Religion, humanism and children(9 Posts)
Am finding it increasingly difficult with DS1 and approaching school in Sept to 'tackle' the christian beliefs he seems to be coming home from nursery with....I don't want to directly tell him I don't believe in God/heaven/Garden of Eden and all the other fairytales that they claim are necessary for 'morality'...but feel I should do something about it in a non-confrontational way (Mother-in-law is very catholic and keeps giving him Jesus at Easter sticker books with peel off crucifixes which I find terrifying and abhorrent) - I'm polite her her/others but my stomach churns at the 'brainwashing' and I feel he can learn his morality in better ways. Any ideas from humanist/atheist/philosophical parents in how to teach alongside this pervading ideology which seems to be the lore in the market town where I live?
how old is heand would the rational approach work for him?
With Ds1 (who was 6) he came home spouting nonsense re men who come back to life and walk around on water, I asked him if that seemed likely. He concurred that it didn't.
"Some people believe this, some people believe that.. This is what mummy believes but granny thinks this.."
Why would you not want to tell him what you think?
I think you could do so without use of loaded terms like "fairystories" though.
What iggagog said. Why can't you tell him that you don't believe in any of that? And that they are all stories?
Personally, I would not send DC to a nursery where they would be
indoctrinated taught religion. If you have no other option, you can still teach your DS to ignore what you don't agree with in this nursery's teachings.
I have always been honest about my beliefs with my children but in a non dogmatic way. I have always been like this and they knew from an early age that I did not believe in god - in fact as soon as they stated to ask questions. They also understood early on that I think there is a big difference between wanting something to be true and it actually being true. This has not harmed them at all and I think that children do usually know when adults are not telling the truth - which can also be damaging. They have been to CofE schools where there was some indoctrination but have managed to absorb this unscathed. ATM my eldest is an atheist and the other 2 do have some belief in god but TBH it is not really an issue with us as we all know where we stand.
I think you are trying too hard to be 'fair'. It is your job to bring him up and that will involve telling him what is right and wrong and what is true and what isn't. No need to hide that other people have other views, but you don't have to constantly work round the other views and explain them. Just tell him the truth.
Forget about it being religion and think of other situations. If you saw your DS kick someone you'd say "it's wrong to kick people". You wouldn't say "well some people think it's wrong, some think it is okay and you have to make up your own mind about it, but you must respect those on both sides"
My DH is christian and I am a humanist/interested in buddhism and we do the "this is what daddy believes and this is what mummy believes". I think being honest is the best plan.
Well whether or not you subscribe to any of the myth brands yourself, DC will have to live in a world where all of them have followers. So it's actually important to start early on explaining that there are all these myths, which are special stories that some people would like to be true, and that they are quite interesting as a way of looking at the world, but unfortunately some people take them the wrong way.
As a Quaker I am a Christian-of-a-sort, who finds most of the stories helpful without wanting to take them too literally. Lines that might work with kids are "We just don't know enough to be sure" and "It takes all sorts of people to make a world". A story doesn't have to be factual to be inspiring. Last Christmas I did a reworking of the Christmas story which turned out to be a meditation on childlessness and illegitimacy. The Matthew gospel says in so many words that Joseph wanted to disown Mary because her baby was not his. He found the conviction to accept her and her baby. Isn't that interesting? --without any back story about the baby being God's.
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