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Posted: 3/6/2010 7:09:17 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/6/2010 7:10:06 AM EDT by Currahee]
Okay, my wife has begun taking my 4yo (turns 5 this week) son to church. For info, my wife is about as non-religious as me, but if you asked her she would say she believes the Christian God. I do not personally believe in any deity, supreme being god or gods. However, I agree with her reasoning regarding taking him. Basically: we were both raised going to Church and he should be introduced to the idea to give it a fair chance. We were taken at a young age and were allowed to make our choices later.

According to her it is a very good church in so far as handling kids. They sit through part of the service then go to a classroom environment, where they have age appropriate lessons on morality etc with a Biblical basis. All well and good IMHO. At this stage they don't talk to about God and the whole God concept much.

My question is this.

My son is going to eventually ask me about God and/or why I don't go to church.

I am perfectly capable of explaining the God/Jesus concept to a young child if the question is about that. But would it be wrong to do so, given that I do not personally believe in it?

If he asks why I don't go to church should I just say that I don't believe in church, or make some excuse?

Just couldn't think of a better place to ask this question.
Link Posted: 3/6/2010 7:35:39 AM EDT
Its a good question.

One of the accusations often levelled at Christians is they indoctrinate / propagandize their children to be Christian also, and don't allow them to make up their own minds.

I suppose its unavoidable - its IMPOSSIBLE to remain neutral in matter of religion. Kids are way too smart for anything we adults might try - they pick up on what's real in our lives. The old saying goes "With training children, more is 'caught' than what is 'taught.' "

I would advise you to be honest with your son - nothing will more damage the relationship than if you are a fake, a liar, or just evasive on important issues.

Scripture makes it clear - if God has chosen your son to be one of His children....there's nothing you can do to stop it.

Which is kinda a relief. While all our actions have consequences, the fate of the world does not.....repeat DOES NOT hang on our choices. God is sovereign.

And if your child is won over by the immense love God showed us thru giving His own Son, on the cross, to die for our sins, then that is an unstoppable force.

Best wishes to you in the worlds most important job - raising kids.
Link Posted: 3/6/2010 12:43:10 PM EDT
Kids that age tend to believe whatever adults tell them. Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy and all the rest are believable to them.

If your son has some adults telling him there's a god (and that failure to obey that god's rules gets you sent to Hell to burn forever) and you're telling him it's all a load of crap, he may have problems dealing with it.

If I were you, I'd just explain that some adults choose not to attend church and that he'll be able to decide for himself when he gets older. By the time he gets to 3rd grade he'll be able to deal with abstract ideas. You'll know when he's ready. There's no hurry.
Link Posted: 3/6/2010 12:49:01 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Japle:
Kids that age tend to believe whatever adults tell them. Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy and all the rest are believable to them.

If your son has some adults telling him there's a god (and that failure to obey that god's rules gets you sent to Hell to burn forever) and you're telling him it's all a load of crap, he may have problems dealing with it.

If I were you, I'd just explain that some adults choose not to attend church and that he'll be able to decide for himself when he gets older. By the time he gets to 3rd grade he'll be able to deal with abstract ideas. You'll know when he's ready. There's no hurry.


By the time he gets to 3rd grade, he'll be saying "daddy doesn't go to church, why do I have to?"

That's what we did.
Link Posted: 3/6/2010 12:49:11 PM EDT
tell him you are too lazy to go
Link Posted: 3/6/2010 1:08:01 PM EDT
I was raised a Unitarian.
While my parents attended the church service, my sister and I went to LRY (Learning Religious Youth) which had a much stronger emphasis on arts/crafts, music and other more creative type activities.

Maybe something like that is in order?
Link Posted: 3/6/2010 1:33:44 PM EDT
Ducking in from GD.

My parents dragged us to church almost every sunday. I think it had something to do with the school taking church attendance on monday. Us kids could tell they didnt really want to be there after a while but did it for us.

My sister ended up being very religious and married a pastor, my brother and I not so much.

If it were me, Id expose the kid to religion and let them make the decision. I would not force them to do anything related to religion. I am still pissed for being forced to go through the act when I did not believe.

Good luck, back to GD.
Link Posted: 3/6/2010 9:33:14 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/6/2010 9:38:21 PM EDT by ExtraZero8]
Originally Posted By Currahee:
My son is going to eventually ask me about God and/or why I don't go to church.

I am perfectly capable of explaining the God/Jesus concept to a young child if the question is about that. But would it be wrong to do so, given that I do not personally believe in it?

If he asks why I don't go to church should I just say that I don't believe in church, or make some excuse?


Depends on the age and how you and your wife are trying to raise your son.

