 08, 2014 7:53 am

Let me preface my response with a disclaimer that I am a rabbi, so there is some bias!

The majority of our community doesn't come to shul to connect with God. They come to connect with each other and with themselves. They come for community. They come for mindfulness. They come to leave traffic behind.

We are here to comfort the afflicted. We are here to afflict the comfortable.

We are here to remind people to look beyond their own needs - to give to important causes - to make the world better.

We do these through Jewish values, using the wisdom of the rabbis, and arguing with texts we don't agree with.

We may form a concept of God in the process. But we remember that there are many, many, concepts of God in Judaism.

All this said, synagogue is a great place for kids to find community and to build character. And parents can use the rhythm of Jewish time to create ritual that connects the family across space and across generations.
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Aesma
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RE: The Role Of Religion In Parenting

Wed Jan 08, 2014 8:58 am

Unlike foreign languages, religion can be taken up at any age. So I would teach my future children a couple of foreign languages, and let them decide if they want to be involved in religion at some point (in all likelihood I would discourage them from doing so, but still let them free, unless they're taking up radical beliefs/joining a cult, that is).

[Edited 2014-01-08 00:59:01]
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Kiwirob
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RE: The Role Of Religion In Parenting

Wed Jan 08, 2014 11:09 am

Quoting zrs70 (Reply 8):
All this said, synagogue is a great place for kids to find community and to build character. And parents can use the rhythm of Jewish time to create ritual that connects the family across space and across generations.

They can do this just as easily playing sport, which considering the waistline of the average American would be far better for them.
 
LittleFokker
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RE: The Role Of Religion In Parenting

Wed Jan 08, 2014 3:12 pm

Interesting replies so far, thank you.....

Quoting francoflier (Reply 1):
What matters is that none of your diverging, or other, opinions and beliefs are forcefully taught as fact to your child while he is young.

This does not seem easy. It's much harder for a child to distinguish fact from fantasy, and I would think that saying "this is what your mom believes, this is what I believe, etc." would lead to our children playing favorites, and it would be nice if our children love both of their parents equally.

Quoting DarkSnowyNight (Reply 3):
Can she quantify a benefit or is it just some way she feels about some thing?

I don't think she's explored her own belief system as much as I have. Her viewpoint is more along the lines of "I was raised in a church, everyone I know was, it's the only way I know." And she's entitled to that belief.

Quoting vikkyvik (Reply 6):
I'm not anti-church at all - I actually like the idea of a spiritual center, where people gather and all that.

I agree with this, in that religion is a very personal issue, and everyone needs to find what makes sense and is right for them. Just because it doesn't register with me doesn't mean that no one else finds value in it.

Quoting zrs70 (Reply 8):
The majority of our community doesn't come to shul to connect with God. They come to connect with each other and with themselves. They come for community. They come for mindfulness. They come to leave traffic behind.

Thank you, it's refreshing to hear a religious leader say that. I once told my mother a few years ago that the only reason I could find for going to church was to socialize, and she lost her breath a little. And it is the social factor that would lead me to go along with my wife's wishes and get involved in the church. I would want our children to have as much opportunity to make friends, and I'm not sure if you get the same opportunity to make friends outside of school as you do with a church. Plus, if we were to not get involved with one, and our kids are asked by other kids why they don't go to a church, that seems like a tough question for them to have to answer.

Quoting Aesma (Reply 9):
Unlike foreign languages, religion can be taken up at any age.

I don't quite follow your logic here. Are adults incapable of learning mulitiple languages?

Quoting Mir (Reply 4):
The value of a church is in its instillment of values and in the community it offers - those aren't things that you need to be a member of a church for, you can do them secularly if you want to. But if you don't want to that's fine as well - just make sure that you join a church whose values reflect yours and are more interested in guidance than in indoctrination.

Very sound answer, and neither one of us wants a church to raise our children for us. If all goes to plan, my wife is hoping to be a stay at home mother, and we've briefly talked about the idea of home schooling (no conclusion on that issue yet).

Quoting KiwiRob (Reply 7):
Put bluntly religion has no place in the upbringing of children, children need to be children, you shouldn't brainwash them with religion, let them come to it on their own if they are interested.
Quoting KiwiRob (Reply 10):
They can do this just as easily playing sport, which considering the waistline of the average American would be far better for them.

I may have to disagree that playing sports can replace religion in the manner of building character. Sports can be a supplement to building character (as part of many other activities), and I intend to introduce my children to a variety of sports to see if they take an interest to any of them. However, sports alone won't be sufficient I think.

But your response does bring up a great philosophical question: Is it better to be exposed to religion at an early age, then discover your own truth as an adult, or better to be exposed to none and fall into religion as an adult?
"All human activities are doomed to failure." - Jean Paul Sartre
 
Rara
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RE: The Role Of Religion In Parenting

Wed Jan 08, 2014 4:19 pm

Quoting LittleFokker (Reply 11):
But your response does bring up a great philosophical question: Is it better to be exposed to religion at an early age, then discover your own truth as an adult, or better to be exposed to none and fall into religion as an adult?

My parents are both Atheists and still raised me a Christian. For the longest time I found that pretty strange. But recently it started making sense to me. If you think about it, historically the vast majority of humans has always been religious, and even today far more people are religious than Atheist. So you could say believing in higher powers is some sort of default state of the human condition. Atheism is something that can be discovered yourself.. it sort of follows logically from a certain way of thinking, and drawing conclusions about the nature of things. And it's never to late for that.. the possibility of non-believing is open to any person of any age.

Bottom line is, I don't think it hurts to expose children to Christian ideas and doctrines. They will likely believe in them, since the concepts are easy to grasp for children. What they'll do with them later will be up to them - whether they continue to find comfort in the gospel, or whether they'll start to question things and ultimately draw more enjoyment from critical and independent thinking.

I don't think I'd regularly go to church with them, however. That's just time that's better spent elsewhere, whichever way the children are raised.
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WestJet747
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RE: The Role Of Religion In Parenting

Wed Jan 08, 2014 4:33 pm

Quoting LittleFokker (Thread starter):
To a child, the idea of a God is an easy concept to understand, and can at least provide temporary answers to questions.

I disagree. I was raised in a non-religious family, but attended a Catholic school (for convenience, not for any religious reasons). I personally found the notion of a god to be very confusing, probably because as a child I was very analytical and it simply didn't make sense to me. Part of it may be the way it was taught to us, but overall I found it overwhelmingly difficult to accept something that I didn't understand.

