How can I help religious DD?

(293 Posts)

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IsabellaofFrance Fri 04-Sep-15 20:20:06

My DD is 6.

She has become increasingly more religious in the last year. She attends Rainbows and Sunday School (at her request) and she loves both.

I think she understands that beliefs are individual and that not everyone believes the things she does, and she is happy to share her own beliefs. She has started to get interested in Dinosaurs and Space, and became really upset when learning about the creation of the universe as it doesn't fit with what she believes.

DH is Atheist, I am Christian but only attend Church semi-regularly and I just don't know how to handle it. I can't answer the questions she has without upsetting her. She is bright and articulate so its not explaining it on a level that is the problem, its knowing what to say.

goblinhat Fri 04-Sep-15 21:46:59

I would keep her away from indoctrination like sunday school until she can is old enough to understand.

Doublebubblebubble Fri 04-Sep-15 21:57:46

My DD is 5 and is obsessed with Jesus and god. Only got like this since starting (a secular) school. Myself and dh are atheist and whilst I don't mind her having this infatuation (rather hoping she'll grow out of it if we leave well enough alone) id rather have her know it all then just one side of the die (so have her learn about Islam, Judaism and all other facets of religion so I have been teaching her. Id definitely take her out of Sunday school as that's clearly going to be an issue later on with schooling - I agree with goblin that there is probably some indoctrination going on... No matter how well meaning. Tbh I try and answer questions as best as I can and as truthfully as I can and if it means hurting (their) her feelings now surely that will be better than later on. Xx good luck xx

HerRoyalNotness Fri 04-Sep-15 22:07:09

You could say re creation, we don't know HOW God did it, and explanations scientists publish could be how it was done.

Because, even if we do believe God created the earth and everything in it, we don't actually know the process that was used to achieve this.

goblinhat Fri 04-Sep-15 22:12:13

Except the Universe wasn't "created"- that implies someone behind the scenes.

doublebubble- you have a secular school? Is it private? In the UK?

Capewrath Fri 04-Sep-15 22:23:41

V easy. You just say " some people believe x, some people believe y." Or " some people believe x, some people don't." You always give at least two sides to the answer.

Q how did God create the world mummy?
A well, darling, as you know, some people don't think there is a god and it came into being through a Big Bang and things just developed after that. Some people think that God set up the Big Bang. And some people think he created the animals and the fish and the stars in the way the bible describes it.

"What do you think, Mummy? "
"Well I don't really know, darling. I think daddy thinks it's the first, I sometimes think it could be the second. But I think the third is a lovely story and a way of explaining to people who didn't have much science. Shall we go to draw both the Big Bang and the making of the animals? "( or whatever)

Then you add," you can make your own mind up. And you can change your mind later. But it's not worth getting into arguments with people. They can get very upset. "

Hackersschmakers Fri 04-Sep-15 22:25:29

Brilliant answer cape, and more succinctly than I had waffled onsmile

goblinhat Fri 04-Sep-15 22:26:56

*
A well, darling, as you know, some people don't think there is a god and it came into being through a Big Bang and things just developed after that. Some people think that God set up the Big Bang. And some people think he created the animals and the fish and the stars in the way the bible describes it.
Well I don't really know, darling. I think daddy thinks it's the first, I sometimes think it could be the second. But I think the third is a lovely story and a way of explaining to people who didn't have much science. Shall we go to draw both the Big Bang and the making of the animals? "( or whatever)
Then you add," you can make your own mind up. And you can change your mind later. But it's not worth getting into arguments with people. They can get very upset. "

As clear as mud.

This is a 6 year old we are talking about here.

goblinhat Fri 04-Sep-15 22:30:00

Much easier to tell a six year old that god is imaginary, like a unicorn.

Doublebubblebubble Fri 04-Sep-15 22:33:18

Its not private and it is in the UK. Surprised at your surprise goblin as I thought the vast majority of schools in the UK were secular... Perhaps I'm using the wrong word or are the majority of schools religious?? bit confoosed now lol (not talking about faith schools obviously)

dictionary.reference.com/browse/secular

I agree with you again on the "created" issue...

RhinestoneCowgirl Fri 04-Sep-15 22:35:20

My 6 yr old DD tells me that she is a Christian, because she believes in Jesus. She knows I don't believe in god, not sure if she'd know the word atheist tho...

It's my fault for utilising the 'messy church' after school group when I needed childcare. They have biscuits and craft activities, she was hooked.

RhinestoneCowgirl Fri 04-Sep-15 22:36:56

Thought UK state schools were required to have 'collective worship', and that this had to be broadly Christian?

goblinhat Fri 04-Sep-15 22:37:25

Double- no sorry. There are no secular state schools in the UK. We do have non denominational schools which are common, but that's the best us atheists can hope for. Even these schools are required by law to "lead active worship...christian in nature".
In practice this gives any head teacher the free remit to indoctrinate as much as he or she likes.

Lovelydiscusfish Fri 04-Sep-15 22:44:33

I'm Christian but also believe in, and am (relatively) interested in, Dinosaurs and Space. Most Christians i know do/are. It doesn't seem to be a problem.

In what ways is your dd struggling to reconcile these beliefs/interests? Is she wanting to make an absolutely literal interpretation of Genesis? This doesn't seem common among most of the Christian children I come across. To be fair, my parents aren't Christian in the least, but all the Christians I knew as a child told me fairly early on that parts of the Bible are metaphorical. That's what I tell DD too. (And that she can take or leave all of it, it's up to her.)