You should both sit down and talk about what you want your child to get out of church/religion.

Best to get that talk with the wife out of the way before any papers noting "irreconcilable differences" show up.
Link Posted: 3/6/2010 10:23:53 PM EDT
I'm an agnostic/atheist as well. I will probably raise my children Catholic due to all the women I date being Catholic.

I would suggest going with your son to both emphasize the lessons you are trying to instill in him and avoid the question that not going will bring up. Its a small price to pay imo. If it does come up it will probably be over not taking communion, instead of not attending at all. Not taking communion shows respect for a religion you don't believe in, not attending might send the wrong message.

If he does ask if you believe in God, then I wouldn't lie. Explain that religion teaches a moral code, which is useful to everyone.

Good luck.



Link Posted: 3/6/2010 11:05:53 PM EDT
My wife is Catholic and I'm Agnostic. We have discussed and accepted each others beliefs and part of the agreement in our marriage was that I would not interfere with our children being raised catholic.

I've often pondered this same question and all I've come up with for now is that I will tell my children the truth and let them decide.

They will attend Catholic School, for the educational benefits, and I can only hope that the core values of Christianity find a home in them, I hold the same values, just a differing opinion of how things are "enforced".

Best of luck, I can see myself starting the same thread after having some mini mes.
Link Posted: 3/6/2010 11:12:37 PM EDT
Not trying to shit in this thread or troll.

But I will say, you don't need church or religion to teach your son morality, as I'm sure you're well aware. Why take your son through an experience you don't even believe in and that you aren't willing to subject yourself to?
Link Posted: 3/6/2010 11:34:45 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/6/2010 11:35:06 PM EDT by ColonelHurtz]
Originally Posted By MK262:
Not trying to shit in this thread or troll.

But I will say, you don't need church or religion to teach your son morality, as I'm sure you're well aware. Why take your son through an experience you don't even believe in and that you aren't willing to subject yourself to?


That's a good point but even as an atheist, I'll concede that churchgoing fosters community and provides a sense of fellowship.
Link Posted: 3/6/2010 11:56:11 PM EDT
Originally Posted By ColonelHurtz:
Originally Posted By MK262:
Not trying to shit in this thread or troll.

But I will say, you don't need church or religion to teach your son morality, as I'm sure you're well aware. Why take your son through an experience you don't even believe in and that you aren't willing to subject yourself to?


That's a good point but even as an atheist, I'll concede that churchgoing fosters community and provides a sense of fellowship.


So do little league and peewee football.
Link Posted: 3/7/2010 12:24:48 AM EDT
Originally Posted By MK262:
Originally Posted By ColonelHurtz:
Originally Posted By MK262:
Not trying to shit in this thread or troll.

But I will say, you don't need church or religion to teach your son morality, as I'm sure you're well aware. Why take your son through an experience you don't even believe in and that you aren't willing to subject yourself to?


That's a good point but even as an atheist, I'll concede that churchgoing fosters community and provides a sense of fellowship.


So do little league and peewee football.


I really wouldn't compare it to athletics.

Your original point concerning hypocrisy is taken, however the OP and his wife have made their choice as adults.
And he states, "Basically: we were both raised going to Church and he should be introduced to the idea to give it a fair chance. We were taken at a young age and were allowed to make our choices later."

I was raised in a similar fashion and I'm practically a Pagan now, despite early churchgoing and three years of parochial school.
The point is, if he wanted to raise an atheist he wouldn't be here asking opinions, he'd be instructing his child in that fashion.
It's not hypocritical to introduce the child to religion and then let him decide for himself.
That appears to be the path the OP has taken himself.
Link Posted: 3/7/2010 1:22:26 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/7/2010 1:24:30 PM EDT by Dino]

Originally Posted By MK262:
Not trying to shit in this thread or troll.

But I will say, you don't need church or religion to teach your son morality, as I'm sure you're well aware. Why take your son through an experience you don't even believe in and that you aren't willing to subject yourself to?

Of course religion isn't a necessity, but the question becomes what vehicle in society can a good parent use to help instill values in their children? School, television, movies, and music aren't going to get the job done.
Most of the today's non-religious people were brought up religious. So it can also be stated that being raised religious doesn't mean you'll end up religious. Giving a child a religious upbringing doesn't do any damage, and it doesn't prevent them from making their own choice when they are older.

The standard religious upbringing does a pretty good job of producing well adjusted adults. I do agree agree with you on the part in red, which is why I recommended he attend with his child.

eta: your comparison to sports is a stretch. Little league or pop warner doesn't teach ethics, but religion does.



Link Posted: 3/7/2010 1:36:41 PM EDT
Originally Posted By MK262:
Not trying to shit in this thread or troll.