Quoting LittleFokker (Thread starter):
Is it critical that they be exposed to at least one religion to have a foundation to build on?

No. I, and many of my friends and family, were raised in a completely secular household and we all turned out to be upstanding, moral citizens.

If I may be a little more blunt, "exposing to a religion as a foundation to build" sounds an awful lot like indoctrination to me. When it comes to beliefs, children should come to them on their own and not through forced exposure.

Quoting LittleFokker (Thread starter):
If I didn't bring them to church, what would that do to their ability to socialize with their peers?

Hardly. I never attended church and I had a strong peer group of both religious and non-religious friends. I was an incredibly social child who had no problems making friends. Never once in my life has not attending church negatively affected my social skills.

Quoting KiwiRob (Reply 10):
They can do this just as easily playing sport

   I owe a lot to sport. It kept me healthy, I made many friends (a couple of which I consider my closest friends to this day), and learned many valuable lessons/life skills such as respect, teamwork, critical thinking, etc.

Quoting LittleFokker (Reply 11):
Is it better to be exposed to religion at an early age, then discover your own truth as an adult, or better to be exposed to none and fall into religion as an adult?

Again, children are extremely impressionable. If you implant religion into them at a young age where they're basically willing to accept anything mommy or daddy says, then you've stripped them of the important process of discovering their own beliefs. Forcing Christianity on them will make the decision much harder in their adult life if they decide to go in another direction (moral conflict and "disappointing my parents", etc.), whereas growing up without those influences will make it a very positive experience to discover Christianity (or any other religion) if they so choose.
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Kiwirob
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RE: The Role Of Religion In Parenting

Wed Jan 08, 2014 4:34 pm

Quoting LittleFokker (Reply 11):

I may have to disagree that playing sports can replace religion in the manner of building character.

Pray tell how religion can build character, too much religion often turns people into intolerant, bigoted, idiots. IMO religion is the greatest evil mankind has inflicted upon itself, the only way to stop it is to stop indoctrinating our children.
 
AM744
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RE: The Role Of Religion In Parenting

Wed Jan 08, 2014 4:41 pm

Quoting LittleFokker (Thread starter):
My wife was raised Catholic, and while she doesn't reject the Catholic church, she hasn't attended a mass in a while, and neither of us has been to church regularly in quite some time. Neither one of us likes to wake up early, and the idea of committing to a Sunday morning anything isn't that appealing (and with my schedule, I can't commit to any activity that doesn't occur before noon).

Bear in mind that for Catholics, it is or was, not sure, a 'mortal sin' not to raise your children in the Catholic faith. This is taught in Catholic Catechism around age 7 and I guess it resonates in the back of the mind throughout life.

Quoting Aesma (Reply 9):
Unlike foreign languages, religion can be taken up at any age. So I would teach my future children a couple of foreign languages, and let them decide if they want to be involved in religion at some point (in all likelihood I would discourage them from doing so, but still let them free, unless they're taking up radical beliefs/joining a cult, that is).

Agreed (except for the languages part lol). I'd advice to stay away from child adoctrination by the Church at an early age. Does it help feeling guilty for things such as not attending mass, etc? As societies and individuals we have way bigger fish to fry.

As for the 'substitute' of religion I propose exposing the kids to lay ethics and diverse philosophic approaches as they become ready for them. While many of those ideas did originate in religions, I think a scientific and humanistic approach is better than the dogmatic ways taught by Churches most often than not, where not everything is open to questioning. That is burdensome and not very useful.

I feel teaching right from wrong, honesty, compassion, empathy, solidarity, etc. is up to the parents rather than churches and that nothing beats teaching by example.
 
LittleFokker
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RE: The Role Of Religion In Parenting

Thu Jan 09, 2014 7:08 am

Quoting Rara (Reply 12):
My parents are both Atheists and still raised me a Christian.

Were they atheist prior to your birth? If so, have you asked them directly why they decided to raise you in a Christian church, or are you going with your own theory?

Quoting WestJet747 (Reply 13):
No. I, and many of my friends and family, were raised in a completely secular household and we all turned out to be upstanding, moral citizens.

While I have no doubts of your experience, I'm curious as to whether or not the topic of church ever came up in conversations with your friends during childhood? Did you avoid the topic as much as possible, or were you comfortable enough about your family's choice to talk freely about it? I only ask because I have a terrible memory of my childhood and can't really remember what conversations were like with my friends, though I do seem to recall church being brought up occasionally.

Quoting WestJet747 (Reply 13):
If I may be a little more blunt, "exposing to a religion as a foundation to build" sounds an awful lot like indoctrination to me. When it comes to beliefs, children should come to them on their own and not through forced exposure.

Yes, but in a way, it is the parent's job to coax their children down some path. Until they are mature enough to make decisions on their own, and know what the ramifications of those decisions are, they need to be guided in some form. So really, no matter what you teach your children, you're going to indoctrinate them somehow.

Quoting KiwiRob (Reply 14):

May I ask you if you have any children of your own, and also have you been atheist your whole life, and if not, at what point did atheism feel correct to you?

Quoting KiwiRob (Reply 14):
Pray tell how religion can build character, too much religion often turns people into intolerant, bigoted, idiots. IMO religion is the greatest evil mankind has inflicted upon itself, the only way to stop it is to stop indoctrinating our children.

You seem to have the same viewpoint on religion as Bill Maher. One way in which he loses my respect is his treatment towards religion. Sure, he likes to poke fun at all the silly rules of religion, and some of the nonsensical things they do, and I get a nice chuckle out of it, but he takes it a step further. He thinks that anyone who believes in God is a whacko loon that should be locked up, and I can't go with that. There are a lot of sound reasons to not accept any religious doctrine to be correct and applicable to your life, but I don't think it's silly that human beings take solace in the idea of a supreme being. It can provide comfort and internal peace at times when no other source can.

