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bible stories for an atheist household

(26 Posts)

We are not religious and I have optedmy children out of religion at school because where we live (abroad) you can choose between Catholic classes taught as truth by a priest and encompasses in first Communion preparation, or ethics lessons (which my children take) which include an overview of the major faiths but also a lot about self respect and respect for others, learning about big humanitarian issues like the plight of refugees etc.

Ethics lessons seem great but they don't cover the stories central to any of the religions at all.

Obviously this leaves a bit of a knowledge/ cultural capital gap...

So does anyone know of a book that presents the well known Christian (or even better but less likely also Jewish and Islamic) stories simply as stories, without doctrine?

Kids are age between 4 and 10. 4 year old can listen well to stories but does like a picture per story (though doesn't need the picture per few lines of text toddler fornat). The older kids like to listen to me read his bedtime stories so something pitched at infant school age (5-7?) would be ideal I guess!

Many thanks for any suggestions!

Sorry - some of my first paragraph is garbled! Must proof read! Hope the sense is clear blush

merrymouse Wed 17-Jun-15 09:41:26

Try Geraldine McCaughrean

Heels99 Wed 17-Jun-15 09:42:00

My dds love joseph and his dreamcoat. The musical on DVD.

merrymouse Wed 17-Jun-15 09:43:34

Also Michael Morpurgo - 'on angel's wings' for Christmas story.

Bilberry Wed 17-Jun-15 09:50:47

There is a well-known Christian book called the 'Bible' you could try grin. It has all the Christian stories in there! I am not sure how you can read any stories from religions and miss the doctrine out entirely as the stories are part of the doctrine. However, a good children's bible would have the stories presented in a simple manner and you can discuss matters of faith/belief. When you think about it even fairy stories require an element of belief (or suspension of unbelief) so you could approach it from that direction. I certainly think you are doing the right thing to introduce these stories and some of the language though as they do form a very strong part of people's cultural backdrop.

drspouse Wed 17-Jun-15 09:51:54

I had never heard of Geraldine McCaughrean and just looked her up. The Old and New Testament books look great and with an endorsement from the Jewish Chronicle and from mainstream newspapers and the Salvation Army it suggests they may tick all your boxes. I will be looking out for these for godchildren presents I think.

God's People

I know I could just get a children's bible, but I'd like a book of stories - presented as stories not truth. My kids know what I believe so I'll feel like a fraud reading the bible to them!
It is like reading fairy tales or Greek myths for me and I want to read them to my kids for the same reasons I read them those...

Thanks for the suggestions - I like the look of Geraldine Mccaughrean 'Not the end of the world' but that would only suit my eldest... and it pre assumes general bible story knowledge I think. The old and new testament books look a bit too much like the dreary stuff thrust on me as a child (I had an unrelentingly church school, church attending upbringing)...

I want something like the books of Greek myths and legends but with bible stories grin

IssyStark Wed 17-Jun-15 10:11:19

Watching with interest as our ds is rather lacking in his biblical knowledge (although we're trying to fill him in whenever we discover a gap). My mother (an agnostic) was also of the opinion that I needed to learn the bible stories as otherwise, as she said, 'how else could I understand Shakespeare, Milton, Elliot?'. I too have been wondering about a book of stories which isn't as 'preachy' as some of the children's bible can be.

I have Geraldine McCaughrean's Ballet Stories book already. If the style is similar, it is probably a bit too wordy for a 4yo but should be okay for 7 and upwards.

drspouse Wed 17-Jun-15 11:29:07

I want something like the books of Greek myths and legends but with bible stories

As they are by the same author you might find they are like that? Why not get one out of the library first?

Enb76 Wed 17-Jun-15 11:41:48

I've an ancient illustrated children's bible stories.