But I will say, you don't need church or religion to teach your son morality, as I'm sure you're well aware. Why take your son through an experience you don't even believe in and that you aren't willing to subject yourself to?


Actually, the ONLY basis for morality is the existence of almighty sovereign God.

Otherwise, its all just opinion, and a 50% + 1 individual majority.

Like when blacks were 3/5 of a person. Or when Hitler killed 6,000,000 Jews. Those societies made those things to be "moral" via majority vote.

In order for morality to exist in reality, and not JUST in convention, you MUST have a sovereign God who declares what is right and what is not.
Link Posted: 3/7/2010 1:39:30 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Dino:

Of course religion isn't a necessity, but the question becomes what vehicle in society can a good parent use to help instill values in their children?


The ONLY vehicle that exists to accomplish that end is the existence of almighty, sovereign God.

Otherwise, all you've done is instill your opinion in your children.

And other people have a different opinion.

The ONLY means of deciding who's opinion is right in reality is an authority higher than human authority. God.


Link Posted: 3/7/2010 1:59:53 PM EDT

Originally Posted By garandman:
Originally Posted By Dino:

Of course religion isn't a necessity, but the question becomes what vehicle in society can a good parent use to help instill values in their children?


The ONLY vehicle that exists to accomplish that end is the existence of almighty, sovereign God.

Otherwise, all you've done is instill your opinion in your children.

And other people have a different opinion.

The ONLY means of deciding who's opinion is right in reality is an authority higher than human authority. God.



Gman,

We can discuss the existence of God, but all that is is a matter of opinion. Neither of us can prove the other wrong.

The social benefits of religion are known and documented. They exist for all modern religions in all countries. They are as concrete as the benefits of regular exercise. Believers and non-believers alike can recognize the effects, while we disagree on the reasons religion is effective at instilling moral virtue.


Link Posted: 3/7/2010 6:42:29 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Dino:

Gman,

We can discuss the existence of God, but all that is is a matter of opinion. Neither of us can prove the other wrong.

The social benefits of religion are known and documented. They exist for all modern religions in all countries. They are as concrete as the benefits of regular exercise. Believers and non-believers alike can recognize the effects, while we disagree on the reasons religion is effective at instilling moral virtue.





You are missing the point.


The point is that if God does not exist, then neither does morality. If God does not exist, then the whole idea of right and wrong is bogus, and we've all just been deceiving ourselves.

You say their is a benefit to religion. That's merely your opinion. And if God does not exist, your opinion is in NO WAY more valid than my opinion.

If God does not exist, we can't know anything at all. Every idea / concept is just a figment of our imagination, and co-equallly worthless opinion.

By dismissing the existence of God, you've invalidated the concepts of morality, knowledge, science, everything. Life is just one big self-deception.

Fortunately, you and I both know God DOES exist. I know it and embrace the concept. You suppress the knowledge of God.




Link Posted: 3/7/2010 6:52:42 PM EDT
I should have known better
Link Posted: 3/7/2010 7:13:51 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Currahee:
I should have known better

Sometimes religion is better left alone when all you need is a simple question answered. I have learned to go to my mother and consult her for any questions I need answering. She may not have all the answers, but what she does know helps lead me in the direction I need to go in. I hope you can find someone who is as trustworthy with any religious questions you may have.


I applaud you for giving your child the opportunity to learn about something and being willing to give them the choice of how they choose to live-religiously or otherwise. Letting your child make their own decisions helps lead them to individualism and independence. Good on you, sir.
Link Posted: 3/7/2010 7:19:40 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Dino:
I'm an agnostic/atheist as well. I will probably raise my children Catholic due to all the women I date being Catholic.

I would suggest going with your son to both emphasize the lessons you are trying to instill in him and avoid the question that not going will bring up. Its a small price to pay imo. If it does come up it will probably be over not taking communion, instead of not attending at all. Not taking communion shows respect for a religion you don't believe in, not attending might send the wrong message.

If he does ask if you believe in God, then I wouldn't lie. Explain that religion teaches a moral code, which is useful to everyone.

Good luck.




Except that Christianity isn't about morality it's about salvation. If it were about mere morality (ignoring the point garandman made that morality is nonexistent without God), you wouldn't need religion to teach and live it.

Link Posted: 3/8/2010 1:17:29 AM EDT

Originally Posted By ARLady:

Except that Christianity isn't about morality it's about salvation. If it were about mere morality (ignoring the point garandman made that morality is nonexistent without God), you wouldn't need religion to teach and live it.


I said that theoretically you wouldn't need religion to teach mortality. My only problem is I don't know of anything in the real world that teaches morality other than religion. The religion itself doesn't matter. I would be fine sending my children to learn Buddhism or Sikhism or Judaism. If I marry a non-religious woman I'll send them to my UU Church.