I am fully aware of the negatives religion has contributed to history. Most wars have a religious motivation (including our most recent Iraq war), and more people have been murdered in the name of God than for any other reason. I strongly dislike religious political action groups pissing on the 1st amendment, trying to convince people this is a Christian country despite zero written evidence to support that. I get that. But it's not all bad. Most charities are affiliated with some kind of church, as well as a great deal of volunteer opportunities. There are some churches in the world that don't want to play politics, and keep the religion within the church where it should be. If religion was all bad, why would so many continue to participate to this day? It's like drugs - if drugs were all negative with no positive, people would stop taking them, correct?
"All human activities are doomed to failure." - Jean Paul Sartre
 
Kiwirob
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RE: The Role Of Religion In Parenting

Thu Jan 09, 2014 7:41 am

Quoting LittleFokker (Thread starter):
If I didn't bring them to church, what would that do to their ability to socialize with their peers?

Sorry I missed this quote, but they will socialise with a far greater variety of people at school then they will ever socialise with at church. Your kids are at school 5 days per week, church is usually only Sunday morning, you do the math.
 
AF1624
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RE: The Role Of Religion In Parenting

Thu Jan 09, 2014 8:57 am

Quoting KiwiRob (Reply 7):
Put bluntly religion has no place in the upbringing of children, children need to be children, you shouldn't brainwash them with religion, let them come to it on their own if they are interested.
Quoting KiwiRob (Reply 10):
They can do this just as easily playing sport, which considering the waistline of the average American would be far better for them.
Quoting KiwiRob (Reply 14):
Pray tell how religion can build character, too much religion often turns people into intolerant, bigoted, idiots. IMO religion is the greatest evil mankind has inflicted upon itself, the only way to stop it is to stop indoctrinating our children.
Quoting KiwiRob (Reply 17):
Sorry I missed this quote, but they will socialise with a far greater variety of people at school then they will ever socialise with at church. Your kids are at school 5 days per week, church is usually only Sunday morning, you do the math.

Agree with all of the above.

I would present your child with options: "some people believe in this, some people believe in that".

Inevitably he will ask what you believe in. Be honest, but do tell him that he doesn't have to believe in the same things.

He must learn about this stuff - not necessarily apply any of it. This, IMO, is the recipe for an open minded person who will have all the knowledge necessary to make up his own mind later on.

But. NO CHURCH ATTENDANCE. I can't stress this enough. For children, all the act of church-going (the dresses, the music, the lighting, the songs, etc.) has brainwash powers like you wouldn't believe.
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kiwiinoz
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RE: The Role Of Religion In Parenting

Thu Jan 09, 2014 9:33 am

I am a parent, and am very much against enforcing active participation in religion on a child, (in fact, in extreme cases, I view it as child abuse).

However, I do believe in educating a child about the history, customs, beliefs, etc about all mainstream religions. This is because so much of humanity and history has been determined by religion, (and will continue to do so)

At a time when they are capable of making such a serious decision, (15, 18? Depends on the child I guess), if they decide on their own volition to participate in a religion of their choosing, based on the education about different religions they have received, then I will be fully supportive.
 
PhilBy
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RE: The Role Of Religion In Parenting

Thu Jan 09, 2014 9:56 am

Quoting LittleFokker (Reply 11):
I don't quite follow your logic here. Are adults incapable of learning mulitiple languages?

It is much more difficult for an adult to learn a foreign language than for a child. Some relate this to the sneeze effect. Every time we sneeze 100,000 (or some similar figure) brain cells die. After a certain age none are replaced. More scientific explainations talk about development of links between neurons.

Quoting LittleFokker (Reply 11):
Is it better to be exposed to religion at an early age, then discover your own truth as an adult, or better to be exposed to none and fall into religion as an adult
Quoting AF1624 (Reply 18):
I would present your child with options: "some people believe in this, some people believe in that".

I would say that it better to be exposed to religions at an early age so that you can better understand how belief systems govern many people without just considering them nut-jobs. IMO it's harder to develope tolerance for differing religions if they are not understood. Also there is educational value in many of the parables and fables which cannot so easily be understood out of context.

Quoting KiwiRob (Reply 17):
Sorry I missed this quote, but they will socialise with a far greater variety of people at school then they will ever socialise with at church.

I agree. As a child church attendance was regular. I don't remember any significant socialisation due to it.
 
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Boeing717200
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RE: The Role Of Religion In Parenting

Thu Jan 09, 2014 1:21 pm

Quoting KiwiRob (Reply 14):

Pray tell how religion can build character, too much religion often turns people into intolerant, bigoted, idiots. IMO religion is the greatest evil mankind has inflicted upon itself, the only way to stop it is to stop indoctrinating our children.

Saying religion makes people bigots while commenting on a thread with bigoted statements. Epic.

To the OP: You guys need to sort it out or it will become a sore spot in your relationship. There's no reason not to bring up your kids in a church or a religious school where they will have far more structure in their lives than the broken public school system could ever provide. When they get older they'll make up their minds themselves. It's really that simple.

[Edited 2014-01-09 05:26:55]
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RE: The Role Of Religion In Parenting

Thu Jan 09, 2014 1:45 pm

While my parents and grandparents are/were Christian... er, to some extent, maybe?.. I never really want to Church more than 3 times a year for religious purposes.

Never was I forced to go to Church weekly, etc... We went before and during Easter and that's about it.

I learned about Christianity in school, though I don't really remember believing in it per se, and I never felt the desire to memorize the 2 or 3 religious "songs" that we had to know. They were always stories to me rather than beliefs IIRC.

Anyway, there's nothing bad about learning about religion (in fact, the more I learn about Christianity and the Bible the more convinced I am that they're hogwash). However, I think you should leave your kids alone and not drag them to Church.

When they're old enough to read the Bible, give 'em a copy and if they're interested they'll read it on their own. Instead of going to Church you can spend 1 hr on Sunday morning talking about some passage and its meaning.

Regarding other kids asking why they don't go to Church, don't worry, bullies will always find something to bully about. I don't ever recall being asked by my peers if I go to Church. I don't think kids tend to care about these things as much as football or soccer.

I'm an atheist, and nothing contributed more to that than the hypocrisy and inconsistencies of the Bible.
 
AviRaider
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RE: The Role Of Religion In Parenting

Thu Jan 09, 2014 2:41 pm

I'm a Christian and my wife and I attend church regularly. We teach our young daughter Christian stories and symbolisim and that sort of thing. Naturally our daughter must tag along with us since both of her parents go to church and there is no one else to watch her. But I wouldn't have it any other way, frankly. Of course it's my wish that she will find the Lord on her own and accept Christ as her Savior as she matures. WIth that being said, I don't want her being blind to the world or to knowledge and personal truth gaining. I will always support my child in discovering her own personal truth and love her no matter her ultimate decision as it pertains to religion.
 