It covers old and new testament and the pictures are glorious. I think you can get modern versions - illustrated children's bibles - they are just the stories, things like Daniel and the Lion's den etc... the parables of the new Testament with no preaching or 'lessons'. Mine is similar to this: www.amazon.co.uk/Illustrated-Childrens-Barnes-Leatherbound-Classics/dp/1435141911/ref=sr_1_17?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1434537627&sr=1-17&keywords=bible+stories but as it was my mother's didn't cost me a penny

I'm utterly atheist but appreciate a good story.

oneofthegiantsisme Wed 17-Jun-15 11:50:37

We have this one:

www.amazon.co.uk/Lion-Book-Five-minute-Bible-Stories/dp/0745949843/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1434538036&sr=1-1&keywords=five+minute+bible+stories

It's a little bit preachy/religious, but not overly so - it was the best I could find when I was looking, for the same reasons, when DC were small.

JasperDamerel Wed 17-Jun-15 11:52:25

I like the Lion's Children's Bible. The stories are well told with good illustrations, and it covers some of the less well known stories. The stories are told from a Christian perspective, but we just treat it as we do any book of myths and legends.

Thanks everyone!

As I'm abroad in a rural area library isn't a great option - our local library has no books in English, and the onein the nearest bigger town only has school type books aimed at kids learning English, and 3 shelves of adult fiction grin

That's why I'm looking for recommendations to order online - can't just browse a bookshop / library. Kids read German books from the library (the older 2) but I read to them in English.

Obviously I didn't say that though - should have grin

drspouse the fact it's called "God's people " combined with the style of traditional religious art on the cover made me assume it's not a book of stories in the same style - Geraldine Mccaughrean seems to have a very diverse range! But of course my assumption could be wrong.

merrymouse Wed 17-Jun-15 14:07:58

Marcia williams?

lilivonshtupp Wed 17-Jun-15 14:10:35

The Usbourne series does a nice looking hardback book of the Bible.

They also do a great range of Greek/Norse myths too. (my DS6 loves these as the pictures are just this side of being a little scary) I've been dying to get my hands on this book for ages as I'm the same as you - an atheist who still thinks it's important for my kids to know the basis of Christianity.

drspouse Wed 17-Jun-15 15:14:58

Nur apparently "God's People" is not suitable for "any Christian who believes that God is sovereign and sinless, and/or that the Bible is His very word."

So on those grounds you (and I who count myself a Christian but take the Bible very much less than literally) should be reasonably happy with it...

But the quotes from the other Amazon reviewer do indicate slightly higher level language than your 4yo might be OK with.

Thanks merry The Marcia Williams one looks like a possibility ('Noahs Ark and other bible stories')

Looked at Usbourn first and dismissed it as it's a bible rather than a book of stories, but will have to rethink whether that is an option I guess.

Hehe drspouse might be ok then grin but for later - others have said 7+ for Geraldine Mccaughrean too... I suppose this will be a work in progress anyway. 2 of my kids are over 7, but I think the easy way to do this is to read them to my 4 yo, as they always listen to his stories, rather than try to get the older ones interested directly - I do still read to the older two, but I don't think they're going to want a bible story instead of a chapter of their book of choice.

cariadlet Thu 18-Jun-15 22:09:11

I think I've got the Lion Storyteller Bible - but I'm not absolutely sure, because it's at school. If it's the one that I'm thinking of then that's a good read aloud book.

cariadlet Thu 18-Jun-15 22:10:05

PS I'm a firm atheist, but also think children should have a grounding in the Bible - it's part of our cultural heritage.

BlueEyeshadow Thu 18-Jun-15 22:14:17

This is nice for the younger ones: Stories Jesus Told

BigDorrit Thu 18-Jun-15 22:39:38

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

morningtoncrescent62 Sun 21-Jun-15 19:18:36

Are David Kossof's Bible Stories for children still available? I have a copy from my own childhood (1970s!) which I read to both DDs in the 90s. They're lovely, and they're told in a way to encourage questions rather than persuade children to believe anything.

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