Christianity may be about salvation, just as Buddhism is about achieving nirvana. That doesn't keep either religion from instilling moral virtue, which is a benefit whether the religion is true or not.

Link Posted: 3/8/2010 1:19:03 AM EDT

Originally Posted By garandman:

You are missing the point.


The point is that if God does not exist, then neither does morality.

no that is your dogma, not mine Gman.


Link Posted: 3/8/2010 3:24:35 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/8/2010 3:29:05 AM EDT by T1NMAN]
Just my few cents as a follower of Jesus Christ….simply teaching religion and morality to children can be quite harmful indeed…..that is exactly what many of the worlds religious people do a few short years before strapping explosive vests to those very same children.

If ones wish is to simply teach a moral code I don’t believe they could go wrong with the Ten Commandments as found in Exodus chapter 20 vs. 1 -17.
Now of course the theological question that would eventual follow from any reasonably intelligent child would be…what even gives that moral code any validity……..Interesting quandary for sure.
Link Posted: 3/8/2010 4:01:46 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/8/2010 4:07:05 AM EDT by garandman]
Originally Posted By Dino:

Originally Posted By garandman:

You are missing the point.


The point is that if God does not exist, then neither does morality.

no that is your dogma, not mine Gman.




Well, then, explain on what basis morality exists.

The only possible basis I can see ( within the constraints of the agnostic dogma you hold to) is that morality exists based on popular opinion (50% +1)

Link Posted: 3/8/2010 4:04:20 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Currahee:
I should have known better




For myself, I don't beleive its a respectful answer to just tell you what to do WITHOUT explaining the why behind it.

Your question is more than just trying to decide which rock to pick up on the shoreline, to try to skip it across the water.


Link Posted: 3/8/2010 4:05:51 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/8/2010 4:11:05 AM EDT by garandman]
Originally Posted By ARLady:

Except that Christianity isn't about morality it's about salvation. If it were about mere morality (ignoring the point garandman made that morality is nonexistent without God), you wouldn't need religion to teach and live it.



Agree. We're actually making the same point.

Without the God of Christianity, morality is nothing more than a framework of personal opinions you construct as guard rails in your own life. They don't need to be right, just something you personally like, and you certainly don't need religion to do that.



Link Posted: 3/8/2010 4:12:45 AM EDT
Posted by Grandman:
Actually, the ONLY basis for morality is the existence of almighty sovereign God.

Otherwise, its all just opinion, and a 50% + 1 individual majority.

Like when blacks were 3/5 of a person. Or when Hitler killed 6,000,000 Jews.


Or when, with the Pope's approval, French Catholics tried to kill every
Protestant in the country.
Or, more receintly, when Irish Catholics were conducting open war against their Protestant neighbors.

Even in Christianity, it's all just opinion. Otherwise there wouldn't be so many branches of Christianity, many of whom consider the others to be heritics.
Link Posted: 3/8/2010 4:13:33 AM EDT
There are people I know who think I have a special place in hell reserved for me because I believe that living a moral life is enough. I believe that if there is a judgemental God, I will pass the test, not because I surrended my will, but because I expanded it throughout my life in the serch for truth.

Agnostics like me tend to believe in seeking truth, and I think that's what the OP should focus on for his child.
Link Posted: 3/8/2010 4:24:49 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Japle:

Or when, with the Pope's approval, French Catholics tried to kill every
Protestant in the country.
Or, more receintly, when Irish Catholics were conducting open war against their Protestant neighbors.

Even in Christianity, it's all just opinion. Otherwise there wouldn't be so many branches of Christianity, many of whom consider the others to be heritics.


Actually, I'm glad you picked the example of murder, as that is the EASIEST example for us all to support the assertion "Murder is immoral."

Christianity UNIQUELY takes the discussion OUT OF the arena of personal opinion. Within the Christian worldview, murder is immoral NOT because I say so, but because God says so. Murder is a direct attack upon the image of God, as man is made in God's image. In Chrsitianity, murder is immoral based on God's opinion.

Without God, the ONLY basis a person has for saying "murder is immoral" is either their own opinion, or a majority opinion. But its still man's opinion.



Link Posted: 3/8/2010 4:25:33 AM EDT
There are people I know who think I have a special place in hell reserved for me because I believe that living a moral life is enough. I believe that if there is a judgemental God, I will pass the test, not because I surrended my will, but because I expanded it throughout my life in the serch for truth.

Agnostics like me tend to believe in seeking truth, and I think that's what the OP should focus on for his child.