Kiwirob
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RE: The Role Of Religion In Parenting

Thu Jan 09, 2014 2:59 pm

Quoting Boeing717200 (Reply 21):
There's no reason not to bring up your kids in a church or a religious school where they will have far more structure in their lives than the broken public school system could ever provide.

Wouldn't it depend on where the OP lives, to say all public school systems are broken and can't provide structure is just not correct. There are also bad churches and bad religious schools.

Thanks for also proving my point about religious bigots  
 
yooyoo
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RE: The Role Of Religion In Parenting

Thu Jan 09, 2014 8:41 pm

I'm a father of 3 girls (12, 10, 6). I am atheist and my wife is agnostic. Religion has come up in our family discussions
quite often, mostly questions from our daughters about god. We discuss as best we can and move on. My wife and I agreed
that we would put our girls in a public school and there are no issues even though some suggest public schools are "broken".
My wife and I will let our girls decide if they want to believe in god and we will not indoctrinate them by going to any church.
Our family has discussed many religions, many gods and many beliefs. Last summer we sent our eldest to a Christian camp for a week
and our kids have attended other "play days" at other churches. Secular parenting is what is done in our household and
there are some great websites that can give you more information. Bottom line, I think children should be able to decide by themselves
when they are mature enough if they wish to believe in 1 of the 3000+ gods available to them or not believe in any.




Quoting Rara (Reply 12):
So you could say believing in higher powers is some sort of default state of the human condition

I disagree, we are all born atheist.  
Quoting KiwiRob (Reply 14):
IMO religion is the greatest evil mankind has inflicted upon itself, the only way to stop it is to stop indoctrinating our children

I agree Mr. Hitchens....ermm, I mean KiwiRob.  
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WestJet747
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RE: The Role Of Religion In Parenting

Fri Jan 10, 2014 12:48 am

Quoting LittleFokker (Reply 16):
While I have no doubts of your experience, I'm curious as to whether or not the topic of church ever came up in conversations with your friends during childhood? Did you avoid the topic as much as possible, or were you comfortable enough about your family's choice to talk freely about it? I only ask because I have a terrible memory of my childhood and can't really remember what conversations were like with my friends, though I do seem to recall church being brought up occasionally.

I attended a Catholic school for a few years when I was young, so I was more or less forced to discuss religion with my peers at some point or another. I have no recollection of it ever coming up as a topic of conversation outside of school, though.

As for being "comfortable about my family's choice", it never crossed mine or my friends' minds because children have an amazing ability to look past each other's differences, be it religion, race, etc.

Quoting LittleFokker (Reply 16):
Yes, but in a way, it is the parent's job to coax their children down some path. Until they are mature enough to make decisions on their own, and know what the ramifications of those decisions are, they need to be guided in some form. So really, no matter what you teach your children, you're going to indoctrinate them somehow.

I have to completely disagree. Children are not born with a religion. People tend to forget that atheism is not a belief system of it's own, but rather the absence of one. With that said, children who aren't put on a certain religious path are not indoctrinated in any way, rather the opposite because they discover their own path. I cannot think of a single downside to not instilling religion in children.

If you must teach your child(ren) about religion, I'd recommend teaching them about as many religions as possible. Teaching only one might make them incorrectly belief that that one is the only "correct" religion.

Quoting AF1624 (Reply 18):
For children, all the act of church-going (the dresses, the music, the lighting, the songs, etc.) has brainwash powers like you wouldn't believe.

  

Quoting Boeing717200 (Reply 21):
There's no reason not to bring up your kids in a church or a religious school where they will have far more structure in their lives than the broken public school system could ever provide.

   Kids from religious school are the biggest sinners out there! Heck, back when I was in high school the pregnancy rate for the Catholic school board was something like 4X that of the public school board. I used to party and get drunk with kids from religious schools every weekend. Those oh so holy religious school kids are completely the same as public school kids except for the uniforms and lack of proper sexual education.
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Alias1024
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RE: The Role Of Religion In Parenting

Fri Jan 10, 2014 1:29 am

My wife and I have had similar discussions recently as we think about trying for children. I was baptized catholic but only ever went to church for funerals and weddings. My wife was raised Jewish, but went to temple mostly to make her parents happy. We've pretty much decided we won't force any religion on our children, but will answer any questions they have, and help them explore any faith that interests them.
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Francoflier
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RE: The Role Of Religion In Parenting

Fri Jan 10, 2014 1:54 am

Quoting LittleFokker (Reply 11):
his does not seem easy. It's much harder for a child to distinguish fact from fantasy, and I would think that saying "this is what your mom believes, this is what I believe, etc." would lead to our children playing favorites, and it would be nice if our children love both of their parents equally.

If your worry is that your different beliefs will lead your children to 'favor' one parent or the other based on those, then let me relieve you: Your kids will not give a [email protected] what your religious beliefs are or are not.

In fact, kids (fortunately) aren't really interested in religion at all, and you'll find that most of the times, it is indeed mostly brought up by the parents who are trying to pass on their religious beliefs. Children would find it as boring as learning history or studying maths.

They will love you because you are a good parent, not because of what you believe.
And if your views are contradictory, well, they can indeed understand that adults have differing views. They won't be alarmed as it clearly doesn't cause for a rift in your couple, and because as I said, they don't particularly care for these old fables anyway.

Now, one of you tells him he can play the XBox and the other says no, and watch the teary drama and mind games unfold...
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RE: The Role Of Religion In Parenting

Fri Jan 10, 2014 2:56 am

Quoting WestJet747 (Reply 26):

Kids from religious school are the biggest sinners out there! Heck, back when I was in high school the pregnancy rate for the Catholic school board was something like 4X that of the public school board. I used to party and get drunk with kids from religious schools every weekend. Those oh so holy religious school kids are completely the same as public school kids except for the uniforms and lack of proper sexual education.

Have any other made-up stories you care to share?

Quoting KiwiRob (Reply 24):
Thanks for also proving my point about religious bigots

Please explain. This ought to be good. Going to go get some popcorn. Be right back.
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GAIsweetGAI
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RE: The Role Of Religion In Parenting

Fri Jan 10, 2014 4:25 am

I don't know about sheltering your kids from religion. My girlfriend just found out about it nearly 2 years ago, and she's turned into a big time believer with very little critical thinking. Then again, that may just be the way she is.