It will all be fine. Just tell her that different people believe different things re. God, but as long as they're good and kind people in the world, that's all that really matters.

I'm unable to discern exactly what is troubling you/her? But hope you are both ok.

goblinhat Fri 04-Sep-15 22:49:32

Lovelydiscusfish

How do you know which parts of the bible are metaphorical, and which bits are literal?

Doublebubblebubble Fri 04-Sep-15 22:58:43

Ahh I see - sorry I thought that that was "secular"

i'm bit thick me lol.

Where do you get secular schools??

I think (and this is coming from a 5 year old) that they have prayer at her school only during assembly, so I don't think that's as bad as it could be (not sure as I haven't asked though - probably should) as my DD has to say "amen"<<---- she loves saying this.
Ive tried soooo many different things to get her to stop realise that this idea/l isn't real with no luck --

Me: You know Dora the explorer is a cartoon on television and you know how much it drives mummy insane!!
DD: Yes
Me: And that she goes on loads of wacky adventures and tries to help her friends by being kind and helpful.
DD: Yes
Me: And that she's not real
DD: Yes
Me: Well that is what Jesus and god are. They are (occasionally) the "good" guys in a book of stories but the stories aren't real.
DD: No. God is real and so is Jesus.

(I'm paraphrasing a conversation a few days ago but you get the idea)
--
That's why I think that if I leave her alone with it and teach her more and more about other religions, the bad parts that they aren't/wont be taught at school then she'll get bored...she is pretty stubborn though.

fakenamefornow Fri 04-Sep-15 23:01:31

creation of the universe as it doesn't fit with what she believes.

I'm sorry, are they teaching her that creationism is fact, and dinosaurs didn't exist, even at Rainbows? If they are I'd be fucking furious. I wouldn't mind so much if they take the facts, such as evolution, and fit the religion around it, "let there be light" interpreted as big bang for instance (I know, bb isn't a proved fact, unlike evolution), but ignoring/denying all the evidence to pass something without any scientific evidence off as fact, not on at all.

Take her to a museum and show her how great dinosaurs were. Ask them if they're teaching creationism, if they are complain, if they won't stop withdraw her. That's what I'd do.

goblinhat Fri 04-Sep-15 23:07:57

Sounds like she is being indoctrinated somewhere.
When I became a parent helper at my kids school I was really surprised at how the day was peppered by religious overtones.
They would pray and worship in song at assembly, but have bible parables and Noah;s ark story etc read to them ( my DD thought these were real history lessons).
Even casual remarks the teacher would make " Oh look the sun is out, isn't god wonderful" or "jesus loves all children"

hmm

Like you double I thought I was sending my kids to a non faith school.

mummytime Fri 04-Sep-15 23:10:32

Lots of Christians believe in Dinosaurs, the Big Bang etc. I believe both the Pope and the Archbishop of Canterbury do for example.
Some of the bible is written as factual eg. The Gospels and Acts, some is chatty advice - The Epistels, some is wacky and metaphysical - Revelation and the end of Daniel. Most Christians believe that Genesis is a creation myth, not a Historical record, and is written in that style of literature.
I would ask a few more questions about what this Sunday school teaches, I countered some teaching my DC received and made sure they knew we didn't believe in creationism.

CoteDAzur Fri 04-Sep-15 23:12:45

She is 6? I would take her distress after learning about Big Bang as a clear sign that something needs to be done and second what goblin said: "I would keep her away from indoctrination like sunday school until she can is old enough to understand".

fastdaytears Fri 04-Sep-15 23:19:52

There shouldn't be any God at Rainbows. It's supposed to be individual beliefs and inclusive of all faiths and none. So I would hope the indoctrination isn't coming from there.

fastdaytears Fri 04-Sep-15 23:20:51

I don't do Rainbows but the ones that come up to my Brownie group are big in to dinosaurs.

missymayhemsmum Fri 04-Sep-15 23:22:29

When DD was about that age I remember explaining that there are different kinds of truth. That God is real and present but that people have different ideas about God, and different experiences and one person's idea being right doesn't make someone else's idea wrong. That a lot of things in the bible and other holy books are stories to tell us something important about God and people, written by people a long time ago.
A habit of bedtime prayer- saying thank you for the good bits of the day, sorry for anything that went wrong, and asking God to look after anyone she is a bit worried about- will do her no harm at all.

AlanPacino Fri 04-Sep-15 23:28:12

some of the bible is written as factual eg. The Gospels and Acts, some is chatty advice - The Epistels, some is wacky and metaphysical - Revelation and the end of Daniel. Most Christians believe that Genesis is a creation myth, not a Historical record, and is written in that style of literature.

But what you're missing out, and the most pertinent point is that that what you happily call a myth was taken as truth up until not so long ago. it constantly being reinterpreted as humans develop and in ways that reveal that there was no supernatural wisdom guiding the writers such as the massive change in attitude to slavery and LBGT.

AlanPacino Fri 04-Sep-15 23:33:53

and different experiences and one person's idea being right doesn't make someone else's idea wrong

So how will you explain to her the divide in opinion on what God thinks about LBGT? They all swear they're listening to God, but he's telling them different things? They can't all be right in their own way because their positions are contradictory. And if you say that the ones who aren't onside with LBGT are mistaken then that means a mere 30 years ago almost all Christians were mistaken. Eventually she may realise God is either very confused/pitiful at communicating with his believers/made up.

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