Well said!
Link Posted: 3/8/2010 4:29:54 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/8/2010 4:32:23 AM EDT by garandman]
Originally Posted By eracer:
There are people I know who think I have a special place in hell reserved for me because I believe that living a moral life is enough. I believe that if there is a judgemental God, I will pass the test, not because I surrended my will, but because I expanded it throughout my life in the serch for truth. Agnostics like me tend to believe in seeking truth, and I think that's what the OP should focus on for his child


No special place in hell reserved for you. Every man makes his own reservation in hell (average room, no view, no room service, or running water) , based on his choices. Jesus Christ alone can cancel that reservation.

I applaud your search for truth. It is the same search I am on.

The question facing you is "Who decides what is truth, and what is not?" It it personal opinion that decides what is truth?



Link Posted: 3/8/2010 4:30:55 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/8/2010 4:31:58 AM EDT by garandman]
deleted message - dupe .
Link Posted: 3/8/2010 4:32:23 AM EDT
Christianity UNIQUELY takes the discussion OUT OF the arena of personal opinion. Within the Christian worldview, murder is immoral NOT because I say so, but because God says so. Murder is a direct attack upon the image of God, as man is made in God's image. In Chrsitianity, murder is immoral based on God's opinion.


And how do we know what God's opinion is? Do we ask the Pope? He sanctioned the Inquisitor, St. Bartholomew's massacre and lots of murders during the Middle Ages.

How many murders have been committed in God’s name by people who claimed to know God’s will? Were they right or was it just their opinion?
Link Posted: 3/8/2010 4:37:53 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/8/2010 4:46:27 AM EDT by garandman]
Originally Posted By Japle:
And how do we know what God's opinion is? Do we ask the Pope? He sanctioned the Inquisitor, St. Bartholomew's massacre and lots of murders during the Middle Ages.



We go DIRECT to the source - the Word of God, thru the Spirit of God. Each man is enabled by God to read God's Word, and have the Spirit of God communicate its meaning. As such, personal opinion is eliminated as being authoritative. Again, completely unique to Christianity.

The church DOES NOT make the Bible to be God's Word. Popular misconception. The church is designed by God to be subservient to God , and not an inherent authority. We describe teh Bible as "self-authenticating. " This makes sense because God does not go to man to authenticate God's Word.

How many murders have been committed in God’s name by people who claimed to know God’s will? Were they right or was it just their opinion?


FAR TOO MANY murders have been committed in God's name. Scripture makes it clear that murder is a violation of God's law, and actually a personal attack against God. They were wrong. Their opinion was wrong (the VERY thing I am trying to show in this thread) God alone is right. His Word alone is authoritative.

Claiming to know God's will is NOT the same as acutally knowing it, and as I said.....murder is the EASIEST example of knowing God's will. CLEARLY communicated in Scripture..





Link Posted: 3/8/2010 4:45:03 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/8/2010 4:45:55 AM EDT by garandman]
That's teh SECOND time I've edited a post, and the forum has quoted it. My apologies.
Link Posted: 3/8/2010 4:52:46 AM EDT
Link Posted: 3/8/2010 9:30:26 AM EDT
I would take them if they want to go, but I wouldn't make them go. And just tell them what you believe, but don't force it on them.
Being a Atheist/Agnostic phony is just as bad as being a religious phony and it will just make them bitter.
Link Posted: 3/8/2010 11:04:26 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Dino:

Originally Posted By ARLady:

Except that Christianity isn't about morality it's about salvation. If it were about mere morality (ignoring the point garandman made that morality is nonexistent without God), you wouldn't need religion to teach and live it.


I said that theoretically you wouldn't need religion to teach mortality. My only problem is I don't know of anything in the real world that teaches morality other than religion. The religion itself doesn't matter. I would be fine sending my children to learn Buddhism or Sikhism or Judaism. If I marry a non-religious woman I'll send them to my UU Church.

Christianity may be about salvation, just as Buddhism is about achieving nirvana. That doesn't keep either religion from instilling moral virtue, which is a benefit whether the religion is true or not.

You missed the point. Religion isn't about morality. Morality is generally a natural consequence of it, but most religions are not rooted in the search and quest of perfect morality.

So what I was trying to say was that justifying the attendance at church with the argument of morality is moot. That's not what the church––in this case Christian, IIRC––is there to do. If someone isn't interested in the true purpose of the religion, I'm a little befuddled as to why they would want to participate. The morality aspect of Christianity has pervaded our society enough that church attendance is not required to pick it up.

Link Posted: 3/8/2010 1:23:27 PM EDT
In response to my question:

And how do we know what God's opinion is? Do we ask the Pope? He sanctioned the Inquisitor, St. Bartholomew's massacre and lots of murders during the Middle Ages.