Basically, it looks like you want to introduce your kid(s) to the pros of religion (be nice to people, social structure, etc.), and avoid the cons (some intolerance still, faulty logic, Sunday mornings, brainwashing, etc.). I'd say the best option is to have them grow up with a fairly clear understanding of which religions exist and why, what their message is, how they're different, etc. (The history of Europe is a pretty good overview of the Christian religions IMO.) Then they might want to try out one of them, and that's up to them to decide.

Or, if you're feeling more entrepeneurial, you could start your own religion, that includes everything you want to teach your kids and that throws out everything you don't agree with. All you really need is a bunch of friends who share those beliefs.
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WestJet747
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RE: The Role Of Religion In Parenting

Fri Jan 10, 2014 4:31 am

Quoting Boeing717200 (Reply 29):
Have any other made-up stories you care to share?

Well you don't have to believe me, I'm just a faceless guy on an aviation forum. But just for kicks, when you have the time some day, maybe ask some younger folks what they think the difference between public and Catholic school is. I will guarantee you that there won't be a single peep about Catholic school kids being better behaved....or maybe they're all just making up stories too  
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DeltaMD90
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RE: The Role Of Religion In Parenting

Fri Jan 10, 2014 5:14 am

Quoting Boeing717200 (Reply 29):
Have any other made-up stories you care to share?

I only went to Catholic school for a year and a quarter but I learned more perversion there than any other equal length period. I've heard many others that had similar experiences... anecdotal, but who knows. I don't see why you think WestJet747 is lying or why he would.......
 
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RE: The Role Of Religion In Parenting

Fri Jan 10, 2014 7:30 am

Quoting vikkyvik (Reply 6):
I'm kind of hoping we can find a happy medium, like joining a Unitarian church or some such thing. I'm not exactly optimistic about that.....we'll see. Hopefully that discussion will happen soon. I'm certainly spiritual to an extent, but I don't believe in God and I've never felt the need to join any sort of church.

Lifetime Unitarian Universalist here (pretty rare breed apparently). I very much enjoy being a UU, the church provide a social network and grounding, the sermons provide a diverse view with great insight into the intangible questions of life, the world we live in and the human experience etc. But it is not an easy religion, it takes effort as you are not given any "answers", there is no book, no printed dictates that tell you what to do, what is right and what is wrong, there is no requirement that you must believing something in particular. The only thing you are expected to do is to travel your path, find what speaks to you and works for you, help others in their journey and respect them in it, and live well with those around you.

I remember growing being a bit envious of my friends who it all written down in a book but now I can't imagine now being able to challenge and question the nonsensical elements or not being allowed to question "the word". I honestly think that any religion that does not allow you to question or challenge is a fairly poor one and bad for children.

Quoting zrs70 (Reply 8):
The majority of our community doesn't come to shul to connect with God. They come to connect with each other and with themselves. They come for community. They come for mindfulness. They come to leave traffic behind.

We are here to comfort the afflicted. We are here to afflict the comfortable.

We are here to remind people to look beyond their own needs - to give to important causes - to make the world better.

We do these through Jewish values, using the wisdom of the rabbis, and arguing with texts we don't agree with.

We may form a concept of God in the process. But we remember that there are many, many, concepts of God in Judaism.

Oddly it sounds an awful lot like my church, I am a lifelong Unitarian Universalist (UU), I like it!

Quoting WestJet747 (Reply 13):
When it comes to beliefs, children should come to them on their own and not through forced exposure.

I would say that a grounded education and exposure to religion is far better. Coming to it on one's own can be good or bad or anywhere in between, some people a very susceptible to something that proclaims to have all the answers they need and that promises to help them be "right" in life. I've watched a few people fall right off the the deep end into "religion", it's a bit creepy.

Quoting LittleFokker (Reply 16):
While I have no doubts of your experience, I'm curious as to whether or not the topic of church ever came up in conversations with your friends during childhood? Did you avoid the topic as much as possible, or were you comfortable enough about your family's choice to talk freely about it? I only ask because I have a terrible memory of my childhood and can't really remember what conversations were like with my friends, though I do seem to recall church being brought up occasionally.

I don't think you are unique in your memory, I don't remember it that much either, the generalities yes, like as I mention above that it has stayed with me that some of my friends had it all written down and could state easily "what they believed" ("I believe in Jesus Christ, the lord and savior and the one true path to God and heaven...", I mean how great is that?). When I was asked I would mumble stuff and wasn't quite sure what I believed.

But that is the fantastic thing about the UU faith, children aren't supposed to know it all, you can't just learn it, you have to discover it and it takes time and your own personal experience and sharing that with others to discover what you believe. How can you believe if it is just dictated to you?

Quoting LittleFokker (Reply 16):
Quoting WestJet747 (Reply 13):
If I may be a little more blunt, "exposing to a religion as a foundation to build" sounds an awful lot like indoctrination to me. When it comes to beliefs, children should come to them on their own and not through forced exposure.

Yes, but in a way, it is the parent's job to coax their children down some path. Until they are mature enough to make decisions on their own, and know what the ramifications of those decisions are, they need to be guided in some form. So really, no matter what you teach your children, you're going to indoctrinate them somehow.

You are your children's greatest influence if you care and are actively living life with them.

Quoting LittleFokker (Reply 16):
I am fully aware of the negatives religion has contributed to history. Most wars have a religious motivation (including our most recent Iraq war), and more people have been murdered in the name of God than for any other reason. I strongly dislike religious political action groups pissing on the 1st amendment, trying to convince people this is a Christian country despite zero written evidence to support that. I get that. But it's not all bad. Most charities are affiliated with some kind of church, as well as a great deal of volunteer opportunities. There are some churches in the world that don't want to play politics, and keep the religion within the church where it should be. If religion was all bad, why would so many continue to participate to this day? It's like drugs - if drugs were all negative with no positive, people would stop taking them, correct?

I don't think you are doing religion any favors here....not that I can say you are wrong.  
Quoting AF1624 (Reply 18):
I would present your child with options: "some people believe in this, some people believe in that".

Inevitably he will ask what you believe in. Be honest, but do tell him that he doesn't have to believe in the same things.

He must learn about this stuff - not necessarily apply any of it. This, IMO, is the recipe for an open minded person who will have all the knowledge necessary to make up his own mind later on.

But. NO CHURCH ATTENDANCE. I can't stress this enough. For children, all the act of church-going (the dresses, the music, the lighting, the songs, etc.) has brainwash powers like you wouldn't believe.

I agree with a lot of what you say but all churches are not the same, the church going experience at some can be quite normal with no "dress up" fluff. That is how it was for me.

Quoting Boeing717200 (Reply 21):
There's no reason not to bring up your kids in a church or a religious school where they will have far more structure in their lives than the broken public school system could ever provide. When they get older they'll make up their minds themselves. It's really that simple.

I agree with you that they can ultimately make up their own minds but it can be tough if they don't know that they can question what they are being taught/told.

However I flat disagree with your blanket statement on public schools. I've seen them, been through them and my kids are currently in them and getting a great education. They are not broken, there are good schools and bad schools in good and bad areas, religious, public or otherwise. It's the parents that count in fact, much more than any school system.

Quoting WestJet747 (Reply 26):
If you must teach your child(ren) about religion, I'd recommend teaching them about as many religions as possible. Teaching only one might make them incorrectly belief that that one is the only "correct" religion.

  
That is in fact what they do in the UU church.

Quoting Boeing717200 (Reply 29):
Have any other made-up stories you care to share?

Hey I can only say I've seen it and my friend who grew up in PR has said the exact same thing.

Tugg
I don’t know that I am unafraid to be myself, but it is hard to be somebody else. - W. Shatner
Productivity isn’t about getting more things done, rather it’s about getting the right things done, while doing less. - M. Oshin
 
Kiwirob
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RE: The Role Of Religion In Parenting

Fri Jan 10, 2014 7:55 am

Quoting Boeing717200 (Reply 29):

Please explain. This ought to be good. Going to go get some popcorn. Be right back.

There's no need to explain it's right there in what you said.
 
slider
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RE: The Role Of Religion In Parenting

Fri Jan 10, 2014 4:28 pm

This can be an incendiary topic, to be sure.

But from a very foundational level, it's important for children to realize that there are things greater than them, there is a world that exists beyond their reach and sight, and that spirituality has a very important place in ones life and in the development of core principles.

It's not about religion, per se, but about spirituality and about values.

To the point ZRZ70 made (thank you Rabbi!)...church is very much about community. Now, churches have the same rifts and flaws as any organization--they are, after all made up of people, who are innately flawed--but that sense of community is very much rooted in who we are, as social, tribal creatures. That sense of fellowship in common principles and ideals is timeless.

As the Proverb says, teach a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it. There's something to be said for that. Atheists don't realize that their lack of belief is contrary to the very glue that has cultivated and nurtured a great deal of Western Civilization...remove that and what do we have?

Only a virtuous people can be free. And while we don't have nor need a theocracy, I'd strongly advocate that a lot of the inculcation of virtue occurs at church. It can be a parent's best friend.
 
WestJet747
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RE: The Role Of Religion In Parenting

Fri Jan 10, 2014 5:50 pm

Quoting tugger (Reply 33):
Coming to it on one's own can be good or bad or anywhere in between, some people a very susceptible to something that proclaims to have all the answers they need and that promises to help them be "right" in life.

May I ask for some additional detail on what the bad could be on finding one's own way? I just don't see any negative impact being possible.

Quoting tugger (Reply 33):
I've watched a few people fall right off the the deep end into "religion", it's a bit creepy.

As have I, and it can be strange to see, but none of the one's I'm familiar with started from atheism, they all were passive believers or agnostics.

Quoting Slider (Reply 35):
This can be an incendiary topic, to be sure.

It's been surprisingly civil so far I'd say.

Quoting Slider (Reply 35):
Atheists don't realize that their lack of belief is contrary to the very glue that has cultivated and nurtured a great deal of Western Civilization...remove that and what do we have?

This would be to assume that belief in a higher power is the only "glue" that can cultivate and nurture a society. If so, how is it that atheists aren't reclusive? Why haven't they developed their own sub-society, as it were? I believe that much of how our civilization is cultivated and nurtured is rooted in human nature (mainly socialization) of which religion isn't a part. Sure, religion plays a large part in bringing certain groups of people together and developing certain ideals that we today find in our laws and whatnot, but I wouldn't give it too much of the credit.   


*Edited for grammar

[Edited 2014-01-10 09:59:48]
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Kiwirob
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RE: The Role Of Religion In Parenting

Fri Jan 10, 2014 5:55 pm

Quoting Slider (Reply 35):
it's important for children to realize that there are things greater than them, there is a world that exists beyond their reach and sight, and that spirituality has a very important place in ones life and in the development of core principles.

I'd like to see you try and back that statement up with real proof. Religion is a fairy tale, nothing more nothing less.

Quoting Slider (Reply 35):
remove that and what do we have?

We will have people who are able to think for themselves, people who aren't held back by outdated religious dogma.
 
slider
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RE: The Role Of Religion In Parenting

Fri Jan 10, 2014 6:14 pm

Quoting KiwiRob (Reply 37):
I'd like to see you try and back that statement up with real proof. Religion is a fairy tale, nothing more nothing less.

I'd like to see you try and back that statement up with real proof.


See how that works?  
 
dc9northwest
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RE: The Role Of Religion In Parenting

Fri Jan 10, 2014 6:25 pm

The burden of proof is on those claiming extraordinary things.

This is why I can't take religion seriously.

You're more likely to get proof from a brick wall than from people believing in God.

Do you also believe there's a Bigfoot or a Yeti?
 
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Tugger
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RE: The Role Of Religion In Parenting

Fri Jan 10, 2014 6:59 pm

Quoting WestJet747 (Reply 36):
May I ask for some additional detail on what the bad could be on finding one's own way? I just don't see any negative impact being possible.

Basically I have seen people that are lost or have lost hope, whether due to bad relationships or bad luck or bad circumstances, etc., that are ripe for a group that offers "the answers" in a tidy package that comes with all sorts or friendly, driven support from those in the religion. It is great to join a motivated group like that and they literally fall into to it hook, line, and sinker because they weren't taught to think critically about religion and faith, and spirituality (whatever that means), they just always knew it was there but didn't pay much attention to it. When you aren't organised or don't understand stuff you are ripe for those that are organised and motivated. This goes equally for religion as it does for a bank loan, you need to learn about things so that you can understand and handle them when you do them.