Grandman posted:

We go DIRECT to the source - the Word of God, thru the Spirit of God. Each man is enabled by God to read God's Word, and have the Spirit of God communicate its meaning.


If there's a way to go direct to the source, and be sure we're getting the correct meaning, why is there so much disagreement on what the Word actually is? Each man has his own interpretation.

Seems like there's a serious communication breakdown.

Or maybe there's no sender and the "receivers" are just kidding themselves.
Link Posted: 3/8/2010 1:24:37 PM EDT
I will be in the same boat sometime, too. My son is 11 months old.

Both my wife and I are atheist. We have talked about it and both seem to understand that we are not going to lie and are going to try and explain why we don't believe in God so that he can understand it.

If he has questions/statements about how the earth was made, where do plants and animals come from because so and so at schools says it was made by God, we will flat out say that that's not true. Again, all while trying to explain why at his level.
Link Posted: 3/8/2010 2:02:13 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/8/2010 2:14:38 PM EDT by T1NMAN]
Originally Posted By HoodyHoo21:
I will be in the same boat sometime, too. My son is 11 months old.

Both my wife and I are atheist. We have talked about it and both seem to understand that we are not going to lie and are going to try and explain why we don't believe in God so that he can understand it.

If he has questions/statements about how the earth was made, where do plants and animals come from because so and so at schools says it was made by God, we will flat out say that that's not true. Again, all while trying to explain why at his level.


If only it was that easy my friend!

I’m confident that even in the best “public education environment” there is going to be that one pesky Christian kid who will give Lill’Hooody plenty of questions for Big Hoody.
If not at school it will be some nerdy home schooled kid in the soccer or peewee football league …some little nasty ray of controversial salt and light filling their culture with questions and Jesus T-Shrts that will cause lill’hoody to gaze into the Star filled night sky and wonder just how smart old Pop really is.

Congratulations on the little miraculous random chance addition to your social unit!
Of course I’ll have to stick with the notion that our Creator selected that tiny gift of life made in His image just for you!
I just got Nephew # 3 last week!.....
Is yours going to be a Glock or 1911 guy?
Link Posted: 3/8/2010 2:15:23 PM EDT
Originally Posted By T1NMAN:
Originally Posted By HoodyHoo21:
I will be in the same boat sometime, too. My son is 11 months old.

Both my wife and I are atheist. We have talked about it and both seem to understand that we are not going to lie and are going to try and explain why we don't believe in God so that he can understand it.

If he has questions/statements about how the earth was made, where do plants and animals come from because so and so at schools says it was made by God, we will flat out say that that's not true. Again, all while trying to explain why at his level.


I’m confident that even in the best “public education environment” there is going to be that one pesky Christian kid who will give Lill’Hooody plenty of questions for Big Hoody.
If not at school it will be some nerdy home schooled kid in the soccer or peewee football league …some little nasty ray of controversial salt and light filling their culture with questions and Jesus T-Shrts that will cause lill’hoody to gaze into the Star filled night sky and wonder just how smart old Pop really is.

Congratulations on the little miraculous random chance addition to your social unit!
Of course I’ll have to stick with the notion that our Creator selected that tiny gift of life made in His image just for you!
I just got Nephew # 3 last week!.....
Is yours going to be a Glock or 1911 guy?



And when he comes to me with questions I can't answer I will state such. However, I will also explain to him that just because Dad can't answer his question, that doesn't make the home schooled religious kids answer the RIGHT answer.

If he turns out to be like Dad he will have a heck of a time thinking that the Christian God is real when he learns about Greek mythology in elementary school. If the Christian God is real, then why isn't Zeus?

He will also be a Glock guy.....I will teach him that there is no need to mess with old, outdated handguns/religion when more modern designs/answers exist. LOL
Link Posted: 3/8/2010 2:25:35 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/9/2010 12:33:50 AM EDT by T1NMAN]
Heresy!!….just picture in your mind……little Hoody ask that life changing question and in response you hand him a box that once opened holds a plastic handgun!..."the answer is Glock my son"....PLASTIC!! I should have expected it from you!

Let me guess…your not going to let Him watch John Wayne films!
Just because John Wayne might fire off his long dormant primate tendencys for violence gives you no right!

As for Zeus well....he ate his pregnant first wife Metis, goddess of wisdom, fearing their child Athena would be greater than himself.
Im guessing thats going to be a tuff one as well .

Link Posted: 3/8/2010 3:35:21 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Japle:

If there's a way to go direct to the source, and be sure we're getting the correct meaning, why is there so much disagreement on what the Word actually is? Each man has his own interpretation.