Quoting WestJet747 (Reply 36):
As have I, and it can be strange to see, but none of the one's I'm familiar with started from atheism, they all were passive believers or agnostics.

Well, if you are saying an active atheist that has made a conscious decision then I understand what yuo mean. But most people that "aren't religious" haven;t necessarily actively thought critically about such things and so don;t have the mental resources to handle someone that comes along with "all the answers". But I get what you are saying, it is a valid point of course. I grew up being taught to think about what I was being told about religions etc. and to not just accept it, it think a lot of people that grew up "with religion" etc. came from a background where they tacitly understood that people "just believe" or they don't. I think critical thinking in religion is very important.

Quoting KiwiRob (Reply 37):
I'd like to see you try and back that statement up with real proof. Religion is a fairy tale, nothing more nothing less.

I think Santa Claus is a great thing for kids. I think it instills something special (if done properly) in kids and adults who then become parents to their own kids. Fairy tales are an important part of learning and culture, one should be OK with fantasy and learn how it relates to reality. You can't be completely one way or the other or life (the human experience) won't work. At least in my view.

Tugg
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Tugger
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RE: The Role Of Religion In Parenting

Fri Jan 10, 2014 7:07 pm

Quoting dc9northwest (Reply 39):
The burden of proof is on those claiming extraordinary things.

This is why I can't take religion seriously.

You're more likely to get proof from a brick wall than from people believing in God.

Do you also believe there's a Bigfoot or a Yeti?

But the key element of religion (or anything else that is beyond perception such as fantasy or even some scientific theories) is that proof is not needed to believe and to follow the concepts involved. You have to prove it to yourself to whatever degree you are comfortable with, you don't need to prove it to others to keep believing it and enjoying it/that belief. BTW, I am not equating/comparing science and religion, just pointing out that some things are beyond our perception (currently).

Tugg
I don’t know that I am unafraid to be myself, but it is hard to be somebody else. - W. Shatner
Productivity isn’t about getting more things done, rather it’s about getting the right things done, while doing less. - M. Oshin
 
TK739ER
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RE: The Role Of Religion In Parenting

Sat Jan 11, 2014 5:59 am

Quoting kiwiinoz (Reply 19):
and am very much against enforcing active participation in religion on a child, (in fact, in extreme cases, I view it as child abuse).

Amen to that

Quoting AviRaider (Reply 23):
Of course it's my wish that she will find the Lord on her own and accept Christ as her Savior as she matures. WIth that being said, I don't want her being blind to the world or to knowledge and personal truth gaining. I will always support my child in discovering her own personal truth and love her no matter her ultimate decision as it pertains to religion.

Isn't that wishing gonna disappoint you someday if she chooses to believe something other than yours? Isn't this gonna put pressure on her to make you happy and discourage her to find her own truth? Just curious.

Quoting francoflier (Reply 28):
If your worry is that your different beliefs will lead your children to 'favor' one parent or the other based on those, then let me relieve you: Your kids will not give a [email protected] what your religious beliefs are or are not.

In fact, kids (fortunately) aren't really interested in religion at all, and you'll find that most of the times, it is indeed mostly brought up by the parents who are trying to pass on their religious beliefs. Children would find it as boring as learning history or studying maths.

They will love you because you are a good parent, not because of what you believe.
And if your views are contradictory, well, they can indeed understand that adults have differing views. They won't be alarmed as it clearly doesn't cause for a rift in your couple, and because as I said, they don't particularly care for these old fables anyway.

Now, one of you tells him he can play the XBox and the other says no, and watch the teary drama and mind games unfold...

        
Now this sums up everything, very well said.

Now myself thinking how I'm gonna battle with my wife's extreme mormon family (and I'm not saying this to insult anybody) since we are halfway down on the journey and due in May for a boy, while I believe a supreme power exists and definitely has watching us, I don't feel I belong to any organized religion and her family has some influence on her to some degree (its declining over the years thank god  ) but they never give up. They already started to giving advice that children should go to a church to learn manners which in my opinion utter nonsense, anyway, wish me luck.
 
Kiwirob
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RE: The Role Of Religion In Parenting

Sat Jan 11, 2014 7:42 am

Quoting Slider (Reply 38):
I'd like to see you try and back that statement up with real proof.


See how that works?

I don't need to, you're the one believing in fairy tales, the burden of proof is on you.
 
CXB77L
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RE: The Role Of Religion In Parenting

Sat Jan 11, 2014 9:11 am

Quoting francoflier (Reply 1):
It doesn't matter who is right. What matters is that none of your diverging, or other, opinions and beliefs are forcefully taught as fact to your child while he is young.

Children should be presented to these views, told about them and let them decide what they want to believe when they reach maturity.
Religion is not a necessary tool in teaching someone good manners, behavior, sympathy, empathy, etc...

You can raise your children the way you believe is right, and the OP can raise their children the way they believe is right.

Quoting mandala499 (Reply 5):
It really doesn't matter who's right when it comes to your parenting plans, what matters is that you both agree on what to do... unfortunately, it often bogs down to the little details before the idea breaks to pieces.

  

The OP and his wife must decide what's best. No one else has any say in the matter.

Quoting KiwiRob (Reply 7):
Put bluntly religion has no place in the upbringing of children
Quoting KiwiRob (Reply 14):
too much religion often turns people into intolerant, bigoted, idiots.
Quoting KiwiRob (Reply 37):
Religion is a fairy tale, nothing more nothing less.

Atheism is fine. If you don't believe in a god, fine by me. But when that non-belief becomes an anti-religion rant, then you're no better, and no more tolerant than the very people you claim to despise.

Quoting AF1624 (Reply 18):
But. NO CHURCH ATTENDANCE. I can't stress this enough. For children, all the act of church-going (the dresses, the music, the lighting, the songs, etc.) has brainwash powers like you wouldn't believe.

I was brought up by strict Christian parents. I went to church every Sunday.

You're right, as a child, I didn't enjoy it. I wanted to be anywhere but there. Stay at home and play all day. That would've been ideal.

But brainwashing? Hardly. Certainly not from my perspective anyway. As an adult now, I still go to church - voluntarily, I might add - every Sunday, not because I believe I have an obligation to go, but because I want to learn more about Christianity.

Now, if people have a problem with me practising my religion, frankly, I don't care. I believe religion is a personal thing, and I would not talk about religion to others unless they asked me about it. I respect other people's choice to not have a religion, and I would expect that they would respect my choice to have one. However, if I ever have children, then while they are living at my house, they are living under my rules, which means going to church every Sunday and learning about Christianity.

[Edited 2014-01-11 02:13:52]
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Francoflier
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RE: The Role Of Religion In Parenting

Sat Jan 11, 2014 9:38 am

Quoting CXB77L (Reply 44):
and the OP can raise their children the way they believe is right.
Quoting CXB77L (Reply 44):
The OP must decide what's best. No one else has any say in the matter.

Wait... I don't... What?
The OP opened this very thread for the sole purpose of getting advices and opinions on how to raise his future kids vis a vis religion.

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RE: The Role Of Religion In Parenting

Sat Jan 11, 2014 10:31 am

Quoting francoflier (Reply 45):
The OP opened this very thread for the sole purpose of getting advices and opinions on how to raise his future kids vis a vis religion.

Yes, but comments like:

Quoting francoflier (Reply 1):
It doesn't matter who is right. What matters is that none of your diverging, or other, opinions and beliefs are forcefully taught as fact to your child while he is young.

do not help. All it does is show your bigotry towards religion.
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RE: The Role Of Religion In Parenting

Sat Jan 11, 2014 1:07 pm

Quoting CXB77L (Reply 46):
All it does is show your bigotry towards religion.

I believe you are being a tad paranoid.
It doesn't show any sort of bigotry, but it does show how you want to interpret my words.

I have a neutral stance to religion, and while I don't adhere to any of them, I certainly do see their role in society and their usefulness to many people lucky enough to have faith.

That said, I stand by what I said about not involving children with religion until they reach the age of reason and are able to make decisions on their own. Children are impressionable, and have unquestioned faith in their parent's words. What is the point of religion if it is not a decision you made yourself but was imprinted on you at an early age?
It doesn't mean you shouldn't tell them about religion if they ask, but I do suspect that it would be rather hard for believers of a certain religion to be unbiased about the subject.

The OP is looking for opinions, here's mine, for whatever it's worth to him.
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RE: The Role Of Religion In Parenting

Tue Jan 14, 2014 1:40 am

This has been a good thread with a variety of well thought out, civil replies. Thank you all.

Quoting tugger (Reply 33):
Lifetime Unitarian Universalist here (pretty rare breed apparently). I very much enjoy being a UU, the church provide a social network and grounding, the sermons provide a diverse view with great insight into the intangible questions of life, the world we live in and the human experience etc. But it is not an easy religion, it takes effort as you are not given any "answers", there is no book, no printed dictates that tell you what to do, what is right and what is wrong, there is no requirement that you must believing something in particular. The only thing you are expected to do is to travel your path, find what speaks to you and works for you, help others in their journey and respect them in it, and live well with those around you.

I have since shown my wife this thread to get her thoughts on y'all's replies, and she showed me a website for a Unitarian church that's only about 15 minutes from where we live. What they describe on their website is very appealing, and I look forward to giving them a try and see if it is what I'm looking for.

Quoting KiwiRob (Reply 37):
Religion is a fairy tale, nothing more nothing less.

I wouldn't go that far. You are free to consider religious stories non-fiction to your heart's desire, but for starters, Fairy Tells usually have a happy ending. And some people can find personal solace in reading them. Atheism may be right for you, why so militant towards others about it?

Quoting tugger (Reply 40):
I think Santa Claus is a great thing for kids.

See, I'd be more hesitant to introduce Santa Claus to my kids than I am Christianity. I figure they'll discover the truth about Santa by the time their 8 or 9 (if not sooner), and there are plenty of ways to teach right from wrong than with a jolly fat guy in a red suit from the North Pole. Why the legend of Santa Claus continues to be passed down to each generation befuddles my comprehension.

Quoting CXB77L (Reply 44):
Now, if people have a problem with me practising my religion, frankly, I don't care. I believe religion is a personal thing, and I would not talk about religion to others unless they asked me about it. I respect other people's choice to not have a religion, and I would expect that they would respect my choice to have one.

Religion is indeed a personal decision, but the minute you introduce the rest of your family to it, it no longer becomes personal. This is what makes the decision to introduce children to church so complicated. It's hard to weigh the postives vs the negatives and what really is the proper choice for the family.
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RE: The Role Of Religion In Parenting

Tue Jan 14, 2014 1:58 am

For my kids we separated the belief in God and the Bible from any activities at church, school or in the community. So we went to church occasionally as a family for the big ceremonies, but the kids went much more often with various freinds and for various special events, children's parties, because a friend invited them etc...

Separately, privately as a family, we discussed the existence of God, the sources of the Bible, the evidence for the Bible, the source for other religions and the related evidence, etc.... and obviously this was a very very long discussion. But fascinating. It lasted from about age 5 until they left home, and we still discuss it regularly now that they are adults. Very few people on either side of the debate can tell you the precise evidence, where it comes from, the archaeology and so forth. For most it is in fact a matter of faith or their personal preference to reject the idea of God.

.... But the evidence could leave only the uneducated in such a simplistic state of understanding since the evidence is at least as debatable, subject to how much credit you give to witnesses and argued for political-psychological reasons as, say, whatever you find most persuasive about the Kennedy Assassination.

Quoting Rara (Reply 12):

ultimately draw more enjoyment from critical and independent thinking.

I wonder if you realise how precisely - but probably inadvertently - you have highlighted the role of enjoyment in those who embrace atheism? But no doubt you would argue for days that your own personal emotions, psychological needs and enjoyment have nothing to do with your beliefs.

Quoting LittleFokker (Reply 16):
more people have been murdered in the name of God than for any other reason

Where did you get this from?
....100 million dead in WW2. Around 7 million were killed because of their religion, but not in the name of God, and by a regime that rejected religion.

....35 million dead in WW1. Religion plays virtually no role in the casualties.
....the Khmer Rouge, Stalin's purges, the Vietnam War, and on and on....the worst killing sprees rarely invoke religion or God. In fact, history teaches brutal dictators to shut down religion - where a traditional mainstream religion is rejected, genocide finds an easier home.




Pu

[Edited 2014-01-13 18:16:00]

[Edited 2014-01-13 18:20:30]

[Edited 2014-01-13 18:24:47]

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