Seems like there's a serious communication breakdown.

Or maybe there's no sender and the "receivers" are just kidding themselves.



That's a very insightful question.

Numerous explanations exist. First the long answer, and then the short answer.

1. Many people abuse God's Word and take it out of context as support for their own agenda. Some intentionally, some unwittingly.

2. Some pople who hate God print literature, and create websites designed to confuse what in reality are very simple matters.

3. Humans crave answers, and often, God's Word stops short of what will satisfy the rational side of our human existence (in contrast to the spiritual side) In those cases, people -particualrly Christians - too often make the mistake of trying to make God's Word say more than it actually says. In small ways, I've even been guilty of this. Once I was shown it, by God's grace I corrected myself. This process is a continual "reforming" of my theology. In my experience, it was due to my ignorance of the Scriptures. But greater knowledge of the Scriptures, combined with personal humility, brings greater light.

As a side note, the Scripture CLEARLY indicates in Ephesians 4, that Christians are to rally around the clearly stated matters of the faith. And that thru the Spirit of God, we Christians are to maintain unity, and not quarrel with each other.

4 God simply hasn't revealed everything He knows, but has given us partial revelation. Rather than mastering what IS clearly revealed, we go wandering off to the more obscure sections of Scripture. THis could be due to pride, or an unwillingness to just simply admit we don't know certain things.

As you can see, the answer to your question is found in the sinful actions of both Christians and non-Chrsitians.

Thus the VERY short answer to your question is this - SIN. Sin has caused us much blindness to truth, and is the source of the fighting and bickering over the Word of God. And God is not pleased with it.

Jesus Christ's substitutionary death for our sin is the only answer to that sin problem

Link Posted: 3/8/2010 6:03:36 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Currahee:
Okay, my wife has begun taking my 4yo (turns 5 this week) son to church. For info, my wife is about as non-religious as me, but if you asked her she would say she believes the Christian God. I do not personally believe in any deity, supreme being god or gods. However, I agree with her reasoning regarding taking him. Basically: we were both raised going to Church and he should be introduced to the idea to give it a fair chance. We were taken at a young age and were allowed to make our choices later.

According to her it is a very good church in so far as handling kids. They sit through part of the service then go to a classroom environment, where they have age appropriate lessons on morality etc with a Biblical basis. All well and good IMHO. At this stage they don't talk to about God and the whole God concept much.

My question is this.

My son is going to eventually ask me about God and/or why I don't go to church.

I am perfectly capable of explaining the God/Jesus concept to a young child if the question is about that. But would it be wrong to do so, given that I do not personally believe in it?

If he asks why I don't go to church should I just say that I don't believe in church, or make some excuse?

Just couldn't think of a better place to ask this question.



Depending upon how the concepts are presented he may not really get a "fair" chance, my indoctrination consisted of repetition, appeal to an authority, threat of eternal pain, guilt for being "born bad" with this thing they called the stain of original sin, peer pressure, the use of current events to create a sense of urgency, highly emotional charged environment, the use of music and song to further impact my emotional nature, lots of fear tactics. I actually get a little sinking feeling when someone tells me they are going to start taking their young child to church. I just suggest that if you must take him before has a mind of his own really pay attention to his moods and ask questions occasionally to see how it is affecting him. I'd hate for him to become a drinker or drugger as a coping mechanism to deal with a lot of fear and guilt.
Link Posted: 3/8/2010 6:23:47 PM EDT

Originally Posted By garandman:
Originally Posted By Dino:

Originally Posted By garandman:

You are missing the point.


The point is that if God does not exist, then neither does morality.

no that is your dogma, not mine Gman.




Well, then, explain on what basis morality exists.

The only possible basis I can see ( within the constraints of the agnostic dogma you hold to) is that morality exists based on popular opinion (50% +1)


You make the assumption that you know what I believe about morality.

I believe good and evil exist outside of any deity or dieties who may or may not exist. My view is closer to the Buddhist view than the Christian view.

I can't prove good and evil exist outside popular definition, but you can't prove God exists outside of popular definition either.

I'm a moral universalist (there are things that are wrong for any person to do, even a god), you appear to subscribe to divine command theory (things are good because God says they are good). We will probably never agree on this subject, as we start at two different points.

Link Posted: 3/9/2010 4:04:34 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/9/2010 4:40:37 AM EDT by garandman]
Originally Posted By Dino:

You make the assumption that you know what I believe about morality.

I believe good and evil exist outside of any deity or dieties who may or may not exist. My view is closer to the Buddhist view than the Christian view.

I can't prove good and evil exist outside popular definition, but you can't prove God exists outside of popular definition either.

I'm a moral universalist (there are things that are wrong for any person to do, even a god), you appear to subscribe to divine command theory (things are good because God says they are good). We will probably never agree on this subject, as we start at two different points.





It is unnecessary for me to prove God exists, as proving God exists is NOT part of my argument.

My argument is that good and evil can ONLY exist if God also exists. And that if God does not exist, then neither does good or evil. My argument is that the existence of good and evil are contingent on the existence of God, and includes no assertion as to whether God exists, or not.

Yes, we start at very different places. WHere I start is at least logically plausible. Where you start is NOT logically plausible. Your argument destroys itself.

You argue for "moral universals" - which you admitted you can't prove exist. I merely explin WHY you have no possibility of being able to explain why they are in any way universal.. Because you have removed the deity concept from your worldview.

And as such, your "moral universals" exist only within YOUR universe of 1 person. You. You have ZERO basis for asserting your "moral universals" are in ANY way actually "universal" at all. And your argument is therefore destroyed anywhere outside your universe of 1.

Your "moral universals" can AT BEST never rise above being a social convention, overturned by a 50% + 1 majority - which is to say they don't actually exist at all . They are a figment of your imagination, perhaps socially helpful, but NOT authoritative, or transcending personal opinion. They are defeatable anywhere outside your own personal opnion - where you are sovereign god.

Which brings us back to where your argument always leads us - that in rejecting the Lord God, you have made yourself to be god, in a VERY narrowly defined universe.
Link Posted: 3/9/2010 4:45:03 AM EDT

Originally Posted By ARLady:

Originally Posted By Dino:

Originally Posted By ARLady:

Except that Christianity isn't about morality it's about salvation. If it were about mere morality (ignoring the point garandman made that morality is nonexistent without God), you wouldn't need religion to teach and live it.


I said that theoretically you wouldn't need religion to teach mortality. My only problem is I don't know of anything in the real world that teaches morality other than religion. The religion itself doesn't matter. I would be fine sending my children to learn Buddhism or Sikhism or Judaism. If I marry a non-religious woman I'll send them to my UU Church.

Christianity may be about salvation, just as Buddhism is about achieving nirvana. That doesn't keep either religion from instilling moral virtue, which is a benefit whether the religion is true or not.

You missed the point. Religion isn't about morality. Morality is generally a natural consequence of it, but most religions are not rooted in the search and quest of perfect morality.

So what I was trying to say was that justifying the attendance at church with the argument of morality is moot. That's not what the church––in this case Christian, IIRC––is there to do. If someone isn't interested in the true purpose of the religion, I'm a little befuddled as to why they would want to participate. The morality aspect of Christianity has pervaded our society enough that church attendance is not required to pick it up.


No, you're missing the point. It doesn't matter what the spiritual purpose of the religion in question is. The moral benefits are there even if the religion is false.

It doesn't matter what the church is there for, I can choose to take it for what I know for sure it gives me and my children and leave the rest up to the philosophers to argue about.

The purpose of soccer isn't to produce athletes with high dexterity and stamina, but I can send my child to experience those recognized benefits even if I think the game is kind of pointless and boring to watch.
As a true soccer fan, you might not understand why I'd send my children to play a game you love so much, but you don't have to understand why. You raise your children as you see fit and I'll do the same. Maybe my kids will turn out to be soccer fans, maybe they won't. But either way, I've done my job as a parent to expose them to different things that will help make them productive members of our society. In my view a religious education is good for the instilling of moral virtue and it also is good to have an understanding of religion in a society where almost everyone is religious. They'll need that education if they decide to join a minority religion or avoid religion altogether.

The part in red is not something many of your Christian brethren would agree with. According to them, we are on the road to damnation for our immorality. I don't necessarily agree with their conclusion, but I don't think morality is absorbed through osmosis. Every society has a manner in which they instill moral virtue. It has been the church in American society.


Link Posted: 3/9/2010 4:46:42 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Japle:
In response to my question:

And how do we know what God's opinion is? Do we ask the Pope? He sanctioned the Inquisitor, St. Bartholomew's massacre and lots of murders during the Middle Ages.


Grandman posted:

We go DIRECT to the source - the Word of God, thru the Spirit of God. Each man is enabled by God to read God's Word, and have the Spirit of God communicate its meaning.


If there's a way to go direct to the source, and be sure we're getting the correct meaning, why is there so much disagreement on what the Word actually is? Each man has his own interpretation.

Seems like there's a serious communication breakdown.

Or maybe there's no sender and the "receivers" are just kidding themselves.


This is a very good observation Japle, and it is at exactly this point that protestantism falls apart.
God did give us a way to find out his opinion. The teaching of the Catholic Church on faith and morals is infallible.
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